At a recent planning commission meeting, my first, the first item on the docket was a parking lot to be built on Hillandale Road. The Veterans Administration has asked for more parking, alleviating congestion for their patients and staff. The facility is regionally crucial for PTSD and brain injury patients.
The developer had exhausted all options and purchased a property just down the street. The city’s own experts testified it would increase neither traffic or noise. The opposing neighbors, kids in tow, expressed their objection that a parking lot would change the “feel” of the neighborhood.
After a few questions, the only commissioner who was a veteran stated he used the clinic and parking was truly needed. It came time to vote and Commissioner Tom Miller decided to lecture his fellow commissioners. He stated they were not to give any preference to the VA or veterans and were to treat them as any “other corporate entity” and by not doing so they would be “breaking the law.” This is the same Tom Miller who penned an article in the News & Observer, “Neighbor’s Rights Under Attack,” in May 2015. Troubling when a commissioner with a bias against any development disavows his own experts and openly states his disdain for the men and women who served this country. A couple of commissioners suggested “these people” could park at Northgate Mall or further.
Mayor Bill Bell recently stated “It’s a city that’s a very welcome and caring community.” One has to wonder.