Residents raise concerns over new Google Fiber hut
Google Fiber and the Orange County Food Policy Council were two of the main discussions at the Carrboro Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday.
Neighbors of the construction site for the new Google hut raised concerns about noise and a lack of communication with the town on this project.
Google has partnered with local governments to build a fiber optic network with the goal of providing better and faster internet.
Carrboro Town Manager David Andrews said each hut is designed to serve about 20,000 people, so the hut in Carrboro will potentially serve the entire town.
The hut will be constructed off of Fidelity Street behind Westwood Cemetery.
Fidelity Street resident Landon Rogers said he is concerned about the noise the generators and air conditioning units will make.
Julia Hartsell, owner of The Flowjo, a studio that specializes in movement and expressive arts, was also concerned about noise.
She said she does not want the cemetery to cease being a place of solitude and peace once the hut is constructed.
“I think it would be a sincere loss to the sanctuary of the space,” Hartsell said.
Matthew Barton, a Carrboro resident and former member of the Carrboro planning board, said he was disappointed that residents near the site of the hut were not notified about how the project may affect them.
Andrews said from the staff’s perspective, he thought considerable care went into deciding on the Fidelity Street location.
He also said they worked with Google to reduce the project's impact on nearby residents.
Board of Aldermen member Jacquelyn Gist, along with the other board members, apologized to the residents who raised concerns about the hut.
Gist said she was sorry the board did not make sure the nearby residents were informed about the project and given an opportunity to comment.
All of the Board of Aldermen members agreed the location of the hut cannot be moved, but they will do everything possible to reduce any noise generated by it.
Following the Google hut discussion, members of the Orange County Food Council gave a presentation to the board.
Margaret Krome-Lukens, assistant manager of the Carrboro Farmers' Market, said the food council is mostly a grassroots creation that plans on working closely with local governments.
Board of Aldermen member Sammy Slade volunteered to become a member of the council, with Gist as an alternate.
Krome-Lukens said the primary function of the food council is to facilitate communication between different stakeholder groups in the food system.
The food council also performed a baseline community assessment to closely examine the local food system to create relevant goals and priorities.
“The purpose (of the assessment) was to give the future Orange County Food Council a comprehensive snapshot of our food system,” Sophie Kelmenson, who assisted in research for the assessment, said.
Now that the assessment is completed, the food council members said some of the next steps will be hiring a coordinator and creating an action plan based on the priorities identified in the community assessment.
“(Our ultimate goal is) to provide safe, culturally appropriate and nutritionally sound food,” Kelmenson said.
The Board of Aldermen reviewed and commented on the annual report from the Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance that was created by the technical advisory committee. The Orange County Board of Commissioners is expected to certify the report in May.
“I think we dropped the ball on this one,” Slade said in response to the discussion about the lack of communication with neighbors of the Google hut project.
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