At a Tuesday Board of Alderman meeting, four Carrboro residents -- backed by Alderman Jacquelyn Gist -- voiced opposition to a resolution stating the town's intent to pursue the 28-acre parcel of land, known as the Adams' Tract, for the new public works facility.
Strapped for space and fearing flooding, officials at the Carrboro Public Works Facility are considering relocating. The Adams' Tract, which is home to mountain biking trails, wildlife and Bolin Creek, is only one of several sites the town is exploring.
The existing facility, which lies at the intersection of N.C. 54 Bypass and Smith Level Road, is partially located on a flood plain and is no longer large enough to meet growing needs.
And this is where the lines are drawn.
Some town officials say purchasing the Adams' Tract for the facility would be a better conservation effort than letting a private group develop the land.
But residents say nearby Bolin Creek would be better protected if a private developer bought the property and was subjected to local regulations by the board.
"This is some of the most beautiful land around, and a public works facility could not preserve it adequately," Gist said. "If a private developer bought the property, the board could stipulate the development to preserve the most environmentally sensitive areas."
But Alderman Mark Dorosin disagrees, saying private development is motivated by profit and would not preserve the land.
"They have a different bottom line than the town," Dorosin said.
"They have to maximize their income."
He also said it is false to think of the tract's future in terms of completely preserving the land or developing it.
"People have a misconception about the public works facility," Dorosin said. "We're not talking about a landfill with transmission fluid oozing out into the ground. We would obviously do everything we could to minimize the environmental impact."
Linda Haac, a Carrboro resident who voiced opposition to the resolution at the meeting, said she does not think the Adams' Tract should even be considered as a potential relocation site for the facility.
"You just can't treat creeks as something that can be cemented off," Haac said at the meeting. "If this discussion continues, you'll be taking the non-environmental stance."
Other aldermen who support the resolution said even though conservation efforts are a top priority, the property can not be eliminated outright because of the town's limited land and financial resources.
"It would be fiscal policy disservice if we leave out the possibility," said Alderman Joal Broun. "I wish we didn't need a new public works, but we do."
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