The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday December 6th

Officials Clas Over Service Boundaries

Finding those with contradictory ideas on where that school should be is another matter.

Tempers flared at the Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting Wednesday as the board considered a resolution to extend Chapel Hill and Carrboro's urban services boundaries to accommodate a potential site for the high school.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education is looking at three sites for the third high school, one of which lies on Smith Level Road and is not serviced by water and sewer hookups, which would have to be run outside the service boundary to the facilities in the event of the school being placed there.

After more than an hour of discussion, the commissioners unanimously passed a motion that would require the water and service boundaries and any other related agreements to be considered as criteria in the placement of future schools.

Craig Benedict, Orange County's planning director, said that his staff does not support expanding the boundary at this time but that another option might open to officials.

"We advise that changing the line in the short term is not suggested," he said. "There are provisions within the water and sewer management plan for uses outside the line."

Benedict said one of the uses, which is designated as an essential public facility, includes schools within its definition.

"Water and sewer lines extended into that area would be restricted for (use at the high school) only," he said.

Valerie Foushee, school board chairwoman, and Gloria Faley, vice chairwoman, voiced displeasure at the commissioners even having the item on their agenda.

"After last week's meeting, we were surprised to even see this on the agenda," Foushee said. "We would have liked the courtesy of at least being notified this was being discussed."

School board representatives said their body had not even requested the commissioners to consider moving the boundary. "I ask that you table this vote until a request is transmitted to you," Foushee said. "I emphasize that this request was never made."

But the commissioners thought a request did not need to be made before making some kind of decision.

Citing the many years of work it took to get the urban services boundaries in place, Barry Jacobs, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said it needed to send a message to the school board.

"I do not see this as pre-emptive; I think it's communication," he said. "We need to indicate that this site is not going to work."

Board of Commissioners member Margaret Brown wondered whether the school board was aware of the effort involved in changing regulations like the urban services boundaries.

"Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has in its curriculum all the issues we are dealing with here: participation in the public process, respect for the environment, working with the community," Brown said. "It seems that has gotten lost in the rush to place a school."

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