The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday December 5th

Dueling concerns

Carrboro residents have legitimate concerns about new tall buildings, but town leaders should move along steadily with development plans.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen should be cautious about how it proceeds in handling opposition to constructing large buildings in the town.

On Tuesday, the aldermen decided unanimously to impose a moratorium on applications for permits to build structures of more than two stories on 25 specific properties. The delay will allow a town subcommittee to plan a buffer zone between tall buildings and residential areas.

The moratorium is reasonable by itself - residents have legitimate concerns about what's going on in areas close to their homes - but town leaders should be careful not to allow criticism of tall structures to inhibit the town's growth.

Local residents have expressed concerns that the future development might ruin Carrboro's small-town feel. For example, Chapel Hill resident Steve Hewitt told The Daily Tar Heel in September that large structures were a mismatch for the area.

The moratorium prevents developers from submitting applications to construct high buildings for 60 days, allowing time for the buffer zone subcommittee to complete its work and to give aldermen time to deal with its recommendation. The subcommittee is expected to finish its work quickly.

Regulations such as space requirements between tall buildings and roads adjacent to neighborhoods are good ideas. But Carrboro is in need of economic revitalization, and that likely will require flexibility.

The most recent major revitalization plans to enter the pipeline include a renovation of the downtown retail center that hosts The ArtsCenter and Cat's Cradle.

Although the size of proposed buildings in these preliminary plans might resemble those in urban areas, the development likely would bring in lots of money that the town could use. At the same time, the town's character wouldn't be lost.

Carrboro is a quaint town with much to offer its residents. Although officials should take community concerns into consideration, they shouldn't lose sight of the benefits of development.

Residents have every right to be protective of their way of life, but they shouldn't shut out ideas for improvement, either.

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