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Carrboro Board of Aldermen reassess Rogers Road land use

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen discussed the future of a 164-acre site near Orange County’s landfill Tuesday night, and many voiced concerns about preserving plans for affordable housing on the site.

The Greene Tract was acquired jointly by the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro and Orange County, originally for solid waste purposes. Now, 85.9 acres of the tract are earmarked for open space, and 18.1 acres are designated for affordable housing.

In recent years, companies have brought forth ideas to further develop the open space. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has also proposed building a school on the site.

During its meeting Tuesday night, the board gave its comments on the proposed uses for the land.

Several aldermen worried that allowing this area to be built upon would lead to more development than they originally agreed on.

“It will wind up with two-thirds of the area that had been originally agreed upon for affordable housing into mixed-use development,” said Mayor Mark Chilton.

The tract of land is adjacent to the Rogers Road community, a historically black and low-income community that has housed the county’s landfill for 40 years.

Last year, the county formed the Historic Rogers Road Task Force after setting a landfill closing date in June. The task force was asked to develop a list of possible uses for the Greene Tract.

In its latest report, the task force said local governments should look into affordable housing options that would meet the needs of residents who make at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income.

Chilton, who also works with the affordable housing group EmPOWERment, Inc., said he had already reached out to a community development organization in downtown Raleigh that specializes in creating affordable housing.

Chilton said he hopes to draw the Raleigh nonprofit as a potential partner in carrying out the affordable housing plan.

“We want to reaffirm our goals of affordable housing, and I feel that it would be helpful to put some minimum numbers behind that,” he said.

Alderman Jacquelyn Gist said she felt it would be best to leave the Greene Tract completely undeveloped.

“The best use of the land is nothing,” she said. “It’s a wonderful thing that we can pass on to future generations.”

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