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Carrboro Aldermen unanimously approve amendment for IFC's FoodFirst kitchen

On March.22, 2016 Carrboro Board of Aldermen Public Hearing of the IFC's FoodFirst Meeting is held at the Carrboro Elementary School Auditorium.
On March.22, 2016 Carrboro Board of Aldermen Public Hearing of the IFC's FoodFirst Meeting is held at the Carrboro Elementary School Auditorium.

This change to the land use ordinance could allow the IFC to apply to rezone a property where meals could be served to the community as part of their FoodFirst initiative.

More than 40 members of the community expressed both support and concern during the public forum in Carrboro Elementary School’s auditorium.

The text amendment establishes a new use classification that allows facilities to provide social services with dining.

Trish McGuire, a Carrboro planning director, gave a presentation summarizing the process and additional steps the IFC and the town would take to get the land rezoned.

McGuire said the proposed amendment would allow an application to be submitted for the rezoning to be considered, and there would be an additional process to follow after the text amendment is approved.

“The only thing this text amendment does is allow an organization to apply to provide dining as part of social services,” Board of Aldermen member Damon Seils said.

Leanne Brown, an attorney representing the IFC, urged the council to approve the application and said it would be an opportunity to talk meaningfully about concerns and needs.

“(We are) asking (the board) to continue forward in the process to approve a text amendment to allow the IFC to make an application to show you our vision,” Brown said.

Many Carrboro residents expressed their support for the text amendment.

“I’ve been proud to live in a community that works for common good and wants equity for all,” Carrboro resident Lucy Lewis said.

Merit Mcmanus, a small business owner in Carrboro, said this text amendment will help the working poor and people who have a hard time even with a job.

Resident Tim West said Carrboro has a communal commitment to kindness and compassion, and allowing social service organizations to serve food downtown is a reflection of who Carrboro residents are.

Despite a majority of support, the text amendment was opposed by some members of the community.

Carrboro business owner Grace Fulton said she opposes the text amendment at this time and does not think the specific location of the kitchen is ideal.

Fulton said social service should be spread throughout the whole community so that one area of town does not bear the cost of providing these services.

Board of Aldermen member Sammy Slade said he thinks most of the concerns of the community lie in the fear of the unknown.

All board members expressed their desire for many more meaningful conversations with the community as the IFC’s community kitchen plan unfolds.

Rodney Coleman, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, voiced his support as a member of the faith community.

“We need to help those in need even when it challenges our convenience and comfort,” Coleman said. “Feed them here and feed them now.”

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