I am very concerned for Chapel Hill’s future if the current Legion property plan proposed by the Town Council is approved. This 36-acre tract has been a natural area full of mature trees, a pond that supports wildlife and an open space for recreation for decades and enjoyed by many. The current plan proposes the building of affordable housing units, draining the pond and greatly reducing the tree canopy in favor of a much smaller community park.
While affordable housing is a serious concern, it shouldn’t mean that we need to sacrifice our natural areas to achieve it. It should not be a choice between affordable housing or nature. It seems that our Town leadership is willing to sacrifice our natural areas instead of holding developers’ feet to the fire by mandating more affordable units in every new development. Perhaps their hands are tied by the form-based code implemented by previous administrations. Nevertheless, it should be within the Town’s power to make changes to current regulations to get a handle on reaching their affordable housing goals instead of sacrificing our parks.
I urge the Town leadership to find a better way to reach our affordable housing goals. I, personally, do not want this town to turn into a cement desert, especially in light of rising temperatures and increasing flooding/drought events caused by climate change. We need our parks and natural areas to meet our climate action plan goals. Please listen to your residents and keep the Legion property a community park for all to enjoy.
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