The Carrboro Town Council met Tuesday night to discuss a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza. It also discussed an affordable housing review for the Newbury Architecturally Integrated Subdivision and heard from the Town’s Community Safety Task Force.
Mayor Damon Seils began the meeting with a proclamation for Nov. 16 to be Care to Share Day to help support customers of Orange Water and Sewer Authority. Seils also gave a proclamation for Nov. 25 to be Small Business Saturday to support small businesses in Orange County.
Council member Sammy Slade proposed a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war.
- Slade urged his fellow council members to support the resolution and uphold their responsibilities as Americans.
- “I really hope my colleagues on this council have heard and understand that this is not about anything other than saving people’s lives and dignity and being human,” Slade said.
- Mayor Pro Tem Susan Romaine said she will not support the ceasefire resolution because of the topic’s complexity and divisiveness.
- Council member and mayor-elect Barbara Foushee said the resolution does not include all voices, and that she would not support it.
- “For me, it's about what the resolution is not saying,” Foushee said.
Development review administrator Marty Roupe introduced an affordable housing review for the Newbury subdivision at 904 Homestead Road.
- Roupe said the development does not meet the 15 percent affordable housing goal and therefore must come before the council for review.
- Council member Randy Haven-O’Donnell asked one of the applicants, Omar Zinn, if more affordable housing could be built if the 15 percent goal was lowered. Zinn said a lower percentage would be easier to attain, but the current development is creating the zoning the council is looking for.
- The council heard recommendations from the Community Safety Task Force. The recommendations aim to promote racial equity in law enforcement and the criminal legal system in Carrboro.
- The task force has researched data, conducted community engagement and looked at existing models of equitable law enforcement in the Triangle.
- The task force recommended the following for the town council to consider:
- Develop a non-police crisis response system.
- Reallocate town funding towards supporting the health and well-being of marginalized communities.
- Create a standing advisory board to monitor the implementation of the task force’s recommendations.
- Implement reforms focused on the Carrboro Police Department’s policies and practices.
- Require the department to regularly provide arrest reports and data for public use.
- Romaine asked how much law enforcement was involved in the community engagement process.
- Wamiq Chowdhury, a member of the task force, said law enforcement was involved early in the process, but was left out during the majority of the engagement to ensure community members felt safe expressing their concerns.
- He said the Carrboro Police Department will be heavily involved in the implementation of the recommendations.
What decisions were made?
- The council voted 4-3 to pass the resolution to call a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza. Foushee, Haven-O’Donnell and Romaine were the three votes against the resolution.
- The council voted unanimously to pass the resolution to accept the recommendations presented by the Community Safety Task Force.
- The council voted 6-1 to pass a resolution approving the allocation of regional flexible funding to transportation projects. Haven-O’Donnell was the sole vote against.
- The council will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 29, for its next meeting.