Carrboro's officials had the issues of flooding and affordable housing on their Tuesday meeting agenda.
With Tom’s Creek, Morningside Drive, Broad Street and other areas, there has been significant soil erosion, according to a report commissioned by the board.
“I don’t think there’s a more important issue on our budget,” Board of Aldermen member Jaquelyn Gist said of flood control measures.
Areas that could previously be expected to flood once every 100 years are now under threat of flooding every 50 years, according to the report.
Austin Brown, a Carrboro homeowner, voiced his concern, worrying about the cost of flood insurance and the possibility that his home could soon be in danger of flooding.
“It would be good to have some kind of pooled flood insurance to help with the cost,” he said.
According to Gist, the town can only do so much.
“It’s time for us to reach outside of Carrboro and Chapel Hill,” she said.
She recommended contacting FEMA for guidance on flood control practices and potential money.
Board of Aldermen member Sammy Slade also acknowledged the town’s limitations.
“As I’ve always said, once (climate change) starts running away, you can’t adapt to it," he said.
The board also discussed the ongoing gentrification in Carrboro.
Two proposals were presented. The first, from the Rebuilding Together of the Triangle Foundation, sought funding to provide emergency repairs to poor homeowners. The second, from the Self-Help organization, sought funding to provide emergency repairs in the Northside neighborhood in Carrboro and to support the expansion of the Northside land bank.
While the board unanimously approved both resolutions, Gist offered some resistance.
“I have some problems with the land bank," she said. "I think it can inadvertently encourage gentrification.”
While she acknowledged the land bank would prevent the conversion of homes into student rentals, Gist worried young professionals would end up forcing out the low-income residents the neighborhood is meant to serve.
Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney acknowledged this concern, but asked Gist to consider the alternative.
“The only way we are going to protect properties in Northside is by participating in this bank,” she said.
The Carrboro PTA Thrift Shop is entering phase two of its development. Phase two will house a nonprofit collaborative, with space for community organizations with a focus on youth outreach.
“The youth of our community need this kind of focus,” Gist said.
“That will keep the mini-dorms from popping up,” said Gist about the Northside land bank’s potential to prevent investors from converting low-income housing into student rentals.
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