Never turn your back on free money. And half of the items on tonight’s consent agenda involve receiving money from the state or federal government (remember those ARRA funds?) or insurance payouts. Money to upgrade some police cars with idle-reduction technology; aide to meet federal mandates to inspect bridges; freeing up money from the bond sale to build a trail along Morgan Creek; and reimbursement to repair apartments damaged in a fire. Some of the projects require a little buy-in from the town, but that’s yet another reason not to spend up to our total debt limit. Any wealthy person can tell you that you need money to make money.
The consent agenda also includes the rezoning recommendations for the Glen Lennox Neighborhood Conservation District. The recommendations, which reduce zoning from R-3 to R-2 and won’t permit duplexes (they attract students), play Twister trying to justify the town’s stated goals of density and affordability while learning the lessons of Northside. It’s a good thing “student” is not an ethnic category, or we’d be the Old South all over again.
Up for discussion: the town will present a compliance report on Carolina North activities, but as the project is still more or less dormant, the report will be brief.
OWASA will present proposed changes to its Water and Sewer Management, Planning and Boundary Agreement (WSMPBA, for short). The contentious issue when this last came before council was over increasing its allocation to the Jordan Lake water supply. The changes in this draft seem benign to me – removing impediments to OWASA, Hillsborough and Orange County forming agreements to tap into the Jordan Lake allocation – but then, I don’t have that lawyer gene. I’m counting on informed readers putting this into context.
Finally, we celebrate what appears to be a truce between the owners of property that backs up to Dawson Place and the owners of the property on West Rosemary Street who want to build Shortbread Lofts there. When we last tuned in, the discussion between the two parties was rife with mistrust. Subsequently, the parties met and appear to have worked out an agreement that would end the Dawson Place right-of-way in exchange for the Shortbread Loft property owners building and maintaining a new alley access up to town standards. And in the trust-but-verify tradition, the Shortbread property owners are to post a performance bond to ensure that the new alley will be up to the town manager’s standards for approval.
– Nancy Oates