Folks who attended the Town Council meeting Monday night in the Southern Human Don EvansServices building off Homestead Road were treated to new definitions of recreation space.

The meeting included a continuation of a hearing on the proposal by Blue Heron to expand the Timber Hollow apartments by adding 109 housing units. Fancy units would be built adjacent to The Junior (Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) as well as in two buildings where the complex now has a recreational area.

During the meeting, Blue Heron representative Michael Fiocco of the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners, characterized a strip of land to the east of the apartments to be credited to Blue Heron’s requirement to provide the town with recreation space. The 65,000-plus square feet of space that Fiocco cited is mostly an easement for Duke Energy and Orange Water and Sewer Authority. So the developer is calling space that Progress Energy maintains, with its defoliant chemicals and sprays and energy pylons, as a place where the children of families who live in the apartments can send their children to cavort.

But you have to give Fiocco and Blue Heron props for their perverse inspiration — taking credit for something that the builder and its minions have no control over and then trying to spin it to look as if the developer is doing the town a favor, now that’s creative.

But then what can you expect from a business concern that wants to get approval of the expansion of the complex, yet is canvassing companies for a buyer to sell it off to that will turn around and do the town another favor by turning workforce housing units into condos. Now that will definitely solve the workforce housing problem, right?

Council member Maria Palmer actually lauded the Blue Heron reps for their efforts to include so much recreation space. She obviously has never visited the site and would do well to walk the space some time to see how insalubrious it is to playing children.

Of course, Blue Heron also wanted to include a street in its calculation for recreation space, but town staff apparently said, “Nice try,” and refused to allow that.

But the developer will provide a 15,000-square-foot private dog park, and that counts as recreational area. Might be safer for kids to play in the dog park than among the power lines and defoliants of the easement.
–Don Evans

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