Editor's note: The Chapel Hill News has been following the debate over whether to pave a portion of the fuure Bolin Creek Greenway through Carrboro. Correspondent Tammy Grubb covered Monday night's Greenways Commission meeting and will have a report Sunday. Here is an excerpt.
Members of a local greenways group think Jordan Lake watershed rules may be a wrench in Carrboro’s plan for a paved Bolin Creek Greenway.
The rules require the town to protect the vegetation within 50 feet of the creek and to keep the 30-foot buffer closest to the creek as largely undisturbed forest. The remaining 20 feet can include managed vegetation.
Town environmental planner Randy Dodd said a significant amount of the greenway, anywhere from a third to a half, would lie within the state’s regulated buffer. The exact number will be clarified at future meetings, he added.
Members of Save Bolin Creek contend the buffer makes it impractical to build a paved greenway trail. The group, including Chairwoman Julie McClintock, and town staff traveled to Raleigh recently to ask division officials again how the rules apply.
“We were going over and seeking guidance,” McClintock said. “The state said that they will only allow paving within the 50 foot buffer only if there is a finding of no practical alternatives.”
Save Bolin Creek suggests the town instead use routes like Seawell School Road, where UNC is slated to build an off-road bike path and sidewalk as part of the Carolina North development and a future campus-to-campus connector.
Save Bolin Creek member Linda Haac and others also expressed frustration that town officials weren’t giving them equal time to explain their position. Haac had asked to be on Monday’s Greenways Commission agenda, but was denied because Chairman Robert Kirschner said they didn’t give the town clerk at least two weeks’ notice.
Instead, two groups that support paving and were already approved for the agenda spoke about the necessity of providing disabled residents with access to natural recreation areas for fun and fitness, stabilizing the watershed and giving local residents another link to a growing regional greenway to the east. Paving advocates say the corridor is already eroded and should be built up to protect it from further erosion and water pollution.