Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Scott Mill plan held for review

As expected, the County Comissioners did not vote on the rezoning request at the meeting.  I'm surprised they gave the discussion only 5 minutes on the agenda, though.  Four activists spoke in the public hearing about their disgust with the wasted negotiations and loopholes.  This time Bill Ripley also commented. He said the committed elements were all still there, possibly excepting the elements that are already required by regulations, such as regulations on sidealks and right of ways.  He said that he could negotiate with the neighbors, Planning Dept., Commissioners, etc. if there are still problems.  Community member Carol Young responded.  She gave several examples of changes in the committed elements:  the new version says: the Sheriff's Dept. will monitor the noise, but the fines were removed; the buffer I mentioned yesterday is specified on non-existant page 5 of the notes; there are the same loopholes that allowed mass grading at Lyon's Farm (?); and the "infrastructure" allowed south of the powerline is not defined, so she said possibly that would include something like a pile of fill dirt needed on the site.  
Some Commissioners spoke about how dissatisfied they are with this process.  Ellen Reckhow called it "highly unusual and irregular" and Cheek (who arrived just before this item on the agenda) thought it came from the actions of several people, who probably had "good intentions."  Heron was most irritated with this whole affair and I think wants to vote on it as soon as possible and make any new process start from the beginning.  I don't remember Page saying he was very irritated, and I think Cousin was silent in this discussion.  I can't remember when she wanted to have this vote.  I think Cheek proposed that the planning staff look at the current plan and report back to the Commissioners.  They cannot vote on it until the Planning Commission rexamines the plan to see if there are any (narrowly defined, as Heron found out) major changes from earlier plans.  I'm not sure if there will be a vote on this in November.  I assume it depends on the findings of the Planning Commission.         

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Scott Mill timeline

This is mostly based on a timeline I received from an active community member.
April 2002 - IUKA Development requests that its 35 acre site be included in the UGA.  Frank Duke and Mayor Bell agree to a density limit of 1-2 houses per acre. 
Summer 2003 - The site is clearcut and advertised for sale.  
Early summer 2005 - The Camp. Plan is endorsed and the area south of Scott King Rd. is categorized Suburban Tier, instead of Rural.  A day later the IUKA land is announced to be "under contract."
August 2005 - About 9 acres are added to the property and rezoning is requested, just before the UDO is passed.  
January 2006 - Scott Mill is announced.  Two or three days before the Planning Commission (PC) meeting, Bill Ripley contacts nearby residents.  The Commission delays its decision 30 days for community consultation by Ripley.  Jordan Lake Operations Manager Dan Brown wrote to the Planning Dept., apparently critical of the rezoning, but not expecting much consideration of his comments.
February 2006 - Ripley schedules a meeting with the community the Thursday before a Tuesday PC meeting, but then misses the consultation meeting.  He presents a plan to the Commission, which community members deride as an empty "'etch-a-sketch' plan."  The PC delays a decision another 60 days and requests that Ripley confer with the community.
March 2006 - Two meetings are held at the Parkwood Branch Library, but residents say Ripley angrily broke off negotiations in the end. 
April 2006 - Ripley presents the same plan to the PC, without any committed elemts, including an agreement with the Planning Dept. to leave the area south of the powerline undisturbed. 
After that timeline was written there were rezoning heatings at County Commissioner meetings in (I think) June, August, and September and third-party negotiations.  Now it looks as if, unless the Commissioners approve the current crooked and unsatisfactory plan, that it will be deferred yet again.  It reminds me of the area which is now Grandale Mill, which was cleared a few times over I think more than a decade, before finally being built upon. 

Picket for Raleigh Sanitation Workers at 12pm today

This is an announcement I received about an demonstration at noon today. 
There is an article in the latest issue of Alliance! (www.allianceml.com) covering the poor working conditions, disrespect, 
and low pay of North Carolina public workers, and what workers are doing about it, which relates to this struggle in Raleigh.  
***Please Forward Widely***

Urgent Action Alert!

WE need you !!!  The courageous Raleigh City
Sanitation Workers and their Union UE local 150 NC
Public Service Workers are continuing to stand up
and fight  forced overtime of 14 hours workdays
without getting permanent pay of time and a half !
Workers are over worked like horses and underpaid &
treated like chickens!

WHAT: Picket City Management to Support Raleigh
Sanitation Workers
WHEN: Monday, 25 Sept at 12 noon
WHERE: City Hall, Avery Government Complex, 222 W.
Hargett St, at corner of Dawson St. downtown Raleigh

Please come to a demonstration at City Hall on Monday
to support Raleigh Sanitation workers demands for

On Friday, Sept 22nd, the Sanitation workers gave a
VOTE of Confidence for City Manager Russell Allen who
met with workers at the plant and showed NO Commitment
to REAL Solutions for…

*Overtime PAY, *Stopping Forced Overtime  *ALL Temps
to Perm  *Management Harassment   *Right to Organize



Also, if you are interested in having a worker speak
at a public event or your church please contact
organize at ue150 dot org

Workers Rights are Human Rights!
Organize the South!
Support the Struggles of the NC Public Sector Workers
Union, UE local

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Scott Mill bait and switch tactics before County Comm. mtg. Monday

The Scott Mill rezoning is coming up for a vote yet again, on Monday.  Last Friday two community members found that Bill Ripley has filed the original January plan with the City.  This means that many of the committed elements created with community pressure will be void.  The committed elements list included with the plan is also incomplete. For example, a 70-foot buffer was to be created along the eastern border of the development (though the Army Corps of Engineers wanted a 100' buffer), but the specifications are on a page omitted from the plan, except for a note about a minimum 15' buffer.  Community activists believe this bait and switch was planned all along.  Ripley's group reportedly says it did not want to go through the Planning Commission again to get the new plan appproved.  The plan might still have to go back to the planners after the Monday meeting.   
Meanwhile, it appears that the owners (?) of the land are upset with Ripley.  They don't want such high density development and small lots.  I've heard they are locals (possibly a majority black owned business group) and want affordable, working class housing, which they also wanted (but failed to get) in Lyon's Farm, across Scott King from the Scott Mill land.  They can't do much because they are in an option with Ripley's group, but they seem to have political influence.  
I don't know if this case is typical of how development occurs in Durham, but it is pretty complex and there are obvious issues of class (and political power), as well as the clear environmental and social aspects I mentioned in past posts.  
Activists request that people write to the County Commissioners to oppose the rezoning and come to the meeting Monday night (there will be some space with carpools from Parkwood around 6:15pm).  The meeting will be at 7pm, probably in the old County Courthouse (across Main Street from the new building), and this issue will probably be early on the agenda (available online at www.ci.durham.nc.us, as is contact information for the Commissioners).  Reportedly numbers cause the Commissioners to listen, and we might not have support from the majority of the Commissioners at this point.       

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Monopoly and Capitalism discussion Saturday

The next meeting will be in the Chapel Hill Public Library conference room, with the
same readings as before (Imperialism, Monopoly Capital, the Alliance! article, and rest of Value,
Price, and Profit).  We also need to discuss possible changes in the group, since we have had trouble 
setting up meetings lately.  I hope everyone can make it this Saturday!  Below is an ad I sent to out.   
Monopoly and Imperialism discussion

Join us to discuss why modern capitalism means war for
profit won't end with Bush, Saturday, September 16th,
4-6pm at the Chapel Hill Public Library.  Organized by
the non-partisan Triangle Marxist Forum.  For more
information, see durhamspark.blogspot.com, or email
southplumb at gmail dot com.