This statement was presented by Julie McClintock on behalf of Friends of Bolin Creek on April 17, 2012 at a Carrboro Town public hearing for a rezoning application for Claremont South. The application called for commercial space and small homes rather that the affordable townhouses originally planned and approved in a previous permit in 2009. The two changes to the plan required a rezoning and a new public hearing. Friends of Bolin Creek asked that the development meet the new Jordan Lake nutrient standards. Several aldermen asked the developer to honor the standard that would be in place in June but he declined. The rezoning was granted unanimously.
Friends of Bolin Creek’s mission is to protect the Bolin Creek Watershed which has been identified by the State DWQ and EPA as a 303 (d) impaired stream. Carrboro and Chapel Hill have received EPA grants to improve the health of the creek. Our community greatly values this natural treasure.
In February of 2012 we sponsored a water quality forum attended by two members of your Board. At the symposium, “Can We Heal Our Local Waterways?” we identified measures that can be taken by homeowners, governments and utilities to address our local water quality problems to improve and protect our creek water quality. This plan for Claremont South does not meet these measures; it directly poses a threat to Bolin Creek and the Town of Carrboro for the following reasons.
First, Carrboro is now required by state law to reduce nutrient loading into Jordan Lake by 35% total nitrogen and 5% total phosphorus from the 1997-2001 baseline level. Carrboro is in the Upper New Hope subwatershed of the Cape Fear basin. Of the three subwatersheds feeding Jordan Lake, this subwatershed has the largest nutrient reduction requirements. The plan for Claremont South will increase the amount of nutrients currently entering Bolin Creek and thus Jordan Lake. If you pass this development as it is proposed, Carrboro will have to eventually address this nutrient loading. It is far more effective and much cheaper to address reductions before development is put in place. If this plan is passed, taxpayers will have to foot the bill for “retrofits” to try and address this problem down the line.
Second, this development contains a very high percentage of impervious surface. While the proposed sediment ponds may address peak flows of stormwater, they do not address the total volume of stormwater entering Bolin Creek. This will result in erosive flows, reduction of groundwater, and decreased water quality. These are the same issues which have led to Bolin Creek’s impairment, which we are now struggling to mitigate.
Carrboro has taken many progressive actions to protect creeks and the environment, such as establishing stream buffers. Do not let a hasty move here undermine the long term economic and environmental health of Carrboro. It is a lot cheaper to bring about reductions up from with a new development rather then coming back and retrofitting existing development after the fact.
You have approved these rules in draft and when they are approved by the State in June they will be a Carrboro requirement. Please be proactive and ask the developer as a condition of this development to meet the nutrient standard which will become a formal requirement in a few months.