Written by Liz Adams, Research Associate at the UNC Institute for the Environment
2014, RDU Airport report: “Environmental integrity must be a cornerstone of RDU’s development strategy, and should begin with the adoption of the following: Strengthening RDU’s branding as a good steward of the land; Capitalizing on locational environmental advantages of surplus land parcels such as water and forests; Creating a comprehensive sustainability plan that includes energy efficiency, use, and production, as well as environmentally sensitive storm water management, landscape maintenance practices, air quality, and carbon emissions; and Protecting open spaces within and around developed property.” (http://uli.org/wp-content/uploads/ULI-Documents/Raleigh-Durham-Airport_PanelReport_lores_FINAL.pdf)
The long term lease of recreational land for a granite rock quarry next to Umstead State Park and along the East Coast Greenway undermines the foundation and authority of RDU Airport. Rather than being good stewards and protecting Umstead State Park, Lake Crabtree County Park and the existing mountain bike trails on 286 and the Odd Fellows Tract, the RDU 2040 plan converts these open spaces into industrial and commercial uses.
Industrial uses such as open pit quarry mines are incompatible when sited next to residential and recreational open space and multi-use trails.
If this land was still under the zoning authority of the Town of Cary, this proposed development would require a rezoning that would need to meet the policies of the Town of Cary including the MOVES policy:
Cary’s MOVE policies are designed to respond to transportation challenges and opportunities:
§ Allow mobility choices
Ensure Safety for All Users and Modes (Policy 1)
Here is a proposed rezoning that failed because it didn’t meet the land use policies of the Town of Cary. http://carync.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=4466&MediaPosition=&ID=3310&CssClass=
The reason that the Town of Cary and other local municipalities have requirements for neighborhood meetings with the developers and staff prior to rezoning is to identify concerns and to prevent harm. Staff develops a comprehensive report on each proposed rezoning that helps identify whether the proposal from the developer meets the policies and goals enacted by the town.
A few significant concerns that the RDU Airport Authority seems to have disregarded include the hazards of allowing logging trucks on the Old Reedy Creek Multi Use Trail and the degradation of air quality due to quarry blasting and grinding of granite.
Remember, Silica is not just dust.
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The Umstead Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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