By James Smalley
Chapel Hill (at least those persons responsible for zoning and development) seems to be in the process of destroying our environment and town.
The clear-cutting of trees on Estes Drive, Fordham Boulevard, Ephesus Church Road and other locations is shocking and discouraging to anyone who cares about the natural environment and the community of Chapel Hill. The impact on the infrastructure is enormous —on the roads, utilities, schools, as well as on human safety and health, including flooding and air quality.
There seems to be little forethought as to how these developments will/are influencing our lives. As we destroy the environment, what else are we destroying?
Why is this cutting down of the trees happening? Some say it is progress, and we need change. Anyone who has been associated with Chapel Hill for the past 50 years has seen vast changes in the town. And progress should be measured in quality not quantity, and with due deliberations and not pressured decisions and hasty actions.
Some say development will help the tax base, but studies have shown that this is not necessarily so.
Some say we need more housing. Well, maybe, but how much and for whom? Chapel Hill has many housing and apartment complexes within and surrounding the town. All of them have vacancy signs. UNC and the town can and should be involved in developing necessary housing — not just the outside developers who know little about the history of Chapel Hill and who are trying to capitalize and profit on its popular image.
Chapel Hill has a long history, and has been a center of science, the arts and the humanities for countless students, faculty, townspeople and visitors. Many people have given their lives and substance to building and creating the town and gown community of Chapel Hill.
Let us stop making decisions that have harmful effects on our environment and our human community. One action would be to stop cutting down the trees and building those monstrous multi-use complexes.
James Smalley is a resident of Chapel Hill.