CHALT sent out a newsletter entitled “URGENT! Town Council to Vote on Legion Park TONIGHT!” earlier today.
That is one super scary headline. It’s also confusing because there’s no such thing as Legion Park (yet).
Moving past the headline, we noticed many errors in this newsletter. We found three in just the first paragraph. Three! It’s as if CHALT got access to ChatGPT and input “I want to write about a Chapel Hill town council agenda item but make it seem like Kellyanne Conway wrote it.”
This is what they write:
First, their math is wrong.
The American Legion site is 36 acres and sits next to Ephesus Park, which is 12 acres. Let’s do the math:
American Legion Land + Ephesus Park Land = 48 acres total
48 acres total – 9 acres for affordable housing = ~39 acres of park and recreation activity. 39, not 20.
If you want to be generous to CHALT – knowing their history, we can’t imagine taking such a stance, but you do you – you might say that they aren’t including Ephesus Park in their calculation. Even so, 36 acres – 9 acres for affordable housing = 27 acres for a park within the Legion property alone.
Second, CHALT says they’re going to drain the man-made pond.
They write elsewhere in the newsletter, ”Draining the pond is problematic for several reasons. The pond is not only an attractive water feature that is home to wildlife, but also functions as natural stormwater control for the Meadows, an existing downstream neighborhood.”
This is not accurate.
As the Legion Property Committee wrote in their report, “The earthen dam that created the [man-made] pond is failing. The pond itself does not serve a stormwater function for most of the property….The LPC recommends evaluating the current pond to identify if there is an underground water source, and then determining the best placement of stormwater feature(s) on the site, which might include a reduced pond.”
Does the Legion Property Committee talk about draining the pond? NO.
Does the pond serve a stormwater function for most of the property? NO.
Is “evaluating the current pond” code language for “drain the beautiful pond”? NO.
Finally, this isn’t what the town is voting on tonight.
Town Council is voting on the recommendations of the Legion Park Committee. The points concerning housing, the pond, and the park are as follows.
This is a process that as outlined will take months if not years to get underway. They are increasing the urgency at a stage when the decision-point is to determine over the next two years land and funding and partners to develop affordable housing.
That’s a long time. Long enough for more stall tactics, more delay tactics, and more chances to politicize this for the next-forever election cycles.
Which sounds about as fun as canoodling with a snapping turtle in murky Legion pond.