Custom-streamlined permit issuance for Google Fiber facility sidestepped public input.
After the Carrboro zoning administrator had learned about Google’s proposed facility in the spring of 2015, he wrote the new language needed in the town’s zoning law in such a way that the later issuance of its zoning permit would not need a public hearing (which would have slowed things down): Such buildings would not need a public hearing if they were were under 15′ in height. (The Google hub building is 13′ high.) And such buildings would also not need a hearing if they were were under 500 square feet. (The Google hub building is 420 square feet.) This language was approved by the Aldermen in June 2015. No public discussion of the Carrboro Google hub siting ever took place. Not even people who live 90 feet from the construction site received any kind of notification more than 10 days before the trees in the town’s cemetery woods were knocked down.
Throughout the partnering process with the Town, it pressured Town Hall to move as quickly as possible.
We would like the Aldermen to attempt to remedy this situation by suggesting to Google Fiber that its public image would benefit by moving this facility from the cemetery woods to the OWASA water utility campus. The request has been deflected. Town Hall has sincerely apologized for having given no notification to the immediate neighbors, and has said that they will reform their processes. Neither of these statements address the substantive concerns of the community for the future that stem from this poor site choice: the atmosphere of this cemetery and its meadow will be degraded by Google’s machinery, the flexibility of using this land in the future for a park will be constrained, and the public would receive more secure and reliable internet service if this hub were moved to OWASA.
The cemetery woods and meadow belong to all of us Carrboro citizens
Discussing the need to notify neighbors distracts from the core issue: Town land does not belong to the town’s staff, to the Aldermen, or to the neighbors. Town Hall requires the owners of private property to wait for town-wide public hearings that thoroughly review their proposals. Here Town Hall has unilaterally decided how to use our jointly owned public property, without consulting the community. Under pressure from Google to move quickly, two or three staff members decided how to satisfy Google by offering up some of our land. With no public discussion having taken place, it was then impossible for the Aldermen to even think of the right questions to ask before they approved those plans.
- Preserve Green Space
- OWASA is Secure
- Google Hub Locations
- Respect the Departed
- No Public Input
- Nationwide Pilfering
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