All posts tagged: #umstead park

Save RDU Forest issue: Top comments from the public hearing

After years of activism and back-and-forth between the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and the Umstead Coalition, the public hearings on Wake Stone’s proposed quarry brought out hundreds of speakers with Save RDU Forest, local residents and Wake Stone. And it was all over Zoom. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality held the hearing on June 23 and then continued it in July to fit in all the speakers. The proposed quarry in the 105-acre Odd Fellows tract has led to heated and passionate arguments on both sides. Here is a timeline of the Save RDU Forest issue for a refresher. Although the fight exploded in March 2019, when the lease was signed with Wake Stone, the issue goes back July 2017. At that time, the Umstead Coalition, The Conservation Fund and Triangle Off-Road Cyclists offered to buy the Odd Fellows tract for $6.5 million. In 2015, the airport also tried to swap more than 300 acres with Umstead Park without notifying the coalition. There were more than 80 speakers and Zoom-held hearing lasted the better part …

Save RDU Forest issue: Opponents of quarry and State Sen. Wiley Nickel request public hearing, or a delay until they can be held

The efforts of opponents to a proposed quarry next to William B. Umstead Park have attracted the support of Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel of Wake County, who recently expressed concerns about Wake Stone Corp.’s mining permit application because of the difficulties surrounding public hearings during the coronavirus crisis.

“Public hearings are an imperative part of permitting procedures. They allow the public a chance to react to plans for new development and raise awareness of potentially disastrous environmental or social impacts,” Nickel said in a recent news release. “On April 8, in the midst of an international public crisis, Wake Stone Corp. filed a mining permit application request… .”

Why did RDU try to swap more than 300 acres with Umstead Park in 2015?

In 2015, attendance at North Carolina’s state parks was up. The park system was riding on a historic high, celebrating its centennial. The first state park had been created at Mount Mitchell in 1915. At an event at William B. Umstead State Park, then-Gov. Pat McCrory designated the first week of March “North Carolina State Parks Week.” Then, out of nowhere came a bill to swap more than 300 acres between Umstead and Raleigh-Durham International Airport. At one point, Senate Bill 486 blithely calls for 206 acres, the western chunk of Umstead Park closest to the airport — “Polygon F” on the map helpfully provided — to go to RDU. Primary sponsors of Senate Bill 486 were John Alexander, Republican senator from Wake County, Andrew Brock, Republican senator from Mocksville, and Republican senator Tamara Barringer of Cary. Other sponsors were Democratic senator Ben Clark of Cumberland and Hoke counties, and Republican senator Bill Cook, representing the 1st district which includes Beaufort, Dare and other counties on the coast. According to an N&O story from May …