Stef Mendell statement on RDU Quarry Expansion

Shortly after I began serving on the Raleigh City Council in December 2017, we began discussing holding a work session with RDU to discuss a number of items, including the issue of the potential expansion of the quarry.  

That meeting never happened and instead, we were invited out to the airport in September 2018 for what was essentially a "dog and pony show." 

Several of us continued to try to schedule a more substantive meeting to no avail.  

In January 2018, I attended a celebration of the new shops opening in Terminal 2 and asked several Board members about the quarry, noting that I had been contacted by citizens who had concerns and seemed to think that some action was imminent.  

I was repeatedly assured that nothing was in the works.

A few weeks later on February 27th the RDU Airport Authority called a meeting for March 1st and voted to lease the land for a quarry. 

However, it seems to me that this is not actually a lease.  When the lease is over, we will be left with a hole in the ground.  When you lease a car, you can’t return it without the seats, steering wheel, or tires.  

The RDU Airport Authority’s decision-making process has not been transparent or inclusive. 

And it’s not clear that they have made the best decision for the Airport or for the community.

I think it’s imperative that the four municipal owners of the airport vote on these kinds of decisions.  Four of us on Raleigh City Council made a motion to that effect on March 5 but were unsuccessful in getting the fifth vote we needed to proceed.

Additionally, I have nominated a former GlaxoSmithKline executive and current Umstead Coalition member to fill a position on the RDU Airport Authority board, but once again City Council is deadlocked 4 to 4. The nominee has a great understanding of the need for a vibrant airport as well as concern for the environment. The current makeup of the RDU Airport Authority doesn’t seem to represent a broad range of community perspectives and I think it’s important that it does.