Local News

Chatham Park gets green light from Pittsboro commissioners

Posted June 9, 2014
Updated June 10, 2014

— The Pittsboro Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday evening to approve a rezoning request allowing the controversial Chatham Park development project, which would increase the town’s population by over 1900 percent, to move forward.

Commissioner Bett Wilson Foley was the only dissenting vote.

The project, a multi-use development of homes, businesses, research space and parks that would encompass more than 7,000 acres between the east side of Pittsboro and Jordan Lake, is expected to be completed in phases over 30 years by Cary-based Preston Development.

The massive development, three times Pittsboro’s current area and equivalent to the size of Research Triangle Park, is expected to increase the town’s population from 3,000 to more than 60,000 residents.

Chatham Park, which has been in the works for years, was put on hold in November after commissioners tabled a vote to approve the rezoning recommendation from the town’s planning department.

The rezoning approval comes after months of public hearings and debates, where residents for and against the project expressed their views in meetings lasting long into the night.

Proponents say the project would boost the local economy and bring more jobs to the area. Opponents believe the development would strain local resources and eradicate Pittsboro’s small town feel.

In a February presentation, a consulting group hired by commissioners to review the project's master plan said it “lacks a coherent vision and the necessary performance standards to implement that vision,” but added that, in general, projects of this size can be well designed.

The group offered a few recommendations, including more details regarding design standards and imagery, and striving for 40 percent open space.

"There's some middle ground and that's what I've been trying to find," said Commissioner Beth Turner during Monday's meeting. "The revisions to the master plan, as per the consultant, have been good."

Foley, the dissenting commissioner, wanted homes spaced at one per five acres instead of one per acre as outlined in the plan. His request was not supported by other commissioners.

Chatham Park will consist of 27 sections with five activity centers “that serve as convenient, accessible service and retail destinations for surrounding neighborhoods,” according to the development’s master plan.

The effort, according to the plan, would require significant investment from Pittsboro and Chatham County, including expanding water and sewer service, building new schools, improving roads and highways and expanding police and fire services.

Preston Development expects to break ground on an UNC Health Care medical office building within 60 days. Home construction may not happen for at least 18 months, the developer said.

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  • jjsmith1973 Jun 10, 2014

    I have never seen so many people complain about growth, economic improvement being put into their county. No one cares about 40 years ago you lived there. The city and county sucks up money from the state and the tax payers more now than ever. A development that cuts unemployment and welfare by bringing growth and getting a county and city to start to sustain itself is what growth is. We can keep things the same for people just because they want it the way it was 100 years ago. Why aren't you still taking horse and buggy to work and use oil lamps then.

  • AskWhy Jun 10, 2014

    I am a life-long resident of Pittsboro. Born at the clinic downtown and raised here. I am very sad this got approval. It may take 30 years but the damage is done. I guess our courthouse will be torn down this time because certainly a round-about won't handle the traffic coming in and out. So long my dear Pittsboro. My heart is broken

  • davidhartman Jun 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    A wee bit more complicated than that. Developers also create demand. Do you think 60,000 people are chomping at the bit to move to Pittsboro at the moment, or even a fraction of that amount? Gnashing their teeth & wailing "oh I wish there was a 'master-planned' community we could move into!"

    LOL!

    I seriously doubt that.

    If you do, I've got some investment ideas I'd like to discuss with you.

    The big mystery here is why aren't all the liberal tree-hugger environmentalists stomping up and down & shouting 'bloody-murder? They scream over fracking and coal sludge spills yet are silent on the destruction of thousands of acres of prime forest (I know as I've ridden my dirtbike in much of the area - that luxury will be a thing of the past)??? It makes no sense.

  • btneast Jun 10, 2014

    If you think Developers are only responding to demand you're out of your mind. They are driving it and profiting in huge numbers.

    Sorry, but have to disagree. Consumer demand drives all markets, whether it be houses, cars, TV's etc. Developers build where people want to live.....do they profit, sure........isn't that what owning a business is all about....whether its a housing developer or selling furniture or carpet for these houses. Get mad at the farmer, or his heirs that are selling these tracts of land maybe....of course, its their private property to do with as they wish.

  • davidhartman Jun 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    A simpleton's argument.

    Not necessarily.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Jun 10, 2014

    "Developers do not create demand, they merely respond to it."

    Right. Many Developers are merely corporate America and therefore as corrupt as they get. Local politicians bow down to them every day. They used to do the same to Realtors, but they lost their back-room-deal card a few years ago.

    If you think Developers are only responding to demand you're out of your mind. They are driving it and profiting in huge numbers.

    You and me, not so much.

  • jmcdow2792 Jun 10, 2014

    If one is not in favor of growth, then I assume that same person is in favor of closed borders?

  • btneast Jun 10, 2014

    What is sad is this state used to be a good state to live in,mostly comprised of "natives"of this state and a percentage of military stationed her that were treated just like "home folks",but over the last 10-15 years growth has far surpassed this states capabilities and way too much natural areas(fields,farms,woods)have become victims to the influx of outsiders

    In the Triangle area, Charlotte and some of the Triad....you are correct. The rest of the state (excepting some coastal areas) is not affected to this degree. What we are seeing here is what happens when you constantly get rated as a good place to live in various publications, as well as the temperate climate.

  • btneast Jun 10, 2014

    Sorry, but non-Pittsboro residents have EVERY RIGHT to complain as this monstrosity will negatively affect the quality of life for those well outside the city limits. I commute to RTP where I can imagine the majority of these residents will. My commute, along with the thousands of others will become a nightmare, as I40 is already choked

    What I don't think you understand was that this was not a vote on whether this area was going to grow and be developed.....it was a vote on just how and who would have some say in the development. People are building and moving to that area in droves, like they are in many other adjacent areas. Developers do not create demand, they merely respond to it.

  • Fred Kozlof Jun 10, 2014

    Months ago I predicted they would keep asking the question and voting until they got a YES. Now you have it.
    What they didn't get, is a commitment from the developer to pay all the infrastructure costs that WILL be needed...schools, water/sewer, another Hwy 64 to link it to Raleigh, etc....
    All affected citizens will be paying, and the developer will laugh all the way to his bank. Commissioners don't have any guts, nor moral responsibility.

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