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Chatham Leaders Say They're Not Ready for Population Influx

Posted April 4, 2007

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— Chatham County commissioners are considering a moratorium on new residential development while they take time to study the county's plans and needs associated with growth.

The county is one of the fastest growing in the North Carolina. About 60,000 people currently live there but the number is expected to double within the next two decades.

The proposed moratorium does not apply to the already-approved developments which are expected to bring 15,000 to 20,000 new houses to the area within the next 10 years.

New proposals would be put on hold.

County Manager Charlie Horne said the county needs to take plan for the growth and look at issues such as emergency services and infrastructure.

"Chatham has no sewer system," Horne said. "So, is that all going to be septic fields? Is it all going to be spray system? How will we manage it if that's the case?"

Nick Tennyson, head of the Homebuilders Association for Durham, Orange and Chatham counties, believes a moratorium is a bad idea and that it can create higher housing prices in the short term.

"When you create a system where you don't know when the next possible replacement house can be built, then anywhere where it's authorized, it is obviously more valuable."

Leaders say the value in Chatham County is its rural character and say they believe a building slowdown will give them time to figure out to preserve it.

A draft of the moratorium might be presented to commissioners at their next meeting on April 16. It would likely be followed up with a public hearing.

Moore County has a similar moratorium under consideration. Other counties, such as Johnston and Carteret, have rejected such plans.


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  • Slip Kid Apr 5, 2007

    "The last thing Chatham needs is more homes only the upper echelon can afford to buy." - pwalton (below)

    In our free market society, our builders should be able to build what will sell. If there is a need for affordable housing, it will be built, by somebody. Encouraging this is good, but dictating this by ordinance/decree is counter produtive, as proven by history (remember low income housing projects?).

    Growth is good, growth with reasonable planning is better.

  • 2little2late Apr 5, 2007

    "Why do people hate anyone else who makes money?"....i agree totally....new jobs/new industry/new homes all drive our economy..locally or otherwise

  • E-Diva Apr 5, 2007

    Why do people hate anyone else who makes money? So what if developers make a sickening amount? So do a lot of people. If there were no demand for housing, they wouldn't be making money. Who's fault is that? Everyone elses, that's whos.

  • 2little2late Apr 5, 2007

    RE:"I hope some of the 'already-approved' development includes housing that Chatham natives can afford to buy."...Chatham natives, for the most part, aren't looking to buy newer, more expensive homes..most of them that i know can't wait to sell the land that they bought 20-30 years ago for around 1,000 per acre at many times that amount..and lots are being listed and sold for anywhere from 15,000 to over 40,000 per acre currently

  • 2little2late Apr 5, 2007

    When Toll Brothers is offering to help pay for the new sewer/spray system, you know there's money just dying to be made...housing is dying in most places across the county..except for here..builders NEED this area to keep growing....make them pay for the infrastructure improvements..dedicate land/money for schools, parks and road improvements...let them pass the costs on to the new home buyers...that way, the current residents of the area don't have to pay for the growth..if homes cost more due to that, so be it...that in and of itself will keep growth slower to some degree...higher home prices will come down as more people move in and the impact fees are spread out over a bigger population....by then, however, the infrastructure will be in place to meet the newer demands

  • pwalton Apr 5, 2007

    I hope some of the 'already-approved' development includes housing that Chatham natives can afford to buy. The last thing Chatham needs is more homes only the upper echelon can afford to buy. I hope Chatham finds a way to keep the rural community alive and not become another suburb.......

  • 2little2late Apr 5, 2007

    PIttsboro and the Chatham County commissioners should have had the foresight to see this trend 20 years ago....but that would have meant raising taxes to prepare for it..which would have cost them their jobs..the people will come...somebody will build the houses...it never stops

  • 2little2late Apr 5, 2007

    RE:"Developers have nothing but dollars in their eyes."...it's sad but true that developers are making money from serving the demands of a fastly growing region...some people don't want to live in Raleigh, Cary, APex, Chapel Hill..some of them see the easy access to the Pittsboro made possible by the new bypass...housing costs are lower, cost of living is less....buyers are also the ones seeing dollar signs..dollars they can save by living further away from the mess that came to the areas mentioned above...they are moving to Pittsboro for the saem reason they moved to Holly Springs and Fuquay and APex 10-15 years ago.Pittsboro will get a lot more crowded when they get a sewer system..but not before...i'd look for the impact fees to be in place way before any new houses are built on a large scale....we all wish we could have had the foresight and money to buy all the land in these outlying areas 20 years ago

  • El Doggo Apr 5, 2007

    So! They have trashed Wake and now are off after Chatham! What a disgusting bunch of money grubbing losers!

  • Not_So_Dumb Apr 5, 2007

    Go figure...the Homebuilders Assoc thinks it is a bad idea to suspend new home construction!!!

    Good for Chatham. Watch Wake and beware. Don't make the same mistakes.