Pittsboro could decide on Chatham Park on Monday
Posted June 8, 2014
Pittsboro, N.C. — Months of public meetings and debate have culminated to Monday, which is when the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners is expected to decide whether to approve a controversial development that would change the small Chatham County town.
If approved, Chatham Park, 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 by over 1900 percent, from 3,000 to more than 60,000 residents.
The project, which has been in the works for years, was put on hold in November after commissioners tabled a vote to approve a rezoning recommendation from the town’s planning department.
Monday’s anticipated vote would approve or deny the rezoning request. Commissioners are expected to share their thoughts on the project before voting.
The proposed development has led to strong debate between residents. Proponents, like Ed Ungemach, say the project would boost the local economy and bring more jobs to the area.
“Pittsboro can’t sustain itself in its current tax base,” he said.
Bruce Jones believes the project would strain local resources and eradicate Pittsboro’s small town feel.
“If people move to the country, they expect a country environment,” he said. “And I think the park will turn it more into a Cary.”
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.
A consulting firm hired by the Pittsboro board to review the 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 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.
Monday’s meeting will start at 7 p.m. inside Pittsboro’s administrative office complex.