Controversial Pittsboro development draws hours of debate, no action

Posted November 25, 2013
Updated November 26, 2013

— After hours of public debate, the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners on Monday tabled a vote that would allow a massive development project known as Chatham Park to move forward.

Dozens of citizens attended the meeting to share their thoughts about the controversial, multi-use development that has been in the works for years. Chatham Park would cover more than 7,000 acres on the east side of town.

The project has already received a rezoning recommendation from Pittsboro's planning department and needed a nod from the commissioners to go forward. But around midnight, the board voted 4-1 to table action, with Commissioner Michael A. Fiocco dissenting.

Debate lasts hours at Pittsboro Board of Commissioners meeting Resident speak out on proposed Chatham Park development

Cary-based Preston Development, which is behind the project, said Chatham Park will be completed in phases and eventually increase Pittsboro’s population from 3,000 to 60,000.

“I see the opportunity to engage the future and build a project over the next 30 to 40 years,” Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller said. “I understand the concerns of some in the community, and I ask that you continue to engage the process through new channels that will become open and help the town and Chatham Park create a community that is the envy of the Southeast.”

But residents voiced concern.

"The developers will simply do what they wish, regardless of the concerns of the town,” Mary Lucas said.

Worried residents want to make sure the town can control how the development will look, and they are concerned that adding so many people could hurt local water sources.

“You cannot put 55,000 people between here and those waters without tremendous negative impact,” said Elaine Chiosso with the nonprofit Haw River Assembly.

Business owners said they need those new residents, and builders for the proposed development also said Chatham Park would be good for the local economy.

“I need people coming through my door,” said Heather Johnson, who owns Chatham Business Services

Many of those who spoke said they just want town leaders to slow down.

“I am not against it, but I really love this town and I want the character of this town to remain,” Efrain Ramirez said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • LetsBeFair Nov 27, 2013

    Sounds like an attempt to move Durham to pittsbouro.

  • E-6USMC Nov 26, 2013

    Most of the trade jobs are going to the Hispanic communities when it comes to building these projects because they are what most think is cheap labor, but believe you me, they get paid and don't put any money back into OUR economy. And as for all the jobs which are talked about coming, should this development take place, will only be cut throat stores and shops with minimum hours,low pay and higher prices. Nothing great about that.

  • ThomasL Nov 26, 2013

    So for ones like myself I guess the Native Pittsboro residents that have lived there and like not having crowds and homes side by side will have to pull up and just move SOMEWHERE from major cities so they will not get swallowed up by all the people in the world and growing.And to think my history teacher in school said the one main reason for wars were to control human population...Time for some more wars or disease to do its thing...

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Nov 26, 2013

    Anyone wonder if the Republican legislation to discontinue water quality monitoring of Jordan Lake is related to this Chatham County mega-development?

    :-) Nahhhhh. I suppose not...

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Nov 26, 2013

    "...#1 - Quality of LIfe among Major Markets #4 - Best Cities for Tech Jobs #5 - America's New Tech Hot Spots #5 - Best Cities for Education Workers. Go ahead and keep bashing Cary. We will continue to hike our 60+ miles of greenways, play in our parks, enjoy the convenient entertainment & shopping, live close to work and still enjoy our quality of life." - mdanielson2

    Sounds like a plan, mdanielson2. And I promise to stop making annoying mentions about the astronomical costs of uncontrolled sprawl, and the worldwide increases in air and water pollution.

    :-) Not enough? OK, I promise not to mention the horrendous traffic issues, either.

  • davidgnews Nov 26, 2013

    Projects like this may be necessary, but it's too overwhelming for Pittsboro. Maybe that was the original plan, to present something large and come back to get exactly what they want in a scaled-down version. More will be revealed.

    Large projects like this are more needed 'down east' of I95 to stimulate local economies and business. Pittsboro will be destroyed by something this large.

  • yotaman400ex Nov 26, 2013

    I grew up in chatham, went to school in Pittsboro. I moved to apex. There isn't ANYTHING to do in Chatham. If you want a bud light, you have a hippie joint and a Mexican restaurant. those are your choices.

  • HeadsUp Nov 26, 2013

    "Dang Pittsboro! You guys are so screwed. Good luck with your 57,000 new neighbors." -- Kronic Complaner

    Not 57K all at once, or anything close to it. Over the next *three decades*, during which time the Triangle's population will double.

    Relax. Exhale. Think.

  • mac240 Nov 26, 2013

    I don't see the problem nobody complained that many ills moved to Chatham County!

  • changedmyname Nov 26, 2013

    development hmmmm Let's think about this
    Can't eat a house
    forget about knowing your neighbor
    don't even look for the stars at night
    wildlife will be non existent, but don't worry when sighted WRAL will cover the event or you can go visit the zoo
    All these promises of jobs NOPE
    All these business promised customers NOPE All these improved county services NOPE Increase in property tax YEP Increase in Utilities YEP Unemployment rate up YEP