Local News

Development could bring 20-fold population boom to Pittsboro

Posted August 21, 2013 4:17 p.m. EDT
Updated August 21, 2013 6:31 p.m. EDT

— Often viewed as the epitome of quaint, small-town living, Pittsboro could become the region's next boom town.

Chatham Park, a multi-use development covering more than 7,000 acres on the east side of town, has already received a recommendation from Pittsboro's planning department. The town's Board of Commissioners is expected to review the master plan Saturday and could vote on rezoning the area for development as soon as Sept. 9.

Philip Culpepper, a spokesman for Cary-based Preston Development, said the project would be completed in phases over 30 years and eventually increase Pittsboro's population from 3,000 to 60,000.

"We can develop a project that actually doesn't create sprawl but creates a town or adds to the town in a way that's a benefit to the town," Culpepper said, noting each phase would have to be approved separately in the future. "The rezoning gives us no right to go and build anything."

The project will intermingle homes, businesses, research space and parks, he said.

"It's a unified development that's a live-work-play project," he said.

Dana Russell said that, when she moved to Pittsboro six years ago, she figured the small town wouldn't stay that way forever.

"When you look at the map, this is the only place on the map that isn't full of stores and buildings," Russell said.

She said she hopes Pittsboro's growth means more customers for her salon and other downtown businesses.

"Right now, the building next to us has been for rent for four years, and (the landlord) is waiting it out, waiting for it to come," she said.

Still, some in Pittsboro are wary of the development.

"We won't have any small towns if we keep bringing in these big neighborhoods," resident Blake Brooks said.

Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck said Pittsboro officials are paying close attention to preserving the town's atmosphere and the concerns of local residents.

"All the concerns are valid, and the community has raised concerns that we are all going to work to address," Gruesbeck said.