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Chatham Residents Voice Concerns Over Proposed Zoning Changes

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PITTSBORO, N.C. — Chatham County residents are fighting to keep giant discount stores out of their communities, but they say the biggest obstacle is their own county government.

At a packed, standing room-only meeting Monday evening, residents voiced their opinions about proposed zoning changes that they say would make it easier for developers to build retail giants.

Chatham County has a history of growth battles and protests over big-money projects, but this time, people feel like what they have to say does not matter much to commissioners and they worry that rule changes would limit public feedback for good.

"This proposal will pretty much change how all land use decisions are made and will change it into contract zoning," said Jeffrey Starkweather, a resident and member of Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities. "Essentially, this will be converted into backroom negotiations between developers and commission staff."

County commissioners say they are only considering the proposals and that they value public input.

While some citizen groups claim Wal-Mart is considering land in Chatham County to build a superstore, no permits have been filed yet.


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