Replace Developer’s PDD with Chapel Hill-inspired Development District
(Note: Please see example documents linked at the bottom of this article.)
The current PDD ordinance was crafted by Chatham Park Investors (CPI) to guide their own Chatham Park development. It is deeply flawed and we have challenged it as unconstitutionally vague. It grants great flexibility to the developer and requires few specifics in return from the developer. It does not require environmental, traffic, fiscal and socio-economic impact assessments for the entire development. It ignores the Southwest Shore Environmental Study recommendations calling for setting aside a large part of the forest area near the Haw River and Jordan Lake as natural areas. It does not require CPI to donate land to the county for schools or a certain percentage of affordable housing. It does not require specific plans for water, sewer, buffers, transportation, and parks. It does not require a development agreement. We could go on and on.
But in the process of reviewing proposals for master planned communities such as Obie Creek and UNC North, the Town of Chapel Hill has developed a Development Agreement District ordinance which we believe would make a better alternative for governing the design, review, approval and implementation of Chatham Park (which would be the largest master planned community in the history of North Carolina and would be much larger than both UNC North or Obie Creek).
Below is a question-and-answer sheet from the Chapel Hill planning department that explains the basic provisions of a Development Agreement Process, which they started in 2013, about the same time CPI was pushing the Town of Pittsboro to adopt their extremely weak and unprotective PDD ordinance, whose sole positive attribute was giving CPI maximum flexibility with minimal requirements. Also, below is an outline of the steps involved in the Chapel Hill development agreement process. Note, that in Chapel Hill nothing can be built until the development agreement is approved, unlike the Chatham Park PDD master plan that allows the construction of 1,100 dwelling units and 3.3 million square feet of commercial, office and institutional uses prior to the approval of a development agreement between the Town and CPI. Finally, below is the draft Development Agreement District ordinance that grew out of Chapel Hill’s review of potential development agreements for Obie Creek and UNC North, and which will be used for any additional major master planned community projects. Clearly, Chapel Hill’s ordinance requires consideration of environmental, fiscal, traffic and socio-economic impacts of any development proposal using this new ordinance. We are asking the Town to utilize Roger Waldon of the Clarion Associates, which is developing a Unified Development Ordinance for Pittsboro, to be contracted with to use this draft Chapel Hill Development Agreement District ordinance as a model for writing a similar ordinance for Pittsboro to replace the flawed PDD ordinance. You do not have to read the entire ordinance to get a sense of the difference between it and our flawed PDD ordinance. Just read the “Section 3.5.6 Development Agreement – 1 District, [(a) Purpose and intent” starting at the bottom of page one and “(b) Overview of development procedures” on page two and you will agree this is a much better ordinance for giving the town the tool to assure that the massive Chatham Park development primarily serves the quality of life interests of the residents of Pittsboro and not just the pocket books of the developers.
Question and answer sheet on the Chapel Hill Process:
Steps involved in the Chapel Hill Development Agreement:
Draft of Chapel Hill’s Development Agreement District Ordinance (pages 9-17):