Chatham Park Ditches Public Schools

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2 Responses

  1. Grant Howard says:

    Last I checked the residents of this development will pay county taxes will they not? Since that is the case, all of the things mentioned here are the responsibility of the government, not investors; “affordable housing, transportation, water and sewer, environmental protection, police protection, forest conservation, parks and recreation, and other public services.” Those are government functions. It’s really easy…here goes. Government provides the public services mentioned, the private sector (aka, the public) provides the funding for said services through taxes and fees (mostly property taxes and fees at the county/municipal level). If there is a need for infrastructure funds (to build a school for example) the government borrows the money (bonds etc). There may be and likely is an “impact fee” to offset some of this cost.

    • Pittsboro Matters says:

      While it is true that most public services are financed by county and local government (i.e. we the taxpayers), it is also true that before a government grants a developer’s request for permission to develop property at a much higher density than the zoning for that land currently allows, as was the case with Chatham Park, it usually requires the developer to assess potential negative impacts on the environment, water, transportation, schools, cost of community services etc., and then determine if property and sales taxes and other fees that will be paid by the homeowners and businesses of that development exceed the cost of services provided by town and county to serve those residents and businesses. The developer is then required to spell out how they will revise their development plan to eliminate or mitigate those negative impacts.

      This is the standard review and approval procedure for major developments in Pittsboro, Chatham County and elsewhere statewide and nationwide. It was highly unusual that it was not followed in this case, particularly since Chatham Park would be the largest master-planned, mixed-use development in the history of North Carolina. This impact assessment process is essential because property taxes alone rarely pay the full cost of development and much of the costly infrastructure provided by local government to serve such a massive development, such as schools and utilities, are required before the completion of much of its residential and commercial development. For most large scale developments like here, local governments generally impose impact fees (which Pittsboro is not assessing).

      Giving Chatham Park Investors carte blanche to proceed without requiring any impact assessments, mitigation plans or impact fees, means all county and Pittsboro taxpayers will likely end up facing large property tax increases. This is what is happening today in Wake County, where unplanned growth has resulted in overcrowded schools, traffic congestion and higher residential property taxes, despite it being the location of major high-tech and high-end employment and commercial centers.

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