May 5 Planning Board Meeting – Observations
As anticipated, the motion to recommend to the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners that the Chatham Park Investor’s Master Plan is consistent with the Land Use plan was approved by that committee. What was entirely unexpected was not just that the vote was not unanimous (4:1), but that one board member should put Chatham Park Investors on the hot seat in a quite remarkable fashion. Some may know Ms. Carolyn Elfland?
A recent appointee to the Planning board (endorsed by Mayor Terry), Ms. Elfland proceeded to rip the Master Plan to shreds in an astoundingly lucid, indeed expert fashion and to pronounce that there was insufficient information in the Master Plan for her to possibly determine whether it was consistent with the intent of the Land Use plan or not.
With what looked to be four pages of highly pertinent and penetrating questions, Ms. Elfland made the CPI team present (Smith, Rawls and Culpepper) look like naughty school kids caught in some act of bullying. It was a performance that was “almost wondrous and certainly entertaining to behold,” said one attendee.
That said, it was hugely frustrating to contemplate that if this women had been on the town board, we would probably have a pretty acceptable Master Plan by now. It turns out Ms. Elfland has extensive experience in planned development, was a guiding light in much of the Chapel Hill process development, and appeared to know more about sewage, water treatment, conservation, transportation networks, housing, commercial – even medical facility development – than the combined CPI team. One could wonder why Commissioner Michael Fiocco hasn’t been filling this role from the outset!
Listen to a recording of the May 5 Planning Board Meeting: