We Have a Big Job to Do! And Big Opportunities for Chatham & Pittsboro
As expected, the Pittsboro Town Board voted 4-1 on Monday August 10 to accept the latest tweaked master plan for Chatham Park. This was the third time that the Town and developers were forced to address procedural issues prompted by Pittsboro Matters litigation, made possible with your support.
This now sets the stage for Pittsboro Matters’ third lawsuit, which will focus aggressively on the substantive deficiencies of the plan and the development itself, including those spelled out by Pittsboro Commissioner Bett Wilson Foley when she voted against approving the master plan, by Mayor Bill Terry when he objected repeatedly before each vote, and by dissenting Pittsboro Planning Board member Carolyn Elfland in her comments to the Chatham News/Record.
“The information is not really sufficient to provide the necessary details, the Additional Elements need to be in the master plan now when it is getting approved, not delayed two years…” Elfland said. She added that the missing information in the master plan approved by the Town Board included phasing, school site, and transportation plans, and an open space plan showing environmentally sensitive areas. Planning Board member Bob McConnaughey also voted not to recommend approval of the master plan. Commissioner Wilson Foley stated the master plan was not consistent with the land use plan, in part, because it allowed too much density close to the Haw River and failed to protect Jordan Lake, our drinking water source. Mayor Terry echoed those objections and repeated his concerns about the failure to spell out detailed water and sewer plans.
We applaud these courageous dissenters on the town and planning boards. They actually have taken seriously the recommendations of the town’s planning consultants and area residents for improving Chatham Park.
Now we have a big job to do and we again need your help. But it is also a big opportunity for Pittsboro Matters and the residents of Pittsboro to obtain the quality development we deserve.
With your help we have already raised over $65,000 to pursue our legal claims against the approval of Chatham Park. Our lawsuits have already made a difference. For example, the revisions in the master plan and ordinance that resulted from our legal challenges have given the town additional time to develop its Unified Development Ordinance that will apply to Chatham Park. Our lawsuits also forced Chatham Park Investors (CPI) to give the town back authority for approval of small area plans and the additional elements required for approval for the master plan.
Over the next month we will be working with our attorney to strengthen our litigation strategy to force Chatham Park Investors and the Town to address the substantive issues at stake. We still need to raise additional funds to continue making progress through the courts by pursuing all necessary legal options to ensure that Pittsboro and its residents regain control of our community’s future. Any additional or new financial support you can provide at this time will be most welcome and will make a difference going forward.
Moreover, Chatham Park Investors (CPI) will soon present to the Town its latest plans for the North Village, its first major segment, which would include 6,000 residences, and a massive Town Center (commercial and office space that will compete with downtown Pittsboro), located on the most environmentally fragile land in the development, adjacent to the Haw River.
CPI appears to be trying to use a loophole in the flawed master plan to get approval of one-sixth of the total development before the Town Board has approved any of the key elements of the plan, including transit, affordable housing, buffers, tree protection, landscaping, and facilities such as schools and water and sewer and before the Town has approved a new Unified Development Ordinance or the Development Agreement itself. We suspect the developers may also want to get this approved before the voters elect a new Town Board majority in November. CPI held a “public workshop” on the North Village on Thursday August 20 at Chatham Mills in Pittsboro.
Regardless, if Chatham Park Investors take any action to formally request Town approval of residential and commercial plans at this time, we plan to aggressively challenge such a request in court.
We’re deeply grateful for all who have previously made a donation. If you would like to support our ongoing legal battle, please consider making a donation now, online or by mail to:
PO Box 1001
Pittsboro NC 27312
Your help will make a difference as we continue to press forward with the Town and in the courts. Together we will succeed. Thanks again for all you do for our amazing community.