Board of Commissioners requests changes to Chatham Park tree coverage element as consensus remains elusive

The Pittsboro Board of Commissioners requested several changes to Chatham Park’s tree coverage ordinance at its meeting Monday night, as talks about the development’s plan to protect trees once again dominated the agenda without a resolution being voted on. Multiple commissioners expressed frustration over unclear language in the element that they said is difficult to understand. Commissioner John Bonitz and Mayor Cindy Perry also questioned Chatham Park’s practice of, in the past, changing additional parts of the element when taking into account board recommendations. The board asked Chatham Park to consider the requests made by the board Monday night and to come back with a revised draft in a couple of weeks. “I personally feel like we need to see a
complete document,” Commissioner Bett Wilson Foley said.

Unregulated contaminants threaten Pittsboro’s water supply

In addition to expanding its water supply, the
town of Pittsboro is also trying to figure out the best way to cleanse it of
unregulated, potentially dangerous contaminants. Last fall, Pittsboro hired engineering and
construction firm CDM Smith to complete a public water supply and treatment
expansion study. In an October memo, town engineer Elizabeth Goodson wrote that
Pittsboro’s current public water demand “is approximately 700,000 gallons per
day” but is estimated to grow to approximately 3 million gallons by 2020, 7
million by 2030 and 10 million by 2040. But in addition to increasing the quantity of drinking water, Pittsboro is also interested in improving the quality of it. While Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck said the Pittsboro Water Treatment Plant meets state and federal standards, there are high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the Haw River, from where the town’s water comes.

Pittsboro this week: Chatham Park’s tree protection plan, Haw River cleanup, and more

The Pittsboro Board of Commissioners convened
for a meeting Monday night. Here’s what we learned. The board still hasn’t approved Chatham Park’s tree protection plan

Representatives from Chatham Park presented a
revised version of its tree protection plan, but the board ultimately decided
against voting to approve it or not. While several members said they
appreciated some of the changes to the plan that were made, a consensus was not
met and additional questions were raised. Moving forward, the board will hold a special
work session on Chatham Park’s tree protection plan on May 13 at 6 p.m. The
decision to hold the special work session was proposed by Mayor Cindy Perry
after Chatham Park representative Chuck Smith grew frustrated over the pace at
which the board has considered the tree protection plan.

How will Chatham County find and pay for resources for new schools?

Chatham Park officials estimate that the
largest mixed-use development in the state will generate 6,051 additional
students in Chatham County. For context, Chatham County Schools currently
serves 8,840 students. 

More students, naturally, means more teachers. This thought wasn’t lost on William Rosenfeld, a self-described elderly professional who has “been very interested in education quality and funding for many decades.” With that in mind, Rosenfeld asked Our Chatham to report on how CCS will “find (and pay for) teachers?” with the Chatham Park development. Much of the growth is still a while down the
line, with no CCS in Chatham Park actively under construction or even formally
announced. But the need for future schools is undeniable, as long as plans hold
for Chatham Park to generate an additional 60,000 residents for Chatham County
in the next 40 years.

Chatham this week: Tree protection for Chatham Park, a bicycle & pedestrian plan, and more

Notes from the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners meeting on Feb. 25, 2019

Citizens’ Matters

Seventeen individuals spoke during
the public comment portion of the meeting, and each person spoke out on the
proposed 10 percent tree coverage plan for the future Chatham Park development. Mayor Cindy Perry said she’s never received as many emails about a single issue
than she did recently about tree coverage at Chatham Park. Here are some of the
highlights from the public comment portion of the meeting.Tara Lynne Groth stressed the importance of trees in helping bees,
which have a big impact in agriculturally driven Chatham County, because of
their role as pollinators.Cathy Holt said she “understands change and development is inevitable,”
but warned commissioners that they “will be changing this county for worst for
generations to come” if they don’t mandate greater tree protection for Chatham
Park. Holt cited Fearrington Village as an example of a development that kept a
large amount of trees.Meera Boutalia, a student at Northwood High School, said the
“economic benefits that come with a large development are not worth the
cost of inadequate environmental protections.”