Around 25 people were in attendance for the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday. The meeting started at 7:04 p.m., beginning with a moment of silence as well as the pledge of allegiance.
The meeting conducted four public hearings. The first hearing concerned a Community Development Block Grant for the EG-GILERO Building Renovation project. The application was later approved by commissioners, pending a slight change in language to the legally binding commitment.
Two of the hearings were dedicated to the rezoning of properties. The first was a request for the property at 196 Hillsboro Street to move from R-12 to OI – CZ. The second was a request for the property at 2537 US 64 Business West to move from R-A2 zoning to R-A.
Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck delivered the final public hearing, which concerned the 2019-2020 Annual Operating Budget for the fiscal year. Because the Finance Director was not present for the hearing, the detailed discussion is set for June 10. The budget must be approved by July 1.
The main topic of the night was the Tree Protection element of the Chatham Park Master Plan. The discussion is a continuation of an ongoing conversation about Chatham Park’s proposed tree coverage.
The board wanted five main things changed before considering approval of the element:
• Addition and changes of Purpose 12
The board wanted to modify the language of Purpose 12 so that it says “Require owners and developers of properties in Chatham Park…” instead of “Encourage owners and developers of properties in Chatham Park…” The language was also proposed to be added to number 5 within Section 6.
• Incorporating a footnote
After realizing that footnotes aren’t considered as a part of elements, the board wanted to incorporate the footnote 4 of Section 3 into the element’s text. The footnote mentions development following timber harvest.
•Maintenance of Trees
The board, notably Commissioner John Bonitz, wanted Chatham Park to address concerns about replacement of trees following disease or a natural disaster.
“Could we contemplate truly thinking about these things as infrastructure?” Bonitz asked.
•Addition to Table 3
The board wanted to the element to have an additional part in Table 3 of Page 5. This addition line or column will address environmental protections within 2,000 feet of the top of the bank of the Haw River.
• Definition of a Tree Coverage Planning Area
The board wanted to expand the definition of a Tree Coverage Planning Area so that it includes size limitations. The commissioners and Chatham Park agreed to the phrase, “No TCPA shall be larger than any section or village center identified in a smaller area plan.”
The board next talked about the possibility of a Powell Place alternative exit at the end of Millbrook Drive. The board decided to look into the willingness of property owners to participate in the plan.
“If you’re crossing the man’s property, you need permission,” said Town Attorney Paul Messick.
The meeting also dedicated a portion of the night to a new concept called “Board Directives”. Pittsboro Mayor Cindy Perry said that this category applies to subjects that “the board feels strongly about” but for which it hasn’t created policy.
The two topics of the night’s Board Directives category was an herbicide ban for glyphosate-based herbicides and a ban on plastic bags. The commissioners postponed formal decisions on both of these to give more thought.
The last part of the night was devoted to commissioner concerns.
Michael Fiocco moved to approved the Chatham Tree Park element pending satisfactory languages and changes. The motion was supported by Commissioner Jay Farrell and Mayor Pro-Tem Pamela Baldwin, but opposed by commissioners Bett Wilson Foley and John Bonitz. The motion still passed.
The meeting adjourned at 11:54 p.m. after nearly five hours. The next Board of Commissioners meeting is set to take place on Monday, June 10 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall.