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.
For something that hasn’t uttered a word – ever – the Confederate monument outside Pittsboro’s historic courthouse has caused quite a stir lately. The
debate over the Confederate monument has tested loyalties and revealed deep
divides in the community over the past few months. Some say it should be
removed, citing issues of racial equality. Others say the statue’s removal
would be akin to erasing history. Monday
night’s Chatham County Board of Commissioners meeting served as another
manifestation of that unrest.
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.
More than 500 people packed the Chatham County Agricultural and
Conference Center Monday night to voice their minds on the Confederate memorial
in the center of downtown Pittsboro. The meeting, which began at 6:02, drew people – young and old –
from Chatham and the surrounding areas. At the beginning of the meeting, Commissioner Walter Petty
announced his resignation from the board after serving for three terms. He
spoke of his accomplishments, especially bringing money into the town without
raising taxes. Petty half-jokingly urged the board to finally fix “the land
issue at the hospital.” Petty received a standing ovation after he finished
speaking, and fellow commissioners and residents thanked him during the public
comment session of the night for his service. Before the comments on the Confederate monument began, a large
group of Latino Jordan Matthews High School students spoke about their
experiences in Orgullo Latinx Pride, a youth group run by El Vinculo Hispano
(The Hispanic Liaison).
Notes from the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, April 8
A crowd of roughly 50 people gathered in Town Hall for the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners meeting Monday. The meeting, which lasted nearly three and a half hours, included discussions of the Chatham Park tree protection plan, a town ordinance which prevented glass containers from being used for special events, rezoning for a property on Chatham Business Drive, a preliminary plat approval for a property on Cedar Lane and sewer allocation for Mill South Homes. The meeting began shortly after 7 p.m. with a prayer, the pledge of allegiance and a public comment section. Several residents from Potterstone Village came and spoke out against the proposed concrete plant, citing its noise and potential environmental and health risks. One of the speakers provided the commissioners with a petition from 250 voting-aged residents of the development, asking for the concrete plant to be moved.
Notes from the Siler City Board of Commissioners meeting on April 1
A group of about 30 gathered in the small upstairs courtroom chatting happily in Spanish and English before the Siler City Board of Commissioners meeting began. The meeting
was called to order at 7:01 p.m. Commissioner Thomas “Chip” Price led the
prayer, followed by the pledge of allegiance. At the meeting, the board heard a presentation of the Building Integrated Communities plan, a collaboration between the town, UNC Global and the Latino Migration Project, which aims to help local governments understand the needs of the foreign-born community and develop strategies to meet their needs. The presentation
was given by Isa Godinez and Jorge Gutierrez. The plan touched on eight key areas for improvement: communication, leadership, business and entrepreneurship, parks, housing, youth mental health, public transit and public safety/law enforcement.
Notes from the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners meeting on Feb. 25, 2019
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.”
Notes for Chatham County’s Board of Commissioners meeting from February 18, 2019
Local control of school calendars The Board of Commissioners has joined with the Chatham County School Board to grant school districts control of the calendars as opposed to how it’s currently controlled by the state All commissioners supported the resolutions Article 46 Sales Tax It’s a ¼ increase in state sales tax (doesn’t apply to unprepared food or gasoline—prepared food means restaurant purchases are included) Advantages: revenue brought directly into Chatham County Applies to all eligible purchases in the county, so it would apply to visitors and online purchases Legal requirements: referendum—it would need to be added by the local and state boards of elections This wouldn’t be able to be on the ballot until 2020 (Nov. or May) Other rules: no restrictions or earmarks on the revenue—can be used for all allowable use by counties County can’t stipulate how the funds will be used on the ballot but they can create a resolution with how it’s intended to be used (this isn’t legally binding, meaning they could use it on other things not in the resolution) Implementation: the earliest effective date would be October 2020—this is dependent on quarterly schedule 42 counties in the state have approved it, including Durham, Harnett, Lee, Orange and Randolph counties (all neighboring counties have published resolutions) Neighboring county resolutions: education, school construction, community college capital, DPS debt service, training Citizen-initiated text amendment to change zoning ordinances Planning board actions: rezoning request Board denied the motion on the grounds of inconsistency Also made a motion to consider nonprofits and other places of assembly instead of just churches Incentive request and recommendation: EG-GILEROEG-GILERO is a medical device and manufacturing company based in Morrisville, NCThey purchased a building in Pittsboro but it’s been vacant for several years They’re proposing an investment of $3.9 million over 5 years that would create 60 new jobs in Chatham County Time: years 1-5 will be the construction phase; full employment will begin in year 5Recommended for a level 1 incentive based on Chatham’s incentive policy It’s estimated that the 60 employees would be employed by 2022 Rezoning of 5545 (about 51 acres) from industrial to residential Close to the Chatham/Wake line Most of the surrounding areas are residential with some being conditional use Rezoning of 12236 between Pittsboro and Siler City to conditional/business use zoning Applicants are owners of the cricket fields Part of the property is already a soccer field so they wouldn’t have to do total reconstruction Functional as an open play area for community members to meet No plan to use the buildings that will stay on the property No plans for parking lots, asphalt or gravel since they won’t expect a large number of visitors Plan to use portable toilets instead of a restroom facility Public comment: Linda Smith, residentOpposed to the aforementioned rezoning because the plans or the construction affect her home property Argued that the amount of people coming in and out for the games would affect the grass parking lot (which would turn into mud), disturbing the alpacas and interrupting her peaceful area Concerned about portable toilet maintenance and the smell Public comment: Marty Raynor, owner of the alpaca farms Not opposed to the fields but suggests an entrance on the backside that doesn’t come from US-64 because that wasn’t what the easement was intended for upon initial construction Commissioners’ Reports Karen Howard: ALC training—suggested that it be mandatory because the things she learned there are “critical to what we do” Diana Hales: Empty Bowls Fundraiser works to raise money for Chatham County’s hungry
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Documenter name: Chloe Arrojado
Title of meeting: Pittsboro Board Of Commissioners Regular Meeting
Date: November 26, 2018
Agency/Organization hosting the event: Pittsboro Board Of Commissioners
Start Time: 7:03 P.M.
Number of people in attendance (not including officials): 16
List names and titles of officials:
Town Clerk Alice F. Lloyd
Town Attorney Paul S. Messick Jr.
Town Manager Bryan L. Gruesbeck
Commissioner Jay Farrell
Commissioner Bett Wilson Foley
Commissioner Michael A. Fiocco
Mayor Cindy S. Perry
Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Baldwin
Commissioner John Bonitz (Not Present)
Pittsboro resident Caroline Townsend spoke about the flooding from Roberson Creek on US Highway 15-501 near the area of her home. She said that the flooding has caused damage worth thousands of dollars in surrounding homes. Pittsboro resident Wayne Britt commended environmental efforts from Chatham Park. Britt said that he lives in the middle of the development and found that Chatham Park consistently meets or exceeds state standards. Updates:
Town Manager Bryan L. Gruesbeck gave updates about different town issues.
Roughly 55 people gathered in the Chatham County courthouse Monday night to comment on potential re-zoning, the capital improvements plan and an amendment which would require places of worship to obtain conditional use permits. The meeting kicked off at 6:03 p.m. when three Northwood High School seniors — Sarah Beck, Reagan Flynn and Meera Batalia — spoke to the commissioners on behalf of Triangle People Power. The trio called on the commissioners to address issues of climate justice and environmental racism with an inter-agency working group. Interim County Manager Dan LaMontagne then presented for the second time the county’s draft for the Capital Improvements Plan for 2020 through 2026. Only one person, Jane Gallagher, of Pittsboro, spoke on the plan.