Pittsboro BOC examines budget, Chatham Park buffers in long meeting

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  • The meeting began at 7:03 p.m. and kicked off with Mayor Cindy Perry pointing out Evan Crouch, an Eagle scout candidate who hopes to eliminate plastic bags from local grocery stories. 
  • Two minutes later, the board approved the consent agenda and moved on to a public hearing for a proposed concrete plant, which would be built near Potterstone Village.
  • Edward Fowler, Lisa Meeker and Charlie Cox, all Potterstone residents, spoke to the commissioners about concerns over noise, dust and potential health risks generated by the plant. Later, during Citizen Public Expressions, Fowler criticized members of town staff, at one point saying, “This isn’t about saving face, Jeff Jones,” referring to the county’s planning director. Jones said earlier, in response to a question from Commissioner John Bonitz, that it was not the staff’s job to ask why the particular site was chosen for that location.
  • The commissioners also heard a proposal from Kevin Cox from Capital Ready Mix, a concrete supplier in Chatham, to allow the proposed concrete trucks to load at their existing facility.
  • After nearly 45 minutes of public speeches, the commissioners moved on to commissioner and manager updates, which dealt with road widenings, sidewalks and crosswalks, and affordable housing. 
  • After the updates, the commissioners launched into an incredibly technical discussion of Chatham Park’s Planned District Development. The discussion, which largely focused on various different types of buffers, featured several times of silence when commissioners read their materials or formulated their thoughts, ending at after almost an hour. 
  • After a comparatively short discussion of a property rezoning for 196 N. Hillsboro St, which commissioner Farrell refused to support because of his belief that the street should stay residential, the commissioners called for a five-minute break, which lasted for almost 12 minutes. 
  • After more than two hours, the board finally moved on to a discussion of Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The budget would add funding for one position each in engineering, planning and police; allocates $2,500 for affordable housing; increases the fire department budget by almost $5,000; and budgets $66,300 for a generator for the existing town hall structure. Despite some increases, the plan does not call for any tax increases. 
  • Commissioners spent much of the budget discussion on downtown façade funding carryover and a proposal by Perry to reduce or eliminate the $500 commercial requirement for water service for some small businesses and non-profits. The board passed the mayor’s proposal to staff, and they approved the budget. 
  • In the rest of the meeting, commissioners discussed what was billed as a herbicide ban in the agenda, but what Perry later described as “not a ban,” they and argued about the speed limit on various parts of Hillsboro Street before adjourning at 10:33 p.m. 

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