Pittsboro Commissioners Meeting Highlights + More

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Pittsboro Commissioners Meeting Highlights + MorePittsboro agrees to Chatham Park hotel incentive and the county’s newspapers have new owners.


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October 25, 2018

 

Hello, Chathamites. Happy Thursday!

Your Highlights: This Week’s Pittsboro Commissioners Meeting


Let’s keep these short and sweet. 
 

Budget Amendment

 

The board updated this year’s budget to comply with a law the state legislature passed last year. The law required local governments to put the water system fees they charge new developments into a capital reserve fund. So, the board created the fund and put the $98,500 the town collected into it. Money in that fund can only be used for projects related to the town’s water and sewage systems.

Chatham Park Hotel Incentive

The board agreed to a deal with the developer of Chatham Park’s “Mosaic” area that is meant to help attract a hotel to the site.

The developer will get a property tax rebate of 40-53% over the first five years of the proposed hotel’s operation. The hotel is expected to generate nearly $61,000 in annual property tax revenue for the town after that.

The hotel would also get a 60-90% break on its county property taxes, under a separate deal it made with county commissioners.

In exchange for its PIttsboro tax break, the developer promises to “make every reasonable effort” to:

  • hire a third of its employees from people living in the 27312 ZIP code;
  • pay those people an “average minimum” annual salary of just more than $31,000;
  • use local contractors;
  • provide a free shuttle bus to downtown Pittsboro;
  • have at least 100 guest rooms;
  • promote Pittsboro business and events in its lobby and on its website.

The deal has been in the works since a February 2017 request from ECO CP Partners.
 

Chatham Park “Park Land”

Public park land as a part of the Chatham Park development was a hotly contested topic at the meeting. Let’s break it down:

Issue #1: “Mini park” ownership

Chatham Park is proposing “mini parks” which would be funded and maintained by the Chatham Park developers, but the park land would be under ownership of the town of Pittsboro. 

The town staff recommended that the town should not accept ownership of land they don’t have control or involvement in maintaining. 
Commissioner John Bonitz shared the staff’s concern about the town owning park land that it isn’t involved in maintaining. Other Commissioners disagreed.
“When we were going through the Master Plan, we wanted parks. It would be ludicrous now to say ‘we don’t want the park land, take it back’. Regardless of anything, we will still take the land because it’ll always be valuable,” said Commissioner Pamela Baldwin. 

Issue #2: Impact Fees

Chatham Park has agreed to dedicate 667 acres of the development as “park land”. In exchange for giving the town ownership of this 667 acres, Chatham Park is proposing that there be no impact fees for the land.

Commissioner Michael Fiocco was in favor of excluding the impact fees. “They’re giving us a deal, and in exchange for that deal they want to make sure they won’t be hit with additional costs,” Fiocco said. He also said the impact fees “aren’t viable.”
Commissioner Jay Farrell said he doesn’t want to put more of a burden on taxpayers with an impact fee. 
Bonitz thought it was “unwise” to exclude the impact fees for the development before conducting an analysis to consider the value of the land. “I don’t like us willingly giving up tools from our tool kits when we haven’t done the analysis,” Bonitz said.

Issue #3: What can be built on “park land”?

 Bonitz and Commissioner Bett Foley said they were concerned the criteria for what can be built on “park land” is too broad. 

Foley said that park land is “sacred” and the board needs to take extra care to make sure that some park land doesn’t end up occupied by public facilities like “garages with snow plows inside.”
Fiocco said that what’s built on park land should be determined by the town on a case-by-case basis of what’s in the “public interest” rather than increasing restrictions. 
Mayor Cindy Perry said that leaving what’s built on the park land up to what’s in the “public interest” is “a bit vague”. 
After much disagreement, the meeting was closed without a final decision from the board on these issues. So, our conclusion is TBD. Stay tuned. 

Check out the primary sources informing the debate:

Notable + Quotable


Get out and vote!

Early Voting polls are open until Nov. 3. Vote for your Chatham County commissioners, North Carolina state Senators and state House Representatives, U.S. House Representatives, and more.

Where you can vote early:

When you can vote early:
  • Monday, Oct. 22 – Friday, Oct. 26, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 27, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 29 – Friday, Nov. 2, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Why you can vote early:
  • Because, democracy.
Can’t make it to early voting? Make sure you get to the polls on Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 6. 

Watch Chatham Cares deliver supplies donated by Chathamites to Hurricane Michael victims in Panama City, Florida. 

Quick Takes

 
→ The Chatham News & Record is under new ownership. The buyers are Bill Horner, former publisher of the Sanford Herald, and two Chatham Park developers, Kirk Bradley and Chris Ehrenfeld. 

→ Pittsboro’s Food Lion will launch their “to-go” grocery pick-up service on Oct. 29.

→ Capital Ready Concrete Mix, originally from Knightdale, is converting a former Pittsboro chicken plant into their new HQ. “The project entails a $5 million renovation on a 20-acre site and will create between 45 and 50 jobs.” Find out more.

Around Your County


The Chatham Chamber of Commerce will host the Chatham Community Business Showcase on Oct. 25 at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center.

  • The event is free and open to the public.
  • The event is a way for local businesses to showcase their products and services, providing residents an opportunity to learn what’s available to them.
  • Exhibit times will run from 12 – 5:30 p.m. 
  • Over 50 local businesses will be present, and the following activities are free to enjoy:
    • Special Salon Services – This is it Cuts
    • Health Screenings – Chatham Hospital
    • Fitness Activities – Chatham YMCA
    • Cornhole Toss – Chatham Sheriff’s Office & Pittsboro Police Department
    • Taste Samples – Local Restaurants & Caterers
    • Door Prizes throughout the day and more

Local businesses wanting to host an exhibit at the showcase should contact the Chatham Chamber of Commerce at 919-742-3333 or info@ccucc.net


The 2018 Pittsboro Fall Street Fair will be on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Pittsboro.

“You won’t want to miss this year’s huge variety of unique, interesting and fun offerings from over 150 crafters, artists, food vendors, and non-profits with free children’s activities are planned. Bring a chair and enjoy some terrific entertainment in the great Town of Pittsboro.”

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