Pittsboro town officials want more details of the massive Chatham Park Development, a housing a commercial development plan that would completely transform the small town of about 4,000 people and make it a city larger in population (60,000) than Chapel Hill, Rocky Mount and Burlington.
The town’s board of commissioners met Monday to hear recommendations from an independent consulting firm, St. Louis-based The Lawrence Group, which suggested the town demand more information from Preston Development, which is seeking more than 7,000 acres of land for homes, businesses, research space and parks. The Lawrence Group suggested more details on design standards and imagery (renderings are difficult to come by, online at least), a commitment of fire stations and schools in the development, road plans, more open space and a cap on building heights.
About Chatham Park
If the plan is fully implemented, Chatham Park will forever change the make-up of Pittsboro, located 17 miles from Sanford and less than 10 minutes from the Lee/Chatham county border. The vision statement for the development, written by Chatham Park Investors LLC in 2013, reads, “Chatham Park is to be designed and built as a place where people and businesses can fulfill their aspirations in harmony with nature, a place that will inspire.”
The project will include 22,000 homes and will consist of 27 sections with five activity centers. In addition to the obvious need for expanded roadways and water and sewer services, Chatham Park will require the town to increase its police force to 168 employees, will require a full-time fire department and the addition of 12 new schools (eight elementary, two middle and two high schools) for the expected 10,000 new students.
Many in Pittsboro don’t want this to happen. The biggest fight is coming from the grassroots organization, PittsboroMatters.
Chief among their concerns is the way the development will transform the picturesque, heavily wooded eastern portion of Chatham County and nearby Jordan Lake. According to the group’s research, 60,000 people in such a small area will make Pittsboro more “dense” in population than cities like Pittsburgh, Houston and Atlanta. It states 70 percent of Chatham Park would become “impervious surfaces” (blacktop, buildings, etc.), making it less “green” than even New York City. (graphic below)
Drinking water and wastewater are two other issues raised by the group. There’s also the issue of possible pollution to Jordan Lake — “Replacing a largely forested area this close to Jordan Lake with a city size development will result in sediment pollution from land disturbed during construction and pollution from stormwater runoff.”
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