site underconstruction

by Tim Keim

havenintohaw1 Mud From Chatham Park Flowing Into The Haw River The unreasonable and totally inadequate notion that simply rallying around
Chatham Park’s massive development will
make it better, and we will all live happily ever after, is false. This glib sales job
ignores the nuts and bolts of the massive
destruction of the systems that help keep
us healthy. Read article here

cp sign up down The current discussions to build an $18 million sewer line to Sanford in order to accommodate the build out of Chatham Park puts the cart before the horse. Vital information about the impacts Chatham Park will have on this area is missing. I urge you to require Chatham Park to submit a full Environmental Impact Assessment for the total  7,200 project acres.  The current piecemeal approach through small area plans is completely inadequate.  We have no idea what the true costs to the water quality of the Haw River and Jordan Lake will be, or the impact on the the Lower Haw River State Natural Area, a true jewel in Chatham County.  We need to know the full direct, secondary and cumulative impacts that Chatham Park will have.  Only a full EIA will reveal those facts.

We also urge you the establish and appoint members as soon as possible to a citizen advisory committee that would represent the great knowledge and diversity of our community as these critical decisions are being made.
voller pink Pittsboro developer and former Mayor Randy Voller has been convening and facilitating a series of closed-door meetings between Chatham Park Investors (CPI) Tim Smith and Bubba Rawl and elected officials and staff from Pittsboro and Chatham County, and our state legislators. The stated purpose of these meetings has been for CPI to solicit help in using a variety of complicated and risky public financing tools to pay for an $18 million sewer line to Sanford, with half of the capacity designed to exclusively serve Chatham Park’s future businesses and residences.

 DSC4083 The November 3 municipal elections brought good news for all of us who are concerned about the future of Pittsboro and Chatham Park.  Pittsboro voters expressed a clear preference for a new Mayor and three Town Commissioners who have the knowledge, experience and integrity to ensure that Chatham Park is developed in a way that protects everyone who already lives, works and plays here.

64overpass Pittsboro Matters’ attorney Robert Hornik has filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction to halt unlawful bulldozing -- and all Chatham Park construction -- until legal challenges to the validity of the project’s Master Plan and rezoning, and the Town’s Planned Development District (PDD) and Zoning Ordinance, have been resolved in court.

Our motion for a temporary injunction was triggered when Chatham Park developers began bulldozing trees to construct a parkway and overpass at U.S. 64 northeast of Pittsboro, without submitting detailed site plans, a key requirement of the Town’s PDD Master Plan.

cpoverpass Pittsboro Matters’ attorney Robert Hornik has asked the Town of Pittsboro to issue a “Stop Work” order for Chatham Park Investors to immediately halt their highway construction work currently going on just north of the US 64 bypass, including a proposed overpass at that location.  In a letter sent to Town Attorney Paul Messick, Hornik spelled out why this highway and overpass construction violated the terms of the Chatham Park PDD Master Plan, which requires detailed site plans, extensive review and Town Board approval before such construction can begin.

Hornik also wrote that if he does not receive a response from the Town by April 6 indicating that the “Stop Work” order has been issued, Pittsboro Matters is “prepared to ask the Court to intervene, and to issue an injunction to stop the work until such time as the legal issues about compliance of the work with the Master Plan (and, I would add, the validity of the Master Plan itself) is resolved.”
The public was repeatedly assured during the development review process that “the unprecedented flexibility”’ granted Chatham Park, Hornik wrote, “should not be of concern because every single aspect of the proposed development – including detailed infrastructure and small area plans – would have to be submitted to the Town as part of detailed site plans, subject to public hearings and staff review, and approved by the Town Board.”  Hornik, of the Brough Law Firm in Chapel Hill, added: “This building of the proposed US 64 bypass and parkway connected to the proposed North Village violates those assurances and raises serious questions about the Town’s ability and willingness to enforce the terms of the PDD master plan.”

Speak Out at the Next Meeting
Monday March 2

The three newest members who form a majority of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners were elected in November, in part, on their commitment to protect Chatham’s residents and natural resources by engaging in responsible land-use planning and growth management.  One of their first actions was to get a commitment from all five county board members that the county commissioners would “serve as an effective voice for Chatham County on urgent environmental issues, such as coal ash disposal, fracking and water quality in Jordan Lake .”

This is important because the county board has decision-making power that can influence the development of Chatham Park. For example, they could seek joint land-use planning with the Town of Pittsboro and insist that Chatham Park provide comprehensive impact assessments to protect County and Town residents and taxpayers from potential negative impacts of this unprecedented development. The County Commissioners also could take back county control of Pittsboro’s Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), the area beyond the Town’s borders (including Chatham Park), over which the Town currently has planning authority.

havenintohaw1 Image on left shows mud from Chatham Park flowing into the Haw River, 11-26-2014

On Monday February 2, 2015 five Chatham County based environmental and sustainability organizations requested that the  US Army Corps of Engineers do not issue any permits for Chatham Park for its stream and wetland impacts until the developers submit a Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the entire 7200 acres of the project.  The letter sent by attorney John Runkle on behalf of the Haw River Assembly, Pittsboro Matters, Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities, Orange- Chatham Sierra Club and the Rocky River Heritage Foundation details the concerns these groups have about the impacts of the massive Chatham Park development on the natural and environmental resources in Chatham County including the Haw River, Rocky River and upper Cape Fear River watersheds.The letter to Army Corps may be downloaded here..

The Chatham Park development will have a direct and negative impact on the B. Everett Jordan Dam and Lake, constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and operated through a partnership between the US Army Corps of Engineers and the State of North Carolina.  The Chatham Park Master Plan does not give adequate information about water supply, stormwater and wastewater, all of which will impact Jordan Lake