County commissioners work toward CIP approval, discuss affordable housing

Posted 11/17/21

PITTSBORO — Chatham County Commissioners spent Tuesday at a work session concerning the recommended 2023-29 Capital Improvements Plan (CIP), which is set to be adopted at the board’s Dec. 20 …

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County commissioners work toward CIP approval, discuss affordable housing

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Posted

PITTSBORO — Chatham County Commissioners spent Tuesday at a work session concerning the recommended 2023-29 Capital Improvements Plan (CIP), which is set to be adopted at the board’s Dec. 20 meeting.

Assistant County Manager Bryan Thompson gave the first presentation to the board regarding the updated CIP earlier this month. The seven-year plan is updated every year to plan for any projects the county anticipates will cost more than $100,000.

A public hearing was scheduled for the CIP at the board’s regular meeting Monday night, but no one signed up to speak at it.

“The CIP is not a budget, it is a plan. I emphasize that because even as a staff when we work on the CIP, we have to remind ourselves of that,” Thompson told the board at its Nov. 1 meeting. “However, the CIP does inform what the upcoming operating budget will look like, so the decisions made through the CIP process will have an impact on the operating budget itself.”

Of the current CIP projects, the proposal includes the following updates: increasing the budget for the Chatham County Schools new Central Services building by nearly $1.5 million and $2 million for the Emergency Operations Center relocation, along with anticipated savings of $1.2 million for the finishing out of cell blocks at Chatham County’s Detention Center.

The following new projects are recommended in the proposed CIP:

• Paving repairs on school campuses, to be completed based on priority beginning in 2023 and to continue beyond the 7-year CIP schedule. Cost: $5 million

• Development of Parker’s Ridge Park in southeastern Chatham using Coal Ash funds, Article 46 revenues and American Rescue Plan Act funds. Cost: $6 million

• Solar panels at Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center and installation of a 175-kilowatt system that maximizes the amount of solar allowed by Duke Energy. Cost: $375,000

“We start this process on a staff level earlier than this, but bring it before the board and the public in November,” Thompson said, “so we can have a couple of meetings, workshop with the driven goal of having an adopted CIP by the end of December as we move into the operating budget (in early January).”

At the time of publication Tuesday, it wasn’t clear if commissioners made any changes to the plan at their meeting. The News + Record will provide updates about the plan in future editions.

Other meeting business

• Commissioners approved the appointments of all 13 applicants to the Northeast Wastewater Study Commission. The county previously said it would appoint 10-12 members, but decided to approve all 13 people who applied.

• Commissioners approved county ordinance amendments to comply with Senate Bill 300, a criminal justice reform law approved by Gov. Roy Cooper and state lawmakers in September.

That bill promotes the recruitment of officers with diverse backgrounds, requires early intervention mechanisms in the case of police excessive force or misconduct and furthers independent investigations of police shootings. It also limits local laws criminalizing poverty and requires a first appearance in court within 72 hours of someone being arrested.

The Chatham document amended chapters 90, 91 and 130 of Chatham ordinances, clarifying penalties and which ordination violations are punishable by a misdemeanor.

The amended chapter 90 of the code, on penalties, removed a link saying that “a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $50 or imprisonment for 30 days or both in the discretion of the court.”

The ordinance will become effective Dec. 1.

• The board ultimately took no action on a legislative request by Congruus LLC for a map amendment to the Chatham County Compact Community boundary map, to expand the CCO map to include an additional 184.04 acres off Parker Herndon and Morris roads in Baldwin Township.

Commissioner Jim Crawford made a motion to approve the request and Chairperson Mike Dasher seconded; all board members dissented. A few minutes later, Commissioner Karen Howard made a motion to deny the request and Commissioner Diana Hales seconded; Commissioner Franklin Gomez Flores requested more information before approving or denying. Since the motion to deny the request also failed, the item will come back to the board at its meeting next month.

County staff recommended approving the request and the planning board recommended denial. Nearly the entirety of the meeting’s 30-minute public input session consisted of Briar Chapel residents who opposed the request and desired better plans for wastewater treatment before the development was approved.

• The board unanimously approved a legislative request by the Vickers Bennett Group LLC for a Conditional District Rezoning from R-1 Residential to CD-CCO Compact Community.

It also approved an affordable housing agreement with Vickers Bennett Group, LLC. Vickers Bennett Group will pay $47,000 per lot Payment-in-Support for the 20th lot out of every 20 entitled lots sold to a third-party residential developer or builder. Funds will be used by the county to provide affordable housing within Vickers Village.

So long as Vickers sells 180 total residential entitled units total, the group will pay enough to the county so that a total of 10 payments for affordable housing are made, totaling $470,000. Once all Vickers Village lots are sold, if the final tally of entitled residential lots is less than 180 lots, Vickers will only be required to contribute Payments in Support for 5% of that number.

The board also approved the First Plat review for Vickers Village, from the Vickers Bennett Group, consisting of 184 lots located off US 15-501 N.

Reporter Hannah McClellan can be reached at hannah@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @HannerMcClellan.

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