Food trucks and sidewalks headline Pittsboro commish meeting

The minimum lot size for new housing could be cut in half


PITTSBORO — Affordable housing, food trucks and streamlined zoning downtown were some of the topics covered at the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners meeting on June 10.

In an effort to help drive down the cost of housing, the commissioners are considering reducing the lot size requirements to potentially allow for more homes to be built — which would, economic theory suggests, lower housing costs.

It was noted that this could also allow for more mixed-income neighborhoods, with the minimum plot size potentially reduced by about 50 percent.

In other zoning matters, the board is looking to smooth out the transitions between Pittsboro's more modern and historic areas. This includes increasing vegetation in the zone between East and West Pittsboro and changing the limitations on what types of businesses should be allowed. The board seems likely to approve more modern businesses like drive-through car washes and food trucks.

Food trucks are becoming increasingly popular, and the commissioners want to encourage them while ensuring that they don't get too out of control. A fee for food truck permits is being considered, as are inspections to help ensure that the food meets safety standards and is safe for consumption.

Fees for parking food trucks and a requirement that they be at least 150 feet from standing restaurants could also be implemented. This is intended to address concerns from locals and business owners that food trucks are taking too much business away from existing establishments.

Final food truck and lot size changes will be voted on at a later meeting.

Improvements to the sidewalks in downtown are on the way, as well, thanks to a local donation. The bricks of Hillsborough Street will be replaced in sections to allow for continued access to businesses throughout the process. Additional parking will also be added to compensate for the limited walkways during construction. Those affected by the construction will be notified beforehand.

Rounding out the downtown business, the commissioners appointed four new members to the Downtown Advisory Board: Samantha Birchard, Steven "Zed" Henry, Mary Kate Bedell and Eric Andrews.