Pittsboro focuses on new development

BY CASEY MANN, News + Record Staff
Posted 9/13/19

Monday’s Pittsboro Board of Commissioners meeting focused on new developments in progress inside the town.

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Pittsboro focuses on new development

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Posted

PITTSBORO — Monday’s Pittsboro Board of Commissioners meeting focused on new developments in progress inside the town.

The board unanimously approved a site plan and a 7,100 gallon per day wastewater allotment for Cambridge-Pittsboro LLC. The company is building two structures on Old Rock Spring Cemetery Road located just off Hillsboro Street near the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. One building will house an automotive parts retailer and the other will house a restaurant.

Cambridge-Pittsboro would not identify the restaurateur that will occupy the space, but did note that it was an “existing Pittsboro restaurant.”

Town Engineer Elizabeth Goodson reiterated that the town’s wastewater treatment plant is nearing capacity and stated that the board should consider a policy for remaining requests. She noted that she had intended to provide a draft policy over the summer, but she was unable to create one yet. At the same time, Tim Smith of Preston Development Investments, the company developing Chatham Park, noted that two site plans, the north and west subdivisions, had been approved, but as of yet had not received approval for its sewer allocation. Smith noted that those allocation requests had originally submitted in July 2017. The board chose not to act on Smith’s request.

The board discussed several areas of a potential policy for future requests from the town’s dwindling wastewater capacity including what to do with projects in the queue, those that have failed to update within six months, and what to do with smaller projects that take less time to go through the process versus large projects such as Mosaic, the mixed-use 44-acre project under construction on Russett Run off of US15-501 near Bojangles restaurant. Goodson noted that she would take the board’s direction and craft a draft policy for their review at a later meeting date.

The second development project the board discussed is being developed by Aaron Horton, AHLM LLC. The property, located on 699 East St., right near Pittsboro’s current town hall, will be demolished in order to construct a new one that will house HVAC equipment. The building’s previous purpose required more wastewater allocation than the proposed use and therefore only required an approval of the site plan, which was received unanimously. The vote followed a long discussion about where the company would plant the one tree as required by town ordinance.

The last major development discussion involved a proposed development agreement between the town and Chatham Park. Pittsboro Planning Director Jeff Jones launched the discussion, noting that he had never worked on a development agreement before and was relying on a summary of development agreements created by David Owens, Gladys Hall Coates Professor of Public Law and Government at UNC School of Government and state statute.

Jones outlined some basics of what the proposed development agreement includes. Chatham Park is requesting a term of 40 years for the agreement to “provide certainty” for the significant investment and time required for full build out. The land included in the proposed agreement is only the land that Chatham Park currently holds as part of the master plan. All adopted ordinances, additional elements, and the master plan will be “vested” with the development, though state and federal regulatory changes made in the future would still effect the agreement. There is also a description of public facilities and reimbursement agreement language.

After providing the board with the basics of the agreement, Jones implored the board not to act on it, stating he believed Chatham Park was presenting the agreement as a “diversion.” He also noted that the town had not yet adopted its Unified Development Ordinance, which has been in development for five years. He also stated that Chatham Park should have all its small area plans for the 30-year project complete and approved prior to an agreement.

A representative for Chatham Park, Mac McCarley, an attorney with Charlotte’s Parker Poe specializing in municipal law, noted that development agreement, which was one of several that he had helped create, had “more detail than anyone has ever had in North Carolina” and that the town would not be giving up its authority to approve or deny small area plans and the proposed affordable housing additional element which has yet to be passes. McCarley asked that he be able to work with the staff to ease their concerns and make changes to fit the board’s directives. The board took no action on the document.

Reporter Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.

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