Pittsboro passes Tree Element

BY CASEY MANN, News + Record Staff
Posted 5/31/19

After several months of debate and discussion during hours-long meetings, the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners, in a 3-2 vote,approved guidelines tree protections and planting of new trees, referred …

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Pittsboro passes Tree Element

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Posted

After several months of debate and discussion during hours-long meetings, the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners, in a 3-2 vote, approved guidelines tree protections and planting of new trees, referred to as the Chatham Park Tree Element. It was passed around midnight at its regular meeting that was held Tuesday.

The Tree Element defines the amount of tree protection area, types of trees required, and what does and does not count when calculating tree protection. The Tree Element is one of several additional elements, including regulations on stormwater management, open space, and affordable housing, the developer agreed to negotiate when its master plan was passed four years ago. The Board has been discussing the issue for several months, requesting various changes from Chatham Park during those discussions, and Chatham Park returning with updated language.

On Tuesday, the Pittsboro board suggested five different language changes during its three-hour discussion. During that discussion, Chuck Smith, a planning consultant working with Chatham Park, would repeat the requested changes back to the board to ensure that they were satisfied with the change.

After the discussion, Pittsboro Mayor Cindy Perry called for a break at 11 p.m. during the meeting and upon the board's return, commissioners moved on to the next agenda item without further discussion of trees. However, near the end of the meeting after other agenda items were discussed, Pittsboro commissioner Michael Fiocco made a motion the board approve the tree element pending the changes Chatham Park agreed to during Monday's discussion.

Commissioners Fiocco, Pam Baldwin and Jay Farrell voted in favor of the Tree Element. Commissioners Bett Wilson Foley and John Bonitz voted against its passage. Bonitz noted that he was comfortable with the changes to the language as requested, but wanted to see it on paper prior to passage.

For in depth coverage of the tree element and its passage, see next week's Chatham News + Record.

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