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Pittsboro commissioners reviewing Chatham Park for rezoning

Town meeting Monday

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Expect every seat at the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners meeting to be filled Monday night when developers of the 7,000-acre Chatham Park formally present their application.

The meeting is scheduled for Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Central Carolina Community College, 764 West St. (Editor's note: The print version of this story stated it was at Town Hall; the location has been moved to accommodate the expected large crowd.)

Preston Developers of Cary plans to build 22,000 homes and 13 million square feet of office space in eastern Chatham County. If fully built, the project would increase the population of Pittsboro from 5,000 to 60,000 over the next 35 years.

As INDY Week reported last month, town commissioners are reviewing Chatham Park for rezoning as a planned development district (PDD). The zoning designation relaxes regulations to give developers greater freedom for large projects. In return, developers are supposed to promote "quality urban design and environmentally sensitive development by allowing development to take advantage of special site characteristics, locations and land uses," according to town documents.

Part of the development will abut the Haw River, and, as critics of the project point out, buffer zones between the development and the river—proposed at an average of 200 feet wide—are just that, an average. Some buffers could be as little as 50 feet, far smaller than the 1,000 feet recommended by the Triangle Land Conservancy.

The project lies within the Jordan Lake watershed, which is already the site of intensive development that could threaten the quality of the reservoir. It supplies water to Cary, Apex, Morrisville, RTP South and northern Chatham County. Other cities in the Triangle, such as Durham, also can withdraw water from the lake in emergencies.

For example, 751 South is slated to build 1,300 homes/townhouses and 600,000 square feet of office space on land near the Durham-Chatham county line and also in the watershed.

Unlike two previous meetings on Chatham Park, no public comment will be taken Monday night. Documents related to the development are available at the town website, pittsboronc.gov.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Chatham Park on Pittsboro agenda."

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