Letter to the editor: Beware of developers invoking a concern for the environment

Posted 7/14/21

To the Editor:

I read with interest the excellent update by Lars Dolder (“NCDOT doubles back on proposed highway alignment,” July 1-7) on North Chatham Park Way and NCDOT’s proposed …

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Letter to the editor: Beware of developers invoking a concern for the environment

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Posted
Updated:

To the Editor:

I read with interest the excellent update by Lars Dolder (“NCDOT doubles back on proposed highway alignment,” July 1-7) on North Chatham Park Way and NCDOT’s proposed destruction of the North Woods neighborhood. Mr. Dolder has followed this story closely and has talked to many key stakeholders.

Unfortunately, one of the stakeholders, Chuck Smith representing Preston Development Company, which is developing Chatham Park, has responded with dismissive double talk and an insincere concern for the environment.

While Mr. Smith claims to have nothing to do with the road, he speculates that NCDOT kept the alignment which will destroy North Woods because it will produce (1) “much less environmental impact” and shifting the road off of North Woods would have shifted the impact (2) “onto other neighborhoods north of North Woods.”

Point (1) is laughable considering that Chatham Park is proposing to clear about 2,000 acres of trees north of U.S. Hwy. 64 and surrounding the North Woods neighborhood to develop its North Village. Shifting the road to save North Woods will require crossing one ephemeral stream. While I have a vested interested, I’m trying to be objective … I think building a small bridge seems like a fair trade to save a 40-year old neighborhood.

Point (2) is not true. My wife and I proposed an alternative that would hug the property line between North Woods and Chatham Park land and then turn to the northwest across our land towards 15-501, before continuing through Chatham Park land and then non-Chatham Park land that is already part of the project plan. In our proposal, no new properties would be affected, and both Chatham Park and “the Pavaos” would be left with a similar amount of property isolated on the “wrong” side of this limited access North Chatham Park Way, potentially setting up a land swap which would keep everyone whole.

I’m very happy to have an open, honest and transparent discussion, but let’s keep to the facts and not insincere double-talk and recreated history.

Mark Pavao
Pittsboro

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