Pittsboro Board of Commissioners

Board discusses Climate Action Plan


PITTSBORO — The board of commissioners met for its first regular meeting of May on Monday at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center, where they discussed a resolution to create a Climate Action Plan (CAP).

The resolution was originally discussed during the board’s last meeting, but Mayor Cindy Perry said she felt it was important to bring the resolution back to the board for further conversations. 

“I’m very anxious for us to actually have an opportunity to make measurable progress on something that seems so unmeasurable,” she said. “This resolution is an important first step.”

Climate action plans are tools designed to help the public understand what risks are associated with climate change — defined to be long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns — and create solutions to address potential environmental issues. 

Pittsboro’s drafted resolution directs town staff to create a CAP, which would become a part of the town’s strategic plan. According to the resolution, the CAP would “prioritize rapid implementation of strategies that are both economically and environmentally beneficial, with special attention given to projects or technologies that also deliver resiliency of operations in the face of increasingly frequent and severe weather events, droughts, floods, electric power disruptions, and other natural disasters.”

The resolution lays out a series of goals the CAP would address. Those goals include:

• Ensuring municipal operations are energy efficient and prioritize conservation.

• Expanding the town’s renewable energy sources, especially solar and geothermal energy. 

• Implementing sustainable transportation options, including, but not limited to, bike lanes, better sidewalks and crosswalks, a local circuit shuttle bus, and public transportation. 

• Increasing the use of environmentally friendly products and services. 

• Promoting of sustainable land use practices, including greater density, walkability, bikeability, green roofs, permeable pavements, street trees and urban forests. 

• Identifying Pittsboro’s vulnerability to the changes in climate.

Perry said she feels there are certain requirements that could be added to Pittsboro’s CAP if it were to be established. One idea she brought forth came from what Chatham County already mandates in unincorporated areas — builders must recycle construction debris.

“This is a major contributor to filling landfills,” she said. “It would be my suggestion that we think about requiring that same kind of thing.”

Perry went on to say while she herself isn’t a scientist or a specialist, she said her passion for the environment and its preservation has moved her to learn more about what a CAP could do for the town of Pittsboro. 

“I’m not an engineer, I’m not somebody that has the high tech kind of knowledge to help me work with water quality issues or pipes or the merger with Sanford,” she said. “What I can say is I am very interested in the environment, I always have been … It would be my hope that we can make some progress on climate change over the next little while.”

Commissioner John Bonitz praised the proposed resolution, saying it’s an important step for the town to take. 

“I think from a policy making standpoint, I think of all the things this board could do, putting into words the consensus of this group … I think it’s vitally important that we do that,” he said. “I’m glad this draft has been presented for everyone’s review, I hope people will think about it and perhaps at the next meeting we can consider approving that.”

The resoution was not passed during Monday’s meeting.

Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at theeden@chathamnr.com.