PITTSBORO – The Chatham County Board of Commissioners met Monday, August 7 with the primary focus of the meeting being to start preliminary discussions surrounding the potential redrawing of Chatham County’s residency districts now that alternative plans had been drafted.
The board began these discussions back in May when they directed county staff to bring back alternative redistricting plans to be considered.
The topic of reappropriation is aimed to address the exponential growth that Chatham County is currently experiencing by redrawing district boundaries to better suit population centers.
At the August 7 meeting, the board was presented with three reapportionment alternative plans.
Option 1 sees a substantial loss of area for District 3, limiting its territory to exclusively the northern part of the county. In its wake, Districts 2, 4, and 5 would have a further reach, but each district would have a similar population of around 15,000.
Option 2 would see the greatest change in terms of map boundaries with District 1 encompassing the entire eastern third of the county, District 2 and 3 substantially shrinking in size, District 4 encompassing a majority of the middle and south of the county, and District 5 moving into the northwest corner of the county.
Option 3 is similar to Option 1 with slight tweaks to the boundary areas between each district.
County staff worked inside the parameters set forth by the commissions that districts are fully contiguous, that they recognize communities of interest, that the districts be compact, that they preserve the core of existing districts, that they avoid pairing incumbents, and that they take into consideration future population growth projections.
Utilizing 2020 census data which lists Chatham County as having a population of 76,285 residents, staff aimed to create equal districts with a target apportionment of 15,257 residents per district.
Following discussions, the board set a date to receive public input on the reapportionment alternative plans for Chatham County Board of Commissioner residency districts at their next meeting on August 21.
An official public hearing for the reapportionment will take place at their September 18 meeting.
The board’s goal is to have redistricting done and a referendum set by October 7, as it is 150 days before the 2024 primary election, which is the legal cutoff for the board if it plans to have new districts implemented before the election.
The Chatham County Board of Commissioners will next meet August 21.