Letter to the editor: Chatham Park stories contained ‘inaccurate’ statements

By Liz Cullington
Posted 3/24/21

To the Editor:

Two recent promotional articles about Chatham Park contained some significant misleading or inaccurate statements.

There’s no evidence that “administrative roadblocks” by …

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Letter to the editor: Chatham Park stories contained ‘inaccurate’ statements

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Posted

To the Editor:

Two recent promotional articles about Chatham Park contained some significant misleading or inaccurate statements.

There’s no evidence that “administrative roadblocks” by the town has slowed visible progress.

Preston/Chatham Park Investors (CPI) were authorized in August 2015 to build up to 1,100 homes. It was CPI’s choice to wait until 2020 to start on a handful. They were also permitted to develop a huge amount of non-residential square footage. However, much of that might require additional “rooftops”, and both retail and office space were shrinking even before Chatham Park’s preliminary plan was first proposed in 2013.

CPI has for several years been confusing the public about how much usable open space and parks there would be, and in regulatory terms these are different. It certainly is not correct that Chatham Park would contain 2,000 acres of “open park spaces.”

In the “North Village” plan, the only preserved forest would be narrow stream buffers, just over 200 acres. Other “open space” would consist of thin strips such as highway or other screening buffers, floodplain or wetland, and other small fragments.

The total “open space” for such a large project seems large but that does not mean that it will include large preserved tracts, rather than a very large number of tiny fragments.

More importantly, the amount of open space and park acreage required for gross-square feet of commercial development or housing units is exactly the same for Chatham Park as it would be for any developer. They weren’t required to provide more acreage, and haven’t added any.

CPI has no role in expanding Pittsboro’s water supply, nor in treating the PFAS contamination. As for sewer, not all of the 2,200 acre North Village will utilize their new private treatment plant. CPI has agreed to pay part of the Sanford line loan, in return for that much treatment capacity.

Rather than provide solutions for the Town, CPI has sometimes stymied them. By fighting with state environmental regulators for an entire year over the size of preserved buffers on streams draining to the Haw, CPI delayed the permitting and financing of the line to Sanford by a year or more. The result of that is now a temporary lack of sewer capacity for planned more affordable development.

Real estate developers are in the business of promoting their “product.” Newspapers should be in the business of checking facts.

Liz Cullington
Pittsboro

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