Developer proposes new 55+ community in Pittsboro

Posted 8/11/21

PITTSBORO — Pittsboro could be getting a new 700-plus-acre, age-restricted neighborhood if the town’s board of commissioners elects to approve a developer’s rezoning request and issue a special …

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Developer proposes new 55+ community in Pittsboro

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PITTSBORO — Pittsboro could be getting a new 700-plus-acre, age-restricted neighborhood if the town’s board of commissioners elects to approve a developer’s rezoning request and issue a special use permit.

The commissioners entertained two public hearings in their regular meeting Monday to discuss potential for the 55+ community off U.S. Hwy. 15-501, south of the Moncure Pittsboro Road. The future Chatham Park Way would bisect the neighborhood, which would also encompass part of Sanford Road.

Jamie Schwedler, a partner at Raleigh’s Parker Poe Attorneys & Counselors at Law, filed the petition as a representative of PulteGroup Inc. and other vested parties.

The land — about 741 acres — is now zoned for heavy industrial and residential-agricultural uses. Schwedler has requested the property be rezoned as low-density residential. She has also petitioned the board for a special use permit to build a planned-unit development including no more than 2,223 one-family detached residences and townhomes, club houses and other amenity buildings.

Chris Raughley, vice president of land entitlements and development at PulteGroup — the country’s third largest home construction company ranked by closings — attended the hearings to explain why Pittsboro might benefit from an age-restricted community.

“In Pittsboro, there’s a significant aging population,” he said. “And persons 55 and older are expected to continue to move to the area.”

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which Raughley shared in his presentation, the median age in Pittsboro is 42.8 — 10% higher than elsewhere across the greater Triangle area and North Carolina as a whole. About 14% of Pittsboro residents are between 60 and 69 years old, and 10% are 80 years old and older, “more than double the rate for Durham/Chapel Hill, and more than double the rate for North Carolina as a whole,” Raughley said.

“So based on the trends and our experience in anticipating demand in the active adult housing market,” he added, “the project will meet the growing need for active adult housing in Pittsboro by providing multiple housing types in a location convenient to downtown Pittsboro.”

The rezoning and permit requests were each the subject of a dedicated public hearing. The rezoning hearing was closed and passed on to Pittsboro's planning board. The special use permit will be discussed further at a future meeting.

Commissioners and members of the public expressed varied opinions of Schwedler's request and floated several potential amendments to be further discussed when the hearing resumes.

Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify the status of the two public hearings.

Reporter D. Lars Dolder can be reached at and on Twitter @dldolder.


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  • reader123

    I listened to this entire town board meeting and while I applaud Lars Dolder for hanging in from 7 pm to 1.46 am, there are a couple of things in this story that differ from what I heard.

    Firstly only two of us spoke for the rezoning hearing: a lady who wasn't opposed but has a deed and easement issue she felt should be resolved before the adjacent area is rezoned; and I spoke totally against it which is hardly "tentative support" and I heard nothing from the Board indicating that either.

    Secondly, the public hearing on the rezoning itself was closed, not carried over, and will go to the planning Board, so could be back before the Town Board at the Sept 13 meeting, not the next one.

    The hearing on the Special Use Permit was not closed, but it was continued to Sept 13th, not the next meeting.

    My objections were and are that this area is more suited to open access moderately priced workforce housing. In addition, the town doesn't currently have water or sewer to serve this expansion of town, and for a 15-year project, tying up future capacity and area for retiree housing seems not it's best use, and the current proposal premature and too large.

    I'd like to add here that Pittsboro's population may be aging but the majority of its oldest residents either couldn't afford to move to this Townsend project or want to stay in their homes. This will be virtually all relocating retirees. These same developers are already planning to include a large amount of this age-restricted housing into Chatham Park, so there is going to be plenty for those locals who do want to move to it, if they can afford to.

    Thursday, August 12 Report this