PITTSBORO — Plan Moncure, the small area plan created to address development related to VinFast and other potential adjacent investments, has entered its second phase. Consultants are now seeking input from local residents to shape the next steps of the project.
At the Chatham County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night, White & Smith LLC, the lead consultants on Plan Moncure, said they’re on track to present a final draft of recommendations to commissioners by July. Officials from White & Smith shared a presentation on the progress of the plan at the Chatham Agriculture & Conference Center in Pittsboro.
The total study area in Moncure encompasses more than 67,000 acres. According to the consultants, though, only about 35,000 of those acres are usable for development. The remaining land will be protected for agriculture, forestry and conservation.
Because of VinFast’s new manufacturing facility and other anticipated development in Moncure, the area should see massive growth in the next two decades. About 4,000 residents live in the study area now. Between 2030 to 2040, however, the population is expected to grow 35%, or an average of 1.75% growth per year. Over that same period in the Research Triangle, the population is expected to grow 24%.
White & Smith’s analysis of the current population found the Moncure area has a higher density of Black and Latino residents than the rest of the county. Existing residents also see lower educational attainment, but also have low unemployment rates with many in blue-collar jobs such as construction.
The median home price for Moncure is $300,000, which is higher than most of the Research Triangle, according to White & Smith, but lower than the average for Chatham County. The consultants said affordability in the Moncure area is a persistent challenge for the region as it moves forward. Data presented showed that the study area is about 80% affordable when comparing average wage with average home price, which is well below the state average of 122%.
The third phase of Plan Moncure is heavily focused on community engagement. The official website for the project was launched last week. County planners and consultants on the project are also beginning virtual and in-person stakeholder interviews with Moncure residents. The residents being by county officials and White & Smith interviewed are gathered through the county and community organizations.
With the launch of the website, Plan Moncure also delivered postcards to residents with links to surveys for feedback and information about upcoming events. Information about the project will be posted at the Moncure Collection Center, which will be used as a Planning Hub Kiosk.
On Tuesday, the Plan Moncure team held listening sessions at the Moncure Fire Station to gather input and answer community questions. The team will also host an open house from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, at Moncure School for presentations and one-on-one, informal discussions with the team experts and the public.
No formal action was taken on this item.
• Commissioners unanimously approved a request by the Chatham County ABC Board to increase board members' monthly compensation and increase the annual salary of the Chatham County ABC General Manager. Members of the ABC Board said the increase was long overdue and the financial impact would be minimal.
• A letter of commitment was approved by commissioners showing support to make Chatham County part of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.
Board Chairperson Karen Howard said she hoped being part of the network would help Chatham become a place where residents can age in place in a safe and healthy manner. She also said she hoped the county would look to build strong transit networks to support the transportation of aging populations. County Manager Dan LaMontagne said being part of the AARP network could open doors for the county for additional grant money for projects it may pursue centered on supporting seniors.
• The remaining vacancies on the planning board were filled. At the January meeting, Commissioners Mike Dasher (Dist. 2), David Delaney (Dist. 3) and Katie Kenlan (Dist. 4) postponed their planning board appointments. Those positions were filled Monday by Amanda Robertson (Dist. 2), Kent Jones (Dist. 3), Shelley Colbert (Dist. 3), and Allison Weakly (Dist. 4). Robertson will fill an unexpired term ending December 31, 2024. Weakly, Colbert and Jones will all fill seats with terms ending December 31, 2026.
The new appointments were approved in the consent agenda for Monday’s meeting, meaning they were not discussed in open session with the public. The new appointees join George Lucier, Mary Roodkowsky, Tony Maher, Eric Andrews and Norma Hernandez.
Commissioner Mike Dasher was absent from the meeting.
The next scheduled Chatham Board of Commissioners meeting is at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 6, at the Chatham Agriculture & Conference Center in Pittsboro. For more information visit www.chathamcountync.gov/government/board-of-commissioners.
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