Chatham official lauds proposed ‘Chatham Park’ mixed-use project

Sep. 11, 2013 @ 05:43 PM

At a development-focused briefing in Chapel Hill on Wednesday, a Chatham County leader championed the proposed mixed-use Chatham Park development as one of several job-creating proposals envisioned in the county. 
Called Chatham Park, the proposed project is about 7,100 acres on the eastern side of Pittsboro. It would include new residential construction, an “emerging technology park” and other commercial development, and would potentially add more than 50,000 people to the area.
Brian Bock, vice chairman of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners, said at a development briefing organized by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Chatham chambers of commerce on Wednesday that the project, as well as other development proposals, could help bring jobs and diversify the county’s tax base.
“I really believe that Chatham County is the place to be,” Bock said.
The Chatham Park project is spearheaded by Preston Development Co. of Carym and two co-founders of Cary-based SAS, the business analytics software company, are investors in it.
Philip Culpepper, a consulting planner for the Chatham Park project, said at Wednesday’s briefing that the development is envisioned as taking growth coming out of Cary and Apex in Wake County.
“The denser the town allows us to develop, the more we will be able to preserve,” Culpepper also said, adding that while he said there’s fear that the large development would be wrapping around the smaller Pittsboro, it would also aim to be developed in a way that would preserve the natural environment.
Culpepper also said they’re envisioning a development with 27 zones. He said allowing for intermingled uses, allowing for office construction, for example, near single-family homes or apartments.
A re-zoning proposal for the project has been submitted to the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners for consideration. Two public hearings have been held on the proposal, and it’s now in the hands of a committee.
Pittsboro Commissioner Pamela Baldwin, a member of the committee that includes one other commissioner as well as town staff and school officials, said in a phone interview Wednesday that they’re reviewing and getting input about the proposal. They plan to report out from the committee to the board at a work session, she said.
“We haven’t made any final decisions, we’re still in review, that’s why we have this particular committee,” Baldwin said, adding that they’re also reviewing the input from the public hearings. They’re not operating on a particular timeline, she said.