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Author Topic: N&O: Preston's developer thinks bigger, proposes new 22,000 home city in Chatham  (Read 3829 times)
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chathamgardener
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« on: February 02, 2014, 12:44:42 PM »

This is the front page story of today's edition of the N&O.


Preston's developer thinks bigger, proposes new 22,000 home city in Chatham County

by Andrew Kenney

CHATHAM COUNTY — Bob Epting’s tour-guide narration cut in loudly over the headsets as his Piper Cub droned a few hundred feet over a four-lane highway. Down below, the county’s first Walmart and the curls of a few subdivisions looked like islands in the trees and haze.

“We used to call this the ‘Big Woods,’ ” the longtime Chapel Hill lawyer said. “ … Thomas Wolfe said, ‘The forest creeps up on Chapel Hill like a great beast,’ and you can see what he was talking about.”

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/02/01/3580353/prestons-developer-thinks-bigger.html#storylink=cpy
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chathamfan
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2014, 02:06:49 PM »

Thanks for posting this article.

It is the first time I have seen a map of the entire scope of the project.

Wow.

I remember when Carrboro struggled with approval of it's first 5 story building.  There was a funny cartoon in the paper with a drawing that depicted " 5zilla"  a play on Godzilla.   It was the presence of a solid,  well thought out and supported "Carrboro vision" that gave comfort.   Carrboro was choosing to be built out in the manner of the Italian "hill towns".   High density "city" with very clear borders separating city from surrounding country.

The map of the proposed Chatham Park looks like "The Thing" to me.   It overwhelms too much.  Whatever integrity there is in Pittsboro proper gets devoured.   This seems not to represent a flow of development into a greater vision held by the Town/County.   It represents the vision of the developers.   Their vanity comes boldly across . . . something the "world" will come see.

Gail
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zorro
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2014, 08:15:23 PM »

Private development planning vs public planning drama playing out right here in Pittsboro.

Discredited attorney and overall loser Jeff Starkweather and his imaginary Pittsboro Matters group vs the job creating making Jim Goodnight.

Who are you going to bet your money on?
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2014, 11:15:29 PM »

Well we know who has the money and judging by this quote "something" is going to happen:

If Pittsboro doesn’t cooperate, Smith said he could circumvent the town and build a research center or smaller county-based subdivisions. He also could petition the legislature to make Chatham Park its own city. Smith stressed that he did not intend to make a threat of those possibilities.

What that "something" is seems to be in Pittsboro's hands (at the moment)


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Grumble69
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2014, 12:12:57 AM »

Private development planning vs public planning drama playing out right here in Pittsboro.

Discredited attorney and overall loser Jeff Starkweather and his imaginary Pittsboro Matters group vs the job creating making Jim Goodnight.

Who are you going to bet your money on?

Keep in mind that there are a lot of people that are against this project that have zero connection to Jeff or Pittsboro Matters. 

Personally I thought the N&O article did a good job of capturing both sides of the debate.
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oakrunfarm
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2014, 08:58:03 AM »

Private development planning vs public planning drama playing out right here in Pittsboro.

Discredited attorney and overall loser Jeff Starkweather and his imaginary Pittsboro Matters group vs the job creating making Jim Goodnight.

Who are you going to bet your money on?

Keep in mind that there are a lot of people that are against this project that have zero connection to Jeff or Pittsboro Matters. 

Personally I thought the N&O article did a good job of capturing both sides of the debate.

I agree with you 100% grumble. And the more I read about the whole thing, the more uneasy it makes me.

Seeing the scope of the project on a map was really sobering. It's going to be a total "run the gauntlet" mess of a commute for those of us who live in the western part of the county. The entire scope of our area would change with this "Insta-city."

When I read that part of the article that talked about letting the area develop at a more leisurely (read, natural) pace, I was thinking, "I am all for that!"

The idea of this whole thing getting shoe-horned into Chatham, by-passing all of the controls (wisely) put into place to keep willy-nilly and poorly-planned development from occurring, makes me very leery.

No one who has a realistic outlook could ever believe that there will be no development after the amount of money that has already been sunk into the project. I am all for more jobs, more opportunities, etc., for Chatham. But I am certainly NOT in favor of supporting someone with an overblown sense of self-importance (developer) who sees us all as a ways to a means to "go out with a bang."

Rightly or wrongly, his veiled threats to just do it on their own make me want to say, "Have at it!"
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2014, 09:19:02 AM »

Private development planning vs public planning drama playing out right here in Pittsboro.

Discredited attorney and overall loser Jeff Starkweather and his imaginary Pittsboro Matters group vs the job creating making Jim Goodnight.

Who are you going to bet your money on?

Keep in mind that there are a lot of people that are against this project that have zero connection to Jeff or Pittsboro Matters. 

Personally I thought the N&O article did a good job of capturing both sides of the debate.

...
When I read that part of the article that talked about letting the area develop at a more leisurely (read, natural) pace, I was thinking, "I am all for that!"

The idea of this whole thing getting shoe-horned into Chatham, by-passing all of the controls (wisely) put into place to keep willy-nilly and poorly-planned development from occurring, makes me very leery.

No one who has a realistic outlook could ever believe that there will be no development after the amount of money that has already been sunk into the project. I am all for more jobs, more opportunities, etc., for Chatham. But I am certainly NOT in favor of supporting someone with an overblown sense of self-importance (developer) who sees us all as a ways to a means to "go out with a bang."

Rightly or wrongly, his veiled threats to just do it on their own make me want to say, "Have at it!"

So a more leasurely pace?  That's what we've had.   Leveraged developers who are on the edge on insolvency.   This project is exactly opposite of what you describe, and they carry no debt.   What you are describing is sprawl, and if I was going to guess, I bet you hate sprawl too. 

So oak, I don't know you, but imagine you are having a heart attack.   How fast do you think you'll could get to UNC chapel hill?  Now if this development happens, and they bring the hospital, how hast could you get to a new hospital near Lowes.   

Well I suppose if you are successful I'm sure UNC will still build a hospital for the area.
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mary51802
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2014, 09:29:29 AM »

This is true Muddy... statistics show the more healthcare there is available the healthier the population is.
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oakrunfarm
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2014, 10:12:58 AM »

As I mentioned, I know that development is still going to take place, and that the people who currently own the property (not by "Leveraged developers who are on the edge on insolvency") will be doing the developing.

And if by "sprawl," you mean people not living a$$ to elbow, I guess that IS what I want.

When I moved here (from Raleigh), I knew all about the available facilities, or lack thereof. Six years into living here, no broadband. No problem. I knew that when I moved here. Drive 50 miles to work? Check. Half hour to store? Sure. Drive to Chapel Hill to hospital? What I signed up for when we bought/built here.

If all of that was that important to me, I would have stayed in Raleigh! (Or moved to Cary if I wanted to be a Stepford Wife.) I can not find a word that describes how much I absolutely LOATHE (comes closest) Cary. And that is reason number 1 this whole thing is so unpalatable to me. It's like Cary West.

And just so it is clear, directly from the article, here is what I personally want - "If Pittsboro doesn’t cooperate, Smith said he could circumvent the town and build a research center or smaller county-based subdivisions."

Works for me. Just my own personal opinion, fwiw.

Also from the article, here is what I DON'T want:

"60,000 people, 22,000 homes and clusters of corporate campuses all spread across 7,500 acres.
Chatham Park would be the largest private development in North Carolina’s recent history.
It would transform the town of Pittsboro.
...loosening town rules for its development.
Chatham Park could overwhelm Pittsboro’s culture and its environment.
Within three years, construction could be in full swing.
Chatham Park could make Pittsboro a new city.
Smith thinks he can reinvent the way people live in the Triangle.
Chatham Park’s housing may be more expensive on average and that transit would be a long way off.
...it gives the developer leeway to reformulate plans, excuses Chatham Park from building height and setback rules, and leaves much to be decided later.
If Chatham Park were approved today, Smith would have two more years to submit master plans for issues ranging from public art to stormwater controls and public services.
In a fully built Chatham Park, the current residents of Pittsboro would go from 100 percent of the town’s population to 8 percent."

No thanks...
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 10:25:31 AM by oakrunfarm » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2014, 11:05:25 AM »

It sounds like you are describing two different scenarios.   On one hand you do not want Cary.  Cary was just unplanned expansion with no overall planning, this project is planned on the large scale as Cary wasn't.   So I think what you are advocating is a new Cary if they are force to sell off/build as disconjoined subdivisions.   I think they are striving not to be Cary west.   



Is the reason many of the Pittsboro Matters people actually live outside of Pittsboro because these people will not benefit like people living inside the city limits?  IE   New water and sewage treatment facilities?
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Muddylaces
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2014, 11:54:47 AM »

BTW OAK....I'm not crazy about living in a town that is 60000 people.   I'll probably move if I don't like what I see, I'm free to do that, just as a land owner should be relatively free to develop his own land.
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oakrunfarm
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2014, 12:59:24 PM »

To be honest, I am not sure what to expect. I don't feel as though enough details have been released about exactly what is going to happen for me to be able to make an informed decision about it. And that is actually one of the things that worries me about it.

It's my own personal opinion that things just need to be slowed down and the scale reduced. I think 60k people on 7k acres is just far too many. I feel the scope of the project is too large and overwhelming. It's obvious that all the developer wants to do is forge ahead, stuff as many homes and businesses in as is humanly possible, make as many bucks as he can, and put his name up in lights. It scares the hell out of me that one man's hubris could affect us all on such a mammoth scale.

I don't live in Pittsboro, but I do spend time and dollars there. I get my hair cut and nails done in town. I go to fitness classes twice a week at the Horton School. We do about half our grocery shopping at the Pig and FL and CM. We do any incidental shopping and dining out we can in P'boro to keep our dollars in the county. Even though I don't live in the city limits, I do feel we are a part of the community, and I feel a certain amount of protectiveness to see the area retain its feel through growth.

We live out in the country on acreage to the west of Pittsboro, so we can insulate ourselves to some degree from all of this. I worked hard when we moved here to try to make sure we would be affected minimally by any large local growth. I spent hours poring over any large scale land holdings making sure nothing was in the works for where we selected. I feel horrible for the people who will have this all right up on top of them if and when it occurs.

I don't have any affiliation with and only minimal knowledge of Pittsboro Matters, but I am in complete agreement with their assertion that this whole thing needs to be slowed WAY down. In my case, not getting benefit from infrastructure improvements or additions is none of the reason I am opposed to this mega-development - it's the sheer scale of it. (I have never spoken with any member of that organization, so I don't know what their motivations are, so I can only speak for myself.)

I know for a fact it is going to happen. But there's only one chance to have any say in how it is done. Only one. And we had BETTER take the time to get it right.
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Grumble69
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2014, 01:16:18 PM »

Neither option is particularly appealing (large, dense urban city vs unplanned, urban sprawl).  I would be onboard with this project if it was about 1/3rd the size.

Personally I think the smartest move would be for the board to reject the current plan outright.  And then invite the developer to work collaboratively with the town.  Town government doesn't need to be involved with every minor decision.  But the town should have a strong say in its own future and be able to provide some rough parameters what it's looking for.  And the developer could reapply with a new plan.  

...if the developer wants to be a hard rear end, he can go define his legacy somewhere else.  Given that so much of this property is within Pittsboro's jurisdiction, I honestly don't think he's going to have a lot of luck creating his own city.  Any petition he comes up with for the state legislature would have strong opposition from us if it is too close to us.  Plus, time is not on his side.  He'll be getting his prune pudding spoon fed to him before he can get all those pieces into play.  The easier & faster course of action would be to come up with a new, better master plan that more people can agree on.
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2014, 01:24:29 PM »

Well said Oakrunfarm, and pretty much my sentiments!

I've not entered this 'fray' too much, as I had enough intestinal twisting with B. Chapel~

Grumble, THINK 751 South project and how it received it's final approval to forge on~the crooked legislature.
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2014, 02:57:22 PM »

Meanwhile, RTP Foundation has announced plans for a new residential/business park within RTP that will add 100,000 new jobs.  They said that the proposed expansion is not due to the growth of Raleigh's Centennial Campus or the proposed Chatham Park, which I find very hard to believe.

http://wraltechwire.com/rtp-foundation-acquires-land-eyes-3-billion-in-investment-100k-jobs/13355426/
http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/2014/02/rtp-unveils-plan-to-create-100000-new.html
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