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Author Topic: On Living in Chatham County: What's Its Future? Pros & Cons of Population Growth  (Read 9284 times)
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Gene Galin
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« on: June 07, 2008, 07:07:19 AM »

On Living in Chatham County, NC: What's Its Future? Pros and Cons of Population Growth and Development

http://jimbuie.blogs.com/journal/2008/06/chatham-county.html

North Carolina's population is projected to double by 2035, moving from the 11th largest state to the sixth or seventh largest state. Chatham County, where I live, is expected to leap from 60,000 in 2008 to at least 120,000 by or before 2035. Perhaps there will be much faster growth, depending on economic conditions and the response of local government.

When I arrived here in late 2006, there was talk that Chatham could become "the new Cary-Apex," which grew from a few thousand people in 1968 to more than 120,000 in 2008.

The notion that the semi-rural character of parts of North Carolina, and Chatham County could be destroyed is not welcome to my wife and me. We were lured here by the sharp contrast to the high-traffic nightmare and relatively high crime rate of the Washington, DC metro area. The idea that Chatham's population density might reach Cary's, with the inevitable crime, urban sprawl, malls, and tens of thousands of newcomers does not appeal at all.

We know we've found a good thing. After moving to the North Carolina Triangle in 2005, we shopped around for more than a year before settling on Chatham County, where we found we could get far more bang for our real estate bucks than in Chapel Hill or Raleigh.

As relative newcomers ourselves, we can't exactly push for the county gates be closed now that we've arrived.

I actually wouldn't mind a little more hustle and bustle in Chatham County, and don't fear some of the proposed development, such as an upscale grocery store (Whole Foods?) at Fearrington Place. I note that the moratorium on residential development in the county has been extended to December, 2008, to give the county water system and schools a chance to catch up in the residential developments now underway.

I think we could have the best of both worlds -- village atmosphere, small-town and semi-rural setting, enjoyment of nature, sense of place with roots, along with semi-urban opportunities nearby. And if we the citizens participate, we can help shape the character and sense of place for the future.

I am particularly intrigued by the idea of a Pittsboro-to-Chapel Hill bus route, which has been discussed on the Chatham Chatlist, and garnered more than 220 signatures on a petition. The Daily Tar Heel editorialized in favor of it:

    Between skyrocketing gas prices and increasingly difficult parking situations in Chapel Hill, we think that a public transit line would be heavily used and would soon become well worth it. In addition, it's possible that Pittsboro could receive some federal funding for the bus line.

"Chatham Character: Rustic Beauty Key to Chatham's Charm" by Daneille Jackson in Fifteen501.com magazine describes some of the challenges of growth and developments under way or in the works, including a miniature Research Triangle Park. It's well worth a read.

Most of all, Chatham County needs to preserve and promote its unique character. I hate the idea of it being overtaken by suburban sprawl that will make it look like everywhere else in the country.

Having a special sense of place is a highly marketable commodity for a county. Travel writer Robert Nebel offered his take on Fearrington Village, the Silk Home Winery, Durham barbeque, and Downtown Raleigh in The Chattanoogan.com and MensTraveler.com. I also like his travel blog, focusing mainly on places in the Southeastern U.S.

What do you think of Chatham County's growth and how would you like to see it managed?
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chathambooks
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2008, 10:23:41 AM »

I don't know much about this newcomer to Chatham, but from his post he sounds like he's interested in upscale establishments and keep a rural character.

The poster doesn't understand the demographics of your average Chatham resident. As an example, I am about to be a single mom of four kids and even before I faced being single, our family doesn't frequent Fearrington shops or Whole Foods. And I contend that my household is similar to the vast majority of Chatham residents who earn a modest living - but we aren't upper middle class and can't afford (and am not interested) to shop the fancy joints he mentioned.

I NEED to be able to shop at "regular" grocery store that offer affordable products and accept coupons so that I can stretch my dollars. I NEED to have access to shopping centers and a Target (or the like) so that I don't have to pack my four kids in my van and blow crazy money on gas and time in ANOTHER COUNTY to get the things I need to live. Food, clothes, toys and books and other items I can't get here in Chatham. The tax revenue goes to another county and the vicious cycle continues.

Growth is here. We spent MILLIONS to build a highway to accommodate the coming growth and development.

The poster's "urban sprawl" argument is of utmost concern to me. Because of the Commissioner's insitance on a Major Corridor Ordinance, the sprawl you complain about will be forced INTO our neighborhoods because business will not be able to develop within 1500 feet of the highway. This will increase crime and traffic right in our neighborhoods!! He oughtta look into that. THAT'S urban sprawl.

Bottom line - the poster needs to "come on in" to reality. If you want fancy living - move to Fearrington or Governor's Club and close off the rest of the world, for goodness sake. But the workin' folks in Chatham can't afford and aren't interested in living the high falootin' lifestyle the poster seems to want.
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Keith_Brown
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2008, 10:31:54 AM »

http://chatham-county-nc.com/bulletinboard/index.php/topic,5916.msg62428.html#msg62428

I thought I remembered a post that the 1500 foot proposal had been superseded.

  For the 55% of the working population of Chatham that commutes to work outside the county,  keeping those major corridors as corridors and not parking lots is important.  While I'd like more shopping opportunities here, I want those who are promoting the development to be very upfront about what cost they intend to impose on those of us who have to drive past them day in and day out.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 10:37:37 AM by Keith_Brown » Logged
chathambooks
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2008, 10:38:55 AM »

Nothing has been superseded as of yet. They talk a good game to shut us up - but they are moving ahead as planned.
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natvrabit
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2008, 04:24:30 PM »

I'd think DOT's plans for 64 would supersede any local decisions along that corridor through Chatham.
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randy
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2008, 06:25:27 PM »

all I see in growth is increased tax's for us and I already got everything I need now.
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natvrabit
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2008, 06:58:16 PM »

I'd be scared sh*&less if I were building one of the shopping centers around here and see that only one lot or just a few in these developments was getting sold.  The centers up and down the roads now aren't full up. BTW
my friend that lives near the county line said she was told another center was going in there...that intersection should dwarf the wrecks at the Cole Park area Smiley
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belle
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2008, 07:19:02 PM »

I'd be scared sh*&less if I were building one of the shopping centers around here and see that only one lot or just a few in these developments was getting sold.  The centers up and down the roads now aren't full up. BTW
my friend that lives near the county line said she was told another center was going in there...that intersection should dwarf the wrecks at the Cole Park area Smiley
it would have to go some to beat Cole Park. I see fresh plastic debris almost daily. I live right near there and it is a local hobby to guess how each one happened, based on what we saw after the fact.

the close calls are never ending. the other day, I was pulling out of the Petro Mart lot (liquor store side, if that helps you picture it) onto Mann's Chapel.

someone at the old Reeses' store (Kangaroo now) pulled out straight at me. mind you, there is a cement barrier between us.

I just froze. they calmly jumped the barrier and turned west on Mann's Chapel counting on me to sit still.I had no reason at all not to turn into his path, I had right of way and they had a barrier. I just had a feeling I should wait. like Becky says, there is not enough time in this life to make that mistake. they were not looking at me, had not locked eyes or hand signal or any other sign. I don't think they saw me at all. just jumped the barrier, looking (maybe) at the intersection and hit the gas. his pick-up would have T-boned my little car.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 07:55:13 PM by belle » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2008, 08:01:29 PM »

Does anyone even notice that the liberal panic-mongers are arguing that the growth is leading to higher taxes but there is not enough growth to support the higher taxes?  Its downright insane.....or classic liberal-think.  Which is to say the same thing, I suppose. 

One cannot run around panicking about growth and complaining that we do not have enough growth. 

The growth of humanity is inevitable. We can do it wisely, as we have by developing communities that pay their share of the tax burden and more, while controlling the rate of growth of spending, OR we can do what the current board is doing, which is to spend like drunken sailors, pass tax increase after tax increase, and blame the growth which they are preventing, all the while killing jobs, and preventing others from coming.  Time for a change, for sure. But, we will not get it this time. The best we can hope for is a couple of voices on the BOC that bring some common sense to the discussions, but get outvoted in the end, by those whose fealty is to the Coalitionistas.
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2008, 08:50:21 PM »

I for one would love a whole foods grocery store and an upscale shopping center.  I am tired of driving to Cary or South Point for good quality clothing. If I could spend my money here I would be paying taxes to Chatham.
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belle
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2008, 09:34:56 PM »

I for one would love a whole foods grocery store and an upscale shopping center.  I am tired of driving to Cary or South Point for good quality clothing. If I could spend my money here I would be paying taxes to Chatham.

Pumpkin!! you said you had too much bling, you had to sell off some diamonds to get around the house. now you need to shop?

CHF- the problem was, the promoting unbridled selling of lots before there was infrastructure (schools, roads, fire and police, water, internet) in place to supply the needs of the incoming people to those lots. now it turns out they are not all millionaires, and most want county services. we are all on the bill to supply those.

the people who made money on those new lot sales live in California and Cary and are not responsible for supplying those needs, like a new water plant, and new school buildings. so those of us already here must pay taxes to support the growth of the previous, unwise, BOC.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2008, 02:27:14 AM »

Pumpkin, I believe I read the center going in across from F. Village is to have a whole foods, part of your problem solved if so.
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thriftychathamite
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2008, 07:43:57 AM »

Growth is coming whether we like it or not.  We have enough land around our home to provide a safe buffer from our neighbors but I can still hear the echoes of construction across the river from us of a new development.  What I think is crazy about the current growth of the county is the price of some of these homes.  We keep comparing our place to some of these land prices and new homes and I am amazed at the increase in property value.  My friend's mom is moving here in August and is purchasing a house for $475,000 that she was in a bidding war with two other buyers.  I saw this place and it should be 100k less.  I'm sure the tax value will be less than 300k but b/c they put a rain barrel in and a few "green" thing (passive solar and is wired for the heating under the floor) people went crazy for it. 

I am looking forward to Briar Chapel putting in some shops and restaurants.  Hopefully someone will offer to deliver to our house, finally! 

btw, chathambooks, I am a coupon lover and am all about the savings.  I stop in at Whole Foods whenever I'm in the area and they do have some items that are reasonably priced.  I think a lot of the people that shop there are conceited greenies, but they do have some items that you can get for a good price.  However, Trader Joe's kicks their butt now and if you really want to save on veggies and nuts hit that place up whenever you're on 15-501. 

I love this county.  I've lived here for 7 years and hope to stay for the rest of my life.  Things change.  At least we have so many people here who are incredibly passionate (on either side of the issue) and I truy enjoy reading and watching the heated battles.

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pumpkin
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2008, 02:58:12 PM »

Belle you have a terrific memory.  I do have too much bling, but I always need good foods and clothing.  Good to hear from you.  I have been away. native rabbit , I will certainly go over to the Whole Foods across from Fearrington.  Thanks for the information.  Hope all are having a great summer.  I am.
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2008, 05:07:19 PM »

Pumpkin, don't take it as a shoe in on WF. Just read early on it was one of the companies of interest there.
Trader Joes...LOVE those waffle cookies and the ones with Almond bits/buttery (and of course their healthier fare).  Not sure I NEED one to be closer to me. Could lead to a 3rd ca(rear) as an Goodyear BLIMP!
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