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Author Topic: Chatham adds six months to development moratorium  (Read 10319 times)
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Gene Galin
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« on: June 03, 2008, 09:28:16 PM »

Chatham adds six months to development moratorium

Chatham County has extended for six months its moratorium on residential development, saying it needs more time to finish revisions to land-use rules.

The county's board of commissioners voted Monday to extend the ban, which was enacted in June 2007 in response to concerns that the county is growing too quickly.

"We have made major strides with the activities outlined in the original moratorium ordinance approved last June," George Lucier, the board of commissioners' chairman, said in a statement. "However, important components are still being reviewed and adjusted due to changing circumstances and public input. Rushing to get such important issues resolved would not serve the county or its citizens effectively. The six-month extension will allow us the time we need to make sure that proposed amendments have been subjected to a thorough examination and public input."

The county's ban does not apply to Chatham's two incorporated municipalities, Pittsboro and Siler City. It applies to developments with 26 or more residential lots, not commercial real estate, and is now set to expire Dec. 2.

Chatham's moratorium was put into place by a group of slow-growth advocates who rode strong support into office in 2006. It was floated as a temporary ban that would allow the county time to reconsider its rules governing growth.

Those revisions have been more complicated than originally thought, Lucier's statement says, pointing to the resignation of the county attorney and the recent drought as factors that muddied the process.
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ncbeachbumb
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2008, 11:40:14 AM »

Wake up George, there's already a self imposed development moratorium.  Adding your little BOCs announcement just adds more negative fodder to an already bad economy.  And your little "rules" and "ordinances" will make sure it stays that way.  But that's ok with you, isn't it.  I mean, you don't care if the building industry was the best thing this county had to new jobs creation.  Just so long as you and you Coalitionista friends can sit in their little .25 acre back yards in Fearington and enjoy their view on other peoples land.
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Claude Bowles
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2008, 08:36:45 PM »

You forgot to mention the socialists.
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Linda Felt
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2008, 08:58:14 PM »


And the hippies.

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Linda Felt
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2008, 08:58:56 PM »


And the artists.

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Linda Felt
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2008, 08:59:33 PM »


And Orange County residents.

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belle
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2008, 08:59:53 PM »

who .25 acre lots? excuse me?
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Bill Russell
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2008, 08:14:28 AM »

Wake up George, there's already a self imposed development moratorium.  Adding your little BOCs announcement just adds more negative fodder to an already bad economy.  And your little "rules" and "ordinances" will make sure it stays that way.  But that's ok with you, isn't it.  I mean, you don't care if the building industry was the best thing this county had to new jobs creation.  Just so long as you and you Coalitionista friends can sit in their little .25 acre back yards in Fearington and enjoy their view on other peoples land.

Beachbumb,
   The Triangle saw an increase of 26% in inventory YTD between June 2007-2008 vs. 12% over the previous year. The increase in inventory has more than DOUBLED, where, nationally, we have seen a -13% decline in new home sales and a +2.5% INCREASE in home starts/permits over the first 6 months of this year!! Looking at the median price point of homes in our area, 2 years ago the median price jumped from $209,900 to $249,900; almost 20% in a year. This past year saw less than a 1% increase in median price. The conclusion here: building has not been hamstrung at all, and appears to have remained a solid means of employment. Seems as though you should be blaming the basic principles of supply and demand. Why add inventory in a declining market, and further tax the infrastructure that has yet to catch up? That issue alone will ultimately spell doom for the housing market here if we don't clean it up.
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Linda Felt
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2008, 08:17:40 AM »


Wow, it's a thoughtful, reasoned non-scapegoating analysis based on numbers.  What a concept!

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Big Mo
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2008, 10:27:17 AM »

   

... The Triangle saw an increase of 26% in inventory YTD between June 2007-2008 vs. 12% over the previous year.

Bill,   This was for the TRIANGLE, not Chatham.    Are the Chatham numbers similar?  Higher?  Lower?

Is there not a DELAY FACTOR HERE.   When were those houses added to inventory STARTED?   vs When did the moratorium kick in?  Any reason to believe the 2007-2008 rate will continue?   

Care to venture a guess on what the rate of inventory growth will be for Chatham for June 2008-2009?

Figures are ALWAYS helpful.  But often they do require further analysis ....

 

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Bill Russell
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2008, 12:17:48 PM »

Mo,
  No need for the tone. I wasn't attacking Beachbumb. The numbers included Raleigh, Durham and the Surrounding Municipalities (incl. North Chatham-where almost all of the new construction is taking place). I'll admit that any data set when subjected to rigorous scrutiny will always show it's weakness. I simply just provided it to establish a macro perspective of the Triangle and the US. The bottom line is: with or without a moratorium, it is not wise to be building right now. We have a receding economy and building more houses isn't going to fix that, in Chatham or anywhere else. That's all.
BTW, most of the numbers correspond to homes in the median price point. These are the ones that sell more readily, and if they are not selling in the Triangle, they are far more likely to not sell here as well. Chatham County had a total of 192 closings in the 200-300K range as of June 2008 YTD out of a total of about 4500 listings (existing homes incl.). The previous year had only about 215 or so out of maybe 5000+ listings. Less than 5% of the actual inventory moved in the median range. Not looking good from that standpoint. Yet, during that same period we have seen very little falloff in the building trade, particularly those in the much higher ranges (e.g. Chapel Ridge, Legacy, Windfall, Bingham Ridge, etc.) The average days on the market for these properties will cause even the most well-heeled builder to panic. Times are tough, but, yet, they continue to build. So, Mo, I am not looking to go tit for tat here. I am simply trying to offer substance rather than engage in an endless, emotionally-charged pi**ing contest. Tell me what data you would like to see and I will gladly offer it up.
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Big Mo
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2008, 03:14:58 PM »

Bill,

Sorry you caught a "tone" there.  Thought it was just my normally didactic self!     Cheesy

And I was not trying to defend beachbumb ... just trying - perhaps in a too indirect way - to signal my dismay with the moratorium - both the original one and the extension. 

I do not think this sort of negative govt action is at all helpful in trying to move towards a financially healthy and continued good-to-live-in community.  We need more balanced development, especially higher end residential, along with commercial and retail.

My sense is that there is a backlog of residential development already in the pipeline - and the BOC knows it and is already making plans to spend the increased revenues coming in from this residential development.  How fast that backlog gets built out is a major question for everybody.

My sense also is that we are NOT at all agreed on what sorts of REALISTIC future scenarios we want for retail and commercial development.   The recent proposed zoning changes along with the moratorium reflect that ambiguity.  And that ambiguity is certainly a turnoff to many developers.  They have to have a much clearer view of the future climate for development and growth in Chatham County.

The data I would like to see are anything that will persuade me and others that the funds being spent by our govt right now are being spent well and wisely.  I would like to see figures showing how fast County revenues have increased the last few years compared to population growth over the same time frame.  And I would like to see more data for the school system over the last 5 years compared to increases in student population. 

The bottom line is a Reaganesque Q:  Do you feel better off today because of the increases in Chatham County govt expenditures?   And is there a real need for the proposed tax increase at this time - or is it just some sort of "punishment" for rejecting the Land Transfer Tax referendum? 
 

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ncbeachbumb
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2008, 03:24:40 PM »

You need to go back to playing basketball Mr. Russel.

To say "we have seen very little fall off..." in the high end places like Chapel Ridge, Legacy, etc. shows just how out of touch your are with this subject.  Let's review.

1)  Crescent Communities has essentially shut down Parks at Meadowview.  They also shut down, indefinitely, any development of their "Williams Pond" project in Bynum for the foreseeable future.

2)  Many other developments have followed suit.

3)  Major Triangle banks, including Suntrust and Capital, will not loan money to builders for ANY spec houses being built in Chatham County at this time, due to the length of time these houses are sitting.  Since the first of the year, Legacy has sold one lot, and one house, period.

There is a MAJOR shutdown in the construction industry taking place in Chatham County.  So you can throw all the numbers and facts you want to throw, but this is the fact right now in Chatham County.  Why don't you ask the management over at Lowes Home Improvement how things are going.

My point is, this is a very bad time for the building industry in general, and it is much worse than other parts of the triangle right here in Chatham.  Why?  Because the current BOC with the help of folks like Linda and Bowles has sent the message loud and clear.  If you want to build in Chatham, especially Commercial, it's going to be painful.  So all those folks who would like to live at Parks of Meadowview up Old Graham Rd. have determined it will be some time until shopping and a grocery store come anywhere close and opting to look elsewhere, like back in Wake County.

For those of you fighting growth and development.  I can only summarize your trust account, your retirement account, your daddy, or your job outside Chatham County must not at all be tied to the economy thus your desire to choose your view out your back door over a healthy County and area economy.  For the rest of us who do depend on a relatively good economy to make it, and I think I'm speaking for the majority of residents in Chatham...we better hope there is a wind of change in our local government, and soon.  The signs all point to this being the start of very ugly economic times in the Country, the likes we have not seen since the Great Depression.  And if your local economy is not somewhat recession proof, you will likely see most of the remaining jobs and opportunity going elsewhere.
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peacefulcapitalist
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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2008, 03:59:12 PM »

What all these statistics about how poorly the county's development industry is currently doing show is in fact the opposite of what our developer advocates in the county want you to think.

As the beachdumb has pointed out, Legacy has sold one lot all year, and several builders who already have approvals are not building. (btw people like beachdumb poo-pooed several of us who doubted there was a market for so many million dollar houses in Chatham in the first place, which makes you wonder who really knows how much about our market, but that's another story)

Since these builders already have all their approvals, they are not being hurt by so-called anti-development policies being considered now because those polices do not apply to them.  The reason they are not building is because of a poor market for housing, which is nationwide.  You could bring back the Axis of Bunk tomorrow and re-implement their policies and it would not cause a single additional house to be built or sold in a year when the market is tanked. 

To make claims that the county's newly thoughtful land use policies are the cause of slowdowns in existing developments that already have all their approvals is laughable at best.  In fact those policies would tend to help these developments, decreasing the competition in the new homes market.

The fact of the matter is that when the market is bad, builders do not build and when the market is good builders will build.  And if the county has policies that require more thoughtful planning, more contributions to infrastructure, and a positive impact on the county in place when the market is good, builders will adapt to them.  Just look at Cary and Chapel Hill, which probably have the strictest and most expensive development standards in the state.  During good times Cary's high impact fees and strict regulations did nothing to deter building there, and in bad times (like the S&L crisis) building there slowed down even with pro-development town leaders.   In Chapel Hill, despite constant developer and conservative teeth gnashing about how hard it is to build there, developments like Meadowmont and Southern village somehow managed to get built when the market was good enough to support them.

When the tenor of county development policies matter is when the market is good and development is going on.  Then developers are urgently trying to push developments through and a moratorium would hurt them because they are missing out on a good market.  In a bad market the moratorium doesn't hurt so bad because let's face it, they wouldn't be building anyway, as the beachdumb has so clearly shown us with his statistics.  So this is actually the perfectly correct time to have this moratorium so that when the market picks up again, the rules are in place and developers know exactly what is expected of them. 

Because I'm sure even the beachdumb knows, even if won't admit it because of his politics, the content of the regulations isn't as important to developers as the stability.  If they know what the rules will be, they will play by them when there is lots of money to be made, so let's make the rules so that they benefit the whole county and not just the developers.  When the market is good, they will build, and they will do it on our terms.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 04:01:32 PM by peacefulcapitalist » Logged

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ncbeachbumb
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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2008, 04:52:50 PM »

I have never said all these houses will sell.

Here is what I would have said, if I said anything.

No free market economy, where the market supply and demand run naturally, would have or could have produced the over saturated situation we now have for "high end" lots and housing.  It was the fear of loosing entitlements brought on by the anti-growth advocates that created a false sense of shortage and "get in while you can" attitude that created the run on land for development and the "Bunkey" syndrome which leads us to where we are.  So we are all to blame.

So now we have a glut of what I call "residential potential".  Potential because right now, we have a bunch of approved "high end" lots with no houses and no buyers.  What would help turn things around?  Commercial development.  But what does the BOC do?  It continues down a slow growth path and creates non business friendly ordinances, many of which are out of favor with Chatham voters, and essentially kills commercial development along our major corridors.  Only this time, we're in a real recession, and one that's likely to get much worse before it gets better.  So instead of swinging back if and when things ever improve, we are likely to see things get much worse.  Thank goodness Pittsboro at least has Mr. Goodnight to swim against the proverbial tide and build something that may help.  But it will be on his terms.
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