About 200 people packed an auditorium for Monday night's meeting.
PITTSBORO, N.C. -
Following a marathon five hour meeting, including four hours of public comment on Monday night, Pittsboro town councilors tabled a vote on the master plan for a new 7,000-acre business and residential park.
Chatham Park is a planned development on the edge of Pittsboro that could bring thousands of jobs and 55,000 new residents to a town that now only has about 4,000 residents. Some have called the plans similar to the Research Triangle Park, where people can live and work in the same community.
Mayor Randy Voller had wanted the vote to happen on Monday night, his last in office. The council voted 4-1 to table it instead.
The town will also hire an outside planning consultant to review the master plan.
CLICK HERE for the Chatham Park Development Proposed Master Plan
About 200 people filled an auditorium in the old courthouse downtown for Monday night's council meeting. Many of them questioned why a vote on the master plan was taking place just a few days after that plan was made public.
Critics say the vote was happening too soon before an impact statement on the Haw River and Jordan Lake could be finalized and before county commissioners could develop a plan to build new schools.
"Somebody's in a big hurry to get this approved," Dee Reid said. "It's way premature. This is the largest mixed-use development in the history of the state of North Carolina."
The project would be completed over a period of time spanning a couple of decades. While most spoke out against the plan, some did speak in favor of it saying some were not giving developers enough credit.
"Anyone who has a specific issue should meet with this developer," Kathie Russell said. "I think it's a disservice to you all to say that you're rushing this because I think that you have built in things that will allow you to slow down the process to take control."
The item only appeared on Monday night's agenda at the end of last week. Critics accused the out-going mayor of trying to fast track an item he's championed for years without a full vetting. Voller denied those claims Monday night.
"A leader is supposed to make tough choices, and they're supposed to come forward and lead for the people," Voller said. "That's why I said, 'Look, I would like to get this done. I've been working on this for 7 years. Let's get this to a point where its finished and then pass the baton clean, and then deal with the next 24 months of actual plans.'"
Mayor-elect Bill Terry will be sworn in in 2 weeks. He's on the record saying he supports slowing down the process. The mayor does not vote on the master plan.
It's unclear when the master plan will return for a vote.
Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms.More>>