Land Use and Regional Planning

When I took office in December 2006, Chatham County was suffering from rampant residential growth and limited or no business growth. This imbalance was stressing our schools and infrastructure capacity, while at the same time stressing our residential tax base. Chatham’s ordinances were outdated and ineffective in managing growth. They were limited in fostering economic development and in protecting our environment. In the last three years the Commissioners have made major changes to those ordinances to encourage economic growth, protect our environment, and retain our rural character. Here are some specifics:

  • To increase effectiveness, improve communication and lower costs, we merged and integrated several county departments and services under the Sustainable Communities Department. This Department now includes Planning, Permitting, Transportation, Affordable Housing and Green Building initiatives.
  • The Board amended our subdivision and zoning ordinances to increase public participation earlier in the process, to prevent sprawl, and to encourage commercial / business development.
  • We amended our watershed and soil erosion and sedimentation control ordinances and created a storm water control ordinance to prevent adverse impacts of new development on our rivers and streams.
  • To encourage economic growth, preserve open space and restrict unwanted businesses (adult entertainment centers, for example) the major highway corridors in Chatham County have been zoned. This decision permits neighbors to have a say in development that directly impacts their property values and quality of life.
  • The County is working on a joint land use plan with Cary for the east side of Jordan Lake. This plan will protect Jordan Lake, allow us to take economic advantage of our proximity to Research Triangle Park, and will limit Cary annexation.
  • To secure Chatham’s long term water needs, we are working with regional partners, the Division of Water Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers to build a water treatment plant on the west side of Jordan Lake. Negotiations are progressing very well. This is incredibly important to the future of Chatham County.
  • We have obtained approval from the NC Department of the Environment and Natural Resources to begin the process of building a wastewater treatment plant in Chatham County. During the next four years, we will conduct an extensive and public process on priorities for a wastewater treatment plant. I pledge to work with Pittsboro, Siler City and Goldston to determine how our allocation should be used to both encourage economic development and protect our environment.
  • The county has drafted a farmland preservation plan which recognizes the importance of agriculture to Chatham’s future. I will work to implement this plan during the next four years.
  • We are considering major revisions to our Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Quality of life issues are critical determinants for companies considering Chatham County, and for those planning on expanding in Chatham. I will work to adopt and implement a plan that is both cost effective and attractive to prospective companies.