By D. Lars Dolder, Chatham News + record Employee
The Board of Commissioners went through several action points in its regular meeting on Monday and voted on land use proposals, the city ordinance on microbreweries, a resolution in support of climate change legislation in Congress and much more.
New fire truck
The board held a public hearing to review a proposed installment loan between the Pittsboro Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and First Bank to fund the purchase of a new ladder cart. The loan amount would not exceed $ 1,433,477.
While the decision to approve the loan agreement was the city commissioner’s responsibility, the PVFD had overall responsibility for repaying the loan.
“The city is not responsible for repaying the debt,” said prosecutor Paul Messick. “So it’s pretty straightforward and beneficial for the bank and the fire department.”
The commissioners unanimously voted in favor of a decision in support of the loan.
Land use and development
After discussions in several previous meetings, the board finally agreed on Monday to change the reallocation for 94.29 acres north of the US highway. Bypass 64, just south of Northwood High School Road. The land is designated for commercial use.
Much of the land was redesigned as early as 2018 to allow the construction of a small subdivision. In January, however, the developer – Eco Northwood MUPD LLC – again requested the Board to consider reallocation of parcels, this time including approximately three acres of land that had been overlooked in the original assessment.
Eco Northwood – owned by John Fugo of Durham and Kirk Bradley of Sanford – proposed an 18-lot community with a maximum of 21 lots in 2018. They changed their proposal to include 26 lots in the final iteration. The change in rededication also included the lot configuration and road revisions.
Commercial zones enable, according to a presentation by Kayleigh Mielenz, a city planner from Pittsboro, “restaurants, building services, light manufacturing, distribution and professional services”. “The development in these areas should be well planned, with street and interior plots, coordinated architectural styles, attractive signage and, if necessary, shared driveways / driveways.”
New regulation welcomes microbreweries
Red Moose Brewing, a Pittsboro-based microbrewery with plans to expand operations in the city, requested changes to the zoning ordinance to include microbreweries that are allowed under various zoning classifications: commercial neighborhood, commercial highway, central commercial, light industrial, heavy industrial and mixed-use development. The added flexibility would make Pittsboro a more welcoming place for microbreweries, which are growing in popularity across the country.
Red Moose, owned by Pittsboro-based Daniel Jenkins, also proposed in writing that a new definition of microbrewery be added to Pittsboro’s regulation that sets it apart from regular breweries: “A facility that mainly brews beer, beer and malt liquors. and non-alcoholic beer … with a capacity of less than 15,000 barrels per year in premises that are either consumed on site or sold directly to the consumer. Additional uses include a restaurant, public tasting room, and retail sale of beer or beer or related products. “
The proposed change was previously considered in a public hearing and city officials did not hear any comments from the community. On Monday, the board unanimously approved the adoption of a resolution approving the text change in the city ordinance.
Resolution in support of potential congressional legislation
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 was a US House bill that proposed charging “carbon in fuel products that emit greenhouse gases” under the Board of Directors’ agenda for its meeting. On Monday, commissioners approved a resolution to formalize their support for the 2020 iteration of the law to influence the final decision of Congress.
The decision was brought before the board of directors mainly at the behest of Commissioner John Bonitz.
“As you know, I’ve spent a good part of my career focusing on climate change,” he said, “and helping to move our economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute less to climate change. “
Bonitz works with the NC State Energy Collaborate as a specialist in clean transportation.
“The EICDA is a market-based proposal,” he said. “The focus is definitely on the market and incentives for the behaviors and technologies that cause less pollution and are more efficient.”
Should the EICDA pass, utilities such as those that operate oil wells and coal mines will have to pay $ 15 per tonne of CO2 emissions in the first year of the law. In the years to come, the fee would increase by an additional $ 10 per tonne of carbon.
The money raised from the fees is deposited into a carbon dividend trust fund, out of which administrative expenses and dividend payments can be paid to U.S. citizens or lawful residents.
However, if utilities have to pay fees, user tariffs are sure to go up, Bonitz admitted.
“But that would – more than offset for most of us – offset by that monthly dividend,” he said. “All of these fossil fuel-based fees are then paid back to citizens. It does this in a very quick and fast way, so that we actually get money in the bank or a check in the mail, for which most of us would more than make up for it and with cash in our pockets encourage us to get that small premium for a better air conditioning, a better stove, and a more efficient car to pay for. “
However, at least one commissioner was unsure whether dividends and eventual market advantage would replace higher energy rates.
“I believe that the bottom line of this pay dividend will again be down to our lower and middle citizens,” said Commissioner Jay Farrell. “If we’re going to get a dividend out of it, we’ll be sure to pay it in the long run … I’m not ready to go on, but whatever the will, the board suits me well. “
The board voted 4: 1 for the resolution, with Farrell being the only one who disagreed.
Chatham Park Final Plat Approvals
The board unanimously considered and approved three separate petitions for final approval from Chatham Park Investors, the developers of Chatham Park.
The plat record is the official approval of a subdivision or related feature for inclusion in the parish land registry. Under certain circumstances, the city may approve definitive land before a project is completed.
At least “40% of the total cost of improvements must be complete for the Board of Commissioners to consider waiving the requirement that the applicant make all public improvements prior to plat recording,” according to a presentation by senior planner Theresa Thompson .
However, approving a final sheet is not the same as approving the final product – be it a road or part of a subdivision.
“There’s a difference between accepting the final flat and accepting the street,” said city administrator Chris Kennedy. “It is an offer of devotion to sponsor a public plaza, but it will not be accepted until the board of directors makes a future decision to officially accept the road for public maintenance.”
Chatham Park Investors first applied for final approval for the northern portion of Vine Parkway. So far, 96% of the total road improvement costs have been completed and CPI has agreed to provide a letter of credit equal to 125% of the estimated remaining construction costs.
The developer offered similar security with regards to Wendover Parkway, 93% of the total cost of which was completed.
The North Subdivision Phases 4a and 4b are two sections of the larger Chatham Park project. Only 54% of their total cost was completed, but the commissioners still approved the final plat. In phase 4A, 15 detached single-family plots and eight terraced house plots will be accommodated. Phase 4B has 10 detached single-family homes.
The board discussed two possible changes to its Single Development Regulation, but took no action on Monday to approve or reject changes.
The city’s current UDO requires that all streets in small and large subdivisions be public.
“There has been some discussion in the past about whether this is within the consensus of the board,” said Thompson, the city’s chief planner, “or whether the board would like to allow the option for private roads as well, which staff recommend adding.”
Most cities, Thompson said, allow private roads, albeit under different conditions.
The commissioners agreed that the ban on private roads could hamper development and create stressful conditions for the city, which is obliged to maintain all public roads.
The current UDO also includes a comprehensive neighborhood compatibility clause that requires new construction to match the aesthetics of existing buildings and land features. Most commissioners firmly opposed such a regulation, saying it would prevent the city from maintaining its commitment to uniqueness and diversity.
“This section does not inspire any level of funky, which was one of the things we were hoping for,” said Commissioner Michael Fiocco, “to keep Pittsboro funky.”
Mayor Jim Nass agreed, fearing that the neighborhood compatibility standards “would create the opportunity – if not a reality – to demand so much equality that the very nature of the community will change over time.”
Although no decisions were taken, the commissioners agreed that they would likely choose to remove the neighborhood compatibility clause from the revised UDO.
Under state law, the UDO must be completed by July, but the commissioners will make decisions later this month.
Chapelboro.com has partnered with Chatham News + Record to bring more stories to our audience that are focused on Chatham.
The Chatham News + record is Chatham County’s local news and journalism source. Founded in 1924, Chatham News and Chatham Record, founded in 1878, have partnered to better serve the Chatham community as Chatham News + Record. Covering the news, business, sports, and more, News + Record works to strengthen relationships with the community through compelling coverage of life in Chatham County.