Chatham County

Pittsboro Matters sues town again over Chatham Park

Traffic moves along Hillsboro Street in Pittsboro, N.C. on January 23, 2014. The small Chatham County town with the historic courthouse as it's centerpiece will see big changes with advent the Chatham Park development that encompasses more than 7,000 acres east of town.
Traffic moves along Hillsboro Street in Pittsboro, N.C. on January 23, 2014. The small Chatham County town with the historic courthouse as it's centerpiece will see big changes with advent the Chatham Park development that encompasses more than 7,000 acres east of town. rwillett@newsobserver.com

A group opposed to the Chatham Park development has sued the Town of Pittsboro for the second time, after the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners voted earlier this month to allow more land to be added to the 7,200-acre planned development.

The group originally sued over the summer, after the town board approved the development’s master plan. That lawsuit claimed that the process didn’t allow residents the level of input they’re due.

Last month, Chatham Park’s investors resubmitted plans for the park, and the town held another multihour public hearing.

The commissioners approved the revised master plan at their next meeting, in a 4-1 vote, with Bett Foley the lone dissenter.

The new lawsuit, filed Tuesday, repeats some of the claims from the first lawsuit, such as the town not granting residents due process to review and critique the plan. It also calls the new plan “unreasonably vague” and puts forth several bureaucratic and procedural challenges to the plan.

Like the first lawsuit, this one also seeks to have the master plan and other approvals overturned in Superior Court.

Pittsboro Matters co-founder Amanda Robertson is also one of six individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit, as an adjacent property owner. She said in a written statement that the lawsuit isn’t intended to stop Chatham Park from ever being built – just to ensure more environmental and other protections.

“We are pursuing legal action because we want to eventually sit down with the Town Board, staff, consultants, and (Chatham Park Investors) to develop a reasonable plan that truly protects our environment and quality of life for the broader community,” Robertson said.

She cited issues including school construction, environmental concerns, affordable housing and more land set aside for parks and green space.

Robertson also accused Pittsboro officials of ignoring residents and consultants, “while catering to the financial interests of” Chatham Park’s investors.

Pittsboro Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck said in an email that the town would not release a statement on any litigation issues.

Pittsboro Mayor Bill Terry, who has previously criticized both master plans, could not be reached for comment, nor could Town Attorney Paul Messick Jr.

None of the park’s investors, either as individuals or as an entity, are named in the new lawsuit.

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