PITTSBORO – Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller said he is frustrated about the Board of Commissioners’ decision Monday to halt plans on the proposed major development project known as Chatham Park. Many town residents have voiced concerns over the speed of process, but Voller said it will not happen hastily.

This was a vote for re-zoning, but it was not carte blanche. There was an enormous list of things that would have to be done,” Voller said.

With only one dissenting vote, the Board denied a rezoning application for the project following hours of public debate.

Chatham Park is a more than 7,000 acre mixed-use project planned for the east side of Pittsboro, spearheaded by Preston Development, INC.  It is designed to be completed in several phases and could bring development to the town in the form of medical facilities, parks, trails, and retail and residential options.

It’s been projected this could increase the population of Pittsboro from 3,000 to 60,000. Voller said that though the population of Pittsboro would likely increase dramatically, it would happen slowly over a 30-40 year period

“This wasn’t going to be an instant situation,” Voller said. “This isn’t like ‘Chia Pet’ development where suddenly you go from no citizens to 50,000.”

Voller said the worries expressed by many residents were that growth brought by Chatham Park would be unsustainable. He said that would not be the case.

“From a smart growth and sustainability perspective, the thing that you want to do is drive your growth into the urban centers and preserve your rural character, rural buffers, organic farms, and agriculture centers outside of town,” Voller said.

Now that the rezoning recommendation has been tabled temporarily, Voller said town leaders will seek advice from an outside consultant.

“There is a tremendous amount of work that is going to have to go into providing plans and information that addresses a lot of the issues that the citizens have brought up in the past eight months.”

Voller added that he believes anxious residents simply need more information about Chatham Park to feel comfortable. He plans to continue to engage the community during the process.