Pittsboro Matters Lawsuit Forces Chatham Park Investors to Seek New Re-Zoning Request
Monday Nov. 24 at 7 p.m
at Historic Chatham County Courthouse , Pittsboro
Pittsboro Matter’s lawsuit challenging significant deficiencies in the June re-zoning approval for Chatham Park has resulted in the developers having to undergo a new re-zoning authorization. as they seek to add 48 new acres to the project and change language in the Master Plan.
This action requires a new series of reviews, starting with a public hearing set for November 24. Following this public hearing, the revised plan will be subject to reviews by the Pittsboro Town Planning Board and Board of Commissioners. The Town Board has the authority to make changes to the revised plan before proceeding with any new re-zoning authorization. They could reconsider previous recommendations to designate 30% of the development as natural areas, and impose a 2000-foot buffer along the Haw River as the town’s land use plan recommends. HRA has urged much greater protections of stream buffers and forests for this massive development adjacent to the Haw River and Jordan Lake
CPI is seeking authorization for a massive development on the edge of Pittsboro and adjacent to the Haw River and Jordan Lake, which supply drinking water to Pittsboro and the Triangle. Current plans call for up to 22,000 homes (to house 55,000 people) and 22 million square feet of commercial space. Chatham Park would increase Pittsboro’s population 15-fold, transforming it into a new city the size of Chapel Hill. The proposed commercial space alone is 16 times greater than the shopping space of South Point Mall.
During the Nov. 24 public hearing, anyone may present comments on any aspect of the revised Chatham Park master plan This can be information omitted from the plan that you wish to see included before the new re-zoning is authorized, even if such information has already been requested and rejected in the past. Haw River Assembly’s comments submitted for the June re-zoning hearing can be seen at
To read the full Pittsboro Matters Position Paper on eight critical points that need to be re-addressed by the town–and to see the Haw River Assembly slide show about the need for “Conservation of Critical Environmental Resources in Chatham Park” go to: pittsboromatters.org (bottom of front page)
New legislation signed by Governor McCrory lifts the moratorium on fracking and will allow permits for drilling to be issued starting in 2015, with no final vote by the legislature or review of the new fracking laws that are supposed to protect North Carolina from this risky and polluting industry. The draft fracking rules are too weak to protect people, land and our waters — and put the costs on us instead of industry.
The legislature and Governor have broken their promise. Hundreds of people spoke against fracking at the public hearings in August and September. Over 100,000 people sent written comments to the Mining and Energy Commission telling them why these rules will not protect us from fracking dangers. Here are the comments that HRA sent the MEC, co-signed by the other Riverkeepers in NC.
On October 14, members of Frack Free NC delivered petitions to Governor McCrory signed by over 59,000 North Carolinians asking the state to BAN FRACKING.
The people have spoken – is the state listening?
Want to learn more about how fracking could impact North Carolina’s water and people? For current information and updates, to sign the petition and to join with the Haw River Assembly and thousands across NC on this issue, go to the Frack Free NC alliance website http://frackfreenc.or
Who’s Been Hurt By Fracking and Gas Development in the US?
See the truth at “List of the Harmed” The oil and gas industry says that reports of well contamination and other impacts of drilling, fracking, wastewater, air contamination and health effects are exaggerated and undocumented. The Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air continues to compile the “List of the Harmed” from news reports and contacts across the US. Now including 1,700 reports, each with the names of actual people harmed, their location, the responsible oil and gas operator, and the specific impact, the List also provides web links for further information and media stories.
Over the years many people have given their hearts, hands and spirits to the continual creation of the Haw River Learning Celebration. This year’s 25th Learning Celebration was a great success and connected over 1000 4th grade students to this amazing river. Students learned about their “ecological address” and took part in activities along the river of exploration and discovery.explore and discover.
The 25th Anniversary Haw River Learning Celebration Program took place this fall from September 20th, 2014 to October 1oth, 2014. Getting kids outside into nature and inspiring them to be the next generation of conservationists is what it’s truly about! Our volunteer guides use nature as the classroom – and for many children this is their first experience ever, hiking through a forest and along a river. Volunteers give a day or a week of their time an guide students in small groups through activities that explore the woods and river,as well as some of its unique history, all through hands-on learning experiences that weave science and art into a fun day of learning.
Thank you to ALL our volunteers and to the generous cooks who fed us, and businesses who support us, and each year make this the
BEST FIELD TRIP EVER!
(and special thanks to the folks at REI for the $5000 grant and camp supplies that helped us put on such a successful the Learning Celebration this year)
In response to legal pressure applied by the Haw River Assembly and Cape Fear River Watch, the City of Burlington agreed on September 2 to take specific steps to evaluate and improve its wastewater collection system.
In April, the two Riverkeeper groups, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, filed a notice of intent to sue to correct ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act. Under Tuesday’s agreement, the groups agreed to withdraw the threat of legal action. In return, the City committed to (1) clean 20% of its sewer lines over the next three years (doubling the requirement under their collection system permit) and provide annual reports of these maintenance efforts; (2) notify the conservation groups no later than 24 hours after a sewage spill exceeding 10,000 gallons (to ensure prompt public notice when such events occur); (3) evaluate both the education and enforcement aspects of its Fats, Oils, and Grease program and submit a report to the conservation groups; (4) complete, pursuant to a set schedule, priority infrastructure projects designed to limit the likelihood of sewage spills; and (5) make stipulated payments for each day that the City fails to perform obligations under the agreement.
Sewage spills from the Burlington wastewater collection system and its two wastewater treatment plants threaten water quality in the Haw River in and around Burlington and in downstream communities such as Pittsboro, North Carolina. Such spills occurred, on average, more than once a month since 2006, but the North Carolina Department of Environment (DENR) and Natural Resources failed to take responsive action. Indeed, following a 3.5 million gallon spill in January 2014, the state environmental agency encouraged Burlington to delay notification of the public for several days, in violation of a state law requiring public notice within 48 hours. When the State fails to prosecute, the Clean Water Act authorizes citizens to sue to prevent ongoing harm to the environment.
The Haw River Assembly and Cape Fear River Watch stepped in to fill the void caused by DENR’s inaction. Raw sewage spills can pose serious human health risks, degrade water quality, and harm wildlife habitat. The Haw River is part of the Cape Fear River Basin, and it feeds into Jordan Lake, which serves as the drinking water supply for 300,000 North Carolinians and is an important recreational resource for the state.
” The America’s Most Endangered Rivers report is a call to action to save rivers that are at a critical tipping point”, said Peter Raabe of American Rivers. “Pollution is choking the Haw River and without a meaningful cleanup plan that addresses the sources of pollution, the drinking water supplies for one million people will continue to be at risk.”
The Haw River is threatened by polluted runoff– rainwater that picks up pollution as it flows over roads and parking lots – and sewage leaking from outdated and overtaxed wastewater pipes. This pollution, containing excess nitrogen and phosphorous, has caused large algal blooms in Jordan Lake, a major drinking water reservoir, which impacts the health of people and fish. The cleanup plan for the river has been delayed and weakened over the last three years.
Now, instead of addressing the causes of the pollution, some municipalities and developers want to install 36 huge “mixers” into the Jordan Lake Reservoir in an attempt to reduce algae. American Rivers and its partners called on the North Carolina General Assembly to stop the delay and clean up the Haw River by implementing the original 2009 Jordan Lake Reservoir Nutrient Management Strategy, commonly called the ‘Jordan Lake Rules’. Read the Haw River Assembly comments about SolarBees to the US Army Corps.
“The clock started ticking on the state and federal mandate to clean up the pollution in the river and Jordan Lake back in 2002, when it made the federal “Impaired Waters List”, said Elaine Chiosso, the Haw Riverkeeper for Haw River Assembly. “It took seven more years to draft and pass these rules in 2009, and since then the state’s legislature has been delaying and weakening them. Clean water is essential to our lives and communities. It’s time to implement the full rules”
Read more in the “Haw River Factsheet”
To take action, send a letter to your NC legislator asking them to re-instate the Jordan Lake rules now to clean up our waters (find out the contact info at: Who Represents Me) Use this Action Alert and sample letter