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FAQs about the Chatham and Cary joint planning effort

Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - Frequently asked questions regarding the joint planning effort between Chatham County and the town of Cary

Q: What exactly is the Chatham-Cary Joint Land Use Plan?

A: The Joint Land Use Plan will establish the official long-range direction for growth and development in the study area, which is generally located east of Jordan Lake, west of the Wake County Line, south of the Durham County Line, and north of White Oak Creek. Once completed, the Joint Plan will establish a common long-term vision for future land uses, transportation, parks, open space, and the environment.

Q: What is the purpose of the Open House on June 7, 2006 at North Chatham Elementary School?

A: The meeting is a project “kick-off” meeting where citizens can learn about and talk with County and Town staff about the planning process. You can also view maps and displays to get a better understanding of the local and regional context of the study area. This meeting is also an opportunity for you to share your wishes, concerns, and suggestions with County and Town staff.

Q: Does that mean that the Plan hasn’t been prepared yet?

A: Correct. The June 7th meeting is a public “kick-off” for the planning process, which will occur over the summer and fall.

Q: Why is this Plan being prepared ?

A: In response to increased growth and development pressures in this part of the Triangle over the last several years, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners and the Cary Town Council passed joint resolutions in December 2005 to work as partners in developing a long-range land use plan for this portion of Chatham County.

Q: Once completed, how does the Plan become official?

A: In order for the Plan to become official, it must ultimately be adopted by separate acts of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners and the Cary Town Council.

Q: Once completed, how will the Plan be used?

A: The Plan will become an official policy document, expressing both Chatham County’s and the Town of Cary’s official long-range vision for the area. The Plan will be used by these two local governments to help guide infrastructure planning (roads, water, sewer, parks, etc.). Both Chatham and Cary staff and officials will use the Plan to evaluate private development and zoning proposals submitted to either of these local governments. All future development and zoning proposals submitted to these local governments will be evaluated against the recommendations of the Plan. Lastly, private landowners, area residents, and businesses will use the Plan to help guide their own investment decisions.

Q: Will adoption of the Land Use Plan change my zoning?

A: No. The Land Use Plan is only a policy document, and will not change either Chatham County’s or Cary’s Zoning Maps or Ordinances. Changes in zoning must follow a separate process.

Q: Will adoption of the Land Use Plan cause my property to be annexed?

A: No. This Plan will be a policy document establishing a common long-term vision for future land uses, transportation, parks, open space, and the environment. It is not an annexation ordinance or proposal.

Q: Will my taxes increase as a result of the Joint Land Use Plan?

A: The development of a joint land use plan will not result in an increase in your taxes. As described in a preceding question, this policy planning effort is not an annexation plan, and will not result in any Town-initiated annexation. Thus, properties within the study area that are outside Cary’s municipal limits will continue to just pay Chatham County property taxes, while properties within the study area that are currently within Cary’s limits (such as Amberly and Weldon Ridge) will continue to pay both Chatham County and Town of Cary property taxes.

The value of your property is established by the Chatham County Tax Office during their re-evaluation every 4 years, with the last one occurring in 2005. You can view information about the tax department’s re-evaluation process at the following website under the Appraisal heading: http://www.co.chatham.nc.us/dept/tax/web/TaxHome.htm .

The County tax rate is set by the Chatham Board of Commissioners annually. Similarly, the Cary tax rate is set by the Cary Town Council annually. Both bodies are currently reviewing their next fiscal year budget to determine next year’s tax rates. Tax rates are applied and do not change based on where you live within a jurisdiction.

Q: Will property owners within the study area be forced to obtain water and sewer from Cary or otherwise have to pay if it is made available but they do not use these services?

A: No. The Chatham-Cary Joint Land Use Plan is an effort to map out the long-range direction for future development within the study area, regardless of whether such growth happens under Chatham's or Cary's jurisdictions. In fact, one of the issues to be explored in this planning process is that of identifying and developing a common governmental policy with respect to when and where future development would be best served by either private well and septic systems, community package systems, or municipal water or sewer. As a side note, while the Town of Cary typically requires new subdivisions being constructed within its corporate limits to connect to municipal utilities, the Town has no policy requiring existing subdivisions to connect, whether inside or outside of Cary.

Q: Will property owners within the study be subject to the development ordinances that Cary has adopted but that Chatham County has not adopted?

A: If a property is located in Chatham County but not within the Cary municipal limits, then that property is only subject to Chatham County development ordinances, and any requests for development plan approval and building permits must be submitted to Chatham County. Development plans submitted for approval to Chatham County will be subject to Chatham County development regulations.

If a property is located both within Chatham County and also within the Cary municipal limits (such as is the case for portions of Amberly and Weldon Ridge), then that property is subject to Town of Cary development ordinances, and any requests for development plan approval and building permits must be submitted to the Town of Cary. Other Town of Cary ordinances also only apply to properties located within the Town of Cary.

Q: Why is Cary interested in planning for this area? Why is Chatham County?

A: Cary has and is continuing to receive voluntary annexation requests from property owners and developers of land in Chatham County. Similarly, Chatham County also continues to receive subdivision requests in this area. But, neither Chatham County nor the Town of Cary has an adopted Land Use Plan Map for this specific area to help guide and direct future growth. (Chatham County does have a countywide Land Conservation and Development Plan, but it does not include a Land Use Map to apply specific policy recommendations to specific geographic areas. This document can viewed at the following website: http://www.co.chatham.nc.us/dept/planning/planning_dept/ordinances/ordinances.htm ) .

Regardless of whether future development within the study area occurs under Chatham County or the Town of Cary, both local governments share a common interest in sound growth planning, including environmental protection for the Jordan Lake water supply. In fact, one goal of this plan will be to jointly recommend reasonable and appropriate future land use types, densities, and infrastructure for this environment, in order that both local governments can be assured of adequate protection of the water supply.

Q: Does the Town of Cary have an extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) in Chatham County, if so how far does it extend, and what is an ETJ?

A: The Town of Cary does not have an ETJ in Chatham County. An ETJ is an additional area beyond a municipality’s corporate limit where the municipality exercises land use controls, such as subdivision, zoning, and watershed regulations and issuing building permits. In Chatham County, the Town of Pittsboro and Town of Siler City have an ETJ, whereas the Town of Goldston and Town of Cary do not.

 
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