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Chatham County Development Watch

By Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities
Posted Monday, February 14, 2005

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Briar Chapel (2389 Residences, 6164 People @ 2.58 people per household)


There is a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners on February 15, 2005 at the Superior Courthouse (in the circle) in Pittsboro at 7 P.M. A vote on the Briar Chapel development is expected at this meeting.

Briar Chapel (2389 Residences, 6164 People @ 2.58 people per household) 1590 acres

While CCEC does not stand in opposition to the development of Briar Chapel, we wish to advocate for the best possible design of this, the first Compact Community in Chatham County, in order to mitigate any adverse fiscal, environmental and traffic impacts while maintaining the quality of life desired by the citizens of the County. We believe that Newland Communities has worked diligently to improve on the original proposal presented in advance of the Compact Communities Ordinance. However there are yet improvements to be made. At the conclusion of the Public Hearings, CCEC presented written requests and recommendations for improvements in the Newland proposal.


In addition to the required five findings for a Conditional Use Permit, the Planning board recommended the following conditions be applied to the approval:

1. Equipment such as pumps and blowers will be appropriately insulated or buffered to ensure that no noise from them will be noticeable on a typical day at the boundary of the wastewater lot.

2. A water circulation or aeration system and/or a surface- floating intake will be installed in the 110-day holding ponds.

3. Lots on Bennett Mountain will be relocated to lessen the impact of the development on the primary and secondary environmental areas as described in the Natural Areas Inventory.

4. The Bennett Mountain area will be one of the last areas for line installation and spray irrigation. If future regulatory changes, and/or approved system flow reductions, will ultimately result in this area not being needed for irrigation, lines will not be installed in this area unless otherwise required by the State. Before any lines are installed in the Bennett Mountain area, Newland will seek further reduction approval or other necessary state permission under the then existing applicable regulations so as not to be required to install irrigation lines in this area in order to comply with permit requirements and the then existing applicable regulations.

5. A preliminary field reconnaissance archaeological survey, to determine the existence or absence of any site of likely archaeological significance will be performed by a professional archaeologist (as listed in the NC Dept. of Cultural Resources website). The reconnaissance survey shall be performed in areas of ground disturbance which would adversely impact potential sites, such as areas of future roadways, active recreation areas to be graded, and lots to be developed (i.e. not including buffers, open space or irrigation areas). Areas determined by the NC Department of Cultural Resources, Archaeology/Historic Preservation Section as a low probability of likely significant sites are not required to be surveyed. Any site identified with likely archaeological significance shall have an intensive survey to determine significance. If a site is determined as a candidate for nomination to the "National Register of Historic Places" it shall be preserved or documented prior to being disturbed. The field reconnaissance survey shall be performed prior to preliminary plat submission. Any recommended intensive survey shall be preformed prior to ground disturbing activity in the area of concern. The surveys shall be performed at Newland's expense.

6. No connection shall be made to Half-Dollar Road. (Note: The Planning department recommended the development roads be connected to Half Dollar Road and said road should be improved at the developer's expense to the present NCDOT paved standards.)

7. Briar Chapel are not required to be connected to Persimmon Hill Road at this time but will be required in the future if lots are proposed in the section of land adjacent to Persimmon Hill Subdivision or future traffic studies show a connection is warranted.

8. A connecting road is not required to be built from Briar Chapel to Creeks Edge Road due to drainage and existing road design addressed above.

9. There shall be constructed a pedestrian bridge and trail over Pokeberry Creek to connect Briar Chapel to Polk’s Landing Subdivision.

10. Roads will be stubbed-out and/or areas will remain underdeveloped as reasonably necessary to allow for future connections with currently underdeveloped parcels, so long as such access takes into account physical features and other access points and are no more than necessary, and with the understanding that future connecting roads will be designed and constructed to approximately the same standards as the connecting roads in Briar Chapel. Where the roads are constructed they will be built to required standards up to the perimeter buffer. The exact location of said roads may be determined during preliminary plat review. Signs shall be posted on the property advising of the future extension of said roads.

11. Future submittals for preliminary subdivision plat approval will designate park-and-ride parking spaces (such as additional spaces in proposed parking lots above the minimum number required for retail or office uses) and transit stops, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and traffic calming devices, as reasonable and necessary to accommodate then-existing multi-modal transit needs at those locations.

12. The developer shall provide traffic improvements as stated in the most recent TIA and others as deemed warranted by the NCDOT following their analysis.

13. Along Ms. Tripp's property, there will be 6-8 ft trees and a landscaped buffer on the east side of the fence adjacent to the property. (Note: The Planning Department recommended at the time on construction of the road entering Briar Chapel next to the Tripp property, a six foot opaque fence shall be erected along the east side of Ms. Tripp's property, consistent with NCDOT regulations, and landscaped on the side facing Ms. Tripp's property to the extent allowed by Ms. Tripp.)

14. Newland will provide for a site for a Firs Station/EMS & Water Tower as proposed by the application and Master Plan, except that the fire station/EMC (sic.) building will be re-located and oriented to the entrance road to Briar Chapel, and a natural buffer will be undisturbed along the south side of Mann’s Chapel Road at that location.

15. Newland will provide solid waste services comparable to County-provided services, or make arrangements for differences in services, such as providing recyclables sites.

16. Newland will provide a site for a County Park/Recreation Center, to be maintained by the development entity, homeowners association, or some other entity created for this purpose, as proposed by the application and Master Plan.

17. Newland will pay an additional $2000 per dwelling unit as a voluntary impact fee at the time of applications for the building permit for each such dwelling unit.

18. As soon as practicable after the individual lots receive final plat approval, and consistent with the requirements of CCO section 12.3, Option A, Newland agrees to deed the designated lots to whatever non-profit group agency is designated by the County.

19. Newland will provide a site for a library as proposed by the application and Master Plan. If the county is interested in another location or larger size that is an issue for negotiation by the Board of County Commissioners.

20. In addition to the school site, that the developer work with the County for additional acreage where possible if it is decided that the school is to be for grades other than K-5.

(Note: The Planning Department recommended that Newland provide a site for a Chatham County School System public school as proposed by the application and Master Plan.)

21. Newland will provide a site for a charter public school as proposed by the application and Master Plan.

Chapel Ridge (700 Residences, 1806 People @ 2.58 people per household)

This development was formerly known as “Buck Mountain,” but is now marketing itself under the new name of Chapel Ridge. It is the most westerly of any of the major developments being watched, located along Old Graham Road.

Booth Mountain (180 Residences, 464 People @ 2.58 people per household)

Booth Mountain is one of the newer developments seeking approval by the BOC. Located between Lystra (to the north) and Jack Bennett (to the south) roads, it would be located adjacent to the site for a proposed High School.

River Oaks (1546 Residences, 3989 People @ 2.58 people per household)

As of mid October, River Oaks is the newest of the proposed developments in the county. It is located in the town of Pittsboro ETJ just north and east of the Hwy 64 Bypass and 15/501, and, therefore, subject to the town’s approval. It includes plans for a golf course with spray field waste water treatment. Its eastern border abuts the Haw River.

Powell Place (910 Residences, 2348 People @ 2.58 people per household)

Powell Place has been approved by the town of Pittsboro, and will be located at the south west quadrant of the Hwy 64 Bypass and 15/501 intersection. It is planned as a compact community similar to Southern Village and Meadowmont (in Chapel Hill). Initial construction is under way.

Windfall Creek (55 Residences, 142 People @ 2.58 people per household)

The Estates at Windfall Creek is one of the smaller of the newly proposed developments, and is located just south of the site of The Homestead, with its southern border abutting Hwy 64. Along with The Homestead and The Preserve, it is located in proximity to the western shore of Jordan Lake.

The Homestead (454 Residences, 1171 People @ 2.58 people per household)

Approved in the Spring of 2004 by the BOC, The Homestead was initially delayed in its development by a law suit that has since been settled. Along with The Preserve (a similar gated community approved a few years back), The Homestead is located near the western shore of Lake Jordan.

Williams Pond (185 Single family homes, 477 People @ 2.58 people per household on 650 acres)

This newly proposed development is just off Bynum Ridge Rd. Individual lots range from 1.3 acres to 14.6 acres with septic tanks.

The applicant, Bynum Ridge LLC is requesting that a Conditional Use District (CU-RA-90) be established for the entire 650 acres. According to the application, "This down zoning would reduce the overall gross density from approximately 456 allowed units to approximately 314 allowed units. In tandem with this reduction, Applicant is requesting a Conditional Use Permit for the District that will reduce the number of single-family residential units to a total of 185."

The following footnote appears in the application: "Although this parcel does not directly adjoin the Haw River, the project includes approximately 59 lots within the River Corridor (within 2,500 feet of the river's edge), such lots ranging in size from 2.02 acres to 14.61 acres. The average lot size within the River Corridor is approximately 3.46 acres. Although the Chatham County Watershed Protection Ordinance (the "Watershed Ordinance") calls for five acre lots in the River Corridor, the ordinance allows clustering of lots within the River Corridor that are smaller than five acres. The Watershed Ordinance also provides that overall single family density within the River Corridor must average one dwelling unit per five acres. Requiring that density in the River Corridor in this case will have the undesirable effect of forcing the applicant to increase the density in the RA-40 section and, thereby, increase the overall density of the project. This is an unintended consequence of the current Watershed Protection Ordinance because the ordinance did not anticipate projects that fall within two different watershed/density zones such as this one. Concurrently with this conditional use district/permit request, the Applicant has requested that the Watershed Ordinance be amended to allow for density averaging under certain circumstances. The requested amendment is necessary to allow the Applicant to submit this significant down-zoning of the overall parcel in furtherance of the goals of the Watershed Ordinance. Without this amendment, the Applicant would submit a subdivision request that will include as many as 240 total lots rather than 185. Decreasing the overall density will have protective effects that benefit the Haw River and Pokeberry Creek. This is because of the lay of the land and the natural flow of surface waters."

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Chatham County Development Watch

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