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Does Chatham County wish to oversee development within it's own borders?

By Joe Kingley
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - The post on the Chatham Chatlist #3954 by Caroline Siverson continues the scare tactics so prevalent among those that oppose this project. Let us get this into perspective.

The 8.1 miles of “effluent discharge” is totally incorrect. The pipeline will be carrying treated water, not effluent, that has been endorsed by the State and others as suitable for discharge into out Cape Fear River watershed and is of a quality that will not adversely affect any protected species in the waters. Of the 8.1 miles of pipeline, less than 3 ¼ miles are through local landowners’ private property or along the shoulders of roads, the rest or the route is through land owned by Progress Energy.

As far as I can discover, Cary has not used eminent domain to annex any property in Chatham County, the “annexations” have been at the landowners’ request. How, then does this “open the door for additional annexation of county property”? On the contrary, by refusing to negotiate, the risk of “annexation” is increased as landowners request annexation to Cary in order to obtain the services and privileges that Cary provides, and Chatham County, in its stubborn refusal to ease the burden of negotiating development, does not.

Because of lack of negotiation, Chatham County lost tax revenues when the reservoir was originally created. Unlike Cary and Durham, we are not even allowed to directly extract potable water from Jordan Lake, even though it lies with our borders. Our intake piggybacks on Cary's intake because the state/federal agencies in charge didn't want a lot of separate intakes in the lake and mandated that they are co-located. Why is Cary not piggybacking on OUR intake?

Former county commissioner George Lucier may have stated that the “line poses significant risks and the project provides no discernable benefits to Chatham”, but what exactly are those ”significant” risks? What are the statistics regarding breakages and leakages to this type of pipeline? What exactly has he and the other BOC members achieved in their negotiations with Cary in securing benefits to Chatham?

The County web site quotes almost 2,000 Chatham residents will be tapped into the line, along with the local businesses. I understand that Cary has offered to provide Chatham the ability to tap into the line as needed when the land east of the Jordan Lake reservoir is developed. Even if we concede that all of the county citizens wish to retain the rural attributes we currently have, we cannot totally prevent all development.

Do we wish to have some control over that development, or are we going to cede that privilege to Cary and the Chatham landowners who voluntarily ask to be annexed by Cary? Are we going to try to attract business and jobs to Chatham and reap the tax revenue benefits or are we going to let Cary siphon them off into their coffers?

After the months and years that this project has been in process, the only resolution Ms. Siverson quoted was “On November 15th the previous Board of Commissioners did unanimously pass a resolution recommending that the new Board of Commissioners deny this project”. This was almost two weeks after the majority of the last BOC had been voted out of office. She also states that “the previous board recommended that a state local bill was needed to prevent Cary from annexing into Chatham County without our permission”. This we have also heard before.

The county has pursued a local bill that would just prevent Cary from annexing into Chatham. This is an extremely narrow-minded approach. If the commissioners were serious about preventing annexation abuse they should have teamed up with other counties and the groups fighting for annexation reform for the entire state instead of playing games with local issues. If it is so important, why has the former BOC not pressed the State to pass such a law?

I would respectfully suggest that Ms. Siverson access the County web site and read the FAQs so that she can accurately comment. Just copy and paste the following link.

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Does Chatham County wish to oversee development within it's own borders?

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