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A vision for Pittsboro

By Gary Kibler
Posted Friday, January 26, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - I'm a resident of Pittsboro and I'm interested in seeing our town and county grow in a fashion that is "responsible". To me, that means ecologically friendly and aesthetically pleasing. I believe that zoning ordinances and land use plans should be enforced.

To have zoning changed to allow commercial development when the land has been zoned residential, despite public outcry, is an act of tyranny. How can you expect the land to hold value if landowners cannot trust their government to respect the law?

What do you think this town should be like when it grows up?

I love and hope we can preserve the "quaint village" appearance of our towns. I don't want to see strip-mall development occur like it has on 15/501 from Chapel Hill to Durham. By the same token, I would rather not have to drive to Cary or Chapel Hill as I often do today, to secure many of the services I need.

I also believe that with more business development in Chatham County, we'd lessen the need for people to commute to these neighboring areas to work each day and we'd be increasing the commercial tax base, thereby reducing the burden for provision of badly needed infrastructure on existing homeowners.

It's an interesting challenge. We lack critical mass of population needed to sustain new businesses. And, we want to grow in a way that doesn't destroy the charm of our existing communities. These don't have to be mutually exclusive events. But, we need to have a common vision and a plan on how to get there.

How do we make this happen?

In the last edition of the Chatham County Line, Pittsboro mayor Randy Voller has challenged our citizens to speak up about a vision they might have for Pittsboro. He states that growth is already happening..... it's a matter of how me manage it. What do you want this town to be like, say in five or ten years? It's a great question. Simply said, if you can't envision it, it won't happen.

What do you think this town should be like when it grows up? What "economic engines" can help fuel this positive growth? Here's a couple ideas for starters:

1. A haven for musicians, street music, a little slice of 6th St. from Austin, Texas? Friday nite at Bynum General Store on steroids! Or, become an integral part of the "Culture Shock" movement that's being formulated for Carrboro and Chapel Hill.

2. A haven for artists, potters, crafters. We've already got a large artist population. What if we produce a huge gallery as a showcase for them with public monies provided to generate interest and awareness throughout the region.

3. An antiques market. Take what we've already got in Pittsboro, make it bigger and better-known across the southeast. A destination. Again, with public monies used to create awareness.

4. Could we do something to promote great food, great restaurants? Of course, most would argue that you can't have great restaurants without liquour. That certainly was responsible for changing the restaurant scene in Chapel Hill.

5. What does downtown look like? Pittsboro and Siler City are charming, but a facelift wouldn't hurt. Do we go after MainStreet federal grant money to help us refurbish our downtown? A number of villages in NC have been successful at this already.

These are just a few ideas and frankly, they mostly relate to some economic issues. There's another whole side to this about land management, zoning and infrastructure. Tell your Mayor what you think. Randy Voller has said he wants to hear from you! His email address is: .

Let's see if we can't evolve a common vision of what we want our town to be like in five to ten years.

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