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When you are in a hole, stop digging

By Larry Hicks
Posted Friday, May 25, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - If there was ever a time for a moratorium, and more importantly solid planning and implementation of plans, it is now. Chatham is faced with accelerated population growth. We cannot keep pace, let alone get ahead of the curve.

· We have large and growing residential development pressures that defer heavily on spray treatment systems and inadequate water resources. We have untethered major development in rural areas of the county where services and schools are non-existent, and roadways are poor at best.

· We have major corridor development threatening to turn all of our main roads into strip malls, as can be found between Chapel Hill and Durham, and in Cary.

· We have current school overcrowding and a lack of resources to bring these schools up to par, let alone build new schools.

· Our debt capacity has been maximized and we have not planned for our fiscal future.

· Our water system is woefully inadequate and our wastewater system is non-existent.

· Our streams and waterways are depleted and endangered … our drinking water resources are inadequate and polluted. We continue to build in sensitive areas further exacerbating the situation.

· Development continues to encroach from the east … in part because of our inability to manage ourselves.

This is not the vision of Chatham County. This is not what we wish to hold out as a banner to attract economic development. This is not what we planned for our future. The adopted Land Conservation and Development Plan has been shelved too long. We are now beginning to flesh it out and need time to do so. We need to implement the ‘rule of the hole’ ... ‘when you are in one, stop digging’ … at least until we get our plans in place and start taking a serious look at Chatham’s future. What I’ve outlined above reflects our current reality, and if not checked our future …

To ignore this reality is a disservice to the citizens of this County who jointly describe our vision as a place that cooperatively controls its own destiny to assure the state of well-being desired by all of our people, while proudly preserving diverse cultural heritages and the County’s rural character. Currently we are out of control.

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