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Pittsboro Residents Group Sues Town Over Chatham Park Plans

The Chatham Park project could boost Pittsboro's population to 60,000 people
Screen shot from online video
Preston Development Company

A group of Pittsboro residents is suing the town board of commissioners for approving a re-zoning request for the Chatham Park Planned Development District.

The nonprofit Pittsboro Matters alleges that Cary-based Preston Development Company's master plan conflicts with Pittsboro's land use plan and zoning ordinances, and contains unenforceable regulations.

The controversial 7,100-acre project could multiply the town's population twelvefold.

Plaintiff Jeffrey Starkweather is a longtime resident of Pittsboro. He said he thinks the developer bullied the Town Board into making concessions, including giving up conservation space and promising not to get in the way of future permits.

“We moved here to be in a small town in a rural area and to keep a certain small town character,” Starkweather said. “And we felt, unlike a lot of places, that the local citizens should control the destiny, not let outside developers do that.”

Starkweather said Pittsboro Matters would not have filed the lawsuit if the Town Board gave more weight to recommendations from city staff, consultants and citizens. He said he hopes the will lead Pittsboro to give residents more say in the development process moving forward.

Pittsboro's mayor and town manager said the city won't comment on pending litigation.

Preston Development did not respond to requests for comment.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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