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Overlay District Will Protect Pittsboro's Historic District

Pittsboro courthouse

Pittsboro has passed zoning protections for its historic district as the town prepares for rapid growth.  

Commissioners unanimously passed an overlay district for the downtown area. The new rules restrict certain businesses from moving in. It comes as crews build a development called Chatham Park. The project will eventually add up to 60,000 residents to Pittsboro, which currently has a population of less than 5,000. 
The overlay district will not allow businesses like gas stations or tobacco shops downtown, according to Mayor Cindy Perry.

“With the large Chatham Park development, there are going to be new shops and new stores, and we really wish to continue what has been the unique and quirky downtown Pittsboro historic district,” Perry said.

The developer of a proposed gas station is suing to build it within that district, saying the town did not go through the proper procedure when it was rejected.

Perry said the move will preserve the character of downtown Pittsboro, which has a combination of restaurants, art galleries and antique stores.

“And the best way to do that is to create retail shops of that same ilk that are quirky, interesting and create good pedestrian downtown traffic,” she said.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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