Save North Woods Neighborhood (Updated 11/23/21)
Save North Woods Neighborhood (Updated 11/23/21)
CRITICAL UPDATE AS OF 11/23/21:
On 11/22/21, the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted unanimously to reconfirm their 8/23/21 request that NCDOT develop and evaluate an alternative alignment for North Chatham Park Way east of North Woods, now known as "alternative 8" or the "horseshoe" route. With this vote, the Pittsboro BOC has directed the Town Manager to meet the condition of NCDOT's ultimatum letter received on 11/5/21 which called for a response in writing to NCDOT by 12/1/2021.
Save North Woods Neighborhood started this petition in January 2021 to send a clear message to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the Town of Pittsboro NC, Chatham County and Chatham Park Investors.
We asked residents and friends of the Pittsboro and Chatham County community to ask the NC Department of Transportation, Chatham County, the Town of Pittsboro and Chatham Park Investors to Save North Woods neighborhood.
Established in the 1980s, North Woods is a longstanding rural community of 17 homesteads that is threatened by the proposed construction of North Chatham Park Way through the neighborhood. The proposed roadway alignment was announced in January 2021 and is designed to accommodate Chatham Park's 2,200+ acre North Village development at the expense of North Woods ~200 acre neighborhood.
A central fact is that NCDOT is working with Kimley-Horn for North Chatham Park Way, the same engineering firm that is also working with Chatham Park Investors on the road system for their North Village, clearly a potential conflict given Kimley-Horn’s significant financial connection to Chatham Park Investors. Not surprisingly, the North Chatham Park Way alignment proposed by NCDOT in January 2021 perfectly matches a draft alignment developed by Chatham Park Investors in 2015 – three years before the NCDOT project team was assembled for North Chatham Park Way.
To read the full history of how this roadway was shifted into North Woods, please visit the detail presentation at the North Woods website that was updated in November 2021: https://savenorthwoodsneighborhood.com/about
Since January 2021, 4,500+ change.org friends have signed the petition and helped bring awareness and pressure regarding the North Woods situation. That awareness has worked and in August 2021, the Pittsboro commissioners requested the NCDOT project team to develop another option that avoids North Woods by using undeveloped land to the east of the neighborhood.
After initially agreeing to do the additional evaluation, NCDOT has done no additional work since August. In fact, NCDOT and Chatham Park has spent 10 weeks lobbying Pittsboro to back down from it's request. On Nov 5, 2021, NCDOT delivered and ultimatum to Pittsboro ... reconfirm your request in writing by Dec 1 or NCDOT will proceed with the current plan to build the road through North Woods.
Based on research through August 2021, our key findings and conclusions are:
- North Woods believes that NCDOT's alternative evaluation process for North Chatham Park Way was corrupted, with Kimley-Horn steering the project team to build the road through North Woods while never considering nearby land owned by Chatham Park.
- Specifically, while the 2011 Pittsboro Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) approved an alignment generally along the property line between the North Woods neighborhood and land owned by Chatham Park Investors, NCDOT restricted its work to a project area west of the 2011 CTP alignment, entirely within North Woods, and did not consider any alternatives east of the property line on land owned by Chatham Park.
- Furthermore, the NCDOT STIP-5930 project team is working with Kimley-Horn, the same engineering firm that is also working for Chatham Park Investors on the overall road system for their Chatham Park development.
- In addition, Kimley-Horn and NCDOT selected a "project area" for the alignment development work that is entirely within North Woods, making it "out of scope" for NCDOT to consider alignments east of North Woods on land owned by Chatham Park.
- Not surprisingly, the "project area" identified in 2018 and the ultimate alignment announced by NCDOT in 2021, was first mapped by Chatham Park in a 2015 land use concept map.
- The North Woods community believes Kimley-Horn is conflicted given their significant financial interest in working for Chatham Park Investors.
- The Pittsboro Board of Commissioners has intervened and requested NCDOT to evaluate an option east of the North Woods community. On 8/23/21, the Pittsboro BOC met with NCDOT and requested evaluation of the "horseshoe" route east of North Woods. NCDOT agreed.
- After doing nothing for two months, NCDOT sent an ultimatum letter to Pittsboro on 11/5/21 requiring written confirmation of the request by 12/1/21 or NCDOT would proceed with their preferred alternative through North Woods. The Pittsboro BOC met on 11/22/21 and voted unanimously to direct the Town Manager to provide NCDOT with the required letter by 12/1/21.
- The North Woods community remains concerned whether the Kimley-Horn/NCDOT STIP R-5930 project team can objectively consider an option that is detrimental to the interests of Chatham Park Investors.
North Woods will continue this campaign for our neighborhood, but also for the greater Pittsboro and Chatham County community as well. We are at the initial stages of the Chatham Park’s development. How Chatham Park treats its neighbors today is an important sign for what the Pittsboro and Chatham County community can expect from Chatham Park in the future. Consider North Woods the proverbial canary in the Chatham Park mine … if this land grab is allowed to proceed, Chatham Park will have a validated game plan for similar community situations in the future.
Your support is critical. Send a strong message to NC Department of Transportation, the Town of Pittsboro, Chatham County and Chatham Park Investors that this is not fair, this is not how development should be done. There is no moral justification for multimillionaire and billionaire land development investors to partner with NCDOT to take land from private homeowners for the benefit and profit of wealthy developers.
North Woods neighbors urge you to SIGN THIS PETITION, help us send a strong message to SAVE NORTH WOODS NEIGHBORHOOD and help us tell Chatham Park Investors how they should treat their Pittsboro and Chatham County neighbors, now and in the decades to come.
Please help STOP the NORTH WOODS LAND GRAB.