How factually challenged are Pittsboro Matters and mayor Bill Terry?

By Samantha Capitol

Pittsboro, NC – I read the lengthy information Gene Galin posted the other day on the Chatham Chatlist about Pittsboro Matters. There was a reference to Mayor Terry’s letter in the material that was published in Chapel Hill and later in Chatham County. I have emailed a number of folks whom I know, read the town minutes and surfed social media and it is is now my understanding that Pittsboro Matters posted something that was factually incorrect.

Bill Terry

Bill Terry

On January 12, 2015 at the end of the meeting Mayor Pro-Tem Pam Baldwin and Commissioner Fiocco question mayor Terry about his letter and statements. The town’s attorney also weighed in on the matter.

Mayor Terry admitted that he was wrong; however, after the admission he published the letter a second time in the Chatham Record.

Mayor Terry’s  second publication of a misleading letter brought this published rebuke in the Chatham Record from the senior leaders on the Town Board, Mayor Pro-Tem Baldwin and Commissioner Michael Fiocco.

You can decide after you read this below how factual Pittsboro Matters is with their non-endorsement publications:

I disagree with many of the recent statements issued by the Mayor regarding Chatham Park. His assertion that the Town does not have a comprehensive plan is factually incorrect. He has acknowledged this fact and yet continues to allow the statement to stand without correction and relies on it to support the suggestion of impropriety.

The Mayor also claims to have discovered, in a review of digital source data, that the resolution for Chatham Park came from the hands of an attorney for the developer. He neglects to mention that the same data shows it was also in the hands of the Town attorney. To omit the latter fact is not only inflammatory, it disparages the legitimate contribution of the landowner and dismisses the role the

Town’s professional staff played preparing the document. His comment as reported in the Chatham Record that he does not take issue with the rezoning itself is a re-affirmation of my understanding as to his position regarding the project and one reason I find his initial refusal to sign the ordinance and subsequent derogatory comments so perplexing.

I attended the ground breaking for Chatham Park when the Mayor spoke and he acknowledged the need for public and private organizations to work together in order for the development to succeed. Chatham Park is a 30 year project. In the course of that time frame, the Town and the development community will participate in countless discussions, negotiations and agreements.

The first agreements  to be undertaken are those enumerated in the Master Plan, Section X. Additional Provisions:

a. Tree Protection Plan

b. Master Signage Plan

c. Master Parking and Loading Plan

d. Master Lighting Plan

e. Master Landscaping Plan

f. Development Phasing Plan

g. Affordable Housing Plan

h. Master Public Facilities Plan to address all of the following:

1) Town Administration

2) Police

3) Fire

4) Schools

5) Parks and Recreation

6) Water Supply and Distribution

7) Sewer Collection and Treatment

i. Master Transit Plan

j. Master Open Space Plan

k. Master Stormwater Manual

l. Master Public Art Plan

Until all of these Elements are approved by the Town, the project will be limited to 5% residential development and 15% non-residential development.

In addition, Chatham Park must also submit a Development Agreement to the Town for consideration. I expect Chatham Park’s attorneys to take the lead on this document just as I expect the Town’s review to contribute to the document until it is an acceptable agreement.

The creation, analysis and codification of these provisions will require involvement of professionals, academics and lay persons representing numerous disciplines from both the private and public sectors.

This will be a long and evolving process and will demand cordial, informed and creative discourse. The Town’s focus must remain on creating an environment where the public and private interests are honored and know that only when each contribute may both be achieved. These are not mutually exclusive interests. This is good governance.

The Mayor and I have worked for many years together on behalf of the Town and I look forward to moving beyond this discussion and on to the work at hand.

Commissioner Michael A. Fiocco

Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Baldwin