Chatham County to zone where churches can be placed in the county?

Pittsboro, NC – During the November 19 county commissioner meeting, there will be a public hearing held for a text amendment request for the Chatham County Zoning Ordinance, specifically Section 10.13 Table of Permitted Uses, Churches and other places of worship to be changed from P+ Permitted to be required to obtain an approved Conditional Use Permit in order to locate in R-1, R-2, and R-5 Residential zoning districts.

An application was filed by James Cassese of Apex, NC on October 1 requesting the change.

The application submitted by Mr. Cassese states:

“While locating religious organizations in a residential zone is certainly an acceptable use in theory, my family and I have learned from the experience of being located in close proximity to a religious organization that recently located in our residential community that permitted religious organization uses can and oftentimes do lead to a number of challenges such as increases in traffic flow, noise, light, and other related access and debris issues which in turn can have a negative impact on the residential environment in the community in which these religious organizations are located. I am requesting this amendment simply to require that religious organizations secure a conditional use permit prior to commencing their their operations in residential communities so, to the degree necessary, that adequate safeguards can be put in place that ensure the intended religious organization use is harmonious with the pre-existing residential uses that are located nearby.”

If the zoning change is made places of worship will need to obtain a conditional use permit in order to locate in a residential area of the county.

The meeting begins at 6 pm at the historic county courthouse in Pittsboro. Here is the agenda for the evening.

Procedures & Steps to Apply for a Conditional Use Permit are listed below:

  1. Contact the Planning Department for the initial consultation with staff. You can download the documents on this site that make up the application packet including; the Chatham County Design Guidelines, the Submission Materials Checklist, Calendar of meeting dates and submittal deadlines, Fee Schedule, and Adjacent Landowners’ Document.
  2. In preparing the application you may need to contact one or all of the following county or state offices:

    Land Use Administrator-Zoning Administrator
    Angela Birchett
    Central Permitting Director
    Jenny Williams
    Building Permits
    Building Inspection Supervisor
    David Brooks
    NC Building Codes
    Fire Marshall
    Tom Bender
    NC Fire Codes
    Environmental Health Office919-542-8208
    Well and Septic
    Environmental Quality Department
    Dan LaMontagne, PE
    Floodplain, Watershed, Stormwater
    Sedimentation & Erosion Control
    Rachael Thorn
    Erosion Control
    Utilities Director
    Larry Bridges
    County Water
    Public Works Director
    Dan LaMontagne
    Economic Development919-542-8274
    Economic Development
    Waste Management Director
    Dan LaMontagne, PE
    Solid Waste Issues
    Tax Office919-542-8250
    Tax Administration
    Tax Mapping919-545-8356
    Tax Mapping
    Chatham County Sheriff
    Richard Webster
    Law Enforcement
    Emergency Operations-E911 Addressing 
    Lesa Chavis
    911 Addresses & Road Names
    NCDOT District Engineer336-318-4000
    Road Plan Approval/Commercial Driveway Permits
    County Appearance Commission
    Ginny Gregory, Chair
    Chatham County Historical Association
    Chatham County Historical Association
    Historical Structures
    NCDENR Division of Water Quality919-791-4200
    Waste Water & Community Water
    US Army Corps of Engineers, 919-876-8441
    Creek Crossings/Wetlands
  3. Contact Ginny Gregory, Appearance Commission Chairperson, 919-619-0401or , or staff support Angela Birchett, Zoning Administrator at 919-542-8285 or to schedule a review of the proposed project’s landscape/ buffering, lighting, parking and signage.  Application materials shall be submitted to Angela Birchett, Zoning Administrator at  one (1) week prior to the Appearance Commission meeting.  The Appearance Commission normally meets the fourth (4th) Wednesday night of the month beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Meetings are generally held in the Dunlap Building classroom.  Should the location change you will be notified prior to the meeting date.
  4. Hold a community meeting if required and provide a report as indiciated in the application packet.
  5. Once #3 and #4 have been completed, you may submit a completed application with its supporting documentation and 16 complete sets of the application, text, supporting documentation, site plan, and one (1) electronic copy of the complete submittal to the Planning Department along with any associated fees. Digital document submittal requirements can be found here: Digital Document Submission Guidelines. Depending on the size of the digital files you may e-mail the electronic copy to Angela Birchett or provide the information on a CD or flash drive. If you wish to have staff review the application information prior to the submittal date, it is recommended that you provide one paper copy at least two (2) weeks prior to the specified deadline.
  6. If the application packet is found to be complete, the request will be scheduled for the upcoming joint County Commissioners / Planning Board public hearing held during the regularly scheduled County Commissioners meeting, usually the second Monday of the month. The County Commissioners meetings begin at 6:00 p.m. and are normally held in the Historic Court House, 2nd floor in Pittsboro.  Prior to the meeting there will be a speaker sign-up sheet for each item scheduled for public hearing near the entrance. The public hearing is for information gathering only. No decision will be made during the hearing. You may also sign up electronically through the County Manager’s office prior to 5pm.
  7. By direction of the Commissioners, staff will prepare Planning Board Agenda Notes on the issue to be distributed to the Planning Board members at their next scheduled meeting; usually the first Tuesday of the following month.
  8. The Planning Board meetings normally are held on the first (1st) Tuesday night of each month beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Agricultural Auditorium of the Cooperative Extension Building. The Planning Board will review the issue and make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners. The Planning Board has up to three (3) regular meetings to forward a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners.
  9. After the Planning Board has made a recommendation, the issue is forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners for review and a decision. The Commissioners may decide on an approval as submitted, approval with changes or denial. There is no time limit for the Commissioners to make a decision.
  10. All of Chatham County’s ordinances, (i.e. zoning, subdivision, watershed, mobile home, etc.) can be located here.  County Plans and Guidelines can be located here.