Pittsboro board discusses UDO amendments, new planning director and new businesses

Posted 6/16/21

Pittsboro Commissioners

PITTSBORO — Just a few weeks after the board of commissioners adopted Pittsboro’s Unified Development Ordinance, town staff are drafting amendments and additions to …

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Pittsboro board discusses UDO amendments, new planning director and new businesses

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PITTSBORO — Just a few weeks after the board of commissioners adopted Pittsboro’s Unified Development Ordinance, town staff are drafting amendments and additions to address the officials’ “parking lot list” of potential improvements.

Last month, the board voted to approve the UDO — which consolidates, rewrites and replaces multiple ordinances into a single document to manage land development — after more than six years in the making. Despite a unanimous decision to adopt, the commissioners acknowledged the UDO would need refinement.

“There will always be a lot of work to do on our development ordinances,” Commissioner Kyle Shipp said at the time. “But I think this is a big step forward.”

Commissioner Michael Fiocco offered more pointed criticism.

“While I think it’s an improvement to our current zoning ordinance, I do find it lacking,” he said. “As far as our aspirations when we started on this project, I’d hoped for a far more progressive product.”

On Monday, Theresa Thompson (who was announced as Pittsboro’s new planning director in the same meeting; see below) outlined town staff’s projected implementation plan for UDO adjustments in coming months.

“Most importantly in our opinion,” she said, “we think that we need to address any sort of housekeeping items with the UDO. Some of the processes have changed through the UDO and we want to be able to take the existing processes and checklists and applications and update them as needed.”

Creation of an administrative manual would guide residents and staff to facilitate better public understanding and easier enforcement of ordinances, Thompson said. The manual would include updated and new town specifications with respect to its engineering, planning and public works departments; approval steps to get site plans, certificates of occupancy, final plats and more; and the most current available applications.

If all goes according to plan, the town’s planning department will have a proposed administrative manual for board discussion and decision in September. By December, they hope to complete text amendments for watershed standards, review green development incentives, examine planning board recommendations on special use permits, create a planning board rules of procedures and compare the table of uses to recent text amendments.

“There’s just a lot of overlap and some contradictory language,” Thompson said of some UDO entries. As they’re able, town staff will present opportunities for simplification and point out where the UDO deviates from current state standards.

Other news

• Theresa Thompson, who has served as Pittsboro’s interim planning director since Jeff Jones left about six months ago, has been promoted to planning director, Town Manager Chris Kennedy announced Monday.

“We’re excited to remove her interim tag,” he said. “She’s worked really hard for us over the last few months and so we’re excited to have her in that capacity.”

Thompson has been a regular fixture in Pittsboro’s board of commissioner meetings where she presents the planning department’s recommendations for land and infrastructure development requests. She has also been Pittsboro’s point person in recent months as the town completed its Unified Development Ordinance.

“Thank you to Chris and everybody that’s been helpful to me and the department over the past several months,” Thompson said. “With everything being so hectic, this period of transition, and just the amount of growth and projects that we’ve been receiving, it’s been stressful but also super exciting to be here. I’ve wanted to work for Pittsboro for a long, long time and I just feel so blessed that everything has worked out the way it has, and I’ve felt so welcomed by the Pittsboro community.”

• The board approved a sewer allocation request for 300 extra gallons of water to The Plant on Lorax Lane, commonly known as Pittsboro’s Beverage District. The new infrastructure will permit the addition of three new businesses at the complex: Dangerously Good Tonic, Metal Brixx Café and Lily Den Restaurant.

The Town’s available sewer allocation is nearing capacity. Prior to The Plant’s request, Pittsboro had 8,250 GPD left.

Reporter D. Lars Dolder can be reached at dldolder@chathamnr.com and on Twitter @dldolder.


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