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xx Happy 4th of July
July 03, 2015, 07:38:45 AM by Brian Bock
 
This weekend we celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Most of us know the opening lines, but not all realize how exceptional it truly is.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

These are extraordinary words to use to birth a new nation. America was not to be defined by shared ethnicity, common heritage, or social class, but by an ideology.

Just think about that. Our founders based an entire nation on the idea that we are all equal and have God given rights that cannot be taken away by laws created by governments. They believed it so strongly that they declared this was not even open for discussion. No polling or further explanation necessary because it was self-evident!

We have not always lived up to the promise of these words. The shortcomings, however, were not the fault of the ideology or our foundation. On the contrary, it is the very strength of the American ideology and our founding documents that enable us to make corrections within the framework of law rather than revolution.

In addition to being a statement of principles through which our Constitution should be interpreted (as believed by Abraham Lincoln), it has inspired millions throughout the world to promote personal liberty and to fight against tyranny.

It might be out of fashion to believe in American Exceptionalism, but the fact is, we are an exceptional country and we were founded on exceptional principles.

On Saturday, lets remember the ideology embodied in our Declaration of Independence and celebrate the exceptional country we have been blessed to inherit.

Happy 4th of July and May God Bless America!

Brian Bock
Chairman
Chatham County Republican Party
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xx County Checkbook Registers Not Posted for 2015
June 26, 2015, 11:31:47 AM by Silk_Hope
In the spirit of Open Government the County checkbook registers are posted. Why aren't 2015 monthly registers listed?

http://www.chathamnc.org/index.aspx?page=1503
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xx NCDOT - Chatham County
June 26, 2015, 09:07:50 AM by Everett McGill
After looking at the Jack Bennett Rd. DOT project, got a little interested in how we (Chatham) fare when it comes to DOT funding.  FWIW, from the NCDOT website, here are a few that did not make the cut:

CHATHAM,   (US 15-501),   Pittsboro, NC 87 To US 64, 2 lanes on New Location (multi-lane ROW).  This route is shown on the 1996 Chatham County Thoroughfare Plan as a  rural principal arterial highway.   $33,300,000   This project did not rank high enough to merit a portion of the limited funding available for the area.

CHATHAM,   (NEW ROUTE),   SR 1100 (Airport Road) / SR 1181 (Gilliand Road) TO SR 1107 (West 3rd Street) / SR 1362 (Piney Grove Church Road) / SR 1006 (Old US 421) - Widen Roadway.  SR 1107 (West 3rd Street) To SR 1006 (Old US 421) - New Location   $14,800,000   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (NEW ROUTE),   Siler City Inner Loop from SR 2113 (South Chatham Avenue) at College Street & to Cross School Road & from Sunrise Place to US 64 (East 11th Street) - Two Lanes on New Location (multi-lane ROW).   $8,100,000   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (NC 87),   Improve NC 902 North To The Alamance County Line from South of US 64 to North of US 64.  Widen And Replace Bridge No. 61.  TARPO Local Priority PITTSBORO-3 and CHATHAM-3.   $18,106,000   This project did not rank high enough to merit a portion of the limited funding available for the area.

CHATHAM,   (US 15-501),   New Signalized Intersection at Park Drive and US 15-501 in Pittsboro.  This is a Statewide Strategic Highway Corridor until the Pittsboro Bypass (R-2628) is completed.  US 15-501 was shown as a major thoroughfare in the 1972 Pittsboro Thoroughfare Plan.   $360,000   This project will be considered for special funding sources that focus on improving road safety.

CHATHAM,   (Alton King Road),   Increase elevation of sections of Alton King Road that are subject to flooding.  Costed as new location; crossings considered innate in that figure since not entirely new; ROW deemed adequate.   $5,443,307   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (Corinth Road),   Surface and Elevation Improvements around crossing with Shaddox Creek.  East of the confluence of the Haw and Deep Rivers and subject to flooding.  Shown in the 1996 Chatham County Thoroughfare Plan.   $4,213,350   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (Everette Dowdy Road),   Increase the elevation of sections of Everette Dowdy Road that are subject to flooding from Georges Creek.  Div. 8 advised costing based on new location; crossing costs considered innate since not entirely new location.   $1,038,801   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (Ike Brooks Road), (Rives Chapel Road),   Widen and resurface; This route is effectively serving as a bypass of Siler City for southbound traffic originating east of Siler City.  Cost assumes 1.4 mil/mile shoulders + resurfacing and contingency.  ROW presumed adequate.   $19,598,661   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (Jordan Road),   Increase elevation of sections of Jordan Road that are subject to flooding.  Costed as new location; crossings considered innate since not entirely new, ROW adequate.   $8,924,553   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (Old Graham Road), (Old Graham Road),   AND CHATHAM-13:  Add 2' Shoulders from NC 87 to Chicken Bridge Road.  This route is shown as a major thoroughfare in the 1972 Pittsboro Thoroughfare Plan. (length 8.0 miles)   $18,418,400   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (Pea Ridge Road),   Widening & Bicycle Lane Improvements. This route is shown in the 1996 Chatham County Thoroughfare Plan as a major rural collector.   $560,000   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (Pittsboro-Moncure Road),   Upgrade to accommodate new development.  Shown as Major Thoroughfare on 1972 Pittsboro Thoroughfare Plan.  Cost based on 1.4 mil/mile + contingencies.  2 culverts & 1 bridge not included (ROW deemed adequate).   $19,109,090   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (River Road),   Shoulder Widening; cost based on 1.4 mil/mile plus contingencies; ROW deemed adequate.   $6,343,482   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (SR 1701), (East Thompson Street),   Resurfacing & Sidewalk (on one side) Improvements.  Route shown as a minor thoroughfare on the 1972 Pittsboro Thoroughfare Plan & sidewalk identified in 2009 Pedestrian Plan.    $260,450   This project did not rank high enough to merit a portion of the limited funding available for the area.

CHATHAM,   (SR 1717), (Jack Bennett Rd),   Jack Bennett Rd (SR 1717) (US 15-501 to Lystra Rd (SR 1721))safety improvements.   $6,900,000   This project will be considered for special funding sources that focus on improving road safety.

CHATHAM,   (SR 1721), (Lystra Rd),   Lystra Road (SR 1721) (US 15-501 to Farrington Point Rd. (SR 1008)) safety improvements.   $10,000,000   This project did not rank high enough to merit a portion of the limited funding available for the area.

CHATHAM,   (SR 1762: Jeremiah Dr),   Jeremiah Drive (SR 1762) (Lystra Rd (SR 1721) to End) elevate road for flood control.   $100,000   This project did not rank high enough to merit a portion of the limited funding available for the area.

CHATHAM,   (SR 2153), (Rosser Road),   Resurfacing   $850,020   This project did not rank high enough to merit a portion of the limited funding available for the area.

CHATHAM,   (US 15-501),   Widen and add continuous turn lane from Roberson Creek (Bridge No. 17) to NC 87; cost based on widen to 3 lane from 2; urban ROW   $4,172,919   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (US 15-501),   Widen to provide continous turn lane, C&G, & sidewalk from Launis Street to SR 1599 (Rock Springs Cemetery Rd).  Considered a Statewide Strategic Corridor until Pittsboro Bypass is complete.     $7,153,575   This project did not rank high enough to merit a portion of the limited funding available for the area.

CHATHAM,   (US 15-501),   Interchange Signalization US 64 Bypass/US 15-501.  US 15-501 shown as a major thoroughfare in the 1972 Pittsboro Thoroughfare Plan.  Considered a Statewide Strategic Highway Corridor until Pittsboro Bypass (R-2628) is complete.     $360,000   This project will be considered for special funding sources that focus on improving road safety.

CHATHAM,   (US 15-501),   Widen to 4 lanes with bicycle lanes:  This route is shown on the 1996 Chatham County Thoroughfare Plan as a rural principal arterial highway.    $81,931,063   This project did not rank high enough to merit a portion of the limited funding available for the area.

CHATHAM,   (US 421),   Diamond interchange on new location.  Serves Chatham County sponsored business park.   $9,983,750   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (US 64),   New median crossing and potential emergency signal to allow access to westbound US 64 for Fire Station # 16, just west of SR 1008 (Beaver Creek Road); cost is without signal based on new 2-lane facility for .013 miles on existing ROW.   $40,920   Of the 1100 projects considered, this project did not rank high enough to receive funding.

CHATHAM,   (SR 1721), (Lystra Rd),   Lystra Road (SR 1721) (Jack Bennett Rd (SR 1717) to west side of North Chatham Elementary) increase length of turn lanes.   $250,000   This project will be considered for special funding sources that focus on improving road safety.
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xx Virginia Penley asking to get a Jeffrey Smackdown...
June 25, 2015, 09:31:50 PM by One Shed Jackson
I do not Know Ms. Penley but I do feel sorry for her. Apparently she is unaware of Jeffy Baby's alleged mad litigation skills and is further unaware that it is rumored that he threatens to file against anyone who crosses him! Miss Penley is likely in for a serious bout of finger pointing and threats of civil action...look out girl or Jeffy will be coming for YOU!
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xx Jack Bennett Rd.
June 24, 2015, 04:36:30 PM by jmidd
Maybe I'm the only one put out by the lack of urgency in the completion of this road, but it's been long enough....Began work on 3/10/2015....Projected completion is NOW 11/10/2015....Eight months to work on .35 miles of road, grading, paving, drainage, utilities, erosion control...61% of work done...Bid was $750,000+...Resident Engineer is Gary Phillips (919-776-9623)...After the use Mt. Gilead road is getting it will need replacing and it was bad to begin with... Geeze... angry
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xx Chatham Planning Board members not made aware of petitions against zoning
June 22, 2015, 02:15:54 PM by Gene Galin
In a video of Chatham County commissioner Walter Petty at a Crutchfield Crossroads community meeting we learn that the Chatham Planning Board members were not made aware of petitions against county-wide zoning that were submitted at the April 20th Chatham County Commissioners meeting public input session.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/eZaVHYkqHOc&amp;rel=0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/eZaVHYkqHOc&amp;rel=0</a>


On June 11, 2015 copies of the anti-zoning petition went out to planning board members thanks to a request by Commissioner Petty -

From: Lindsay Ray
Date: Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 12:51 PM
Subject: Zoning Petitions from the 04.20.2015 Board of Commissioners Public Input Session

Good Afternoon,

Commissioner Petty asked that I forward each of you copies of the Zoning petitions submitted by Chip Price at the Public Input Session at the 04.20.2015 Board of Commissioners Meeting.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Lindsay

Lindsay K. Ray
Clerk to the Board
Chatham County
PO Box 1809
12 East Street
Pittsboro, NC 27312
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xx Former Chatham Commissioner Brian Bock speaks about push to zone entire county
June 20, 2015, 12:58:45 PM by Gene Galin
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/rL46oMK1Sdg&amp;rel=0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/rL46oMK1Sdg&amp;rel=0</a>
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xx CJ - Chatham residents hosting paid guests must pay occupancy taxes
June 18, 2015, 03:35:33 PM by Gene Galin
Chatham residents hosting paid guests must pay occupancy taxes
http://chathamjournal.com/2015/06/18/chatham-residents-hosting-paid-guests-must-pay-occupancy-taxes/

Pittsboro, NC AirBnB has taken steps to pay state and some local occupancy taxes on lodging in North Carolina beginning June 1, 2015. More than 400 homes around Chatham County have space listed as lodging options through such services as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO. These are popular options for visitors looking for affordable or unique lodging that meets specific needs.

State and local laws require state sales tax and occupancy taxes to be paid regardless of the venue used to market lodging options. The contracts with Airbnb, HomeAway and other services also require hosts to collect and remit all applicable taxes.

If you rent out your home, a room(s) in your home, a cottage or vacation property for at least 15 combined days per year, you are required to collect from your guests a 3% county occupancy tax plus state sales tax. However, if you rent it for a consecutive period of 90 days or more, this is considered a short-term rental situation and taxes do not apply.

According to Margaret Goldston in the Chatham County Tax Office, local homes hosting paid guests should register with the Chatham County Tax Office. A monthly occupancy tax report should be filed on or before the 20th day of the month, along with payment of the 3% occupancy tax by check or money order.

Click here to get more information on the occupancy tax and the reporting form. If you have questions, call Margaret Goldston at 919-542-8224 or email her at margaret.goldston@chathamnc.org.

After June 1, the NC Department of Revenue will have reports from Airbnb, along with state sales tax payments, so a database of homes doing business through Airbnb will exist.

Neha Shah with the Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), which serves the entire county, said, This is an important issue because the more traditional lodging entities, such as bed and breakfasts and hotels, have been collecting the occupancy tax from guests and remitting it to the county. News stories across the state have reported that some traditional entities have been hurt by losing business to those not paying the required taxes.

As required by law, revenues generated by the occupancy tax must be spent on visitor marketing. In Chatham, the revenues have been used as the sole funding source of the CVB, which markets and promotes these businesses to potential visitors. The CVB has consistently increased visitor spending in Chatham County every year and has won numerous awards for its marketing of local establishments.

People renting out areas of their homes through Airbnb, HomeAway and other such places also may be required to have inspections or permits from Chatham County or one of the towns. For example, requirements related to kitchens, fire safety, building codes, food service, and water and septic systems may apply. For more information on what might be required, contact Central Permitting at 919-542-8230.
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xx Fire station on Manns Chapel leveled?
June 17, 2015, 02:34:19 PM by chathamgardener
So did they level the old fire station on Manns Chapel Road because they're going to build a bigger, better one? Or did we lose that fire station?
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xx Notes on May 19 subcommittee meeting for Alternatives to Open Use Zoning
June 17, 2015, 09:39:14 AM by Gene Galin
Notes on planning board subcommittee meeting for Alternatives to Open Use Zoning

May19, 2015

Present
Sub-committee members:
George, Tammy, Barb, Matt, Bill, Gene, Tandy, Caroline

Staff:
Jason, Hillary, Angie

No public comment

Discussion on draft pros and cons list for zoning options:

   Option 1 Doing Nothing
o   Pro column is fine
o   Suggestion to include the addition of a reference to farmland protection and groundwater resources in the con column.
   Option 2 Open Use Zoning
o   Wording change of stifles to limits in con column in reference to public input during a quasi-judicial hearing.
o   Public input will be vital for identifying a comprehensive list of uses that would be prohibited and thus requiring a conditional use permit. Staff would look closely at other jurisdictions using Open Use  Zoning.
   Option 3 Traditional Zoning (Interim Zoning)
o   Home businesses would be allowed both neighborhood and rural. These are defined and regulated in the zoning ordinance and there have been no problems with them in zoned areas in the past.
o   The term helter skelter was removed in favor of unplanned
   Option 4 Interim Zoning in some areas and Open Use in other areas
o   Difficulty in determining the boundaries Interim would be in areas that are most high growth and Open Use in the remaining areas.
o   Any homeowner, or agent of owner can initiate zoning of a minimum of 640 acres as can the BOC. A suggestion was made that areas closest to high growth could be zoned in small segments but this would be a very  piecemeal approach.
o   A distinction was made regarding homeowner associations that might impose restrictions that are stricter than County imposed zoning regulations. These are not enforced by the county but by the homeowners.
o   Agricultural uses would not be affected by zoning ordinances. Input from the agricultural community will be important for identifying and exempting the types of businesses that farmers are likely to endeavor in to augment their farming income.
   The planning board will hopefully hold a joint meeting with the Agricultural Advisory Board.
o   Areas with traditional zoning tend to have higher real estate values and are attractive to developers in spite of zoning regulations.
   Option 5 was newly proposed and would include Interim Zoning in high growth areas, Open Use in areas bordering the Interim Zoning areas and nothing in the areas in the far western areas of the county where growth pressures are presently negligible.
o   This provides solutions targeted to where the problems exist
o   There is a difference in perception of threats between the eastern and western areas of the county.
o   The con is that implementation will be more complicated as with option 4, boundaries of zoning designations will have to be decided and this could be complicated
o   Zoning gradations would radiate from densely populated areas.
   Farmland preservation was discussed.
o   Farmland is easiest to develop and most susceptible. Once farmland is converted to residential or commercial development it is rarely or never returned to agriculture.
o   There are a number of farmers and landowners in unzoned Chatham who have donated or sold development rights for conservation or farmland preservation easements and certain land uses in their communities could affect how they can use or sell their properties.
o   Uses that are incompatible to farming such as residential and commercial developments can negatively impact the ability of farmers to continue to farm and often results in neighboring farmers being forced to sell their farmland for development. 
o   Chatham County has a Agricultural Land Use Plan that addresses farmland preservation
   There was discussion about whether the subcommittee would make a specific recommendation of one of the 5 options or pass on the list of 5 options with pros and cons to the Planning Board. George, as chair of the subcommittee, suggested the later was his preference.

Next meeting to be held on June 16th
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