14 Jan Update Concerning Congruus Application
On December 20, 2021, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the application by Congruus LLC to add 184 acres owned by Congruus to the Compact Community Ordinance map that includes Briar Chapel. Here are some highlights:
- The meeting was run under the board’s new procedures, which did not allow for speakers from the community on this topic because comments from the community had been received in past meetings.
- The deciding vote in favor was cast by Commissioner Diana Hales, who said she based her vote principally on the potential for improving Pokeberry Creek afforded by the Congruus development. Commissioners Mike Dasher and Jim Crawford also voted in favor, Commissioners Howard and Gomez-Flores against.
- The vote followed a long presentation by Adam McIntyre of Water and Land Solutions LLC (waterlandsolutions.com), who outlined an extensive remediation effort focused on Pokeberry Creek and its watershed, including a conservation easement over approximately 95 acres, that he has been discussing with Congruus and that he said would be facilitated by the development of all of the land in question as part of a single compact community. Such an effort would require the consent of all affected landowners, and having all of the land owned by a single owner would require only one consent.
- Congruus has not committed to adopting the conservation program described above. Any such commitment, as well as provision for wastewater treatment, affordable housing, etc., would be contained in a detailed development plan, which Randy Voller of Congruus stated would be submitted in the 2022 calendar year. Such a plan would be subject to review by the Chatham County Planning Board and to a separate approval by the board of commissioners.
- Prior to the vote, the attorney advising the board was asked by Commissioner Gomez-Flores whether the map amendment under consideration could be subsequently revoked by the board, and the attorney responded that it could be, prior to the approval of a formal plan which would be binding on the board.
A recording of the meeting can be found at http://chathamnc.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=413. There is an “Index” icon in the bottom left corner of that page that brings up a scroll of the items considered at the meeting and users can scroll to the evening session and within that to the portion devoted to the Congruus proposal. The discussion began at hour 3:03 of an approximately 4-hour video.