LETTER: Advocating for open-mindedness

Dec. 11, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

To the Editor:

Last Monday was a victory for open government and democratic input and a loss for common sense and mutual trust between Chatham Park and the town of Pittsboro. Although Mayor Voller and Commissioner Fiocco made the point that the rezoning was only the first step of a long and safeguarded process and that the multiple revisions to the master plan reflected a lot of the public input and concerns from the previous five months, a majority of the public present was in no mood to hear the status report and the reasons for moving forward.

This train wreck was unfortunate because it was based in part on fear, anger, misinformation and mistrust ... .

A portion of our community needs to reconcile its strong impulse to protect land it does not own with the reality that a landowner owns property that they want to develop in partnership with Pittsboro and the region.

It seems unreasonable for Pittsboro Matters to claim neutrality, when in fact such a position actually serves to stop progress and delay decision making.

JFK once cited Dante when he said “the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

The fact is some of the greater community is against Chatham Park in all forms, which I respect; others are either confused or need more information to either support or oppose it, while a healthy number of stakeholders support the plan that the town negotiated.

In fact, the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation passed a resolution the next day supporting the project and requesting that the town move forward with the rezoning.

I hope that our community becomes acquainted with the master plan revisions and ideas for Chatham Park that were mentioned by Mayor Voller, Commissioner Fiocco and others before we lose the opportunity to shape Chatham Park and work in a space of mutual trust. Our future depends on our advocacy and open-mindedness today.

Virginia Penley

Vice President, Chatham County Democratic Women

1st Vice Chair, Mann’s Chapel Precinct