Growth projections

The N & O's Orange Chat blog pointed out that the Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro Metropolitan Planing Organization's Draft 2035 Plan "is projecting that eastern Chatham County's population will be greater than Chapel Hill and Carrboro's combined within three decades."

According to the memo from Chapel Hil's Long Range Planning Coordinator David Bonk:

Jurisdiction Population Employment 2005 2035 % inc. 2005 2035 % inc. Chatham County* 34,629 153,362 343% 8,196 16,953 107% Durham County 229,796 370,007 61% 172,825 308,886 79% Carrboro 21,328 26,879 26% 4,320 6,751 56% Chapel Hill 52,394 81,297 55% 35,314 81,227 130% Hillsborough 12,651 22,613 79% 5,762 14,606 153% Orange County** 43,739 55,537 27% 3,946 7,255 84% *Includes the portion of Chatham County that is in the Triangle Regional Model area. **Includes the unincorporated areas of Orange County, i.e., NOT including Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough.


All jurisdictions in the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Urban area project employment growth, ranging from a 56 percent increase in Carrboro to a 153 percent increase in Hillsborough over the 30-year period. With the exception of Chatham County, every jurisdiction has projected a higher percentage of employment growth than population growth over the 30-year period. While most communities will remain primarily residential in nature, the projections reflect increased employment growth.

Below are maps of projected employment and population change in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area, and a map of the whole regional study area (click each to enlarge). Many more are available with David Bonk's memo.


Note the deltas in the NW quadrant from Rogers Rd. to Horace-Williams Airport (Carolina North).

Or maybe, Garbage Eaters!!!

It has been my understanding that under SAPFO if funds were not available to build a new school, then development would be halted. The intent, I assumed, was that growth should pay for growth. However, we've now seen that the new ES #10 is $1 million short as was Carrboro High. So the school district is robbing its reserves and tapping general funds from the county to pay for growth. Isn't that contrary to the intent of SAPFO?

Also, does anyone know where David got his population projections? They do not match those from the state demographer.

That's not what SAPFO does. It regulates the construction of new HOMES if school capacity is not adequate.

I believe the projections are from the MPO's 2035 plan, which I also linked to above.

The Orange Chat blog item needs some clarification. If you read David Bonk's memo in its entirety, you can see that the eastern Chatham County projections, unlike for other jurisdictions, are full build-out numbers, rather than projections for 2035. There was some miscommunication among the various governmental bodies involved. There is a tentative population projection for eastern Chatham of 70,000 by 2035, but it is under some dispute. The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization says 70,000 was an interim projection based on five-year-old data and that eastern Chatham's population will likely be much higher in 2035. George Lucier, vice chair of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners, argues that recent efforts to slow development will keep the population down near 70,000 in 30 years.

Let me rephrase my question then. If the purpose of SAPFO is to ensure that there are adequate school facilities to support the projected number of children associated with new HOUSING development, then why is development going forward since supplemental funding has had to be found in order to build Carrboro High, the OCS middle school and now ES #10? If impact fees are not sufficient to build new schools, why are the districts continuing to sign off on them?

For those interested in understanding how the Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance works, there is a summary at:

The SAPFOTAC (Technical Assistance Committee) releases a report annually in February. The 2006 report is at:


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