Chatham County Line - Where all voices are heard


Commission Candidate Sally Kost answers League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham, Chatham Counties, a nonpartisan political organization, developed a questionnaire for the Chatham County candidates for Commissioner in Districts 1 and 2. All candidates were notified of the questions and asked to respond for later publication by Chatham County Line. The questions were designed to educate the Chatham voters on the qualifications of the local candidates for the office and to receive their thoughts on the issues. Three candidates responded and the questions and their reply is as follows:

Responses from: Sally Kost

Contact Information:
919 367 0727 (Home)
919 696 7840 (Cell)
1101 New Hope Church Road,
Apex, NC 27523

1) What skills, education or public service experience do you have to be considered for the position of Chatham County Commissioner for your district?
I hold a masters degree in public administration and have nearly 20 years experience working in the public sector, with over half of those years working for local government. I served as budget director for Orange and Wake counties, and have vast knowledge of public finance and a sound understanding of county programs and services. As the current chair of the Chatham County Planning Board, I understand the ordinances and regulations which guide development in Chatham. I served on the Major Corridor Task Force and chaired the Planning Board subcommittee that has worked for the past year on recommendations for a more citizen-friendly process for approval of subdivisions. As the former vice chair of the Chatham Coalition, I attended most of the County Commissioners meetings for the past four years, where I advocated for the Coalition’s citizen-driven platform of open government, sustainable economic development, responsible land-use planning, and excellent/equitable education.

2) Currently there is a moratorium on residential development in Chatham County. How would additional growth in the County be handled when the moratorium expires? AND a) how would you ensure sufficient water and sewage facilities to accommodate the new growth? b) What new environmental and energy standards would you propose for new development both residential and commercial?
The moratorium was enacted so that various regulations and ordinances that the County administers could be updated. These updates, which include various environmental standards for development and a revised process for subdivision approvals, will ensure that development in the county will be more environment-friendly. Plans are underway for upgrading the water supply, which includes working together with other local governments to collectively build an intake on the western side of Jordan Lake. The Green Building Task force is currently looking at environmental and energy conservation standards for new residential developments, although it is likely their recommendations will not be fully developed prior to December when the moratorium will be lifted. I have advocated for a stormwater management ordinance which is currently being worked on, and have supported efforts to enact stricter soil disturbance standards.

Chatham needs to be very strategic in determining the location of utilities. I do not support a countywide sewer system; sewer and water infrastructure should be extended strategically to support our municipalities and employment centers so that, rather than encouraging random sprawl, we can direct residential and commercial growth strategically into towns and designated growth centers.

3) For reasons including development, climate change, and agricultural run-off, our rivers such as the Rocky River and Haw are severely stressed. How would you address this problem if you were a commissioner?
I fully support the average five-acre lot size along our major rivers: the Deep, Rocky and the Haw. Much of the pollution of the Haw is caused by development upstream from Chatham County, and we must continue to work with those local governments to improve water quality. The new stream buffering requirements will go a long way in protecting the waters in Chatham as will a stormwater management plan. We must also work with the Town of Siler City to make improvements to their wastewater management facility. I have supported both the Haw River Assembly and the Friends of the Rocky River in their advocacy efforts and educational programs to protect their watershed and improve water quality of those rivers. Both rivers are potential outdoor recreation amenities that we need to first protect, but also enhance as active recreation locations for hiking, biking, picnicking, bird watching, etc. in a manner that preserves the quality of these rivers.

4) What actions items would you consider proposing to the Board of Commissioners to make Chatham County the model County for the State?

With our unique natural resources, entrepreneurial populace, and central location, Chatham could be a model community for “green” energy-efficient economic development that protects and enhances our environment, provides good jobs and benefits, and expands our tax base to support excellent education.

To achieve this, we must have policies and ordinances in place that guide development toward our existing towns, communities and designated economic development areas while protecting our rural and natural areas, including our streams, rivers, and Jordan Lake.

To be a model, we must be pro-active, transparent and inclusive. We cannot afford to simply react to problems.

A model community understands the importance of quality education and invests in the future of all its children. Education must be our highest funding priority.

As a Chatham County commissioner I will stress long range planning, not just in land use, but in fiscal management and economic development. I will work for establishing board goals and objectives, and measuring our performance to ensure that we are achieving what we have set out to do. Citizen-focused government is essential, and I will work hard to ensure that there is open and continual communications between government and the people and community it serves. This includes establishing better relationships with other governments, including neighboring jurisdictions, and the municipalities within Chatham.

We must address critical issues such as transportation, urban sprawl, water shortages, air pollution, waste disposal and economic development on both a county-wide and regional basis.

I will work for updating our land development and conservation plan, including making it truly comprehensive by incorporating strategic plans for affordable housing, green building, energy conservation, solid waste management and economic development.

5) In light of the rising fuel costs for individuals who commute several miles each day, would you consider additional County parking lots for park and ride services to Chatham, Orange. Lee or Wake Counties where many citizens travel to work or utilize community based activities or services? What other services would you consider?
I am a strong proponent of mass transit. We need to work with the towns and communities along our highway corridors to establish park and ride lots. It may be that new parking lots do not need to be built in that we need to first explore utilizing churches or existing businesses to provide park and ride lots. As new commercial development is constructed, we need to consider mass transit in the design of these new developments.

P.O. BOX 1357 · CARRBORO, NC 27510 · 919.740.5231 ·