Economic Development Planning In Bedroom Communities:A Case Study of Chatham County, North Carolina

G. Jason Jolley, Lukas C. Brun, E. Brent Lane


This article shares lessons learned in the economic development planning experience in Chatham County, North Carolina, a traditionally rural county on the urban fringe of the growing Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA), which includes Research Triangle Park. Chatham County has faced tremendous residential growth pressure as portions of the county have transitioned into a bedroom community while other parts of the country remain rural and economically depressed. The authors share their planning experiences and lessons learned in developing an economic development plan designed to increase the non-residential tax base and provide jobs for residents while preserving the rural character of the County. These lessons are vital to community engagement in economic development planning in similar communities facing both residential growth pressures and stagnant local economies.

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.