Controversial Durham development nears approval

Posted July 25, 2013

— A bill that would force Durham to annex and provide services to the 751 South development near Jordan Lake is one vote away from heading to the governor's desk after a contentious Senate vote Thursday.

751 South would include about 1,300 homes and 600,000 square feet of office and retail space. Developers say it would also bring about 3,000 jobs.

The proposal could end a five-year battle over the 167-acre project, but it's not the resolution city leaders want.

The Durham City Council has voted against the project twice because of skepticism about developers' promises of job creation. Also, nearby residents have fought the project in court, saying it poses environmental and traffic concerns in a rural area.

Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, a former Durham councilman, pleaded with colleagues to keep their noses out of the city's business, saying the bill came before the General Assembly only because the developer's lawyer is an old buddy of a lawmaker.

"Isn't this what we have city councils for?" Woodard asked. "If you want to become the planning office or zoning commission for the whole state of North Carolina, vote for this bill."

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, also noted that 751 South could further pollute Jordan Lake, especially with lawmakers poised to delay for three years regulations designed to prevent pollution in the lake.

"This lake is very close to the tipping point, and putting one more development there doesn't keep it away from the tipping point," Kinnaird said.

But Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, backed the proposal, saying the developer has promised to abide by existing pollution regulations. Durham also would benefit from the economic development, he said.

Woodard questioned the suggestion that 751 South would bring thousands of jobs, calling it "the promise of jobs versus the illusion of jobs."

The Senate voted 36-9 in favor of the bill, which has already cleared the House. A final Senate vote is expected Friday.


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  • Good Bye WRAL Jul 26, 2013

    I Have to agree with Sen. Mike Woodard on this one - this IS what city/county councils are for. However, I am mostly supportive of the development in general. Everybody who fights development with the NIMBY tactic has to remember that their back yard was once undeveloped.

  • dougroberts Jul 26, 2013

    wow , Chapel Hill zapped Carol Zinn a few years ago on a project on 54 next to Meadowmont. Wouldn't approve the density she needed to make a go of it. They all used Jordan Lake to smurf it. Now Durham gets a shot in the arm from the state and undermines everybody.

  • splucker Jul 25, 2013

    WHY IS STATE GOVERNMENT INTERFERING WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT? Is this really any different than the federal government interfering with state gov? I do not think so..... The people that live in that area should make that decision.

  • BeenHereSince67 Jul 25, 2013

    Money trumps everything for these people. Disgusting

  • showerton Jul 25, 2013

    Isn't it great that Republicans/conservatives believe in local control? Hypocrites!

  • durhamhokie Jul 25, 2013

    It doesn't matter if it is or isn't a good decision. People should be IRATE that the STATE GOVERNMENT is interfering in a local matter. This is a decision for the LOCAL CITY COUNCIL to make. Even if it's not the right decision, Mccrory and his cronies have no right to make this decision. Unless you live in Durham, don't comment, because your opinion is moot.

  • Brigand Jul 25, 2013

    Actually, in my opinion, Durham could use a nice big subdivision like this. I bet it is a resounding success. I don't see much downside at all for it. It will also drive a lot of business for the area with all the new residents moving in.

  • durhamhokie Jul 25, 2013

    For a party that complains about big government, this is the most hypocritical thing I've ever seen. State government shouldn't meddle in city problems and decisions. This legislature has shown that it will swoop in and take over in liberal, "blue" parts of the state that it doesn't agree with. Asheville water commission? What a joke.

    Our state is in the national spotlight all the time these days, and for ALL the wrong reasons. We're the laughing stock of the country.

  • chevybuf Jul 25, 2013

    Somebody must of confused 3,000 new residents with jobs. The job promise is over inflated but 1,300 homes x 2.5 persons per home 3,250 or therebouts.
    Storm water management must exceptional prevent parking lot and street trash, nutrients, etc. from washing into Jordan from this development. Preserve the lake buffer zone.

  • timztunz Jul 25, 2013

    What's sickening is the NIMBYS (not in my back yard) in Durham County, especially Chancellor's Ridge, and the environmental whackos who want no development.