Judge tosses protest over proposed Durham County development
Posted January 13, 2012
Durham, N.C. — A controversial Durham County development will move forward after a Superior Court judge on Friday dismissed a protest against it.
The 751 South project would bring about 1,300 homes and up to 600,000 square feet of commercial and retail space to 167 acres along N.C. Highway 751 near the Durham-Chatham county line.
The battle over the project has gone on for more than three years. Developers and supporters say it will bring jobs to the area, expand the county's tax base and allow for two new schools to be built, while opponents feared it would harm nearby Jordan Lake and the rural landscape.
The Durham County Board of Commissioners approved the project in August 2010, but some neighbors said the vote shouldn't count. They filed suit, claiming a petition they filed should have required four of five commissioners to vote in favor of the development for it to proceed.
Although local planning officials said the protest petition was valid, the county ruled it invalid, saying the neighbors didn't live close enough to the development to protest it.
Judge Henry Hight ruled Friday that the petition wasn't valid and dismissed the lawsuit.
“We are pleased that the litigation process has come to a conclusion," Assistant County Attorney Bryan Wardell said in a statement. “We look forward to moving ahead with the development in the best interest of the citizens of Durham County.”