PITTSBORO, N.C. — The pristine forest surrounding Jordan Lake remains at the center of a heated debate about development versus preservation.
Tuesday night, the Chatham County planning board voted down a proposal to build a gated community of 475 luxury homes on a 577-acre plot near Jordan Lake.
Opponents say the project would create a traffic nightmare and would severely pollute Jordan Lake, which supplies drinking water to Chatham and Wake counties.
"Projected traffic from this community will be 5,000 cars a day. Already we are seeing algae blooms in Jordan Lake that indicates there's a big problem with water quality. That's why the state is going to extra measures to protect it," said Alison Weakley, who represents a group of citizens opposed to the plan.
Developers say the gated community would have environmental safeguards.
"The environmental health of Chatham County is not going to be compromised by this subdivision," said Cynthia Perry, an attorney for developers. "This project is carefully planned and thought out and uses state-of-the-art technology. It is the same technology applied in the preserve next door and that technology has been proven to be extremely safe."
The Chatham County planning board disagreed. In the end, the majority said Jordan Lake's water quality is just too vulnerable.
The final decision rests with the Chatham County commission. A vote is expected later in the month.
If the county commission votes against the planning board's recommendation, it will still have to perform an environmental assessment plan -- another decision made by the planning board.