Local News

Tapping Little River Could Dampen Property Values

Posted November 15, 2007

— A proposed reservoir in northeast Wake County would increase Raleigh's water supply, but critics say the reservoir would threaten property values and future development.

The Little River Workgroup held a series of public meetings on a draft agreement that would restrict development near the site to protect the water supply from pollutants.

The group included Wake County, Raleigh, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon, as well as the state Division of Water Quality, state Wildlife Resources Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The most controversial rezoning ordinances would limit how densely 3,700 property owners could develop their lands.

"We're not in America anymore," said Stuart Carrol, who owns 32 acres near the potential site. "The way I feel about it, it feels like a communist country; everybody telling you what you are going to do with your land; when, where and what."

Owners in the critical area – all land within half a mile and up to 300 feet above the reservoir – would be restricted to building one home per three acres. Those farther away in the Little River's watershed could have one home per acre.

Many property owners said their land will not be as worth as much with the tightened restrictions.

County leaders, however, contended that larger lots might be more valuable in the future.

"It does limit what you can do, but it increases property values in the future," Joseph Durham, deputy county manager, said. "It's not something that's an absolute, 100 percent given, but it has the potential to do that, based on what's happened here in Wake County and across the state of North Carolina."

County officials said that a new reservoir is desperately needed, with Falls Lake, Raleigh's primary water source, shrinking. The Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of Wake County recommended speeding up the Little River Reservoir project.

When completed, the 1,100-acre reservoir could supply 17 million gallons a day and hold 3.5 billion gallons. Its dam would be 39 feet high. A water treatment plant would also be built.

Local officials began seeking permits for the project more than a year ago, and the process could take a decade. At the earliest, construction for the reservoir would begin in 2016 and be completed within 30 to 36 months.

Despite that lengthy process, Carrol said he has resigned himself to the rezoning proposals becoming fact.

"I don't like it, but there ain't nothing you can do about it," he said.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • haggis basher Nov 16, 2007

    It really is pathetic that it will take ten years to even start.

    Surely there is a way to fast track this?

  • Old Raleigh Native Nov 16, 2007

    I don't understand why we can build an entire subdivision in just over a year but it takes ten years to dig a hole and fill it with water.

  • cj1979 Nov 16, 2007

    Granted we need more water, but you're dreaming if you think this is going to slow growth. (It will around the resevoir) On the contrary, this will spur more growth. Wake County first, we will clear cut and destroy the other counties later!

  • Network dude Nov 16, 2007

    Irishale, you may be correct, but think about those thousands of people who will not have any water to use. The land will be bought not taken. And the lake front land that is left will probably be pretty valuable.

  • irishale Nov 16, 2007

    Imagine this: You've lived out in the 'country', for 20 years, choosing to live there because you don't like city life. You love your place, and you're on a well that's never gone dry. Then one day they say they're taking your land, because they have to build a lake, because the CITY planners did a horrible job at controlling growth, and now due to their lack of foresight in the city(ies) you chose NOT to live in are uprooting you to fill their needs. That's what government means, isn't it, disrupting the 'innocent' to take care of the unprepared?

  • dcatz Nov 15, 2007

    Not having any running water because the city ran out also tends to decrease property values. Take your pick.

  • Vietnam Vet Nov 15, 2007

    You're right on Southern...
    That's my question too. Why the devil is it going to take 11 years to build the thing????
    Shouldn't take THAT long!!! Maybe they should be looking into the one they'll need after this Little River Project so it will be ready when they need it and not a decade after!!

  • Southern Fried Yankee Nov 15, 2007

    If there was ever a case for Emminent Domain this is it. The commonwealth of the community is at stake...Not some new Walmart, not a new condo....The land in question WILL go up in value. Anyone with a lick of sense knows that 3-5 acres are what everyone who wants "land in the country" is looking for to place a home on. The licensing, lawsuits, bidding, contract signing, and construction of this reservoir SHOULD have occurred 10 years ago. It's not rocket science to have predicted that a drought was going to occur, afterall, they occurred in the past. Don't we ever learn? Today, even though we sit on only a 115 day supply of water, it's going to take OVER a decade to get this vital resource built. What's the hold up?

  • naturalborncitizen Nov 15, 2007

    The property values up in that area could use a lake. That is not your most desirable area to live it.

  • rand321 Nov 15, 2007

    I would think that if the lake is built and the water supply increased, then the value of their property would go dramatically. Is farming that profitable in Wake County?