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Showdown set over proposed Durham County development

Posted July 14, 2010

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— Opponents of a proposed development in southern Durham County won a major victory Tuesday by making a zoning change for the project tougher to obtain.

The 167-acre 751 South project runs along N.C. Highway 751 near the Durham-Chatham county line. Plans call for it to include 1,300 homes and up to 600,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

The battle over the project has gone on for more than two years. Developers say it would bring thousands of jobs and a new lifestyle to the Triangle, but opponents contend it would harm nearby Jordan Lake and change the character of the rural area.

"It will bring together a unique community that brings together work, living, shopping, going to school (and) going to church," said Patrick Byker, the attorney for Southern Durham Development Inc.

"The developers want to build basically a mini-city on the shores of Jordan Lake," nearby resident Steve Bocckino said. "If retail is approved that far south in the county, it will change whatever remaining rural character south Durham has."

City/County Planning Director Steve Medlin determined Tuesday that a protest petition signed by area residents was valid, forcing Southern Durham Development to get votes from four of five Durham County commissioners for a required zoning change for the project.

The Board of Commissioners has scheduled a July 26 hearing on the issue.

Durham rezoning sign Petition makes rezoning more challenging for Durham project

Commissioner Becky Heron has already decided to vote against the project, saying she is concerned about the potential for polluting Jordan Lake.

"That could possibly be a future, a main future water supply for Durham. We need to keep it clean," Heron said. "We don't need a city up there."

Developers said the project would be built a mile away from the lake, and they are doing all they can to reduce pollution, such as building more parking decks and fewer parking lots to reduce runoff into the watershed.

"It's been designed by leading international experts in the field of environmental design," Byker said.

Commissioner Brenda Howerton said anything that will bring jobs to Durham County deserves a shot.

"People have a right to look to see what will support Durham County, you know, what is going to support our tax base, what is going to support jobs," Howerton said.

Developers said they hope to persuade nearby residents to remove their names from the protest petition before the July 26 hearing.

Officials said it also is legally possible for the developers to ask to be annexed into the city and seek a zoning change through the Durham City Council instead of the Board of Commissioners.


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  • inspector01 Jul 15, 2010

    "It is just more money to funnel into public assistance." Another good reason NOT to build! And mudrider is correct, we already have a mini city at Governor's Club and at Southpoint. Plus, this sits right on top of the intersection of Fayetteville Road and 751, choking traffic worse that it already has become. Not to mention Jordan Lake game lands cross 751 at Crooked Creek just down the hill from the intersection. If further development is allowed in the area it should be low density similar to Colvard Farms. What happened to the small area development plans we foolishly trusted the planning department to follow when Southpointe was approved?

  • mudrider91yzf Jul 15, 2010

    Jordan Lake already has a "Mini City"...... It's called The Governors Club! Southpoint Mall is another mile and a half from this proposed site and it is booming. There is no reason why this needs to be built there. Colvard Farms is already close enough to the north side of the lake.

  • redpecan222 Jul 15, 2010

    Greed is the key to everything.....
    This is why this whole country has failed.
    From Wall Street/Banking/ Corporate America..... right down on down the wire.

    In 20 years all those building and mall areas and communities will be standing still museums with nothing thriving. You drive down Hwy 55 from Durham go through to Apex and every 3-5 miles there are these mini cities with duplicate stores. Stupid to think they can all be sustained.

  • lizard78 Jul 15, 2010

    The "lake-huggers" are winning.

  • no contest Jul 14, 2010

    Durham wants and needs the tax revenue from this and all other projects like it. It is just more money to funnel into public assistance.

  • Sophie Lowe Jul 14, 2010

    Go, Durham! I love it when they build, it is GREAT for the economy. The lake-huggers don't stand a chance, yay!

  • dib Jul 14, 2010

    Cut those trees down! Yeah and pack those houses so close to each other neighbors can watch each other do dishes. Darn animals will need to be shot once they get to close to those homes so call the hunters in to clean house too!