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Durham residents push back after development proposed near Eno City Park

Posted February 5, 2020 5:30 p.m. EST

— Thomas Merrigan spends a lot of his free time at West Point on the Eno City Park.

He’s worried about what a proposed housing development means for what he calls one of the city’s crown jewels.

“It’s just the wrong fit for the wrong location,” Merrigan said.

The City-County Planning Department is reviewing a plan for a 379-unit housing development just south of the park.

It would bring 278 townhomes and 101 single-family homes, transforming 54 acres of Black Meadow Ridge Forest.

Merrigan said a project of this size threatens the environment.

“Putting a bunch of houses and pavement can’t necessarily be good for these rivers and these streams that feed into our river,” he said.

More than 500 people have signed an online petition opposing the proposal.

Those against it worry it will lead to increased flooding and traffic and damage river habitats.

Concerned residents are handing out fliers in neighborhoods and sharing information online about the potential impact.

“I’m certainly not against development or growth,” Merrigan said. “I just think we just got a little bit wrong here in regard to the amount of the high density.”

In a statement, Patrick Young, the director of the Durham City-County Planning Department, said, “The proposal that is being referenced is still under staff review, and staff will provide information on all aspects of the proposed development to any interested person or group."

Durham officials said nothing has been approved without informing the community. City Council members said they are waiting to receive more information about the development proposal.

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