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Incorporation Could Save Swift Creek Watershed

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SWIFT CREEK — A battle is brewing between people, their government and big government. Residents in the Swift Creek watershed want to stop developers from crowding their community. The state has its own plan to solve the neighborhood's dilemma.

The plan is called the Swift Creek Watershed Protection Bill. Residents are fighting for it because they say it will save the character of their community, protect everyone's water quality, and at the same time, create Wake County's 13th town.

Many homes in Swift Creek sit on large, spacious lots of one acre or more. Residents say the low density development is part of the community's character. They say they need the Swift Creek Watershed Protection Bill to protect them from high density growth and save the entire area's water quality.

"The whole intent is to allow reasonable development without over developing and losing the watershed as a water supply," explains Swift Creek resident Bill Miller.

Without the bill, the area is prime property for sewer lines and that will open the door for construction of small-lot housing. Residents say that high-density development would threaten the future water supply. State Representative Bob Hensley has been fighting for the proposal.

"On the third week, I said this bill is going through," explains Hensley. "It's the last chance to save the watershed of Swift Creek."

Hensley talked to about 100 Swift Creek residents who came out to learn about the proposal Tuesday. They're hanging their hopes on the bill that would not only restrict the power of other localities to lay sewer lines, but also give Swift Creek more power by making it its own town.

"We care because we live here," Miller says. "It will affect our livelihood, our quality of life. This is really an ideal place for this kind of community. We want to incorporate to preserve that kind of community."

The Senate and the House have already approved portions of the bill. The sticking point may be the non-binding referendum that would allow residents to vote on whether they want to become incorporated.

As for local leaders, right now it seems most Raleigh City Council Members and Wake County Commissioners are against the idea of State legislators deciding what happens in Swift Creek.

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Landra Booker, Reporter
Greg Clark, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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