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Durham Leaders Vote on New Mall Plan This Week

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DURHAM — The battle lines have been drawn in a plan to build the Triangle's biggest shopping mall. Leaders in Durham are set to vote on the plan this week.

Some think the idea is a shopper's paradise, but others say it will be a traffic nightmare.

The area being considered is about 200 empty acres just south of Interstate 40 in Durham. But, with a developer eyeing it for a mall bigger thanCrabtree Valley, it has become one of the Bull City's most divisive land debates. Durham's planning director supports it, and it is all about location.

"Research Triangle Park is just two exits to the east. Chapel Hill is just two exits west. You're in the middle of growing southern Durham right along the I-40 corridor which we think probably makes the best sense," said Durham Planning Director Paul Norby.

Members of Citizens Against Urban Sprawl Everywhere (CAUSE) oppose the big project also because of location.

"If you have land opposite a mall, developers are going to look at that for a bank, for a Burger King, who knows what all. How will zoning and planning be able to tell that developer, 'No you can't develop commercial there,' when across the street you've got this mega-mall," said mall opponent Pat Bocckino.

Opponents have staked out their stand very clearly, but opinion varies.

The proposed Southpoint Mall has been a flashpoint for months. Thursday, all sides of the debate will know a lot more about what will happen.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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