Local News

Olive Branch Road is anything but peaceful as residents battle development

Posted May 13, 2008 11:23 p.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2008 11:42 p.m. EDT

— A proposed development would bring over a thousand new homes to Durham County, but opponents say it would also pollute Raleigh's water supply.

"This is my favorite place I've ever lived,” Tina Motley-Pearson said. "It's just beautiful. I love rural areas."

From Motley-Pearson's perspective, however, the eastern Durham County area that she calls home is changing for the worse.

MacGregor Development is planning to build 1,200 homes near Olive Branch Road.

Motley-Pearson, along with the Neuse River Foundation, is trying to stop 563 of the residences from going up.

"They want to build on Raleigh's water supply watershed,” she said.

The Neuse River Foundation is worried that two creeks that flow into Falls Lake – Lick Creek and Little Lick Creek – will be further contaminated from the development.

"We are going to increase the amount of sediments, storm water, nutrients that are running into Lick Creek and Falls Lake, and Falls Lake is already suffering from pollution,” said Dean Naujoks, of the the Neuse River Foundation.

Naujoks took his concerns to Durham's Planning Commission Tuesday night. The commission must decide whether to allow a zoning request for the 563 homes called into question by the foundation.

"It is not our intention to damage Falls Lake at all,” engineer Ron Horvath said.

Horvath is in charge of the development and said his group complies with state and local requirements to protect streams.

"Our project is very sensitive to the existing streams. The most current devices and technology we know will be utilized to prevent sedimentation and erosion,” he added.

Horvath contends the creek contamination argument is just a tactic to stop the development from proceeding.

The Planning Commission decided Tuesday to put off a decision.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker told WRAL that he is aware of the Olive Branch Road controversy, but is waiting for additional information before deciding if it is an issue he should look into.