Local News

Planning director: 751 South protest petition valid

Posted July 13, 2010 7:37 p.m. EDT

— A protest petition opposing the 751 South development in Durham was ruled valid Tuesday by City/County Planning Director Steve Medlin.

The subdivision project off N.C. Highway 751, near the Durham/Chatham County line, would include 1,300 homes and up to 600,000 sq. ft. of commercial and retail space.

The petition protesting the project was submitted on May 24 by area residents.

“After extensive review and consultation from the county attorney, I found that the protest petition submitted in late May is valid as it meets all statutory and local ordinance conditions for validity,” Medlin said in a statement. “The validity of the protest petition was based on the number of valid signatures on the petition from neighbors of the proposed project.”

Alex Mitchell, president of Southern Durham Development, expressed disappointment in the ruling.

"751 South is designed to be an innovative and exciting place to live, work and shop. We believe that it will join the ranks of Southpoint Mall, DPAC, and the American Tobacco Historic District in affirming that "Good things are happening in Durham."

As unfortunate as today's announcement may seem, it in no way diminishes our enthusiasm for the future of our project," Mitchell said in a statement.

North Carolina state law enables the county to accept a protest petition from neighbors who object to proposed zoning map changes.

Due to Medlin's ruling, four of the five county commissioners must now vote in favor of the project before rezoning can be approved.

A public hearing before the commissioners is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Commissioners also plan to discuss the 751 South development during their regular session meeting on Monday, July 26, at 7 p.m.