751 Assemblage: Hello, old friend | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Monday, June 8, 2009

751 Assemblage: Hello, old friend

Posted by on Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 3:39 PM

The Durham Planning Commission will hold a public hearing tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall to determine whether  Durham should amend its Comprehensive Plan Unified Development Ordinance to accommodate a privately funded survey that significantly re-draws the boundaries of Jordan Lake.  This is the first step in a public hearing process the Durham County Commissioners approved by a 3-2 vote last April, despite protests from developers who stand to benefit from a new location for the lake, a drinking-water source, albeit a polluted one, for the region.

Meanwhile, the Haw River Assembly has requested a deferral on the item (PDF, 2.4 MB), citing preliminary results from a survey, funded by 50 citizens, that indicates the lake ends "approximately 1/2 mile further upstream than the original determination location based on surface elevation measurements." The developer-funded survey, by contrast, moved the lake's boundary in the opposite direction, accommodating development upstream from the Upper New Hope Creek branch of Jordan Lake.

The proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan Unified Development Ordinance (see June 9 agenda)-- recommended by the Durham City-County Planning Department--would effectively move 273 acres outside Jordan Lake's critical watershed boundary, a protected area that limits development within one mile of drinking-water sources. Simultaneously, it would add these 273 acres to the "urban growth area" and suburban tier, allowing denser development. Of these 273 acres, local real-estate developer Neal Hunter--who commissioned the private survey that moved Jordan Lake--owns, or has a stake in, roughly 240 of them (totalling $20.5 million in tax-assessed value):

-165.59 acres comprise the proposed site for the so-called 751 Assemblage project, which in 2008 Hunter sold to Southern Durham Development. (He is a minority partner in the company.)

-74.23 additional acres are held by Seven Five One Investments, LLC, which Hunter formed in 2007.

In 2005, Hunter commissioned the private survey that removed these 273 acres from Jordan Lake's critical watershed boundary, and submitted the resulting maps to former Planning Director Frank Duke, who approved the changes without public review. Since then, Hunter and Southern Durham Development have fought to maintain Duke's decision, which violated  state code, without a public hearing process.

A letter, dated June 1, 2009 (PDF, 272 KB), from Southern Durham Development attorney Bill Brian argues that Durham Planning Commission Chair George Brine should "recuse" himself from Tuesday's hearing due to his "personal opposition" to the project. Brine was one of several applicants who asked the N.C. Environmental Management Commission to reconsider its approval of Hunter's private survey:

In light of his personal opinion on these matters, any involvement by Chairman Brine in the public hearings and deliberations regarding Durham County's application will further taint this already deeply flawed process and will be substantially prejudicial to Southern Durham's property rights.

Brian adds that Southern Durham is "not involved" in the public hearing process, because it "considers the entire process to be illegitimate."

Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin, to whom the letter was addressed, was not immediately available for comment.

Note: Updated with strikethroughs. Both UDO and Comprehensive Plan changes are on tomorrow's agenda, though only the Comp Plan will be discussed, because the UDO item does not include a change to Jordan Lake's 5-mile protected watershed, which will affect more than 300 properties in South Durham, according to Durham Planning Director Steve Medlin.

Tags: , ,

Pin It

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

Mr. Goldsmith, please read Jennifer's post below. If you have journalistic integrity, please fix your blog as it shows up …

by Sherry D. on Mayor McFarlane Will Not Be Turned Away from Democratic Party Events, Spokesman Says (News)

Look Lisa, your grandfather's story is tough. I would suggest however that he is a victim of capitalist oppression, not …

by CPF (CommiePinkoFag) on “Durham’s a Bright Light for Our Movement”: After Their Cases Were Continued Until November, Defend Durham Activists Took a Victory Lap (News)

Most Recent Comments

Mr. Goldsmith, please read Jennifer's post below. If you have journalistic integrity, please fix your blog as it shows up …

by Sherry D. on Mayor McFarlane Will Not Be Turned Away from Democratic Party Events, Spokesman Says (News)

Look Lisa, your grandfather's story is tough. I would suggest however that he is a victim of capitalist oppression, not …

by CPF (CommiePinkoFag) on “Durham’s a Bright Light for Our Movement”: After Their Cases Were Continued Until November, Defend Durham Activists Took a Victory Lap (News)

Apparently we must hope that the N&O doesn't follow through on this trend by deciding that they will cover legislative …

by khoragos on The N&O’s Performing Arts Correspondent Says the Paper Is Cutting Back on Performing Arts Reviews (News)

Cancelling the parade affects all people. I usually went just for the parade, not the night events. Parents take their …

by Aiden on Carolina Jews for Justice Says NC Pride Schedule Fix Isn't Enough (News)

I should also add that it was professor Daniel Sherman who penned the letter that we all signed after some …

by elin o'Hara slavick on UNC Faculty Members Call for the Removal of Silent Sam (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation