DURHAM — The Haw River Assembly isn't giving up its fight against changing a watershed boundary for Jordan Lake.
The Assembly and the Southern Environmental Law Center claim the Durham City-County Planning Department erred in ruling a protest petition invalid.
A valid petition would have required the county commissioners to vote at least 4-1 to change the boundary. The change passed 3-2 Oct. 12.
SELC attorney Kay Bond said Durham County has not responded to its claim except to say it is seeking more information.
Planning Director Steve Medlin said the only contact his department has had with the SELC is a Tuesday telephone call for information. The department has not evaluated any claim regarding the petition since the invalid ruling prior to the commissioners' vote, he said.
The commissioners' approval of a rezoning and land-use plan amendment effectively relocated a protected area beside the lake and removed one obstacle from a planned subdivision between Jordan Lake and N.C. 751 in southwestern Durham County.
Conservationists in Durham, the Haw River Assembly and the SELC opposed the change, claiming it reduces protections for the most polluted part of Jordan Lake and allows development within an area originally designated as critical for water quality.
The protest petition was signed by 24 property owners affected by the boundary move. Before the commissioners' vote, the planning department ruled it invalid because those owners represented less than 20 percent of those affected.
After reviewing property maps, SELC and the Assembly claim planners incorrectly omitted some property, and that the signatories in fact represent 20.9 percent, making the petition valid.
"We cannot find any reason those properties should have been left out," said Elaine Chiosso, Haw River Assembly director.
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