751 South renews drive for annexation to Durham

jwise@newsobserver.comMay 18, 2013 



— The controversial 751 South development is coming back to Durham’s City Council.

According to Planning Director Steve Medlin, his office received annexation and utility extension applications Wednesday. They are on the agenda for the council’s work session May 23, with a public hearing probably at the regular meeting June 3.

Mayor Bill Bell said he has been in conversation with the 751 developers, Southern Durham Development.

In early 2012, the council voted unanimously against extending utilities to the site, on N.C. 751 near Chatham County.

Subsequently, 751 South supporters in the General Assembly introduced a bill that would have forced Durham to provide a water-sewer extension for the project. The measure failed by a single vote in the state Senate in July.

The possibility of another legislative attempt to force Durham’s hand “was always there,” Bell said.

“They were going to introduce a bill that would force it down our throats,” Councilman Eugene Brown said. “We’ve been trying at least to get something from (the developers) … at least some improvements to N.C. 751 as a road.”

The current General Assembly has several bills in process that restrict local governments’ authority over their own jurisdictions, including the ability to perform systematic inspections of rental property and removing Charlotte Douglas International Airport from Charlotte’s control.

As planned, 751 South would include as many as 1,300 residences, and 600,000 square feet of office and commercial space on 167 acres near New Hope Creek.

Since it was announced in early 2008, the project has been a center of contention, involving multiple lawsuits and heated exchanges in closed and public meetings. Opponents claim the project threatens water quality in already-polluted Jordan Lake, but the developers insist it will have no effect on the reservoir and will produce hundreds of jobs.

Wise: 919-641-5895

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