DURHAM — The 751 South project’s supporters in the General Assembly introduced legislation Tuesday to overrule the City Council’s rejecting a utility extension and annexation for the proposed subdivision.
Language changing the Durham city limits to include the 167-acre 751 South tract, as well as 87 adjoining acres planned for a separate subdivision development, was inserted in Senate Bill 315 ( bit.ly/14vq74w).
The change was made in the Committee On Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House. Its chairman, state Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland County, sponsored legislation in 2012 that would have compelled Durham to provide water and sewer service for 751 South. That bill failed by a single vote in the state Senate.
The new S 315 is scheduled for a reading in the full House Wednesday.
City Manager Tom Bonfield said the city has no plans for doing “anything official” to oppose the bill, which would negate the council’s 4-3 vote on June 3.
As rewritten, the bill requires cities that deny voluntary annexation applications to provide water and sewer extensions upon the property owner’s request within 60 days of denial, at the property owners’ expense. It further adds the 751 South and “Colvard Farms” tracts to the Durham corporate area as of June 3, 2023, as was requested in the developers’ application to the city.
The bill retains its original language allowing Durham to use “design-build” contracts for planned new police buildings, which was filed in March with Durham state Sens. Floyd McKissick and Mike Woodard as sponsors.
Durham City Council members anticipated the legislators would act if they did not approve the utility agreement and annexation.
As planned, 751 South is to include up to 1,300 homes and 600,000 square feet of office and commercial space on N.C. 751 near the Chatham County line. The Colvard Farms tract is to be a residential-only development immediately south of 751 South, similar to the existing Colvard Farms subdivision.
Southern Durham Development, prospective developer of 751 South, has predicted the project would be a major job creator, and has offered to donate land for a school and public-safety facility.
Opponents have claimed the project would further degrade water quality in Jordan Lake and extend urban sprawl, and taken offense at tactics the developers and their lawyers have used, such as the legislative action proposed in 2012, to advance the project.