Nearby residents and environmental advocates are concerned about the impacts of a proposed development on West Cornwallis Road.
Pulte Homes is seeking to rezone 40.95 acres for 122 single-family homes at 2417 West Cornwallis Road. The site is surrounded by Colony Park to the east and Colony Hill to the south and U.S. 15-501 to the west.
Currently the property, which includes 18 parcels, would allow commercial and residential development with up to two units per acre. The proposed change would allow a planned development with nearly four units per acre. The site is between Welcome Drive and U.S. 15-501.
In April, the Durham City Council rejected Pulte’s request to amend the future land use map to allow the required density for the development saying there should be more of a density transition between it and the surrounding developments.
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The City Council continued the related re-zoning hearing to let Pulte representatives address some of the resident’s concerns. Those concerns included the impact the development would have on the traffic on Cornwallis and other nearby roads, stormwater management and the nearby Sandy Creek.
But nearby residents and others have said in interviews and letters to City Council that the changes don’t address their concerns.
Durham City-County Planning Director Steve Medlin said changes made to the Pulte plan include limiting the number of lots immediately adjacent to a low-density neighborhood to the west and putting in a planted buffer. The number of proposed units also decreased by four.
“They have not done anything directly associated with implementing any enhanced above the normal standard for stormwater controls or anything of that nature,” Medlin said.
Kathi Beratan, a retired environmental scientist who has been involved with stormwater management issues in Durham since 2001, said she is not anti-development, but “anti-stupid development.”
Beratan said cutting of trees and leveling out the clay terrain would create an impervious surface, increasing runoff. Meanwhile, developers, she said, are also proposing to build the stormwater management system in the floodplain for Sandy Creek, which would weaken the area’s ability to filter and contain storm water.
Richard Trilling, who has lived near the proposed development for 45 years, said he is concerned about the loss of trees in exchange for a neighborhood with more density compared to other developments in the area.
“This is just out of character with the neighborhood,” Trilling said.
Attorney Patrick Byker, who represents Pulte Homes, wasn’t able to comment on the plan Wednesday afternoon.
At the hearing, development representatives said the stormwater construction would meet Durham’s development rules. Byker described the stormwater management as “state of the art,” and said most of the area’s stormwater challenges are due to existing development.
Byker said the proposed plan provides an appropriate transition among the surrounding properties. The property has more than 1,200 acres of frontage on the 15-501 Bypass, a limited access freeway, and across the freeway from 18 acres that is designated for industrial development and currently being used for self storage. There is a medium-density development to the south and a low-density development to the west.
The Durham City Council will re-open the public hearing on the rezoning at its 7 p.m. Monday meeting in Council Chambers at 101 City Hall Plaza.
To see the entire agenda, go to http://bit.ly/1TXNMU6