Dependable Erection

Friday, October 30, 2009

Should have just bought the damn land

Unsurprisingly, the ruling that the petition presented by opponents of the 751 Assemblage development in south Durham was invalid, has been challenged. Petitioners claimed that their documented represented more than 20% of the property owners involved; the county originally ruled that it did not. At stake was a Board of County Commissioners vote allowing for a redrawing of the boundaries of Jordan Lake.

Had the petition been declared valid, a supermajority of Commissioners would have been required to approve the new boundaries. According to news reports, County Manager Mike Ruffin is claiming that even if the petition is ultimately upheld, it won't affect the already taken vote, unless a court rules it invalid. Others seem to think that the vote will be automatically rendered invalid if the petition is ultimately upheld.

What a waste of time and resources this is all turning out to be, and as far as i'm concerned the blame sits squarely on the shoulders of former Planning Department Director Frank Duke. Everyone seems to agree that Duke overstepped his authority by agreeing to accept the new boundaries, as drawn by a survey paid for by the developer, in a unilateral move before he packed up and headed to Virginia Beach. All the legal maneuvering and shenanigans since then stem from that decision.

The burden, of course, is going to be on the petitioners to come up with the money to keep the process going. The developers, who stand to turn their $18 million investment into a whole lot more than that should they ever actually build this thing, will have no money problems.

All of which reinforces the point i made a couple of weeks ago. The only sure way to fight unwanted development is to own the land yourself. The government's vested interest is not in parkland or undeveloped property. I'm somewhat agnostic on this development myself; i don't really see a high density development out in the middle of nowhere in a county with no regional transit system as doing a whole lot of good, especially when it comes to creating jobs that might be filled by low income residents who probably lack the transportation necessary to get to them in the first place. On the other hand, more low density suburbia is the last thing we need next to Jordan lake. So consider me a casual observer of the process.

One thing i'll say, though. I'm much more likely to donate money for an effort to actually acquire the land than i am for continued legal challenges.



  • Can you say, Triangle Land Conservancy? Nature Conservancy?

    Or for that matter...Environmental Impact Tax?

    By OpenID mrsdependable, at 9:29 PM  

  • Let's not forget the very local Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association ( which didn't start as a land trust but now owns over 100 acres in the Ellerbe Creek Watershed (Ellerbe Creek runs through north Durham almost along the I-85 corridor). They're a small organization who have done a lot with a little.

    By Blogger Diana, at 10:30 AM  

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