751 decision tonight? Billboards on the agenda?
First up, a continuation of the hearing begun 2 weeks ago regarding the rezoning application for the proposed 751 South development project down near Jordan Lake. Since we last checked in with the Commissioners, County Attorney Lowell "Encyclopedia Brown" Siler has received his answer from the NC Attorney General's office regarding the legal grounds the state believes it has to revoke the NCDOT's acceptance of a land easement from the developer, Southern Durham Development, Inc. The 41 foot wide strip of land was just wide enough to push the boundaries of the property far enough away from that of many of the signatories to a protest petition against the rezoning, which would have had the effect of invalidating the petition.
Of interest to note in this process is that one of SDD's attorneys, Patrick Byker of
Anyway, it's up to Siler to render an opinion on whether or not NCDOT's revocation of the easement passes muster. Planning Department Director Steve Medlin can then accept Siler's reasoning or, as i understand it, issue an independent judgment on the validity of the protest petition. Either way, expect to hear from one or the other party tomorrow night that further legal action is being prepared.
Also on the agenda, maybe, is the proposed amendments to Durham's Uniform Development Ordinance to make billboards legal again, and invite new hi tech digital billboards into the county. Fresh on their stinging 7-0 rebuke at the hands of the City Council last Monday, though, Fairway Outdoor Advertising and their attorney, Patrick Byker of K&L Gates (dejá vu, anyone?) have asked for a one month delay in having the BoCC consider the billboard issue. Byker was quoted by local media as saying the request was based out of concern for the Commissioners having to deal with too many difficult issues in one night.
I give about as much credence to that as i do to his statement about "showing good faith" with NCDOT, to be honest.
The fun and games kick off at 7 pm at the County Commissioners chambers in the Old Courthouse, 200 East Main.
Or you can stay home, make a big bucket of popcorn, and watch proceedings on Time Warner Cable channel 8. Let's hope Chair Michael Page watched Mayor Bill Bell manage the billboard issue at last week's Council meeting. Another fiasco like the BoCC's meeting two weeks ago and Durham might start to develop a reputation, if you know what i mean.
Get all the background you need from Samiha Khanna at the Indy's Triangulator blog; Jim Wise at the N&O's Bull's Eye blog; Ray Gronberg at the Herald Sun; and Kevin and Rob at BCR. Search on 751 or billboards when you get to their sites.