Actions to Begin Taking Immediately

Note: There is an update to this call to action here.

To reiterate, the 4 overarching topics for opposition are below:

  • Water (Runoff/Quality/Flooding)
  • Roads (Congestion/Accidents/Safety)
  • Disturbed View (Loss of tree coverage/nature/wilderness)
  • Character (no townhomes/what style single family homes)

Based on all the information I and others in this group have received, the next steps I feel EVERYONE should take are below. (NOTE: contact information for each planning member and council member is available on our website, The direct page where the information may be found is

Also, keep in mind that the main argument/point you are trying to make needs to be summarized in the first 1-3 sentences. Should the recipient feel they need more information, that is when they can venture down to get more details. With that said, Debbi Schwartz and Eileen Sarro worked on some snippets that could be used in your communication should you choose to use them. Instead of writing your own points, in the event you are starved for time like most of us, or if you simply feel that they worded it exactly how you would, you may use them to make your point. These snippets will be at the bottom of this post

  1. Please contact the planning commission members individually and not via the global distribution email. This will initiate a pointed, direct conversation with the planning member. They should be made aware of the impact this development would have on our community. Specifically, how it relates to one of the 4 factual points above. I do not feel that letters to this group need to be completely different from each other, but at least address them accordingly.
  2. Please contact the city council members individually and not via the global distribution email. As above, doing this will initiate a personal conversation with that particular council member rather than a blanket message to all council members. Also as above, please work to communicate your main point within the first 1-3 sentences but this time, each letter should be slightly different and cater slightly to the interests of each council member. This is also where you can be a bit more emotional in terms of how this will personally affect you. I have added some notes, obtained from the Durham City council website as well as other places, on each council members history and interests
    1. Mayor Steve Schewel
      1. Is against “weakening environmental protections”
      2. “Improve the quality of our lakes and streams”
      3. Affordable housing
      4. 2018 State of the City Address:
      5. Visiting Assistant Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
      6. Past Board Member, Durham Arts Council & Durham Public Education Network
      7. Steve Schewel – Ballotpedia
    2. Jillian Johnson
      1. Youth Commission
      2. Race Equity Commission
      3. Board member, Durham for All
      4. For inclusion and against gentrification
    3. Javiera Caballero
      1. Upper Neuse River Basin Association Committee
      2. Environmental Affairs Board (Alternate) Committee
    4. Charlie Reece
      1. Attorney
      2. UNC and Harvard
      3. Affordable housing
    5. DeDreana Freeman
      1. Environment Affairs Board
      2. Jordan Lake One Water Alliance
      3. Equity for all
    6. Mark-Anthony Middleton
      1. Housing and resisting gentrification = One of his campaign themes
    7. Pierce Freelon
      1. “My health platform also commits to environmental and housing justice”
      2. Looked up to his father who “did not do things for money”
      3. “To be accountable to the people they serve”
      4. “An elected official should do thorough research and make informed decisions, which center people over profits”
      5. “safe and healthy environment for generations to come”
  3. If time allows, watch some of the previous city council and city planning meetings to get a feeling for what issues are important to council members/planning members. Archived City Council meetings can be viewed here: and archived planning commission meetings may be viewed here: You may also find additional content on the Durham City Youtube channel

Please see the key reasons we oppose high-density development in North Durham for ideas about what to include in your letters.