Key Reasons we Oppose Rezoning

Rezoning—Key Issues

–Durham is known for its variety of living styles—from center city to rural.  North Durham is the only area left that still has farms and a country-like setting.  High-density development will change the basic character of the area and take away one of the unique qualities of Durham.

–Most of north Durham is zoned for at most two houses per acre.  The property in question is currently zoned for one house per acre.  Changing the zoning to four units per acre is inconsistent with anything in the area.

–There are currently no townhouses in the area.  Introducing them to the area would change the basic character of north Durham.

–The infrastructure is not designed for high density development.  Guess Road is two lane north of Umstead.  Bivins Road is two lane.  Guess Rd is near capacity already according to a traffic study conducted in 2020. Other roads are narrow residential streets with no sidewalks or curbs. 

–The developer proposes to put two entrances onto Bivins Road.  Fairoaks Road and Russell Rd bracket the two entrances.  Both roads would become shortcuts for people going to Umstead Road.  Both are narrow residential roads with no curbs, sidewalks or buffer; the increased traffic would be extremely dangerous. Russell Rd already has had so many accidents that a four-way stop sign was installed recently.

–Two of the proposed entrances (Red Coach Rd onto Bivins and Genesee Rd onto Guess) are currently dead-end, privately maintained, quiet residential streets.  Turning them into entrances to a huge development would create a dangerous situation for pedestrians and cars, and disrupt the quality of life for residents of those streets.

–The land in question has serious flooding problems.  It is on one of the highest points in Durham.  When it rains, the water flows down to the houses below and floods cover the area.  Deforesting the area and replacing it with hardscape would only exacerbate the problem.

–The steep slope of the property is subject to serious erosion.  The trees provide some protection against this.  Removal of the trees would be detrimental to the natural beauty of the land.

–The wooded area in question is home to many animals, and is the natural habitat for the Pileated Woodpecker, a protected species under the Migratory Bird Act. 

–The property in question is currently forested; providing stream protection, groundwater recharge, wildlife habitat, and a key wildlife corridor as identified in the Eno-New Hope Landscape Conservation Plan. This parcel includes 1000 linear feet of Crooked Creek, a primary tributary of the Eno River; 3,000 linear feet of other tributaries, and a pond. It is a key part of our drinking water supply, and an aquatic habitat as well. These natural elements must be protected from excessive development; such developments endanger access to our basic needs.

–Replacing this sensitive forested area with high-density housing and hardscape will degrade the riparian buffer along Crooked Creek and other Eno River tributaries. These buffers are essential to protecting aquatic life, controlling erosion, keeping pollutants from entering the water table, and reducing the impact of flooding through temporary storage, interception, and slow releases from heavy rains. The latter is especially critical in this area which, even in its current state, regularly experiences flooding when it rains.

–The existing wastewater treatment plant for north Durham is expected to reach capacity in 2025.  With 500 houses added to the mix, not to mention the many other rezoning requests pending, demand will quickly outstrip capacity.   

–North Durham housing is currently more affordable than most other parts of Durham.  The developer is listing houses and townhouses for sale now on its website at prices well above what houses sell for today in the area.  Building more expensive houses in the area will not expand the availability of affordable housing in Durham, it will actually decrease the availability as existing housing prices increase commensurate with those of the new houses.