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INC backs resolution expressing concerns on Jordan Lake boundary

We weren't there, but according to someone tonight, the Inter-Neighborhood Council unanimously (with one abstention) backed an emergency-resolution at a special meeting this evening on the contentious Jordan Lake boundary issue.

The resolution, introduced by Fairfield resident and South Durham environment/development activist Melissa Rooney, calls for elected officials to reject a developer-funded survey of the site in favor of an independent, government-funded study instead. The meat of the resolution:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Interneighborhood Council of Durham urges the Durham Board of County Commissioners and the Durham City Council to reject the developer-financed survey, and. if necessary, to conduct an impartial government-directed study of the Jordan Lake pool height, perhaps in collaboration with the several other units of government (e.g. Orange and Chatham counties) that also have regulatory responsibility for the watershed and that also protect the public interest;

The item will come to a head at Monday's Board of County Commissioners meeting, when officials are set to vote in what will likely be a 3-2 vote either way -- with newly-elected commissioner Brenda Howerton remaining publicly, and inscrutably, on the fence.


Melissa Rooney

Another two points for opponents of the developer survey of Jordan...

So far the only groups in favor of accepting the developer survey are the Friends of Durham (which is generally believed to have been formed as a lobby group for the development community) and the Committee (which is generally believed to be collaborating with the 751 Assemblage team on this issue). The latter is a bit of an anomaly considering the harsh words the Friends of Durham has had for the Committee in past disputes.

Lavonia Allison is a smart lady. I hope she will objectively weigh the facts and the impact of this case, removing any influence from the development community, and reconsider her position on this...

Frank Hyman

Basically,if Dr. Allison and the Committee are backing a development, it indicates that the developers have made commitments to hire local, black owned businesses. I suspect that they did not back Southpointe, because the developers counted the votes and realized they did not need to cut a deal with the Committee to get the city approvals.

Frank Hyman

Tar Heelz

While it seems foolish to commission a separate survey of the boundary of Jordan Lake's critical area, (apparently there are no allegations that the retained, licensed professional engineer has compromised professional standards), it might make sense politically to do a separate study. Heck, perception is reality.

The question then are:
1) What will this cost Durham's taxpayers?
2) What will be cut from the budget to make it happen?
3) Who will be retained to do the work? Given the suspicions over the developer's expert, how will the independence of the City's expert be assured?
4) How would any differences between the two independent studies be resolved?

Steve Bocckino

It's not foolish all to have an accurate survey. Keep in mind that the USGS survey may be old, but it's accurate, too.

No one says that developer's measurements per se are inaccurate, but their interpretation is disputed. They seem to have arbitrarily chosen an eastern boundary of Jordan Lake, when points to the east of that have similar elevations by their own numbers. They also seem to have chosen points that don't measure the deepest part of the New Hope Creek channel.

I would have far more confidence in the validity of the results if the County defines the scope of the project than if it is defined by someone who stands to gain millions from the project.

Tar Heelz


Good info. Sounds like this is about the issuance of authoritative standards rather than accurate field surveys (ie the survey is already accurate -- now how do we interpret it?).

Of course we can't look to the County for those standards. (Neither authoritative nor unbiased on the point.) Rather, any action by the County is just the begging for a lawsuit to declare the proper standard.

Giant sucking sound...

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