Last week, we republished a story from writer Zella Hanson from The 9th Street Journal, our partner newsroom at Duke, on a public hearing that took place regarding a proposed development near West Point on the Eno. In a letter, reader Chris Dreps has some thoughts to add to the reporting:

First, the people who spoke in support from the nearby church might also be described as benefitting financially from the project. The article makes them sound like just regular folks in support of housing, but the key entrance road without which the project could not be built would run across their property. Did the church give that for free to the developer? I’ll bet not, and I’ll even bet they’re going to make a nice profit, so Faith Community Church is part of the development team.

Secondly, why is this development allowed 370 units and not 120 units of housing, the density every other neighborhood around it is, AND the density to which it was supposed to be down-zoned after the defeat of the ill-fated Eno Drive? After that terrible idea of a bypass road beside the Eno was killed, why was this parcel left at a higher density (which, by the way doesn’t even match its land use map designation), while all the parcels around it (including Faith Community Church) were zoned at a lower density? Was it an oversight by the City? Something else?

Perhaps the most important issue that escaped your reporting is the question of whether this and other high-density proposed and new developments pose a threat to Durham’s current proposal for a 1.5 billion–gallon future water supply less than 1 mile away just down the Eno River. One speaker raised the question of whether this development, plus the new high school, plus the rezoning at Guess and Latta Roads, along with other new nearby building might somehow endanger Durham’s proposal for that water supply, which is being considered by the state right now. The City is proposing a Water Supply Watershed Classification IV, which has specific limits for impervious cover both inside the 1/2 mile critical area and outside of that critical area but within city limits. This Westpoint thing is within the so-called “protected area” of the proposed water intake. If these new developments, all being allowed by Durham at the moment when we are requesting this critical water supply, would not be allowed under Water Supply Watershed Classification IV regulations, can the state allow the developments to occur at these densities? Would the construction of all this very dense impervious area within the city limits in the proposed water supply intake’s so-called “protected area” somehow preclude our City’s request for this needed water supply? I hope someone in the City and at NC Division of Water Resources has figured this out, because this water supply is more important than the ability of some developer to make a few (million) extra bucks building 370 units instead of 120.

Look for more reporting on this proposed project in the INDY’s pages soon.

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