We know where Chatham County stands on the controversial, developer-funded survey of Jordan Lake. Now, Durham County officials want to know what five other counties would do, if they were faced with the “difficult zoning issue.” Of the five counties, none rely on Jordan Lake for drinking water. Call it an independent survey, if you will.

In an April 1 letter (PDF, 1MB) sent out to planning departments in Vance, Buncombe, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Cumberland and New Hanover Counties, Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin asks:

Based on the provisions of the Durham UDO [Unified Development Ordinance] and State statutes, does the Planning Director have the authority to administratively amend the watershed boundaries as the previous Planning Director did, or does Durham have a statutory responsibility to follow the standards for zoning map changes as established in the State statutes?

In other words, is Durham required to comply with state law, and hold a public hearing, or not?

“I realize that it is somewhat unusual for one jurisdiction to contact the administrative staff of another jurisdiction to pose a planning related question,” Ruffin writes. “However, this is an unusual situation….”

Indeed. But the answer is fairly simple: yes.