Monday, January 7, 2008

New Planned development on Hwy 751

There is a new planned development proposal for the land across from Chancellor's Ridge on Highway 751. The development will occupy space just south of the 751 entrance to Chancellor's Ridge and continue south across the existing entrance of Colvard Farms. This puts the development directly across from the Woodlands town homes.

A meeting will be held at the Chancellor's Ridge Clubhouse (909 Chancellor's Ridge Drive) this Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7:00PM. The meeting is being held by Boylan Development Company to discuss their project, it's impact on the area and the benefits of this new development.

The development will consists of approximately 1,200 residential homes (mostly town homes, condominiums and apartments with some single family residence units) and 500,000 square feet of office and retail space. The planned architecture includes live-above work spaces - the developer has described the plan as looking similar to Meadowmont in Chapel Hill - only a lot nicer. Retail plans include bringing an upscale grocer like Harris Teeter or Trader Joes.

The developer is also donating land to build an elementary school and a fire/EMS station. Additionally, they are in talks with the YMCA to have a 60,000 square foot YMCA facility. The development comprises 164 acres with approximately 60 acres devoted to open spaces including parks, amphitheatre and walking trails.

If you are interested to learn more please plan to attend. Space will be limited so please do not bring children.

P.S. If you received the letter from Kennedy Covington about this meeting they listed an incorrect address for the clubhouse - please note the correct address for the clubhouse above.

25 comments:

Mark said...

My "first impression" comment is this is a good thing so long as it indeed turns out to be as good as or better than Meadowmont in appearance and ammenities. I also like the idea of having an elementary school right across from CR that will be fed from the nice neighborhoods around us.

This kind of development is BOUND TO HAPPEN in growing south Durham. We should analyze these things with a careful eye. However, it is best to be realistic about the future of our area.
-Mark-

tacpro said...

This post comes from an E-mail the Communications Committee Chair received Today from Melissa Rooney. Many good issues are being raised in the E-mail.

I am sure you are aware of the development next door to you, on land beginning below Stagecoach Road and following NC 751 down to the Chatham County Line. It abuts wooded, ACE (Army Corps of Engineer) land to the west and north.

I just wanted to personally encourage any concerned neighbors to attend the neighborhood meeting with developers/contractors (at 7 PM on Jan 10).

NOTE: The meeting place has been changed to the Chancellor's Ridge clubhouse at 1511 Sophomore Court in Durham.

Your neighborhood will be most affected by this development, and as immediate neighbors you have the most influential say/concerns regarding this development. In fact, if the developer doesn't satisfactorily comply with your requests, you (and any other immediate neighbors) are the only ones who can file a petition preventing his/her rezoning.

As this developer has gone out of his way to contact people about this neighborhood meeting, I am hopeful that many South Durham citizens will be there to insist on truly committed elements addressing their concerns, and I am hopeful that the developer/contractor will sincerely work with neighbors to achieve the most responsible development (environmentally, infrastructurally, andaesthetically).

Toward this end, I have put together a list of committed elements which South Durham residents have previously suggested (wrt other development plans and rezonings)-- see below.

Most people's concerns aren't aroused until the land is clear-cut and mass-graded -- by then the plans have been approved by all legislative bodies, and it is clearly too late to do anything.

Thanks for caring!
Melissa Rooney, Ph.D.



Among the committed elements South Durham residents have recently discussed and/or fought for:

1) 100 foot uncleared buffers adjacent to all ACE land (as routinely requested by the Army Corps of engineers, though often the developers get away with as little as 25-30 feet buffers).

2) Ensure that intermittent streams are clearly designated in development plans, and that 50 foot buffers of uncleared land exists around all intermittent, as well as permanent, streams. [At the public hearing in Carrboro on July 12, the NC Water Quality Division presenter stated that the proposed state regulations require "2-zone, 50 foot buffers" to "intermittent perennial streams" (among other water sources), but the enforcement of this is under question.]

3) Preservation of as many 'specimen' trees as possible ('individual existing healthy trees greater than 18 inches dbh'), and preserving such trees THROUGHOUT the development -- not just on the fringes after clear-cutting and mass-grading is completed (which been done with many recent S. Durham developments).

[The UDO has no restrictions on clear-cutting and mass-grading vast areas of land, even in a conservation subdivision, resulting in developers' ability to clear-cut and mass-grade for no further reason than convenience and money-saving. This destroys the natural vegetation and topography of the land which aids in filtration, erosion and storm water control; furthermore, mature trees are much more drought resistent than new, planted trees, which require significant water/irrigation to survive]

4) 50 Foot uncleared buffers at all major roads (Stagecoach and 751)...many recent developments have clear-cut and mass-graded all the land and then planted saplings along the road, many of which have not survived the drought. What residents are left with is a bald-patch that must be well-watered if there is any hope for the saplings to survive.

5) Preservation of trees around and within any common and playground areas.

6) Prohibit the developer from using ANY unbuildable land (like powerline and sewer easements) in his open space requirement.

7) Unpaved (pervious) and un-cleared foot and/or bike trail access to/toward the ATT, where applicable.

8) FUNDS (not just land) for schools...3 year old Creekside elementary already has 5 trailers and is 40-50% above capacity. Chapel Hill has successfully required developers to provide funds as well as land toward schools in Orange County.

9) Well-delineated uses for any commercial areas (i.e. what store/company is to go in there), so that (after rezoning) the land can't be 'flipped'/sold to the highest bidder, who may not have the intentions that the original developer claimed to have.

10) For commercial developments, it has also been suggested that we require trees within and throughout any parking lots to allow for shade (temperature control), as well as permeability of water (filtering and storm water control).


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Melissa Rooney, Ph.D.
Fairfield Community Awareness, Communications and INC representative

Durham, NC 27713 mmr121570@yahoo.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Trisha said...

Who is the Fairfield Community Awareness, Communications and INC representative --- and what is Melissa's connection to CR?

Paul said...

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/869693.html

MS said...

Mark,

My first impression after the meeting is that this is a very bad thing. Although development will inevitably occur in this area, there is a huge difference between zoning for 1 house per 2 acres and the proposed denisty that has been calculated as at least 14 times that number. The impact to the environment (Jordan Lake and surrounding protected wetlands) as well as traffic should give everyone concern. If you are buying the "good as Meadowmount" line I'd have to believe that you are quite naive...it's a nice selling point to convince people this would be a good thing, but the figures that were provided on the cost of the Townhomes is not anywhere close to Meadowmount's league. I also seriosuly doubt that Meadowmount would have seen multilevel parking decks as an attractive thing. I urge all of the residents of Chancellor's Ridge to investigate this proposed project carefully. The project is in clear violation of the comprehenive landuse plan that is posted on Durham City's website. Aklthough Melissa makes some important points about commitments from the developer, I would be careful of falling into the trap of suggesting how to make this project better, and thereby accept its inevitability.

Mark S

worriedhomeowner said...

I would have to agree. After attending the meeting last night, I do not see how anyone can see this development as a good thing for the Chancellor's Ridge community.

Doubling (or more) the traffic on 751?

Turning parts of 751 into a four line divided road (highway?) like parts of 15-501?

Allowing a development with a bigger footprint than the Southpoint Mall?

Very few single family homes and hundreds of apartments?

I try to keep an open mind, but I cannot help but feel quite skeptical when it comes to this proposed development.

Pamela said...

Some important notes about the impact of the development for those who missed the meeting:

10,000 more cars per day expected on 751 outside our neighborhood. This is double the current traffic.

There are 1200 units planned with only 50 single family homes and at least 700 apartments.

There is no plan for traffic impact in the neighborhood due to using Chancellor's Ridge Dr. as a cut through to get to the school, retail shops, and YMCA.

Durham Co. would still need to pay for the school -- the development is only donating land. Schools take years to build and in the meantime expect the strain to fall on Creekside.

Once the zoning is changed from low density planned residential to multi-use higher density it opens the door to a different kind of development there. It was pointed out at the meeting that the development plan as proposed can be abandoned but the zoning change will run with the land to the next purchaser of the land.

Rob said...

To answer the question regarding who is Melissa Rooney, she is part of a concerned citizens group regarding growth in Southern Durham. They are not against growth, but are more or less a watch dog group to make sure it is wise growth that does not severely impact the area and all that live in it.

Mark said...

Dear all CR residents:

There is a lot of concern expressed about this development proposal. That is understandable. But let's not put the cart before the horse. There has been a significant amount of panic produced by a lot of inaccurate and slanted anti-development information that has been conveyed by a select group of vocal anti-development advocates.

It is okay to listen to these concerns, obviously. But it is wiser to have a cordial and thoughtful analysis of the proposal and everyone's concerns that are based on FACTS and not just supposition and a reaction of panic.

I was at the meeting Thursday and very disappointed in how it was more of a "gotcha" attack at Mr. Byker, the attorney, and the developers rather than a calm exchange of ideas and concerns. Those opponents did not have an open mind. They asked questions and tried to "trap" Mr. Byker and the developers before they even had a fair chance to respond in a meaningful way.

Many people attacking the developers at that meeting ARE NOT EVEN CR RESIDENTS. They have their own agenda that they are trying to convey. Their tactics are "scare tactics" and not necessarily accurate or in line what many reasonable (but less vocal) CR residents might be thinking about the proposed development.

I suggest we all have an open mind and recognize that there can be many practical benefits to a development of the kind proposed.

I will outline those probable benefits in another comment, shortly.

Mark said...

I am going to add a few comments, below, that point out why the developers have a good plan that will, when considered as a whole, add many positive elements to the lives of Chancellor's Ridge residents.

Additionally, because of the large crowd and negative tone that existed at Thursdays meeting, the developers have agreed to (and look forward to) meet again with ONLY CHANCELLOR'S RIDGE HOME AND TOWNHOME RESIDENTS on a number of dates in the future. I personally spoke with the developers and asked them to do this. They want us to be happy with their plans and to understand our concerns and needs.

At these meetings, they would like to explain their plans more clearly and completely to us. They will discuss the environmental, traffic, density, and aesthetic effect of the proposed development and how the approval processes work with the city and state. They will also listen to our concerns and suggestions so that the development can meet a minimum level of satisfaction with the community and meet or exceed the expectations most of us have but were unable to share with them last week.

MY COMMENTS ABOUT WHY I THINK THE DEVELOPMENT IS A GOOD IDEA:

* Pragmatism -- We have to be realistic. The land on 751 is HOT property. It WILL get developed at some point in the next few years. If it can be developed in an environmentally responsible way, then it will be developed by SOMEONE for something other than the current zoning restriction of low-density (2 residences per acre). WHY? Simple economics. A developer will choose to maximize his return on the land purchase. A developer will return much more of his investment on a "mixed-use" development (like the one proposed) than by building single-family homes with 1/2 - 1-acre lots. REALITY -- If the current developer gets pushed away by Chancellor's Ridge (or the anti-development activists), then you might have a very brief "win" ... only to find that a NEW developer will purchase the land and try to do the same thing in the very near future. That new developer might not be a local developer who lives in Colvard Farms (as does one of the partners in this development team) with his own local and personal reputation at stake by living next door to his own development. So, let's not blind ourselves from the existing realities.



* Benefit to Chancellor's Ridge #1 -- The developer has agreed to DONATE land to Durham for the future construction of an elementary school. This is unprecedented and a fantastic benefit to those in Chancellor's Ridge with small children (or those who plan to have children). Durham needs more schools. We all know that 5-year-old Creekside Elementary is already 30+% over-capacity. South Durham is not shrinking; more and more of us are young parents of new-borns and other very young children. Where will these kids be going to school in the next five or so years? Well, Durham is going to have to build more elementary schools for them. So, what better solution for OUR kids than to be able to have them go to a brand new school right across the street? If this developer is pushed away, then what will happen in the future on the issue of schools? Well, who knows. But I DOUBT Durham will BUY the expensive land across the street and put in a school. Durham has been looking for land in south Durham to build a new school for years. It HASN'T found any that it can afford. Let us support a developer that will donate land for a school. Some have said: "Well the developer isn't going to BUILD the school." So what? The land is the key. The tax base from new homes and businesses in south Durham will cover the construction of the school. Why should we expect the developer to "give away" a school. It's not going to happen. Donating land is the key point.



* Benefit to Chancellor's Ridge #2 -- The mixed-use aspect of the development will attract small businesses/retail/offices that will be conveniently located. There could be dentists, doctors, pizza, fitness center/YMCA, upscale grocer, etc. all within walking distance or a very short drive.



* Benefit to Chancellor's Ridge #3 -- Walking trails, outdoor/environmentally-friendly amphitheater, soccer field. The plan calls for these things. Who doesn't want a great soccer field to take our kids to just across the street? Who doesn't want nice walking trails for a change-of-pace from the CR sidewalks? These are big positives for everyone.



* Benefit to Chancellor's Ridge #4 -- Better traffic flow for hwy. 751. Contrary to what many people have as a prime concern: increased traffic on 751, the development would actually IMPROVE traffic. Right now we have a 55 mph speed limit on 751 right outside of our entrance. Now that is too fast and we see cars racing past at that speed or faster all of the time. However, the traffic impact annalysis and practicalities of the development will call for a speed limit of between 35-45 mph. And, with a school in the area, the speed will be limited to 25 mph M-F from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Additionally, 751 will be widened to 4 lanes with a middle turn lane and right-turn lanes for the developments. Also, traffic lights will be added to make everything flow smoothly and enhance the safety. So, traffic is just not going to be a problem. If the traffic doubles -- so what? You will not even notice it. It is not as if traffic will be bumper-to-bumper all day. Southpoint mall area has smooth-flowing traffic and it serves FAR more vehicles than would this little development.



* Benefit to Chancellor's Ridge #5 -- Aesthetically pleasing. The view from the townhomes is of pine trees. That is nice. But the developer has plans for attractive townhomes and landscaping that will be as equally or more attractive than the existing trees. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder to a large degree. But again, we need to be pragmatic. The land is GOING to be developed ... sooner rather than later. We should be thankful to be able to work with a local developer (who, I remind everyone, lives in high-end Colvard Farms and does not want to be driving past an eye-sore everyday) who will listen to our concerns in this area.



* Benefit to Chancellor's Ridge #6 -- Higher property values. Location, location, location -- the 3 tenets of property values. When phase one of this proposed development gets completed, people will see how convenient and beautiful it is and want to live in it or as near it as possible. But the cost of the homes and townhomes in the development will not be cheap. This is not just talk. Again, it is economics. The developers will be spending A LOT of money to complete this project. They are not doing this for fun or to pass the time. They are doing this to make money! In order to get a good return, the value of the properties within the development will be higher to significantly higher than the value of most, if not all, comparable homes in Chancellor's Ridge. The higher cost of properties in the new development will be supported by those who want to be right in the middle of the newest hot-spot and by the details and higher-end nature of the project. People who cannot afford to buy a home or townhouse or rent an expensive flat in the new development will be looking across the street at Chancellor's Ridge homes and townhomes as the next best option. This demand will increase the value of CR properties. The housing market is struggling a bit now; however, this is a temporary economic downturn that will have worked its way out of the system by the time the properties in the new development are available in 3+ years.



* Answer To Those With Environmental Concerns -- Many of the anti-devlopment activists and many CR residents have genuine concerns about the environmental impact of the proposed development. This is an important issue that should be expected to be handled with appropriate care by the developers. While those opposing development seem to have little faith in the abilities of the developers to be environmentally friendly, I do not. Why all the cynicism? These developers have a reputation to uphold. They are local. They do not want any negative associations (environmental or otherwise) tied to their good name. They have stated that they are committed to meet or exceed all environmental standards required for the land. So why are so many people projecting the worst-case scenarios here? I just don't see it. I have faith in the free market and faith in a local (next-door-neighbor) developer in maintaining excellent environmental qualities in the way they handle water run-off, landscaping, maintenance of existing mature trees, etc. Let us again be pragmatic and open and willing to listen to what the developers have to say and how they will work with us before we cry decibles of danger about a project to which we have not given a fair eye and ear.


Reality Points -- The molasses speed at which the city and state approves such projects means that, at earliest, the developers will not be touching the soil for 18 months to 2 years. So no one is going to lose their view or solitude next month or even next year. Additionally, Chancellor's Ridge residents need to realize that we hold a golden egg in our hands. The developers want to build and want us to be happy so they have support and happy neighbors. We should look at this as an opportunity to talk to the developers and let them know what might make us strongly back the project. Perhaps the developers would consider building an attractive brick wall between the townhomes and the street to dampen traffic noise and add an aesthetically pleasing boundary between CR and the new development. Perhaps the developers will agree to put in a couple of pedestrian-friendly cross-walks that are attractive and have the effect of slowing down traffic even more. Perhaps the developers will improve the lighting throughout Chancellor's Ridge to make it similar to the lighting that is put in the new development. Perhaps the developers will add effectively-attractive speed-bumps to Chancellor's Ridge Drive so that it will have the effect of slowing down our traffic and discouraging non-residents from cutting through our neighborhood to get to the new development.

* These are all possibilities. We need to have an open mind, ask questions, and consider requesting reasonable improvements to our community and/or to the proposed development in a way that will be a win-win situation. When we work together with a friendly developer then the result will be great for all Chancellor's Ridge residents AND for the developers, and everyone in Durham who will enjoy the amenities and beauty of it. We should feel fortunate to live where we do and have this opportunity.

Here is a link to a Triangle development in which Boylan developers are currently involved: http//www.mainstsquare.com (Holly Springs). This will give a better feel for how the proposed development on 751 could turn out.

Thank you for keeping an open mind.

henryp said...

Living in Chancellors Ridge and having grown up in South Durham, I might prefer no development.
However, the recent projects and land prices in south Durham make further development inevitable. Given this, the development by Boylan is welcome next door. It should prove to be a benefit for the entire city.
As for the inevitability of development, South Durham’s rural nature was traded away years ago by city in search of income. There are currently five construction sites within 1 mile of The Streets at Southpoint and more on the way. Toll Brothers begins to sell home sites at The Hills of Southpoint on Fayetteville Road next week.
While I applaud their efforts, opposing further development is futile. The most we can hope for is wise, sustainable development – making developers follow sustainable green building and development practices such as the USGBC’s LEED rating systems.

Sean said...

Dear Neighbors:

I would like to take a few minutes and respond to Mark Avitabile's comments regarding the meeting and the proposed development on 751 near Chancellor's Ridge.

I was also pleased to see so many people show up at the meeting on Thursday and was happy to see the attendees included a good number of Chancellor's Ridge residents as well as members of the broader Durham community. Given that many Chancellors' Ridge residents were not aware of the development or the meeting, it struck me that future meetings will likely have even more of a turnout from our neighborhood. I was happy to see so many people from the area also showed up for the meeting. This is certainly desirable given the size, scope, and location of this proposed development as well as the broader benefits of civic and community participation in a process that will impact the surrounding area.

While Mark appears to have concluded that the proposed development will likely be a net gain for the area, I am far from certain that this is the case. However, given that the developers presented little outside of a very broad overview of the project and assurances of their altruistic motives, I believe it a mistake for anyone to assume that this proposal is in the interest of our community or Durham at this point. Additionally, I was reassured by the questions, comments, and concerns of the people attending the meeting. I was struck by both the passion and intelligence of many of the questions regarding a host of issues related to the project (environmental, population density, traffic impacts, quality of life, etc). Personally, I believe these questions and comments raised a host of issues the developers will have to address in the coming weeks and months if they hope to ever break ground on this project.

Mark suggested he was "aggravated and turned off" by both the people asking the questions (since he thought many were not from the neighborhood) and the tenor of those questions. Given that this was a community meeting for all interested parties and not just Chancellor's Ridge residents, I do not see how anyone can object to non-Chancellor's Ridge residents being in attendance and asking questions. Further, I have attended numerous community hearings, legislative hearings, and governmental proceedings over the years on a variety of issues and found this meeting to be relatively civil and the question and answer session productive. I do not see a problem with members of the City Council, the County Commissioners, and various boards, commissions, and civic groups attending this meeting and participating fully. Personally, I find it unreasonable to expect that people like this would not be in attendance at a proceeding of this nature.

In attacking those who possess a different opinion of this development and making broad statements about what he believes most residents of Chancellor's Ridge feel about this project, Mark displays an arrogance that I find unsettling given both the nature of this process and the lack of a clear understanding by anyone about how the neighborhood as a whole feels about this proposed development. At some future date, I believe it would be beneficial for the Chancellor's Ridge community to have a closed meeting to discuss this project and what it means to all of us. It is too big of an issue to leave solely to the board of the Homeowners Association or individual members of the community however passionately they support or oppose the proposed development. This meeting should focus on discussing how we as a neighborhood feel about the idea of a large mixed-use development being built almost directly across the from the town homes. This meeting should be for residents only and neither the developers nor groups opposed to the development should be present. If the attendees at the meeting should decide it is in the interest of the community, we should be willing to invite in outside parties at future meetings. These outside parties would likely include the developers, our elected representatives, and representatives of community groups that might have expertise in a variety of areas relevant to this process. At this point, our primary goals as a community should be to discuss this issue among ourselves and then collectively weigh all the evidence as best we can in the days and months to come.

In reviewing Mark's letter, I found his presentation extremely naïve as to the merits of the development. In each of his points, Mark presented a simplified view as to why this project is both good and necessary for the neighborhood. Mark stresses the broad benefits of pragmatism regarding the development of this land and a number of individual benefits for the Chancellor's Ridge community. He argues that the property will be developed and it is better to go with this development than some unknown development and developer in the future. However, the current zoning of the land in question is "rural residential." This dramatically limits the possibilities for the development of this land by limiting the number of structures per acre. The developers of this project hope to change both the Comprehensive Land Use plan for the county and the zoning of the specific land in order to build a mixed-used development that will contain 1,200-1,300 residential units and 500,000 square feet of retail space. Additionally, Mark highlights the developer's plan to donate land for a school as part of the project. While this looks good as a talking point, it ignores a number of other issues. As County Commissioner Heron noted at the meeting, the construction of an elementary school would cost an estimated $35-40 million dollars and the vast bulk of the cost would need to be provided via property tax increases. I am not sure how it is pragmatic to blindly support a project simply because the land might be developed in the years to come. Rather, I believe it is pragmatic to subject this proposal to a critical examination as to its costs and benefits for Chancellor's Ridge and the city and county of Durham.

It is my hope we can hold a Chancellor's Ridge resident meeting on this subject (no developers, no elected officials, no citizen groups) and, based on the outcome of that meeting, make a decision as to whether future meetings with a wider audience are in all of our interests.

Sean

Mark said...

Sean, and CR neighbors:

I only have a moment to respond.

Your suggestions about having CR community-only meetings I think are good. You are clearly informed and passionate, as am I. Please do not call me arrogant or naive, though. I am far from both. Being "pragmatic" does not constitute being naive about more specific components to a larger issue. I do not have countless hours to convey my general feelings about the proposed development. So my initial intent was and is to express some of the potentially very positive aspects of such. At the meeting what I heard was, primarily, badgering and pointed questions with little opportunity for a coherent response by Mr. Byker or the developers. While that might be "common" in community meetings, generally, and ones that you have attended, I find it inapporpriate. People should be more civil and courteous, regardless of their passion for an issue.

I was aware that the meeting was open to the public. However, again, I thought it was inappropriate for mostly non-CR residents to be dominating the questions and comments. CR residents, generally, are not experts in land use development -- nor am I. Consequently, I think it would have been more courteous and professional for those who attended the meeting with already strong views about the development to have taken more of a back seat so that CR residents could ask some of their own questions without feeling intimidated by those who were asking hyper-technical questions involving planning issues that most people know nothing about.

Several people approached me after the meeting and thanked me for sharing my more open and favorable view of the development near the end of the meeting. I was verbally challenged by one woman in the middle of my comments but "held my ground". That is why many CR residents didn't make comments possibly favorable to the development -- they were afraid to ... intimidated by these other individuals!

I'm not suggesting that such non-CR residents should not have been allowed to attend the public meeting or that legitimate questions showing concern about the development should not have been allowed. However, their presence placed an edgy air on the atmosphere Thursday night that prevented a smoother and clearer flow of information from being shared with all present. If people who are against the development want to be more persuasive, then I will give them some free advice: please use layman's terminology and allow a reasonable response to your questions before shouting and condemning in disagreement to your query before the answer is fully given.

In my view, all of this technical data that was thrown out about traffic patterns, traffic counts, watersheds, comprehensive plan, UDOs, etc. just serves to confuse people and place potentially inaccurate and/or misunderstood data in the minds of CR residents that truly want to develop a clear picture of what to reasonably expect if the proposed development (or some future, different development) becomes reality. But most people place no real significance to these technical terms unless they are clearly, accurately, and succinctly defined and explained. I did not like the way these issues were thrown out during that meeting without a foundation from which most people could understand their accuracy or significance. That is my main point.

Having CR-only meetings, as you suggest, both with residents, only, and perhaps then with residents and the developers/attorneys to discuss our concerns and gain a truer understanding for what it means in the sense of technical details and the bigger picture is all I want. I do not like people jumping to conclusions without a fairer rendering of the facts -- from all sides.

My position, obviously, is one perspective. I think it is reasonable and fairly points out some important concerns and benefits that many CR residents might find valuable to consider. But my position is neither arrogant nor naive.

Additionally, I am aware that the land is currently zoned as "rural residential", which calls for far less-dense development than that proposed by the developers. What I am trying to convey (perhaps I wasn't specific enough) is that just because "rural res." is the current zoning, and even if those opposing the development proposal are successful in keeping the zoning at "rur. res.", it does not in any way guarantee that it will indeed STAY rural residential into eternity.

The current developer, if he is turned away, will certainly sell the land. It will be bought by some other developer who has a similar goal of making money developing the land. There is nothing to stop a future (and possibly less well-known, out-of-state) developer from also trying to change the zoning. And perhaps such new/unknown developer will present a "worse"/less desirable development proposal. I would rather take my chances with a developer who is local (lives in Colvard Farms) and has a strong interest in working with us than some unknown future developer who might (or might not) develop the land in a way that is consistent with "rural residential". After all, developers develop to make money. Rural residential will not bring as great of a return for a developer as will mixed use. So it is my conclusion that any future development of this land is more likely than not to be "mixed-use" in nature. Eventually (even if not this year) the zoning is likely to be changed. Perhaps I am "naive" in that view; but I don't think I am. I would rather work with the current, local development team. They seem very responsive and concerned about our needs.

Finally, I am aware that donating land for a school is just a small piece of the pie required for building a school. Funds for constructing the school would still need to be obtained. But that is true of ANY school built anywhere in Durham. Clearly, south Durham needs another elementary school. Creekside is 30% over-capacity after just 5 years! So Durham, one way or another, would find the money to construct a new school on the land donated by the developer because the land is there and a school in south Durham is needed. Perhaps a bond issue would have to raise more money for purposes of building the school -- so what else is new? One way or another, through either a larger tax base (more homes and retail and offices via the proposed development) or a higher tax rate (to fund additional bond issues for a new school), a new school will be built in the next several years in Durham. I'd prefer that the odds that it gets built across the street from CR are enhanced by a developer who donates land for that purpose ... the funding will fall in place.

Thanks for your time. Most of your points (Sean) on openly sharing opinions and ideas and having meetings about this issue get my vote as a good idea. But please do not call me arrogant or naive.

Sean said...

Hi Mark,

You can do more in a moment then most people in a day if this is a brief response :)

I chose my words carefully in my letter and, based on your presentation, I could not decide which one was a better fit to language you used. I did not intend them as personal attacks, but rather as descriptors of my take in reading your letter and trying to understand where you are coming from. Your letter was either naive in presenting an overly optimistic in presenting a flowery view of the development process or intentionally misleading in glossing over any number of issues relevant to this development or arrogant in attacking members of the community for being present at a community meeting. Further, I do not see how anyone in CR knows how the neighborhood feels about this development.

As for the nature of community meetings, it is a hallmark of democracy and civic engagement. More often than not it is a messy and passionate process. I am sure the developers had no problem with either the questions, comments, or concerns presented in the meeting. They understood there would be opposition to the development and also some confusion/uncertainty. The community meeting is required for them and puts them in the position of taking flak, defending their positions, and fulfilling a requirement in the process. I suggested holding a panel in my recent email to Shane and this might help ameliorate some of the things you found so inappropriate (a moderated forum certainly is smoother than an open meeting). As for my own take on the meeting, I found it a net positive that people in the audience were asking tougher questions because it illustrated a lot about the process going forward and made clear that this development was not an inevitability. Further, aren't we all well served if tough questions and issues raised equal more commitments from the developer. Finally, I heard numerous residents from CR speak (you and Shane were the only two I heard speak favorably but certainly a number of people I either knew or who identified themselves as CR residents either asked questions or registered their concerns).

I am sure we will have numerous occasions to discuss these issues, so I will refrain from a long point by point response. My general sense, however, is that if this development is blocked then life goes on. Obviously, another plan will be created by the current or a future developer and that can be evaluated on its merits as well. It might be that we get a conservation sub-division in there instead or giant houses that cost a fantastic amount but have less of an environmental and traffic impact.

Cheers,
Sean

Sean said...

Also, as an additional note, the developers submitted their plan to the city yesterday. This means the clock is now officially ticking on this process.

Trisha said...

The following are my notes regarding the Unified Development Ordinance, the Comprehensive Plan for Durham County, and research regarding certain parcels of land proposed for a development “like Meadowmont, only bigger and better.” I hope that this will prove helpful to Chancellor’s Ridge residents in assessing the proposed development.

In 2005 both the City of Durham and the County of Durham adopted a Comprehensive Plan for Durham. The Comprehensive Plan was the result of numerous meetings with the citizens of Durham and countless hours of labor by the Planning Department and others.

The result was a plan to guide development for the next 20 or so years.

A proposal for development immediately west of Highway 751 and south of Stage Coach Road was unveiled at a public meeting last week. The development is across the road from Chancellor’s Ridge townhomes.

The development would use approximately 164 acres of the 246.6 acres now owned by Seven Five One Investments, of which 19 acres are in the Jordan Lake Critical Watershed Area. On this there would be 1200 to 1300 housing units, reserving 30% for "greenspace" (~ 50 acres). 700 apartments are expected, while only 60 Single Family detatched homes are projected.

Per the speakers at the meeting, the 164 acres are currently under contract.

Properties owned by Seven Five One Investments along this strip = 246.6 acres

Properties proposed (and under contract) for this development include the following - shown with arrows ( 157 acres) - as well as another 7 acres I’ve not identified… as shown below…

All of these properties are shown as having been purchased on August 1, 2007.

The area shown in pink on the above map is in the Urban Growth Area; The areas shown in yellow, are not in the Urban Growth Area per County maps. A significant portion of the area is outside the Urban Growth Area - an area generally said to be one where Durham City utilities extend.

The developers are relying on the City, however, to extend utilities to the site, per the meeting, once the County approves the rezoning. They are not requesting that the rezoning be contingent on this project going forward. This means that even if this project goes belly up, the land would still be zoned mixed use - and mixed use can include many many things.

The Comprehensive Plan shows the planned Future Use of this area as shown below (I’ve added arrows to identify the parcels proposed for development).

Note that most of the area is Very Low Density Residential (maximum number of development units on 164 acres would be 328), while some is Rural Density Residential (maximum number of development units on 164 acres would be 82).
The areas in green are reserved for “recreation/open space”, and, in general, are owned by the US government.

The area shown in yellow has a Future Land Use per the Comprehensive Plan as “Rural Density Residential” with a maximum of 1 development unit per two acres, while the current zoning shows the area planned for development as Residential Low Density with a Unified Development Ordinance tag of PDR 0.22. Generally, residential units in Durham County have 2.4 persons per unit. With the planned 1200-1300 units, that equates to 2,880 to 3,120 new residents - or 27 residents per acre if we subtract out the 50 acres of "greenspace". That is a stark contrast to the 1 unit per 2 acres of the Plan.

The following is an excerpt defining the Tiers:

1. The Development Tier Map is intended to ensure that development reflects the character of the area within which it occurs and to minimize the cost of extending infrastructure into areas inappropriately. The tiers shown on the map shall function as overlays, establishing guidelines within which different development patterns, intensities, and densities shall be utilized. The development tiers shall include the following:
1. The Rural Tier -- That area of Durham that lies outside the Urban Growth Area and largely within watershed critical areas within which development should maintain a rural focus to encourage preservation of agriculture and protect important water resources. Development within this area should require large lots to minimize demands on infrastructure, with limited commercial areas.
2.1 Residential Rural District (RR)
The RR District is established to provide for agricultural activities and residential development on lots of one acre or greater and in conservation subdivisions. Commercial and industrial development is generally prohibited.


At the meeting the developers noted they planned a project with 1,200 to 1,300 units, (of which 700 would be apartments). This equates to 7.3 to 7.9 units per gross acre.

The developers stated that the project was in the county and would go through the county zoning process. They would request a “Mixed Use Development” zoning.

Mixed Used Developments allow for retail, commercial and residential uses in suburban areas.

Symbol District Development Tier Former Districts
Rural Suburban Urban Compact Downtown

MU Mixed Use MU


Per the UDO, Mixed Uses are as follows:

The MU District is established to provide innovative opportunities for an integration of diverse but compatible uses into a single development that is unified by distinguishable design features. In addition to a mixture of compatible uses, development in this district shall provide amenities, walkways and open space to increase pedestrian activity, decrease reliance on individual vehicles, foster transit usage, enhance the attractiveness of Durham City and County, improve the overall quality of life, and provide for the welfare of the citizens.

The MU District is used to implement the Comprehensive Plan within those areas shown as the Suburban, Urban, Compact Neighborhood or Downtown Tiers.

The developers noted that they were encouraging pedestrian activity within the development and with Chancellor’s Ridge residents.

Current average daily vehicle traffic on 751 is 10,000 per day per their traffic consultant. The development is projected to double that amount; an additional 10,000 per day.

The developers plan to widen 751 to four lanes (plus ingress/egress lanes) along the development. There are no pedestrian bridges planned between Chancellor’s Ridge and the development. Traffic light(s) are planned.

Current Zoning of the land is PDR 0.220,
Symbol District Development Tier Former Districts
Rural Suburban Urban Compact Downtown
Planned Districts
PDR Planned Development Residential PDR

as shown above:

The area is in the watershed overlay of the “Falls of the Neuse / Jordan Lake Protected Area”. (Bordered in red on the map below.) Portions are in the “Jordan Lake Critical Area” watershed overlay.

From the Unified Development Ordinance:
1. The following six Watershed Overlays shall be established for lands within the watersheds of public drinking water rivers and reservoirs. Each Watershed Overlay is divided into two areas, a Critical Area (A) and a Protected Area (B), based on their distance from the protected water supply and ridge lines that define the drainage basin.

Overlay Designation General Location
M/LR-A Lake Michie/Little River
District A

One mile from the 341 foot MSL normal pool of Lake Michie and from the 355 foot MSL normal pool of the Little River Reservoir, or to the ridge lines defining their drainage basins, whichever is less.
M/LR-B Lake Michie/Little River
District B The portion of the drainage basins of Lake Michie and the Little River Reservoir not covered by M/LR-A.

F/J-A Falls/Jordan District A

One mile from the 251.5 foot MSL normal pool of Falls Reservoir and from the 216 foot MSL normal pool of the Jordan Reservoir, or to the ridge lines defining their drainage basins, whichever is less.

F/J-B Falls/Jordan District B From the edge of F/J-A Overlay to five miles from the normal pool of the Falls Reservoir and the Jordan Reservoir, or to the ridge lines that define their drainage basins, whichever is less.

1. The purpose of the Watershed Protection Overlay is to preserve the quality of the region's drinking water supplies through application of the development standards in Article 8, Environmental Protection. In general, water supply protection will be accomplished by establishing and maintaining low intensity land use and development on land near the region's water supply rivers and reservoirs.

Where high density development is desired, water supply protection will be accomplished through the use of engineered stormwater controls. The overall objective is to:
1. Reduce the risk of pollution from stormwater running off of paved and other impervious surfaces; and
2. Reduce the risk of discharges of hazardous and toxic materials into the natural drainage system tributary to drinking water supplies.


The topography of the area is 280’ to 300’ on the east side, sloping to 260’ along the west side of the properties. Water naturally flows to the west toward Jordan Lake.

I can supply the maps referenced above that did not duplicate on my memo. Send me your e-mail: tgensic@nc.rr.com

I submit --- as a full-fledged honor-bound paid up member of the Chancellor's Ridge community - and not an "outsider", that this project is in blatant disregard of multiple elements of the carefully thought out Durham Comprehensive Plan (much of which I sat through) and should be tossed out.

1. It does not provide the limited development required in the Comprehensive Plan.

2. It does not provide the limited development necessary for a watershed conservation area (much less a critical area).

3. It proposes urban densities in an area that is "rural residential".

4. It proposes a great deal of non-permeable surface area prone to non-point-source pollution going into our water supply (Jordan Lake) rather than the filtering now done by the grasses and reeds now there.

Having been a landowner (about the same acreage as this development), I can tell you that the price of "donating" land for a school or a fire station is peanuts. The donation is of unimproved land - and would probably be on that land which is the least developable - most expensive to develop. The hard part is left for the taxpayers (read you and me) who then foot the bill to construct, man, and maintain the school and/or fire station. IF the developers seek to have the City supply infrastructure to the site, the site would have to agree to be annexed into the City of Durham. IF the City annexes the site into the City of Durham, the Durham Fire Department would be the one providing fire protection services, notwithstanding the letter from the Parkwood Fire Department.

5. Just because they throw it up in the air, doesn't mean it has to stick.

The area to the west of our addition is a beautiful wooded area with 20 years of tree growth. I do not doubt that it will, one day, be developed. I do not, however, think that the development needs to fall so far afield of what the citizens of Durham City and County want.

Mark,
I note that you did not attend until much later in the meeting. You missed many of the earlier comments made by your neighbors.

Trisha said...

I would like to respond point by point to those in favor of this project:

* Pragmatism -- We have to be realistic. The land on 751 is HOT property. It WILL get developed at some point in the next few years.

**** I have no doubt that the area will develop. ... and those who know me KNOW that I am not anti-development - just anti bad development!

It will develop very badly if we let it. It will fly in the face of our carefully laid plans, if we let it. The Comprehensive Plan adopted by the City and County has reserved this land for rural residential.

Pragmatically, there are many areas of Durham where it would make much more sense - now and in the future - to develop these urban densities - like, for example, in the URBAN core, where the infrastructure and the capacities already exist, where we don't have to construct new trails and develop new bus lines.

The land the developers are proposing to change is valued at $3.8 M ($23,300/acre). A reasonable rate of return is quite possible with a perfectly respectable high-end low density residential development - in concert with the Comprehensive plan and its environmental protections for our drinking watersheds.

That "one of the fellows" making the money lives in Colvard Farms or in Kokomo is irrelevant, unless he wants to build one large home on the 164 acres for himself.

Trisha said...

To the point....

**The developer has agreed to DONATE land to Durham for the future construction of an elementary school. This is unprecedented and a fantastic benefit to those in Chancellor's Ridge with small children (or those who plan to have children).

**** The value of the land in question is at most the average price per acre - $22,300 or so. It is hardly unprecedented for a developer to donate land for schools in order to curry favor with the local homeowners and politicos. I've been doing this gig for about 30 years now, and it precedes me. Currently, public elementary school sites are running about 20 to 35 acres. I must have missed the number of acres the developers said they were going to donate for the school AND the fire station....

Their donation would need to be supplemented with somewhere north of $40M or so (school alone) in taxpayer monies as an initial investment per Commissioner Heron who attended the meeting - and it is likely that the land will be the least developable of the acreage. Not a real bonus as far as I can tell!

$40,000,000 taxpayer expense.

23,300 x 25 acres = $582,500 donation of less than ideal land in a less than ideal location.

NET Cost: $38.4 M or so ....., plus teachers, plus buses, plus maintenance....

Remember, we're talking about the far southwest corner of the county. Not a likely spot for Durham County Commissioners to want to plug in a school. They tend to like things more centrally located to the clientele.

Trisha said...

* Benefit to Chancellor's Ridge #2 -- The mixed-use aspect of the development will attract small businesses/retail/offices that will be conveniently located. There could be dentists, doctors, pizza, fitness center/YMCA, upscale grocer, etc. all within walking distance or a very short drive.

**** As noted in the meeting you are attracted to this area precisely because it already offers "small businesses / retail / offices that will be conveniently located, with dentists, doctors, pizza, fitness center, upscale grocer, etc. all within walking distance or a very short drive." This is a residential area which serves as a buffer between the VERY commercial South Point and the very rural Chattham county. It hardly needs more commercial than what we currently have on either Fayetteville Street or on 751, just a short walk away. I see no benefit to CR here.

Trisha said...

* Benefit to Chancellor's Ridge #3 -- Walking trails, outdoor / environmentally-friendly amphitheater, soccer field. The plan calls for these things.

**** As we see from the treatment the developers have given to the City/County Comprehensive Plan, they're not much for keeping with set plans. Plans change, don'cha know.

Meanwhile, we currently have one of the best walking trails there is with the American Tobacco Trail just a hop, skip and a jump away. That links up with others, soon to link across US 40 into still others.

Who wouldn't like walking trails? If it means the loss of the very fundamental reason most people use trails - natural habitat - then put me in the category of those who don't need one. The American Eagle trail which they "tagged" as part of their plan, is already proposed and will be developed with or without this development. As for amphitheaters, I prefer mine natural on that, too.

Trisha said...

* Benefit to Chancellor's Ridge #4 -- Better traffic flow for hwy. 751.

As an ex-traffic planner, I can tell you that improvements to 751 whether caused by the development or by just four-laning it, WILL attract additional traffic to the area. Like water, vehicles tend to follow the path of least resistance.

Improving the lanes, however, doesn't improve the traffic. It merely increases it.

Last time I checked, the speed limit signs read "45". While trying to go to work in the morning, it is a long wait to even try to turn onto 751 north. Imagine that traffic doubled? Imagine the traffic in 5 years?? --- it's already up significantly in the 4 years I've been here.

Imagine a school district right here. Imagine little CR kiddies trying to cross all four lanes (don't forget to add two more for ingress/egress!)of that traffic on the way to their school?

"Additionally, 751 will be widened to 4 lanes with a middle turn lane and right-turn lanes for the developments". Back to my traffic planning days - those middle turn lanes? We called them "suicide lanes". Not sure I would characterize them any differently now.

"Also, traffic lights will be added to make everything flow smoothly and enhance the safety. So, traffic is just not going to be a problem. If the traffic doubles -- so what? You will not even notice it."

I already notice it - and there IS no development yet! Traffic lights are proposed by the developer. They need to be warranted by the State DOT, and approved by the City. They are not a certaintly.

Not a benefit by me.

Trisha said...

"* Benefit to Chancellor's Ridge #5 -- Aesthetically pleasing. The view from the townhomes is of pine trees. That is nice. But the developer has plans for attractive townhomes and landscaping that will be as equally or more attractive than the existing trees."

Aesthetically pleasing? If I wanted a view of townhomes, would have located in Meadowmont or downtown in one of the really neat new condos. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. For those beholders who like their views to be of townhomes, let me introduce you to a whole new calibre of developer - in downtown Durham. New urbanism at its finest.

Leave the rural areas for those of us who enjoy watching for eagles among the pines.

Mark said...

Trisha (and other CR residents):

I have to say, this is a fun exercise in expressing our best arguments for an issue that will affect many of us in one way or another. Thanks for your comments and well-stated summary of many of the details of the proposed development and explanation of what much of the "planning" terminology means.

I arrived a tad late for the meeting Thursday -- I was there at 7:10 (not around 8ish when you might have seen me finally push forward to have a better position to see the posterboards). So it is possible that I missed hearing some comments by CR residents. But I think I was there for most of it.

Generally, you certainly make good points. I do not have a predisposition towards "mixed use" development across the street from CR. But, overall, from my perspective and for what I would like to see happen (for myself, my wife, and our future family) in the area, the proposed development matches a lot of qualities that I would favor.

Here are my reactions to some of the replies you made to my outline of the possible benefits to such a development being approved.

I suppose I have a different take on much of this.

1. The school issue is one of the most important to me. I keep hearing people comment about how the city would still have to build the school, and for quite a high price tag. However, I don't see how Durham can continue into the future without building another elementary school in south Durham. So I believe that the issue of finding funding to build another school is moot. It will have to be done one way or another. So it might as well be built in a place that is very convenient for all CR residents. I don't see why Durham would have a problem building a school on the far fringes of the city/county. That's where the development is and where many young families w/ kids are living. So why NOT build a school where the kids live? It seems to be common sense and very practical to me. And, after all, Creekside isn't exactly centrally located. I'd MUCH rather my kid(s) go to school very close to home than be bussed way-the-heck to no-man's land or into the middle of the city. When I was young, I walked to my elementary and junior high schools. And I crossed streets/roads to do it. We had crossing guards. Don't schools have crossing guards anymore?

2. You point out that the developer is really only donating perhaps roughly $500,000 worth of land for the construction of a school. But again, even if this is not necessarily considered very "generous" (and more of a carrot/stick appeal to get their development approved), I don't think that really matters. The key factor for me, and I would think for many other parents of elementary-age children, is that land for a school IS THERE ... right within two or three stone's throws of my home. The money to build a new school (somewhere in Durham) will have to be attained from the citizens sooner rather than later. In my view, if my taxes are going to go up to build a new school, then I'd rather that new school be one that is conveniently located for my family, children, and neighbors.

3. Traffic. Your years of experience in this area trump anything I could say about this issue other than this: I'm just not very concerned by it. If traffic doubles, or even triples, most of the inconveniences will be outweighed by the conveniences of having a school and other offices, etc. that are much closer to the homes of CR residents. I understand that others can differ with me on this issue. However, I think humans are adaptable. If the traffic is really busy at a particular time of day, then it is always possible to leave for work a few minutes earlier/later or possibly even work from home more (and working from home is more and more feasible for many of us).

4. Traffic safety issue. Again, here I just am not concerned. I am confident that the probable slower traffic speeds in this area will counter-act any additional increase in the volume of traffic. I believe people are overly cynical about the ability of their children to learn how to cross a street -- even a busy one. But, most importantly, I believe the traffic signals (lights), crossing guards (or simply driving your child to school to avoid his/her need to cross the street) will make traffic safety issues insignificant to non-existent. Nothing in life comes without a risk. A 100% safety rate cannot be guaranteed. But I think it is going overboard to think children and adults cannot safely cross a street in a school zone with the use of traffic lights and/or crossing guards.

5. Walking trails/beauty. Again, this is one of those subjective issues. But I think a lot of people would enjoy walking around the nice trails of a mixed-use development to grab an evening ice-cream cone, walk their dog or infant, or even to grab a few groceries or go out to a nearby cafe for dinner or lunch. Southpoint and the surrounding retail and offices are nice -- and close. However, it really isn't practical for most CR residents to WALK 2-4 miles each way (and without sidewalks much of the way) to get there. But a mixed use development "across the street" provides an opportunity for nearly any resident of CR to get out and walk or bicycle over there. The only obstacle would be to cross 751. And I've already covered that issue. It just would not be a difficult or unsafe thing to do.

6. Mixed-Use/urban aspect of the development compared to existing rural feel/zoning. Another subjective view. I certainly enjoy trees and rural areas as much as anyone. I ride my bicycle and run several miles a week and enjoy going into the rural areas to do so. Instead of a mixed-use development, one more in the style of Colvard Farms would certainly be attractive across from CR. But I just don't think this is likely to happen. It takes A LOT more time to build-out that kind of development and make money on it. I think a developer is much more inclined to want a mixed-use development any way you put it. So, I'd prefer to work with one that lives in the area and seems open to listening to the concerns and interests of CR residents. No development will be perfect. But, overall, I think a mixed-use development with a future school, conveniently located "soft" retail and offices, and interesting/attractive walking trails, etc., will turn out to be a very nice complement to CR and surrounding south Durham neighborhoods, the Tobacco Trail, and the overall feel of this neck of the woods while still being environmentally viable.

MS said...

I'm not sure that this has been posted in one of the previous comments, but I thought it would be worth mentioning. The proposal that was presented at Chancellor's Ridge gave me the impression that we were talking about a number of "Boutique" retail stores. However, it has pointed out to me that the actual retail space would be slightly greater than the current Renaissance Parkway development (Best Buy area). As several individuals have pointed out, once the zoning of the land has occurred, the plan can be tossed in favor of more big box stores, which from a developer's perspective, is far more profitable. In response to Mark A.'s comments that people are responding with great distrust toward the developers, I would point out that the exact same thing happened in the development of the Renaissance Parkway project and the area that now includes a Target. These areas were approved on condition of "Mixed Use" development, that was to include single family homes and considerable office space. Instead we now have almost entirely big box retail and apartments. Based on all of my previous experiences with the promises of developer's (don't get me started on Chancellor's Ridge developers), I think a position of distrust is most realistic and appropriate. I have nothing personal against developers....they are just doing there job....but let's all be adults here, if they can maximize their profit on land that they purchase, they will do so. Any concerns about community or environmental impact are merely attemts to move their projects forward. I have never experienced a developer that had an intrinsic desire to be good stewards of the land or the communities they are developing. Their decisions are purely economical.

I don't understand the attitude that suggests that this is a done deal. If the area is developed as it is currently zoned, we will likely not be dealing with some future of "worse development." This attitude of inevitability that is present in some people's comments disturbs me the most.

One final comment regarding the community meeting at Chancellor's Ridge: While there were some people at the meeting who were not residents, I saw a very large number of neighbors there.

Mark said...

Mark S.,

Good points, Mark. I am not blindly in favor of a development that might turn "bad". I am not familiar with the details of how the development of South Point Mall and surrounding areas transpired.

I am certainly open to hearing more concrete concerns and additional feedback from the developers about the likely realities of how the proposed development would turn out as time moves forward.

I missed some of the spoken details about square footage of retail space, etc. I would like to hear more information from the developers about this. "Boutique" retail and small office space, along with a restaurant/cafe or two or three ... plus an "upscale" grocer/Whole Foods/Trader Joe's would seem appropriate to me.

My impression of this proposed development is that it is more of a "one-complete-package" deal --- where the developer would have a plan that is specific and must be followed (60 homes, donated land for school, etc., such-and-such number of townhomes and apartments and retail, etc., etc.).

I have the feeling that the surrounding areas of Southpoint were constructed via multiple developers/development plans, and thus, more big-box retail was the result. But I could be wrong or only partly accurate.

I am interested in learning more about how the process works from both the developers/attorneys and others. And it would certainly be valuable to get the opinions/facts from multiple parties on both sides of the issue, generally, and more specifically: (1) Concerning how the Southpoint area developed vs. Meadowmont vs. how the proposed development would be developed compared to these other developments. (2) Of course, another important issue to have a better feel for is how tightly/loosely the development proposal would have to stick to the plan presented to the city/county.

Thanks again.