DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The Triangle is growing, and fast. But some residents in what was once the edge of Durham County say they’re concerned by how quickly large developments are popping up along two-lane roads.
Pamela Andrews has lived in Durham County her whole life. She created the group Preserve Rural Durham to address community concerns about the potential impacts of large developments in the county.
“We know development’s coming and we’re okay with that. What we’re not okay with is the fact that we’re not putting any infrastructure in place,” Andrews said.
Andrews and her neighbors have come together to document construction runoff that they worry could get into local watersheds. The group also wants better infrastructure — like widened roads — to accommodate hundreds of houses being built in the southeast part of the county.
“I don’t want pollution in my well,” Andrews said. “I don’t want to get t-boned or a wreck to happen a quarter mile from my house.”
People can see updated planned developments across Durham County online.
The city and county are currently putting together Durham County’s first comprehensive plan in 17 years.
“There will have to be new homes somewhere,” planning manager Scott Whiteman said. “The question is where and how many.”
A part of the plan will update development and density rules in segments of the county deemed rural, suburban, urban and downtown.
Whiteman said says every development must meet environmental and traffic standards to be approved.
“We try to accommodate this rapid amount of growth that we’re experiencing while still preserving the rural areas and environmental features that people love about Durham,” Whiteman said.
Comparing the county’s plan with building already on the books, most of the major developments in areas that “Preserve Rural Durham” is concerned about are going up in what are designated as suburban parts of the county.
“We need smart, we need environmentally friendly development,” Andrews said. “Clear-cutting every tree, every grass, is not.”
The public can give feedback on the comprehensive plan online, which also includes area goals for transportation, public safety, health and preservation, until June 30.