[Durham INC] More J Lake articles, including links to the citizen survey info
mmr121570 at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 7 22:33:39 EDT 2009
See below for more from last week's newspapers about the Jordan Lake Survey -- including links to the actual survey and hydrologist's reports (for those of you who haven't seen these yet).
Thanks to all who have donated to date to the Haw River Assembly for the Jordan Lake Survey Fund. I'm sure it's good to know that your money has been well spent :)
>From the Indy (including the links mentioned above):
And from the Herald Sun:
Haw River Assembly survey supports scaled-back development
By Ray Gronberg
: The Herald-Sun
gronberg at heraldsun.com
Jun 30, 2009
DURHAM -- Haw River Assembly leaders Monday relayed to Durham officials a survey they'll argue shows that Jordan Lake's waters lap close enough to a planned real-estate project along N.C. 751 to force developers to scale it back.
Commissioned by the environmental group, the survey suggests that the maps the county was using long before its mapping dispute with Southern Durham Development Inc. began were far too generous to local builders.
Surveyors and engineers from two Wake County companies, Williams-Pearce & Associates and Ward Consulting Engineers, examined one of the lake's main tributaries, New Hope Creek, and found that the stream's bottom dipped below 216 feet above sea level for good about 6,200 feet farther upstream than the county had reckoned.
The 216-foot mark is key to the dispute because that's Jordan's "normal pool," the waterline the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tries to keep the artificial lake running at or close to most of the time.
Durham zoning regulations set up a one-mile buffer zone around the 216-foot mark to protect the lake from pollution. There are strict limits on development inside the buffer that would bar a high-density project like the one Southern Durham Development wants to build.
Southern Durham Development bought its 165-acre site along N.C. 751 from Neal Hunter, co-founder of Cree Inc., after Hunter commissioned a survey that placed the 216-foot level about 3,500 feet downstream of the mark the county had been using.
Hunter in early 2006 convinced Durham's then-planning director, Frank Duke, to accept his survey as the definitive word on where the 216-foot mark falls.
The consequent change in mapping should, lawyers for Southern Durham Development argue, remove the buffer zone from the company's land.
However, critics of the project from the start have questioned the developer's survey. They've questioned its methodology, and noted that publicly available air photos show the lake's normal-pool inundations stretching close enough to Southern Durham Development's property to affect the project.
The problem for any survey is that the lake's upper reaches -- an area in Durham County bounded roughly by N.C. 751 and Upchurch Farm Road on the east, Stagecoach Road on the north and Kepley Road on the west -- are basically a swamp.
The Haw River Assembly contends, in agreement with N.C. State University forestry and environmental resources professor Kathi Beratan, that the right way to establish the 216-foot level is to backtrack along the lake's major tributaries and see where the stream bottom rises above it.
In essence, they reason that anything in the streambed below the 216-foot level is land that either got flooded by or effectively became part of the lake when the Corps of Engineers completed Jordan's dam.
The roughly 1.8-mile discrepancy between where Hunter's surveyor and the Haw River Assembly's placed the mark reflects the meandering of New Hope Creek's channel. The stream runs east from the lake, then turns north as it approaches N.C. 751.
The two points are actually about eight-tenths of a mile apart as the crow flies.
The new survey is sure to figure in debate when the Durham Planning Commission meets in August to decide what advice it'll give the County Commissioners about the underlying zoning issues.
Southern Durham Development has sued the county and hopes to get a judge to in essence uphold the Hunter-commissioned survey and the ruling Duke made based on it.
© 2009 by The Durham Herald Company. All rights reserved.
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