What's Going on?
The city of Durham is reviewing a proposal for a large development of 379 townhomes and densely packed single family homes, just south of the West Point on the Eno park on the high elevation area known as "Black Meadow Ridge" (or "BMR"). Currently there are NO plans to allow any public input before the project is approved. The before-and-after images below illustrate the stark contrast, and the extreme density of the proposed development, which would cover the entire southern perimeter of West Point Park.
As shown above, construction of the proposed "Westpoint" development would
clear-cut and demolish over 54 acres of trees and vegetation, then blast and grade the rocky granite areas of the Black Meadow Ridge, which overlook the Eno River and West Point Park-- replacing most of the entire area with roadways, sidewalks, homes and other impervious surfaces. The Black Meadow Ridge contains old growth forests that sit high above Warren Creek and Black Meadow Branch Creek, both of which flow directly into the Eno River and are already prone to heavy flooding. The large sprawling and densely packed development would devastate habitats, exacerbate stormwater flooding, disturb federally mapped wetlands, and degrade the region's key watershed that flows into Falls Lake. See more details about those severe impacts throughout this web site.
The city of Durham is not planning on any public input as part of the approval process. We think this is wrong, especially given the potential severe impacts on the the West Point Park, the Eno River, water quality, and the ecosystems and habitats across this environmentally sensitive area. These potential impacts make this an issue that should be of great interest to ALL citizens of Durham and the region who use the Eno parks, enjoy the river, and depend on quality drinking water resources.
So far, the City is allowing the developer to press ahead, despite the lack of any approved "development plan" to support such a high density development on these parcels, as required for all parcels zoned "planned development residential" (or "PDR") under Durham's Unified Development Ordinance ("UDO"). Thus, a group of adjoining landowners, homeowner associations, and environmental organizations with legal standing to challenge the development have already spent large amounts of money, time and resources to file formal legal challenges to the Westpoint site plan review. We need your help and support!
Of course, the best outcome would be to preserve this natural area just as it is, or perhaps find a way for the city to acquire the land and make it part of the West Point on the Eno city park. But if it is going to be developed, the city should require the developer to follow all legal requirements. Which means they should first be required to submit and gain approval of a new development plan that is consistent with Durham's Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map, given that there currently is no valid or approved development plan of record to support such an overly dense project, as mandated for all parcels zoned as "PDR" under the UDO. The UDO further requires that such a development plan must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, which designates these specific BMR parcels as "very low density" of no more than 2 homes per acre.
The city of Durham itself says that these specific BMR parcels are critical watershed areas for preservation. The proposed development may exacerbate existing flooding problems at the very popular West Point on the Eno park, as well as in nearby neighborhoods that already experience frequent flooding.
See the additional headings above to learn about the other adverse impacts of this development. The already heavy traffic on North Roxboro St. would become much worse, especially after the new Northern High School is built across the street from the planned development. By connecting N. Roxboro over to Stadium Drive, this development would also cause a dangerous flow of heavy traffic onto small neighborhood streets in Horton Hills and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Please take a few minutes to view the rest of this web site to learn more, and to find out how you can take action if you are as concerned as we are. We need to keep this issue in the hearts and minds of our Mayor and City Council representatives, by raising their awareness. Please consider clicking that link for information on how to contact them, and also sign our petition at the link below.
Can you help with SAVE BMR legal fees?
We created a GoFundMe page to raise money for our legal fees. Currently there are THREE APPEALS challenging the proposed "Westpoint" development that are pending before the Durham Board of Adjustment. It has been necessary to pay extensive legal fees and retain expert witnesses, so the expense of fighting to prevent this ill conceived development is steadily growing. We have retained TC Morphis at BROUGH LAW FIRM, one of the state's preeminent firms specializing specifically in zoning and land use matters. 100% of any contributions you make will go DIRECTLY to the Brough Law firm for legal fees that are specific to our BMR appeals cases. Alternatively, you can contact the Brough firm to submit a payment directly to them designated to the "Save Black Meadow Ridge" matter. Learn more here.
Sign the Petition!
Please take a moment to sign the PETITION collecting signatures of community members concerned about the
proposed Westpoint development. The petition advocates for protection of the Black Meadow Ridge parcels through
a comprehensive full development plan review process, including hearings with public input, and votes of the Planning Commission and City Council. Can you spread the word and help us get 5000 signatures?
SIGN IT HERE: https://www.change.org/SaveBlackMeadowRidge
The "TAKE ACTION" page has been updated to show ways you can help. Find specifics on writing letters to place your concerns on the official development case record, and share them with key decision makers in the Durham city government.
News and events:
October 2020 - July 2021: Adjacent property owners, HOAs and environmental groups with legal standing have appealed specific key issues relating to Black Meadow Ridge parcel zoning and the proposed development. (This process is ongoing)
September 10, 2020: Citizen concerns shared with Mayor and Durham City Council at their work session meeting.
August 20, 2020: The Spring Magazine published an article highlighting our work to preserve the West Point on the
Eno Park as it currently exists.
February 11, 2020: CBS17 talks with Christy Benson about the project (more...)
February 10, 2020: We've hired an attorney and created a GoFundMe page for legal fees (more...)
February 6, 2020: WRAL visits West Point on the Eno to talk to Tom Merrigan! (more...)
February 5, 2020: We held a very successful kickoff meeting on Tuesday, February 4th (more...)
Concerns shared with Durham City Council at the September 10 work session
Several citizens addressed the Durham City Council at the September 10 Work Session during the Citizen Matters portion of the meeting. The Council seemed interested in the issue of preventing a high-density development at Black Meadow Ridge, and asked the planning department to provide more details about what actions might be possible for them to intervene.
ABOUT "Save Black Meadow Ridge"
We are a group of neighbors and Durham community members who are working together to educate the public about the proposed WestPoint development and the need for public input. Sign up for future updates using the form below.
You can also contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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