The Eno River Association, Horton Hills Homeowners Association, and Point Ridge Park, LLC have agreed on a compromise after nearly three years of work regarding the future of development on Black Meadow Ridge. The agreement will preserve over half of the historic ridge located next to West Point on the Eno Durham City Park, while the other half is to be developed into a residential community.
At nearly 61.5 acres in size, the Black Meadow Ridge parcel has long been essential to the Eno River's health and the area's history. The settlement agreement will allow apartments and townhomes to be built on about 28.5 acres of the property, and the remaining 33 acres will either be donated to the Eno River Association for preservation in perpetuity or will be protected as undeveloped stream buffer owned by the Point Ridge and its successors.
The Eno River Association and the Homeowners Association worked with Point Ridge on a creative solution to address both a housing shortage in Durham and concerns related to the environmental impacts of the original proposed development on the neighboring public park and the Eno River, the water supply for over 500,000 Triangle residents.
To address a projected increase in flooding events in the park and adjacent neighborhoods, the construction of impervious surfaces was reduced by nearly 43% across the development. This included consolidating the housing on roughly half the land area, design changes to reduce the footprint of the buildings, a 100-foot forested buffer between the development and the neighborhoods to the south, and a single entrance from Roxboro Road, reducing the amount of paved surfaces and traffic flow.
To further protect the water supply, the development will include a 200-foot stream buffer along a tributary to the Eno River on the eastern side of the property. Point Ridge agreed to increase the number of affordable housing units to 3%, a continuing need for the City of Durham. The parties have also committed to engage appropriate professionals to ensure the preservation of the nearby Holman cemetery, which includes the remains of enslaved people.
“We are pleased to have achieved a good balance between needed housing in Durham and the protection of our natural resources,” said representatives for Point Ridge. “Nearly 4,000 people are moving to Durham each year and housing supply is limited. This compromise will ensure protection of some of the same amenities that make Durham a desirable place to live.””
All parties expressed appreciation to the neighbors, Eno River Association members, and the Durham community at large who provided support and feedback since the proposed development was made public in 2020.
“While we know that many in our community, including us, wanted to see the entire property preserved, it became clear that this compromise is the best possible outcome,” shared Jessica Sheffield, Executive Director of the Eno River Association. “We can ensure the vitality of our community by backing projects that protect our waterways, drinking supply, and public parks, while addressing the housing crisis in our region.”