A legislative action that would force the city of Durham to let the 751 South development hook onto its water system came in response to an earlier legislative "attempt to kill the project," according to Southern Durham Development President Alex Mitchell.
"This thing got dragged to Raleigh by our opponents," Mitchell said today.
On Monday, the state House Rules Committee approved a rewritten version of Senate Bill 382 that requires cities to provide water and sewer service to any area within its urban growth boundary. The new bill is scheduled to be heard by the full House today.
The bill also delays implementation of a section of the Jordan Lake Rules pertaining to new development. The 751 South site is in the Jordan watershed.
Mitchell said legislators rewrote SB 382 – which originally had to do with withholding taxes – after a provision was added onto another bill that would have barred counties from providing utility service to unincorporated areas within a certain distance of city limits without the city's permission.
In 2011, Durham County approved extending sewer service to 751 South, a 1,300-home mixed-use subdivision on N.C. 751 near the Chatham County line.
That provision drew opposition from Durham County authorities and the N.C. Association of County Commissioners after it was appended to SB 231, "Municipal Incorporation Standards," in the House Government Committee on June 7. It has since been withdrawn.
"That's what started this whole thing, this underhanded thing," Mitchell said. "That's the real deal of what went down."
If SB 382, now titled "Amend Water Supply/Water Quality Laws, is approved in the House, it would go back to the state Senate for approval. Durham Rep. Paul Luebke said Monday he would try to remove the bill's sections affecting Durham when it came to the House floor.