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Conferees picked for bill aiding Durham developers

The state Senate and House have appointed conferees to work on an agreeable version of SB 382, the bill that would compel Durham to let 751 South hook onto the city water-sewer system.

Last week, the Senate voted not to concur in a House-approved version of the bill.

State Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, is chairman of a seven-member House contingent. Moore wrote the provision that would bar cities from denying water and sewer extensions to property outside their city limits but within a designated "urban growth area."

Along with Moore are Paul Stam, R-Wake; John Blust, R-Guilford; William Brisson, D-Bladen; Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg; Bryan Holloway, R-Rockingham; and Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir.

From the Senate are Tom Apodaca, R-Buncombe, who sponsored SB 382 in its original form pertaining to withholding taxes; Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph; and Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus.

The committee has not scheduled a meeting.

Water-sewer extension bill gets second-reading Aye

The state House voted approval 70-47 this afternoon on the second reading of a bill (link below) requiring cities to provide water and sewer service to any area within their urban growth boundaries.

Durham’s urban growth boundary includes the 751 South site. A third reading of the bill, SB 382, a substitute version of a state Senate act originally pertaining to withholding taxes, could come Wednesday.

If SB 382 passes its third reading, it goes to the state Senate for approval in its new form.

Council says 'Not now' to 751 South hookup

Durham's City Council voted to put off any action on utility extension or annexation for the proposed 751 South subdivision until a pending lawsuit is resolved.

The vote came at the end of a two-hour meeting on the developer's requests.

Currently, zoning that would allow the town-size project is the subject of a lawsuit against Durham County. A number of property owners near the project site hold that their protest petition against the zoning was improperly ruled invalid.

After the suit was filed in 2010, Southern Durham Development requested annexation by the city, or an agreement for connections to the city water and sewer systems without being annexed.

The lawsuit is scheduled for trial in November.

"I don't understand why the pressure point has fallen on us," said Councilman Mike Woodard, who introduced the motion to "take no action until all pending legal issues are resolved."

His motion passed. Councilman Howard Clement favored proceeding with a water-sewer agreement as long as it could be written so as to have no effect on the lawsuit, but his motion died for lack of a second.

Councilman Farad Ali was absent.

"Of all the issues I've encountered," said Councilman Eugene Brown, "this is the one I lay  a wkae at night worrying about."

Since its proposal in early 2008, 751 South has generated fierce controversy over environmental, economic, political, ethical and legal issues. Some of the latter have been carried as far as the state Attorney General's office.

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