At the request of developers in a controversial land rezoning case, Durham County commissioners voted Monday night to defer a public hearing and decision on whether to rezone 167 acres in South Durham to July 26.
The process won't be that straightforward, however. Commissioners will be maneuvering around their own Unified Development Ordinance to hold the public hearing and rezoning vote on that date.
The UDO states that when either an opponent or proponent of a rezoning case requests a deferral, they can be granted a 30-day delay at most. But county commissioners, having most of July off from their board duties, had planned individual travel and couldn't find a date to meet. They proposed meeting on the rezoning case the night of their only July meeting on the 26th, but that would be 33 days from the original hearing date, and therefore too long.
Thus, to meet their own requirements, the commissioners said that they would schedule an official public hearing for 10 a.m. July 14, when a quorum (Ellen Reckhow, Becky Heron and Brenda Howerton) could meet. They plan to open the public hearing, then immediately continue it to the July 26 meeting during which all five commissioners could meet.
Bottom line: if everything goes as commissioners have planned, the public need not worry about attending the July 14 meeting, which is being held as a formality to meet ordinance requirements. The real public hearing, commissioners assured, would be the night of their regular July meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. July 26.
This deferral is the second request on this chapter of the rezoning request by Southern Durham Development, which has plans to turn this rural corner of southwest Durham County into a new community called 751 South, that could include 1,300 residences, retail and office space, and maybe even a new school and volunteer fire station.
But the entire process has been mired in controversy, dragging on more than two years already. For more details, click the 751 Assemblage tag below.