A superior court judge today said he won't stop Durham County from entering into contracts or issuing permits to the developer for sewer services.
Citizens currently suing Durham County had asked for an injunction and temporary restraining order that would stop the county from granting sewer service to Southern Durham Development, stating, among other concerns, that if the county agreed to give services to the developer, that could give the developer vested rights in the project—a powerful legal standing that could defeat the property owners' lawsuit. Superior Court Judge G. Wayne Abernathy, visiting from Alamance County, denied the motion.
The Chancellor's Ridge Homeowners Association and individuals who own property near the proposed site for 751 South filed the civil lawsuit against Durham County last fall. The property owners argue that county commissioners didn't appropriately rezone the 167 acres of land slated for 751 South, and therefore the project can't be built. That case is scheduled for trial on Nov. 28. If the developers get approval from Durham County commissioners for sewer service, the company may be able to successfully convince a judge that they have vested rights, and the citizens' lawsuit could be trampled.
The county commissioners are scheduled to vote tonight on whether to offer the sewer services. Deciding to do so would violate a 40-year-old agreement between the city and county about which areas each government serves with utilities. The idea is already ruffling feathers at City Hall.