Opponents 'heartbroken' as Durham City Council moves ahead with Perry Farm proposal

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Friday, November 10, 2023
Opponents 'heartbroken' as Durham City Council OKs big development
The Durham City Council approved the Perry Farm project that will add 665 new residential units to the city despite concerns about environmental damage.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- In a 4 to 3 vote, the Durham City Council approved on Monday the Perry Farm project that will add 665 new residential units to the city.

"We're heartbroken," Samantha Krop, the Neuse River Keeper for Sound Rivers said.

Dozens of residents expressed their concerns, namely about environmental damages to the area spanning more than 280 acres along Kemp Road before the City Council made the decision.

"This location happens to be one of the most heavily developing parts of Durham," Krop said.

Krop said Lick Creek has the most extreme sediment pollution she's seen.

"This place is being harmed by ongoing pollution from developments," Krop said. "And that issue has not been meaningfully addressed."

Nil Ghosh, the attorney for local developer CSC Group, said they were doing all they could to mitigate environmental damage, such as extending stream buffers from 50 to 300 feet and giving some land to the city for a public park.

"From an environmental standpoint, this project incorporates pretty much every mitigation suggested by area residents, or adopted plans," Ghosh said to the City Council. "This is an environmentally sound project."

Krop said while those are good values, the area is being harmed by ongoing pollution from developments, especially downstream of Lick Creek, which is Falls Lake, the drinking water for Raleigh and many others in Wake County, according to Krop.

"The City of Durham has already recognized that sediment pollution from development is a problem," Krop said. "What we're asking for is sufficient evidence to show that protections for the environment are working and that they're being followed before we do more harm."