Thank You Runners and Supporters!

PA members rally at the tag-up point in front of the County Commissioners offices.
From Left: Steve Bocckino, Pat Bocckino, Bob Healy, Stacy Miller, John Kent, Carol Anderson, Kate Fellman, Page McCullough, Chana Kraus-Friedberg, Nancy Cox, Dave Austin, Fran Hadden, Gordon Mantler.

We would like to thank all who participated and supported our Relay Race for a Paycheck!
The race went smoothly and stayed on course thanks to many volunteers. Although it was HOT, we stayed cool in our green shirts and helped spread our message: the jobs developers claim 751 S will bring to Durham are in the wrong place, and 751 S will cost Durham taxpayers millions, not to mention the cost to Jordan Lake water quality.

Click to see more pictures on our Facebook page!

There's more!
Make sure to mark your calendar for Monday, July 26th.We'll need even more energy at 200 E. Main St. as the County Commissioners hear the rezoning case. Sign up to speak starting at 6:30, meeting begins at 7:00. We'll have signs!

People’s Alliance Economic Justice Committee Report on Jordan Lake Development

The Economic Justice Committee of the Durham People’s Alliance has researched the supposed economic benefits of the 751 Assemblage, the proposed mixed-used development in southern Durham County. Its proximity to - and environmental impact upon - Jordan Lake and the region's drinking water supply is reason enough to halt this project, but the PA Economic Justice team debunks the economic benefits that the developers are touting.

The core question over the past year has been whether to approve the developer’s application to redraw the critical watershed area in order to permit a dense development on this property.  Logically, this should be a question of whether the UDO permits this, what precedent it sets for the rest of our drinking water reservoirs, and how this fits with our long-term water planning.

But let’s face it – the real discussion has centered on the promise that county residents will get jobs and grow our tax base if only we’ll move that watershed boundary.  With that in mind, the People’s Alliance Economic Justice Committee, co-chaired by Carl Rist of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, gathered a team of economists and other individuals with experience in this area, to give a close look at that promise.  Mr. Rist, for example, is an expert on business climate issues and is a co-author of CFED's widely acclaimed 1994 report, Bidding for Business: Are Cities and States Selling Themselves Short?

The team finds that the developer’s economic projections have some big holes.

  • The developer expects to directly employ 2,400 people in construction jobs over the 10 year buildout period, paying $110 million.  But these aren’t jobs that last 10 years – each trade comes for a little while, does its part, and is finished.  The mean wage for a construction job in Durham County is $33,520.  At that rate, each of these jobs lasts just over a year, or the developer is counting each job that lasts more than a year as two jobs.

  • This kind of double counting shows up again and again in the developer’s economic projections.  They assume that their project won’t take business from downtown or other parts of the county.  Unless there is some pent up demand for office/retail/residential space, we must expect the 751 development will compete with downtown revitalization efforts.

  • For example, the developer projects that it will create almost 3,000 all-new jobs.  If 3000 people dropped out of the sky and started working for businesses that also appeared from thin air this might be the case. In reality, some of the jobs will go to people who now work downtown or other parts of Durham.

  • The developer also double-counts when they project new consumer spending in the shops they plan to build.  To the extent that the residents of the new development are folks who live in Durham already, those people are already doing their buying at the stores we have now.  Those stores will lose business to stores at the new development, and Durham’s sales tax revenue just moves, rather than getting an all-new source.

  • The developer’s consumer spending projections also depend on their assumption that household incomes for the single-family houses will be $235,000 a year, $145,000 a year for the townhouses, $116,000 for the condos, and $62,500 for the apartments. These numbers are awfully high in a county where the household median income is $48,830.

  • Along the same lines, if current Durham residents buy the new houses, what will that do to the market for existing housing stock?

  • On top of this double counting, the developer claims that there will be a multiplier effect increasing the benefit of the construction, office and retail jobs, by more than 50%, and increasing the benefit of consumer spending by a third.

  • While the developer double-counts the projected upside, it has ignores the costs to county taxpayers.  Taxpayers will have to foot the bill to extend massive water and sewer infrastructure -- not to mention roadways, traffic improvements, and additional school and police/fire service -- to supply the proposed 1,200 homes and 500,000 square feet of commercial space.  The developer promises a tax contribution of $7 million from the project – but the new infrastructure will cost many times this much. The proposed school alone will cost approximately $50 million.  Why would we approve such costs at the same time our County Manager is anticipating the need to cut county staffing for next year’s budget?

  • Ongoing services for the proposed high-density development will further drain our tax base.  Cost of community services studies in the Triangle show that residential developments cost more than $1.40 in taxpayer-funded services for every tax dollar they contribute.  In other words, the developers of this project would make money, while the taxpayers foot the bill.

  • We could be spending this money to continue our good efforts to boost downtown and Southside, where we already have the water and transportation infrastructure.

  • There’s plenty of history to guide us.  Last week, as you may have heard, Dell announced that it is closing its North Carolina facility – which came to the state just two years ago, after the state awarded it $250 million in various incentives, based on Dell’s promise that the facility would generate 8,000 direct and indirect jobs.  The plant ultimately employed only 900 employees, and those jobs will be gone in a month.

Durham needs more than empty promises – it needs smart growth that uses our existing infrastructure, rather than costing taxpayers more to build a new hub to compete with downtown.


Carl Rist, co-chair; (202) 466-5923; [email protected]

Kathryn Spann, member; (919) 477-5653; [email protected]

751 Assemblage - Fight It!

751 Rezoning Petition - BOCC Needs to Hear from YOU!

Have you signed the petition yet? PA has been hard at work getting signatures on both our hard copy and online petitions urging our City and County Government officials to vote NO on the 751 rezoning case. The County Commissioners open hearings on 751 at7:00 p.m. on June 23rd. Please mark your calendar - we need to let them know that this is not a good plan for Durham - it is ALL PAIN, NO GAIN!

The 751 Assemblage (rezoning case number Z0800003 - changing land from rural low-density to mixed use high-density) is a $500 million, residential and commercial project proposed for 165 acres in the environmentally sensitive land adjacent to Jordan Lake, the plans for which include 600,000 square feet of retail and office space and 1,300 residential units.

  1. The developers do not commit to assisting with transportation. No buses = no jobs for urban Durhamites who need them most.

  2. The developers do not commit to affordable housing.

  3. The developers do not commit to meeting proposed new regulations for Jordon Lake water quality - posing the question - who will pay the cost of the retrofits which will be in the millions?

  4. The developers do not commit to restrict retail to fewer than 75,000 square feet; there is nothing to stop this from becoming more big-box sprawl.

  5. The project further imperils the already impaired water quality of Jordon Lake

  6. The project will contribute to air pollution with an estimated 40,000 new trips a day.

  7. Low wage, low skilled workers will not be able to get to, or afford to live in, 751 South

  8. The infrastructure to support the project is a drain of tax dollars, and certainly no gain for Durham taxpayers: for the first 10 years, new county taxes will cover building a new school only; and new estimated city revenues may not cover the development's need for police, fire, garbage, recycling, street maintenance, storm water monitoring, parks and rec.

This is NOT smart growth - This is growth REGARDLESS OF TAXPAYER COST! The bottom line- 751 is in the wrong place.

The only way to stop this is with YOUR help. First, Sign the Petition if you haven't already (and pass it on!)

Then please email, call, or write the County Commissioners and cc the City Council: [email protected][email protected]

This case should go to the City to work out water and sewer before any approval vote by the Commissioners. Tell the Commissioners to either VOTE NO on 751, or at the least pass on voting until the City has worked out water and sewer.

Please help us educate the citizens Durham -

Tell your friends and neighbors to take action today!

We also have some other exciting ways to get involved with this issue here at PA. Please email Kate at [email protected] to find out more.


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