Come Early To Get A Seat

As expected supporters and opponents of the project are planning to attend the City Council meeting tonight at 7 pm. For details click here.

We encourage you to attend to show our Durham Representatives that many support the project. Please come early and if you want to speak sign up before the meeting.

We've heard many plan to come 5:45 pm to make sure they get a seat. Let's show City Council we are ready for new homes, quality shopping and road improvements. 

Show Your Support!

Email City Council & Local Media Now!

Between May 18th and June 5th, we would like all supporters to contact the City Council and local media sharing why you feel a Mix Use Development (homes and a shopping center) is needed in North Durham.

Download talking points and meeting details.

Contact City Council

  • Email all City Council members at once using this email address
  • Mail a letter to Office of City Council 101 City Hall Plaza Durham, NC 27701

Contact Local Media

Attend the City Council Meeting June 5th 7 pm

Location: 101 City Hall Plaza Durham, NC 27701 (Same as Planning Commission)

  • Arrive early! We suggest arriving around 6:15 PM to find parking and grab a seat. Consider carpooling, as parking may be limited. Parking is free after 7 PM in most lots and $1.25/hr before 7 PM. 
  • Try not to wear red, as that generally is the color that opponents wear
  • When you arrive, find one of us to get a green sticker
  • Talking points are below and can be downloaded here..
  • If you are going to speak, it is important that you sign up to speak when you arrive at City Hall. Generally, only those who have signed up to speak
  • It may be helpful to coordinate within your neighborhood which speakers will speak to which talking points so as to avoid repetition.
  • It may be a long meeting, so bring a bottle of water and something to snack on This is a business meeting. Applause, jeering, or commenting from the audience is inappropriate. If you agree with something a speaker says, you can show your support silently, perhaps by nodding or giving a thumbs-up.

Talking Points

We believe emails to City Council and local media are the most important step in this process. Many emails from different people each day will serve as a constant reminder to City Council of how the majority of North Durham residents want this project. We strongly encourage you to solicit the help of your friends, family, and neighbors in reaching out to City Council.

Below are a few ideas. Feel free to use this as a starting point when writing your letters. Be creative, passionate and have fun. This is an exciting opportunity and supporters need to speak up or the small minority of vocal opponents will be the only ones heard.

Going Unheard
At the Planning Commission hearing, there were far more proponents present than opponents. While a zoning decision is not a popularity contest, many of the commissioner’s comments made it very clear that the voices of the proponents were not being heard or taken seriously. Comments such as “This is not about a Publix,” or “Publix is not guaranteed,” were commonplace. Please know that we are very aware of this fact and have chosen to support this project nonetheless. After carefully evaluating the project, we chose to support North River Village because of the benefits that we believe will stem from this new development.

The traffic issues on Latta Road are existing. The problem with this 2-lane country road from years ago is that it has remained a 2-lane country road. While NCDOT and the City of Durham will improve the intersection of Roxboro and Infinity, plans for Guess Road at Latta do not appear even in their long range plans. If traffic at this intersection is a concern, then doing nothing is not an option. At the very least, the proposed plan adds additional capacity at the intersection thereby reducing queue lengths and better addressing the background traffic that is coming anyways.

Property Values
In the last 30 years, there has been very little economic investment in Northern Durham from private developers and even the City. In that same time, we have seen the revitalization of Downtown Durham and the progress of Southwest Durham. Property values in some of those areas have increased rapidly. In Northern Durham, the story is not the same. Property values have, in large part, flattened, and in some cases have even dropped. How long do Northern Durham residents have to wait to receive these same economic benefits? Is it fair to North Durham residents to put all of the new development in Downtown and Southwest Durham? Is it fair to Downtown and Southwest Durham residents?

The proposed location for this project is an ideal place to provide goods and services, whatever they may be. The fact is that many families pass this site every day on their way to grocery shop, get medications, eat, bank, and more. The provision of goods and services in close proximity to residential uses is a good thing and approaches something more akin to mixed used than the current pattern of development on Guess Road. Moreover, this particular project is a mixed used project that provides a convenient way for residents of the project to get to the non-residential uses without getting in a car. It will be easier for North River Village residents to walk to the businesses than it will be for them to drive there.

Many of the opponents of the proposed mixed use project argue that the introduction of nonresidential uses to this area would be incompatible with the existing residential uses. Many of these opponents, however, already live adjacent to a non-residential use, Easley Elementary. Some live across Guess Road in a gated community where literally zero extra cars will traverse their neighborhood roads regardless of the type of development at the proposed location. The non-residential portion of the development is proposed to front along the already busy Guess Road where single family homes would not be very compatible. The residential portion of the project is slated to be adjacent to existing residential uses, which will provide an appropriate transition from the residential towards the intersection. The proposed project is very compatible with the area and provides for much needed road improvements that would not be provided under a purely residential development at this site.

One way to avoid repetition when addressing City Council is to put your personality into the message. Some of the points listed apply to you, but maybe for different reasons. For example, you might support this project because you have just started a family and want to be closer to goods and services. Alternatively, you might be an empty-nester hoping to see property values increase so you can sell your home. Adding a personal touch can also include mentioning where you live and how long you have lived there, if you or your kids went or go to Durham Public Schools, and more. Whatever your message to City Council is, make sure it is personal to you.

It's not over: Support needed as we go to City Council for approval!

I would like to thank everyone who came out in support of the project to the planning commission meeting on Valentine’s Day.  Unfortunately, though there were more supporters of the project at the meeting than against, and more supporters contacted the planning commission than opponents, the members of the planning commission evidently did not or refused to hear the voices of many of Durham’s citizens.  The 2-11 vote from the planning commission certainly is another obstacle we must overcome, and to do that, we still need your support. 

In fact, your support is more necessary now than ever before.

At two commissioners in favor to eleven against, it is as if the majority of the planning commission failed to consider the merits of the many valuable points raised by proponents of North River Village.  The comments from some of the commissioners reveal that they indeed did not listen to residents of North Durham. 

I would like to analyze some of the comments made at the planning commission meeting

  • Many commissioners said that they could not support the project because they did not believe that the proposal represented true mixed use.  In their eyes, true mixed use consists of vertically integrated buildings with ground floor retail and upper story residential.  Of course, vertically integrated mixed use buildings at the intersection of Guess and Latta do not really make sense.  The irony is that many of these same commissioners referred to how the Mixed Use district is meant to provide some flexibility for developers to custom fit mixed use projects for the context of the area, yet they held on to a “one size fits all” approach for what mixed use ought to look like.  It simply is dishonest to suggest that vertical mixed use is desirable at this intersection.  And, it is unfair to suggest that the proposed project is not a mixed use development.
  • Other commissioners stated that they felt proponents of the project merely supported Publix, and had not considered whether the project was appropriate for this area, consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, or compliant with the UDO.  Evidently, these commissioners did not hear how property values in this area have been depressed.  They did not hear how many miles people north of this site have to travel to enjoy the comforts that the rest of Durham seems to have.  They do not understand that new families are not moving to North Durham because it lacks meaningful retail.  They did not hear how the proposed development, in the opinion of the planning staff, is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.  They did not see that the planning staff had determined that the project is compliant with the UDO.  Instead, the simply marginalized the many voices in favor of the project by chalking it up to a love for Publix.

Their decision undermines the time you all have spent in evaluating this project and choosing to support it.  It suggests that North Durham residents who support the project are incapable of evaluating the project in a meaningful way.  It ignores the experience of North Durham families who have lived there for decades without even a hint of any economic interest in the area.  Frankly, it was disrespectful for commissioners to imply that North Durham residents do not fully understand what they are supporting.

There is an overwhelming amount of support for this project in North Durham.  In order for this project to be approved, the voices of supporters cannot go ignored by members of the City Council as they were by the Planning Commission.  Please sign up for the website email alerts and join our Facebook page to keep up to date as we move through the process. 

We will need you to show up to the meeting and email your support as well. As soon as we know when City Council plans to review this project we will let you know.

Thank you all for your support up to this point and I hope you will continue to support the project.

Show your love by showing up to support Publix!

It's unfortunate the public hearing is on St. Valentine’s Day, but what a special way to show your sweetie you care by bringing him or her to the Planning Commission meeting and sharing in our civic duty. :)

We have almost 500 followers on Facebook, over 600 email subscribers, and tons of emails and comments showing support. But none of that matters unless we have supporters show up in force at the planning commission meeting.

Please show some love for the proposed North River Village Mixed Use Development by attending! See details below. 

If you cannot attend, please email the Planning Commission to indicate your support for North River Village, a mixed-use development for northwest Durham. 

Email the planning commission

Meeting Details:

Come early to find parking and a good seat.

  • Date and time: February 14, 2017, at 5:15 pm
  • Location: 101 City Hall Plaza (directions)
  • Parking: There is a parking deck across from City Hall. You may want to share ride.

If you have questions or ideas for the community, please complete the Contact Us Form.