Forced annexation of 751 South passes House

The House just voted to force the city of Durham to annex the site of the 751 South project, despite some procedural wrangling last week. The project promises to bring extra sprawl to south Durham, in addition to adding some much needed pollution to Jordan Lake. Just can’t get enough of that stuff.

(Previous coverage of 751 South’s progress is in the “Durham News” category, starting with this primer)

Oh, and the development is apparently supposed to “create jobs” somehow, which is how some GOP state lawmakers are spinning their support of the move. In justifying the bill, representative Tim Moore (a “friend” of the developers’ attorneys) stated:

“The only time the General Assembly gets involved in a local issue is when a local government behaves in a way that the General Assembly finds to be irrational,” Moore said.

I think he’s mistaking the word “irrational” to mean “harmful to friends of legislators.”

Incidentally, Moore is from some county I’ve never heard of called Cleveland, which 1) is nowhere near Durham 2) has nowhere near the population of Durham and 3) does not contain a reservoir which feeds a large metropolitan area. I’d be interested to know which of these attributes qualifies Moore to determine what the “rational” course of action is in a situation that has jack squat to do with the people he nominally represents.

This isn’t a done deal yet, since the Senate still needs to weigh in, but it ain’t looking pretty for the city. The developers have plenty of friends in Raleigh who are quite eager to lend a helping hand, and giving the finger to a city which is represented entirely by Democrats is just a nice bonus. This is the kind of disruption of local autonomy and big government meddling that the GOP is apparently in love with lately.

WRAL also states that the bill needs a second vote in the House on a different date because it involves annexation, which is a rule I hadn’t heard of before. I don’t have any reason to suspect House lawmakers will have a sudden change of heart after sleeping on it tonight.

Odds of a reprieve look pretty slim at this point. It will be interesting to see what, if any, response the council will come up with.

EDIT to add: Leslie and Binker talk about about the passage of this bill (starting around 2m:45s) in yesterday’s Wrap.

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