Friday, July 31, 2009

Short Term Loss – Long Term Gain

I took a cool motorcycle ride Sunday that included South Lowell Road and Johnson Mill Road and parts of Mason, St. Mary’s and Guess Roads in Northern Durham. Winding country roads, farms, barns, meadows, tree canopy, old growth forests and more.

Durham lost a third of its developable land area in the 1970’s. Already the state’s 17th smallest land area, Durham surrendered development and tax revenues so Falls Lake could be created at the confluence of three rivers here, Eno, Little and Falls.

The lake was created by the Federal Government to quench the thirst of people downstream from Durham in Wake County and towns like Raleigh. They have three times the land area of Durham but development there was very constricted by lack of water.

It is often kidded that Durham should have negotiated an itsy bitsy percentage of the massive assessed valuation enabled downstream. But in the end Durham gets a much larger and more significant benefit. Watershed preserves North Durham in low density development and horse farms and laced by scenic byways, three rivers, large recreation areas and parks and several lakes and reservoirs.

And in the future, this part of Durham will be preserved as an oasis of open space and a memory of rural North Carolina as intense development changes the character of counties surrounding it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is truly a wonderful place to live - I wouldn't change it for the world, just 15 minutes to downtown, yet it feels like we are in the middle of the coutry.