Ken Larsen's web site - Rural Buffers and the Southern Village story
A "rural buffer" is an area of a county on which dense development is prohibited. The goal is to keep it green and protect it from sprawl.
Orange County, NC has a rural buffer. Nearby counties (Durham, Chatham, and Wake) do not. This is one reason why companies prefer to locate to those counties instead of Orange county.
Around 1990 the area south of Chapel Hill that is now Southern Village and the future Obey Creek were undeveloped. Developers wanted to develop both sides of 15-501. Residents protested. A compromise was reached where greater density was permitted on the west side (Southern Village). The east side would remain green and undeveloped.
During 2014-2016 the undeveloped area east of 15-501 once again became the target of developers. This time the developers won, and the new area will be developed. It will be known as Obey Creek.
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