Construction of a charter middle school in Durham County, N.C., has been delayed after those living near the site raised concerns that the project could harm the area's water supply.
WNCN-TV reports that the Discovery Charter School had been scheduled to open later this year in the Bahama section of the county, but opposition from neighbors has stalled the project.
The Durham Board of Adjustment has approved construction, but people who live near the proposed construction site have appealed the decision.
The school site is close to Little River Lake, a water supply for the city and county of Durham. The proximity of the water to the school’s proposed site is something that concerns residents and some city council members.
Durham City Council member Steve Schewel says developing along the water would be awful and is a grave concern throughout the city’s administration.
Steve Hubrich, the developer of the proposed Discovery Charter School, says the community’s concerns are unfounded.
“I think it’s frivolous because there is no basis behind their argument,” Hubrich says. “I think what we have a small handful of people that just don’t want the school in their backyard,” said Hubrich.
An appeals hearing is scheduled for August.
The group that plans to operate the charter school says it is confident that it will win the appeal.
"When the appeals process is complete, we will close on our property and begin construction of our buildings, says Discovery Board Chairperson Carl Forsyth. "We anticipate closing in late summer 2017. Our goal is for the campus to be completed in June 2018."
Discovery plans to open for students in grades 6 and 7 and expand to 8th grade a year after opening.