02/09/05 — Lack of land-use plan bemoaned

View Archive

Lack of land-use plan bemoaned

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on February 9, 2005 2:21 PM

Wayne County Planning Board members struggled Tuesday with balancing public safety concerns and a developer's right to protect his property from undesirable encroachment.

At the heart of the matter, they said, is the lack of a county-wide land use plan.

The county Board of Commissioners decided last month to hire a consultant to help the board develop a land use plan for Wayne County. It could take up to a year to complete.

A land-use plan is essentially a map that shows how the county should develop, officials say. It would seek to keep some areas agricultural, show where homes could best be built, and mark other areas for shopping centers or industries.

The planning board was considering approval of a preliminary plat for Stillwater Creek, when Planning Director Connie Price recommended that the 67-lot development have an additional exit.

"There's only one road off of Stillwater Creek Drive to a public road," Price said. Stillwater Creek will be in the New Hope Township, on the west side of Dollard Town Road. Fourteen of the lots front Dollard Town Road and will have driveways onto that road.

B.R. Kornegay, surveyor for the property, was opposed to connecting with an adjoining undeveloped property to provide an additional road, or "stub-out."

"Since there's no zoning in Wayne County, I have no idea what's going beside this," Kornegay said. "This development will have mid-range stick built houses and I'm hesitant to connect it with something that would not blend in."

Kornegay told the board that the state transportation department doesn't like multiple entrances into public roadways.

"You've got 14 driveways going to a public roadway," Price pointed out. "They'd appreciate it more if you didn't have that."

Kornegay said, "Well, you can't have everything."

Planning Board member Chris Cox said the issue kept "coming up time and time again."

"Why don't we consider having some sort of guidelines if it's required to have a stub-out?" he asked. "This passes our ordinance."

Cox said that if the board was going to require an additional entrance or exit, the engineers and surveyors ought to be informed before plans were underway.

"It's not right otherwise," Cox said.

Planning Board member Steve Keen said he agreed with Cox and Kornegay about the problems associated with not having zoning.

"But there's only one stub out for emergency purposes and I'm concerned about the 67 homes," Keen said.

Planning Board member Tom Buffkin said that without a land-use plan, property owners have to think of how to protect their own property.

"This ought to be covered in the new county plan," Buffkin said. "That should give directions."

Price told him that the land-use plan would probably not be ready for a year, or more.

Keen reiterated his concerns about safety at Stillwater Creek.

"I'm worried about when the development is fully occupied, and there's no stoplight," he said. "All those people. If something happens, there's only one way in. It's not logical long-range planning."

Planning Board member Muriel Mereday agreed, saying it would be "chaos."

"With all the growth in Wayne County, this is the tip of the iceberg," said Planning Board Chairman Wayne Aycock. "It's just going to get worse."

Cox asked Price if he could provide the board with public safety statistics on the issue.

"I'm curious as to when one road into a development becomes unsafe," he said.

Ms. Mereday said it is "unsafe when an ambulance couldn't get in or out."

Despite its concerns, the board approved the preliminary plat for Stillwater Creek, saying that the developer had met the current requirements of the county.

Only Ms. Mereday voted no.

The board then asked Price to develop some guidelines on entrance and exit requirements that the board could present to the commissioners.