03/02/05 — Road issues bring input, no decisions

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Road issues bring input, no decisions

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on March 2, 2005 1:53 PM

A request to close a county road in order to expand the Mount Olive Airport drew opposition Tuesday at the Wayne County Commissioners' meeting.

The commissioners didn't make a decision.

"Don't close Kelly Springs Road." said Willie Ray Starling, "Close the airport out there. We shouldn't even have Mount Olive Airport. It's a big waste of taxpayers' money."

The commissioners recently received a request from representatives of the town and airport to close the road. Though the issue was scheduled to be discussed during a commissioner's work session, several people showed up to voice their opinions during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Philip Shiver, assistant fire chief at Indian Springs, said he was concerned because the road was used as a cut-through. Closing it would force longer routes for fire trucks and ambulances, he said.

"I'm not opposed to industry, but I'm concerned to see a road closed for an unused airport," Shiver said.

Ralph Best, who lives on Kelly Springs Road, said that property values would go down if the road was closed.

Charles Davis said there was little traffic at the Mount Olive Airport.

"The activity at that airport has been greatly exaggerated," he said.

County Manager Lee Smith recommended that the commissioners send the request to the planning board to look at the various issues associated with closing the road.

"There have been several issues brought up here," Smith said, "Emergency Management Services, school buses, and property values, among others."

Commissioner Atlas Price asked if representatives from Mount Olive had met with any of the citizens present at Tuesday's meeting.

The county doesn't have the authority to close a road, but can make recommendations to the state transportation department.

Renaming roads

Only two people spoke Tuesday at a public hearing on the renaming of five roads in the county.

The Wayne County Planning Department recommended renaming the roads because the new U.S. 117 split several of them. Giving the roads a new name, explained County Planning Director Connie Price, would make it easier for Emergency Management Services to find the homes.

The proposal by the Planning Department was:

*Rename the western portion of North Washington Street from Nahunta Road to its end at the new U.S. 117 as Davis Thomas Road

*Rename the western portion of West Main Street from Hooks Road to its end at the new U.S. 117 as Rateice Road.

*Rename the western portion of Edmundson Springs Road from N.C. 222 to its end at the new U.S. 117 as Fremont Cemetery Road.

*Rename the western portion of Stuckey Road from Hooks Road to its end at the new highway as Hicks Road.

*And rename the eastern portion of Nahunta Road from the existing highway to its intersection with Salem Church Road as Hinnant Road.

Connie Barnes said she didn't want to live on Fremont Cemetery Road, and suggested five other possibilities. Two of the other suggestions were Monument View and Final Place.

Commissioner Efton Sager said those seemed to mean about the same thing as Fremont Cemetery Road.

Smith said the county would consider using one of the other choices which included Spring Terrace and Winding Branch.

Danny Blizzard pointed out to commissioners that he lived on a road that "jutted off of Nahunta Road." He asked if that section could be named, to avoid confusion.

"I recommend sending it back to the Planning Board since there are suggestions," Smith said. "And we'll need to run it by Emergency Management Services."