11/17/05 — Commissioners asking U.S. 117 be designated an interstate

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Commissioners asking U.S. 117 be designated an interstate

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on November 17, 2005 1:47 PM

Wayne County commissioners are asking state and federal highway officials to declare the new U.S. 117 an interstate highway.

The commissioners heeded a request by the county Transportation Committee to seek the designation, which is given to roadways that meet standards for limited access.

Such a designation would encourage development along the route, commissioners said.

Commissioner Atlas Price said U.S. 117 is crucial to Wayne's business development because it provides businesses with access to I-40 and U.S. 70.

"The more open we keep it, the better the chances for people to get to Wilmington and other places," Price said.

Service roads that accompany highways with limited access would enable businesses to grow along U.S. 117, Price noted.

In other highway business, commissioners agreed to petition to the state Department of Transportation to include two roads into the state maintenance system and remove two others.

Following the floods of 1999, the county bought out properties that were heavily damaged by high water. In the areas of Windsor Place and Tyndall Drive in the Mar-Mac community off Old Grantham Road, the county owns all of the property surrounding the streets. Commissioners were asked to consider closing the streets since they are no longer being used.

Since both streets are on public right of ways, enforcement of parking and trash dumping regulations is difficult, said Connie Price, director of the county Planning Department. By closing the roads, the county would be able to block any entrances and prevent further trash dumping at the sites. Also, by being taken off the state maintenance system, the state could save money that would be used to repair the abandoned roads, Price said.

Price asked commissioners to approve the inclusion of Leafwood Drive, Sevendales Drive and Clay Road in the state maintenance system. They are located in subdivisions near Walnut Creek. The commissioners agreed .

In other business, commissioners approved the rezoning of property on Powell Road from light industry to heavy industry to permit the construction of a concrete plant.

Two-Ten Investors were seeking the rezoning of 60 acres for allow S&W Concrete to build a plant.

The site is located within the protected zone around Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, planners said, but is compatible with uses permitted in the zone.

Price said the company plans to build on 10 acres and hold the remaining land for expansion or other development.

Light industry is defined by county law as a company that is contained within a building and would fit in a residential area. Industries with outdoor operations require the heavy-industry zoning.

Commissioners have worked to protect land around the base from over-development in order to protect its mission.