02/14/07 — Board eyes new plan for highways

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Board eyes new plan for highways

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on February 14, 2007 1:52 PM

The Wayne County Planning Board took the first steps Tuesday to approve a county Freeway Development Plan that is intended to guide development along its major highway corridors.

The plan, which board members hope will be approved by all of the county's municipalities, suggests unified development policies and codes to guide growth along U.S. 70, U.S. 117 and other major thoroughfares.

Wayne County Planning Director Connie Price said the intent of the plan is to make the best use of land along the key portions of the highways. He said innovative development along the big roads can serve as the welcome mat to the community.

"When you pull off the highway, we want the first impression of Wayne County to be a good one," Price said.

The nearly 50-page plan encourages planned development that would prevent hodge-podge growth and instead help create developments that would encourage people to work, shop and play on the same site, Price said.

Some of the areas that could serve as those "urban activity centers" for U.S. 117 include land near N.C. 222, Pikeville-Princeton Road, West Grantham Street and N.C. 55, he said.

Along the U.S. 70 corridor, Price said growth is best suited for the highway's interchanges with N.C. 581, William Street and Wayne Memorial Drive.

Many of the parcels of land along the highways are small tracts owned by many different people. That has prevented the large-scale, mixed-use development that is anticipated along the improved highways, Price said.

The county or the municipalities will have to decide how to extend some of the area's existing thoroughfares closer to the freeways. For example, After Wayne Community College, Wayne Memorial Drive narrows to a two-lane road. But if it is going to feed into the future U.S. 70 bypass, the road will need to be expanded, according to the plan.

The county and municipalities can also expect to run into difficulties with extending utilities, building around flood hazard areas and coordinating development efforts, Price said.

In other business, the planning board approved the possibility of closing Amoco Road and will consider changing the name of Valley Drive in the Rosewood area at its next meeting.

Amoco Road, in the Mar Mac area, was flooded during Hurricane Floyd and was abandoned. It has become an illegal dump and county officials want to close it off to stop the problem. County commissioners would have to hold a public hearing before taking action.

The planning board tabled a proposal to change the name of one of two roads in the county named Valley Drive until residents can be notified. One is located in Rosewood and the other east of Goldsboro off Sheridan Forest Road. Emergency officials have said the identical names have caused problems for ambulance drivers and lawmen. County officials and fire chiefs have said they believe it would be easier to change the name of the Rosewood road since fewer people live along it.

The planning board also decided to approve the final plat of the Shepherd's Field subdivision in the Pikeville area. The plans call for another 25 lots. The subdivision is located on the south side of Big Daddy's Road near Antioch Road.