08/12/09 — I-795 corridor protection to be discussed Thursday

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I-795 corridor protection to be discussed Thursday

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 12, 2009 1:46 PM

Protection of the proposed Interstate 795 South corridor will be discussed Thursday morning during a meeting of the Goldsboro Metropolitan Planning Organization. It will be the first of several transportation meetings of the day. All of which are open to the public.

Other issues on the agenda include consideration and adoption of bylaws, amendment of the Transportation Improvement Plan for public transit (train station) and an initial review of the prioritized needs list for ranking with the Strategic Planning Office of Transportation.

The MPO's Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will hold a joint session at 8 a.m. in the upstairs large conference room of the Goldsboro City Hall Annex to discuss the plan.

The TCC will meet at 9 a.m. in the upstairs anteroom at the historic City Hall. The TCC acts as administrative staff that makes recommendations to the TAC -- the voting authority comprised of elected officials for the county, city, and Walnut Creek and Department of Transportation representatives.

The TAC will meet at 10 a.m. in the same room Goldsboro Mayor Pro-Tem Chuck Allen is the TAC chairman.

The final meeting of the day will be at 11:30 a.m. when the Wayne County Transportation Committee meets at Wilber's Barbecue on U.S. 70 east. That group is a county committee and is not part of the MPO structure.

Former county commissioner Atlas Price is committee chairman.

The I 795 corridor and its protection garnered much of the discussion during recent public meetings on the MPO long-range transportation plan being developed by consultants with Kimley-Horn.

Residents in the area have expressed frustration that a poor job had been done years ago in making the public aware the corridor had been selected.

During the recent series of meetings consultant Mike Rutkowksi said that the corridor had been selected, but that the projects is decades away and could change. He also assured residents that alternate routes would be included.

Residents appeared mainly concerned that protecting the corridor from further development would infringe upon their rights as property owners, including being able to sell the property.

The issue of corridor protection was discussed at the TAC's May meeting, but no decision was reached.

Commissioner Sandra McCullen, the county's alternate on the board, repeated concerns about the MPO's zoning authority.

Mike Buff, N.C. Department of Transportation planning branch manager, explained that the MPO can fund and carry out corridor studies but has no zoning authority.

That power, he said, rests with the county and municipalities.