05/06/10 — Planners consider rules for streets

View Archive

Planners consider rules for streets

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 6, 2010 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Planning Board committee charged with ferreting out a way to ensure subdivision streets are maintained spent nearly two hours Wednesday night chasing possible solutions only to end the meeting the way it had started -- with no clear resolution in sight.

Forming homeowners associations and/or requiring developers to set aside a percentage of the total cost of street development for future maintenance have emerged as the front-runners. However, both appear to be problematic.

Some committee members worry that potential buyers would be leery of being forced into a homeowners association -- one because they don't want to told what they can do with their property and second because of the unfavorable reputation of some associations.

The members did note that subdivision covenants already place some restrictions on people who live in a development. But they agreed that in many cases the homeowners do not read their deeds and don't know about the restrictions or just simply ignore them.

In a such an association, homeowners would be required to pay dues with the revenues earmarked for specific areas, such as street maintenance.

As for the upfront funding, questions arose as to where it would be deposited and who would be responsible for managing it, possibly including the county.

Also, county attorney Borden Parker pointed out that a limited liability company could be initially formed and dissolved after the development was completed leaving no one to be responsible for the road maintenance.

The discussions included responses from other counties as to how they have addressed the conundrum including one from Nash County -- "when you figure this out please let me know."

The only decision reached was to meet again on May 26 at 6 p.m. in the third-floor conference room at the county Planning Department in the Jeffreys Building on John Street.

It was the committee's second meeting in as many weeks.

The committee consists of Planning Board members Mike Aycock, who as board vice chairman, conducted the meeting, David Quick and Charlie Galloway. Also on the committee are surveyor Bobby Rex Kornegay, developer and former Planning Board member Wayne Aycock, county Planner Connie Price and Chris Overman, representing the state Department of Transportation. Quick was unable to attend the session

Streets with four or more lots are required by county ordinance to be built to N.C. Department of Transportation standards. It does not require a street to be accepted by DOT for maintenance.

However, streets that aren't taken over by the state often begin to deteriorate and there is no clear requirement as to whom is supposed to pay for the maintenance.

Any new rules resulting from the committee's findings would not be applied retroactively. Changes would require public hearings and approval by commissioners who prompted the Planning Board to take a look at the street issue.

Deteriorating subdivision streets has been tossed about by commissioners for several months, raising questions as to why the streets aren't being maintained.

Two recommendations made by County Planner Connie Price at the last meeting also have some rough edges.

Price has suggested that:

* Once a subdivision has a minimum of four occupied homes and an average of two occupied homes per tenth of a mile, no additional development permits will be released for lots on that street until the developer or related agent petitions the N.C. Department of Transportation for maintenance and acceptance of the subject street into the state-maintained road network.

* Once the requirement of paragraph one are met, additional development permits will be released until 75 percent of the development permits for lots along the subject road have been released. Once this threshold has been met, no additional development permits will be released for lots on that street until the N.C. Department of Transportation district engineer has accepted the subject road into the state-maintained road network.

However, a problem could arise if someone were to buy a lot with plans to build later. If the developer has reached the threshold were no more home can be built, then the person would not be able to build.