09/08/10 — Subdivision gets initial OK from county

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Subdivision gets initial OK from county

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 8, 2010 2:24 PM

A preliminary plat for a proposed 98-lot subdivision on Nor-Am Road was approved by Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning after Commissioner Andy Anderson failed to convince them the project should be tied to road safety improvements, including turn and acceleration lanes.

Anderson argued that the size of the Grayson's Creek development, combined with rapid growth in that part of the county, would make for dangerous traffic conditions, if not now, then in the near future.

Anderson also once again raised questions about the viability and kinds of open green spaces set aside by subdivision developers.

He questioned what green area would be available for children.

County Planner Connie Price said the county's subdivision ordinance does not require recreation areas. He said approval of the preliminary plat meant that developers, "could go out tomorrow and put in streets."

County Manager Lee Smith suggested commissioners might want to look at the ordinance with regard to green and/or recreational areas. Smith said the board could table the request until its next session to allow the state Department of Transportation time to look at the traffic. The DOT already is conducting traffic counts on some county roads, he said.

Commissioners agreed in principle with Anderson, but said Grayson's Creek developers had complied with existing rules and that it would be unfair to change the rules now.

"I don't see how we can change the rules when the developer has done all of this work," Commissioner Bud Gray said.

Chairman Jack Best said the board could approve the plat as is and still have the DOT look at the traffic count.

During the session, Best said he had a "bit of a conflict here" with regard to commenting on the project. He continued to participate in the discussion, however.

County Attorney Borden Parker later said that Best had no involvement in the project and had simply misspoken since he has friends involved in the development managed by Cambridge Farms Inc..

The developers include Goldsboro Mayor Pro-Tem Chuck Allen and David Perry, Price said.

Commissioner John Bell, who made the motion to approve the preliminary plat, asked Price if the developer had complied with present policy.

"Yes," Price said.

Anderson floated a substitute motion to delay the vote until the DOT could study road safety issues on Nor-Am Road.

The motion failed 6-1. Anderson voted for his motion. Commissioner Steve Keen did not vote and in keeping with board procedures was counted with the majority.

Bell's motion then passed 7-0, with Anderson not voting.

The Planning Board had recommended approval.

Price said the Planning Board's approval had come with two conditions, both of which were reflected on the plat.

The subdivision will have one entrance and exit at Nor-Am Road. Price said during the Planning Board's discussion, members wanted the exit to be wide enough for two vehicles to be side by side so that traffic could turn left and right at the same time, Price said.

In response to questioning by Anderson, Price said the DOT was not requiring a turn lane on Nor-Am Road. He said that had surprised him.

That answer ignited Anderson's argument that one was needed for safety reasons and hence the need to delay action.

Anderson said he was concerned as well that the entrance and exits were too close to a swampy area. He said failure to keep the swampy area clear would result in a "blind spot" for traffic.

Anderson also questioned Price concerning access to the subdivision from N.C. 581.

Price said the DOT preferred not to have access off N.C. 581. The same question had been asked by the Planning Board with regard to emergency vehicles being able to get into the subdivision, particularly the portion bordered by N.C. 581 and the farthest from the entrance.

Emergency vehicles from the Little River Fire Department would have to travel down N.C. 581 around to Nor-Am Road and then through the subdivision to reach that area.

To mitigate that roundabout route, the developers have agreed to provide an access on N.C. 581 for emergency vehicles only, Price said.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners denied a tax appeal from Deets McCullen for property that he owns in Jefferson Park.

The issue had been tabled at the board's last meeting following a recommendation by assistant tax administrator Alan Lumpkin.

At that meeting, McCullen said the county's tax value of $64,500 was out of line when compared to similar properties he owns in Jefferson Park. Lumpkin asked for the delay to compare the properties.

Tuesday, Lumpkin said a comparison indicated that the values are in line and recommended that commissioners deny the appeal.

Two pieces of property, one in Goldsboro, the other in Mount Olive, were declared as surplus. The county jointly owns the lots with the respective municipalities.

Both lots will be sold.

Two proclamations were approved: Sept. 18-Oct. 20 as Litter Sweep in Wayne County and Sept. as Sickle Cell Awareness Month.

Sitting as the Board of Adjustment, commissioners approved a setback variance request by Miki Butts. Butts had petitioned the county to reduce a required 25-foot setback requirement to 20.7 in order to build an addition to his home at Planters Place