02/06/12 — Hearing set for N.C. 55 crossing

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Hearing set for N.C. 55 crossing

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 6, 2012 1:46 PM

A public hearing will be held Tuesday morning on a proposal that would eliminate the Zion Church Road intersection with N.C. 55 and N.C. 403 about 5 miles east of Mount Olive.

The state Department of Transportation has asked Wayne County commissioners to consider the abandonment of up to 350 feet of Zion Church Road to close the intersection that has been the scene of 11 crashes and two fatalities over the past five years.

The most recent crash last November claimed the life of a 79-year-old Faison woman.

The hearing will get under way at 9:15 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

The board meeting will open with an agenda briefing at 8 a.m. followed by the official session at 9 a.m.

A second public hearing will be held at the end of the meeting, with commissioners sitting as the Board of Equalization and Review to consider a lot size variance request.

The Zion Church Road issue first came before commissioners last May. At that time, they delayed scheduling a public hearing on the state's plans to close a section of the road to allow local residents of the Zion Church Road community time to meet with DOT officials.

Two options emerged from that meeting. The first would be to dead end Zion Church Road and pave a short section of Emmaus Church Road to allow access to N.C. 55 from Zion Church Road. The work would cost about $230,000. The paving is already a part of road improvement plans for the county.

The second, and more expensive option, would be to hook Zion Church Road into N.C. 55 about 800 feet east of the existing intersection at a cost of about $254,000.

DOT officials say that the disadvantage of doing the hook is that it creates another intersection on N.C. 55 and another potential problem area.

A local resident has offered to donate the land for the right of way for tying the road into N.C. 55. However, there is nothing in writing.

A third option, moving the Zion Church Road intersection further south on N.C. 403, was abandoned because of concerns it would cut through prime farmland.

The state last spring originally asked for the county's support of plans to abandon 200 feet of the road. There are no residences along the 200-foot stretch.

County approval is needed for the state to make the improvements.

The second hearing involves a request by Leslie Jackson for a lot size variance for property he owns at 102 Sam's Lane, LaGrange.

Jackson wants to rent the property for residential purposes. However, the lot is only 11,099 square feet, well under the one-acre size required for lots located in the county's airport zone.

The variance has been recommended by the Wayne County Planning Board and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base officials have no objections to the variance.

In other business:

* Daryl M. Woodard, executive director for Smart Choices for Youth, will brief the board on the Youth Build program

* Betsy Rosemann, Goldsboro Travel and Tourism director, will update commissioners on the 2011 highlights and present the 2012 goals

* Spring Creek High School principal Stephen Clingan will discuss the Career and Technical Education Academy

* Commissioners will consider the new patient fees, eligibility and bad debt write-off policy for the Wayne County Health Department

* The board will consider a request by the Goldsboro City Council to sell surplus property jointly owned by the city and county located at 2206 Whitfield Drive

* Commissioners will consider a request by Wendell A. Fordham of Selma to have property included in the Forest Present Use program.