Having given a month for the public to ask questions, look at maps and raise any concerns, a resolution of support for the construction of a turn lane to a proposed subdivision as part of the N.C. 24 widening project was adopted in short order by the City Council Tuesday.
N.C. Department of Transportation officials requested the resolution of support, believing it best to construct the right-turn lane while the massive project came through Sampson. City staff said the lane would aid long-range plans to improve and facilitate future traffic in the area. The matter was considered, but tabled, in January.
City manager John Connet brought the issue back to Council this week.
“It will serve a piece of property that is currently looking to be developed,” Connet said Tuesday. “This turn lane would not affect any connection of future roads to the Inverness Road area or Greenwood Drive area. Simply looking at future planning, DOT has agreed to build a turn lane there if that property ever develops. We felt we would take N.C. DOT up on the offer.”
City officials have been working with DOT, George Wilson and Clinton Pentecostal Holiness Church regarding development of property on Sunset Avenue. Although the church has no plans for immediate development of the property, Wilson is working on a proposed development with the city.
The property, owned by the Wilson family and the church, would not require construction of a right turn lane upon development, however city officials last month said a turn lane would provide better connectivity. Development of additional collector streets would be part of future plans and the fact that it comes with no cost is almost too good to pass up, city officials said.
“We’re looking at future plans for us to build a connector road between Mr. Wilson’s property and, in many years to come, ultimately connect to the area around Royal Lane Park,” said Connet. “DOT felt there might be a need for a turn lane at some point in the future and asked if the city would support putting in a turn lane now as part of the 24 project for future planning.”
A request by George E. Wilson Family Enterprises LLC to rezone approximately 10.2 acres along N.C. 24 from HC Highway Commercial to R-8 Residential District was withdrawn from City Council’s agenda in December and has not yet come before the Council. The zoning matter, for which the preliminary plat has been approved, is expected to be considered by Council at a later date.
The proposed turn lane would provide a right turn to a proposed street in the subdivision, planning director Mary Rose noted. The preliminary subdivision plat, proposed by Wilson Family Enterprises, shows approximately 24 to 26 single-family residential lots. The right lane would go onto that street and venture back toward Inverness Drive.
“The proposed street would continue to the property line, so another street could be picked up at that property line,” Rose has said. “This right turn lane would facilitate traffic going through this development and onto adjoining properties, which could provide for more inter-connectivity and easier flow of traffic. Hopefully, there would be some future benefit to other property owners in the vicinity.”
Rose said DOT officials have told city staff that, “with a resolution of support from the city, it would be very easy to add this to the project.” DOT is scheduled to begin construction of the N.C. 24 project in Sampson County in June.
Last month, Mayor Lew Starling said he was inclined to put the matter to the public before Council went forward with a resolution of support. No one spoke in favor or opposition to the matter at the Council meeting this week.
“Just to be clear, this does not connect to any road in the (Coharie) Country Club,” said Starling. “And this is just a resolution.”
Connet said that was correct.
“We would let them, as part of the N.C. 24 project, build the turn lane and relocate the utilities so it didn’t have to be done at our cost,” said Connet. That turn lane would be in place for any future development, and there would be no future cost for us.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.