The county has accepted a $158,000 offer from the state to acquire property necessary in moving the N.C. 24 widening project forward, including additional land near the Sampson County landfill that local officials said would address safety concerns.
The Sampson County Board of Commissioners considered the offer at Monday’s regular monthly meeting, with little discussion. Possible design modifications to the N.C. 24 project proposal around the landfill, operated by Waste Industries, have been discussed in recent months.
Waste Industries officials voiced concerns this past summer of potential safety hazards at the landfill entrance if the proposed design, including the removal of the existing deceleration lane and a small radius turnaround for the large vehicles leaving the landfill facility, were not modified. N.C. Department of Transportation and Waste Industries representatives subsequently met, along with county staff, to discuss issues and resolve safety concerns — they have since been alleviated.
DOT made an offer to acquire approximately 7.35 acres located on N.C. 24 near the landfill for right of way needed as part of the project. That offer was reviewed by Frank Butler, who said it increased by $85 over what was previously offered due to the additional land needed.
While that is not much, he noted it did appeared to be consistent with the same price per acre as the previous offer in May.
“The additional acquisition doesn’t appear to have any additional adverse effect on the remainder land than it did in the previous offer,” Butler stated in a letter to the county. “The additional land was required in order to allow DOT to make the necessary changes in the plans to add a turn lane into Waste Industries and move the turn-around, or bulb, as DOT calls it. So the small amount of land acquired appears to be beneficial to the county.”
Last month, DOT district engineer Lin Reynolds said a right-turn lane was installed as part of the design, which did not require additional right of way. However, a turnaround moved further west as requested by Waste Industries did require more right of way.
Jerry Johnson, vice president for capital projects at Waste Industries, said the road needed to be widened for the safety of truckers and all other motorists.
“That 42-foot radius, even though it’s something normal for DOT, we don’t have a normal turn lane or a normal bubble sitting out there,” Johnson said then. “We’ve got up to 270 trucks that make that U-turn to go back the other way.
In June, county staff recommended the board support efforts to resolve safety concerns in the existing roadway design and ensured it was evaluating an offer for county property around the entrance to ensure it was adequate.
Last month, the board signed off on an Right of Way Entry Agreement, which allowed for necessary utility work to be done leading up to construction. Project engineers said the document was important to ensuring the project, notably utility relocation, could continue on schedule even as property negotiations were ongoing.
A resolution was reached with the board’s unanimous vote to accept the $158,000 offer Monday.
Butler said the $3,407 per acre offered for the land being taken was “reasonable.” He pointed to research on eight other land sales between January 2010 and May 2012 in the vicinity of N.C. 24 in Little Coharie Township that ranged from $2,600 to $5,808 per acre, with a mean price of $3,571 and a median price of $3,295 per acre.
“I am of the opinion, subject to a more thorough analysis and certified appraisal, the $158,335 offer appears to be reasonable,” Butler stated.
The offer, for land along N.C. 24 from Dowdy Road to Mitchell Loop Road, includes $78,035 in value of the part taken, including land, improvements and appurtenances considered as realty, as well as damages, if any, to the remainder, which accounts for $80,300. That includes $52,485 to replace the entryway of the landfill.
Construction is set to begin in Sampson on July 13, 2013.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.