The City Council delayed supporting a resolution to construct a right turn lane to a proposed subdivision as part of the N.C. 24 widening project so interested citizens could look at the plans.
DOT officials requested the resolution of support, believing it best to construct the lane while the project came through Sampson, while city staff said the lane would aid long-range plans to improve and facilitate future traffic in the area.
“We’ve been working with N.C. Department of Transportation, George Wilson and Clinton Pentecostal Holiness Church regarding development of property on Sunset Avenue,” said city manager John Connet. “Although the church has no plans for immediate development of the property, Mr. Wilson is working on a proposed development with the city, which would facilitate the reason for us to have a conversation with DOT.”
The property, owned by the Wilson family and the church, would not require construction of a right turn lane upon development, however the city officials said a turn lane would provide better connectivity. Development of additional collector streets, including that turn lane, would be part of future plans, city officials said. Having the turn lane constructed as part of the N.C. 24 project would mean no additional cost to the city or adjacent property owners.
“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.”
“That turn lane would be in place for any future development, and there would be no future cost for us,” said Connet.
Mayor Lew Starling asked how urgent the need was, raising concerns that the issue may not be known, or understood, by the general public.
“I don’t know that there is a full understanding by the public and the Council of exactly what this means and the ramifications,” the mayor said. “I would always be inclined to get this out to the public and show them how it looks and where it would be. I don’t want the public to think we’re adding roads and removing roads without them knowing what we’re doing.”
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LLC to rezone approximately 10.2 acres along N.C. 24 from HC Highway Commercial to R-8 Residential District was withdrawn from City Council’s agenda in December. The rezoning request has not yet come before the board again for consideration, although Clinton-Sampson planning director Mary Rose said the preliminary plat has been approved and that particular zoning matter would be considered by the Council in the near future.
The proposed turn lane would provide a right turn to a proposed street in the subdivision, said Rose. 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 subdivision plat allows for inter-connectivity between their property and the next property adjacent to them,” said Rose. “The proposed street would continue to the property line, so another street could be picked up at that property line. In doing that, the developer loses at least one residential lot, if not two, so the developer certainly does not have to do that. 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, DOT officials said recently.
“If they are supposed to be getting ready this summer, I sure don’t want us to be the one who is holding progress up, if in fact we feel like this is progress, by putting it off a month,” Councilman Steve Stefanovich said.
Starling said he would feel better if the public had the chance to look at some of the plans and plats, and the Council could consider the matter — and the adoption of a resolution — next month.
“I just feel like any time we’ve ever made a decision on 24, we’ve let the public know exactly what was going on,” said Starling. “If there is some urgency, maybe we can recess this and have another meeting, but I’m not inclined to push ahead until the public has seen these plans. If I thought three weeks would injure it, I would call a special meeting. I’d feel better if we had some plats we could put on the screen and say this is how it would look, so the public knows.”
Rose said she did not have any indication that holding off on a resolution of support for a few weeks should not make a difference and said the plans could be made available.
“We have the maps available in our office,” she said, “if the public would like to come by and review and ask any questions.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.