By Ritchie Starnes, News Editor
Thursday, January 23, 2014 — One week after the southern route bypass appeared to be close to elimination for further consideration, county commissioners reached a consensus to support the option.
The Stanly County Board of Commissioners unanimously favored the southern bypass as the most viable alternative as the Rocky River Rural Planning Organization works to determine a long-term Comprehensive Transportation Plan.
“The southern route is the most preferable because of the infrastructure already in place,” said Lindsey Dunevant, commission vice chairman.
“We didn’t want to disrupt existing commerce.”
Stakeholders met Jan. 17 to discuss various bypass options that would alleviate traffic congestion forecast for 2035, or when the current N.C. Highway 24-27 is expected to be over capacity. Although no official consensus was reached at the meeting, the southern route appeared to be at risk of future consideration.
At that time county officials did not voice their position. But at Tuesday night’s meeting, the board decided to support the southern route and become more vocal at the next stakeholders’ meeting.
While Commissioner Josh Morton agreed that the southern route seems to be the best option, he cautioned the board that more work is needed.
“I don’t think we should disqualify any of the routes,” he said.
“A lot can change in 21 years.”
Besides complementing the county’s infrastructure and commerce, commissioners said the southern route would benefit Oakboro in terms of greater accessibility and potential growth.
An impact study, however, shows that the southern route may be more intrusive. It calls for the relocations of 18 residences, one business and one cemetery. The southern loop would also cross six streams, four wetlands and two railroads.
The notion of converting N.C. 24- 27 into an expressway did not sit well with Chairman Tony Dennis, comparing it to Independence Boulevard in Charlotte.
“The southern route, I know it would be a longer road, is best for Stanly County,” Dennis said.
“That one in downtown Locust doesn’t make sense to me.”
Plans call for the northern loop to originate just west of Liberty Hill Church Road and running north and west across Ridgecrest Road, along Running Creek Road and across Coley Store. It would then intersect with N.C. Highway 200 and then cross over toward Meadow Creek Road before heading into Cabarrus County, through a golf course and back to 24-27 just east of Reed Gold Mine and Rocky River.
Determining The Boundary
Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution recognizing a re-survey plat for the Cabarrus-Stanly county line, dated May 2013, as being the true boundary between the counties.
The new county line will impact 133 properties, according to Michael Sandy, Stanly’s planning director.
County Manager Andy Lucas explained to commissioners that the new line impacts eight homes, with Stanly losing four to Cabarrus County and four remaining inside Stanly’s boundaries.
Those affected homes will be grandfathered so their children can attend Stanly County Schools unless they opt to transfer to Cabarrus, Lucas said. New occupants will be required to attend schools in their county’s district, he said.
County Edges Closer To Purchasing Sewer Plant
Stanly County moved closer to finalizing a deal to buy Oakboro’s Sewer Treatment Plant and a waterline acquisition on St. Martin Road. The board’s unanimous approval allows for the acquisition of Oakboro’s assets for a price not to exceed $4.5 million, consisting of a $2 million cash payment upon the transfer, with a $1.5 million payment to be made in 10 equal annual installments and the assumption of a USDA loan in the amount of $1 million.
The deal is expected to close in March, Lucas said.
County OKs Sites
The board also unanimously approved three rehabilitation projects for the Community Development Block Grant’s Scattered Site Housing Program. The homes approved and selected by a committee include: 44421 Dale Road, 299 S. Kendall St., both in Norwood and 32057 Chapel Road in Albemarle.
A fourth home on Fishcamp Road in New London remains in consideration.
“The unfortunate thing is that this house is going to have to be replaced,” Lucas said.
There is not enough funding to pay for a replacement home from the grant, Lucas said. However, alternate funding and building materials may be available elsewhere, he said.
Academy Design Process Begins
The county authorized the hiring of an architect, MBAJ Architecture, to begin the design for the Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy project in New London. Construction is expected to begin in the fall.
Branding Goes Forward
Commissioners approved a contract with North Star for a county and city branding initiative. The county will pay $41,000 for its part with the city of Albemarle paying the same toward the $82,000 cost.
Department Earns Re-accreditation
Health Department Director Dennis Joyner advised commissioners that the department was awarded re-accreditation by the state. Stanly is one of 82 health departments across the state to earn the status.
North Carolina requires all local health departments be accredited. The accreditation process occurs every four years.
Members Receive Re-appointments
Terry Blalock, Don Brooks and William Rigsbee were re-appointed to the county’s Water & Sewer Authority for another three-year term.
Commissioners recognized the retiring Donna Ussery for her 30 years of service, last working for the county’s Soil & Water.
Call Ritchie Starnes at (704) 982-2121 ext. 28 or email ritchie@stanlynews press.com.