Three years ago, discussion about the possible road closure of North Elkin Drive ended.
No motion was made to bring the issue to public hearing in 2009.
Monday night, members of Elkin Valley Baptist Church and the North Elkin Drive community voiced their opinions in the first public hearing about the issue.
The discussion started with town planning Director George Crater reviewing the petition submitted by Elkin Valley Baptist Church for the road closure, utilities that would have to be moved, traffic counts on North Elkin Drive and comments from town department heads.
Town Planning Board Chairman Robin Smith then reviewed the planning board’s decision to not make a recommendation to the board of commissioners and table the discussion for 90 days.
The planning board tabled at the April 30 meeting in order to do more research and collect data based on utilities, public access and alternative routes.
“We felt we needed more time to go over all of the issues,” Smith said. “We didn’t want to slam the door on the decision with a year or so. The 90-day period will give us more time to come up with alternatives and resolve other issues. We want to allow the church to accomplish their goals, but we had several people opposed to the closure.”
About 16 people for and against the road closure voiced their thoughts during a three-minute time limit per person.
Most concerns from the community about closing North Elkin Drive were extended emergency response times, halting economic growth, not having a stop light to turn across North Bridge Street and increased traffic on Mountain View Road, Oak Grove Road and Quarry Road.
“I agree with the concerns of speeders and emergency response time taking longer if the road closes,” said Richie Lomax of Mountain View Road. “I help escort members of Wesley Chapel Methodist Church across Oak Grove Drive and know it can be dangerous. We need to keep God in whatever decision is made.”
After each speaker, Mayor Lestine Hutchens requested those who agreed with the statements to raise their hand to avoid repetitious comments.
“The most recent home built on North Elkin Drive was built in 1955, so there is no expanding or building on this road,” said Joel Blevins of North Elkin Drive and Elkin Valley Baptist Church. “The most recent move on to the road was in 2010, so North Elkin is not growing. I go to school in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and cross four lanes of traffic across US 501 every day with no traffic light. That area has 10 times the traffic as Elkin, and I am still alive and have yet to come close to any danger.”
Twenty-two people in attendance were against the road closure, while 38 were in favor of closing North Elkin Drive.
After more than an hour of public comments and discussion from the board of commissioners, the issue was tabled so the Town Planning Board could look at possible alternatives rather than shutting down the road. The board of commissioners each said they would prefer to find another solution rather than closing North Elkin Drive.
“When faced with decisions like this, it’s best to seek compromise,” said Commissioner Joe Walker. “Personally, I’d like to see another outlet explored. This is all about compromise, and I’d love to see everyone happy.”
Although the discussion of the possible road closure of North Elkin Drive will again come before the Board of Commissioners this summer, another public hearing will not be required.
The next Elkin Board of Commissioners meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 11, at Elkin Town Hall. For more information contact 835-9800.
Reach Jessica Pickens at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.