Tuesday, 02 August 2016 14:30

North-south option for eastern north Meck

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. -- Somewhere out there, on the far eastern side of northern Mecklenburg and Iredell counties, there is unturned earth that, if transportation planners from Huntersville to Mooresville have their way, will become a “parkway” to provide alternative north-south connectivity between those jurisdictions, and then points beyond.

As development pressures continue to mount in eastern Huntersville and Davidson in particular, the impetus to move forward with a concept, one that has been discussed since the 1980s, to begin to identify the right-of-way for the parkway that, if all goes as hoped, could within a decade be moved a step beyond simply a line on a map.

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- The Town of Davidson is accepting applications for 2016 appointments to its advisory boards. Seats are available on the Design Review Board, Planning Board, Livability Board and the Davidson Public Art Commission. New members will serve a three-year term from January 2017 to December 2019, with a possibility of a second term.

A nominating committee will review all applications and nominate citizens for each available position. The Davidson Town Board of Commissioners will vote on nominees, and appointees will be seated on their respective boards early next year.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- After four terms as a Huntersville Town Commissioner and two as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Charles Jeter is once again a private citizen. The Huntersville resident announced Monday that he was resigning his post as the District 92 representative and removing his name from the ballot in this fall’s election.

Following a meeting with members of the legislative leadership Monday morning, Jeter, a Republican representing a Democrat-leaning district that stretches from western Huntersville along the Mecklenburg/Gaston county line into the Steele Creek area of southwest Charlotte, cited family as the reason for ending, at least for now, his political career.

CORNELIUS, N.C -- While geographically linked as communities that constitute the region identified as north Mecklenburg, Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville are independent towns with individual governments, tax bases and budgets. But at a recent Focus Friday forum hosted by the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, as administrators from each town spelled out expenditure expectations along with short- and long-range road and facilities improvement priorities, it became clear that the separate towns share plenty of similarities in terms of coping with growth and preparing for the future.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- A little more than one year ago, local ocular melanoma (OM) patients and family members sat in a room, shared stories and wondered if anyone cared, or anyone was listening.

Their goal was to find clues about why an extremely rare eye cancer that statistically strikes only six people out of one million each year in the United States, with the average patient being nearly 60 years old, had been diagnosed in several people with Huntersville ties, including three who graduated from Hopewell High School between 2003 and 2013.

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- With transportation issues at the forefront in the Lake Norman area, Davidson officials are looking ahead to what can be done in the future. That long-range planning — which would likely be rolled into the recently funded Davidson Mobility Plan — was the subject of the Davidson Town Board of Commissioners’ pre-meeting discussion July 12 at the Davidson Town Hall.

Assembled by the town’s planning department, the “Transportation Priorities/Interim Program of Work” covered projects that are either currently under way (including those being funded in conjunction with the Interstate 77 managed lanes project) or in the pipeline for state and/or federal funding; projects in partnership with developers or neighboring towns, priorities for the Lake Norman Transportation Commission, and even some non-construction type projects that Town Manager Jamie Justice called “thinking outside the box.”

CORNELIUS, N.C. -- In a month-long effort to restrict the duties of its mayor, the Town of Cornelius, under the direction of the majority of the Town Board of Commissioners, racked up approximately $6,000 in legal fees with its new town attorneys. That bill was delivered to the town last week from the firm of Bringewatt & Snover of Davidson, which was named as the replacement for long-time Town Attorney Bill Brown, who retired earlier this year.

At the behest of the majority of the board following an early June meeting Travis and Davidson Mayor John Woods had with state senate leadership regarding managed lane contract-killing House Bill 954, the firm investigated first whether commissioners had the authority to remove Travis and then, more recently, if it could restrict Travis’ activities, including his ability to conduct town board meetings.

Board instructs town manager to explore signal at Norman View Lane at N.C. 73.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- A revised review of previously discussed and dismissed efforts to add a traffic signal at an N.C. 73 intersection highlighted an otherwise low-key return to action for the Huntersville Town Board.

Monday night, after a month-long break between meetings because of the Independence Day holiday, town commissioners tackled several procedural and policy-update proceedings, and multiple tasks affiliated with approving a new residential subdivision along Huntersville-Concord Road, before, once again, initiating conversations about partnering with Cornelius to install a traffic light where Norman View Lane and Windaliere Drive meet N.C. 73 at the northwestern edge of town.

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- The town’s transportation needs — both present and future — dominated the agenda during the Davidson Town Board July 12 meeting. Town commissioners unanimously approved rejoining, for a one-year term, the Lake Norman Transportation Commission, and temporarily handing over maintenance of three town streets — Potts, Sloan and Beaty — to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Also discussed was a draft of the town’s transportation priorities and its Davidson Mobility Plan during the board’s pre-meeting, and presentations from the NCDOT’s Rail Division and Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) about upcoming public hearings about its Comprehensive Transportation Plan.

Commissioners had suspended the town’s membership in the LNTC, and Cornelius and Huntersville both ended their memberships, primarily because of dissatisfaction with the Interstate 77 managed lanes project. Meanwhile Mooresville — one of the founding members of the LNTC, committed to keeping the organization in existence providing it could attract new membership.

Davidson commissioners decided to return to the LNTC after meeting with executive director and former Mooresville mayor Bill Thunberg on May 10, and after the addition of three new members — the Town of Troutman, City of Statesville and Iredell County.

“I think it’s a really good time to be talking about this,” Davidson Commissioner Brian Jenest said. “Based on what we heard tonight on the CTP, this is the beginning of a real long-range plan we’re going to be at for many years. We’re going to need help — professional help — and this is a group that has a very good reputation in transportation circles. I’m sorry our neighbors to the south have decided not to stay with us, but I still think it’s a great value. I’m glad we’re looking at it for just a year, because there will need to be tweaks along the way. Whether or not they join us is yet to be determined.”

The one-year membership also provides Davidson the time to consider remaining a long-term member of the LNTC, or to join a transportation organization being formed by Huntersville and Cornelius.

“In a year, we can assess the value of each entity and decide what we’re going to do,” said Commissioner Beth Cashion.


The board relinquished maintenance of Potts, Sloan and Beaty streets to NCDOT in order to qualify for federal funding to improve all three streets, according to Town Manager Jamie Justice.

“The purpose of this action is to enable the Potts-Sloan-Beaty Road project to move forward,” Justice said about the planned upgrades and extensions to create an alternative north/south route through Davidson. “The issue is the federal funds. There’s 80 percent federal funds dedicated to this project, and NCDOT has said that those funds can’t be spent on local roads. We looked at several alternatives, and this alternative made the most sense from a practical and efficiency standpoint.

“What this would do would put these roads into state ownership during the project; after the road project is complete and done, then the roads would be returned back to the Town of Davidson.”

However, Commissioner Stacey Anderson questioned whether NCDOT would have to relinquish the streets back to the town once the improvement project had been completed. But Justice said that it shouldn’t be an issue, and added that such wording would be put into the final agreement with NCDOT.

“We’ve talked about how this is the way to move this forward, and NCDOT sees this as the best path forward,” Justice said. “The intent is to put this in the municipal agreement we’re going to have with them, and we’ll make sure we get that detail covered.”

According to Justice, once the final agreement is reached, the planning process for the Potts-Sloan-Beaty Road Project would begin in the fall, and that town officials would have input into the project.

“Technically, it becomes a NCDOT road,” Justice said. “But in talking with (NCDOT District 10 Engineer) Scott Cole, what we’re really trying to do is just enable this to happen. This is just a paper transfer; their intent is not to do something not in keeping with what the town of Davidson wants.”

Davidson board split on plan to explore designs, financing on redevelopment of key downtown site.

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- The Davidson Town Board take a small step forward with its nearly two-year-old Catalyst Project discussion, the future development of town-owned property surrounding Town Hall. But the 3-2 vote at the town board’s July 12 meeting to move ahead with planning revealed a split among commissioners on proposed plans — or at the least, when the plans will be carried out — for the 3.5-acre lot that also houses the town’s police and fire departments.

With commissioners Beth Cashion, Brian Jenest and Rodney Graham casting votes in the affirmative, the board approved moving ahead with a revised option for the downtown property. Several commissioners declined to characterize it as a vote to build a specific plan, but rather to explore the particulars of an option resulting from Catalyst Project public roundtables and conclusions drawn from them, but Fuller disagreed.