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Wednesday, 11 October 2017 08:31

Potential paths, roundabouts produce Potts concerns

Written by  Cassie Fambro
Davidson resident Melissa Atherton shows a closer image of property on Google Maps to NCDOT’s Sean Epperson while discussing proposed road projects affecting Cornelius and Davidson at last week’s event. Davidson resident Melissa Atherton shows a closer image of property on Google Maps to NCDOT’s Sean Epperson while discussing proposed road projects affecting Cornelius and Davidson at last week’s event. Cassie Fambro

NCDOT officials say there is still time to make adjustments to current proposal.

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- Some Cornelius and Davidson residents are concerned about potential new development near Potts Street, including street extensions and roundabouts.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) held an open house last week to allow residents to ask questions and provide feedback about proposed options for road changes at and around the Davidson/Cornelius border. There are two models being considered — one which proposes to improve Main Street (N.C. 115) and the Potts Street intersection with a possible roundabout, and a second that would extend Potts Street to Sloan Street, adding a multi-use trail on Potts Street from N.C. 115 to Griffith Street as well as a roundabout at the intersection of Sloan and Griffith streets.

Approximately 50 people attended the presentation to view the assortment of maps with options for the projects and to ask NCDOT officials as well as representatives from contractor Kimley-Horn questions about what could happen.

Two women, Melissa Atherton who lives on Catawba Road in Davidson, and Jeanne Neumann, a Potts Street resident with a historical home, came prepared with a list of questions. Neumann’s yard would be reduced by at least 10 feet for the multi-use trail along Potts Street.

“I see this as part of the prettiest streets in Davidson,” she said. “People run along this street because it’s so beautiful. If you put in a multi-use path, you’ll have to cut down many of those trees. This also cuts this path right in front of my home, which is distressing, and cuts off part of my land.”

NCDOT’s Sean Epperson addressed some of those concerns.

“At this point in time, that design can still be tweaked to get more separation from your house,” Epperson told Neumann. He encouraged residents to add a comment at the meeting or on the NCDOT project website.

“What we are going to do is review all of the comments and present them to both Cornelius and Davidson city councils so they’re aware of them and we will take them into account before the final design,” said Epperson.

Atherton followed up, asking if town commissioners make the final decision.

“No, we are going to present to them all the comments and everything from these meetings, and they make a recommendation to us,” said Epperson, adding that ultimately a joint decision, with direct input from both towns’ boards and the NCDOT, will be made.

Supported by bonus allocation funds stemming from the managed lanes project on I-77, both projects are expected to be completed together when a final plan is adopted. State-distributed bonus allocation funds designated for the projects include $6 million for the Potts/N.C. 115 intersection and $2.2 million for the Potts-Sloan-Beaty connection in Davidson.

Tad Hardy of Kimley Horn wanted to emphasize that the feedback process would be an important one and not just a formality.

“A lot of people think we just do nothing with them,” Hardy said of comment cards and online submissions. “That is far from the truth, we do look at every single one.”

Doug Wright, Davidson’s public works director, said he is anticipating citizen feedback as well. “We would like to work through all of the concerns,” he said. “We’re going to have to meet in the middle.”

Cornelius Planning Director Wayne Herron said the process itself can take a while.

“What our boards will do is weigh in and say we support the signal, the roundabout, or we don’t support any of it,” said Herron. He expects that review and final design to take several more months.

“All three of us — Davidson, Cornelius and DOT — will try to come to the middle somewhere,” Herron said, “and once that happens, they will present it back to the public and say this is what we’ve come to.”

He estimates that will happen in December, and that January would be the earliest right-of-way agents would begin meeting with homeowners affected.

But for residents like Atherton, Neumann and others, concerns about potential development are mounting. A 295-unit Crescent Acquistions with apartments and townhomes is still proposed in Davidson just over the town border on Potts Street. A nine-home addition to that development on the Cornelius side was withdrawn by Crescent last month.

Maps for both projects can be found on NCDOT.gov by searching the project numbers (U-5907 and U-5873). To offer comments, contact Epperson NCDOT Division 10, at 716 W. Main St., Albemarle, NC 28001; by phone at 704-983-4400; or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Thursday, Oct. 19.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Jeanne Neumann Thursday, 12 October 2017 18:17 posted by Jeanne Neumann

    “I see this as part of the prettiest streets in Davidson” is not something I would say. What I said was “one of the prettiest streets in Davidson.” And it is not something I was saying only on my own behalf, but reporting what I have been told over and over during the 21 years that I have lived on this street.

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