Ch-ch-changes (part 4 of 9)

“Finally, the widening and ‘improvements’ would certainly destroy our entrance and remove at least 15 mature trees along Mountain Close Lane, forever ruining what is now a majestic entrance.” – Mountain Close Lane homeowner 

Part 4 looks at the impact of the N. Highland Lake Road project (NCDOT U-5887) on the north side of the road covering more of The Park at Flat Rock and on the south side with several private properties and the culvert crossing over King Creek.

Reminder: This project was not initiated by NCDOT and the Flat Rock village council has the power to cancel it.

Sinkler-Fishburne House, 1917, and Ravenel-Robertson House, 1916: Both houses are contributing buildings to Flat Rock’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places. The Sinkler-Fishburne House, also known as High Hills, looks out over the park. Information provided by the homeowner shows how damaging this road project would be, not only to the homeowner’s property but to the dam area and culvert:

“The DOT plans show a large area to be cleared on our side of the road next to our entrance for the parking or positioning of heavy equipment required for the widening of the culvert in front of Rhett Mill. The design firm at the October meeting was not even aware that this would require digging deep into a 20-foot high bank and the construction of a high retaining wall. In other words, the terrain was not considered in the proposal even though a survey was done.

Additionally, I had to point out to them that this would cut off Mountain Close Lane, the main access to our home and the Robertson home. It also serves as a back entrance to the Namaste Center property. Emergency vehicles would be forced to access our properties by way of Highland Lake Inn going against a one-way. Alternately, if a fire truck tried coming up Lily Pad by the lake and then turning left across from Lake House Academy, it could not make the sharp left turn to our properties. This would not only jeopardize the safety of three properties–it could have a severe impact on our insurability.”

MountainClose02_20180123
These stone walls are in jeopardy from the road project. From National Register of Historic Places: “Cut stone retaining walls and stone steps from the front lawn lead across the gravel entrance drive to wide granite steps at the porch. Within the wooded site, the placement of hedges, gardens, and pine needle walking paths have been carefully considered. – Sinkler-Fishburne House, built 1917”

The Park at Flat Rock: Opened to the public in December 2013, The Park at Flat Rock is a former golf course developed into a natural space for all to enjoy with free play, unstructured recreation, reflection, meditation, and contemplation.

Effect of proposed changes would:

  • Take park property with the widening of the road.
  • Increase the road width from 22-feet wide to around 52-feet wide as well as dampen curves in this section.
  • Cut down trees along N. Highland Lake Road, removing a natural barrier between the road and the park.
  • Negatively impact one of the gateways into the village. Preserving this gateway is one of the reasons the village purchased the golf course and created a park.
  • Increase speed of cars along the south side of the park with the dampened curves and widened lanes.

On the map above:

  • Grey: existing roadway
  • Orange: existing roadway to be resurfaced
  • Yellow: proposed new roadway
  • Thick red line to the north of the road: multi-use path
  • Thin red line: curb and gutter
  • Light green: proposed new NCDOT right-of-way
  • Light green area with diagonal lines: proposed new NCDOT easement for drainage, construction, and utility systems

This map shows the historic district line incorrectly–the line actually goes down the middle of the road (NCDOT has been presented with the correct historic district boundary for Flat Rock’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places).

Part 1, part 2part 3part 5part 6part 7part 8, and part 9.

4 thoughts on “Ch-ch-changes (part 4 of 9)

Add yours

  1. Given the large number of tangible “losses” to our community that the CLGFlatRock has already documented as resulting from this proposal, it would be interesting to see a fact-based (as compared to anticipated or imagined) list of “gains” from this project.

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  2. I have just this week been up Mountain Close a couple of times and was able to view both of these special homes. I can not believe village officials would want to anything but allow them to simply BE. They are really cool old homes, what Flat Rock is all about.

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  3. I’ve reminded more than one member of the Village Council (without much success) that the original plan for the Park at Flat Rock drawn up by Bill Lapsley included an entrance to the property as one spoke of a roundabout (Oh no, Mr. Bill, not a roundabout!!) at the intersection of Upward Road and Highland Park Road. IMO opinion, it didn’t get serious consideration in those early days when the Council was considering purchasing the golf course, for who knows what reason. Personally, I thought it was a stroke of genius. What would it take for that to be an alternative to the current plan that has a turn lane and the widening? Could it be something parties could agree to?

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