Letter from Pinecrest Presbyterian Church (ARP) to the Flat Rock village council regarding their response to the N. Highland Lake Road project (U-5887) after seeing the modifications presented by NCDOT on April 13, 2018 (all boldface is added):
Subject: NCDOT TIP Project No. U-5887 (Improvements to N. Highland Lake Road (S.R. 1783)
Dear Mayor Staton and Council Representatives,
The following is a statement of the position of our congregation and Session regarding the proposed and revised N. Highland Lake Road modifications that were submitted to the Flat Rock Village Council on Friday, April 13, 2018.
First, we would like to extend our sincere thanks and respects to the members of the Flat Rock Village Council, the representatives of the NCDOT that we met, and Reece Shuler of Vaughn & Melton for listening patiently to our concerns, and for their work on revising the original project plans to try to address the concerns of our church. Your concern and professionalism are much appreciated, as were the visits made to our church in order to further understand our situation and position.
After due consideration of the revised project plan for N. Highland Lake Road submitted on April 13, 2018, we have determined that we must stand firm in our original position that this project would have significant adverse consequences on the beauty of our church property, the quality of our worship and other services, and an adverse impact on the sanctity and privacy of our church. Therefore, we must oppose this project and decline to sell or lease any of our property for use in this project. In so doing, we present the following reasons for this decision.
- Under the revised plan that was submitted on April 13, 2018 we would still lose all of our mature trees on our property along N. Highland Lake Road. These trees provide an effective and necessary screen between the road and our church sanctuary. In addition, a large number of these trees were planted forty (40) years ago by the founding members of our church when our building was first erected. Many, if not most, of these original members have since passed on and the trees serve as both a memorial to those faithful members who gave their time and offerings to build our church, and as a reminder of our church name, Pinecrest. The mature trees provide shade and beauty to our property, as well as acting as a buffer between our sanctuary and the road. They are a part of our identity and a fitting gift of beauty to the people of Flat Rock who travel past our church. Once gone, they cannot be replaced.
- Despite assurances to the contrary, it is a foregone conclusion that if a path is built leading from our church property to the Flat Rock Park, people will begin using our driveways and parking lots in order to reach this path, especially on those days when events are taking place at the park and their lots are filled. There is no other place for people to park to reach the start of this path on our property, and no reasonable way for them to access this path on our property on foot, unless they happen to live in the development across the creek from us. In addition, this path would run alongside our sanctuary approximately 70 feet away from our building. People do not walk quietly along paths, especially those with small children, nor should they be expected to do so. Also, these people would be seen from our sanctuary windows, adding further distractions during our worship service. Added to the probability of car doors slamming during our worship service due to outsiders parking in our lot to access the path, we find this to be unacceptable.
- By constructing a ten (10) foot wide multi-use path along our property line from our Highland Lake Road driveway to the eastern end of our property closest to the park, we would need to forfeit a strip of land approximately twenty (20) feet in width from the edge of the road towards the creek. This would severely impact any future construction planned for our property, as this is a narrow neck of land bordered by the road on one side and the creek on the other. There is no other adjacent land that we could purchase to make up for this loss.
- Eliminating some of the curves on N. Highland Lake Road, as well as widening the turn lanes at the intersection with Greenville Highway, would lead to increased speed of all vehicular traffic, as well as encourage additional truck and bus traffic on the road. This would further impact the road noise levels just outside of our church building.
- The time-frame of 18-24 months for completion of this project would be a major disruption and distraction not only to us, but to our neighbors along N. Highland Lake Road and to all those who use this road on a regular basis. The fact that this project is not needed as evidenced by repeated comments by NCDOT representatives that they assign this project zero points for traffic safety, zero points for traffic volume, and zero points for road condition, make this project even more objectionable.
We therefore respectfully ask the Flat Rock Village Council to vote down the revised N. Highland Lake Road project, to abandon plans for a connecting path from the Carl Sandburg Home to Flat Rock Park until a thorough professional study on the feasibility of this concept has been completed and submitted for review and comment by the citizens of Flat Rock, and to apply to the State of North Carolina for smaller block grants to complete the limited scope projects that do need to be done along N. Highland Lake Road, vis: A new entrance to Flat Rock Park, elimination of the “suicide lane” running alongside the CVS, and left-hand turn lanes for the roads intersecting on the south side of Highland Lake Road near Ingles.
Thank you again for your patience in listening to us, and for the work that has already been done to address our concerns.
The congregation and Session of Pinecrest ARP Church.