Dear mayor and council members:
As you consider your position on the N. Highland Lake Road project (U-5887) in anticipation of the June 19 special council meeting, we at the Cultural Landscape Group:Flat Rock would like to encourage you to cancel the project.
The past several months have shown growing opposition from the citizens of Flat Rock, including almost 1,700 people who signed the petition against this project—a number that represents a majority of Village of Flat Rock residents. These signatures denote not opposition to specific elements, but to the overall project itself, no matter the particulars.
From the October 2017 plan to the modified plan presented on April 13, the basic tenets of opposition remain:
- N. Highland Lake Road does not have a safety problem. This was confirmed again in Mr. Schuler’s response to council (via an April 23, 2018, email) to questions from council members.
- This project is a waste of taxpayer money. With no safety or capacity issues on N. Highland Lake Road, the use of $2.7 million of public money here means worthwhile road projects elsewhere are losing out.
In addition to wasting state taxpayer money, village taxpayer money is being committed without a funding stream. The village is responsible for 20 percent of the construction costs of any sidewalks and bike paths, and 100 percent of the on-going maintenance costs of these amenities. The village’s current revenue will not cover these expenses. While The Park at Flat Rock is a well-loved and successful asset for the village, it is already absorbing a significant percentage of the village’s annual budget, even with funding support from the Park Foundation, and that percentage seems to be increasing annually. We do not have the financial resources to pile on additional expenses.
- This project is inconsistent with Flat Rock’s designation in the National Register of Historic Places. Historic Flat Rock, Inc. expanded on this at the June 14 council meeting with their information on the requirement for a Section 106 review by the federal government due to the fact that King Creek is a waterway under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
- This project takes private property for a nonessential purpose. This taking damages the ability of Pinecrest Presbyterian Church to use their property for any future functional purpose, as well as significantly impacts Dale’s Automotive, causing economic harm to a local small business and its employees. In addition, residential property—in the village, the county, and the historic district—would suffer permanent injury.
This road project became a reality through a broken process that failed to determine the wishes of the Flat Rock community and that neglected to inform village elected officials of its prioritization to NCDOT. CLG is prepared to continue to oppose this project by all means available, and we ask again that you cancel this project.