The Village of Flat Rock is requesting from the State of North Carolina that they be allowed to remove property from the Park at Flat Rock for use by NCDOT for the N. Highland Lake Road project (U-5887). As part of that process, the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) requires that the village hold a 30-day public comment period (which began April 29) and a public hearing (currently scheduled for June 3).
The deadline for the 30-day public comment period is May 29. You can read some of CLG’s reasons to oppose granting the village’s request below.
If you would like to comment, you can:
- Download the village’s information sheet (which includes a comment section)
- Pick up a comment form from the Village Hall
- Write a letter, marking it as a comment on the village’s PARTF conversion process
Send your comments to:
Village of Flat Rock
P.O. Box 1288
Flat Rock, NC 28731
We recommend that you also send your comments to:
Regional Recreation Consultant, Western Region
NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
176 Riceville Road
Asheville, NC 28805
828.296.7230, ext. 226
Why is this important?
When the Village of Flat Rock purchased the old Highland Lake golf course in 2013, they received money towards that purchase through a grant from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). PARTF rules require that any land purchased using PARTF funds remain in recreational use for the public.
Since the N. Highland Lake Road project takes some park property out of recreational use to accommodate NCDOT, the village must go through a conversion process by asking for permission to remove that property from the park. After a mandated 30-day comment period and a public hearing, the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) will respond to the village’s request with either an approval to proceed with the conversion request or disapproval of the request. If approved, the village must reimburse a portion of the grant money back to PARTF.
Comments from the public received by the village and DNCR are important factors in helping DNCR determine the best course of action. Please write both the village and DNCR today!
Some of CLG’s reasons to oppose the PARTF conversion:
- Road project unnecessary. As shown in NCDOT’s own analysis, the N. Highland Lake Road project does not upgrade how the roadway functions, and there are no safety or capacity issues. Property is being taken from the park unnecessarily.
- Increased traffic speed. Research shows that widening a road and dampening its curves (which granting this conversion would allow) result in increased driver speed. Increased speed on this road directly impacts the public’s safety and enjoyment of the park.
- Bunched arrowhead environment. On the south side of N. Highland Lake Road is an area where the bunched arrowhead, a plant federally protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, has been identified. The bunched arrowhead only blooms from mid-May through July, and is very difficult to identify when not blooming. It is unclear if NCDOT’s environmental assessment for this project has been done during that blooming period. If not, NCDOT risks damaging an area that may include this federally-protected plant.
- Park appearance. PARTF funds are available to help local governments provide recreational space for the public. The appearance and use of that space is important–but this project actually diminishes the natural appearance of the Park at Flat Rock by cutting down the trees that line the road and protect the park from speeding traffic.
- Public input. A significant number of property owners in Flat Rock are not year-round residents. By having the public hearing in early June, many of these property owners will not be able to participate in the process.