Carrying out what they called the will of the voters in the Nov. 5 election, four members of the Flat Rock Village Council pushed through a resolution on Thursday requesting that the NCDOT kill the Highland Lake Road project.
The vote became the first order of business after Nick Weedman was sworn in as mayor and Anne Coletta, Tom Carpenter and David Dethero were seated as new council members. The three new council members ran as a slate opposing the Highland Lake widening, a project the Village Council endorsed in a 5-1 vote in 2018, with Weedman voting no.
“I think it’s a big first step,” Coletta, who founded a political action committee that supported the winning slate, said after the meeting.
The next step would be at the French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization, which approves NCDOT projects for the region that includes Henderson County. If the French Broad MPO agrees to kill the widening, the final nail in the coffin would be hammered by the N.C. Board of Transportation. . .
Coletta said a crash by crash analysis of the DOT statistics showed that “the vast majority took place east of the railroad tracks” and showed that there were no left turn accidents in the village of Flat Rock. “In terms of safety, it is a very safe road,” she said.
Carpenter said that since September 2017 he had participated in more than 80 meetings and conference calls about the project, including 14 with NCDOT engineers. “Every time we had contact with DOT, we asked the same question: How do they rate this road?” On safety and on traffic volume, it rated 0 for safety on a scale of 0-5, with 5 being the least safe; and 0 on traffic volume.
“The taking of property by emiment [sic] domain for a road project that is not needed in my opinion is immoral and an abuse of government power,” he said. . .