Hendersonville Lightning: Flat Rock road fight gets change of venue

From the Hendersonville Lightning online:

Hendersonville City Hall became the latest arena for the contentious fight over the Highland Lake Road project on Thursday night, with the usual cast of road warriors from Flat Rock arguing the pros and cons of the job.

The audience looked more like ones at Flat Rock Village Council meetings, with some supporters but mostly opponents on the project on hand to express their view. Among those attending were Mayor Nick Weedman, former mayor Bob Staton, past council member Ginger Brown and current council members Anne Coletta, David Dethero and Tom Carpenter. Several members of the Pinecrest Presbyterian Church also urged the Hendersonville council to join the new Flat Rock council in opposing the widening, which would result in the removal of the church’s pine tree buffer along Highland Lake Road.

The City Council agreed to convey their support for the project while urging the NCDOT to work with Flat Rock officials to minimize the impact. New council member Jennifer Hensley had asked for a resolution that formally expressed the city’s support for the job. The council declined to adopt a resolution but members said they supported the parts of the project that fixed congestion problems and the so-called suicide lane in the westbound lanes at the CVS.

A supporter of the project, Bruce Holliday, said that the NCDOT experts had studied and analyzed the road for many years before concluding that the improvements were needed for safety and traffic reasons.

But many more opponents than supporters spoke, including the three newly elected Village Council members who oppose the road project.

“Whatever happened to majority rule?” asked Georgia Bonesteel. Flat Rock residents through letters, petitions, campaign donations and finally the Nov. 5 election expressed their strong opinion against the road, she said. Many others echoed her views, saying the city should respect the will of the Flat Rock voters.

Hendersonville City Council member Jerry Smith told the overflow crowd that the council was not trying to disenfranchise or overrule the voters but only conveying the city’s view on the road project, which past city councils had endorsed.

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