Southern Shores halts road project after resident opposition

WAVY/Drew Smith

SOUTHERN SHORES, N.C. (WAVY) — Residents of Southern Shores packed into town council chambers Tuesday night, upset over a proposed road project that would cut down almost 90 trees.

Normally, only about five residents attend Southern Shores town hall meetings, but Tuesday that wasn’t the case. The room filled with about 25 people, some even had to be turned away.

“I urge you, and I ask you to spare Fairway Drive,” one resident said.

“You’ve launched a whole sale assault on the neighborhood, without asking the residents if they care what you think,” another resident added.

The residents want town council to know they don’t want or need a street improvement plan for their neighborhood. It would take out dozens of trees and add sidewalks and curbs to Fairway Drive and Dogwood Trail. Council members have said the reasoning behind the plan is that most of the trees are too close to the pavement, and there are places where the roots have grown under the street, causing cracking.

Residents don’t want to see the trees go. They say the trees are part of the fabric of the small town.

“Please don’t destroy this beautiful town by making it look like a New Jersey suburb,” one resident said.

“I personally want to preserve the town we all know and love,” added another resident.

The project is estimated to cost around $350,000 — taxpayer money that the taxpayers believe needs to go somewhere else.

Two companies bid for the job, but after three hours of discussion, council decided not to choose one. It decided to temporarily put the project on hold. Council members want the town manager to go back and see if there are any other solutions that won’t depend on knocking down the trees.

One option would be to all the residents on Fairway Drive to take ownership of the road. It would be up to them to maintain and make any improvements.

Residents believe if the work is done on Dogwood Trail, it would allow cars to cut through going from Route 159 to Highway 12.

Council members hope to make a decision in 30 days, by their October meeting.

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