N.C. 3 forum draws a crowd in Kannapolis

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Hugh Fisher
For the Salisbury PostKANNAPOLIS ó A public forum on the future of the N.C. 3 corridor sponsored by the Centralina Council of Governments on Tuesday drew about 120 people, but few decision-makers.
But that didn’t stop locals from airing concerns about water restrictions, public transportation, utility connections and traffic problems.
Bill Duston of the Centralina Council moderated the meeting and noted several times that its purpose was to gather feedback for lawmakers.
“This is not a debate,” Duston said. “There are no right or wrong opinions here.”
All spoken and written comments from the meeting, as well as one last week in Mooresville, will go to a steering committee appointed by governments who control zoning along N.C. 3, the Kannapolis and Mooresville city councils and Iredell and Cabarrus county commissioners.
That steering committee will issue a report in several months meant to guide those governments in making decisions about land use, zoning and improvements to roads and utilities.
But despite an overwhelming number of comments suggesting that residents would like to limit development and maintain the corridor’s rural character, the atmosphere at the meeting was negative.
“It doesn’t matter what we said tonight. They’re going to do what they want to do,” said Connie Goodman. “And it’s going to benefit some people and hurt others.”
Goodman and her husband own 75 acres off N.C. 3, but it lies within a protected watershed, where development is limited. Because of watershed restrictions, she said, even if nearby developments raise the property’s tax values, the Goodmans won’t be able to benefit as much by selling or developing their land.
Peggy Austin, who also lives off N.C. 3, spoke of the traffic congestion resulting from development along N.C. 73 nearby, where industrial and heavy commercial use clog the roadway. “I avoid 73 at all costs now,” Austin said.
“I would love to see it (N.C. 3) stay two lanes and as it is,” she said, but added that the road was already affected by people cutting through the area and that development was “probably inevitable.”
Duston provided his e-mail address ó bduston@centralina.org ó for those who want to hear about upcoming steering committee meetings.
He also encouraged residents to stay in touch with their elected officials and to watch newspapers and roadsides for any notices of rezoning, which are the true sign of changes to come.