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Kannapolis votes for funds for quiet zones along railroad crossings

By Susan Shinn

For the Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS — Despite the concerns of one member, Kannapolis City Council on Monday evening voted to appropriate funds for quiet zones along four of the city’s railroad crossings.

At its Nov. 10 meeting, council discussed implementing quiet zones at crossings at East 1st Street, 18th Street, 22nd Street and Rogers Lake Road. The application fee is $2,500 with an annual maintenance fee of $15,200. At the previous meeting, Wilmer Melton, director of public works, told council there had been no safety concerns raised from representatives of Asheville and Rocky Mount, two cities that have quiet zones.

But last night, Councilman Doug Wilson expressed reservations about the quiet zones.

“I was really sitting on the fence about it,” Wilson said, but voted at the last meeting with the rest of council to approve the quiet zones. “As time went by, I am not comfortable with the safety issue. I lived on that track for a long period of time. It will only take one fatality to overcome all that convenience. A lot of people have lost lives on that track.”

Wilson said he understood it was the conductor’s prerogative to sound the horn whenever necessary, but that making sure the tracks were safe would be harder at night.

Council voted 6-1 to appropriate funds for the quiet zones, and Wilson asked that his comments be reflected in the meeting record.

In other business:

• Council elected Ryan Dayvault as the new mayor pro tem. Dayvault will serve a one-year term. Councilman Darrell Jackson nominated Councilman Tom Kincaid. The two voted for Kincaid; the rest of council voted for Dayvault.

• Council voted 7-0 to approve a text amendment for a Unified Development Ordinance concerning access standards for multi-family residential developments. Developments with 40 or more dwelling units without direct primary access on a major or minor thoroughfare will require a Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) to determine project feasibility.

Thomas Urquhart of Raleigh requested the amendment because his company, would like to develop an apartment complex on Coldwater Ridge Drive. The complex would have between 80 and 84 units, and Coldwater Ridge Drive does not carry enough traffic to be considered a minor thoroughfare, according to Jeff Wells, deputy planning director.

“We feel like it protects the city’s interests by doing a Traffic Impact Analysis on a case-by-case basis,” Wells said.

Urquhart said his company plans to build mostly two- and three-bedroom units, priced at about $600 and $700, respectively. He also said he did not feel the additional traffic would adversely impact the traffic flow on Coldwater Ridge Drive.

Wells said there had been no objections or comments from residents in the area.

• Woody Chavis, chief of police, recognized 10 graduates of the Kannapolis Police Department’s first Citizens Academy. Those completing the 10-week class were: John Atkinson, Mary Brenenstuhl, James Derner, Steve Gantt, Dennis Gordon, Sherry Gordon, Ralph Kilby, Donie Parker, Shane Sellers and Adrienne Talis.

“We have wanted to do a police academy for a long time,” Chavis said. “The first class was extremely enjoyable. We could not have asked for a greater group of people. We covered a lot of ground in 10 weeks. I think the instructors were just as excited as the students.”

Nine instructors were present for the recognition, and all graduates were on hand to receive plaques from the police department.

On behalf of the class, Sherry Gordon presented Chavis with a plaque.

“We learned a lot and we had fun doing it,” she said.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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