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showdown looming in southern shores?

There’s a showdown brewing on the Outer Banks in Southern Shores and in this showdown, some traditional allies may find themselves on opposite sides of the fence.

The Draft NCDOT Comprehensive Transportation Plan for Dare County was published on October 31 of this year. A review of transportation needs for the entire county, the plan calls for significant expansion of multi-use paths in Southern Shores.

HOBDareCTP_PresentationThe concept of multi-use paths has been a part of the town’s vision for almost 20 years and it still has a lot of proponents. At an October resident meeting to discuss concerns about summer traffic using Juniper and South Dogwood Trails to avoid the US 158 bottleneck, when a parent suggested expanding multi-use trails for safety reasons, the suggestion was met with applause.

However, the wholesale removal of trees for road maintenance along Fairway Drive and the intersection of South and East Dogwood have left many residents angry and disillusioned with the current town council.

Citing concerns about how many trees would have to be removed to create the path, The Alliance to Preserve Southern Shores (TAPSS), a citizens group that formed in the wake of the Fairway Dr. and Dogwood issues, has come out in opposition to multi-use paths.

That position seems at odds with safety concerns that were expressed at the October meeting.

The Town Council voted 3-2 to approve the CTP, although to many Southern Shores residents, the mid month Town Council meeting where the plan was approved, was a reminder of the inadequate notification of plans to maintain the roads that cost so many trees.

The CTP was debated at the regular November 5 meeting, but no vote was taken. Mid month meetings are typically workshops with no votes. Notification that the CPT would be on the agenda at the 11/18 meeting with one day’s notice.

Although a planning document only with no financial obligation from any government agency, the CTP seems to be generating controversy.

In Kitty Hawk, because of the objections of Councilwoman Emilie Klutz to the inclusion of any planning for bus routes in the CTP, the council took the unusual tact of voting to “agree” with the document, but did not pass a resolution in support. Because of the language used in the agreement, it is unclear what the distinction is between an agreement and resolution in support.

County Commissioner Jack Shea, who lives in Southern Shores, has stated he will not vote in favor of a county resolution in support of the CTP.

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