CAPE CARTERET — Cape Carteret commissioners Monday night rejected, for now, a shopping center owner’s proposal to go 50-50 with the town on the estimated cost of a plan to repair and improve one of the streets that leads into the center.
Jason Swain, whose family owns the Carteret Crossing Shopping Center across Highway 24 from the town hall, made the proposal for Golfin’ Dolphin Drive be made a public street during the commission’s monthly meeting in the town hall off Dolphin Street and online via GoToMeeting.
The street, which leads past Walgreens on one side and Hardee’s on the other, has had heavy traffic from private vehicles and delivery trucks for many years and has been plagued by potholes and other problems.
Mr. Swain said he’s been filling the potholes – which have elicited complaints from many motorists who use the private street – and suggested the best solution might be for the town to accept the street into public ownership and split the estimated $75,000 cost of repairs and other changes, including narrowing the road from its current unwieldy width of 60 feet to a normal width of 24 feet. The extra width, he said, results in “willy-nilly” and sometimes unsafe traffic.
He also noted that his family is currently developing a Lowes gas station and a Starbucks on outparcels in the shopping center, businesses that will further increase traffic on Golfin’ Dolphin.
Mr. Swain also said the repaired street would have curb and gutter and would include landscaping on one side to make it more aesthetically pleasing. In addition, the road would be “crowned” so water would drain to either side.
But Commissioner Steve Martin said he wouldn’t be interested in accepting the road now, and not until cost figures are firm and the town can be assured the road would be brought up to state standards. Then, if the town took it over, it would be eligible for maintenance through the use of state gas tax funds distributed to local governments.
Mayor Will Baker agreed the town shouldn’t accept the road as public now – then it would require town maintenance – and called maintenance of a private road, “the cost of doing business” for the private owners.
In addition, Paxon Holz, an extraterritorial member of the planning board and a major developer in the town for years, said from the audience it would be unwise to crown the road. Instead, she said the water should flow naturally off the road into rain gardens, which would absorb much of the runoff.
“I’m not an engineer, just a housewife, but I can tell how water runs,” she said.
Mr. Swain said he was interested in doing what is best for all involved.
The commission didn’t take a formal vote, and in the end Mr. Swain said the shopping center owners would just continue to patch the road.
He said the owners would also continue to seek new businesses, such as the gas station and the Starbucks, that bring good jobs to Cape Carteret and would remain willing to “dedicate the road to the town” at some point. The company, Wilmington-based Swain and Associates, wants to be a “good part of the community,” he added.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.