15th Street project subject of more discussion

Published 4:35 pm Monday, September 26, 2016

Washington’s Planning Board, during its meeting tonight, will consider a request to rezone property along Whichard’s Beach Road to it can be used as a campground.

A public hearing on the request will be conducted during the meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. After the hearing and review by the board, it is expected to make a recommendation regarding the request to the City Council.

Hubert Glenn Tolson III submitted the rezoning request for the 16.67-acre parcel, according to a city document. The land is between Bay Lake Drive and Bay Shore Drive. The applicant wants the land zoned R-20 (a residential-agricultural designation). Currently, it is zoned R-15 (another residential designation, single family). The applicant is seeking a special-use permit that would allow the campground in the R-20 district. The request form lists Howard Nichols as the owner or agent acting on behalf of the owner, Choco NEC, LLC, based in New Bern. Tolson is the company’s registered agent, according to the N.C. Department of the Secretary of State.

In other business, the board is expected to again discuss the proposed project to modify a section of the 15th Street corridor in the city.

At the City Council’s Sept. 12 meeting, the council voted unanimously for the city to notify those people about the proposed project and conduct a meeting concerning the project details, which the board recommended. A date and time for that meeting has not been set.

At a previous council meeting and a previous board meeting, several people expressed concerns with the project as proposed. The concerns center mainly on traffic medians, which opponents contend with hinder traffic flow to some businesses and impede economic development.

Earlier this year, the North Carolina Department of Transportation conducted an informational meeting about the project, which calls for converting the existing multi-lane road into a four-lane, raised median divided road. The project is designed to improve overall traffic flow and traffic safety. Preliminary project designs are on the project website —www.ncdot.gov/projects/publicmeetings — for public review and comment. The $16 million project also includes median breaks for left turns as traffic volumes warrant. U-turn locations will be provided at several locations.

DOT spokesmen have said the project’s goal is to reduce the number of vehicles crashes on 15th Street. Crashes on the western section of the project corridor occur about three times more frequently than crashes on similar roads in other areas of the state, according to DOT figures.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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