To enter Brookside, a planned subdivision in Clayton, residents would have to drive through another neighborhood.
That’s unsettling to residents of Wynston, the existing subdivision, who fear more traffic will put their kids in harm’s way.
Brookside would have 38 homes on 22 acres off of N.C. 42 West near Amelia Church Road. However, the only entrance into the neighborhood would be Satinwood Drive, a winding street that runs through Wynston. Most Brookside residents would likely get to their homes via Wynston’s Breeze Drive, then Satinwood.
Wynston resident Mike Orlowski estimated that 50-60 children live and play in his neighborhood. With Brookside, dozens of additional cars would be using the same streets, he said.
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“How many kids are going to have to die on those roads for you guys to realize it’s a mistake?” Orlowski asked the Clayton Planning Board on Monday.
Satinwood dead-ends on the north side of the Brookside tract, owned by Clayton NDJC LLC. The company is registered to David Pryzwansky of Cary.
Clayton NDJC doesn’t own the land to the west, and the east side abuts existing houses, so the only possibility for another entrance is off of N.C. 42 West to the south. However, Jerry Dalton, an engineer working with Clayton NDJC, said that option presents a problem.
Dalton said the Brookside property has wetlands that will require government approval to cross. An entrance off of N.C. 42 would require approval for a second crossing, something that’s hard to come by, he said.
In addition, he said the N.C. Department of Transportation frowns on an N.C. 42 entrance because the state plans to eventually widen the highway.
DOT spokeswoman Jennifer Heiss said it would be cost prohibitive to build an entrance off of N.C. 42.
“N.C. 42 would have to be widened at this location if an entrance were to be constructed, and there would also be environmental impacts at that location that would need to be addressed,” she wrote in an email. “NCDOT does agree that using the existing road out of the subdivision as the entrance/exit is the best option for all parties involved, especially due to the planned upcoming widening of N.C. 42.”
Still, Town of Clayton planning staff will check with the DOT about the feasibility of an entrance off of N.C. 42, said town planner Jay McLeod.
Wynston resident Eric Ballard said he and his neighbors can appreciate the complexities of building an N.C. 42 entrance. However, it’s something that can and should be done, he said.
“We ask that you find a way to allow the entrance from 42,” Ballard said to the Planning Board.
Brookside’s layout includes street stub-outs that could connect to future development to the west. Those connections would ease traffic through Wynston.
But no one knows when or if that development will occur, Ballard said. For the short-term, and maybe long-term, the 60-100 cars in and out of Brookside would travel on his streets, he said.
“That’s a big ask for narrow streets,” Ballard said.
While the Planning Board recommended approval of the subdivision, several members asked the developer to pursue a temporary entrance during construction. That would at least keep heavy equipment and big trucks off of Wynston’s streets.
The developer would need permission from the landowner to the west to build a construction entrance. McLeod, the town planner, said Clayton will push for the temporary entrance, but it might come down to a deal between the two private parties.
Dalton, the Brookside engineer, said he knows the landowners to the west and will talk with them about a construction entrance.
Monday’s Clayton Planning Board meeting became tense, with a board member saying children living in Wynston subdivision should not play in their streets.
A developer wants to build a subdivision whose only entrance would be through Wynston, and that has residents worrying about the safety of their children, who often play in the streets.
“There’s a nice park in proximity to this development,” said board chairman Frank Price. “That’s where the kids should be playing, not in the streets.”
The crowd bristled at Price’s comment, and for the third time during the night, Wynston resident Eric Ballard approached the board. “Kids are going to play in their neighborhood; that’s where they are supposed to play,” he said. “They know their neighbors, they know their boundaries, and they know where they can go safely.”
Later in the meeting, Price reiterated that the subdivision proposal had gone through a review process before getting to the Planning Board. Just as Price was about to seek a motion from the board, Ballard stood up to speak for a fourth time, which would have been an unusual allowance.
“No sir, I will not let you speak again,” Price said.
Ballard sat down, and the board voted unanimously to recommend that the Town Council approve the subdivision.