Flat Rock council votes yes on controversial proposal to widen road
On Tuesday, Flat Rock council members voted on the proposal to widen North Highland Lake Road, as community opposition continues to climb.
They voted to approve the proposal, with five in favor, and one member opposed.
More than 100 people turned out to hear the village council’s decision.
Council member Sheryl Jamerson put the motion on the table to approve the project on several conditions. Multiple council members then spoke about how they feel the project will help future generations and improve safety.
Vice Mayor Nick Weedman was the sole member who spoke out against the project, saying it will encourage more traffic and encroach on several properties.
We spoke with one of the many community members against the project following the meeting about how she is feeling now.
“I’m devastated, but it’s not over," said Stephanie Dunn. "It not over, and we’ll fight on. We’ll fight on until the construction starts, and hopefully it won’t.”
The NCDOT plan for North Highland Lake Road includes straightening and adding turn lanes, as well as creating a multi-use path on the north side of the road, between Spartanburg and Greenville Highways.
The NCDOT plans to widen the 11-foot lanes to 14 feet. According to a question-and-answer page released by the village of Flat Rock, travel lanes near Highland Park Road and Highland Lake Drive will be 14 feet wide with a 12-14 foot left turning lane.
On the park side of the road, there would be a 4-foot-wide grass buffer and a 10-foot-wide multi-use walking and bicycle path.
Rhett Carson, pastor of Pinecrest Presbyterian Church, said if the NCDOT goes through with its current plans, the church will lose trees, a row of parking spaces and its front turn-around area.
"The grass area beyond the awning is where our septic field is located. So, if they are paving it or doing any adjustments there, it could lead to failure of our septic system and close down the church permanently," Carson said.
Opponents have also placed signs along Highland Lake Road to show their disapproval, created a petition, and a Facebook page to raise awareness.
The NCDOT and council both heard the opinions of community members at multiple previous meetings.
We’ll keep you posted on the timeline for the project once it is announced.