Neighbors, committee divided road closure

Residents and city leaders disagree as to whether Avanti Lane should be closed. TENA LEE

Although the city’s planning commission and Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted years ago to close a portion of Drake’s Creek Road in conjunction with the development of nearby Durham Farms, that closure may not happen anytime soon, according to Public Works Committee Chairman Mark Skidmore.

Skidmore said the committee has recommended the narrow, two-lane road stay open until a new fire station is built in the area.

However, at least one other committee member says he’s not on board with keeping the road open and that he’ll bring an ordinance before the board on Aug. 14 to close the road – now called Avant Lane.

Ward 6 Alderman Jim Waters said he plans to bring an ordinance before the board to close a portion of the road in keeping with the city’s plans for the area. Waters says there are also safety concerns with the road.

According to City Ordinance 2013-43 which establishes a preliminary master development plan for the 1,100-home subdivision, “Another trail will lead from the village center to the large open space area along Drakes Creek, west of old Drakes Creek Road, which, by the way, is to be closed in conjunction with this development.” The ordinance passed BOMA in December of 2013.

The portion of the road at issue begins at the entrance to Durham Farms to the west and extends about a mile to 1660 Avant Lane near the intersection of Lombardi Place.

Some residents in the area want to keep the road open while others want to see it closed.

Durham Farms resident Gary Woodward urged board members to postpone closing the road at the July 24 BOMA meeting. Woodward said there are currently 114 homes built in the subdivision and that many residents want Avant Lane kept open because it serves as a bypass for the development.

Woodward presented a petition with 69 signatures to keep the road open.

Not everyone agrees, however.

Rich Michalowski, who lives at the corner of Lombardi Place and Avant, says he knows of several accidents that have occurred on the road and believes the city should close it before construction begins on a new city park slated to be built on the road.

“It’s a decaying road and there have already been several accidents,” he said. “Also, the city has promised to close it. I don’t see the reason for the delay.”

Skidmore said the city wants to study the issue further before closing the road.

“The main thing is to have access for fire and police,” he said. “We wanted to be smart about it. Out of an abundance of caution we’re going to leave it open until the fire hall is built.”

Durham Farms developers have agreed to donate land for both a fire station and a city park.

No timeline has been given for either project. 

Waters said there are several other thru-roads within the development for police and fire vehicles to use, and that the city should follow up now on its commitment to close a portion of the road.

The city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meets at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at Hendersonville City Hall.

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