Weddington leaders discuss NCDOT, UCPS at retreat

WEDDINGTON – Leaders in Weddington are planning now for some of the biggest issues they will face in the next fiscal year and into the near future.

Recent issues with the North Carolina Department of Transportation regarding road maintenance, Union County Public Schools overcrowding, the town’s budget and staff changes were a few of the main topics discussed during the two day retreat held on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 6 and 7, at the Weddington town hall.

While town council has decided not to take over the maintenance of roads following some policy changes with NCDOT, there are still some subdivisions falling in the middle. Mayor Bill Deter hopes to work with state representatives and NCDOT and have those roads maintained by the state, as those homeowners were unaware of the new policies prior to purchasing property.

“There were some subdivisions that were still in process so those roads would not have been taken over (by NCDOT),” Deter said. “… It’s about 4.3 miles. We’ve been in communication with Sen. Tommy Tucker and Rep. Craig Horn in helping us to work with NCDOT to take care of these people who were impacted by the state’s policy change.”

Prior to the recent change, NCDOT would take over maintenance for all subdivision roads in Union County after the completion of the development – something the department didn’t do in any other part of the state. The state sent a letter to municipalities in Union County late last year stating they would no longer take over maintenance of roads, leaving that responsibility to the town.

Although most towns in western Union County already maintain some roads and receive Powell Bill funds from the state, Weddington leaders opted to add text to town ordinances pushing the responsibility of road maintenance in future developments onto the homeowners’ associations in each development. The town will still have general requirements for the standards that developers have to meet for subdivisions.

“(Developers) have to build them to NCDOT standards, we can actually incorporate zoning that requires them to build to above NCDOT standards and we are looking at that hard,” Councilwoman Pamela Hadley said.

But NCDOT changes weren’t the only countywide issue town council discussed during the retreat.

After hearing concerns from residents in western Union County, many towns – including Indian Trail, Stallings, Waxhaw and Wesley Chapel – passed resolutions in opposition to the current redistricting proposal from the UCPS Board of Education in regard to overcrowding in county schools. Weddington, however, decided to take a route more similar to Marvin, in that they didn’t approve a document opposing the proposal but drafted a letter to be sent to the school board in terms of promoting better communication between the two groups.

“The truth of the matter is municipalities cannot be involved in school funding, redistricting or those activities,” Deter said. “That’s the realm of the state and the county. … We have been in discussions with school board members and people in our town who are upset or concerned over it. We didn’t see that passing a resolution was going to help that matter.”

The eastern part of Weddington is the most effected by the proposed redistricting, with a majority of those being shifted moving from the Weddington cluster to the Sun Valley cluster.

Weddington also will soon have to find a new town planner, after current planner Jordan Cook turned in his resignation, although he will stay on part-time until a new planner is hired and trained. A notice for the position has already been published and many resumes submitted, Hadley said.

Although many residents and town leaders thought the water tower on Hemby Road would be moving forward in 2014, the town and county are currently in a lawsuit with a group of Weddington residents who oppose the location of the tower and claim the town and county did not follow proper procedures with public meetings before approving the tower. Union County has since filed a counterclaim stating that the county now owns the land and could possibly not be subject to town zoning ordinances. The county also has a duty to provide a certain level of water and sewer service, according to state statutes, that is currently not being met in some parts of town. Other than the filing of both lawsuits, there has been no indication on a timeline for the process.

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