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BYH, some see the glass as half empty. I say just get a smaller glass and quit complaining....

Southwest Bypass work drives planning process

Officials are developing guidelines for growth expected along the corridor between Greenville and Ayden

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Construction on the Southwest Bypass can be seen on NC Highway 201 in Ayden on April 6, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Southwest Bypass is expected to further accelerate growth in the areas south of Greenville and west of Winterville and Ayden. The unknown question is what will that growth entail?

A collaborative effort is underway to create a land use plan for property along the 12.6-mile stretch that will make up the Southwest Bypass Corridor. Once completed, the plan will guide the growth and development of the area.

“We planners tend to think we know everything, but we don’t,” Eric Gooby, Pitt County senior planner said recently. “We need to get public involvement. We need to get input from the people who live and work and own property and businesses in this area.”

People living in the area and property and business owners will get a chance to offer their opinions on Monday during a workshop being held from 4-7 p.m. in Pitt Community College’s Goess Student Center, 169 Bulldog Run in Winterville.

Pitt County government, along with Greenville, Ayden, Winterville, the Greenville Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and North Carolina Department of Transportation are developing the plan with the assistance of Stewart, an engineering, design and planning firm with offices in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte.

The bypass is expected to open the summer of 2020. The plan will center on five interchanges along the bypass route starting at the Statonsburg Road to the north and continuing south to U.S. 13/Dickinson Avenue Extended, Forlines Road, N.C. 102 and N.C. 11 south of Ayden.

The planning extends west to Ballards Crossroads and east into Greenville, following N.C. 11 South and encompassing Rountree Road and N.C. 903 down to Jacksontown Road to south of Ayden.

People at the workshop will have an opportunity to learn more about the study area, provide input on their vision for future growth, and talk with the steering committee and consultant team.

The intent of the land-use plan is to ensure that development is managed appropriately and is compatible with the long-term plans for growth and development of the county and municipalities along the corridor, the document says.

It seeks to address issues such as the types of development that are encouraged, important transportation improvements needed, and the preservation of existing rural and community settings.

Work on the project began in November, Gooby said. There are two advisory groups, one consisting of planning state and transportation representatives and another consisting of members of the county and municipal planning boards.

In late November about 60 people with connections to the area were invited to a stakeholder meeting to share their thoughts.

Gooby said representatives from the Renston Rural Historic District shared concerns during the meeting about preserving the area’s rural nature while a representative of A Time for Science nature and science learning centers in Grifton and Greenville expressed concerns about environmental impacts.

The consulting firm is examining existing planning rules and policies and the shared goals of the governmental entities.

Gooby said the consultants also are looking at the features of a one-mile area surrounding each interchange

“We know those interchange areas are going to be the focus of development,” Gooby said.

An online survey also is available for the community to provide input. The survey is at www.pittcountync.gov/SURVEY.

The survey’s purpose is to gain insight into the type of development residents and other stakeholders would like to see within the study area. It also gives them a change to comment on the priority of infrastructure improvements, recreational projects and economic development initiatives.

For more information on the Southwest Land Use Plan or the Public Workshop, visit www.pittcountync.gov/SWBypassPlan.

A draft plan should be submitted to the steering committee in late May, early June. The final plan should be ready for adoption late June or July.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com and 329-9570.

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