BBQ on the Menu Next

The Board of Commissioners will consider permits for a barbecue restaurant on Corbett Avenue and a new commercial building on Front Street when it meets tonight at Town Hall.

Baldwin Design Consultants of Greenville is asking for a special-use permit to build a Moore’s Chicken and Barbecue Restaurant on about 1.3 acres on the corner of Corbett and Hammocks Beach Road. The lot, owned by Charles and Mary Rawls and Brenda Stanley, is the former site of Tom and Joe’s Sports Center.

This is the first of several commercial developments we can expect to see near that intersection now that Walmart is open. The Walmart store adjoins this lot.

Traffic is the major issue here. Under the state’s grading system, the intersection gets a middling “C” during peak traffic on weekday afternoons when this and other nearby developments are completed later this year, according to the applicant’s traffic analysis. It falls to a D on Sundays. To maintain those levels, the traffic study recommends allowing only eastbound traffic to enter the parking lot from Corbett Avenue. Those traveling west on Corbett would have to turn left on Hammocks Beach and enter the parking lot on a driveway there. Everyone leaving the restaurant would do so on Hammocks Beach.

Walmart customers who want to go west on Corbett will also be waiting at that intersection. As will those who live in subdivisions, including two new ones yet to be built, farther up the road. The intersection will also bear the traffic from the redeveloped ABC store site across from Moore’s and from new commercial developments that will likely be built on lots adjoining Moore’s that the Rawls’ also own.

To handle all that and avoid long lines of cars waiting to make left-hand turns at Hammocks Beach, the applicant’s traffic engineers recommend making the current right-hand lane into a dual turn lane. That would mean the two lanes become left-hand turn lanes as soon as the first car in the right-hand lane wants to go left.

Repainting the arrows at the intersection seems to be a band-aid approach to what’s shaping up to be major traffic snarl.

We visit our daughter often in Durham. Growth during the last decade has transformed the old tobacco town. Where corn and soybeans grew just a few years ago, businesses of all kinds have sprouted. As I crawl through bumper-to-bumper traffic, I often wonder who the moron was who allowed this to happen. I’m now in danger of being that moron.

Instead of attempting to deal piecemeal with the traffic that each succeeding development will spawn, we need to take a more holistic approach. So, some questions we should ask tonight:

How likely is Walmart to realign its’s Corbett Avenue entrance with Norris Road? This has been discussed for months and is considered the safest way to handle traffic entering and exiting the store and school traffic using Norris. Now, anyone wanting to go left on Corbett from Walmart is forced to make a U-turn at the Hammocks Beach intersection or exit onto Hammocks Beach and risk long lines at the light. A lighted intersection at Norris that would allow traffic to safely enter Corbett in either direction would relieve much of the pressure on Hammocks Beach.

Can the state Department of Transportation, which owns Hammocks and Corbett, widen the Hammocks intersection to include two dedicated left-hand turn lanes? It owns the right-of-way on either side of the road.

Finally, are the property owners willing to build an access road from the existing Walmart driveway on Hammocks Beach to Moore’s? They also own the land in between the two that will very likely be developed. That road would provide access to those developments as well and eliminate the need for multiple driveways on Hammocks.

Edward Venters is asking for a special-use permit to build a single story, 1,536-square-foot brick addition to the old Harry Moore Store at 108 Front Street. This is the empty lot next to the Salt Marsh Cottage. The proposal is in the town’s historic district. The Swansboro Historic Properties Commission has approved the design for the new commercial building.

You can find the full agenda here: http://swansboro-nc.org/…/BOC_2.13.18_Agenda_Packet_Revised….

The Moore’s traffic study is here: http://swansboro-nc.org/…/…/uploads/Moores_BBQ_Final_TIA.pdf

Author: Frank Tursi

Author, Journalist and mayor pro temp of Swansboro, NC

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