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Wednesday, 24 October 2007 00:00

Siler Road timeline

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The benefits to private development of the Siler Road project in Macon County figured prominently in early planning documents and meetings, but were later toned down. Here’s a time line.

Nov. 2005: DOT issues document outlining the purpose of the road.

“Significant new development is being planned for the area, primarily by private developers,” the document states ... “The proposed action will create access to sites available for commercial development and will facilitate development of these sites. As these sites develop, they will provide new jobs that will enhance the area’s economy,” the document states.

Nov. 2005: DOT officials hold first planning meeting for the road.

The meeting began with discussion of how the project would serve future development. Jamie Wilson, a local DOT engineer, also said that safety concerns and congestion could be included as a valid need for the project. Providing access to a new Southwestern Community College campus would likely garner more public support than providing access to the Mayberry development, DOT officials decided.

Dec. 2005: DOT holds first meeting with environmental agencies.

“Providing access to sites slated for development” and “to support economic development” are stated as the purpose and need for the new road. Jamie Wilson, a local DOT engineer, responded that “some developers wanted to keep their activities private.” Besides, private development was not the driving force behind the road, Wilson said.

“He said there is no way to know which private development projects will be built, and that those projects are not the driving force for the proposed road,” according to the minutes. Wilson emphasized access to Southwestern Community College and a new library.

March 2006: DOT holds another meeting with environmental agencies.

Specific references to private developments that appeared on earlier maps have been changed to the more generic label of “proposed development.”

June, 27, 2006: DOT holds invitation-only meeting with local officials in Macon County.

Joel Setzer, head of the DOT for the 10 western counties, emphasized the community college and library as the driving force of the project, not private development. Setzer said the option “that best serves public institutions should be of high importance.”

Sept. 2007: DOT holds public hearing on road project.

Maps of the project no longer have any reference to “proposed development” but are labeled solely with the new Macon County library and Southwestern Community College campus.

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