At the Board of Alderman work session on March 28, Aldermen discussed a resolution about the Aspen Avenue development, a new solid waste and recycling contract, and a public hearing for a rezoning request. The board has also transitioned to a new schedule and will meet on the second Tuesday and the fourth Monday each month.

Aspen Avenue construction

Alderwoman Stephanie Bourland motioned to make a resolution to close Aspen Avenue. The road is a seven-minute drive from Elon university. The motion also included the ability  to stop issuing permits to pave driveways until the board comes to a solution at a special committee meeting on April 4. The motion was seconded by Alderman Randy Orwig and was unanimously passed. 

Thirteen of the more than 30 community members who attended the meeting spoke during the public comments portion — specifically for Aspen Avenue where they advocated to close the road for safety of pedestrians and traffic regulation. According to Town Manager Rich Roedner, the road is being developed by the town of Gibsonville to connect a new neighborhood to Brookview Drive in the Ashley Woods neighborhood. This new neighborhood is proposed to have four entrances, including off of Aspen Avenue.

Many citizens, including Elon resident Kelly Young, presented at the Board of Aldermen session. Young argued that Brookview Drive is a residential street, not a city street, and the lack of sidewalk makes it dangerous to open it up to more traffic. 

“I have a kid as well, but still we both have almost been hit many times because people fly down that street and the police do not come and do anything about it,” Young said. “We need to be safe and we don't feel safe in our neighborhood.”

Elon resident Jim Hogsett said he is also concerned with the amount of traffic that would be brought into the neighborhood. 

“I came to Ashley Woods to have peace and quiet, not that it has to be a perfect neighborhood, but I think we pay enough in taxes … and the investment we have in our homes, to let us have peace,” Hogsett said. “Let us have some peace and quiet and enjoy where we live at home.”

Hogsett said he felt that if something dangerous happened, like the Winston Weaver fertilizer plant explosion in Winston-Salem that occurred on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 and caused an evacuation, an evacuation would be very difficult. Hogsett also attributed difficult evacuation due to the narrow entrance to Brookview Drive. 

“I want to tell you, it scares me to death and I think about it every night,” Hogsett said. “And then add to it that entrance; it scares me to death in Brookview that it is so narrow.”

Roedner pointed out that ethically, the Board could face issues by only blocking the permit for development on Aspen Avenue — as developers would be taking the correct steps in getting a permit and shouldn’t be forced to wait for a decision to be made if the procedure was done correctly. There were also issues of passing other permits at the same time, but waiting on this specific issue. 

The Board debated on how to progress the Aspen Avenue issue, discussing legal and ethical ramifications for each option with Roedner. They eventually decided on the motion brought forward by Bourland. 

Solid waste, recycling changes

The Board also discussed the pending contract for solid waste and recycling. Both the previous solid waste and recycling contracts are set to expire June 30. According to System Public Works Director David Murphy, with this new contract, recycling and waste would be collected by the same company under a five-year contract with two, two-year extensions. 

There would be a price increase of roughly $100,000 per year for the original five years and would include new trash cans but the same recycle bins. If passed, the company would try to maintain the same schedule and may try to collect recycling and solid waste on the same day. 

Public hearing for rezoning

The Board  held a public hearing for a rezoning request brought forward by Chris Jones representing Self Storage LLC to expand the facility. This was restricted due to the Commercial Zoning Designation by the current Land Development Ordinance. The request will be voted on by the Board during the April 12 regular meeting. 

Interim planning director

Pamela DeSoto, assistant town manager and planning director, introduced the interim planning director, Carrie Spencer. Spencer will take over as DeSoto transitions into working part-time for the town of Elon and as Roedner continues to search for her replacement. 

Looking ahead

The Board's next meeting will be a special committee meeting April 4 to discuss Aspen Avenue. The Board of Aldermen regular meeting is April 12 and will continue to discuss and vote on topics discussed during today’s work meeting.