By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
A few dozen owners of modest manufactured homes along Greenfield Rd., Supply, North Carolina, have a dilemma.
You see, Greenfield Rd. is unpaved and privately maintained by the homeowners’ association (HOA). A bit of internet research reveals that Woodside Farms Two is a small rural community established almost two decades ago. A current real estate listing advertises a tidy home on more than 2 acres for less than $160,000, with an annual HOA fee of $50. A few homes recently sold for under $150,000 each.
Homes were first placed along Greenfield Road in the 1990s. At the time, no doubt, buyers were attracted to the site for its rural character, relative privacy, and affordability.
But, over the years, homeowners began to realize that the cost of maintaining their unpaved road is much higher than they thought it would be. And twenty or so years of wear and tear, with patchwork maintenance, has left the road full of deep ruts and standing water. The condition of the road, according to homeowners, gets worse each time it rains.
Homeowners are faced with inconvenient realities of living on a private, unpaved road. It’s messy. It’s bumpy. Sometimes the car or truck gets stuck in the muck, and has to be towed out. It puts a great deal of stress on personal vehicles.
Residents are growing concerned that it will take a relatively long time for emergency vehicles to travel 2.5 miles of Greenfield just to respond to a call from someone living at the end of the dirt road. In an emergency every minute counts.
Homeowners have approached leaders of Brunswick County for guidance and assistance. But County leaders remind homeowners that public tax dollars cannot be used to maintain private roads.
However, County officials offer to take over maintenance of the road if the homeowners are willing to pave it first.
And, of course, that’s absurd, because, if homeowners can barely afford to fill in ruts, how will they ever come up with the money to pave the entire length of the road?
How much does it cost to pave a dirt road? According to several sources (see references below), the cost could run at least $80,000 to $100,000 per mile, for a two lane road. Municipalities and Counties have difficulty raising the funds to pave roads used by the general public, even though the cost is spread out over thousands of residents and travelers, through a combination of property taxes and fuel taxes.
It would be extremely difficult for owners of a few dozen properties to come up with at least a quarter of a million dollars to complete bare bones paving of Greenfield Rd.
And, to meet state Department of Transportation paving standards, the cost could easily exceed 1 to 2 million dollars.
Conditions of Brunswick County road leave residents in a rut
Tuesday, July 31st 2018, 3:47 pm EDT
Tuesday, July 31st 2018, 7:12 pm EDT
By: Kailey Tracy, General Assignment Reporter
SUPPLY, NC (WECT) –
One development in the area is taking the phrase “neighbors helping neighbors” to a whole different level. Woodside Farms Two’s main road, Greenfield Road, floods every time it rains, but recent rainfall has made the road impassable.
Residents are chipping in to pay for gravel to try to maintain the road.
According to North Carolina Department of Transportation leaders, residents have asked for their help, but since Greenfield is a private road, the DOT legally can’t maintain it.
However, if neighbors can meet certain criteria — like paving the road — they can apply to have the state maintain Greenfield Road.
Gene Loflin, president of the neighborhood association, said residents can’t afford to pave the road. They can barely afford to patch up the holes.
Read more (video):
Believe it or not, in order to save money, some local governments are choosing to grind up worn out road surfaces and convert paved roads to gravel or dirt roads.
But Brunswick County isn’t offering to maintain Woodside Farm Two’s dirt road, even though fomer members of the County Supervisor allowed the community to be established without a paved road.
Unfortunately, homeowners cannot afford to pave Greefield Rd. They don’t even have access to the proper maintenance equipment they need right now.
That means homeowners are “stuck in a rut,” so to speak, with no apparent sign of resolving the matter.
Officials say paving dirt roads an expensive, timely project (Republican Herald, PA, Sept. 5, 2012)
Paving Cost / mile
Information below was provided by Aric Morse of the Paving Department (OH)
Dirt Roads Help Some Cities, Counties Drive Down Costs
Governing, Jan. 20, 2017