‘Traffic Impact Studies’ could get eliminated in Huntersville, worrying some residents


HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – When it comes to booming population growth and development in Huntersville, the most common concern residents express to town board relates to traffic. But there are some safeguards in place to keep things flowing as smoothly as possible.

Huntersville Town Government requires all developers to conduct a Traffic Impact Study, or TIA, before Town Board will approve their project. Now, some town leaders are hoping to do away with that requirement.

“So many of our intersections now are scheduled for improvement. We actually have developers that are studying these intersections to see how much impact they may or may not have and yet, they’re going to be improved at some point over the next 3-5 years,” said Mayor John Aneralla.

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That’s not the only reason some town leaders want to eliminate the TIA requirement. Often, TIA recommendations require developers to extend roads or create turn lanes on private property. If property owners don’t cooperate with the developers to make the road changes, the town then comes in and can take the property through eminent domain.

That’s exactly what’s happening to Steve Dove, owner of Dove’s Tire Service on Old Statesville Road.

“[A town commissioner] showed us a map of where the houses were going to be built, and they were going to want 100-feet of my road-front for a turn lane,” he said. “We put in a lot of sweat and blood around here. We don’t want nobody getting our property unless they want to deal with me.”

Hearing the TIA may get eliminated has left some Huntersville residents concerned about what that may mean for traffic around future projects.

“Traffic is going to get more horrible,” said Huntersville resident Jasana Anderson. “It’s been getting wild.”

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But Mayor Aneralla says Huntersville’s TIA requirement is just an added layer to the state’s preexisting NCDOT requirements. Even if the town eliminates their TIA, developers will still need to meet state requirements.

“The NCDOT has rules and a traffic impact analysis of their own. So if there is significant improvements, then they will require it as well,” said Mayor Aneralla.

In Dove’s case, state traffic requirements may still have required the developer to build a turn lane on his property, but Mayor Aneralla says it would be up to the state to figure out eminent domain, rather than the town.  

“It makes the town look like the bad guys. I think part of allowing the NCDOT regulations to be the overall [rules], we’ll let the state be the bad guys,” said the mayor.

While town leaders are starting the conversation about eliminating the TIA, they don’t believe it will be put to an official vote for several months.

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