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Was it legal to reconfigure vehicle access to Wrightsboro Elementary School?

Ashley Withers
Wrightsboro Elementary students sing and dance as they have a dress rehearsal for the school's opera "The Guilty One." StarNews file photo.

Wrightsboro Elementary students sing and dance during a dress rehearsal for the school’s opera “The Guilty One.” StarNews file photo.

Q. A few years ago, the main vehicle access to Wrightsboro Elementary School was moved from Castle Hayne Road to the residential Sheridan Drive. Was this legal, and does New Hanover County have any responsibility to make adjustments to accommodate this change, the neighborhood, the thru-traffic, the new intersection, etc.?

A. The traffic pattern at Wrightsboro Elementary was reconfigured along with a major addition and renovation to the school as part of the 1994 bond referendum, according to Bill Hance, assistant superintendent of operations.

A new cafeteria and classrooms were added to the school and improvements were made to the site and traffic pattern. Construction was completed in 1997. Any approvals required from the county, state, and N.C. Department of Transportation were received at that time or the project would not have proceeded, Hance said.

“It has been well over a decade since this project was completed,” he said. “If there are current traffic concerns, they are more related to growth in the area than the project completed 10-plus years ago.”


How do DOT or the school board plan on improving the horrible traffic problems at Laney High School?

How can we get traffic control devices installed in front of Bellamy Elementary School?

User-contributed question by:
Matt Doyle

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3 Responses to “ Was it legal to reconfigure vehicle access to Wrightsboro Elementary School?”

  1. On March 25, 2014 at 5:42 pm Matt Doyle wrote:

    The question was edited and thus the answer is inadequate, or not even addressed. Parents of Wrightsboro Elementary School students use Sheridan Drive as a parking lot. Thru traffic cannot proceed. No emergency vehicles have access. This ‘traffic problem’ was moved from Castle Hayne Road to Sheridan. There has been virtually no population growth in the Wrightsboro area since changes were made to the schoo—the problem is 100% caused by illegal traffic maneuvers that have never been addressed by the county or by employees by the school. I presume these violations should be reported to the Sheriff’s department?

  2. On March 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    Yes, violations of the law can be reported to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

  3. On March 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    Here is the uneditied text of your question:
    March 6, 2014
    50 Holland Drive
    Castle Hayne, NC 28429

    I have two questions, both concerning Sheridan Drive in the Wrightsboro community. [The inquiries are basic enough; my apologies for what likely are unnecessary details].

    A few years ago, when the oldest part of Wrightsboro Elementary School was renovated, the main vehicle access was moved from Castle Hayne Road to the residential Sheridan Drive. Was this legal, and does New Hanover County have any responsibility to make adjustments to accommodate this change, the neighborhood, the thru-traffic, the new intersection, etc.?

    During morning and afternoon drop-off / pick-up times, heavy traffic blocks thru-traffic on Sheridan Drive. Actually, those whose children do not walk or ride the bus use Sheridan as a waiting area, or parking lot. Shouldn’t the county, at minimum, provide a left-turn lane into the school? Better yet, logically, and for safety’s sake, there should be a traffic light and / or a deputy directing school traffic and preventing people from parking on Sheridan Drive. When the main entrance was on Castle Hayne Road, officers were used, and to date, in front of the school, there is signage prohibiting parking or standing, as is noted on your web site under the heading: “Why did N.C. DOT install at least 18 no-parking signs in a quarter-mile section on Castle Hayne Road, near Wrightsboro Elementary School?” This was noted in 2009, and it seems the traffic problem on Castle Hayne Road was redirected to Sheridan because there it would not be a violation of the statute quoted, GS 20-161(b) .

    As a former student of Wrightsboro, and a Holland Drive resident for fifty years, naturally my concerns are self-motivated. I want free access in and out of my neighborhood. However, this situation also prevents buses from unencumbered movement, and presents more-than a safety risk as emergency vehicles are also unable to navigate past this school entrance.

    If the county has absolutely no responsibility in this matter, to whom should I direct my complaints and concerns?


    Directly across from the entrance to Wrightsboro Elementary School, on Sheridan Drive, there is a decaying house, apparently abandoned.

    (Perhaps the owners could not return home because of the situation presented in the first question?!)

    Seriously, this house has been in bad repair at least since 1970 when my mother took census there and questioned how the Health Department could allow occupation. I went to school with and knew the children who lived there. It was public knowledge that the house was infested with rats and snakes, a problem made worse when the corner of Castle Hayne Road and Sheridan Drive was paved for parking at Wrightsboro School. Though a drainage pond was installed, drainage continues to be a problem for the property in question; ever-standing water, and temporary rises in the water level, drove pests of all types into the home for as long as I remember. [The property was commonly known as “Lake Herman,” Herman being the last name of the residents}.

    The family who occupied this house was low-income and not only did not make repairs on the property as routinely needed, but the house and surrounding land has been a dump-site of sorts as long as I have lived in the neighborhood, (50 years). The front yard has long been home to a discarded toilet. As long as the house was occupied, there was at least some level of compassion, understanding, patience, and even partial acceptance of the situation, even though visually it appears the structure should have been condemned thirty to forty years ago.

    I do not know who owns the property. No one currently lives there. Aside from being a neighborhood eyesore, and certainly a safety, fire, crime, and health risk, as well as a site of illegal dumping, the structure is unquestionably uninhabitable, and likely much-beyond a demolition status. How do I find out who is responsible for this property? Who do I contact to see if the house can be condemned? Who do I report perceived violations too? Does this first need to be reported and investigated as a “nuisance?”

    Without question, I want this house removed and the property cleaned. Because of incessant drainage problems, this property likely would not presently be considered for a building permit.

    I have searched http://www.MyReporter.com and do not see these type of questions addressed.

    Many thanks for any consideration,

    Matt Doyle

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