By Dave Russell
Sylva’s town board last Thursday voted unanimously to lower the speed limit on Old Hometown Road through Monteith Park.
The N.C. Department of Transportation recommends lowering the speed limit from 35 to 25 mph, Mayor Lynda Sossamon said.
Because Old Hometown traverses both Dillsboro and Sylva town limits, both municipalities need to agree to lower the limit, she said.
“I’ve had my officers go out there and monitor speed down that road and the times we were monitoring, traffic was going closer to 25 mph than 35 mph anyway,” Police Chief Chris Hatton told the board. “It’s a really small road and no doubt people are speeding from time to time, but it’s not a road where you feel really comfortable driving too fast.”
Hatton agreed with the DOT’s recommendation.
Board member Greg McPherson said he would like to see it lowered to 15 or 20 mph, he said.
“It goes 10 feet away from the Monteith House (Appalachian Women’s Museum),” he said. “It’s a park. People are not used to cars going through there.”
Hatton said he didn’t know if DOT would agree to make the limit lower than the proposed 25 mph. “The only downside I see is we may delay (a decision) by another town board meeting, but I don’t see anything wrong with asking,” he said.
Board member David Nestler suggested trying to lower it further at a later meeting.
The issue was on the agenda of Dillsboro’s town meeting Monday and approved unanimously, town Clerk Debbie Coffey said.
The Dillsboro board was unaware of Sylva’s request for a lower limit, she said.