Davis Road – times two

Published 10:32 am Saturday, January 22, 2011

CONWAY — A recent decision by the Northampton County Board of Commissioners will hopefully clear up confusion over two different Davis Roads near here.

During a Wednesday public hearing, several property owners from both secondary public roads spoke about the naming of the thoroughfares. The same road name has led to confusion for emergency services personnel as to where they are needed to respond.

According to County Manager Wayne Jenkins, Davis Road (State Road 1506) is located off of NCHS East Road near the Creeksville community. Meanwhile, a Davis Road (State Road 1563) is located off U.S. 158 east of Faison’s Old Tavern. Jenkins said each property owner was contacted by letter about the public hearing.

“I did some research with NCDOT (North Carolina Department of Transportation) and according to DOT records, (State Road) 1506 has always been called David Davis Road, even prior to becoming part of the state maintained system,” he said.

He further explained that there were approximately 12 property owners on State Road 1506 and the road was added to the DOT system before 1993.

State Road 1563 also has approximately 12 property owners as well and was added to the DOT system in 1999.

Jenkins said when the county enhanced its 911 system in 2000, it required them to go in and address each property in the county. He noted it was required to go by guidelines listed in the county ordinance and state roads are referred to as roads (i.e. Dusty Hill Road, River Road). Private roads are referred to as lanes, avenues and travel ways.

“It was brought to my attention a few months ago that we have had calls for emergency services on Davis Road off (NCHS-East Road) and the responding unit actually responded to the wrong Davis Road,” said Jenkins. “It was handled and hopefully there was not that much inconvenience there.”

He added there have been package delivery mix ups as well.

“We were trying to address that by house numbers as one Davis Road has higher (address) numbers than the other Davis Road,” he said. “But as much money and tax dollars that you have invested in improving the public safety services and programs in the county, I felt like this should be called to your attention to give you the opportunity, if you choose, to rename one of these roads, offer the option to the property owners to rename one of these roads or you may not address it at all.”

He continued, “However, I feel that if we were to have an emergency whereby outside resources have to come into the county, there could be a real issue there.”

Commissioner Robert Carter asked to be recused from the discussion and the decision as he owned property on one of the Davis Roads. The board voted and granted his request.

Commission Vice Chair James Hester suggested the Davis Road (State Road 1506) off NCHS-East Road remain that name because of the Davis family history there.

“They have Davises that live on that road still, they also have a Davis cemetery down there and I would like to see that road remain Davis Road,” he said.

“I concur with Reverend Hester in reference to (State Road) 1506,” said Commissioner Virginia Spruill.

County Attorney Charles Vaughan suggested State Road 1506 stay to its DOT name David Davis Road.

Jenkins said there were space limits on the sign and any road names that are heard by the board then have to go through local fire departments that serve the area and eventually on to DOT for final approval. Jenkins assumed back in 2000 during the 911 enhancement when the common names were gathered, Davis Road was, perhaps, all that was given.

H.D. and Constance Hall of State Road 1506 came forward to ask the commissioners not to change the name of their road.

“I feel this road shouldn’t be changed to any other name except Davis Road because it’s been there the longest,” said Constance Hall. “We have two Davises that still live on the road and two Davis cemeteries on the road.”

She continued by suggesting that the name of the other Davis Road (State Road 1563) should be completely changed, noting the emergency personnel who have gone to the wrong road.

Stancil Lanier also wanted State Road 1506 to stay the same as reflective of the Davises that have lived in the area.

“It’s always been Davis Road,” he said.

Phillip Ricks of NCHS East Road asked for State Road 1506 to remain Davis Road. He noted at the end of the road there was once a Davis home place and he believed the other Davis Road was named for the builder of the homes constructed there.

“I’ve lived around that area for all of my life and it’s been called Davis Road,” he said. “I’ve never heard it called David Davis Road.”

He concluded he would also like to see the other Davis Road name changed to clear up confusion.

Linda Daye who lives on State Road 1563 off U.S. 158 was in agreement with her road being renamed. Daye suggested it be named in honor of a late property owner who lived on the road named Magnolia Vaughan.

According to Daye, Vaughan was the one who worked to get the road paved and maintained by the state.

“I feel like it should be named behind her,” Daye said. “She worked very hard for that road.”

Hester asked if there were any other roads in the county named Vaughan Road. County Attorney Vaughan listed a few.

Spruill asked Jenkins if Magnolia Vaughan would be too cumbersome for a road sign.

“Possibly not,” he responded.

Jenkins recommended to the board that Davis Road (State Road 1506) keep its name due to the fact that it has been called Davis Road the longest and has been on the DOT system the longest. He further recommended changing the name of State Road 1563 and giving the opportunity to the property owners living on that road a chance to provide that name to the board.

Jenkins said the petition process would have to be started on that. Daye said she could talk to her neighbors.

After closing of the public hearing, Hester made a motion that State Road 1506 remain Davis Road. The motion was seconded by Spruill. The motion passed without objection.

Hester made another motion to direct Jenkins to write a letter to the property owners that Davis Road (1506) had retained that name, but the commissioners were open to a recommended name coming from the property owners on 1563 and if no recommended name is put forth then the board has a recommended name of Magnolia Vaughan. Spruill offered a second and the motion passed without objection.