An in-depth look at the Dunnavant Valley Small Area Plan

By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer

CHELSEA – County Development Services will hold its first public presentation about the proposed Dunnavant Valley Small Area Plan Thursday, Aug. 8 at Mt Laurel Elementary School. Some community issues addressed by the plan are outlined below.

Crime and traffic accidents

Development services employees made a few discoveries while researching issues of crime and traffic accidents in the Dunnavant Valley area – domestic violence was the number one crime reported in the area in 2012, and most traffic accidents were caused by people following too close and by drivers under the age of 21, not by speeding, said senior planner Eric Womack.

To address the causes of these issues, the plan proposes starting domestic violence education programs in the area to educate citizens about alternatives to violence.

The plan also suggests increasing police presence by setting up a police sub-station in the area. The space for the sub-station, however, would have to be donated, Womack said.

“It comes down to the ability to fund it,” he said.

Bike Lanes

Dunnavant Valley residents also expressed interest in bike lanes at the fall community workshops.

The trick is working with the greenway project that is already in progress, said Development Services planner Kristine Goddard.

For many roads in the area, biking lanes are too difficult to put in due to grading changes in the roads, and several roads have recently been repaved, Goddard said.

“We’re researching the best way to work with bikers,” Goddard said.

Womack suggested possibly building a small park in the area to address biking and other recreation-related issues.

Most people living in the Dunnavant Valley fall into one of three ages groups, Goddard said. They are either in their 30s to 40s, 5 to 9 years old or baby boomers.

“(These groups) have complementary issues that need to be addressed,” she said.

Building a park is one way to work with bikers and provide recreational opportunities for non-bikers, but Womack said such a project is one of those long-term solutions that could only happen six years from now or more.

“To build a park, you’d need to find land, acquire the land, build the structure…it’s all dependent on funding and public support,” Womack said.

Other issues

The plan also addresses concerns about trains that stop for hours on tracks and block intersections, protecting ridges from companies trying to build wind farms, and addressing school-related issues.

In addition to the Aug. 8 presentation, copies of the plan are available  to read on the Development Services website, Shelbyal.com. Click the “Departments” tab, then development services, and a link to the plan will be at the bottom of the page. The Mt Laurel Library also has copies for the public to read.

“We want to give people an ample opportunity to respond,” Goddard said. “We want to get it right.”