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After five years of trying to merge with the town of Waynesville, the Lake Junaluska community has given up and charted a new course for its future.

An oft-repeated concern expressed during meetings of the Haywood County Affordable Housing Task Force is the scarcity of buildable land available in mountainous Haywood County, but a proposed rezoning for three parcels on Howell Mill Road may demonstrate a viable path forward in the push to make the area a more affordable place to live.

The town of Waynesville will move forward with plans to purchase three vacant, blighted lots straddling Calvary Street, despite interest from another private party.

After holding two public hearings that drew large crowds of opposition, Waynesville Mayor Gavin Brown and the board of aldermen took an official stance on the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s unpopular proposal for Russ Avenue improvements.

It isn’t often that citizens avail themselves of the public comment session offered by local governments.

Although work on the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s proposed improvements to Russ Avenue won’t begin until 2022, Waynesville residents have already been persistent and vociferous in their opposition to the Walnut Street segment of the project.

From the control room of Canton’s water plant, a steady barrage of numbers flash across the computer monitors.

As days slid by without rain last fall, and the days stacked into weeks, Neil Carpenter watched the water gauge on Jonathan Creek like the ticking hands of a doomsday clock.

SEE ALSO:
Haywood water systems join forces to aid each other in times of need
TWSA reviews water shortage plan following drought
Haywood water systems by the numbers

Carpenter usually has 4 million gallons of water a day at his fingertips — triple what he needs to serve the 3,800 homes and businesses in greater Maggie Valley.

News of a historic portion of Walnut Street’s inclusion in the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s plan for the widening of Russ Avenue in Waynesville went over with property owners like a ton of the bricks in Charles McDarris’ 90-something year old retaining wall.

Meeting a need

It’s bittersweet.

“I really would hope that this program would expire,” said Tom Knapko. “But, that hasn’t been the case with increasing need for these baskets.”

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