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Return to sender: Homeowners denied road name change for Henry Dingus Way

Homeowners on Henry Dingus Way in Maggie Valley who don’t like their street name have struck out in their quest to get it changed.

The Campbell Woods Property Owner’s Association have been trying since spring to change the name of Henry Dingus Way to Ridgeway Trail. However, the Haywood County Board of Commissioners denied their request this week.

They had only one lone supporter on the county board. While Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick made a motion to grant the name change, no other board members seconded his motion, and the request died, meaning Henry Dingus Way will remain on their street signs. Commissioner Kevin Ensley recused himself because of personal ties to the matter.

Property owners seeking a new street name must get at least 65 percent of the people along the street and adjoining streets to agree, according to the county’s road naming ordinance.

If 100 percent of property owners agree, the road is automatically changed. If it is more than 65 percent, but something less than 100 percent, it goes before the county commissioners for a decision.

In the case of Henry Dingus Way, the residents spearheading the change got only 72 percent of property owners to agree.

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Only five property owners were against the change — at least two of who were relatives of Henry Dingus, the father of the developer of Campbell Wood’s subdivision. Henry Dingus had also been a developer in Haywood County and has since passed away.

Although Ensley did not have a voice in the matter, he said after the meeting that he would not have voted for the road name change. Ensley, a surveyor, has named two roads in Haywood County after now deceased family members and understands the family’s view.

However, none of the family members ever stepped before the commissioners to speak out against the change, while those for changing the road name showed up to each of the meetings where it was discussed.

Because of that, the effort that the individuals had put in to gathering all the ‘yay’ and ‘nay’ votes and the fact that the county has only denied one other road name change in the past, Kirkpatrick asked his fellow commissioners to approve the request.

“I certainly think the petitioners have made a great deal of effort,” Kirkpatrick said. He had previously stated that he thinks the county’s rules for road name changes need to be stricter.

His fellow commissioners agreed that the ordinance should be reviewed but did not feel there was a good enough reason to change the road’s name.

“I just didn’t feel a compelling reason was presented for wanting to change it was presented,” said Chairman Mark Swanger.

Commissioners Bill Upton and Mike Sorrells both felt strongly about not changing roads named after someone.

The handful of property owners who attended the meeting Monday left in a huff, disappointed not to see the road name changed after months of work.

“We feel very strongly that we followed the rules,” said Thomas Benoit, president of the Campbell Woods Property Owner’s Association, before the commissioners’ decision. “We are the residents, the taxpayers and the voters in Maggie Valley and Haywood County.”

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