Kill Devil Hills commissioners vote not to open up 6th Avenue yet

Published 8:53 am Sunday, May 5, 2024

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Kill Devil Hills commissioners received some pushback at a public hearing April 24 to consider opening up 6th Avenue to southbound traffic at Baum Street.

The intersection was originally recommended to be a full three-way stop during construction of the First Flight Schools complex, according to the agenda notes. However, because the surrounding land on 6th was undeveloped, the commissioners at the time opted to block southbound entry to the road to discourage speeding vehicles along an empty road.

With the full development of the 6th Avenue and additional developments coming further south, town staff deemed the No Through Traffic requirement to be ineffective and irrelevant, and drafted a town code amendment revoking it.

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Kenny Pierce, a resident on 6th Avenue, said to commissioners during public comment that he considers the amendment to be dangerous and likened it to opening up a racetrack. “Somebody’s going to get run over. Is it going to be your kid?” he asked. “When they come over that hill they’ll be at Mach speed by the time they get to my house.”

As it stands now, many cars leaving the school complex turn left on Baum Street and then take the next immediate right onto Swan Street.

Commissioner Ivy Ingram, who lives on Swan Street, said her neighborhood is bearing the brunt of the traffic. “I live on the ‘racetrack,’” she said. “I’m not saying it’s the right answer. There is no right answer in this situation. We are alleviating a very massive amount of traffic into a very small space … the more we have developments to the south and in that neighborhood at some point it may become necessary.”

Commissioner Terry Gray said he didn’t think opening 6th Avenue was a good idea. Commissioner BJ McAvoy said he didn’t have a strong opinion either way but conceded that “it seems somewhat arbitrary that it’s closed.”

The board was undecided about how to proceed and agreed to wait and allow further public input. Upon the advice of town attorney Casey Varnell, commissioners denied the motion rather than table it.