By: James HowellStaff Writerjhowell@civitasmedia.com
January 13, 2013
Lansing’s continued pursuit of a scenic byway on the edges of its town made headway last week when Ashe County Planner Adam Stumb introduced adding the byway to the Ashe County Board of Commissioners, which the commissioners supported.
Stumb began by giving the commissioners some preliminary information about the byway.
“The majority of the road will be outside of the city,” said Stumb.
He also said a scenic byway entitles “a certain amount of marketing from the state to promote tourism.”
“In concept, you are in agreement,” said Stumb to the board. Each of the commissioners quietly nodded their heads in support.
According to information of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s website, “these byways are intended as an alternative to the faster-paced traffic and commercial areas found along our major highways and interstates.”
“The routes are carefully selected to embody the diverse beauty and culture of the Tar Heel State and provide travelers with a safe and interesting alternate route,” reads the website.
According to Stumb, a byway is meant to highlight interesting things along the roadside, like historical buildings and works of nature. Also, the state will usually launch promotional material about the area on the N.C. DOT’s website.
“The N.C. DOT has designated 54 scenic byways to give visitors and residents a chance to experience a bit of North Carolina history, geography and culture while raising awareness for the protection and preservation of these treasures,” reads the website.
Stumb said even though the road isn’t a certainty, the byway’s path could possibly start outside of Lansing’s city limits and stretch all the way to the Virginia state line along N.C. 194.
In order to add a scenic byway, an application must be submitted to the N.C. DOT. The application requires the permission of several authorities, but more importantly, the application needs to explain what is special about the area.
“Basically,” said Stumb, “the application involves a justification for why a byway is scenic - what makes it stand out.”
According to Stumb, the first step on the application will be earning the support from local authorities like the Ashe County Board of Commissioners and the Lansing Town Aldermen. Even though it wasn’t an official vote, the BOC did not object to the byway during Monday’s meeting.
The next step will be gaining the approval of the N.C. DOT’s Roadside Environmental Unit, who are responsible for the approving the scenic byways.
The application for the scenic byway is being handled by Greater Lansing Area Development (GLAD) under Project Manager Ann Rose.