Resubmitting application

Published 9:58 am Thursday, August 13, 2020

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Polk to resubmit application for scenic byway

LYNN—After finding out the county’s proposed scenic byway route between Columbus and Tryon did not meet the criteria, the county is resubmitting the application.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met last week and heard from Acme Preservation’s Clay Griffith and local scenic byway committee’s Dorothy Easley.

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The committee picked other routes, including one that included Erskine Road in Tryon.

Commissioner Tommy Melton said he was confused why alternate routes were suggested beyond Harmon Field Road.

Commissioners last year decided to designate Highway 108 from Columbus to Tryon as a scenic byway to connect with the current scenic byway of U.S. 176 that connects Tryon and Saluda through the valley.

The committee was notified in June that the study list area did not meet the criteria from the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Kyle Cooper, Scenic Byway Coordinator.

Cooper detailed the criteria for a scenic byway by North Carolina legislation and said they did not see the unique scenic elements noted with the county’s study list application.

“The route has valuable character and an incredible historical aspect, but in keeping with our responsibilities we must look for the extra elements that make a NC Scenic Byway an exceptional and memorable destination,” Cooper said. “With that said, the proposed portions of NC 108 and Harmon Field Rd do not meet our criteria to become a stand-alone byway, but because of the historical significance of the section south of the Pacolet River crossing, we would recommend considering revising the route and re-submitting this as an extension to the existing Pacolet River Byway, rather than a new individual byway.”

Melton said Monday that it alarmed him that the committee changed the route against the board of commissioner’s recommendation to include Harmon Field Road so suggested the new route extension be from the bridge in Lynn over the Pacolet River to Harmon Field Field Road to connect with the existing scenic byway.

Commissioner Paul Beiler thanked Griffith and Easley for all their work and agreed that it would be a cleaner look to go from Lynn to U.S. 176. He said he had some hesitation about looping the byway to Erskine Road.

The scenic byway extension would have to be at least 1 mile and the proposed route from the bridge and along Harmon Field Road is 1.2 miles.

Commissioners unanimously approved the resubmission for the extension of the current scenic byway to the state.