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Realtors seek reform on private roads

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Information, knowledge and facts are powerful tools for making changes in our society that often benefit those who feel voiceless, ignored or disenfranchised by the established powers that govern our daily lives.

We are born with an innate power given to each of us by our Creator. It is easily lost when we willingly hand over our individual power to those who govern us, who make the rules and laws, and then, in our sense of weakness, give up in any efforts to affect the change we wish to see to make for a better community and world.

Several days ago was the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, China. Thousands of young Chinese students died to protest China’s brutal dictatorship. It was their cry for freedom and a democratic system of government.

Who of us can forget that iconic image of the lone young Chinese man standing in front of the column of military tanks in brave defiance making a statement of his inborn sense of individual power and freedom?

Most certainly, those of us who are now protesting the lack of representation and being heard to see that our streets are maintained in our subdivision in no way rise to the level of this young Chinese man. Yet we have the power and the dignity as individuals to seek that which we feel is right and just from our point of view.

I am most grateful to the Johnstonian News and journalist Steve Reed, for the article in last week’s issue that gave a fair and balanced perspective of the issue of our subdivision and the ongoing effort as to who is responsible for the upkeep of our streets.

It is my hope that the voices of the people of Johnston County will be heard and the powers that be will listen.

Bonnie White, executive director of the Johnston County Association of Realtors, was quoted in Mr. Reed’s article. However, most of the vital information she shared with Mr. Reed was not included.

Ms. White’s information shared some exciting news that helped me to see some glimmer of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel regarding the issue of street maintenance, not just in my subdivision but all subdivisions in North Carolina facing the same crisis.

Ms. White’s full statement is as follows:

“During the building boom, developers constructed neighborhoods but never established a structure for future maintenance of the subdivision streets. There is no comprehensive record of a road’s maintenance responsibility until it is accepted by a local government or the NCDOT.

“As these roads have deteriorated over the years, homeowners are finding that they are responsible for the repair and maintenance of them. In March, 2019, Realtors statewide went in front of their local state reps and senators to push for the following:

• 1. Develop a statewide database that clearly lists the road’s classification and corresponding maintenance responsibility

• 2. Improve the requirements for developers to ensure that roads can be brought to NCDOT standards for future maintenance and accelerate acceptance by a government entity.

“This database will ensure that Realtors have the ability to inform their clients about road ownership. Realtors from the Johnston County Association of Realtors, surrounding associations as well as the N.C. Realtors are pushing for this bill to come into play. They are not only presenting their ‘asks’ to their state representatives and senators but also sending numerous calls to action hoping to quicken the process of getting the database and creating road standards that will be accepted by the NCDOT. Thus, ensuring future maintenance by the NCDOT and alleviating the burden infringed onto a homeowner of a privately owned road.”

Your voices and views have power. Please support this effort of the N.C. Realtors.

Edward “Ned” Walsh of Princeton is a retired Baptist denominational worker who served as executive director of Johnston County Habitat for Humanity from 2004-08.

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