BOLIVIA, NC (WECT) - While most homeowners would probably welcome road improvements in their neighborhoods, members of one community are fighting back to stop a road project they say would put their health at risk.
"A lot of community members tout they are stewards of the environment. This is a huge issue," Kathleen DeNike, a concerned homeowner in the Winding River Plantation, said. "I think if they move forward with this, it is disgusting. Shame on the board."
DeNike is one of many neighbors expressing frustration with the homeowners association.
Rachel Patrick, another homeowner, showed WECT documents she said were given to her husband by members of the infrastructure committee detailing their intentions to use PaveRx, a product containing coal tar, on the roads.
"If we had known they were planning on using coal tar when we were looking for homes, I don't think we would have looked in Winding River," Patrick said. "This is a beautiful community with a lot of amenities we enjoy here, but honestly, that is a huge deal to us, especially with a young child."
Government studies find increased health and environmental risks when spraying "coal-tar-based seal products" on top of the roads.
The document Patrick provided recognizes the research but claims the PaveRx product won't be as detrimental because it would sink into the asphalt.
"They say that, but I haven't seen any evidence that supports that," said Mike Giles, an advocate for the NC Coastal Federation. "If it soaks into the asphalt, it means it can soak into the ground and soak into the groundwater. Transporation is important in a neighborhood, but it needs to be done in a well thought out manner and safe manner."
WECT reached out to the Winding River Plantation homeowner's association to help put neighbors' concerns at ease and explain the decision behind the project. A representative with the HOA declined to comment.
The project is set to start on Nov. 6 and last 10 days. Patrick said she will not stop bringing her concerns up to the HOA and anyone else who will listen until they put a halt on the project.