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NC Community Has No Traffic Laws

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BUNN — Imagine what it would be like to live in acommunity where you and your neighbors could speed, race, drive without alicense or even drive drunk, and it was all perfectly legal. Such a placeexists around Lake Royale in Franklin County.

Many of the 5,000 homeowners in that area say they are frightened atthe prospect of a tragedy waiting to happen, and they live with it everyday. At the entrance to the area there is a speed bump. On one side,traffic laws prevail, but once you've entered Lake Royale, you can doanything you want on the 62 miles of roadway inside. Mike Cayton saysthere have been some bad accidents in the community, and he expects to seemore.

Lake Royale is usually a quiet resort community where some liveyear-round and others come only in the summer. Many of those who stay allyear say the area has now become home to drunk drivers and speeders. Some,they say, see no need to stop at stop signs, and there is no law that saysthey must.

If the residents want traffic laws, they must go through statelegislature. Representative Billy Creech (R-Franklin County) iscurrently holding a bill in the rules committee. He says amajority of the community's residents must approve such an action beforeit becomes law.

Property owner Dick Maryman says the problem with that is, of the 5,000residents, 4,000 are rarely there. He says it's impossible to get everyonetogether.

Some residents are frustrated and confused by what they call politicalpower-plays on the part of their representatives. Cayton said he knows Creech had several Lake Royale residents who oppose implementingtraffic laws working on his most recent re-election campaign.

Creech denies that there has been any bias on his part.

Creech has twice voted to change similar laws in other communities, buthe continues to vote "no" on Lake Royale's issue.

The community does have a police force and community patrols, but authorities have no power to charge traffic offenders. The area could getregular city enforcement if residents choose to incorporate.

Many residents are concerned that the problem will only worsen. Thereare 60 new homes built in the gated community each year.