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Ask Matt ... how fast a moped can go

The Lightning's intrepid researcher responds to readers' questions.

Q. I read in the News & Observer that current law allows mopeds to travel on roads that are 35 mph or less. If this is the case, why do I see them on roads posted at 50 mph? Is there a reason that this is not enforced?

Yes, there is a reason and it is because that's not the law. I checked with all the local law enforcement agencies in Henderson County and received no confirmation of the law, which the Raleigh newspaper cites. I also did an extensive search of our state laws and found only that mopeds cannot exceed 30 mph, cannot have an engine larger than 50cc and that under the newest amendment, mopeds must be registered and tagged. Moped operators also have to be 16 years old and wear a helmet but they don't need insurance. I did find an insurance publication website that did suggest the "35 mph zone rule" was in effect in North Carolina. Perhaps that was once the case. One can purchase a new 50cc moped here in town for $1,699. Any moped or scooter that exceeds the size or speed standards is classified as a motorcycle and requires a license – naturally a dealbreaker for someone who has lost theirs.

Q. When will that vacant house on Greenville Highway and Chadwick Avenue be torn down?

Ask Matt ran a piece last year about how the city of Hendersonville enforces its Minimum Housing Code and we shared what renters could do to force tenants to make repairs. The difference here is that the boarded up house you mention (904 Greenville Hwy) has no tenants and therefore those housing laws do not apply. The owner, Hunting Creek Associates, has been approached about removal but unless there is a clear safety issue the city has no leverage. Susan Frady, the City's Zoning Administrator, says that the housing code does not address aesthetics. The 2.2-acre tract is appraised for $667,800 and listed for sale for $1,350,000. The owners say that removing the vacant house alone would cost about $20,000. The property also contains a small manufactured home park.
Here's a bit of history that may offer you some level of comfort. Back in the 1990s at the busy intersection of Blythe Street and Sixth Avenue West there once stood an aging mobile home park. That property today is a handsome medical office complex. The corner of Greenville Highway and Chadwick Avenue is prime real estate and one day it will sell.