Subdivision gets preliminary plat approval
By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector
Friday, June 22, 2018
Developers of a controversial subdivision must install a center turn lane to prevent traffic backup on N.C. 33 East, change two street names and meet about 50 other conditions to continue to the project.
The Pitt County Planning Board voted 5-2 on Wednesday to grant conditional approval of a preliminary plat for Luke’s Landing, a 145-lot subdivision on N.C. 33 East being developed by Bill Clark Homes.
Homeowners in nearby subdivisions protested a zoning change needed to launch the project because the development lots are smaller, putting a suburban-type development in what they said is rural setting.
The homeowners’ protest resulted in the planning board voting against the rezoning request, but the Board of Commissioners approved it with a 5-2 vote in May.
The protesting neighbors plan to file an appeal of the rezoning decision in Pitt County Superior Court, said Holly Hoag, who spoke on behalf of Cedar Ridge subdivision, at Wednesday’s meeting.
A preliminary plat provides detailed information on how a subdivision will be developed. The developmental review process consists of county permitting and engineering staff — along with representatives from various state and possibly federal agencies — reviewing it and setting conditions and requirements for further development.
The Luke’s Landing subdivision is being developed on 66.8 acres located about four miles east of Greenville. The preliminary plats show 145 lots will be developed along eight streets. A recreational area and a boat ramp also will be included.
Once the preliminary plat is approved, the developers will start infrastructure construction, such as building roads, installing stormwater control devices and other requirements.
Once that work is completed and approved by the agency that required it, a final plat is submitted to county planning staff. When that is approved, housing construction begins.
County planner Chris Lawson reviewed some of the subdivision’s requirements with the planning board.
A major concern of expressed by neighbors is increased traffic from the additional homes creating hazards because of a nearby curb with a short line of vision.
The N.C. Department of Transportation is requiring a center-turn lane at the subdivision’s entrance so vehicles can make a left-hand turn into the development without backing up traffic.
Two of the development’s proposed street names must be changed because they are duplicative, Lawson said. The postal service is requiring centralized mailbox units be installed at one intersection.
The developer is building three ponds to contain stormwater, which are required to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff in the Tar River. Bill Clark Homes is required to maintain the ponds for the first two years. Then a homeowners association may be established and assume the pond’s maintenance.
“One of our major concerns remains flooding; this property has a lot of wetlands,” Hoag said.
Standing water is often seen on the lot, she said, and portions of N.C. 33 East near the property flooded following Hurricane Floyd. Adding homes, driveways and streets will increase impervious surfaces and she worries it will increase the flooding risk.
Hoag said she spoke with an expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who told her retention ponds do not negate flood risks during a major incident because the ponds also flood.
The plat shows a minimum 40-foot buffer berm along N.C. 33 East, and a 10-foot landscaping buffer is shown along a property line abutting one Moss Bend resident.
The Fontana family, the owners of the property being developed and another nearby property, also will plant a vegetative buffer along Tripp Trail to shield Holly Ridge’s view of the development.
“We are providing buffers in area that don’t have natural buffers,” said Landon Weaver, land development director with Bill Clark Homes. The buffers are not required for single family developments, Weaver said, but during rezoning discussions Clark committed to installing them and is honoring that commitment.
The remaining bulk of the development requirements involve adjustments to the map and ensuring agreements are in place with utility providers.