06/10/09 — Board OKs both plats for county developer

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Board OKs both plats for county developer

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 10, 2009 1:46 PM

Preliminary plats for residential and commercial development projects planned by Wayne County Commissioner Steve Keen were approved by a 4-0 vote of the county Planning Board Tuesday night.

Keen, who also is a member of the Planning Board, recused himself from the discussion and the vote.

Planning Board Chairman Chris Cox, who is marketing the project for Keen, did not attend the meeting because of scheduling conflicts. He also has previously recused himself from votes on the issue.

The approval is for the division of the property into lots, not for any particular use. The vote means Keen can proceed with making improvements to the property -- installing roads, lights, water and sewer.

Once those improvements are made Keen will bring his final plats back before the Planning Board for approval.

When and if that approval is granted, Keen can develop the property as long as it adheres to existing zone restrictions. It is currently zoned for residential and agricultural uses.

The roughly 70-acre site is located on U.S. 70 West just east of the Wal-Mart at N.C. 581.

Keen has petitioned the county to rezone the front 20 acres to commercial shopping and the rear 50 acres to R-15.

A public hearing on the requests will be heard before the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

Even if the requests were denied, Keen could still be able to develop the property in accordance with existing zoning guidelines.

Keen's requests were approved last month by the Planning Board.

The county planning staff had recommended approval of the residential request, but not the commercial one. Planning Director Connie Price at that time cited the county's lack of sign and parking lot standards for his opposition.

The county months ago held a public hearing on the parking lot standards. Commissioners took no action and referred it back to the Planning Board.

A hearing on sign standards was held at commissioners' June 2 session. No action has yet been taken.

Access to the property would be two entrances off U.S. 70 that would have to be approved by the N.C. Depart-ment of Transportation.

Development on six lots comprising Adair Place and fronting U.S. 70 would have access off a back road and not U.S. 70.

Planning Board members Mike Aycock and Brad Wells were somewhat concerned that the 48-lot Prestonwood cluster housing development has only one entrance.

Price noted that road stubs would be in place at two other adjoining properties and that roads could be extended to provide more entrance and exits should surrounding property owners decide to develop their land. Aycock also questioned how many fire hydrants would be in place. Price said that all of the homes in the subdivision would be within 500 feet of a hydrant.

Aycock also was worried that it could prove difficult for large fire-fighting vehicles to access the far end of the road through the development should vehicles be parked along side the road. Price noted that unlike most developments, the plat calls for curb and guttering and that the roads are wider than required.

As for parking, project surveyor Bobby Rex Kornegay noted that each house would have a two-car garage. Even with vehicles parked along side one side of the road there would still be enough room for two-way traffic, Price said.

In a letter to the Planning Board, county Fire Marshal Brian Taylor voiced concerns about the size of the Pres-tonwood cul-de-sacs. Plant-ers in the middle of the cul-de-sacs, he said, did not provide enough room for fire-fighting vehicles to turn around.

He recommended the plat not be approved.

Price noted that the 40-foot radius of the cul-de-sac from the centerpiece to curb is actually nine feet wider than what is required.

Cluster housing means that houses may be built on lots as small as 8,000 square feet. The Prestonwood lots would be about 11,000 square feet, Price said.

Price said in an interview that the current zoning permits site-built homes only. No mobile homes or duplexes would be allowed.

Board members wanted to know if they would have to approve the project all at one time or if they could do it in phases.

Kornegay said the project would be built in three phases. That, Price said, would mean each phase would have to be approved by the Planning Board separately.

Kornegay said the houses would average between 2,000- to 2,500-square-feet each.

In other business, the board unanimously ap-proved a rezoning request by Prentice Grady who had asked that property on Alert Cable Road in Dudley be rezoned from residential to village. The zone allows a mixture of residential and businesses to be located closer together. Grady wants to develop a flea market in an existing house. The request now goes before commissioners who will schedule a public hearing.

Price told the board it was time to review the county's hazard mitigation plan. The plans looks at how the county responds to natural disasters and a review is required every five years. When last reviewed in 2004 time flooding problems were in the forefront in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd.

Price said he had spoken with representatives of all of the county's municipalities, save Goldsboro, about forming a task force to look at the plan. Goldsboro has its own pan, he said.

Price said he wanted at least two Planning Board members on the task force and hopefully meet prior to the end of the month. The initial meeting would followed by two or three more with a plan ready to be presented by early fall.

Ms. Summerlin suggested waiting until July since Cox was not at the meeting.

However, Price said work needed to get under way.

Board members agreed to let Price to proceed and to inform them of the first meeting at which time representatives could be selected.