12/14/10 — Board to eye gated communities

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Board to eye gated communities

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 14, 2010 1:46 PM

Wayne County's planning board will take another look at allowing gated communities in the county at its meeting tonight.

The Planning Board in October rejected a request by Mallard Pointe developers to erect a gate at the entrance to the subdivision on Hinnant Road in Buck Swamp Township.

The meeting will get under way at 7 p.m. in the county commissioners' former meeting room in the county administrative building at 209 S. William St.

The request for gated community status was made at the board's September meeting, but was tabled to allow county attorney Borden Parker time to review it.

The subdivision's Homeowners Association had asked for the gate for security. However, when the subdivision was approved, the streets were dedicated as public. Gating the community would mean the streets would no longer be public.

At the October meeting, Parker said current county ordinances do not allow a gated community unless it is a cluster subdivision. Mallard Pointe is not a cluster subdivision.

A cluster subdivision allows lots smaller than the normal minimum size in exchange for an open common area maintained by a homeowners' association.

Traditional subdivisions, such as Mallard Pointe, do not have a common area, and have streets dedicated as public rights of way. The plats and maps approved when a subdivision is created require that the streets be public. The streets are designed to ultimately be accepted for maintenance by the state Department of Transportation. The state will not accept streets blocked by a gate.

Parker said the county could amend the subdivision ordinance to allow gated communities and that Mallard Pointe developers then could renew their petition.

After the vote, the Planning Board instructed County Planner Connie Price to research what changes would be needed for county ordinances to allow such communities.

Price is expected to report his findings on Tuesday.

Any changes to the ordinance would require a public hearing by county commissioners, who would have final say.

Price is expected to tell the board that gated communities would still be required to provide "unfettered" access to emergency and law enforcement vehicles. It also would have to "reasonably guarantee access" to all roads by county and state employees operating within the scope of their official duties.

In other business Tuesday, the Planning Board will consider a rezoning request by John Harrell.

Harrell has petitioned to rezone approximately 10 acres on the west side of Woodland Church Road near U.S. 13 in Brogden Township from Residential-Agriculture 20 to Village District.

There is an approximately 2,300-square-foot building on the property. The remainder is vacant and woodland. The property is within the one-half mile extension of the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base noise area.

Price said Harrell is planning to sell the property and make the building available for business use.

The rezoning would allow the property to be used for residential or small commercial use. The current zoning does not allow commercial use.

The planning staff has recommended approval. County commissioners would have to hold a public hearing on the rezoning before they could act on it.

Four subdivision plats are on the agenda:

* Carl and Charlette Corbett final, two lots on Airport Road in Stoney Creek Township

* Charles and Diane Hare final, one lot on Princeton Road in Fork Township

* Carol A. Finch final, two lots on Bogue Road in Nahunta Township

* Southern Mobile Village, section three preliminary/final, one lot on Doug Drive in Brogden Township, Gerald Bell, owner/developer.

The board will elect its chairman and vice chairman at the start of the session.