TOWN OF EMERALD ISLE MINUTES OF THE
REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING BOARD
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2000
Co-chairman, Ceil Saunders, called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.. Chairman, Cary Harrison was out of town, as well as Frank Vance and Fil Almeida. Members attending Ceil Saunders, Ed Dowling, George McLaughlin, and David Schock. This did constitute a quorum. Also present: Town Manager, Pete Allen; Secretary, Carol Angus.
Approval of Minutes of Regular Meeting of October 16, 2000 – George McLaughlin made the motion to approve the minutes, as written, second by Ed Dowling with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.
Report from Town Manager – Mr. Allen did not have any information from the Town Board since their regular meeting is scheduled for the following evening.
Report from Building Inspector – Ms. Angus advised that James Taylor, Building Inspector should be attending the December meeting. She advised that there were permits were up at:
10 Single family dwellings permitted valued over $2,500,000.00
A. Sunset Harbor, Lot 2, Block 38, Final Plat – Mr. Ricky Farrington and Mr. Bill Farrington were present to represent this project. Ms. Saunders advised that the only change or addition to be made to this plat from the Review Committee was to add the length of the concrete walkway to Bogue Sound Drive. Ms. Angus indicated to the members that this addition has been made to the plat at a distance of 72.74’. There were no further questions regarding this project.
Motion to recommend approval to the Town Board of Commissioners of Sunset Harbor, Lot 2, was made by George McLaughlin with second by Ed Dowling with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.
B. Osprey Bluff S/D – Chairman Saunders asked that this item be moved down on the agenda in order to accommodate those persons making presentations regarding the traffic studies done by Benchmark, Inc., and Kemly-Horne, Inc.
Ed Dowling made the motion to move the presentations to be done to be moved up on the agenda and hear the Osprey Bluff following the presentations. Second by George McLaughlin with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.
Mr. Andy Owens with Kimley-Horn, Inc. – gave an extensive presentation on the plan that the firm had developed for the Town. Kimley-Horn has been looking at the Coast Guard Road – Emerald Drive intersection for several months. They began with a traffic impact analysis of the signal itself. The conclusion was, that even with the high-density development, that the signal itself, with some minor improvements, could function adequately. Then the concern was turned to Coast Guard Road to see if it was able to handle the traffic as it exists or with possible improvments.
There was a map displayed that indicated a southbound lane (right lane) off Hwy 58 that ran south to exit onto Coast Guard Road lining up at approximately the entrance to Pebble Beach. (This would eliminate the existing Reed Dr. Ext ) Mr. Owens felt that the NC DOT might be agreeable to allowing this exit off of Hwy 58, especially if the town were to also write to make this request. He has had some exceptions made to access availability, even if additional access had previously been denied.
Mr. Owens felt that one access, or even two, on one road is going to handle the amount of traffic in the distance that is available. That was the reason they had proposed to split the traffic between two points. The proposed plan does split the property and it may not be the best situation for the developer, they may want the roadway shifted. This will reduce left turns into a road that has no signal. The plan proposed would reduce left turn volume by 40%.
The proposal shows widening of Coast Guard Rd to maximize the right-of-way, to allow for continuous left turn lanes in both directions and extending the existing left turn lane already in place to the campground.
Mr. Owens then made some additional comments regarding the proposal. One of the major items was to consider the Trav-L-Park to move their registration to the south side of Reed Drive during the heaviest tourist season to allow the long vehicles to make their left turn directly into the park to register. Three vehicles backed up can possibly be 180’.
Mr. Schock was concerned about the feasibility of D.O.T. allowing another turn lane off of Hwy. 58. Mr. Owens said he felt that there is a good case for this particular request.
Ms. Saunders said her concern is the beach traffic in the summer that is exiting the island on just the one lane, that could be a mess. Mr. Owens said that may be a problem, but it won’t be corrected by this study, they only concentrated on the Coast Guard Road side of Hwy 58.
There was some clarification given to the breakdown of the acreage of the commercial tract being considered. The entire tract is 7.3 acres. There was a misconception that the southern portion of the property was 7.3 acres in addition to the portion north of Reed Drive Ext.
Mr. Dowling was concerned about the power poles in the area. Mr. Owens said there is one large pole that may be a factor, or it may not be. Right now they don’t know. Mr. Dowling also had a question on the right-of-way of Hwy 58. Mr. Pete Allen explained to him about the 200’ right-of-way. Mr. Dowling then asked about the concern for pedestrian access as well as bicycle and jogging paths by Ms. Dorothy Marks. Mr. Owens said if had been discussed briefly, however, not pursued. A hashed crosswalk at the campground and at Pebble Beach. Mr. Owens said he thought there would be enough room to maintain the jogging/bicycle paths.
Ms. Marks addressed the safety issue of people, especially young people, being in the area of the blind curve. With pedestrians and a car turning left into Pebble Beach is a potential for an accident. Mr. Owens said that could be helped by the dedicated left turn lane into Pebble Beach. The blind curve could be cut back through development.
Ms. Marks asked with the traffic study was done and for how long a period of time? Mr. Owens said he did it himself on Labor Day Monday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. They felt that should be a peak period and he saw a tremendous amount of trailers checking out. The back-ground data was also used from D.O.T.
Commissioner Trainham was concerned about a 12’ median being shown on his map; this has since been changed to 4’. It can be anywhere from 4’ to 12’ feet, the rendering is only a suggestion and can be readily changed to fit the roadway.
Mr. Owens said that he did not think maintaining the Reed Dr. Ext would be a good idea. If it is maintained, to make it a right turn in and right turn out situation to avoid congestion.
Commissioner Farmer asked if the location of the wetlands can be determined by the rendering Mr. Owens has? The response was that wetlands cannot be determined at this time. She asked what one or two access points be able to handle? Mr. Owens replied one access is not sufficient to handle B-3 zoning, worst case scenario which would be a 70,000 sq. ft. super market and 10,000 sq. ft. of additional retail or fast food or bank. He did not think a 20,000 sq. ft. super market would be a problem.
Mr. William Reist, resident, asked what discussion may have been given to the northern portion of Hwy 58. There is a large piece of property there with B-3 zoning. Mr. Owens said he did not consider that, they were not asked for any portion north of the highway. He said he could look into that and make some suggestions; but had little knowledge of the area right now.
Commissioner Wootten asked he understood that the widening of Coast Guard Road was contained within the 60’ right-of-way? He felt that the right-of-way would have to be 80’. This would help the joggers and bikers.
Mr. Gus Farmakidis, resident, asked if any consideration was given to rezoning the property to residential? It’s obvious that when he tries to leave the island traffic will be bad, and now it will be worse because some "clown" wants to build there. Mr. Owens said they did traffic count and signal function, but no consideration was given to that question. He is not in a position to tell someone how to develop their property.
Mr. Michael Harvey, with Benchmark, Inc. then addressed the Planning Board. He focused initially on Land Use Options. They do agree with Kimley-Horn in a lot of issues. The first idea was to rezone the property to a lower density. It makes the most sense; however, it would put the town in an adversarial relationship with the owner. It is their property zoned B-3 a long time. The second suggestion, to develop an internal migration pattern for the property for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Then to amend the ordinance to put the developer on notice to solve this problem and be a part of the process. There are a number suggestions they have made, some being travel aisle widths, joint exits, one unified entrance, and the major ingress/egress point should be opposite the entrance to Pebble Beach.
Mr. Harvey also suggested that DOT put a light at that intersection. He felt it approvable.
Benchmark felt Reed Drive should be developed to allow only ingress and right turn OUT, no left turn. Some internal traffic pattern be generated to direct traffic into the proposed new road (across from Pebble Beach). Mr. Harvey said some of their ultimate suggestions mirror Kimley-Horn, Inc. He said he had been told that there would be no possibility of an entrance or exit would be possible off Hwy 58, so it was not looked at. Benchmark looked at what the town now has and can do with Reed Drive.
Benchmark advocates that Reed Dr. be a one-way entrance only access. This will allow access to the three proposed lots on Hwy 58 and will act as an internal mitigation driveway to the entire acreage. Then direct traffic around a 70,000 sq. ft. retail development (worst scenario) for emergency vehicles and tractor trailer trucks. Exit to be at same area as Pebble Beach for left and right lanes. Also to develop Coast Guard Road to have three traffic lanes; two lanes as existing and one holding lane. (Mr. Harvey then referred to Kimley-Horn map for some time pointing to the mentioned map, as he proceeded.) Mr. Harvey did agree that pedestrian and cycle traffic is a concern and should be addressed due to the congestion.
Mr. Harvey recommended that the town adopt an ordinance to require certain "traffic standards" by which roadways are approved, what type of materials, etc. in hand with the traffic pattern.
Barring rezoning the best bet is to extend Reed Drive to enter only and exit opposite Pebble Beach and to petition DOT to put a light at the intersection to exit. Sidewalks also should be installed.
He felt the Kimley-Horn idea of an access off Hwy 58 is a wonderful idea, if it can be approved.
Mr. Harvey gave the audience a few scenarios of what might be developed and density that could be proposed.
Commissioner Farmer asked if it is a viable option to rezone this property? Mr Harvey, replied it is, but there is a caveat to that. You can impose an overlay on anything you wish; however, you have to have an arguable and justifiable reason to rezone. Other than the wetlands, he does not know of any other condition that is germane to this property. Benchmark would be happy to give the town ideas on how to handle that. If a traffic circulation plan ordinance would be adopted it would apply to all B-3, not just the area of this property.
Commissioner Farmer asked if a condition could be considered for aesthetics as well as traffic?
Mr. Harvey replied that it could, as this is the town entrance and the board of commissioners and planning board could try to word it in such a way that they don’t want the entrance cluttered with "x", "y", "z". This method would take a long time in producing your result.
Mr. Farmakidis asked a question regarding the proposal previously submitted by Kimley-Horn which Mr. Harvey could not answer because the proposal before them was not a Benchmark plan. Mr. Harvey went on to advise that the Kimley-Horn option ought to be investigated.
Commissioner Wootten asked Mr. Harvey to explain a "limited use permit" phrase that was in the first submittal from Benchmark. Mr. Harvey said it would require certain uses to get limited permits, based on their compliance with the regulations, as well as exceeding the regulations.
An example would be if a developer went "beyond the call of duty" the limited use could be expanded.
Mr. Ed Dowling asked if Benchmark could supply the overlay district concept, and the commissioners asked for internal traffic circulation plan, rezoning traffic standard. Mr. Harvey replied that they could "easily". It would probably be available the next week.
Mr. Dowling said "This cost would be passed on to the developer, not the town?" But Mr. Harvey said "No, the cost would have to be absorbed by the town."
Commissioner Farmer asked whether rezoning could be considered spot zoning? Mr. Harvey said the sections surrounding this property is RMH, which would mean rezoning to RMH would make it contiguous to that zone. If the town attorney were to be comfortable with rezoning to a residential zone (R-2), he is the one who would have to defend it in court. Downzoning to B-1 would arguably not be upheld. However, the town attorney would have the last word, but there is no B-1 zoning contiguous to this property.
There was some discussion regarding the cost of such an extension of this project. At Mayor Harris’ request for the present costs, Mr. Allen said it has cost almost $15,000 so far for both reports. Ms. Harris is concerned about the taxpayer paying for these fees, and the developer is "home free". Mr. Harvey said Benchmark has charged approximately $4,500 to date.
Mr. Allen asked that Mr. Harvey contact him for an estimated cost of continuing this project.
Mayor Harris asked if the developer has contacted Benchmark, Inc. Mr. Harvey said they have not, and he does not know who the developer is, and he does not care to know. It is not germane to this discussion.
Mr. Harvey added that if a plan has been submitted, the town cannot take any action to rezone that property. This was in response to a question by Mr. Farmakidis.
Mr. Schock went on to add that he feels the money would be well spent to continue this study.
Osprey Bluff S/D, 12-lots, Block 43, North of Osprey Ridge – Mr. Larry Spell was in attendance for this project. The board went over the eight questions Mr. Almeida had regarding stormwater.
There was considerable concern about the stabilization of lot 12. The members felt that rather than to make a recommendation to the Town Board, that an engineer look at the stabilization for that lot and appear again before the Review Committee. At that time if this stabilization is addressed that a Special Meeting may be held to allow this project to proceed to the Town Board in the same time frame, being their December 12, 2000 meeting. Mr. Spell advised the members that should any portion of the project not suit the Building Inspector he will not allow the Final Plat to be approved until it meets his approval.
There was discussion that stormwater plans should be required for every development in Emerald Isle to contain their first 1 ½" of stormwater. Ms. Angus advised that the Inspectors require, currently, that a plan be submitted for such stormwater; however, they are not engineers and do not know if the plan submitted is adequate.
The members were concerned that an amendment be put in place to require that single-family and duplex projects submit a stormwater plan that will accommodate the 1 ½ " of stormwater the same as for commercial projects.
Motion was made by David Schock to recommend the Osprey Bluff, S/D, to return to the Review Committee on Wednesday, November 15, 2000 to address the stormwater and stabilization concern with lot 12. Second by George McLaughlin, with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.
JTW, INC. Block 15, 4-lot Commercial S/D Preliminary and Final Plat – Mr. Joe Donnehoo represented this project.
This Preliminary plat had appeared before the Planning Board in the past; however, only one member was on the board at that time. Secretary Angus advised the engineer that the Preliminary Plat be resubmitted with the Final Plat to allow the entire board to be aware of what had transpired and be able to make a confident decision. Mr. Donnehoo said he had drawn a separate stormwater plan that will be recorded with each of the lots. This will be an assurance that each new owner knows, in advance, the depth to which he must go to develop the lots.
The Motion was made by Ed Dowling to proceed to the Review Committee with this project, second by David Schock with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.
Motion to adjourn made by David Schock, second by George McLaughlin with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.