April 17, 2001

Planning Board


The regular meeting of the Town of Emerald Isle Planning Board was called to order at 7:00 P.M. by Chairman, Ceil Saunders.  Those in attendance:  Frank Vance, Phil Almeida, George McLaughlin, Ed Dowling, Art Daniel and Fred Josey and Carol Angus as Secretary.

Approval of Minutes of Regular Meeting, March 19, 2001

The minutes of the regular meeting were approved with a typographical error changed on page 2 to change ‘with’ to ‘will’ under #7.  Motion to approve the minutes with this correction was made by George McLaughin, second by Fred Josey with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Report from Town Manager – Ms. Overman was excused from this meeting and Ms. Angus was available to answer any questions.  There were no questions from the board.

Report from Building Inspector – Ms. Angus represented Mr. Taylor who was not able to attend.  There were no questions regarding the submitted report for the month of March. 

               8 Single family dwellings permits             $1,274,200.00

             76  Miscellaneous permits                                267,389.00


Chairman Saunders advised the members that the Watson Hotel project is to be tabled and be placed on the May 21, 2001 agenda.  Ms. Angus added that the engineers said the verification necessary was more complex than they had anticipated (that it will comply to Section 16-7), and could not have it ready for tonight’s meeting.

Chairman Saunders asked that the New Business item for Sunset Harbor, Lot 1, be considered first this evening. 

Sunset Harbor, Lot 1, Final Plat – Mr. Billy Farrington, developer; and Lori Morris, Parker & Assoc. were present to represent this agenda item.

Mr. Frank Vance asked if there is to be a walkway to Bogue Sound as shown on the plan.

Mr. Farrington replied that there is.  Mr. Vance was also concerned about the graveled area designated for the emergency vehicles.  Mr. Farrington said it would be done next week, after the installation of the septic tanks.  The stormwater retention area will be placed at that same time.

The members then referred to the checklist to review the project for possible recommendation to the Board of Commissioners at their next meeting.

Mr. Almeida asked when the Preliminary Plat had been approved.  After looking through some of the maps that were on hand, it was discovered that the Preliminary Plat had been approved in 1998.  Because this is an ongoing project the one-year submission requirement is in force.

Mr. Almeida was concerned about the stormwater plan as indicated on the Preliminary Plans.

The original stormwater plan for the entire subdivision is on file in the main office, but was not accessible to the members for the meeting, because Ms. Angus did not have a key to the vault, where the old files are kept.

Mr. Farrington had a copy of the CAMA permit plan that was submitted and it had the storm-water plan drawn on it for each lot.  Mr. Almeida reviewed the map that Mr. Farrington had and he was advised that another stormwater map is on file that he could reference.

The members then continued with the checklist and determined that all items had been addressed. The only correction to be made on the sepia is to change the word “minimum” to “maximum” on note number 4 regarding  impervious area.

There was a concern regarding the distance to fire hydrants; however, that was clarified by Ms. Morris showing the members the map that this had been addressed on the Preliminary Plat.  Two new hydrants were installed per instructions of the Fire Chief so  this project would be within 350’ of a hydrant from all directions.

Mr. Daniel asked who is the party responsible for the checklist.  Ms. Morris replied that she does these lists and turns them in with her plats.  Mr. Daniel commented that he is spoiled.

He’s used to staff checking such lists and saying it (project) is in order; instead of sitting here going through this item by item, he doesn’t have that kind of patience. 

Chairman Saunders replied that is the only way the members felt that the issues had all been done.

Motion was made by Ed Dowling to recommend approval of Sunset Harbor, Lot 1, to the Town Board with the submission of the sepia to reflect the change of the word “minimum” to “Maximum” on Note #4.  Mr. Almeida seconded the motion with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Reed Drive Commercial Park – Block 41

Secretary Angus informed the board that this item is before them as a result of the Town Board approval of the road to be turned from public to private including a 5-lot subdivision that the Planning Board had looked at in review committee on March 21.  The former road had entered across from the present Reed Drive, westward for approximately 150 feet at 60 feet in width.  The private road would be at 40 width from the same entry, westward and turning south to exit opposite the entrance to Pebble Beach.  The Town Board of Commissioners motion at the March 13, 2001 read that “needed to have Planning Board approval”.  The previous review of this project was Wed., March 28, 2001 at a review committee that had been recessed from March 21, 2001.  No vote or recommendation was able to be submitted from this review because it was not a called meeting.

Mr. Josey asked for the reason for six health department permits being available.  He was not able to correlate these to the map.  Ms. Holz said that prior to receiving direction from the Town Board, they had planned to add three lots in the future, in addition to the three lots on Hwy 58.  The septic tank approval calls for staking the lots in a preliminary fashion, staking the buildings, then the soils will be evaluated. When asked to evaluate the soils, there were three lots staked out (1,2,3 on Hwy 58), when the Town asked to show all the lots for the entire property on one plat they took two of the lots and made one big lot.  This was brought about by the request to see the entire parcel on the plat to best determine road access.  So the additional health department evaluations were for lot 4, and two buildings on lot 5 to possibly be subdivided later. 

Ms. Holz advised the members that rules for evaluation call for evaluation of soils, not boundaries. Those soils in those areas are approved no matter the configuration of the lot.  Mr. Josey thanked Ms. Holz for her explanation.

Chairman Saunders gave a verbal description of the map as now submitted to indicate that Lot 4 is West of Lot 3, and the large lot #5 is South of Reed Drive.

Mr. Almeida said that John McLean was the first to give a layout of the road.  He disputed that the plat submitted is what was requested.  He was to improve on the map and make it more complete. To give the longitudinal sections through the road, etc.  Ms. Holz said she assumed that everything had been done.  There was some discussion about the dates of the different plats that have been submitted and the revision dates as noted.  Mr. Almeida had a map that reflected March 21, 2001 revision, but it does not cover the entire layout of the road on the entire property. 

Mr. Daniel said he felt that the entire roadway plan should be revised, because the plan has been changed from a 60’ right of way to a 40’ right of way.  Also, to be sure that the turn at the west end be sufficient to allow a fire truck to make a turn.  Ms. Angus had copies of the maps that had been presented to the Town Board that reflected some of the information that had been previously discussed, i.e. the “no left turn from the parcel  to Coast Guard Rd. or, from Coast Guard Rd. into the parcel at the East side of the property”.  The only left that can be made is from the exit across from Pebble Beach Condos.    These maps were submitted to the Town Board only, in order for this project to proceed to the Town Board on April 10, at the advice of the Town Attorney.  It has now come back to the Planning Board to be sure all conditions are met, after the Town Board has made their approval of the entire site, to illustrate the road being narrowed from 60’ to 40’. 

Mr. Almeida asked the secretary for the motion that was made at the Town Board meeting and was advised that she did not have those minutes on hand.  Mr. Almeida said if the Town Board has already approved it, it seems ridiculous to look at something that has already been approved.  Ms. Angus said the condition for approval was for Mr. Almeida and Mr. Daniel look at the stormwater plan.  Mr. Almeida said those were not the only issues pending.  There were a number of issues.  He did not know how it was forwarded to the Board of Commissioners.  The first issue he saw was that it is to be a private road.  This issue will be addressed at the May 08, 2001 Board meeting at a public hearing.  The second issue there would be no left turn, that there would be a small barricade or barrier on Coast Guard Rd. to prevent a left turn and access to Reed Drive.  That is noted on the map as presented to the Town Board on April 10, 2001.  

Mr. Almeida said what is needed is longitudinal section along the road, part of the road goes through a wetland.  What is the proposal to navigate that wetland or pond? 

Ms. Holz said she did not know the answer to that, but she would be glad to revert to the original plan of three lots on HWY 58, and pave the original 60’ width. 

Ms. Angus said she remembered from previous discussion last Fall that the wetland that was displaced could be moved to another area of the same square footage.  It could adjoin the existing wetland that exists.  Mr. Almeida said he had no problem with that, but it needs to be noted on the drawing of what will be accomplished.  Also, there is a mound and when a road is put there, will there be a swale and drain the area?  On the original plat is a longitudinal section of the 60’ width but not with the remaining portion of the road.  It needs to be spelled out so there is no misunderstanding.

Ms. Holz took some notes to give to John McLean to add to this map for revision.  To reduce the road from 60’ to 40’ right-of-way; the angle at which you enter the road has to be conformity that a fire truck can get in and out.

Mr. Daniel asked that he and Mr. Almeida be able to meet separately with Mr. McLean and go over all the issues.  At first there was some concern about such a small group being considered until it was decided to recess this meeting and allow the meeting with Mr. McLean then bring those changes back to a recessed meeting at a future date.  This would allow the consideration of all the members prior to the recommendation to the board in its formal fashion.

Mr. Daniel said he would like to make a comment regarding traffic engineering in general.  There is talk of prohibiting left turns, and discussed the probability that conditions are going get to a point that the traffic signals will need to be resignalize at Coast Guard Road.  This would incorporate new geometrics into the signalization plan.  His thought is to go ahead and recommend to Board of Commissioners that the Mayor get in touch with the Dept. of Transportation.  Let them start planning the resignalization of this intersection. At the same time that start that planning that they plan for a Spread Spectrum closed loop signal system along Hwy 58 for all four lights.  To tie it all into one master plan.  He went on to describe in detail how these controlling systems are done in regard to a closed loop system.  Then when this problem is addressed in several years it will already be place. The letter from the Mayor needs to be to someone who you would expect to get some closure. 

This request was widely accepted and Mr. Daniel was asked to develop a letter to the Mayor to have this matter addressed.  He agreed to write such letter.  Mr. Dowling made the motion to make this recommendation for Mr. Daniel to compose the letter to Mayor Harris, Mr. Almeida seconded, with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

The Planning Board then returned to the Reed Dr. Commercial issue original issue.

Ms. Holz reminded the board that the Town Board has already placed Public Hearing ads in the newspaper for May 08 to consider the withdrawal of the road.  She does not know the timeline of notification of adjacent property owners.  Ms. Angus said she knows that notification has been made of the adjoining property owners by Carolyn Custy, Town Clerk.

Ms. Holz went on to advise that some specifics cannot be put on a subdivision plat.  Such as “No Left Turn”.  Why have it put on a map, who is going to enforce it?  That is a town traffic issue.  She “doesn’t mind having it on the map, but what effect will it have? None.” 

Mr. Almeida said he did not know to what extent the Town Board had looked at that issue.  If the traffic is not controlled out of the subdivision, there will be a problem.  The Planning Board wants, only, to bring it before the Town Board.  This board does not really need to approve the layout, the Town has already approved the plan on April 10.  It is superfluous at this point.  He would like to have seen a letter going from the Planning Board to the Town Board stating the concerns they have and have them considered. Mr. Almeida agreed that the barrier to prevent a left turn would not be on the subdivision property and therefore, cannot be on that map.  Ms. Holz said she will not agree to put a town public road on her map, that is not within her purview.  Mr. Almeida agreed with her perception.

Mr. Daniel asked that the developer acknowledge that the turn is going to be prohibited.  Ms. Holz replied that they did at the Town Board meeting. 

Mr. Almeida asked if Ms. Holz would be receptive to putting a sign on the property to not make a left turn.  She said she would not.  Only the Town can do it within the Town’s right-of-way.  There was a lot of disagreement to this statement to the effect that traffic signs do appear on private property.

Mr. Almeida said the Town is giving the right-of-way to the property owner, at the same time, the Town wants you to provide the sign.  Ms. Holz again stated she will keep the road as it is recorded and she will pave the 60’ in and out at Reed Drive.  She is being pushed and pushed and pushed, and not worry about filling a pond, not worry about anything but putting in a town street that presently exists.  She did not want to come out at Pebble Beach, but the Town is making her come out at Pebble Beach.  She did not want to do a “No Left Turn”, but she has agreed; now you want a sign. She will agree to a sign.  What else?

Mr. Almeida commented that the Planning Board is not dictating, they are only an advisory body.  It is the Board of Commissioners to make the decision.

Mr. Vance asked to suggest, at the Board of Commissioners meeting, just as it was proposed at their meeting, that this is what the Planning Board all agrees with.  They didn’t vote on it at the review committee (Mar 21). “If we want to have it like this, and everybody agrees then what we’ll do is submit it to the board that it be this way.  We are just the planning board.”

Mr. Almeida said, “That we recommend that it be that way.”

Mr. Dowling asked that one of the members be tasked before the public hearing to get up at that time and represent all the Planning Board.  There state what has been recommended, firmly, and clearly.

Mr. Vance went on to add that it should be passed on, as it should normally be recommended to the Board of Commissioners.  “If we agree with it, if we don’t agree with it, we’ve come a long way. If everybody wants to go back to the original Reed Drive, then we should”.  He felt that everyone (at Review Comm) felt that if there was no left turn ‘out’, or left turn ‘in’ there on Coast Guard to cross across Reed Dr. then they were in agreement that that is the way it should be.  He did not want to keep prolonging this project either, it needs to be over with.  He is ready to “stick with what we’ve got here”.  There may be more details to be put on the map to satisfy the Town Board, and we can get back in touch with John McLean to put it on there.  If the Board of Commissioners wants to go in another direction that is their prerogative.

Mr. Dowling asked Mr. Vance, “In other words you are prepared to vote right now?”  Mr. Vance nodded that he was.

Mr. McLaughlin asked the Secretary if the Public Hearing is only to close Reed Drive.  She corrected him to say that it would be abandoned by the town as a public street and allow it to become private.

Mr. McLaughlin said the McLean Trust gets it free of charge?  Ms. Holz interjected “Who gave it in the first place!” Ms. Angus said the owners will have to do all installation and all future maintenance as a private road.

Mr. Almeida said his only drawback is the setbacks.  There is more dense development.  Losing a part of the property on the Western end, but gaining more because setbacks are the same.  The road right of way is reduced now by 10’ on either side.  There is 10’ more building area.  He wants the Board of Commissioners to realize that. 

Ms. Saunders then asked if what is wanted is that Mr. Almeida and Mr. Daniel meet with John McLean to obtain a revised drawing to show the drainage on the entire road.  They are here today only to subdivide the property, not to build anything.  The next phase would be to come for a building permit (after a Final Plat has been submitted and approved of the subdivision).

Mr. Almeida said this subdivision has been approved by the BOC at their April 10 meeting. The Planning Board is to review the stormwater plan, the planning board wants that review brought back to them.  He wanted to have the stormwater plan review at the next regular Planning Board meeting.

Ms. Saunders asked the secretary if there was any way to get this plan back in time for the Public Hearing on May 08 at the Board of Commissioners meeting?  Ms. Angus said it would depend on how prompt the meeting with Mr. McLean could be held.  

Mr. Daniel said that if this meeting is recessed, then you could spontaneously get back together when you are ready.  Mr. Almeida said he would agree to that.

Ms. Angus said it would be in order to state that the stormwater plan has been reviewed and that the changes are in order, then it would be finished at the Board of Commissioners level and agree with the motion that had been made at the Board of Commissioners meeting on 4/10.

Mr. Daniel said there may be a sight distance problem on the property. Do we wait until a problem occurs?  Ms. Angus said she thought in previous discussions that that had been decided that it must be cut down for safety. 

Mr. Almeida clarified “When you are going East from Pebble Beach towards 58, there is a blind spot because of high ground.  That has got to be lowered, so that the sight line can be improved.”  Ms. Holz asked if he was speaking about Town Property?  She thought that is a joint effort with the Town for the sight line, that the Town should take care of the right-of-way. 

Mr. Daniel said the Town cannot go in and eliminate the Town property sight line and leave a bluff up there. 

Ms. Holz asked if she was being asked to do the Town’s work?  Mr. Almeida said he did not believe so.  The solution should be a joint effort with the Trust and the Town.  She said ‘fine’, but for the town to do theirs first and she will match to that.

Mr. Daniel said that is one of the issues to be discussed with John McLean.  To determine the distance that a sight triangle will take.  This will have it defined.  That note should be added to the map.  Therefore, he and Mr. Almeida will be discussing matters other than storm drainage when they meet with Mr. McLean. 

Mr. Dowling interjected that they will be looking at the 7 acres, which is what the BOC asked for.

Mr. Almeida said he understood that they only approve the stormwater.

Ms. Holz said she will ‘go the extra mile’ if she can just understand what is proposed, especially the sight triangle. 

Mr. Almeida asked Ms. Holz if he could bring up this issue (sight triangle) with Mr. McLean when they have their review with Mr. Daniel?  Ms. Holz agreed.  Mr. Almeida said perhaps Ms. Holz would realize some extra dirt there that she could use on the lot to raise it up.  Ms. Holz replied, “Heaven forbid if I filled anything!”.   Mr. Almeida said he meant that she might use the dirt for leveling the general area.  Ms. Holz thanked him for that observation.

Mr. Daniel said he felt they wanted to look at the total issue, and not have to bring it back.

A recess was called at this point.

Motion was made by Ed Dowling to recess, second by Fred Josey, to be reconvened at the pleasure of the Chairman. 

Mr. Almeida commented that he was confused about a Special Meeting that was passed on to the Board of Commissioners.  He thought it was a review meeting, and it was.  His suggested that we cannot change anything that has happened, but for the future the communication process should be clear.

Mr. Daniel asked if it had been premature to submit the map?

Secretary Angus said she had been advised by the Town Attorney to put it before the Board.  She does not second guess the decisions of the Town Attorney.

Ms. Saunders added that “We have beat this to death, and it’s time we do something”.

Mr. Almeida said, “If the Attorney and the Board of Commissioners had decided on a certain plan of action, then the Planning Board should not come in then and work with only the part that is undecided.”

Unanimous approval in favor of the motion to recess and reconvene at a date to be determined.

Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 04/17/2001