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PKS board approves subdivision plans

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Posted: Friday, July 13, 2018 11:45 am

PINE KNOLL SHORES — Local developers Baker & Smith LLC have the town board of commissioners’ approval to begin work on the Maritime Woods subdivision after the board’s conditions are satisfied.

The board met for its regular meeting Wednesday at the town hall boardroom with a full house of about 37 people in attendance.

After receiving public comment from six people who had concerns about the proposed 22-lot subdivision, to be built on a 9.33-acre lot at the corner of Highway 58/Salter Path Road and Pine Knoll Boulevard, the board unanimously approved the preliminary plat for the subdivision with several conditions to be met before construction may begin.

Commissioner Ted Goetzinger recused himself from the action and discussion, since his wife is working with Baker & Smith as a marketing agent.

One of the conditions approved by the board, as recommended by the town planning board, requires that once certain town-issued permits are received by the developers, the board of commissioners reconvene to examine permits.

Commissioner John Brodman said he thinks there’s been a lot of misunderstanding about what “conditional” means.

“In this context, it means no construction will begin until all these conditions are met,” he said. “Also, each of these lots will need to receive its own

landscaping permit (for a house). That will give the town many opportunities to protect the trees. We’re doing our best to make sure the proper procedures are followed and conditions are met.”

The other conditions approved by the board, also recommended by the planning board at its regular meeting June 26, are as follows:

• Approval of a state stormwater permit, including a waiver of the town’s stormwater regulations.

• Approval by the N.C. Department of Transportation for two “driveway” connections to Pine Knoll Boulevard.

• Approval by NCDOT for a sidewalk along the west side of Pine Knoll Boulevard, subject to action from the board of commissioners.

• Approval by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for filling the northern-most wetland area within the Evergreen Lane right-of-way and the ACE’s signature approving current wetland delineation.

• Approval of a state erosion and sediment control permit.

• Approval of a state permit for construction of the water distribution system for the subdivision.

• Approval from the U.S. Postal Service on the location and design of a centralized mail delivery kiosk.

Tree protection is one of the main concerns residents raised during the permitting process for Maritime Woods. Several who’ve spoken in opposition to the project, both at Wednesday’s meeting and at previous public meetings, have been worried an excessive amount of maritime forest will be removed once construction begins.

Resident and local bird watcher John Fussell said the biggest concentration of maritime forest on Bogue Banks is in the Roosevelt Natural Area in Atlantic Beach.

“Everywhere else has been whittled into narrower and narrower strips,” he said. “There’s some on the 9-acre lot, but now we’re seeing (in this project) it may not be protected.”

Steve Felch, a member of the town’s community appearance commission, said maritime forest trees have waxy leaves in order to protect them from salt spray.

“Every time you make an inroad into it (maritime forest) you affect the coverage (of the leaves),” he said.

Others who spoke Wednesday were concerned about the potential impact to the dune ridge on the southern area of the lot. Robert Cox said he thinks the developers are trying to take advantage of the board, expecting the board not to exercise due diligence in order to push the project through.

“If you decide a little disturbance is better than a lot, then you’ll break faith with the town,” he said.

Commissioner Clark Edwards said that when he spoke about protecting the dune ridge in the past, he didn’t mean to suggest the dunes “wouldn’t be touched,” but impact should be kept to a minimum.

Since some of the permits required in the conditions are dependent on approval by town officials, while others aren’t, Mr. Edwards wanted to wait until those conditions that didn’t require town action were met before approving the preliminary plat. However, Worth Baker Jr. of Baker & Smith, who was present at Wednesday’s meeting, said he wanted approval before he began applying for permits.

“Until I’m assured you’re going to approve it, I don’t want to move forward, since you could decide not to approve this,” he said.

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-726-7081 ext. 206, email mike@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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