Swansboro Planning Board has recommended town commissioners grant approval to the Swansgate subdivision’s preliminary plat. The action came May 6 despite the fact a planning board member indicated the developer did not provide a more detailed report on stormwater runoff, as requested.

Commissioners will have the final say on the request, possibly at their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 28. However, the town commissioners have already had a detailed discussion on the project. (See related story.)

Swansgate is a 22-acre single-family development proposed at the corner of Main Street Extension and Swansboro Loop Road. There are 35 lots. Though not in the town proper, Swansgate is within the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and developers have agreed to request annexation.

Jonathan McDaniel, engineer with Bell and Phillips, has represented the developer, A. Sydes Construction Inc. of Jacksonville, at the recent meetings.

At the April meeting, McDaniel presented documentation that detailed the development’s treatment of stormwater, and a review of the plan by Jim Stipe, Swansboro building inspector.

The plan addressed a concern with Deer Run subdivision, the adjacent development to the west. Stormwater runoff would not to be directed in the direction of Deer Run, according to the documentation. However, the planning board chose to table the matter in April over concern of where the stormwater would flow. The unanimous vote to table indicated the planning board wanted additional information from Stipe as well as more details from the developer.

Specifically, the fact that stormwater runoff is directed to the east, Swansboro Loop Road. During periods of heavy rain, flooding has occurred at the intersection of Swansboro Loop Road and Main Street Extension.

In his written reply to the planning board, Stipe writes that after McDaniel’s documentation, “he is limiting the surface runoff to less than the existing condition for the Swansgate project. I do not have any additional comments that need to be addressed at this time.”

At the May meeting Laurent Meilleur, planning board member, indicated the agenda material did not address the question.

“I asked about the water flow,” he said to McDaniel. “How much water is flowing toward (Main Street Extension)?”

In response, McDaniel said details of the plan had been submitted to the state, which is the permitting agency, and the state has approved the plan.

But Meilleur pressed the issue. Even though Swansboro Loop is a state-maintained road, the water will flow to town-maintained ditches and creeks and could overwhelm them. “What about the town?” he asked.

McDaniel said maintenance, as far as the development is concerned, is a state – the N.C. Department of Transportation – issue.

“If DOT doesn’t have a problem with it, I don’t see what the issue is,” McDaniel said.

Charles Lanier, an attorney representing the developer, then took the podium. He indicated the concern over stormwater runoff was misplaced.

“It seems to me we’re getting off in left field as to what the purpose of the planning board is,” he said.

Lanier said the planning board should be concerned with following town policy and let the state deal with any stormwater issues that might arise.

The possibility of stormwater becoming an issue then prompted Jerry Seddon, planning board member, to ask Lanier, “Are we here prematurely in the process?”

Lanier replied, “No, because your ordinance says you get plat approval first.” The steps toward obtaining that approval should be “reasonable.” Then, he added, “They (developers) are going to be required to meet all the stormwater issues.”

Meilleur still had concerns.

“We should know,” he said, if the development will “overload” the town’s storm drainage system.

Meilleur then posed a challenge to Lanier: If it turns out that the development over-burdens the town drainage system, would the developer be responsible for corrective action?

Lanier said the developer would do that, but, “Only if every other developer signed up.”

Following the town commissioners’ meeting of May 14, Meilleur provided an explanation of his concerns about the stormwater issue in an email to the commissioners. (See related item.) 

With a 5-0 vote, the planning board recommended approval of the plat.

The recommendation did come with conditions, including a requirement that 4.48 acres of open space – mostly wetlands – is deeded to the town instead of the $10,060 fee in lieu of recreation space. The property is what Correll calls the first step in creating a greenway, or public access path, in the town.

Other conditions include approval from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality on stormwater and a rural board fence, rather than a stockade fence, abutting the agriculturally zoned property.

For more on this story purchase a copy of the May 22, 2019, Tideland News. 

Email Jimmy Williams at jimmy@tidelandnews.com.

(1) comment

David Collins

Here we go again. All the developer’s people are not your friends. They put runoff on the backs of the state DOT but the state has shown repeatedly that they are inept and do not care. Forget the wetlands. They are beyond useless. Take the money and let Stipe deal with the wetlands. So many red flags flying with this un-needed subdivision.

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