BEAUFORT — The town board of commissioners is going forward with a master plan for the proposed Cedar Street, which includes a variety of features proposed for the street’s west end.
The board approved the master plan for the proposed park Monday at the regular board meeting. Commissioner Marianna Hollinshed’s motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Charles McDonald opposed, saying he didn’t think he was ready to approve the project until he saw more information on the concept in the plan.
“There’s things we need to look at before moving forward,” Mr. McDonald said. Work on the park, however, won’t begin until after the existing Gallants Channel drawbridge into town is removed and the new high-rise bridge is completed.
Susan Hatchell, architect with Susan Hatchell Landscape Architecture PLLC, gave a presentation Monday on the proposed park. Research into the project began last November, with public input being gathered by the project’s steering committee.
“The steering committee saw a lot of opportunity, having this area as public space,” Ms. Hatchell said. Throughout the planning and design process, various features have been proposed, drawing on themes such as nature and local history.
The final plan presented to the board Monday includes such features as a 21-space parking lot, a turn-around/drop-off area, bicycle parking, restrooms, picnic areas, weaving paths, an elevated site, seat steps, a lawn area, bench swings and a fishing beach area.
The plan includes designs for part of Cedar Street leading up to the park. It proposes a two-lane street with a 10-foot-wide, multi-use path on its south side. Ms. Hatchell said street lighting and planting areas are also included, though this would eliminate on-street parking in the area.
“You’re going to have a net loss of impervious surface,” she said. “Whenever you add some green space, you’re improving stormwater (control).”
In other news at the meeting Monday, the board unanimously approved, with two separate motions, two requests from Preston Development for the unfinished subdivision, Beaufort East Village. One was a requested amendment to the planned use development, the other was to limit the amount of impervious surface on several town-owned lots in the subdivision.
Commissioner Ann Carter moved to approve the PUD amendment. Kyle Garner, town planning and inspections director, said the requested amendment was to allow for a second option for lot layouts in the northeast section of the subdivision. Construction on this section hasn’t begun yet. The master plan, approved in May 2015, allowed for one type of lot in the section, with 8-foot side setbacks and 25-foot front and back setbacks.
Mr. Garner said the developers wanted to include an option to develop lots with 5-foot side setbacks, 25-foot front setbacks for the main home and a 15-foot rear setback. The option would also include a one-story, non-habitable garage that would have a 5-foot front setback and no side setback. Don Mizzelle, the engineer for the subdivision, said they want to maintain the lot size and simply offer buyers a choice in configuration.
The other action the council agreed to was limiting the amount of impervious surface on five town-owned lots in the subdivision to a total of 18,000 square feet. Commissioner John Hagle moved to approve impervious surface limit. The five lots, spread around the subdivision cover a total of about 16 acres (about 696,960 feet).
The lots are being used for several different purposes, including a site for municipal water wells and infrastructure, wet wastewater retention ponds, nature trails and passive recreational uses. The developers requested the limitations to ensure they’d be able to build the intended number of lots specified in their stormwater permit without exceeding the allowed impervious surface coverage of the subdivision.
During the public hearing, Jim Hunt of the town planning board said that, speaking as a resident only, he thinks the planning board could have benefitted from seeing the request before the board of commissioners did. He also said he had concerns regarding the precedent granting the request might set.
“I continue to be unclear on where we are in the (subdivision) approval process,” he said. “I worry decisions are being made without knowing what the full picture is.”
The board also unanimously approved a text amendment to the town’s ordinance regarding subdivisions. Mr. Hagle moved to approve an amendment to accept multiple forms of financial guarantees from subdivision developers. This amendment is being made to match state legislative changes made in 2015.
The board unanimously approved a five-item consent agenda. Ms. Hollinshed moved to approve the consent agenda.
During the board’s inspirational moment, Mayor Richard Stanley presented James Voliva a proclamation of recognition for 20 years of service with the town Public Works Department. Mr. Voliva retired from the department on April 1.
Mr. Stanley also presented Beau Studebaker, a sophomore student at East Carteret High School, a certificate of achievement for winning state champion in the State Individual Wrestling Tournament.
The board unanimously went into closed session to discuss personnel matters. Ms. Hollinshed moved to go into closed session. No action was taken after the closed session.
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-726-7081 ext. 206, email email@example.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.