Cedar Point board OKs amendment for Carteret Health Care facility

This preliminary graphic shows the plan for a three-story Carteret Health Care medical facility in Cedar Point, including the exterior layout of the project, looking south from Highway 24. (Town of Cedar Point graphic)

CEDAR POINT — Cedar Point commissioners Tuesday night approved an amendment that clears the way for Carteret Health Care to officially submit its plan for a medical facility in town.

The board’s regular monthly meeting was conducted on Zoom.

The 4-0 vote amended the planned unit development permit for the Magens Bay Villas residential development to allow commercial development on three tracts the Morehead City-based hospital plans to buy just east of Currituck Drive on the south side of Highway 24, roughly across the street from AutoZone.

Eventually, the board will also need to approve the commercial site plan for the project. Town Manager David Rief said Tuesday there’s no timetable for when that plan will be submitted, but he expected it would be at least a couple months.

“They (the hospital) still have to close on the the property,” Mr. Rief added. “I would expect they will have some more engineering work to do.”

There will be a planning board review and a board of commissioners’ review and approval before construction can begin on the proposed three-story, nearly 30,000-square-foot building.

“We look forward to working with you on this project,” Ginger Turner of the Cullipher Group, the Morehead City-based engineering firm that’s doing the design, said after the vote on the motion Tuesday by Mayor Pro Tem Pam Castellano.

Hospital officials have said the facility will have four to six primary and specialty care providers, medical offices, a diagnostic lab and imaging and will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“We are very excited,” Mayor Scott Hatsell responded. He called the development a great thing for Cedar Point, all of western Carteret County and Swansboro in Onslow County.

“We’ll have work to do when they bring us the plan,” he added, “but it already looks good.”

The amendment was necessary because although all of the Magens Bay Villas property is zoned B-1 (general business) the original PUD permit called for all of it be residential. Three of the tracts have been developed as multifamily residential buildings, but the three remaining tracts are undeveloped. Property owner William Campbell of Emerald Isle submitted the application for the special-use permit approved last week and is selling to the hospital for the project.

Many other properties in the vicinity have been developed commercially, and the town designates Highway 24 as a business corridor in its land-use plan.

Some people have complained the hospital project will increase traffic on already congested Highway 24. The N.C. Department of Transportation says the section in question saw an average of 32,000 vehicles per day in 2019 compared to 24,000 in 2015.

Residents of the existing Magens Bay Villas residential development have in public hearings been more concerned about the proposal’s impact on traffic through the neighborhood, however, especially on Lighthouse Lane.

When town commissioners approved a special-use permit last week to allow construction of the project, they included conditions they said will keep Lighthouse Lane from becoming a significant thoroughfare. The hospital plan, so far, shows the building on the north side of Lighthouse Lane, but much of the parking is on the south side. Residents had expressed fear those parking lots, without conditions on the permit, could funnel a lot of traffic onto Lighthouse Lane.

The heavily wooded tract fronts the highway, and the plan shows at least a 40-foot-wide vegetated buffer at the back of property, separating it from residences.

Before the vote on the special-use permit, hospital officials agreed to conditions intended to keep patients and others at the facility from using Lighthouse Lane as a de facto thoroughfare.

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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