The Ocean View Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimously last week to approve the preliminary site plan for a residential planned community (RPC) to be located on Muddy Neck Road.
The project, formerly known as Canal Landing, has been renamed the Ocean View Beach Club and will consist of no more than 300 homes, of which 150 are to be single-family homes.
The property, which was annexed into the town in March of 2007, is allowed under the town code a commercial area of up to 5 acres. However, developer Colby Cox said they felt commercial use was “not a viable use at this location.”
The site plan did show a number of streets as private drives, which are not permitted in public subdivisions in Ocean View.
“It’s done for a number of reasons. We believe the connection points through an alley are more feasible than a 30-foot paved surface,” explained Cox.
Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader said the Town has concerns about private drives in other developments, where the roads were not built to town standards, not completed or not bonded, and then the communities’ residents would want the Town to take over the streets, including the costs to bring them up to code.
“We’ve run into the situation where the developer evaporates, and we’re left with the problem,” he said.
“They’re private drives. It’s private access,” explained Cox. “They will be 24 feet wide, and they will be built to town specs. The only thing they won’t have is the width and the right-of-way.”
Cox also presented the commission with a letter from a property maintenance company, stating that an escrow account would be set up for the property owners living around those streets, to ensure continued maintenance.
“If these private streets remain private, the cost of maintaining them will be borne by the persons that are the members of the various homeowners associations within the proposed project,” Schrader explained.
Public Works Director Charlie McMullen said he was also concerned about how emergency vehicles would be able to maneuver through the narrower private drives, if necessary.
“Uniformity across the board might work a little better,” added Commissioner Walter Curran.
“We met with the Fire Marshal to review the plan and made adjustments,” responded Zac Crouch of Davis, Bowen & Freidel Inc. “We have made that attempt before even submitting the plan to you, and there were no concerns.”
Schrader asked Cox how the development would ensure that the private streets would not be used as throughways or shortcuts by other residents.
Cox said they would put up signage stating that the private drives were not for public use.
The commission voted 4-0 to accept the preliminary site plan, under the condition that all the development’s streets will be bonded and that a covenant stating that the roads will be maintained by the homeowners — and that the streets will not be dedicated or taken over by the Town — will be made.