The Brunswick Planning and Appeals Board voted on Wednesday to recommend city commissioners approve an application to annex and rezone an approximately 10-acre parcel of land on US 17.
“The purpose of the rezoning is to consolidate (the parcel) into one master plan with commercial and residential uses,” said city planning and codes director John Hunter.
Hunter recommended including a requirement that the developer go back to the planning commission at several stages when designing the final plan to ensure the public has an opportunity to see them.
The planning commissioners postponed the application at their last meeting because they felt that nearby residents, including the Riverside neighborhood, had not received sufficient notice of a public hearing on the application. The Planning Commission only offers recommendations to the Brunswick City Commission. The City Commissioners will consider a final decision at an upcoming meeting.
While the details aren’t set in stone, the developer offers 216 apartments at 3302 and 3210 Glynn Ave. in nine three-storey buildings, 62 townhouses and 24,000 square feet of commercial space in three buildings, as well as associated infrastructure.
“It’s all still conceptual. Absent the rezoning and annexation, it is difficult for the developer to move forward with due diligence for the good,” said Brian Hunt, of Robert Civil Engineering. “I think it’s a good opportunity to take an unsightly situation and turn it into a pleasant development.”
A resident of the Marshview condo complex said the developer did not attempt to contact all residents in the area, which showed their bad faith. Additionally, the causeway would cause flooding during storms in an already low-lying area and more people living there would only worsen a dangerous traffic situation along this stretch of US 17, the site of several crashes this week. former.
Several other residents expressed similar concerns about the size of the development, saying it would have serious negative impacts on traffic and drainage.
In response, Hunt said the developer can already build the concept plan. Annexation and rezoning just make the process easier for them and create greater accountability to the public, he said.
“What we’re showing is actually scaled down from (what’s allowed by) current zoning,” Hunt said.
The developer must, by law, follow drainage laws at multiple levels of government, he said. Because US 17 is a state highway, Hunt said the developer is limited in what it can do to manage traffic.
Motions to recommend that the city commission approve both rezoning and annexation passed unanimously, with planning commissioners David Bowers, William Kitts, Anita Collins and Grace Greene voting in favour.
Bowers said he would pay close attention to the project throughout the development approval process.
“I’ll be there at this 40% sitemap and I’ll be there at this 90% sitemap and we’ll go deeper into this thing,” Bowers said.
The city commission will hold a public hearing on the application on October 5.
Planning commissioners also voted to recommend that city commissioners approve a request by the law firm Hunter, Maclean, Exley & Dunn to rezone a property at 50 Faith Ave. to allow “agricultural uses such as the cultivation and harvesting of fruits and vegetables and the construction and use of a greenhouse and two buildings for the hydroponic cultivation of vegetables.
The property is owned by the Glynn County School Board, but attorney Joey Strength, representing Hunter Maclean, said a company called 5 Oaks Farm, owned by Adam Wainwright, was the real target of the rezoning.
Wainwright has a passion for farming, he says, and hopes to bring that passion to Glynn County with this educational resource.
Former Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey spoke out against the rezoning request.
“It seems like every time someone tries to develop something, they do it secretly,” Harvey said.
Liberty Roll-Offs & Recycling, a trash and debris disposal company, had a property in the city rezoned years ago, he said, saying they only wanted a yard of outdoor storage.
“The next thing we know is that they have a garbage transfer location, which had a detrimental effect on Magnolia Park,” Harvey said.
Harvey said he was happy to see Wainwright bring a passion to the town, but he didn’t think it was a good place for farming. North Brunswick is beginning to re-develop and become self-sufficient, Harvey said, and he felt the proposal would have a detrimental impact.
Ben Hartman, also representing the law firm, said it was unfair to disparage the Wainwrights, who are “community heroes” and have been true to their word in the past.
Rene Young lives nearby and supported the app, saying it would be better if there were more houses, which would make traffic worse.
The commission voted 3-0 to approve the bid, with Bowers, Kitts and Collins voting in favour. Greene recused herself because her husband is involved in the project.
In other cases, the committee:
• Voted to recommend that the City Commission approve an application to divide a 1.39 acre property at 3025 Ellis St. into two. A house sits on one half of the property, the other half contains no structure.