By DOTTY NIST
The Walton County Planning Commission moved through a hefty agenda on Sept. 14, with a conceptual plan and overlay ordinance for the Bishop Landing Subdivision dominating the agenda.
The board members met at Freeport Commons.
Bishop Landing subdivision
Two agenda items were related to plans for Bishop Landing, an 84-lot and 103-townhome subdivision that would be located on 103.8 acres on the eastern side Bishop Tolbert Road and also extending along part of Church Street, north of U.S. 98 in Santa Rosa Beach, with part of the property bordering Churchill Bayou. The agenda items were the Bishop Landing Planned Unit Development (PUD) and the Bishop Landing PUD Overlay Ordinance.
The first request involved a conceptual master plan for the subdivision, with detailed plans to come at a later date. An overlay ordinance was described by Mac Carpenter, county planning and development services director, as being used when a proposed project has multiple zoning categories within its property boundaries that “allows you to take those entitlements that are specific to a particular piece of geography and move those around within your project.”
The 103.8-acre property includes Residential, Mixed Use, and Conservation Residential future land use areas and zoning districts included in the property are Neighborhood Infill, Small Neighborhood, and Conservation Residential two units per one acre.
Discussion on the two agenda items related to Bishop Landing was combined.
Kelly Schultz of Walton County Planning and Development Services provided an introduction to the conceptual PUD. Both requests were on behalf of developer BT Florida L.L.C./Brock Built Homes. Schultz noted that along with the proposed 84 single-family lots and 103 townhomes there would be some amenities, including a park and pavilion.
Representing the applicants, engineer Scott Jenkins commented that the only reason for the request being a PUD was to “blend” the zoning designations for the property. He said no deviations or variance were being requested.
He explained that the plan included a wedding venue that would serve as the mixed use component required under the Small Neighborhood zoning category.
Jenkins said an overall density of 1.8 units per acre was being requested for the development. He said the approximately 42 acres of wetlands would be placed in conservation with the exception of approximately 0.4 acre total wetland impact associated with road access and utility crossings.
Jenkins detailed plans for passive recreational use on the wetland portion, including boardwalks and walking trails that would be open to the public.
He described plans for stormwater management which would consist of a system of wet detention ponds throughout the site. “We’ve actually worked pretty closely with South Walton Mosquito Control to come up with some additional treatment and stilling basins that the developer will install from [South Walton Mosquito Control] ditches that will actually provide some additional treatment before this stormwater discharges into the bay,” Jenkins explained. He also noted that a consultant would be enlisted to monitor water quality in the bay during construction.
Jenkins also spoke of the developers’ plans to pave all the way to the end of Bishop Tolbert Road, which would serve as a public benefit.
Addressing the board members at length, developer Adam Brock explained that what was being presented was conceptual plan version 21, as the applicants had spent “a ton of time” working on the plan in order to “do a better job,” along with meeting with community members and groups and some local officials.
Brock noted that at 187 total units the proposed density is significantly reduced from what would be allowed under existing code regulations, up to 372 units.
With the hearing on the PUD master plan running over two hours in length and over a dozen citizens plus an attorney representing Bishop Tolbert Road residents speaking in opposition, the request was approved 5-2, with planning commissioners Dan Cosson and Fred Tricker voting in opposition.
Along with a difference of opinion with the developer’s statement that Bishop Tolbert Road is a public road, among the concerns voiced were potential negative impact on neighboring residents’ property values, waterway traffic associated with the development, noise and light impacts in connection with a clubhouse/pool included with the development, density of the development, lack of compatibility, and increase of traffic in the vicinity,
Also recommended for approval in 5-2 vote after brief discussion was the Bishop Landing PUD Overlay Ordinance.
Hollow Lake Large Scale Amendment
Also getting a recommendation of approval was the Hollow Lake Large Scale Amendment (LSA), a request for a future land use change from Residential to Commercial and a zoning district change from Urban Residential to Business Park on 165.33 acres on the north side of CR-3280, west of Black Creek Boulevard south of Freeport.
Abandonment recommended for denial
The board members voted to recommend denial of the Bess Place Abandonment, a request by James Taylor to abandon a 50-foot-wide right-of-way on 0.18 acre located south of Joseph Avenue, north of Pine Street, and south of SR-20 in Villa Tasso.
Single Family Residential Stormwater and Traffic Amendments
Proposed changes to Chapter 5 of the Walton County Land Development Code known as Single Family Residential Stormwater and Traffic Amendments were presented by Kristen Shell, county planning manager. The changes involve classification of roads/addition of a requirement for instances in which roads would be mandated to be dedicated to the public, standards of review/requirements for single-family residential stormwater plans, and level of service standards based on impervious surface ratio, along with other substantive changes.
After discussion, the amendments received a vote for recommendation of approval.
Long-discussed ordinance and amendments move forward
Also clearing the board with favorable recommendations were a revised version of a long-discussed proposed ordinance, the Walton County Short Term Vacation Rental Ordinance, and Enhanced Tree Protection Amendments. These will move forward to consideration by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC).
The ordinance, amendments and information on the other meeting agenda items are available for viewing as part of the planning commission agenda at https://tinyurl.com/mr3c255y or at https://walton.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx? Org=Cal&id=1449
Continued items, county approval process
Two agenda items, the Lakeshore Subdivision Conceptual Planned Unit Development (PUD) and the Lakeshore Subdivision PUD Overlay Ordinance, were continued to the Oct. 13 planning commission meeting.
Planning commission decisions on amendments and land use items are provided as recommendations to the BCC, which has responsibility for making final determinations on these items in public session.