By DOTTY NIST
The Walton County Technical Review Committee has approved a Dollar General for the Portland community, along with a Bay Grove Road warehouse, a new road in the Watersound Origins development, and 12 Alys Beach lots. The committee met on Sept. 7 at Freeport Commons.
SR-20/Portland Park Road Dollar General
A Dollar General store was approved for the southeast corner of the SR-20 West/Portland Park Road intersection, across the highway from Site C-6 Road, in the Portland community west of Freeport.
This was the third Dollar General store approved by the committee in 2022, the two previous locations being U.S. 90 West between Wilderness Road and Lancelot Road in the Mossy Head community and U.S. 90 West and Kings Lake Road, west of DeFuniak Springs.
Rosanna Edwards of Walton County Planning and Development Services introduced the new Dollar Store proposal at the Sept. 7 meeting. A request on behalf of Teramore Development, the store building was proposed to be 10,770 square feet and located on a 1.1-acre site consisting of two lots. The property is in a Commercial future land use area and a General Commercial zoning district. The lots were described as wooded and grassed.
Edwards referenced outstanding reviewer comments on the project and reported that comments from North Walton Fire were yet to be submitted.
According to the project staff report, reviewer comments to be addressed included a requirement to show a sidewalk on the plans at the front of the property along SR-20 and one down Portland Park Road connecting with the parking lot. No sidewalk buy-outs had been proposed.
Walton County Public Works comments included a requirement for establishment of a cross access connection to the property to the west and addition of the connection on the plans. Another requirement was for a warrant analysis to evaluate the need for an eastbound right turn lane on SR-20 in connection with the project.
Parking is to consist of 31 parking spaces, including two handicapped spaces, according to the staff report. Sewer service is not currently available to the property, which is to be served by a new septic tank that is to replace existing septic systems on the site.
Stormwater management is to include an underground detention system.
Proportionate fair share fees were to be determined, per the report.
Representing the applicants, Brian Brown of Advanced Engineering Services said he had gone over the Walton County Public Works comments with Anna Hudson of that department and that, in response to reviewer comments the plans had been revised for resubmittal. He also noted that the applicants were coordinating with the state Department of Transportation (DOT) on any DOT requirements.
Attorney Mark Davis was also present on behalf of the applicants, pledging that they would be improving the access to the property and that the improvements would be within the area that the county has been maintaining.
Addressing the committee in public comment was David Simmons, whose parents Jerry and Nellie Simmons make up the Simmons Living Trust, owner of property surrounding the development property.
Simmons voiced some concerns, one of those being that the proposed parking would not be adequate and that parking associated with the store would overflow onto the surrounding property on Portland Park Road. He argued that due to grocery products being sold at Dollar General stores, parking should be provided at the higher ratio for grocery stores and convenience stores, one space per 200 square feet.
Boaters using the nearby boat ramp, Simmons continued, would likely be parking in the store lot, resulting in congestion. He also expressed concern about delivery trucks and whether there would be room for them to turn around without getting onto neighboring property.
Renee Bradley of Walton County Planning and Development Services agreed to verify the parking requirements, adding that the parking being required was consistent with other Dollar Generals approved in Walton County.
Brown provided assurance that the site was designed for delivery trucks to turn around on the store property.
Simmons also raised the question whether the septic system for the store would impact a pump house and well for a nearby 1900s-era home owned by his parents. Brown responded that the septic system would be at the front of the site near SR-20 and would not affect the well. A Walton County Health Department representative on the committee also said that their staff had been aware of the well and had taken it into consideration when permitting the septic system for the store and the siting of the septic system in order to adequately set it back from the well.
With no additional public comment forthcoming, the committee members approved the Dollar General, considered a minor project, to move forward to development order issuance on condition of the resubmittal and all outstanding comments being satisfied.
Warehouse on Bay Grove Road
Lot 8 Bay Grove was a request on behalf of Wensel Investments, L.L.C., to develop a 3,250-square-foot warehouse on 0.25 acre on Bay Grove Road, the location being two-tenths mile north of the U.S. 331 South/Bay Grove Road intersection, south of Freeport. The property is in a Commercial future land use area and a General Commercial zoning district.
The project is part of the Bay Grove Park Master Plan, which was approved in 2011, according to the project staff report, and like other lots in the park this one will be required to be graded and drain into stormwater ponds contained in the park.
The committee members approved the warehouse, considered a minor development, to move forward to the development order stage on the condition of all outstanding reviewer comments being satisfied.
Watersound Origins road project
There was a request on behalf of The St. Joe Company for approval of Phase 3 of Origins Parkway within the Watersound Development in southeastern Walton County. The private two-lane asphalt roadway was proposed to be 2,647 feet long. It was to include not only roadway (82-foot-wide right-of-way required) but a multi-use trail on both sides, utilities, and stormwater retention, all on 8.84 acres located off the west exit of the roundabout off Watersound Parkway North leading towards Origins Parkway.
Included with the road proposal was a stormwater management facility consisting of one wet retention pond, according to the project staff report.
Representing the applicants, engineer David Smith commented that no lots were currently proposed along the roadway. He was confident of being able to address outstanding reviewer comments, which were minor.
Smith said the subject roadway would connect with West Bay Parkway. In June 2022, St. Joe Company had been approved to construct the first Walton County portion of the latter road, a section 1,150 feet in length. Future plans for West Bay Parkway by DOT call for a 11.9-mile roadway extending from U.S. 98 in Walton County to SR-79 in Bay County.
Origins Parkway Phase 3, considered a minor project, was approved to advance to development order issuance on the condition of any outstanding comments being addressed.
Alys Beach lots
EBSCO Gulf Coast Development received approval to develop 10 single-family residential lots, two multi-family lots, and infrastructure on 2.17 acres within the southeastern Walton County Alys Beach development. This is to be Block LL and Lots 13-24 of the development.
The location for the lots is to be south of CR-30A, west of Somerset Street South, east of Robins Egg Court, and north of Sea Garden Street.
The request is to advance to development order issuance on the condition of any outstanding reviewer comments being addressed.
Redfish Point Subdivision Plat
Also on the agenda was a request on behalf of JMB Capital, L.L.C., for approval of the Redfish Point Subdivision Plan, consisting of the platting of 18 single-family lots on 12.87 acres west of Laird Drive, twelve-tenths mile north of the Laird Drive and U.S. 331 South intersection, south of Freeport. The request was determined to be substantially consistent with the minor development order previously approved for the subdivision and the less-than-minor development order approved later that had reduced the number of lots from 19 to 18 plus added an entry gate.
According to the staff report for the request, all infrastructure is in place and has undergone inspection by a development order inspector.
The committee voted to move the request forward for a final determination by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC), on the condition of any outstanding reviewer comments being addressed.
Continued agenda items
Continued to the Sept. 21 TRC meeting by advance request were The Destin Land Connection and The Landing at Santa Rosa. Continued by advance request to the Oct. 5 TRC meeting was Pearl Place Subdivision. Two other agenda items, Clay Garden Cottages and The Preserve at Black Creek, were also continued to the Oct. 5 TRC meeting after some discussion.