Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Hundreds of acres to be developed outside Leland limits as sewer moratorium continues

The northern Brunswick County sewer moratorium likely won't have an impact on the local real estate market unless it carries on for several months.

Planned projects outside of Leland town limits have all applied for utility extensions or service this summer. (Port City Daily graphic/Johanna Ferebee, Courtesy Google Maps)
Planned projects outside of Leland town limits have all applied for utility extensions or service this summer. (Port City Daily graphic/Johanna Ferebee, Courtesy Google Maps)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — This week, the Town of Leland launched an online development tracker. But what’s going on outside town limits?

Several residential plans are underway, with a total of at least 612 acres of residentially-zoned, unincorporated Brunswick County properties seeking utility connections this summer — all just outside Leland town limits.

Related: Brunswick Commissioners ask local utilities to consider regionalization

One of the projects, owned by Sunset Land Investments LLC, could soon be annexed into Leland town limits.

Hilltop Townes

An applicant on behalf of Port City Community Church submitted a voluntary annexation petition to the Town of Leland for a 26-acre parcel off Village Road in December 2018; this year, the property changed hands, but the new owner is still seeking annexation. A public hearing — which has not yet occurred — is still required before the property is accepted into town limits.

According to a project narrative submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on June 10 to request wastewater flow, Sunset Land Investments LLC is proposing a project, “Hilltop Townes.” Hilltop Townes will consist of 168 townhome unit subdivision and a clubhouse pool, according to the application.

Robert Waldon, a member of Sunset Development LLC, said his company focuses on land investment. The property is being developed by a separate entity, he said.

Hilltop Townes would send sewer through Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO’s collection system to be treated at Brunswick County’s Northeast Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant is currently under a new line extension moratorium — issued on June 14 — for breaching the 80/90 rule, meaning expansion plans were not far along enough to account for excessive flows.

According to Tyler Wittkofsky, H2GO’s spokesperson, Hilltop Townes received its permit because the request was filed prior to the moratorium.

Patrick LaJeunesse, a spokesperson for Cape Fear REALTORS®, said the moratorium shouldn’t impact the market at this point. “It takes 6 to 8 months for a house to be built.”

According to a presentation Tuesday, Brunswick County submitted documentation requesting the state lift the moratorium. The Department of Environmental Quality issued the county a draft National Pollutant Discharge Permit to expand its system on June 26. In October, the county expects to bid and finance the expansion, which is expected to reach completion by August 2021.

In 2018, flows averaged at 92% of the plant’s permitted capacity.

Seabrooke Development

Seabrooke, a massive, approximately 550-acre development continues to move further along, west of Magnolia Greens in Leland. The project is not in Leland town limits. One of its developers, Steve Shuttleworth, said the development is not seeking, nor has it been approached, to be annexed into the Town of Leland.

The subdivision is home to approximately 100 homeowners. Its previous developer moved on after the market shifted, Shuttleworth said. His company has agreements in place to sell 82 finished lots and 116 engineered and permitted lots to D.R. Horton. After that, approximately 300 or so undeveloped acres remain, which will be developed at a future date as part of the Seabrooke subdivision.

On June 12, Seabrooke petitioned H2GO to annex 512.9-acres into the sanitary district. H2GO’s board approved the petition on June 18.

Shuttleworth said Brunswick County’s northern sewer moratorium is a concern he keeps an eye on. “It has caused us to walk more slowly toward projects that do not have sewer allocation,” Shuttleworth said. We’re fortunate that the projects that we’re currently working on were already planned and already have sewer allocation.” 

However, he said it would take months of the moratorium remaining in place to see a blip in the market. “We remain confident that the county and various municipalities are working diligently toward solving sewer issues,” Shuttleworth said. “Without a sewer solution, we just can’t get anywhere.”

Other projects

Two other projects, also just outside Leland town limits, also asked for utility connections this summer. Maritime Realty & Development LLC’s request to connect to H2GO’s existing water and sewer lines was approved on June 18. The company owns approximately 24.8 acres off Goodman and Wolfridge Roads. It would be developed into a single-family subdivision, according to a company request from its representatives, Coastal Land Design, on June 11.

133 Investments LLC, a 47.2-acre property off N.C. 133, was annexed into H2GO’s service district on June 18. The combined parcels are adjacent to Mallory Creek in Leland town limits.

Bill Cameron, manager of 133 Investments, said the company applied to be included in H2GO’s service district to be prepared. “We just went on and did the paperwork to have that in hand,” Cameron said. “It’d be great to see something developed, but we don’t have anything on the drawing board at this point.”

“We want to keep all our options open,” he said.

Extensions to existing subdivisions are also underway, including the unincorporated subdivisions Hawkeswater at the River off N.C. 133, and Compass Pointe off Highway 74.

According to Kristie Dixon, Brunswick County Planning Director, the county has not yet received plans or applications connected to Maritime Realty, Sunset Land, or 133 Investment LLCs.

For projects taking place inside Leland town limits, view the town’s new development tracker.

(Editor’s note: H2GO originally stated via its spokesperson that Hilltop Townes would “likely not get approval because of the moratorium.” After the initial publication of this article, H2GO corrected that information, stating that the development had, in fact, been granted a permit because the request was made prior to the moratorium. This article has been updated to reflect that update.)

Look through where projects are being planned outside Leland town limits below:


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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