Thursday, June 13, 2024

Developer behind 52-acre Porters Neck project responds to community concerns

A map showing the proposed site for the requested new development (Port City Daily/File)

PORTERS NECK — Hundreds of residents have turned out for two community meetings held by developer D. Logan for the proposed 52-acre development The Oaks at Murray Farm. During these meetings, residents are able to voice their concerns with the project and hopefully get some answers.

While there have undoubtedly been numerous questions and concerns, plenty of residents had the same concerns.

Paramounte Engineering, on behalf of the developer, has created a summary with some of the more pertinent questions that have been asked and offered some answers.

Below is a look at the questions Paramounte included in its submission to New Hanover County as well as the answers to some. The questions/concerns, as well as the answers, have been edited only for formatting. Questions and concerns are bolded while the responses are in italics.

Schools are overcrowded and traffic to those schools is congested.

Answer: The developer has a meeting set with NHC Schools folks to discuss, but the traffic consultant, Ramey Kemp, addressed school traffic. Much of the traffic comments related to late busses and not enough bus drivers.

Porters Neck Road traffic will be made worse by apartments/ this project.

Answer: Traffic Analysis shows Porters Neck Road is currently a Level of Service A road since the roundabout construction and that after the proposed project is built (using the previously proposed plan with 406 units instead of the current, reduced plan), the roundabout will experience a 1-second delay from current conditions at peak hour. And the Porters Neck /Market intersection will add approximately 2 cars at peak hour. However, after the Military Cutoff bypass is complete (anticipated 2022 prior to this project build out), approximately 9,000 cars / day are anticipated to be routed away from this intersection at Porters Neck Road. The intersection after bypass construction is anticipated to operate in quicker movements from either pre or post project development.

Stormwater designed to the 100-year storm is not enough

Answer: The stormwater in previous plans has been further evaluated, soil testing has now been performed, and we confirmed we can provide a stormwater design in excess of the County’ s 25-year requirement. We understand there are concerns from neighbors and have offered a solution that should improve the situation well beyond the minimum requirements).

Emergency Services response times were reported at 12 -25 minutes.

Answer: We heard this at the first meeting and this one, Paramounte Engineering spoke with Fire Marshal David Stone to determine if there
was a problem in this area that we are not aware of, if this project can be designed in a way to alleviate any concerns, and if there is something off-site the developer may be able to offer or assist with to help alleviate any concerns. Mr. Stone stated the Porters Neck Communities are served at the same rate as others in the county with fire’s first responder typical response times in the 4 -7-minute range and EMS or law enforcement in the 9-minute range. Mr. Stone stated that the fire station existing across from the Shiraz Way entrance of this development would promote one alternate route through the neighborhood for fire and EMS to travel from this station if traffic on Porters Neck Road is impassible, especially since speed bumps are not proposed in our neighborhood. Regarding off-site improvements, Mr. Stone reiterated NCDOT and our traffic consultant in saying that there is not room to widen Porters Neck Road, so no off-site improvement, such as adding a lane, are really possible without taking property from homes along Porters Neck Road.

Futch Creek proposed extra turn lane will not fix the traffic problem. An extra right turn lane will not help since the majority of traffic comes out of this intersection and goes to the U-turn to head towards Wilmington. The extra lane will not be used.

Answer: Our traffic consultant presented the findings that the intersection queuing time could be nearly cut in half with the addition of a right turn lane, and the extra lane would allow everyone (after the project is built) to cycle through the intersection in 1 light cycle. He further stated that this is a proposal to the community first to add an additional turn lane. If accepted, it would be reviewed by NCDOT and WMPO. They may have comments, want changes, corroborate with the neighbors stated regarding the amount of U-turn activity, etc. However, this has not been addressed with NCDOT at this time. If it is desired, the developer is agreeing to pursue this turn lane as a way to help the community. If it is not desired, we do not need to pursue the additional turn lane. To date, there has been no requirement from the TIA for the additional turn lane or any other improvement off-site.

There was a death at this intersection recently, this development will bring more accidents and fatalities.

Answer: Ramey Kemp submitted TIA prior to the recent fatality, so that report did not take that into account. However, the consultant responded that he would follow up with NCDOT after the meeting since a fatality triggers a review of the intersection and what could be done to make the situation better. Those findings will be coordinated and addressed in any improvements that happen at that intersection.

There were many comments questioning the validity and methods of the traffic report. Statistics used in the report were questioned. Traffic counts were questioned. The method of traffic analysis was questioned. There was mention of another traffic consultant hired by Vineyard Plantation who had an alternate report contradicting Ramey Kemp’ s findings.

Answer: Ramey Kemp’ s traffic consultant explained accepted methodologies and how he arrived at each of the questioned statistics. He further explained that the counts were performed over a 48 hour period in a time designated by NCDOT/ WMPO scoping meeting (while school was in session). The means and methods of the study have been approved by NCDOT/ WMPO. At the time of the community meeting, those two entities are reviewing the findings of the TIA before issuing comments on potential improvements.

Apartments are not wanted here — Logan builds nice single-family homes. Build those, can’ t we propose all duplex and single-family that would not be met with opposition. What kind of apartments will they be, what price point?

Answer: We have heard this statement, and we are presenting a plan with apartments, but with many concessions to prove that Logan does want to build a nice neighborhood that works with the community. The Logan team evaluated the site for single-family and duplexes, and the price of the land prevents the developer from considering single-family and duplexes only as an alternative. Furthermore, Logan is planning luxury apartments on the high end geared toward one of the fastest-growing markets, 62 [year olds]+ looking for rentals. The developer feels this project targets that market and fits well into the Porters Neck Community.

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