Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Developer submits Wyndwater appeal, in hopes to reverse planning board decision

Wyndwater developer Mike Pollak is hoping the board of adjustment will overturn the planning board’s denial of his revised plans. (Port City Daily/Amy Passaretti)

HAMPSTEAD — Mike Pollak of Signature Topsail NC is asking the Pender County Board of Adjustment to overturn the the planning board’s decision to deny his revisions to Wyndwater. The neighborhood, nine years in the making, has three more phases left before completion. 

Earlier in the summer, the seven-member planning board unanimously voted against Pollak’s 10th round of changes, questioning his stormwater management designs.

READ MORE: Pender County residents, planning board show strong opposition to Wyndwater development revision

Community members living in the vicinity of Wyndwayer, a 300-lot development built in Hampstead, spoke out at a June 7 meeting. They also opposed Pollak’s plans to relocate 116 townhomes and expand commercial space to almost 70,000 square feet.

Pollak is appealing to the board of adjustment on Aug. 17 a revision in the master development plan that would allow him to reposition townhomes, increase non-residential areas to 9 acres along U.S. 17 and remove a portion of the development “no longer needed.” It would decrease the total acreage from 235 to 206.

Pollak told the board at its June meeting he no longer owns a portion of the land, referred to as “phase 10,” and wants to remove it from his master plan. He explained he “traded” it for another tract that would provide a second entrance to the development from Sloop Point Road.

The 41 homes allocated on that land would move to a parcel located north of Champion Drive and south of Topsail Greens Drive. There would be 116 total townhomes slated for the new location.

Moving the townhomes to the proposed site would interfere with at least 40 already built residences, which rely on septic systems installed prior to advanced stormwater practices now required as part of Pender County’s updated land development code.

The planning board members and community opposers were not satisfied with Pollak’s proposal to mitigate stormwater runoff. Essentially, the planning board said he didn’t have one; details had not yet been flesh out adequately.

Specifically, Pollak didn’t explain how he would divert stormwater and tackle the inevitable flooding of the land. 

Neighbors noted significant water pools already from retention ponds overflowing after heavy rains. Most naysayers of the project live in Topsail Greens, which borders Wyndwater; Pollak’s newly planned additions would directly abut their properties. They showed photos of their houses and yards flooded following hurricanes.

The developer’s engineer Garry Pape, president of GSP Consulting, PLLC, explained to the planning board in June he had walked the property to locate current ditches and at the appropriate time he would have a more concrete plan. Pape noted he didn’t need a full stormwater plan until the final plat approval.

County planning director Travis Henley confirmed at the meeting a full stormwater plan would be required as part of preliminary plat approval, next steps in the process.

Regardless, planning board member and engineer Margaret Mosca asked: “So you’re going to figure it out later? Is that what I’m understanding?”

Pollak said he was “100% confident” the future plans would meet the county’s stormwater criteria.

Other neighbors expressed concerns over the destruction of wildlife habitat and traffic and safety issues the Wyndwater addition would create.

The development is located near U.S. 17., currently ushering 40,000 cars daily. According to the application, the entire development will generate an additional 5,917 trips each day.

Sitting on 243 acres, Wyndwater was originally approved by the county in 2013. Six of its 10 phases have received final plat approval and are mostly complete, with one still under construction. The overall plan is approved to include 529 units, with the most recent revisions greenlit in March 2021.

The five-member quasi-judicial board of adjustment that hears appeals, variances and requests for interpretation of Pender’s code of ordinances votes next week on the appeal. The applicant would still have to meet all the county’s requirements and agree upon conditions of approval

If the planning board’s decision is reversed, it would be the final step for Wyndwater to finish construction.

The meeting will be held Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Pender County Public Assembly Room, 805 S. Walker St. in Burgaw. The public is welcome to attend or livestream the proceedings.

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