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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Leland sets public hearing to annex 2,100 acres off Malmo Loop

The area outlined in read is the 2,100 acres an Alabama developer wants to annex for an unproposed project. (Courtesty Town of Leland)

LELAND — A massive parcel that came onto the Town of Leland’s radar in September is now up for annexation and zoning.

Criteria Development, an Alabama-based developer, applied to annex 2,114.27 acres south of U.S. Highway 74/78, between Malmo Loop and Colon Mintz roads, on Sept. 30. Leland agreed to investigate an annexation on Oct. 20 and set a public hearing on the issue, to take place Monday, Dec. 19, 6 p.m.

READ MORE: No questions asked: Leland council approves 325-acre annexation, zoning

The site is undeveloped and located directly south of Burton Woods, another massive development with 2,700 homes on more than 600 acres. Exactly what Criteria has planned for the site is unclear. Leland planning and inspections director Ben Andrea told Port City Daily the town has yet to receive any build-out proposals, but the town has laid out an initial proposed zoning for the site, which includes a mix of classifications.

There are 21.8 acres of multifamily zoning on the northern extreme of the parcel, 56.77 acres of commercial zoning on the eastern tip and 68.07 acres of the town’s special flexcode classification to the south along Colon Mintz Road.

The largest is 1,365 acres of medium-density, single-family home zoning, followed by 602 acres of the town’s conservation district in identified wetland areas. 

 Per town ordinance, development in conservation areas is limited, by permit, to public parks, playgrounds, playfields, community centers and “certain wireless facilities.”

“There’s not much that can be done in the conservation district, by intent,” Andrea said.

Councilmember Bill McHugh asked Andrea during Monday’s agenda meeting to bring specific examples of how the district is used within town limits to discuss during Leland’s regular town council meeting next week.

Monday, Andrea showed the council the town’s future land use map overlay of the site.

The proposed classification separates the project from its predecessor. Criteria originally proposed a development called East Lake in Brunswick County on the same parcel. The developer hoped to build 4,900-home development outside the town limits, but the Brunswick County Planning board denied the project on Sept. 12. 

The new plan includes a larger parcel of commercial area, the flexcode space intended for town-center development, and in Leland both single-family homes and townhomes are allowed in the medium-density classification.

The agreement to accept the petition to annex and set the hearing were unanimous, with no discussion, during the Monday agenda meeting.

“The action that, potentially, would be taken next week would be annexation and then to apply the zoning,” Andrea told PCD. “That doesn’t give them any development approvals, but what it would give them is essentially the set of regulations that they would have to follow, and those vary by the different zoning districts.”

Andrea told PCD the next step, if the annexation is approved the developer would submit a preliminary site plan outlining what Criteria wants to build. It would work its way through the town’s technical review committee process, undergoing revisions from local regulators until it meets the town’s standards.

Meanwhile, the areas surrounding the parcel are in the development process as well. Burton Woods is currently undergoing TRC review for its planned subdivisions. Seabrooke, to the south, is adding 212 townhome units to its larger development.

Burton Woods and Seabrook were both annexed by the town recently, along with other residential developments, some commercial developments and properties owned by the town.

If the board signs off on this latest annexation, it will be one of more than 50 in the past two years.

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