Manteo commissioners hear more on Salt Meadow development

Published 5:29 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In Manteo, a proposed development called Salt Meadow Landing is now before the town’s Board of Commissioners.

Property owner Salt Meadow OBX LLC purchased the four-acre tract June 8, 2021 for $1.41 million. The vacant land is next to the Peninsula subdivision. Access is off Russell Twiford Road and five-lane U.S. 64, 250 feet from the Midway intersection.

The developer proposes to build 22 multi-family housing units and 37,000 square feet of commercial space in seven three-story buildings.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Starting in December 2021, a series of four meetings between town staff and Salt Meadow representatives occurred over seven months. The town’s Planning Board met July 12, 2022 and recommended approval of the special use application with five conditions, including a traffic study as requested by NCDOT and the commissioners. In August, the board delayed a decision to September. Before the September meeting, the developer requested a delay to Oct. 5 for time to conduct the traffic study.

Meanwhile, some Peninsula subdivision residents who opposed the development had organized and hired attorney Andy Petesch, with Petesch Law in Raleigh. He was present with three subdivision property owners.

Salt Meadow OBX is represented by E. Crouse Gray. Jr., with Gray and Lloyd LLP in Kill Devil Hills. On Oct.5, witnesses who testified were Dylan L. Tillett with Quible and Associates in Powells Point and Lyle Overcash with Kimley-Horn and Associates in Raleigh.

Town attorney Benjamin M. Gallop with Gallop Law Firm PLLC, in Nags Head, assisted the commissioners with orchestrating the Oct. 5 meeting. He reminded the board that this evidentiary hearing was a continuation of the August hearing that was stopped during the applicant’s presentation.

The first business was to consider a request to intervene from Petesch on behalf of 11 property owners in the subdivision and determine if the property owners had standing through testimony, specifically if special damages as distinct from the public at large. Traffic and value require experts.

Three Peninsula property owners were called: Vivian Shackelford, Jennifer Parser and John Anderson.

Shackelford’s property is across from the proposed site. She testified that Russell Twiford Road is already jammed.

Gray immediately objected saying “a person may not testify to traffic safety.” The objection was noted and Shackelford continued.

She listed as her concerns excessive lighting, noise from generators, odiferous dumpsters, trespassing and stormwater. “I just can’t imagine it. The exit is right in front of my house.”

Parser testified that the development will impact the quality of her life. She asked, “where are people going to park?”

Gray entered a standing objection to testimony about traffic.

Anderson has a house on Launch Circle, off Peninsula Drive. He too entered concerns about traffic, stormwater, lighting and declining value of property. Anderson’s property is on a canal that also runs alongside the eastern boundary of the proposed development. The canal has been cleaned up so that crabbing is possible. Anderson thinks the proposed development will impact the water quality. Additionally, the canal is narrow with little space for traffic.

The attorneys offered closing remarks with Petesch advocating for standing and Gray saying “they don’t have standing.”

Manteo commissioners voted unanimously to grant standing to all three intervenors.

The standing portion of proceeding took over an hour.

The quasi-judicial hearing continued with engineer Dylan L. Tillett called to testify. He addressed stormwater, pointing out the designated areas for runoff to be treated and discharged downstream.

Petesch pointed out the stormwater was calculated on a one-inch in 24 hour storm.

Overcash took the podium to enter the traffic study into the record and present findings. He had forwarded the document to NCDOT on Sept. 14, 2022, but NCDOT had not responded as of Oct. 4.

The document states the study was based on volumes during morning peak from 7 to 9 a.m. and afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. The volumes were taken at four intersections: Midway intersection at U.S. Hwy. 64, U.S. Hwy. 64 at Russell Twiford, U.S. Hwy. 64 at Marshall C. Collins and Russell Twiford Road at College of The Albemarle driveway.

Overcash said southbound traffic on 64 blocked Russell Twiford.

Due to the backup on Russell Twiford, Ovecash recommended striping the intersection on Twiford to create three lanes, one for right turns, one for left turns and one for entering.

He said the proposed development would add 2% more traffic at buildout in 2025.

Commissioner Sherry Wickstrom stated Twiford is incredibly short and is busy with an entrance to CVS.

The traffic study was moved into evidence at 8:29 p.m. and a break was called.

After the break, a delay in the proceedings was proposed. Another two hours of testimony is expected.

The hearing was recessed to Oct. 19, when a negotiated day and time would be announced.

In two other items on the agenda, the board nominated to Manteo’s seat on the Dare County Tourism Board, the following in order or preference: commissioners Ruth Stetson, Sherry Wickstrom and Tod Clissold.

A draft of a proposal to permit golf cart operation on Manteo’s streets was accepted, effective Nov. 14, 2022 so that required decals can arrive.

The next meeting is Oct. 19 starting at 5 p.m.