Woodland avenue focus on planners

Three applicants, two with new subdivisions and a third carrying the site plan for a condominium (plus two single-family homes) development — all three on Woodland Avenue — came before the Ocean View Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission on June 16.

The commission approved all three, plus plans for renovations at the Lord Baltimore Elementary School, and a parcel division at the Morin/Hudson professional complex, unanimously.

First, Ted Simpler (Simpler Surveying) presented the site plan for Rupert Smith’s development on Woodland Extended (between the Reserves and Briarcliffe).

At 13 units on 3.2 acres of land, the project is rather high density for the town of Ocean View (roughly four units per acre). It generated considerable debate when it came before council as an annexation request, but Smith made a few concessions at the time.

He chopped three units out of the original proposal (16 townhouses in four buildings), and agreed to build single-family homes adjacent to Woodland Avenue (as a result, the parcel has split zoning, front to back).

Commission Member Perry Mitchell asked if the split zoning was going to be a problem, and Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader said it would be nice to have the entire parcel under one zoning — but the situation was far from unique.

Simpler detailed the project as modified – two single-family homes nearer, and 11 condo units farther, Woodland Avenue. All would face inward, and the two single-family lots would carry restrictive deed covenants, prohibiting their owners from creating vehicle access onto Woodland Avenue, Smith pointed out.

Simpler noted a private parking lot, to be maintained by the condo association, and suggested the road into “Smithfield” could be dedicated to the town.

Several Briarcliffe residents voiced concerns — Dick Nippes noted three developments (Reserves, Briarcliffe and now Smithfield) feeding onto the same street, and all within a short distance. He also questioned the lack of a stormwater management pond, and pushed for a landscaping berm along Woodland.

Simpler described “biofiltration swale” management, an up-and-coming technology, he said (a ditch with a very mild grade, which retains and naturally filters stormwater before it enters the main ditch or creek). He said the Soil Conservation District would have the final say on the system, and if they felt the drainage ditch exiting the site was insufficient, they might require a pond.

There were requests for a landscaping berm to buffer the end of the internal road (shown as dead-ending at the opposite property line), and Smith expressed a willingness to install that, as long as town code permitted.

The project moved toward final site plan approval with various conditions relating to those issues, plus Commission Member Joe Evans’ request that Smith lay down a crush-and-run street early on, to keep construction traffic off Woodland.

Second, at 34 Woodland Ave. (south of Betts Avenue), surveyor Steve Collazuol presented the Blue Heron Landing subdivision – six lots on 2.9 acres. The parcel has nearly 200 feet of frontage along Woodland, and runs westward twice as deep.

While central water is just around the corner, Collazuol said they couldn’t wait, and would dig individual wells to serve the lots until that service came online.

Commission members quizzed him on various roadway issues, such as the proposed 22-foot road bed (was that sufficient, or should it be 24 feet) and maintenance of the stormwater swales in the proposed 14-foot rights of way.

Also on the roadway topic, Collazuol broached a rather tender subject, on behalf of Gregg White (one of the principals). He asked for permission to name the street after White’s son, a marine who died in Afghanistan, June 2004.

All these matters were left open, to be addressed by final site plan review.

One couple from the neighborhood complained they’d received very short notice of the proposed subdivision, and asked what sort of houses they planned to build. Collazuol offered few details, other than that they would be two-story homes of tasteful design.

Subtracting setbacks and rights of way, even the smallest lot offers 14,300 square feet of buildable area, ranging upward to 17,200 square feet on the largest lot.

Bob Herrington, who owns the parcel immediately to the south, said he welcomed the subdivision (his family had owned the land years ago, but it had changed hands a few times since, and he had no financial interest, Herrington prefaced).

“Until the 1970s, it was pig farms, rabbit hutches and weeds,” he said — and since then, it had remained basically a weed patch. He welcomed a more productive use.

Third, Mike Cummings presented a plan to subdivide a 1.3-acre parcel at 88 Woodland Ave. (northwest corner, Woodland and Central Aves) into three lots.

Cummings said they planned to build “cottage-style” homes there, two-story, 2,500 square feet, to sell in the top half of the $500,000s.

Moving on to non-Woodland Avenue business, the commission once again considered the Morin/Hudson application to halve their newly-consolidated parcel on Route 26, immediately west of the Assawoman Canal (5 Atlantic Ave.).

For the record, Paul, Barbara and Barry Morin and Paula Morin Hudson own the real estate. Barry and Lynn Morin own (1) Kitchen Cabinet Corner and (2) CSI.

Paula Morin Hudson and Ken Hudson own (1) Paul Morin’s Floor & Wall Design and (2) Paula’s Decorating Café. David Nilsson (CPA) also has an office at that site.

They’ve been working on this split for months — not to suggest that there’s any disharmony at 5 Atlantic Ave. As family members pointed out, the subdivision is merely part of their estate planning.

Various cross-easements for driveway, parking and stormwater management accompany the deal. Without those agreements, the family would be unable to comply with various code requirements relating to their existing businesses on what is now “Parcel A,” farther from the canal (adjacent to Town Road).

P&Z Consultant Susan Frederick questioned the subdivision, as it creates a rather irregular “Parcel B” along the canal (picture two triangles pointing west). However, as attorney Jack Tarburton (representing the family) noted, “It may not meet the aspirations of the code, but it meets the code.”

P&Z approved the subdivision, plus preliminary site plans for each lot, with various conditions.

And finally, commission members approved the Indian River School District’s (IRSD’s) preliminary site plan for renovations at Lord Baltimore. The project includes a few additional classrooms, moving the main entrance and cafeteria toward the rear of the building, into what are presently kindergarten classrooms, an enclosed corridor from the gym to the main building and a one-way traffic loop for busses (in from Route 26, out onto Old School Lane).

IRSD’s Greg Weer asked about the possibility of starting some asbestos abatement and interior demolition in short order, now that the children are gone for the summer. The district hopes to bring students back from next year’s temporary home at the old Indian River High School (soon to become the John M. Clayton school, again) by fall 2007.

Typically, the commission adds a disclaimer that no work take place on a site until final site plan approval, but they made the unique exception in this case.