The developer of a proposed 163-unit housing project in Milton has agreed to submit its plans to the Milton Planning and Zoning Commission for concept review, while the town’s special review committee intends to approach town council to ask for additional time to review the developer’s annexation petition.
The Company Store, a Charlotte, N.C.-based LLC, is seeking to annex 50 acres into Milton that would be developed as Scarlet Oaks, with a mix of single-family homes and townhouses.
However, the committee has been hesitant to send a recommendation to council on whether to approve the annexation, on the basis of unanswered questions related to phasing, connectivity with the town, street widths and size of the homes. Under town code, the committee has 90 days to make its recommendation. Not able to meet that deadline, the committee is planning to ask the council for an extension. Committee members have also expressed some frustration with the developer, which did not send any representation to the committee’s Feb. 8 meeting, and had not submitted plans for review by the state’s Preliminary Land Use Service, which committee Chair John Collier has said would help answer some of the committee’s questions.
At the committee’s Feb. 16 meeting, Mark Davidson of project engineer Pennoni Associates apologized for not being at the prior meeting, citing a scheduling misunderstanding.
“There was no intent for us not to be at the last meeting,” he said.
Davidson said plans for Scarlet Oaks have been submitted for PLUS review; state agencies have the proposed development on the schedule for March, although a meeting date has not been set. He said at this point, Scarlet Oaks is more of a concept with details still to be fleshed out.
On the town’s end, according to an analysis prepared by Town Manager Kristy Rogers, the town stands to make $778,000 in construction revenue fees, an estimated $846,000 in transfer tax revenue and an estimated $164,000 in property taxes and water fees. In contrast, the town would end up spending $126,000 in costs to service the development, including one new police officer and one new public works employee along with vehicles for each, over a 10-year period.
While the committee is seeking a deadline extension to keep the process moving, the group suggested bringing the project to the planners for a concept review. In practice, concept review is a process whereby the planning committee looks over the plans and provides feedback to the developer before plans are submitted for preliminary site-plan review.
Committee member Richard Trask, who chairs the planning and zoning commission, said a concept review would be very useful as both a means of communication between the developer and the town, and to be ready for the next steps should the annexation be approved.
“A conceptual review is not an engineering review. It’s a conversation between us,” Trask said.