City manager calls for ‘land-use controls’

Published 4:49 am Friday, January 26, 2007

By Staff
Says if county won’t take them on, city may have to expand its reach
By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
Washington needs “land-use controls” to manage its growth and if Beaufort County won’t enact them, the city needs to look at expanding its jurisdiction, City Manager James C. Smith said Thursday.
Smith gave a rundown of a few current projects during a presentation at the N.C. Estuarium. But the hot-button issue — and the one the discussion kept coming back to — was the high-rise condominium complex planned for the former Whichard’s Beach property.
The project, which calls for two 13-story buildings with 300 residences, is known as The Rembrey on Pamlico Shores. City officials had hoped to convince its South Carolina developer, Marick Home Builders &Developers, to trim it, but had no luck.
The Rembrey is not within the city’s jurisdiction, but officials had hoped to use the city’s ability to provide water and wastewater-treatment services for the project as a carrot of sorts. But Marick wouldn’t agree to scale back plans.
Smith also mentioned the Buoy Tender Station complex, a 14-unit condominium complex housed in three buildings on Washington’s West Main Street. That complex is next to the U.S. Highway 17 bridge that crosses the Pamlico-Tar River.
He spoke briefly about the 92-boat-slip marina planned for Moss Landing near downtown and the dry stack, boat storage facility Park Boat Company wants to have on its property on U.S. Highway 17 between Washington and Chocowinity. Park Boat Company is relocating its sales operations to West Fifth Street in Washington.
Smith said land-use controls needed to be put in place now “given the development attention being paid” to the city. He said the good thing about the development is that it will allow more residents sewer-service access, but that land-use rules need to be put in place now. Cypress Landing is the only residential development with land-use controls in place, he said.
In the absence of the county adopting land-use controls, the city can try to extend its extraterritorial jurisdiction — or ETJ — to include areas not currently within its limits. Smith said such a request would have to be approved by the General Assembly. The problem with that, he said, is that if the county “isn’t on board” the ETJ request would likely be rejected.
Smith said Washington is “kind of the last waterfront on the East Coast to be discovered.” He said more and more, people are moving in from northern states.