Project planned for section of former Park Boat Co. site

Published 10:31 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2007

By Staff
Twenty townhomes and boardwalk part marina/village plan
Contributing Editor
A multi-family residential project is planned for part of the former Park Boat Co. site off U.S. Highway 17 between Washington and Chocowinity.
On Aug. 13, the Washington City Council changed the zoning classification of approximately 1.5 acres from B-2 (general business) to O&I (office and institutional). The request for a change in zoning classification was made by Terry Smithwick and Rudy Smithwick, managing members of Harbourside Development Group, LLC, which is acquiring the 1.5 acres from Smithwick Enterprises.
The residential project, known as Harbourside Townehomes, calls for the construction of 10 buildings, each housing two townhomes, according to plans on file with the city’s Planning and Development Department. The project is adjacent to Paradise Creek, which provides boats with access to the Tar River. The project’s plans also show a boardwalk skirting the townhomes site.
With the city planning to build the Riverfront Nature Park near the former Park Boat Co. site, it makes sense to build Harbourside Townehomes and the dry stack boat storage facility on that site, Smithwick said, who expects those projects to complement each other.
The development group is seeking permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the creek to a depth of 6 feet. Currently, the creek’s depth is about 4 feet, Smithwick said. The deeper depth will make it easier and safer for boats to navigate the creek, he said.
The Planning Board is expected to review and possibly approve the site plan for the proposed project at its September meeting. The City Council has final say on the site plan.
Plans also call for a dry stack boat storage facility to be built on another piece of the former Park Boat Co. site, which encompasses about 4.67 acres. In January, the council unanimously voted to allow dry stack boat storage as a permitted use in three zoning districts — B-2 (general business), I-1 (heavy industrial) and I-2 (light industrial). At that meeting, the council accepted the Planning Board’s recommendation to amend the city’s zoning ordinance by adding dry stack boat storage as a permitted use in those districts.
Smithwick Enterprises (and/or its affiliates) will retain the remaining 3.17 acres of the site for the dry stack boat storage facility, according to the Smithwicks’ letter to Roberson.
John Rodman, a city planner, called the townhomes and dry stack boat storage area a “perfect example” of mixed-use development in the O&I zone. The city’s land-use plan calls for mixed-use development in the city’s O&I zones, Rodman said Tuesday.
Rodman said it’s likely that many of the townhome residents will keep their boats in the dry stack storage facility that will be adjacent to the townhomes. The developers are marketing the combined projects as a marina/village concept, Rodman said.