Subdivision requires scrutiny, but could be a boon for county

Published 12:18 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2009

By Staff
A Winston-Salem real estate company wants to build a 90-acre subdivision in the Griffin’s beach area. The proposal from Turnpike Properties LLC, which has an option on several tracts in the area south of River Road, calls for about 15 duplexes, 10 condominium buildings, more than 50 single-family homes, a marina and dry-boat storage.
The company expects to provide housing for 100 to 200 families by the time the development is finished.
The plan goes before the Beaufort County Planning Board for consideration and potential preliminary approval April 14.
If the subdivision is done well, it could provide a much-needed shot-in-the-arm for Beaufort County. Besides providing housing for people in a growing county, the housing project would add to the county’s tax base and perhaps put some people to work to oversee and maintain the subdivision.
The real estate project is proposed for an area that was once Beaufort County’s segregated black beach. That fact adds historical significance to the endeavor, and any attempts to help reinvigorate the area for people of all races is welcome.
The project faces much scrutiny before — and if — it is to proceed. It must first obtain all required permits, which according to Turnpike Properties CEO Bill Hollan, could take at least another year.
The proposed subdivision is also near the Pamlico River, which will — and should — garner the attention of environmental groups seeking to protect the river’s water quality.
Moreover, given the morose economy and still-slumping housing market, it also remains unclear whether the proposed dwellings will sell.
That fact is no doubt uppermost in the minds of the folks at Turnpike, but they still must guard against moving ahead before they’re certain the market’s ready. The number of homes for sale in the area now is a stark reminder the industry has yet to climb out of its hole.
But once it does, and once the economy rebounds and credit is more readily available, the subdivision could add stability to the area as it grapples with an uncertain future. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that all factors line up properly for the project to proceed.