Clarks Neck apartment complex pushes forward despite floodplain concerns

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Washington City Council approved the construction of a sixty-unit apartment complex during their regular meeting on Monday, Mar. 13.

Council voted unanimously to approve the complex’s general layout design and stormwater prevention plans subject to review from the Technical Review Committee (TRC). 

The complex will be located west of the intersection of Highways 264 and 17, and is being constructed as well as owned and managed by Mills Construction. Mills Construction, based out of Raleigh, builds multi-family housing developments and single family homes throughout North Carolina including the River Run Apartments in Chocowinity and Kittrell Place Apartments in Greenville. 

Mill Construction is building the complex on 7.42 acres of a 13-acre property. Last month, city council voted 4-1 in favor of the land being rezoned to accommodate the complex. At the complex, there will be a community center and amenities, according to Tammy Stern, a development associate with Mills Construction. 

Councilman Bobby Roberson expressed concern about the possibility of the apartment complex flooding. 

Stern said the tip of the property – about half an acre- is in the 500-year floodplain and less than 0.03 acres is in the 100-year floodplain. There would be no development in the latter area, she said. 

Roberson alleged the property flooded in the past; however, Stern said the property owner had not seen flooding there in the last 15 years. Roberson said he has seen the property when it has been flooded by Tranter’s Creek.  

“Here’s the deal, if we approve this project and it floods and we have to evacuate those people, they won’t be calling you. Who are they going to be calling? The folks right around this table here. And they are going to say ‘why did you approve the plan if you knew it was subject to flood,’” Roberson said to Stern. 

“We long-term own and manage these properties. We obviously do not want them to flood ever. I think the understanding is that once we do get to the engineering phase, if we do have to pull some of the soil from a front site to elevate the buildings so that they are not in the threat of flooding that’s what we would do, but again, that’s the engineering phase that we’re not quite at yet,” Stern said. 

Stern said there’s a possibility that the property could flood toward the rear, but it is something civil engineers on this project would need to look at. 

The details of the complex’s site plan have not been fleshed out at this time, but will be when Mills Construction moves forward with getting more permits that can address what the base elevation would look like to prevent the buildings from flooding. Council voted on the general layout of the complex and proposed stormwater retention areas. 

Mills Construction will meet with the City of Washington again for building inspections and permits. 

The complex campus will have five residential buildings with one, two and three bedroom apartments. Six apartments will be fully ADA compliant. 

The amenities are planned to be; a laundry facility in the community center, a playground, open active fields, a gazebo and picnic area, Stern shared. 

She continued to explain that the residential buildings will be three stories and constructed using brick and fiber cement siding to resemble a complex Mill Construction completed in Arden, North Carolina called Perry Lane Apartments. 

The apartment complex would be managed by United Property Management which is owned by Mills Construction. 

Stern said Mills Construction is working with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to determine how the complex will affect current traffic patterns and how to construct entryways.