Bryan County commissioners Tuesday voted to accept right-of-way agreements with TerraPointe and Belfast Commerce Centre, both subsidiaries of Rayonier, for property needed to move forward with an interchange on I-95 at Belfast Keller Road.
The exit, at mile marker 82, has been discussed at least since 2008. It is estimated to cost about $18 million and is primarily dependent on the availability of federal dollars. County officials have said in the past that bids could be sought as early as March 2017.
A clause in the right-of-way agreement says the county will “commence or cause to be commenced construction on the interchange by Dec. 8, 2017.”
County Administrator Ben Taylor said the clause is to ensure that the county is performing its due diligence to pursue the project, but ultimately the timing is up to GDOT and the availability of funds.
Commissioners Tuesday also had a first reading of a proposed new ordinance that would allow for “cluster” subdivisions.
Planning Director Eric Greenway said the option, if approved, would be available to builders but not a requirement.
“The goal here is to protect conservation areas and keep from building homes in flood plains,” he said. “That helps buyers avoid needing flood insurance and helps the county’s overall rating.”
Further stipulations for a cluster subdivision would include a requirement for an active recreation area. At least 20 percent of a development would have to be open space and 60 percent of that would need to be “usable, accessible and connected,” according to the ordinance.
In exchange, minimum lot sizes are reduced to between 5,000 and 6,000 square feet. The result allows builders to put an average of 3.5 homes per acre as opposed to 2.5. Only developments of 10 acres or more would be eligible.
Commissioners will revisit the ordinance at their December meeting.
Finally, commissioners approved two preliminary plats, on in Waterways Township and one in Pembroke. The first, off Oak Level Road, would allow 48 lots on roughly 29 acres. The second, on Wilma Edwards Road, would allow 34 lots plus an amenities area on 25 acres.