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Private campground off Fort McAllister Road shelved
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 A plan to put a private 6.66 acre campground on Fort McAllister Road has been shelved, Bryan County Commissioners heard at their Richmond Hill meeting February 12.

    The plan had been withdrawn, county planning manager Amanda Clement told the commissioners. The idea of putting a private campground on Fort McAllister Road drew the concern of many residents at a recent planning commission meeting and public hearing. The nearby residents expressed concern about traffic turning left into the campground, the plan to dispose of waste and how noise and lighting would be mitigated. 

    Nearby resident Dick Kent sought clarification at Tuesday's meeting about exactly what "withdrawn" meant. He asked if the concerns brought up at the previous meetings would still be applicable if the application were brought back.

    "The application would be a new application that would have to begin the process again. Any concerns or conditions put upon the application previously could be placed upon the new application, planning manager Amanda Clement said.

    The commissioners also tabled a motion to place an accessory building on a lot on Belle Island Road. The applicants, Todd and Deidre Barber, originally sought to obtain a conditional use to allow them to put the accessory building on an adjacent lot to one they plan to build a house on Belle Island Road. Concerns about the accessory structure at last week's planning and zoning meeting dealt with the size of the structure, which would have exceeded the square footage allowed under current county ordinances, it's appearance, presented at the time as a metal building, and its incompatibility with surrounding residential structures.

    In an effort to address those concerns, the Barbers had new elevations drawn up to bring the house much closer to a residential looking building, including decreasing the building's size by a third. The revised plan called for the use of asphalt shingles, a siding compatible with that of their nearby house under construction and the use of awnings and other concessions.

    The planning commission had recommended denial of the request as originally presented. The revised plans were received by the planning staff the day before the commission meeting, giving them little opportunity for review.    

    After again hearing concerns about the revised plans and the inability of local residents to review those plans, the commission tabled consideration of the request until the April meeting to allow nearby neighbors an opportunity to review the revisions and concessions made by the Barbers.

    The commissioners approved a preliminary plat for Wexford Subdivision, despite some concerns from nearby residents about drainage issues. Wexford Subdivision is the first phase of a previously approved planned unit development on Belfast River Road at the intersection of Griffin Road. Nearby residents expressed concern about long time drainage and runoff coming off the proposed site of phase one of the PUD. Engineer Travis Burke said the improvements and storage ponds proposed for Wexford would go a long way toward alleviating the long time problems with water running onto Griffin Road, making it, at times, almost impassable. Burke reiterated the developers commitment to working with neighbors to keeping the canal at the rear of the property clear to facilitate runoff from the ponds on the property. Burke also said it would take the cooperation of other neighbors to keep their portion of the canal cleared. Neighbors also expressed frustration that commercial vehicles had been using Griffin Road to access the property despite engineers assurances that construction vehicles would use alternate ways to access the property. Commission chairman Carter Infinger instructed Burke to make sure no commercial vehicles used Griffin Road and asked neighbors to notify him if that continued to be a problem.

    Other issues heard by the commissioners included:

     * Applying for a Coastal Incentive grant. The commissioners passed a resolution supporting the grant submittal.

     * Approving a resolution to allow available county funds to be used to begin construction on fire stations 1 and 9 with later reimbursement from municipal bonds, if used.

     * A service delivery strategy deadline being extended to June 30, 2019 for talks between Pembroke, Richmond Hill and Bryan County on common services and how they should be provided and paid for.

     * Listening to public comments from Dr. Trinity L. Ingram-Jones, a forensic nurse with "Serenity Hill," a Richmond Hill-based victim services agency. She said her organization is not receiving fair county consideration when it distributes funds, as required by law, received from the Atlantic Judicial Circuit Court fines. Those fines are given to different certified victim services agencies providing such services to Bryan County.  Ingram-Jones said about $60,000 is collected yearly. She would like the county to give her organization a portion of those funds.

    * Heard comments from Candas Bennett and Joy Bohannon about suggested and necessary changes to the county animal ordinance. The two asked commissioners to include language that made "tethering" or keeping animals on chains or leashes with limited movement illegal in the county. Tethering has led to the deaths of many animals in the country and county, Bohannon said. Those deaths were unnecessary, Bennett added.

    * Appointed Joshua Coffey, Jonathan Goodman, John Reynolds, Beth Williams Holley, Keith Spitznogle, Michelle Henderson, Lisa Safely, Boyce Young, Tracy Walden-Stafford and Key Bartow to the unified development ordinance steering committee.

    * Reappointed Billy Conley to the Development Authority of Bryan County.

    * Appointed Boyce Young and Stacy Watson to the Bryan County Planning Commission.

    * Approved an energy saving contract with ABM Energy Saving to recommend energy savings measures in every county building.

    * Approved a resolution to institute a Bryan County Facilities Authority.

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