Opponents of a planned unit development (PUD) in Old Town Daphne say they are growing weary of the battle but hope to see success in one more round — the only one that counts.
“We were burned out on it but we were very happy to have won in front of the Planning Commission,” resident Sandy Robinson said. “The only fight you’ve got to win is the City Council fight.”
The first round of that battle will be at the Sept. 17 council meeting, Planning Director Adrienne Jones said. On July 24 the commission recommended the City Council reject the PUD in a 6-1 vote.
“Since the item was tabled in June and taken up in July, the Planning Commission has had two public hearings,” Jones said. “The council must hold a public hearing prior to making its decision.”
The discussion on this one issue was an hour long, Jones said, and five motions were made before a second could be secured.
This will be the second time this PUD will have reached the council. In March, council members told developer Craig Dyas the plan he submitted would certainly fail. If that had happened he would have had to wait a year to resubmit it. If he withdrew the plan and worked to address concerns of residents, he could submit a new plan at any time. He withdrew.
Dyas is seeking a PUD for a parcel of land he wants to build on that stretches from U.S. Route 98 on the east to the end of Daphne Court on the west. Downtown residents are most concerned with the westernmost 1.8 acres that abut the quaint Daphne Court neighborhood and connect with Main Street and the rest of downtown.
“The problem with the plan as currently submitted is it’s way, way out of character as far as lot size, lot width, setbacks and that sort of thing,” Robinson said. “Daphne Court, which it would attach to, those lots are 72 feet wide and he wants to put in lots that are either 32 feet or 40 feet wide. He wants to put in eight and the current zoning would let him put in six.”
Residents won the big one, thwarting an initial effort to connect Daphne Court to U.S. 98 and the main part of Dyas’ PUD, a 38-townhome and mixed-use development behind the businesses at the northwest corner of U.S. 98 and Halls Lane.
“There was a discussion about whether the Planning Commission could recommend that the PUD be approved on the townhome part but not on the 1.8 acres,” Robinson said. “Ultimately the lawyer said no, you have to vote up or down on what you’re submitting.”
The final version has Daphne Court extending into the 1.8-acre parcel with eight new residences built there with no access through to U.S. 98.