Residents of Old Towne Daphne have two views of what they see as an encroachment on their quiet little haven by Dyas Development and Real Estate.
“One is he’s coming closer and let’s see if we can work it out in a way that binds him legally,” resident Sandy Robinson said. “And one view is if we don’t trust him, why are we continuing to talk to him, why is he continuing to jerk everybody around for the last eight months because he knew this was our problem? If he was willing to do this why didn’t he submit it back in November, back when the issue was first raised?”
The development in question by Craig Dyas involves two components, one a mixed-use project connecting to U.S. Route 98 near the Popeye’s Chicken with retail and 38 townhomes. It’s the second part of the plan the Old Towne residents are concerned about.
Dyas wants to extend Daphne Court East into an empty parcel he wants rezoned so he can put in eight townhomes. He withdrew it from consideration after discussion at the June 27 planning commission meeting to address residents’ concerns. He has until July 11 to resubmit a plan for the development, which could come up again in the July 26 planning commission meeting.
When the idea was first broached in November, Dyas proposed extending Daphne Court all the way east to U.S. Route 98, making a thoroughfare for both parts of the developments.
Residents turned out in force to oppose the plan when it came before the City Council in March. The planning commission recommended denial of the rezoning and the council was prepared to vote it down. Councilman Ron Scott told Dyas if that happened he would have to wait a year to resubmit another plan or he could withdraw the plan from reconsideration and resubmit right away.
Dyas has since changed the plan several times and now is proposing a rezoning of the parcel near Daphne Court to put in eight homes on what would be an extension of the street. It would end there and not become a thoroughfare to U.S. Route 98.
“The underlying problem is we don’t trust him,” Robinson said, adding she and other residents would rather the parcel directly east of Daphne Court use U.S. Route 98 to access the new homes. Dyas’ latest planned unit development rezoning request calls for a permanent landscape wall at the end of the street extension, cutting it off from the mixed-use development on U.S. Route 98.
“The original showed a connection from Highway 98 to Main Street with a gate,” Daphne Planning Director Adrienne Jones said. “The current document shows an expansion of Daphne Court eastward to provide access for the single-family detached townhouses.”
According to Robinson, Fire Chief James White said if more than two homes are built on the lot Daphne Court would have to be widened to 20 feet on the old section to accommodate emergency vehicles.
Messages sent to Dyas via voicemail and social media were unanswered.