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Old 09-28-2014, 03:03 PM
 
4,985 posts, read 2,235,360 times
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Well... I'm not here to get into an argument and I am more than willing to listen to any factual information. Certainly if there have been inappropriate actions taken by developers or town council then they need to be addressed and corrected.

I will say that comments like "Why would anyone pay for the pleasure of sitting on top of human waste?" is purely made to arouse anger and disdain over a non-existent issue. I lived for years with a septic system in my back yard. I have fertilized my yard hundreds of times with components that no doubt contained some kind of "waste." Not to mention that sewage treatment systems separate liquids and solids. Liquids are treated with chlorine, among other processes, and dumped into lakes, rivers and the ocean. Solids are broken down by bacteria to a state resembling mulch, collected and used in fertilizers or put in a dump. City dumps have been re-purposed into parks and recreation areas. The most dangerous components of sewage treatment is the non-human waste that has to be addressed. Chemicals, oils, plastics and such that are skimmed off and treated or incinerated separately. Making statements like the one above, that appear to be aimed at making people think they will be walking knee deep in raw excrement, are exaggerations and done merely to inflame.

Please, do not think I do not like or otherwise have some ill regard for Mr. Nixon. I do not know the man. I certainly do not profess to know his "inside" information or what may or may not have occurred between the developers and town council. But neither have I seen any information presented clearly and succinctly, without animosity, that details anything other than a town clerk backdating paperwork and subsequently resigning. I understand there are some questions about setbacks. I have seen no one state clearly what those issues are.

St. James is a community of communities. Each one has its own feel and appearance. There are estates, moderate size homes, condos, cottages. Each area has its unique planned style with varying setbacks. I personally do not see much difference between a 5 foot set back from a golf course of a 15 foot set back. To me there is a difference between 10 and 30 feet between houses. Ten foot is too close in my opinion but no one is making me buy one and if I don't have to live in one, do I really care. I have not gone to any meetings so I can not speak on what has been said. If anyone wants to clearly state facts and supporting evidence I am more than willing to listen. I would love to see a bullited list of what is wrong with Legacy Park, why it is wrong, how it affects St. James as a whole, and me as a home owner. Maybe there is nothing wrong with Legacy Park. Maybe we just have some officials that are still learning their job and made a few mistakes. So far I am pretty much in the dark over what the hub bub is about.

I also realize that in any large town there will always be issues. The mayor drinks, the police chief is having an affair, somebody is taking a kick back .... blah ... blah .. blah. Usually it works out, the guilty are punished, someone takes their place, life goes on. Usually I just sit back and watch the show but since the politics of St. James are new to me, maybe a little discussion will "learn me something."

Peace
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:50 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
383 posts, read 746,551 times
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Hi Ditchoc,

I like you really love SJP. I am an owner, but do not live there year round. Thus, I am far removed from the politics and have a difficult time accessing if peoples actions are right or wrong. Our system of Government has checks and balances to insure government is functioning properly (although with what goes on in Washington, DC it makes you wonder). I can only hope SJP has those same checks and balances. People are emotional, but it is the people that hold our officials accountable, so that is a good thing as long as we are respectful of each other.

It is not just Legacy Park, but there are also actions impacting Woodlands Park that people feel are being forced upon them. We just have to make sure things are in check. We don't want zoning rules altered and protected lands built upon, just to jamb in a few more houses. I am not saying that is happening here, but we have make sure rules and laws are followed.

I will say that SJP had more of a community feel before the latest building boom occurred. Every time I visit, I see a new street being built. I still can't believe they are putting houses next to the power plant that can be seen from Middleton Road. My personal opinion is that there is less of a community feel. The infrastructure is definitely suffering. The roads are in need of frequent repair, the parking at the beach club is limited, etc... I think some feel that Homor Wrights vision is not being followed by his children as he has taken a back seat to the development activities. I can't draw a conclusion because I do not know the man or have all the facts. It is just what I have heard speaking to other residents.

I love SJP an hope everything in the long run will work out. Since we all have a lot invested in our property and homes, we all hope that is the outcome.
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:53 PM
 
151 posts, read 238,644 times
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Hi Ditchoc,

My 2 cents...

Before the issue of setbacks, sewage plants and foul odors came up I remember checking out the SJP web site and reading about a new area being developed, it was called "Legacy Park." So I checked out the map on the SJP web site just to see where it is located.

Legacy Park Map - St. James Plantation Real Estate

When I looked at the neighborhood map, I noticed it was near a brown "shape" which was clearly marked as the chapel. Then I noticed there was near a much larger brown "shape" which was not labeled. Using Google maps I discovered it was the St. James Fire Department. I thought it was "interesting" that it was not labeled. I realize that it is not dishonest (from this non-lawyer's perspective) to withhold certain types of information, but it is not being honest either. I have to wonder how many people will buy a lot near the fire station and not realize it until it is to late. There is nothing wrong with having a fire station in your backyard, but the developer should be upfront about it.

I bought my lot in Woodlands Park about 2 years ago, I remember asking my and other sales persons what other developments would be going in the Woodlands Park area. It was obvious that there would be more development along Pepperbush Drive and behind the pond/lake at Woodlands Park. I was told that they had no idea if there would be development or what that development would be. Does anyone really believe that? Does anyone believe the POA when they say that they had planned for intensive development on the Woodlands Park site yet it was never discussed and the sales people were ignorant of the fact? I am not saying that any development is a bad thing, but I feel bad for those who live close to the park with the additional traffic and noise (Basketball court - Really!?!?!) the new development will bring.

I do not know Mr. Nixon, but I look forward to seeing where his protests lead. I hope his web site leads to better communication between the residents of SJP. The Town, POA and Clubs have the ability to broadcast information to us, we lack an effective mechanism to communicate with each other.
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Old 09-29-2014, 09:23 AM
 
4,985 posts, read 2,235,360 times
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My perception of St James is limited primarily because I am new there. I admit to being a bit "saucer eyed" still at the number of amenities, landscaping and so on. It is a beautiful place.

Right now my primary concern about SPJ is over development. The population in 2012 was 3,602 and I have seen numbers on the population when fully developed at between 6,000 and 8,000.The SJP maps show the northern and western border as largely undeveloped as of yet. I have seen a few comments about pools and fitness centers being crowded at times as well as limited parking at the beach. If there is crowding now, what will it be like if the population is potentially doubled? It is my understanding another fitness club is under construction, Otherwise, I have seen no information on additional amenities in the future other than the additions to Woodlands Park. I have also seen recent information on extending St James Drive past the marina out to 1500 or E.f. Middleton Blvd, probably over the next couple of years.

Thoughts on Woodlands Park

Personally I do not see and issue with the Woodlands Park additions but then I do not live across the street from it. It seems there is a lot of concern over the basketball court and I am not sure why. Maybe there is a concern it will become a hang out for teens? Current statistics show there are less than 100 people living in SJP under the age of 18. There is also a play ground planned for Woodlands. I have watched pick up games of basketball and listened to the thump, thump of the ball being dribbled, the occasional grunt of players as they are blocked and the "all right!" when a good play is made. I have also listened to the sequels of a bunch of preschoolers on a playground. Personally I would be more concerned about the noise from the playground than I would the basketball court. Maybe there is just a bad connotation over community basketball courts drawing a "bad crowd" were drug deals are made. I doubt seriously that SJP has that kind of population. Overall, I would be more concerned with crowds and traffic issues cause by amphitheater events. I assume owners considered this when they purchased lots fronting the property. It is also my understanding that Woodlands Park is controlled by the POA and the new development is being paid for with POA funds. If that is true, then every POA member has had, at some point, the opportunity to voice their opinion on the development and how their money is being spent. As new as I am I have received 2-3 email notices on meetings and opportunities to send feedback on the development. It should be a democratic process and majority rules, even if you don't always agree with the decision.

Thoughts on the Legacy Park and the Fire Department

There are disclosure laws in North Carolina where real estate are required to tell you about issues that affect your real property about access rights, structural issues, water access and so on. I do not think any one has to tell you there are plans for a drag strip across the street. Because the real estate agent wants to sell you property, more than likely, they are just going to say they can't be sure what the adjacent land will be used for. When you buy the property you have to be smart enough to use your own discretion on such issues. Everyone is different. Some people may love drag racing, others not so much. There are several signs around around the fire department telling you that it is a fire department. It is hard for me to imagine anyone actually visiting Legacy Park and not knowing there is a fire department next door. The annual report of fire department states "475 medical emergencies and 150 fire related emergencies" were answered. That is about 1.7 calls a day. I have been a NC Paramedic for about 20 years. Those are pretty low numbers. I also know that technically, ambulances and fire trucks are supposed to run lights and sirens any time they respond to an emergency. I also know that the majority of personnel hate sirens as much as anybody. It is not any fun sitting in the cab with a siren blaring a few feet away. As a result, most responders will not even sound the siren unless they need to for safety at intersections or let some vehicle know they need to get out of the way. Will people in Legacy Park hear sirens? No doubt they will. Will it be everyday? Possibly, but I doubt it. Will it be a constant intrusion to the peace and quiet? I think not. I lived several years near a major highway with a fire department with a much higher call volume just down the street. Almost every day I would hear them go by and I find myself hoping no one is seriously hurt. Rarely did I hear one late at night. Traffic is less, the drivers know people are sleeping, and like I said, they hate sirens more than you do.

Streets, Repairs and Parking

I haven't seen any major issues with streets. I do see some water drainage issues but that is common everywhere on the coast. I do not know how many times in the past past year I have received notices about temporary road closings in SJP to repair an entrance, a bridge or some other road work. All I can say it the POA seems to be on top of it.

I think the Beach Club has about 55 spaces. I have to agree that is not many for almost 4,000 residents. Beach front property is limited and expensive. If you could pave the two small ponds there you might gain another 40 spaces but then you are destroying wetlands and would another 40 spaces really solve the issue in the long term. The pool and seating on the club decks are also limited. There is not much to be done about it unless land and money come available to build a bigger facility. The nice thing about actually living at the coast is those beautiful 70 degree days in December on a Wednesday when no tourist/weekenders are around and you can enjoy these facilities with few people around. That or go early in the day before it is full or late in the day when people have left. These are some of the quietest and most beautiful times to see the beach with a gorgeous sunrise or sunset. I realize this is not what some people want to hear. I realize some people feel entitled and want what they want, when they want it and if they don't get it they will complain. Not much more I can say about that.

I have rambled enough. My ending thoughts are enjoy and appreciate what you have, strive to make it better when you can and avoid being bitter when you can't. The median age in SJP is 65 and 50% of SJP is 65 or older. You have a lot more days behind you than in front. Make em count, make em happy.

Peace
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Old 09-29-2014, 09:31 AM
 
1,090 posts, read 1,976,285 times
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Hey Ditch, quick question for ya.

When the 44 spaces at the beach are all taken up where do people park than? Can you park on the sidestreets? What options would one have??

Thanks buddy..

Last edited by biscman; 09-29-2014 at 10:08 AM..
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Old 09-29-2014, 11:35 AM
 
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Almost every street that ends perpendicular to the beach on Oak Island has some free, public beach parking. There may only be 3-4 spaces, there maybe 10-12 spaces. Depending on where you read, Oak Island claims to have anywhere from 50 to 70 public access points with free parking. There is a street ending on both sides of the Beach Club. There are some spaces there.

Please don't hang me out to dry if I am wrong but, looking Google Earth, there appears to be about 60 spaces at street ends within the length of 4 football fields to either side of of the Beach Club. Of course these are public spaces but it opens the possibility of additional parking within walking distance to the Beach Club.
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Old 09-29-2014, 06:48 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
383 posts, read 746,551 times
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There are some spaces on 71st and 72nd streets. The irony is that SJP owned much of the land around the beach club but sold it a few year back (that is what I have heard). My guess is they will have to implement some type of shuttle system to deal with the overflow.
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:20 AM
 
154 posts, read 186,516 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchoc View Post
Almost every street that ends perpendicular to the beach on Oak Island has some free, public beach parking. There may only be 3-4 spaces, there maybe 10-12 spaces. Depending on where you read, Oak Island claims to have anywhere from 50 to 70 public access points with free parking. There is a street ending on both sides of the Beach Club. There are some spaces there.

Please don't hang me out to dry if I am wrong but, looking Google Earth, there appears to be about 60 spaces at street ends within the length of 4 football fields to either side of of the Beach Club. Of course these are public spaces but it opens the possibility of additional parking within walking distance to the Beach Club.

I went over to Oak Island beach for the first time the Sunday before last; September 21 and it was a beautiful day. I came across the Midway bridge and made a left at the beach. I had to go past several streets before I found an empty public spot to park. I am guessing it would be very hard to find a place to park during the season. FWIW; I recently bought a house in the area (not SJP) and don't live full time in the area so I may mot be a good source. I didn't get near the SJP beach house.
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Old 09-30-2014, 07:49 AM
 
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Does this ever get brought up at the Community meetings as a potential long term issue especially as the plantation gets built out....
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:18 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
794 posts, read 1,645,778 times
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Default !

Just an FYI to clear up some FACTS vs RUMORS/HEARSAY a bit.


-----Original Message-----
From: The Town of St. James
Subject: Open Letter to St. James Residents


Open letter to St. James residents regarding Legacy Park

It is extremely rare for the St. James Town Council to address all our residents regarding a single issue but unfortunately the Legacy Park approval process now requires such action. There is much misleading, false and incomplete information floating among internal emails, the press and two non-Town websites. This information has caused much bad press for our residents and St. James as a whole. It now starts to threaten the cohesiveness of our community. Based on unruly meetings, hate emails and physical threats, we have recently had to ask the Brunswick County sheriff's office to cover our Planning Board and Council meetings. This is not the way one expects responsible adults in a community like ours, or any community, to act or perform in public. When mobs rule, disrespect, and lack of civility take over, St. James has reached a low point. When emotion overwhelms reason we need to step back and reflect on what this is demonstrating about ourselves.

The purpose of this open letter is to provide facts -- not half-truths or totally misleading information or false emails. Let's start.


Legacy Park is part of the Reserve Subdivision -- FALSE

Back in 2004 when the Developer received approval for their second Planned Unit Development (Reserve PUD) it included neighborhoods we currently know as Seaside, Reserve, Woodlands and Legacy Park. Each of these are separate subdivisions (neighborhoods) have been designed with different characteristics, restrictive covenants and setbacks. Legacy Park is the latest subdivision being developed under the Reserve PUD but it is not in the Reserve subdivision. The Developer has submitted plat plans for the Legacy Park subdivision which need to be consistent with the approved PUD and that meet the zoning district's minimal standards outlined in Article 7.10 of the Town's UDO (available online). There need be no connection between the Reserve subdivision and the Legacy Park subdivision, just as there is none between Sea Side and Reserve. That would be the Developer's choice.


The golf course lots in Legacy Park must have 40' setbacks as do all the rest of the golf course lots in the Reserve neighborhood -- FALSE

A number of golf course lots in the Reserve neighborhood have rear setbacks less than 40', some as low as 15'. Details are available at Town Hall.
Members of Town Council were involved in the cover up of the backdated Legacy Park application --FALSE
When the backdated application arrived in Town Hall the Deputy Town Clerk/Deputy UDO Administrator noticed the inconsistency and pointed it out to the Mayor, Becky Dus. The Mayor instructed the Deputy UDO Administrator to put the current day's date on the application. The email from the former UDO Administrator to the Developer asking for the backdated application was not discovered until we were processing public information requests for the parties in the appeal of the April 10, 2014 Planning Board decision to the Board of Adjustment. At no time did any member of Council ask for or condone ANY illegal action regarding the Legacy Park application.

The Town and the Planning Board aren't representing our residents' interests - FALSE.

The Town and the Planning Board work hard to represent all our residents, even the smaller groups of residents who object to some proposals. However, we are obligated to follow our own Unified Development Ordinance, which is the Town's law regarding development within Town limits. Any project that was approved by the County prior to the Town's receiving UDO authority, which is the case where Legacy Park is concerned, MUST be approved by the Town as long as it remains compliant with the original County approval and all the steps required in our UDO are followed. The applicant is guaranteed a fair and unbiased hearing before the Planning Board. Those Planning Board members cannot favor the applicant or any group opposing. Their decision must be based on the quality of the application weighed against the relevant sections of the UDO. Many of the objections raised by residents of the Reserve and some others fall outside the authority of the Planning Board; those residents need to take their concerns directly to the Developer or whoever has that authority.

We'll lose our Nicklaus designation and devalue the golf course and the homes on the golf course if we don't require 40' rear setbacks on golf course lots. The emails received from Nicklaus Design confirm this - FALSE.
The emails we have seen from Nicklaus Design offer their recommendation about the rear setbacks but they do not threaten to remove the Nicklaus name from the golf course. They do say that they sent a letter to the Developer, but we have not seen that letter, so none of us really knows what Nicklaus Design said to the Developer.

The Developer voluntarily extended some Legacy Park golf course rear setbacks (Lots 19-21) to 30' (these are directly behind # 16 green on the Reserve). The Developer has also stated that they will not approve any impervious encroachment inside the 20' setback line on the other golf course lots. Assuming that most buyers will want a patio or deck they will have to move their homes forward on their lots thus making the effective setback at least 10 more feet.

Finally, the proposed setbacks for Legacy Park comply with the approval received from the County and which are consistent with the Town's UDO, so we CANNOT disapprove the proposal based on this objection. If residents want the setbacks increased, they should take this concern directly to the developer.


The Town/Planning Board did not follow its own UDO -- PARTIALLY TRUE

The Planning Board and the UDO Administrator, at this point in time, basically has one customer developing land in St. James - the Developer. Over time this relationship had become too casual. The concerns of some residents in the Reserve through their public comments and formal appeal has brought this into the clear light. The immediate results have been that two people lost their positions. Also, the Developer was forced to go back to the beginning of the process on four subdivision projects. And the Town's legal bill is over $30,000 from July, 2014 until now. Further the UDO Administrator and the Planning Board have unfairly become the targets. People who volunteer for these appointed position should never, never be treated in this manner. We are committed to get back to strict enforcement of the town's UDO (the law). This will be done.

Summary
What started out as a disagreement between some folks in the Reserve and the Developer over golf course lot rear setbacks has morphed into a very nasty and public battle. We now have two newspapers and two local websites hanging on our every word. Those Reserve folks driving the disagreement with the Developer have decided to use the UDO Administrator and Planning Board as their vehicle for leverage.
We would urge our residents to use the same degree of skepticism about the rumors and accusations that are being published by our two self-appointed watch dog groups/websites that they would for any of the other rumors that make the rounds here in St. James. If you have questions about what you are reading or hearing, ask us and we'll be happy to provide you any facts that are available.
Thank you,

St. James Town Council
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