The Walton County Technical Review Committee recently took up two minor development subdivision requests in Inlet Beach, a cell tower proposal, a large apartment project proposed west of Freeport, and two amendments.
All of these were moved forward in the process conditionally by the committee members at the TRC’s Nov. 15 meeting at Freeport Commons.
Arcadia at Hwy. 20
The agenda item coming forward with the most proposed units was Arcadia at Hwy. 20, consisting of 352 multi-family units on 26.9 acres. 
The property is located on the southeast corner of the Hwy. 20/CR-83A West intersection, west of Freeport. It had been rezoned by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on Nov. 22, 2022, from a Rural Residential to a Commercial future land use and from a Rural Village to a General Commercial zoning district (the Patterson Small Scale Amendment).
In February 2023, the Walton County Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) had approved a conditional use to allow for multi-family development without ground floor commercial use and requiring a dedication of 20 percent income-restricted units (affordable housing) on the property.
Stephen Schoen of Walton County Planning and Development Services introduced the project at the Nov. 15 TRC meeting, noting that the application was submitted by McNeill Carroll Engineering, Inc., on behalf of applicants TLV RE MF V Freeport II Owner, L.L.C.
The application was presented with 20-percent income restricted units on the 26.9 acres.
Schoen noted that reviewer comments from Walton County Fire Rescue were currently missing. However, he said the applicants did not indicate any concern about satisfying any of the outstanding reviewer comments.
Representing the applicants, engineer Robert Carroll said he did not foresee any issue with meeting fire rescue requirements.
Based on the nature of the remaining reviewer comments and the character of the development in providing income-restricted units in keeping with the Walton County Land Development Code (LDC) and Comprehensive Plan (CP), Schoen recommended moving the proposal forward to the next step in the county review and approval process, a hearing before the Walton County Planning Commission. This was on the condition of the remaining comments being satisfied in advance of that hearing.
The committee members approved a motion in line with this recommendation.
Inlet Cove
Inlet Cove was the first of two minor development subdivisions in Inlet Beach coming before the committee at the Nov. 15 meeting.
This was a request on behalf of Inlet Cove Investments Group, L.L.C., to develop a subdivision consisting of 12 single-family lots on 1.45 acres at 102 Walton Palm Road and 75 Irish Way, north of U.S. 98 in Inlet Beach.
The property is in a Residential future land use area and a Neighborhood Infill zoning district.
Kelly Schultz of Walton County Planning and Development Services introduced the project. She reported that the property adjoins that of another project on the agenda, the Inlet Vue Subdivision.
Schultz said planning staff had been working with engineers for the two projects to try to get a connector road between the two properties.
Mac Carpenter, TRC chairman and county planning and development services director, commented that the department was “absolutely interested” in interconnectivity of streets in order for multiple opportunities to be provided to reach a destination and/or to relieve traffic congestion. “And in this case,” he said of the connector road, “it’s going to provide convenience to end users.”
Representing the applicants, engineer Curtis Smith said he thought a good solution had been worked out for this interconnectivity. Carpenter voiced his appreciation.
The committee members voted to move this minor development project forward to a planning director’s determination on issuance of a development order on the condition of any outstanding reviewer comments being addressed.
Inlet Vue Subdivision
Inlet Vue Subdivision was the adjoining minor development subdivision that had been referenced.
This was a single-family subdivision consisting of six lots on 1.1 acres. The location is 75 Carson Lane in Inlet Beach.
The property is also in a Residential future land use area and a Neighborhood Infill zoning category.
Elsam Development, L.L.C., are the project applicants.
Introducing this project, as well, Schultz said there had been agreement for a road on the property to be modified and a previously-proposed turnaround on the north side of the property to “go away” to provide for the road instead to be continued through the Inlet Cove subdivision property.
This project was also approved by the committee to advance to final action by the planning director on the condition of any remaining reviewer comments being satisfied.
Sapphire Island Cell Tower
Also advancing to final planning director development order consideration by vote of the committee will be the Sapphire Island Tower Development Order request.
The request was on behalf of Vertical Bridge and consisted of a 300-foot-tall, self-supporting wireless telecommunications facility on 27.08 acres at 1813 John White Road, west of U.S. 331 and north of the Rock Hill community.
The committee vote was conditioned on a resubmittal by the applicants to address any outstanding reviewer comments.
South Walton Commerce Park PUD Amendment
South Walton Commerce Park PUD Amendment was one of the three major development projects coming before the TRC at the Nov. 15 meeting. This is a request on behalf of the St. Joe Timberland Company to develop 28 commercial lots and infrastructure on 98.93 acres east of Serenoa Road and north of U.S. 98 in southeastern Walton County. This is the third phase for the commerce park.
According to the project staff report, “The South Walton Commerce Park PUD was originally approved via Development Order #1674 on September 10, 2003 for 35 commercial lots and was platted on September 20, 2004. Phase II was approved for 21 commercial lots on March 18, 2021 and was platted on October 31, 2021.”
Speaking for the applicants, engineer David Smith told the committee members that the request is consistent with the previously-approved PUD for the commerce park and with the St. Joe Company’s Detailed Specific Area Plan (DSAP) 1.
Walton County had approved DSAP 1 in May 2020 for 2,435 mostly-vacant acres within southeastern Walton County.
Smith noted that reviewer comments remaining were very minor and capable of being easily addressed by the applicants.
The request was approved to advance to a hearing before the planning commission, the next step for the project, on the condition of the outstanding comments being satisfied.
Hurst SSA with Rezoning
Moving forward to planning commission, as well, will be an additional request presented at the Nov. 15 TRC meeting. This is the Hurst Small Scale Amendment (SSA) with Rezoning.
On behalf of the Noel U. and Evelyn L. Hurst Trust, the amendment would provide for a future land use change from Rural Residential to Commercial, or a lesser land use, and a zoning district change from Rural Village to General Commercial, or a lesser zoning district, on 0.44 acre on U.S. 331 South, approximately 0.13 mile south of Rodney Drive, south of Freeport.
Introducing the request, Stephen Schoen noted that a very similar map amendment had recently come before the committee for property located north and east of the subject property.
The similar amendment had received final approval from the county commission in October 2023 with an accompanying land use restriction, the latter due to floodplain on that property.
Schoen said there is no floodplain on the subject property, so there would be no need for a land use restriction to accompany this new proposal. He said staff considered it substantially consistent with the LDC and CP, complete, and ready to move forward at the discretion of the committee.
Carpenter observed that the request appears to represent a logical development pattern based on and consistent with Walton County’s approved U.S. 331 Economic Development Corridor Plan.
The request will undergo review by the planning commission and then final consideration by the BCC in public session.
Continued agenda items
Continued by advance request to the Dec. 6 TRC meeting were the following agenda items: The 3 Sons BBQ Small Scale Amendment (SSA) with Rezoning. the Miller Large Scale Amendment (LSA) with Rezoning, the Sandbar, and the North Gulf SSA with Rezoning.
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