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Developer eyes Bertie project

WINDSOR – If plans are realized, a new town has the potential to spring to life from Bertie County soil.

Forest City Land Group (FCLG) has contacted Bertie officials in regards to a potential mixed-use development consisting of 1,365 acres located along Bal Gra Road (SR 1501) off U.S. 17 near the Edenhouse Bridge.

According to a letter addressed to county officials from Peter Cozens, FCLG Vice-President, the plans call for approximately 800 free-standing homes and 240 condominiums on that tract of land.

“This proposed development has the potential to become the second largest residential area in Bertie County,” Zee Lamb, Bertie County Manager, said.

“It has all the makings of becoming a town all by itself,” County Engineer Charles Joyner added.

The letter from Cozens requested the possibility of Bertie County’s Rural Water District supplying water to the proposed development. It is estimated that 450,000 gallons would be needed daily.

Lamb asked if the county’s Rural Water District #2 would be capable of handling such a request. Joyner responded, saying by adding this amount to the system would require improvements to the District #2 water system. He pointed out that District #2 already encompasses another planned residential subdivision at Inns Brook, a golf resort located near the proposed FCLG site.

During their meeting yesterday (Monday) morning, the Bertie County Board of Commissioners gave Joyner the authority to conduct a preliminary engineering review in order to put together a cost estimate for the FCLG request.

In a related decision reached later in Monday’s meeting, the commissioners gave Bertie Planning Director Traci White the green light to add a Planned Unit Development (PUD) amendment to the county’s subdivision ordinance. A PUD is a land development project that is comprehensively planned as an entity, via a unitary site plan, that permits building flexibility in siting, mixtures of building types and land uses, recreational areas, useable open spaces and preservation of significant natural features.

In the meantime, Bertie officials were excited to hear the prospect of additional growth in the county.

“With all the development planned for the Chowan River and Albemarle Sound area, Bertie County 10 years from now will be different than the one we know today,” Lamb noted. “This is a very exciting time here in Bertie County.”

FCLG is part of Forest City Enterprise, Inc. based in Cleveland, Ohio. As of last year, the company owned 7,400 acres of developable land and was involved in 25 projects in nine states.