A grading and land disturbance permit application was filed June 21 with Camden County Planning and Zoning to allow excavation of a 30-acre parcel of land to develop a possible satellite parking lot for the Lazy Gators complex in the Horseshoe Bend area. An application for the zoning and preliminary plat development plan for the property has not yet been received from developer Gary Prewitt, according to P&Z Administrator Don Hathaway.
The county had pre-reviewed the parking lot plans with an engineer for Gators, so all the county needed was the application for the excavation to move forward.
But as with any project in the county, grading and land disturbance permit issuance is not dependent upon zoning approval.
The proposed parking lot, located about one-half from the Gators site, has never been properly zoned.
When P&Z was implemented in 2004, a few properties in this area were apparently never zoned due to an oversight or perhaps because the properties were thought to be within the boundaries of the Village of Four Seasons, according to Hathaway.
The P&Z administrator said he is working with the village to determine what their boundary is and to assign zoning to whatever properties are in the county and not zoned. They will likely be assigned zoning based on their existing use.
The property in this case is definitely outside the village boundaries, according to Hathaway, and will likely be zoned agricultural or single family residential based on existing use.
An upgrade in zoning to low impact commercial is required for the parking lot along with a development plan for landscaping and screening at the perimeter as a buffer to adjacent residential properties.
While the excavation work can be done with a grading and land disturbance permit, it does not allow the property to be paved and used as a parking lot without county approval of the zoning and development plan, Hathaway said.
The zoning and development plan application has missed the cut-off date to get on the Camden County P&Z agenda for July 17, pushing the case off until at least August if an application is filed at all.
These applications solely cover the proposed satellite parking lot and do not involve the Lazy Gators complex itself.
Camden County and Prewitt have been in litigation for several years over the zoning of the Lazy Gators property. The county has, so far, been unsuccessful in shutting the venue down. Prewitt operates under a catering license.
In a recent press release from Camden County, Hathaway acknowledged that the county commission and their legal representatives had been involved in negotiations with Prewitt over these issues.
Page 2 of 2 - According to Hathaway, the discussions were started at the request of Prewitt and his legal staff to review possible options for layout and rezoning of the Lazy Gators property on Sweet Williams Rd.
Hathaway said the proceedings were instigated under closed door policies and at the request of Prewitt's legal counsel. The county agreed to nondisclosure of the proceedings until after his formal submittal of an application for rezoning or permits to construct the related projects.
The meetings were held on on March 28, April 16 and April 30, 2013.
Hathaway said Prewitt submitted sketch plans at the first meeting for proposed site options for the Lazy Gators complex.
The issues of required parking for the development which is currently deficient, sanitary sewer facilities upgrades, and public transportation and street improvements, were all discussed as possible infrastructure improvements that would require verification of adequacy for any expansion of the development to proceed. Required platting, and permitting for the development in accordance with provisions of the Unified Land Use Code were also outlined.
Rezoning approval from the Planning Commission from the current single family residential zoning to a low or medium impact commercial zoning with Conditional Use Permit was discussed as a requirement for any outdoor entertainment activity. The last submittal for review on possible rezoning and site plan approval appeared to propose use of the property similar to the current level of use with added restrooms and reference to a marina.
Hathaway said it was when the two sides got together a second time that the discussions shifted from the issues of rezoning of the Lazy Gators Complex to the potential satellite parking lot located near the Gators complex.