SURF CITY | The town council approved rezoning land being eyed for what could be the town’s largest residential development.

Council members on Dec. 1 unanimously approved rezoning 240 acres from residential agricultural to planned unit development, initiating the prospect of a proposed subdivision of more than 3,200 residential units and 4 acres of commercial property. Councilman Doug Medlin was not at the meeting.

The proposed development Waterside at Surf City will be a series of neighborhoods with a mix of single-family homes, town homes, condominiums and apartments on a tract that stretches from Belt Road to the Intracoastal Waterway.

Surf City Planning Director Todd Rademacher said the town can provide water and sewer service to the proposed development.

“The proposed density of this property is about 13 ½ units per acre,” he said.

The proposed residential density is a concern, Councilman Buddy Fowler said. He made a motion to approve the rezoning request made by Coterra Development Co., but stressed that the town needs to pay “close attention” to stormwater runoff that would be associated with the proposed development.

Surf City resident Bob Forand owns property adjacent to a portion of the 240-acre tract.

“I’m not against the development,” he said. “You need to look at what other impacts it’s going to have, not just on the community, but on the sound and the estuaries.”

Waymoth Batts also owns property next to the proposed development. He harvests an oyster garden at the mouth of Molly’s Branch.

“If they can keep all their stormwater on the property, that’s wonderful,” he said. “I’ve had my garden 27 years and it would be a shame to lose it.”

Dan Weeks, a landscape architect with Paramount Engineering, said the town will have to evaluate and decide whether to approve each phase of the proposed project.

“This is going to be a phased project,” he said. “This site plan really is just a framework. It’s the last remaining large development tract left for the town. It’s a unique piece of land and we want to get it right.”

The developers are looking at creating open space with a series of small parks and “nature-driven amenities.”

“It needs to be a themed community,” Weeks said. “We’re looking for something that fits into the coast.”