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Chamber Says Recent Efforts Led To Draft Land Use Map Revisions

By Cece Nunn, posted Apr 24, 2015

The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce found success in its efforts to prompt changes to New Hanover County's draft land use map, the chamber announced Friday.

“Dedicated work had gone into creating the draft future land use map, but there were some concerns when the Chamber hosted a presentation by county staff. In particular, the guidelines for allowable density and height in new development were too restrictive. If followed, those guidelines wouldn't have allowed several projects that have been built recently in the city,” said an economic development update emailed Friday by Connie Majure-Rhett, president and CEO of the chamber.

County staff revised the map after the chamber organized meetings with panels of experts in the development field, stakeholders, Business Alliance for a Sound Economy and the staff to talk about concerns, the update stated.

The revisions addressed place types that the draft land use map uses to characterize potentially desired development in various areas. If adopted, the land use map could serve as one of the documents that guide a planned revamping of zoning ordinances, though the place types are not official zoning designations, county planners have explained in community presentations.

“In the 'Commerce Zone' designation, allowable [building] stories were increased from 1-3 to 1-10. In the 'Employment Center' designation, allowable stories were increased from 1-4 to 1-10. Allowable density was increased in these and other zones as well,” the update said of the revisions.

The chamber was pleased with the revisions, according to the update, and commended the county's planning staff for taking the time to meet with business leaders and being open to adjustments.

“These changes will allow similar types of development that are already occuring in Wilmington and will help endure that future development projects are economically feasible,” the chamber's email said.

The draft land use map is part of the county's Plan NHC initiative, and the public can still offer feedback by calling county long range planner Jennifer Rigby at 798-7237 or emailing her at [email protected].

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