Real Estate - Residential

Rezoning For 348-unit Townhome Project On County Agenda

By Cece Nunn, posted Jan 5, 2024
A rendering by Becker Morgan Group shows the townhomes proposed on 33.5 acres at 8138 Market St. (Courtesy of CIP Construction)

New Hanover County officials are expected to consider a measure Monday that would allow 348 townhome units to be built on Market Street.

Some nearby residents have expressed opposition to CIP Construction’s plans for the 33.5 acres at 8138 Market St. in Porters Neck, citing concerns such as an increase in traffic.

CIP Construction is a division of Greensboro-based development firm The Carroll Companies. Company officials want the county to rezone the property from a mix of zoning designations to residential multi-family moderate high density (RMF-M). The 348 units would be spread throughout the site in two- and three-story buildings.

A public hearing on the rezoning request is part of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners’ agenda for the panel's meeting at 4 p.m. Monday. 

If the request is approved and the project moves forward, development officials estimate the start of construction could take place mid-2025 and completion during the second half of 2027.

"Timing to start includes obtaining the required permits after rezoning and following preparation of civil engineering plans and architectural plans for the project," according to an email from CIP.

On Nov. 2, the New Hanover County Planning Board voted 4-2 to recommend approval of the request with conditions, according to a county summary. Planning board members Pete Avery and Hansen Matthews were the two board members who voted against the approval recommendation. Avery did not support a condition requiring bicycle and pedestrian connectivity and Matthews objected "because the proposal did not include any affordable or workforce housing components," the summary states.

The county's planning staff recommended that the board of commissioners approve the rezoning with conditions, which include a connection to Brays Drive (an access point to the planned neighborhood from Portenrs Neck Drive], bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure being installed up to the property line where the internal roads connect to adjacent parcels and limiting the buildings to three stories.

According to the county staff report, the developer has had a traffic impact analysis (TIA) approved by the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization requiring roadway improvements. The improvements include a new right-turn lane on Market Street on a northbound approach to the development and a new traffic signal at Cypress Pond Way.

"There is a connection to Brays Drive which the applicant has proposed for emergency access only. The TIA approval was based on full access at Brays Drive, which the staff would recomment," the report states. "If the board is in support of the applicant's proposed gated access at Brays Drive, an updated TIA approval letter would be required from the WMPO and NCDOT."

Engineers from traffic engineering firm Davenport, based in Winston-Salem, conducted a full traffic study of the area for CIP based on local requirements, said John Davenport, president of the firm, in an email Friday. "Our independent study and traffic improvement recommendations were reviewed and approved by all appropriate agencies. We understand that CIP Construction has agreed with the recommended traffic improvements to be performed by the developer, including the construction of a full lane across the frontage of the property, which will create a 700-foot right turn lane approaching the Porters Neck intersection.  In addition, a traffic signal will be installed at the u-turn break on Market Street north of the proposed site access point (Cypress Pond Way).  This will be for the southbound traffic only, and will help traffic safely go south without having to go through the Porters Neck intersection.

"These improvements will fully mitigate the impact of the traffic from the developer’s project and actually exceed the improvements necessitated by such project traffic. Private funding of these traffic improvements will be a benefit to the community and to the traveling public. Additionally, we understand that CIP Construction proposes to restrict traffic from the project to and from Porters Neck Road."

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