AAIPharma grant, vote to oppose offshore oil exploration on City Council’s agenda Tuesday

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The July 21 meeting will be the only City Council Meeting in July. The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, August 4.
The July 21 meeting will be the only City Council meeting in July. The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, August 4. Photo courtes Cityy of Wilmington.

Wilmington City Council will consider a resolution approving an industrial investment grant with AAIPharma for $45,000 per year for five years that will send $225,000 to the pharmaceutical company in exchange for a promise to invest $20 million in their Wilmington location along with bringing dozens of high-salary jobs to the Port City.

The investment grant coincides with a similar offer from New Hanover County that would send $275,000 to the pharmaceutical company for a total of $500,000 in local incentives.

According to City Spokeswoman Malissa Talbert, “the grant would be contingent upon AAIPharma building a 40,000-square-foot, $20 million headquarters facility within the Wilmington city limits and the creation of at least 50 new jobs with an average compensation of $77,000 each.”

In an interview with Port City Daily, New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield Jr. stated that over the past year, Wilmington City Council and New Hanover County commissioners have been working on a joint policy agreement that would have the two entities work closer on economic matters similar to AAIPharma.

The AAIPharma location at 1726 N. 23rd St., specializes in manufacturing oral solid dose forms of prescription drugs. 

Related Story: New Hanover County, Wilmington City Council to consider $500K in incentives for AAIPharma.

Also on the agenda is a resolution continued from the June 16 city council meeting that opposes seismic testing and offshore drilling activities off the North Carolina coast.

According to City Manager Sterling Cheatham, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which works under the federal Department of the Interior, is seeking input and public comments about the seismic testing and drilling activities from communities in Atlantic Coast regions that could see offshore leases as soon as 2021 and seismic testing as soon as 2017.

Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach have already passed resolutions in opposition to the federal program and during the June 16 meeting, council members Laura Padgett and Kevin O’Grady expressed their support of the resolution.

“Frankly I think it’s time we did it,” said O’Grady. “I don’t think the issue of the threat to the coast is in question from offshore oil drilling. There is no way oil companies can guarantee there will be no spills, and our coast will become the victim.”

The resolution was initially brought to the floor by Councilman Charlie Rivenbark, but after citing a concern from councilman Neil Anderson, he asked  to continue the council’s consideration of the resolution to a later date.

“I feel like I owe it to myself—and those who elected me— to do more homework before I vote on [the resolution],” said Anderson.

Related Story: Wilmington City Council to discuss resolution opposing offshore oil exploration

Other agenda items include:

  • A resolution awarding a construction contract for the first phase of improvements to Water Street and Riverfront Park, including streetscape improvements, bulkhead repairs to support the riverwalk, and stormwater improvements with Cape Fear Public Utility replacing the water and sewer lines.  A companion ordinance will place $2.4 million in city funds toward the project and the CFPUA is expected to allocate approximately $1.1 million for its share.
  • An ordinance to change current housing regulations to allow “cottage housing developments,” which are small, single-family residences clustered around a common courtyard area. In a written statement Talbert said “these new regulations would help address Wilmington’s anticipated housing needs as the population grows by more than 57,000 people over the next 20 years.”
  • A resolution awarding a contract to design another entrance to the Love Grove neighborhood. This will be the first major contract approved from the voter-approved 2014 Transportation Bond.

Wilmington City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 102 N. Third St. Click here to see the full agenda.