In a five-to-one vote—with Councilwoman Laura Padgett dissenting—Wilmington City Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance to rezone almost 13 acres of land at the corner of Market Street and Middle Sound Loop Road to allow for a shopping center.
According to Wilmington City Spokeswoman Malissa Talbert, the project will contain a 72,000-square-foot retail shopping center and a 9,500-square-foot auto care center that would make up the future Ogden Market Place.
During a public hearing of the ordinance, citizens from the Middle Sound Loop area expressed their concerns about increased congestion on Middle Sound Loop Road due to traffic coming in and out of the new shopping center.
According to Padgett and representatives from Halpern Development Co., 9,000 visitors are expected to come to the shopping center each day.
Robert Par, a member of the Middle Sound Loop community, noted: “With these 9,000 visitors and the 30-second timer for the light on Middle Sound Loop Road, the traffic this is going to create is going to be excessive.”
“I have gone back and forth on this up until this very second and I have to say that the developer has done a huge amount to take from where it started to where it is now,” Padgett said. “Lots of trees will be saved. I just can’t vote for a project that’s on a road that’s adding all these fast food restaurants along with other projects and see the traffic get that much worse.”
City council unanimously annexed the property in June, and now with the ratified ordinance, council members determined the property is suitable to be rezoned under the classifications of a Community Business District and Commercial Services District, allowing for construction to begin on the project.
James Mieczkowski is a news reporter for Port City Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com On Twitter: @mieczkowskiPCD