NEW HANOVER COUNTY — As New Hanover County continues to attract new residents, some of the traditionally less populous areas in the county are seeing an influx of new development.
Most recently, in the northeastern part of New Hanover County towards Ogden and Porters Neck, new growth can be seen, from major grocery retailers to a new hotel.
This past week the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted to approve rezoning to allow the construction of a new hotel in Porters Neck. But the hotel is not the only project in the works for the area. As a testament to population growth, Publix recently opened a store in Ogden.
A newly proposed development, called Plantation Landing Townhomes, has been submitted for approval to New Hanover County. The new neighborhood would be located along Market Street, just past where I-140 ends, heading toward Hampstead.
The nearly 8-acre property, which is currently vacant, would house 48 residential units and would help address the need for affordable housing, according to the application submitted to the county. The developer is requesting the property be rezoned for the residential use.
“The property was rezoned for business uses back in the past before the highway was improved and this portion of Market Street became more of a service road,” the application states. “That has made many business uses less than viable for this location. Rezoning this property for moderate density residential development is a more logical transition to the adjacent single-family development.”
Just two miles south from the proposed townhomes, another application was submitted for rezoning to allow for the construction of a retail and office center, also located on Market Street.
The development would be less than two-acres in size and would be called the Bailey Shoppes on Market. It would include a proposed two-story, 25,000-square-foot office and retail building in front, along with a two-story 3,600 square-foot office building behind it.
The decisions to approve or deny the requests made by developers ultimately falls on county leaders, which is why both New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington have created plans to guide development in the region.
Cindee Wolf helps developers in the region move through the entitlement process between private entities and local governments and has firsthand experience in working with the county and city land use plans.
“Ultimately everything happening revolves around the somewhat recent New Hanover County and City of Wilmington Comprehensive Land Use Plans. They are the guiding tools. I do believe that it will be increasingly difficult to ‘buck’ the premise of a project not necessarily being 100 percent consistent with the plans — but still reasonable and in the public good,” Wolf said.
The rezonings requests still have to go through the county’s Planning Board, public hearings, and eventually final approval from the County Commissioners. Development activity can be tracked on the county’s planning website.
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