LELAND — The Town of Leland is expecting hundreds of new homes and dozens of retail locations. A majority of growth is happening along Highway 17 but growth and regeneration are happening along the Village Road corridor as well.
Town leaders and staff have worked to promote growth along the corridor to ensure all of Leland benefits from the influx of new residents.
Two sides of Leland
State Route 74 bisects the Town of Leland creating two distinct sections of the town, but Economic Development Director Gary Vidmar says it is a mistake to view the corridors as two different Leland’s.
“Between 2004 and 2016, most of the growth and development in Leland occurred along Hwy. 17 primarily due to the availability of large tracts of vacant land. On the other hand, the Village Road corridor was pretty much built out by the mid-2000s and vacant land was scarce,” Vidmar said.
Despite the lack of vacant land, town officials have worked to promote growth and development along the Village Road Corridor, as well as improve the aesthetics of the area. Those efforts include a new town ordinance passed earlier this year forcing the removal of tall signs in the town.
“The tall pole signs have been removed by businesses throughout the Town due to a signage text amendment passed by Council in 2013 which required all non-conforming signs to either be removed or brought into conformance with the Code of Ordinances by April 30, 2018. The replacement signs must be ground mounted and meet other height and area restrictions. The Village Road and Hwy. 17 business corridor, in particular, have become much more attractive as a result of replacement of the tall pole-mounted signs,” according to an economic development update presented to the town’s Planning Board Tuesday.
New codes to promote new development
The focus on the Village Road Corridor is nothing new according to Vidmar, in 2011 the town moved forward with a FlexCode zoning ordinance.
“In an effort to promote new development activity in the Village Road area, in 2011 Council adopted the FlexCode zoning ordinance and in 2013 they rezoned an area designated as The Gateway Planning Area to FlexCode. This zoning district is north and south of Village Road, west of the Highway 17 / Ocean Highway exit, along Old Fayetteville Road, Carolina Avenue, and South Navassa Road. The FlexCode is a form-based code that encourages livable places,” Vidmar said.
There are also new developments underway along Village road, as well as town infrastructure projects like the $3 million Northgate Drive Realignment project.
“In 2016 and 2017 Town staff worked closely with the developer of the Harrington Village project for many months to ensure that this $45M mixed-use project met the vision of the Town while at the same time becoming a successful project for the developer. This major project is expected to catalyze other similar projects along the Village Road corridor.
“A development agreement was signed which was the first of its kind in the Town. We are now beginning to see much more development activity in the form of new single-family subdivisions and townhomes as well as upgrades to commercial and retail buildings,” he said.
The Town is also considering burying the overhead electric lines along Village Road, and in 2017 entered into an agreement with Duke Energy to determine the cost of such a project, Vidmar said.
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