Thursday, February 29, 2024

As Leland pursues walkability, townhouse developments may have to provide sidewalks

Leland town staff asked the Planning Board to consider removing an exemption for townhouses to not meet all street requirement codes.

LELAND—Leland’s Planning Board has approved removing an exemption that has allowed developers of townhouses to skip out on providing sidewalks.

RELATED: Here’s why the sidewalk ends, and how Wilmington is filling in the gaps

For years, Leland’s townhouses were exempt from street requirement codes that most other housing developments were subject to. Leland’s staff researched communities across the state and learned townhouses typically fall under subdivision design standards that do not warrant a unique exemption.

Last week, Leland’s Planning Board unanimously voted to approve the removal of the code exemption for townhouses based on a staff recommendation. Townhouse developments in Leland could soon be subject to the same street requirements as other housing developments as outlined in Section 22-145 of the town’s code.

Now, the change will be heard by town council before the text amendment is officially passed.

Move toward walkability

The Planning Board’s decision comes on the heels of council’s recent steps to make the growing town more walkable. Earlier this month, Leland’s council approved the option to make a nearly $1 million offer to acquire land adjacent to Town Hall.

The cost of acquisition was not included in the town’s $5 million Municipal Campus Master Plan, which includes a 10-foot multi-use path and additional pedestrian-friendly developments.

As the town continues to expand, the town’s staff has identified adding green space and improving walkability as a top priority.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correctly identify Charleston Common’s plans to complete a sidewalk and walkway system.

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