Oleander Drive mixed-use development request would actually decrease traffic compared to by-right construction

If the developer chose to go with the by-right development of a grocery store the traffic count would actually be higher than the proposed mixed-use development.

The former Carmike Cinema on Oleander Drive has been dilapidated for years; a new proposal would redevelop it into a mixed-use project. (Port City Daily photo / Benjamin Schachtman)
The former Carmike Cinema on Oleander Drive has been dilapidated for years; a new proposal would redevelop it into a mixed-use project. (Port City Daily photo / Benjamin Schachtman)

WILMINGTON — New plans for the redevelopment of the old Carmike Cinema on Oldeaner Drive have been submitted to the City of Wilmington showing in more detail just what the developer plans for the area.

The project, which is being proposed by Evolve Companies, would need to be rezoned from community business to office and institutional conditional district. This would allow for the construction of a mixed-use project consisting of 223 residential units contained in three 4-story buildings. It would also consist of 5,600 square feet of commercial space.

Traffic concerns

Of course, you cannot talk about Oleander Drive without talking about traffic.


Related: Redevelopment plans for dilapidated Carmike Cinema near Tidal Creek submitted to city

“Oleander Driver is operating above its design capacity at a level of service of F … French Road is currently operating at a level of service A,” according to the submitted plans.

City staff has suggested that a vehicular connection to French Road would help mitigate some of the congestion on Oleander Drive, however, the developer decided not to include a connection in their plans.

Because of this, city staff is recommending the connection to French Road be a requirement if the rezoning request is approved.

Right now there are three different driveways giving access to the property off Oleander Drive, new plans would call for the closure of all three including what is currently intended as a one-way driveway that provides access to the neighboring retail center of Tidal Creek.

Overcapacity mitigation

Trips would overall see a decrease if approved compared to the previously approved retail location (Port City Daily/Courtesy City of Wilmington)
Trips would overall see a decrease if approved compared to the previously approved retail location (Port City Daily/Courtesy City of Wilmington)

While the new development would inevitably bring more traffic to the already burdened street, it is actually less impactful than a previously approved traffic impact analysis for a 40,000-square-foot grocery store and gas station from 2016.

By right, the developer could build an up to a 100,000-square-foot retail location, but the new development would actually decrease overall trips.

“The proposal limits the size and potential land uses. The proposed use combination demonstrates a net decrease in overall trips, when compared to the approved TIA and by-right land use,” according to the staff report.

There is still plenty of time left before the development can become a reality, but the city’s Planning Commission will discuss approving the development.

Requirements

City staff does recommend the approval of the development — but not without some requirements.

According to the staff report, “The proposed zoning request would provide a residential component to an existing, viable commercial area, expand and add to the mix of uses, and provide multi-modal connections between adjacent sites. The proposed amendment is generally consistent with the Create Wilmington Comprehensive Plan and the city’s Adopted Focus Areas and staff believes the request is reasonable and in the public interest and recommends conditional approval with the following conditions:

  • The proposal increases residential density in a mixed-use place.
  • The redevelopment of this site creates a cohesive mix of uses with the adjacent commercial property.
  • Bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicular connections to adjacent commercial areas are provided with this proposal
  • The use and development of the subject property shall comply with all regulations and requirements imposed by the Land Development Code, the City of Wilmington Technical Standards and Specifications Manual and any other applicable federal, state or local law, ordinance or regulation, as well as any condition stated below. In the event of a conflict, the more stringent requirement or higher standard shall apply.
  • Approval of this conditional district rezoning does not constitute technical approval of the site plan. Final approval by the Technical Review Committee and the issuance of all required permits must occur prior to release of the project for construction.
  • If, for any reason, any condition for approval is found to be illegal or invalid or if the applicant should fail to accept any condition following approval, the approval of the site plan for the district shall be null and void and of no effect and proceedings shall be instituted to rezone the property to its previous zoning classification.
  • The use and development of the subject property shall be in accordance with the site plan dated February 26, 2019.
  • The proposed uses shall be limited to a minimum of 5,600 square feet of commercial/retail uses and a maximum of 223 dwelling units.
  • No balconies shall be located within 60 feet of the property line.
  • The parking lot shall provide a stub connection to the adjacent property to the east (5431 Oleander Drive) for future interconnectivity.
  • A vehicular connection to French Road shall be provided.
  • The proposed stormwater pond, fronting Oleander Drive, shall be designed as an amenity with vegetation, benches and pet waste stations.
  • Strict adherence to the design standards will be confirmed as part of the technical review.
  • Exterior lighting shall be installed so as not to shine directly onto adjacent residential parcels.
  • Any freestanding sign(s) on the site shall be monument style with landscaping around the base of the sign; no pole signs shall be permitted.
  • The creative standard shall not be used to satisfy the street yard landscaping requirements.
  • Applicant shall work with WAVE to determine the appropriate location for a transit bus stop with shelter to serve the subject property.
  • All City, State, and Federal regulations shall be met

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