LELAND — Leland’s Town Council will soon consider formally opposing proposed Cape Fear Crossing routes that cut through already-developed areas in Brunswick Forest and Mallory Creek.
Related: NCDOT can’t stop development in Cape Fear Crossing’s path. That could mean demolishing homes later
Potential routes to be opposed by Leland
Routes B, Q, and T would result in the condemnation of recently-built homes in Brunswick Forest and Mallory Creek. According to a 2017 study alternatives impact comparison, which has likely been tweaked since, Route T would result in the highest number of business and residential relocations, at 182 total, compared to all remaining routes. Route B would condemn 142 homes and businesses; Route Q would take 61.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), no recent detailed study alternative impacts are available. In 2017, the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO) endorsed Alternatives M and N, the southernmost alternatives remaining. Last month, NCDOT received notice that Alternative V, the last remaining route which would have required enhancements to U.S. 17 in Brunswick County, was ruled out because of its adverse effects on Wilmington’s historic district.
Pat Batleman, Leland’s mayor pro-tem and WPMO’s vice chair, introduced a resolution to her fellow councilmembers opposing certain routes. The resolution, according to Batleman, will ask NCDOT to immediately remove corridors B, Q, and T from consideration.
“Those by far at the most troublesome,” Batleman said. “Those are the ones that are going to take out a lot of homes.”
If Council reaches a consensus supporting the resolution during Monday’s agenda review meeting, Batleman said it could hopefully be ready by Thursday’s regular Council meeting.
“You’ve got not only some of our retirees in consideration, but we’ve got workforce families,” Batleman said about potential condemnations. “Do you want to do that to them? I don’t think so.”
Leland does not have an official “seat” at the Cape Fear Crossing merger planning table. The process, currently tasked with settling on a preferred route, involves 15 state and federal agencies.
The town’s position will be represented by the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization, the only local municipal agency with representation during the merger process. Public comments will be represented by the North Carolina Department of Transportation after analyzing responses gathered at a forthcoming, yet-to-be-announced public hearing in April. (Read more about the merger process, and Leland and Brunswick County’s one-step-removed role here).
“I’m trying to facilitate getting NCDOT to listen,” Batleman said regarding her role in the process.
As for Alternatives M and N, Batleman said the preferred routes would still impact developed areas of Brunswick Forest. This includes its golf course, Cape Fear National.
Recently, Batleman said she tried to see if NCDOT could work with avoiding the course. “The farthest southern route is still going to clip Cape Fear National,” she said. “Is it possible to push the envelop a little bit? You can’t find a way to tweak it a little bit more south?”
After asking if it was possible to make the change, Batleman said NCDOT couldn’t push the route south.
“As I suspected, they came back pretty quickly and said, ‘Nope, can’t do it,'” she said.
Leland’s Council and staff will meet for its agenda meeting Monday, March 18, at 11 a.m. in the Cape Fear Training Room at Leland Town Hall. The town’s regular Council meeting will be held Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m.
Area residents with public comments and concerns are encouraged to redirect their input to the soon-to-be-announced public hearing in April. If comments cannot be held until the April hearing, NCDOT would prefer input to be sent to email@example.com. Learn more about the project here.
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