Sunday, January 23, 2022

Bishops Ridge delayed again following heated hearing in Leland

Bishops Ridge will get its fifth hearing before Leland's Town Councli in May. On Thursday, the property failed to earn Council's supermajority approval for annexation, which allowed it to roll over to another hearing.

Updated plans for Bishops Ridge include no development in the 100-year-floodplain, according to its developer. Pictured, an earlier iteration of the 92-unit townhouse project. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Town of Leland)
Updated plans for Bishops Ridge include no development in the 100-year-floodplain, according to its developer. Pictured, an earlier iteration of the 92-unit townhouse project. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Town of Leland)

LELAND — Bishops Ridge, a proposed 92-unit single family townhouse development, won’t be annexed into the city — yet.

Related: Bishops Ridge $100,000 incentive package back on the table in Leland

Leland Council voted 3-2 to annex the 17.6-acre parcel Thursday, short of the supermajority necessary to approve the move. Both Mayor Brenda Bozeman and Councilman Michael Callahan voted against the annexation. Neither explained why at the meeting.

Because the vote didn’t allow the annexation to move forward, Council could then not vote on the property’s two adjacent planned hearings: initially zoning it or approving an economic incentive agreement, offering the development $100,000 upon completion of the project.

Council will host a second hearing on the annexation on May 16, Bishops Ridge’s fifth hearing before Council.

Pushback

Since the project’s second public hearing, one month after Hurricane Florence, it has been met with some public resistance. With neighbors in Snee Farm and Stoney Creek, neighbors voiced concern that Bishops Ridge would increase their risk of flooding.

Several properties in the area — outside of the 100-year-floodplain — flooding during the hurricane, dubbed as a 1,000-year event by the National Weather Service.

Charles Poindexter, the project’s developer, met with neighboring property owners recently. During Thursday’s meeting, Poindexter presented his case, outlining how his project met and exceeded state and local standards.

“I know what the topographic elements of my property are, I know how the watershed on my property is,” Poindexter said at Thursday’s Council meeting. “The case could actually be made that I’m downstream from these adjoining properties.” 

Poindexter said the plans of the development are on a sixth iteration. Stormwater ponds, designed to contain all rainwater, will prevent runoff from reaching nearby neighborhoods, he said. “I asked my engineers to look at this every possible way from Sunday,” he said. “I don’t see this project placing a burden to any adjoining property owners.”

The developer also shared his belief that the project could divert NCDOT’s $1 billion proposed Cape Fear Crossing project. Two of the routes endorsed by the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization in 2017 appear to cut through a dozen or more properties in Stoney Creek and Snee Farm.

“If this development goes in, that Skyway bridge moves further away from the areas that had been mentioned tonight,” Poindexter said. “It will push it to the south by default. They’ll move their path.” 

Stoney Creek, Snee Farm

Joseph Gaughan is one of multiple neighbors who spoke out against the project. At the beginning of Gaughan’s presentation, he stated his name and address in Stoney Creek, as is required for the public comment period.

“Well, l I don’t live there anymore,” Gaughan said. “I live in the driveway.”

Gaughan asked Council why it intended to use taxpayer funds to incentivize Bishops Ridge, while at the same meeting, vote to oppose routes that would leave only alternatives that would end up taking out houses in the same development. (Council ended up removing the agenda item to oppose the northern routes at the beginning of the meeting).

“I don’t understand the thinking in it,” he said. “In our meeting with Mr. Poindexter, he told us why he had 1.5 million reasons why he wanted that to happen.”

Council will vote again on approving Bishops Ridge’s annexation on May 16, at its regular meeting, set to begin at 6 p.m. at Leland Town Hall.


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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