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Monday, May 27, 2024

Hooker Road developer not done yet, files appeal against Planning Commission despite receiving little support

Neighbors are opposing the request to allow high-density development in an R-5 district (Port City Daily/Courtesy Wilmington)
Neighbors are opposing the request to allow high-density development in an R-5 district (Port City Daily/Courtesy Wilmington)

The proposed Hooker Road development received poor marks from Wilmington’s city planning staff and two different versions were turned down by the Planning Commission. Still, the developer has persisted.

WILMINGTON — After receiving the second denial by the City of Wilmington’s Planning Commission for the redevelopment of a mobile home neighborhood located off Hooker Road, Howard Penton III, the property owner, and developer is taking his plans to City Council.

He is appealing the decision of the Planning Commission not to grant him a rezoning and special use permit that would allow for the construction of more than 80 single-bedroom, 700-square-foot “cottages.”

Neighbors of the proposed development have been fighting the requests every step of the way, even going as far as hiring a lawyer to help with any legal issues that arise. But good legal help isn’t cheap and neighbors have started a GoFundMe to help offset the attorney fees to keep fighting for their neighborhood.

“Right now our HOA has a pretty good sized legal bill for the attorney we obtained in order to assist and lead us during this fight and we certainly would not be here today without him. We are asking for any and all residents to please chip in whatever you can to help us with the legal bill our Hoa has incurred and will continue to incur into the city council meeting. Does not matter if its $20, $50, $100, or whatever, any amount helps out greatly so please help in any way you can,” according to the organizers fundraising page.

For neighbors, it’s not the fact that the developer wants to do away with the mobile home park that concerns them, it is the type of new development that Penton wants to construct.

“As homeowners in this residential neighborhood area, we all purchased knowing Timberlynn Village was there and accepting that fact. We also knew that the zoning was R-15 and when and if it changed, the zoning would provide for another residential community. On the other hand, when Mr. Penton made his investment, he also knew the zoning was R-15 and should have had no reasonable expectation that the zoning would be changed in the future, yet he still decided to take the risk and invest,” Greg Reed, a homeowner and neighbor of the property in question wrote in an email.

This will be the third time Penton will bring plans to the City of Wilmington, but a first for the City Council. According to city spokesman Dylan Lee, there is no date set for City Council to hear the appeal, but it will likely be in June.


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