Wednesday, June 19, 2024

New Hanover County may donate three parcels of land to Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity

When a government has pieces of land it no longer needs there are a few options, it can outright sell them to the highest bidder --- or donate the property to a nonprofit group and maintain some control of the land use.

One of the more expensive parts of building new homes in the region for Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity is getting water and sewer hooked up (Port City Daily/Courtesy Habitat for Humanity)
New Hanover County is looking to donate three parcels of land that are no longer needed by CFPUA to Habitat for Humanity (Port City Daily/Courtesy Habitat for Humanity)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Affordable housing: it’s a term that has been used ad nauseam in the past few years in New Hanover County as more residents continue to move to the coast.

While plenty of governmental discussions have taken place regarding the issues there has been little done to remedy the situation. But New Hanover County is working to do its part in providing what it can by donating several pieces of land to Habitat for Humanity.

The free market will always dictate the price of land in an area and in New Hanover County, a small geographic size along with the desirability of the region has led to an increase in property values.

This, in turn, has increased the cost to develop land.

But in 2018 the county established a policy that directs the county to convey lots no longer needed to qualified nonprofits in order to build workforce housing. And on Monday, the Board of Commissioners will vote on transferring three parcels of land to Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity for the purpose of constructing workforce housing.

The land

The three lots are not extremely large in size and are located at 1026 Fitzgerald Drive; 109 Little Creek Road’ and 1008 North 7th Street.

The first two lots were previously used as CFPUA (Cape Fear Public Utility Authority)  sites while the North 7th Street land was purchased in a tax foreclosure proceeding.

The county had originally transferred the land to the utility provider back in 2008 for “water and sewer purposes.” But CFPUA has determined the land was no longer needed and will transfer the land back to the county.

New Hanover County previously donated land to CFHFH to construct affordable housing and the City of Wilmington is in the process of considering a proposal that would donate land located on Castle Street for an affordable-housing, mixed-use development.

While Habitat for Humanity is not the only nonprofit organization that could receive the land, it is likely one of the groups in the area able to meet the requirements set forth in the county’s guidelines.

According to county documents, CFHFH must provide housing that will be sold to residents making up to 120% of the area median income. The housing must be available to any resident of New Hanover County that meets the requirements, and the homes must be occupied within two years.

Of course, the county does not have to give the land away, according to state law they could sell it through the upset bid process. However. If that were to happen the county would lose any say over what will be built on the land.

The County Commissioners will vote on the item on Monday at 4 p.m., 230 Government Center Drive.


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