WILMINGTON — City of Wilmington staff is not recommending the rezoning request to allow the construction of a mixed-use development in the Creekwood North Subdivision.
“The proposal includes five buildings total. The two, two-story buildings fronting Kornegay Avenue contain fourteen units each. The rear of the property contains a two-story building with twelve residential units and 1,800 square feet of commercial space and two, three-story buildings containing thirty residential units each,” according to a case summary of the request which will be heard on October 2 by the city’s Planning Commission.
The property, nearly 5 acres of unused land in the Creekwood North Subdivision is currently zoned R-7 which limits uses to detached, single-family units with a minimum lot area of 7,000-square-feet. The request would rezone the land as office and institutional to allow for both residential and retail uses.
But city staff is concerned with the juxtaposition of the two vastly different zoning districts.
“The design and scale of the proposed multi-family structures present an abrupt change in density from 6 units per acre on one side of the street to 25 units per acre directly across the same street. The proposed density is not compatible with the existing community fabric and does not provide for an appropriate transition from the adjoining single-family neighborhood. The proposed density would be more appropriate if there were services in close proximity. There is not an appropriate transition between the established Creekwood North community, the proposed multifamily housing, and the proposed Salvation Army campus,” according to city documents.
“The comprehensive plan supports new residential development that is compatible and protects the desired character of the existing built environment. In its present design, density, and location this project promises to further concentrate lower income housing in one area of our city,” city staff.
The sale of the land, the collapse of an HOA
The Creekwood North Subdivision recently voted to dissolve its own homeowner’s association and put all of its common areas up for sale.
According to the HOA’s website, “The February Meeting was held on 2/12/19 at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. The vote was 41 to 17 to dissolve the Home Owners Association. All common areas will be put up for sale. The common areas include the playground, and the community center and is a total of 4+ acres. Signs announcing the sale of the land should be placed by 2/15/19.”
The need for affordable housing in Wilmington is a real concern for local leaders, staff, and residents, but staff is urging caution with the construction of new affordable/low-income housing in one area.
“Staff would call particular attention to Policies 3.1.1, 3.1.2 and 3.2.3, which discourage the concentration of low income, affordable, and workforce housing all in one area. The undesirable effects of concentrating “low wealth” housing in one area have been recognized by housing authorities, social service agencies, and law enforcement officials for several decades. In its present design, density, and location this project promises to further concentrate lower-income housing in one area of our city. While city policies support the need for affordable housing, they recognize that for such housing to be of benefit to its residents, it is better to distribute such housing for both existing and future residents of affordable housing in our city,” according to the staff report.
It is not merely suggested that the new development would further increase the concentration of low-income housing, but staff says these plans ‘promise’ to do just that.
“The comprehensive plan supports new residential development that is compatible and protects the desired character of the existing built environment. In its present design, density, and location this project promises to further concentrate lower-income housing in one area of our city,” according to the staff report.
Planning staff also claims the project is inconsistent with the Wilmington Comprehensive Plan.
The Planning Commission will hear the request at its Oct. 2 meeting after which it will be up to the City Council to decide on the final approval or denial.
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