PORTERS NECK — Developers of a major residential project in northern Porters Neck have submitted a conditional rezoning application to the county; the project has been slightly scaled back from an original proposal after an initial community meeting but is still considerably denser than the surrounding area. A second community meeting is scheduled this month.
Logan Developers, Inc., recently filed the conditional rezoning for the property at 8300 Market Street with New Hanover County. Although the county has not processed the application or posted details online yet, the developer — along with Paramounte Engineering, Inc. — has released revised site plans and is inviting neighboring residents to a community meeting.
The conditional rezoning will change the current zoning, which is largely single-family R-15 as well as one 14.3-acre agricultural property, to multi-family housing. Much of the property is currently undeveloped woodland. The total property size will be just over 52 acres.
It’s worth noting that, while the property address is listed as the 8300 block of Market Street, it is actually bordered by a dead-end spur of road (sometimes referred to as Old Market Street) that no longer connected to Market Street/Highway 17. The property is also bordered by Tibbys Drive and Shiraz Way, which are undivided residential roads.
The property is located just north of the intersection of Market Street and Porters Neck Road, just before the multiple overpasses connecting US-17 with Market Street and I-140. It’s not clear from the most recent site plan submitted by the developers if the project will connect to Market Street proper, or only to the neighboring subdivision roads.
Initial and modified proposals
In late September, developers held an initial community meeting to share plans with neighboring residents. Logan Developers original proposal featured over 400 units, including:
- 406 total units
- 58 single family lots
- 18 duplexes
- 312 apartment units (2 12-unit buildings, 12 24-unit buildings)
- 574 parking spaces
In a letter to nearby residents announcing a second community meeting, developers wrote “After having conversations with various members of the community since our last meeting, we have received feedback, and we want to compile the interested parties again to present our revised plans and current information to the larger community group(s).”
The revised proposal is scaled back about 4.5 percent, from 406 to 388 total units, including more single-family and duplex units, and fewer apartment units. The total number of units include:
- 388 units
- 66 single family
- 34 duplexes
- 288 apartment units (12 24-unit buildings)
- 539 parking spots
New density regulations
The conditional rezoning will allow the developer to build two to three times as many units as would be permitted under the current zoning. That said, the proposed project would not max out the new density allowance if the rezoning was granted.
The allowable density under the current R-15 zoning would be around 152 single-family homes or 91 duplexes (with 182 units). That’s based on the 52.3 acre size of the total parcel, and a minimum lot size of 15,000 square feet for single-family and 25,000 square feet for duplexes. The allowable density under RMF-L residential multi-family low-density zoning, which the developers are requesting, is between 520 and 530 units, depending on the configuration of apartment, duplex, and single-family buildings.
The RMF-L zone is one of five new residential districts approved by the county over the summer, as part of the overhaul of New Hanover County’s unified development ordinance. It’s the first major update to the code since the 1960s. County planning officials, along with their Wilmington counterparts, have suggested that allowing denser and more flexible development is one way to encourage affordable housing.
Rezoning, community meeting
While the developers have submitted their application, developers noted they have not finalized the process.
“Since our last community meeting, we have submitted a conditional rezoning application to New Hanover County, but we are continuing to work through questions and comments from the community before finalizing our proposed conditional rezoning plan and setting the Planning Board meeting date,” developers wrote in their notice to neighboring communities.
The rezoning will go first to the New Hanover County Planning Board and then to the Board of Commissioners. Both will require public hearings but without the stricter limitations applied during Special Use Permit hearings.
The community meeting will be held later this month. You can find the public notice here, and details below.
Project: The Oaks at Murray Farms
Where: Hampstead Annex Building Auditorium, 15060 US-17, Hampstead
Date: November 12, 2019
Time(s): First meeting 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.; second meeting 7 – 8 p.m.
Note: Due to high level of expected attendance, and the capacity of about 230-250 people, the developers ask homeowners associations and ‘common-interest’ groups to send representatives. Community members who live north of the project site are asked to attend the first; those who live east or south of the proposed project site are asked to attend the first meeting.
Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at firstname.lastname@example.org, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001