Plans underway for outdoor amphitheater on Castle Hayne Road

Plans for Driftwood Farms off Castle Hayne Road include an outdoor amphitheater and two activity centers. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy New Hanover County)

CASTLE HAYNE — An outdoor event space equipped with an amphitheater might be coming to Castle Hayne, if the project can secure a rezoning bid in New Hanover County. 

Driftwood Farms Event Center is the working title of the in-the-works project, which involves an open-air amphitheater and multiple event spaces, positioned on Castle Hayne Road. 

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The 19-acre piece of undeveloped land across from Stricks Trading Post Lane has not been sold for at least the past 65 years, and instead has moved between different trusts, most recently to one belonging to Susan Moore Skinner in 2012. Property records show Skinner’s family maintained ownership of the plot since at least the 1950s. 

Cindee Wolf, who consistently represents clients seeking land use approvals in the county, is representing Avery Belcher in the bid to procure a conditional zoning district approval for the project. 

Belcher, who owns the bathing suit company Native Swim, said she is pursuing the project with her husband Devin because they have a passion for music and want to bring something new to the county’s entertainment offerings. 

In the project’s site plan, the center attraction is the open-air amphitheater, flanked on either side by activity centers. On one side, plans indicate an outdoor space for car and boat shows or food festivals. On the other side of the amphitheater, plans call for a combined indoor and outdoor space, for weddings or celebrations. Also included in the plans are a stormwater pond and a significant wooded buffer. 

Belcher said she was connected to Wolf through her father, who had worked with the consultant in the past. She added that the project will be largely the brainchild of her and her husband, who want to make “a really unique spot” out of the event space. Belcher said she envisions a tree line creeping over the crest of the amphitheater, and maybe drive in concerts and other events if the facility were to be built while pandemic-related social distancing guidelines are still in place. 

But first, Wolf will need to garner the approval of the New Hanover County Planning Board, and then the board of commissioners, who will oversee the rezoning process. The planning board will likely hear the rezoning petition in an early 2021 meeting, though the date has not been formally set.

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