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Monday, May 20, 2024

Two infill projects in northwest New Hanover seeking development approvals

As vacant land dwindles in the unincorporated county north and south of Wilmington, infill development proposals these are becoming more prevalent. (Port City Daily/Courtesy New Hanover County)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Two infill development projects in northwest New Hanover County, both backed by local land use consultant Cindee Wolf, are likely to be considered for approval in the near future, after community meetings for nearby property owners are held later in the month. 

Wolf represents developers hoping to build in Wilmington and the unincorporated county, and has helped secure approvals for both large apartment complexes and smaller projects backed by individual property owners in the past year. More often than not, developers whose projects involve legislative decisions from local governments hire agents like Wolf, who are well-versed in the goals and methods of local boards.

These two projects would require conditional zoning district approvals, a process that binds developments to a specific site plan and allows county leaders to impose case-by-case conditions. 

One of Wolf’s clients owns a 2-acre parcel next to the Wilmington International Airport. Like much of the surrounding acreage, the land belonged to the Trask family decades ago. 

The parcel is zoned “airport residential,” a tag intended to keep the area surrounding the airport low-density and free of hubs that would attract large numbers of people. According to a notice sent out by Wolf, the plan would divide the parcel into five lots, most of them slightly below 18,000 square-feet, and build homes on each lot. 

“A Conditional Zoning District allows particular uses to be established only in accordance with specific standards & conditions pertaining to each individual development project,” according to Wolf’s notice to nearby property owners. “Essentially, this means that only the use, structures & layout of an approved proposal can be developed.”

The community meeting — a required stage of the development process, for the benefit of property owners within 500 feet of a proposal who might have questions — will be held Sept. 23 in Castle Hayne

Six miles north in Castle Hayne, another client of Wolf’s owns a car wash and wants to build a commercial complex behind their existing business. The property is 1-and-a-half acres, across from a Dollar General on Castle Hayne Road. 

One of Wolf’s proposals involves constructing a two-building business park behind an existing car wash on Castle Hayne Road. (Port City Daily/Courtesy New Hanover County)

It was purchased for $250,000 by Carolina Car Wash LLC in 2003, according to property records, and is zoned in a business district. The L-shaped lot is currently undeveloped other than the car wash, which fronts the road.

Designs show two commercial buildings would be built in the rear of the lot, which borders residential areas. One building would be 4,000 square-feet and the other would be 7,000 square-feet, according to site designs. 

The community meeting for the project, called “Coastal Carolina Business Park,” will be held Sept. 22 in Castle Hayne

North of Wilmington, there are approximately 115 square miles of unincorporated county; approximately 45% of that land is still undeveloped. South of Wilmington, however, between the city and Pleasure Island, 14% of the unincorporated county is undeveloped. 

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