Thursday, June 30, 2022

90 acres of Cameron land near I-40 tapped by family for future project

A rezoning request has been launched for around 90 acres of Cameron family land in northern New Hanover County. (Port City Daily)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Rezoning paperwork filed recently in the northern county indicates the Cameron family is interested in making dozens of acres along the I-40 corridor available for residential development.

Totaling around 90 acres, the land in question is part of a 200-plus acre family tract, next to the Holly Shelter interchange, and not far south of the Pender County line. This latest rezoning request comes after the Trask family tapped hundreds of its own acres last year, just one interchange south along I-40, for future residences. 

Most of the tract now exists under business zoning district, considering the proximity to the interstate. The limited liability company in ownership of most of the land is registered to Scott Sullivan, who co-founded Cameron Management, the company that manages the family’s investments.

The two rezoning requests, authored by local land use consultant Cindee Wolf, suggest the 86-acre commercially-zoned parcel, if built according to the current zoning, would be less than ideal. (Five acres are included in another rezoning request for next-door land.) The desired zoning would allow for the creation of neighborhoods with single-family lots and duplexes.

Residential development, however, “would allow increased housing to be developed, while still preserving lands for future development of businesses to support those residents,” according to the application. 

Holly Shelter Middle School and Castle Hayne Elementary are just west of the site; the New Hanover County Board of Education purchased that land from the Cameron-affiliated company in 2008.

“The highway-business zoning district, and its permitted uses, are less appropriate further from the Holly Shelter road corridor,” according to the application. “The General Residential place-type acknowledges the need for some business uses, but suggests them as a transition between arterial roads and lesser-density residential. The proposed residential district would be more consistent with the lands surrounding it.”

In the parcel’s southern section — predominantly in a special flood hazard area according to FEMA maps — the construction of I-40 previously split apart decades-old subdivisions. One, Prince George Estates, nearly borders the subject site. Five acres of Cameron land in the area were severed from a 1961 subdivision, Brookdale Acres, and is now inaccessible in addition to having unattractive zoning designation, according to the rezoning request. 

“Rezoning the lands to a residential district will protect from any non-compatible use from ever being developed on the property,” according to the application, which mentions the presence of wetlands. 

Wolf is a standard presence at public hearings in Wilmington and New Hanover County. She represents property owner clients that range from single-lot owners hoping to have their upstart business idea approved, to developers of student housing complexes that require myriad assurances and conditions before planning approval. 

This month Wolf vouched for the owner of two acres on Castle Hayne Road who wanted to build commercial flex space. The planning board, after hearing from two locals who decried the prospect of a small business park just beyond their backyards, voted to recommend Wolf’s project be denied. Next, she represented the owner of a residential lot near the airport, who wanted to subdivide, which the board ruled in favor of. 

The rezoning request, split into two applications, will be considered by the planning board Dec. 2. On the same night, developer Frank Pasquale will return to the planning board to continue pitching his vision of building multiple 24-story towers across the river from downtown Wilmington. 

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