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Monday, May 20, 2024

Historic district restaurant, Oleander event space among 6 rezonings before Wilmington Planning Commission

A Durham-based restaurant group is eyeing a law office in the historic district for a new business with outdoor seating within a sunken courtyard. (Port City Daily photo/Carver)

WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Planning Commission will review six zoning changes this Wednesday during its meeting, including plans for a new restaurant downtown, a 300-plus unit apartment complex and an event space off Oleander Drive.

After these items pass through the planning commission, city council will take into consideration the commission’s rulings at a later date (to be determined) when they will have the final say on whether the rezoning requests are approved or rejected.

The planning commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. on Dec. 1 at City Hall (102 N. 3rd St.). People can attend in person or watch online here. The public may also submit comments on the projects here.

Restaurant at 214 Market St.

What: Restaurant with outdoor seating on 0.22 acres in the historic district

Location: 214 Market St., neighboring the Burgwin-Wright Museum

Owner: Kenneth Shanklin

Applicant: Nick Hawthorne Johnson

Fast facts: The owner of the Durham-based business venture Cast Iron Group is looking to rezone the current law office in the historic district to allow for restaurant use with 4,930-square feet of partially covered outdoor seating and a fireplace within a sunken courtyard. The group is behind several businesses in the Bull City, including Ponysaurus Brewing Co., the Soomsoom Pita Pockets food truck and RJ Reynold’s Prizery. This newest venture would be housed in a contemporary Colonial Revival style building erected in the ‘80s. The plans call for a two-story, 2,040 square-foot expansion to the rear of the standing two-story, 3,100 square-foot building.

Plans are being considered by the city for 16 townhomes at 3380 and 3400 Masonboro Loop Road. (Port City Daily/City of Wilmington)

Port City Preserve Townhomes

What: 16 townhomes on 1.9 acres

Location: 3380 & 3400 Masonboro Loop Road, bordering the Andrews Reach neighborhood and across the way from a fire station and commercial center, home to The Veggie Wagon and other businesses

Owner: Regina and David Drury

Applicant: Cindee Wolf of Design Solutions

Fast facts: This land was previously rezoned for two offices and five residences, but the owners are no longer interested in developing it for those purposes. New plans are being considered by the city for 16 townhomes. During a hearing in the fall, nearby residents voiced strong opposition to the revised plan, arguing it would tower over their properties. In response, the applicant revised the request with shorter structures (only two stories instead of three), enhanced buffer yards to separate the proposed townhomes from the existing single-family homes, and modified designs for stormwater management. Wilmington City Council voted in October to send the item back to the planning commission so members could review the changes.

PREVIOUSLY: Plans switch up for Masonboro Loop Road lot, proposed townhomes face opposition

East West Partners is proposing to transform the former Oleander Golf Center into a mixed-use development. (Port City Daily photo/Williams)

Oleander site apartments

What: 346 apartments and 13,760 square feet of commercial space on 14.85 acres

Location: 5026 Oleander Dr., backing the Wilmington Municipal Golf Course and single-family homes on Brook Forest Drive

Owner: The Oleander Company, Inc.

Applicant: East West Partners

Fast facts: Formerly known as the Oleander Golf Center, plans are now in the works to transform this vacant site off one of Wilmington’s busiest roads into a lively mixed-use development. East West Partners, the developer behind River Place, is incorporating retail space in the plans along with at least 30 workforce housing units, a deal made with the city in exchange for their approval of increased density. There also will be a multi-use path connecting to a signalized crosswalk over Oleander, a pond, clubhouse and dog park.

READ MORE: River Place developer proposes 346 apartments, retail on former Oleander driving range

Wendy’s House, a wine and cheese shop off Oleander Drive, is renovating a nearby church into an assembly hall and wants to rezone surrounding land to allow for parking and an outdoor area. (Port City Daily/City of Wilmington)

The Venue at Wendy’s

What: Add 52 paved parking spaces and a green space event area between an existing wine and cheese shop, Wendy’s House, and a future assembly hall

Location: Wendy’s House at 126 Sebrell Ave., a vacant chapel at 5823 Oleander Dr. and a portion of 122 Sebrell Ave.

Owner: Clayroots Properties, LLC

Applicant: Cindee Wolf of Design Solutions

Fast facts: In May 2020, this land was rejected for rezoning because staff was uncertain of what it would become and its impact. More than a year later, another rezoning request may see a similar fate. City staff is recommending the council and planning commission turn down the latest request to rezone the land near and behind Wendy’s House. The vacant church next door is being renovated as an assembly hall, and the rezoning would allow for necessary parking (27 spaces are required for the hall) and a “natural outdoor” event area between the two buildings. However, the site abuts a single-family neighborhood, and staff is suggesting an office or higher-density residential use may be more appropriate for that space between the commercial spaces along Oleander and the homes within Seagate. The applicant is voluntarily saying they will not play amplified sound outside, which has been a concern of residents in the area regarding the closeby Seagate Bottle Shop and Wrightsville Beach Brewery.

Seagate Bottle Shop is looking to rezone part of its property zoned office and institutional. (Port City Daily/City of Wilmington)

Seagate Bottle Shop

What: Rezone a piece of the property from office and institutional district to community business district to bring it in compliance

Location: 6005 Oleander Dr.

Owner: Real Properties, LLC

Applicant: Seagate Bottle Shop

Fast facts: Seagate Bottle Shop received multiple violations earlier this year for hosting music events on its property, which is not zoned for that purpose. Now, it’s taking steps to bring it into compliance. The land where Seagate Bottle Shop exists is split into two zonings. The majority of the property, where the commercial building is situated, is zoned community business. The remainder, where the business owner recently built a stage, is zoned office and institutional. If the entire area was zoned community business, it could be allowed to operate as a nightclub with the technical review committee’s OK. However, the business still wouldn’t be able to play amplified music outdoors anymore, per the new land development code that is taking effect Dec. 1.

READ MORE: Wilmington bottle shop to cease outdoor music after city violations. New code may prevent future shows

City planning staff is recommending officials reject a rezoning request to allow for three single-family homes since the land is within a floodplain. (Port City Daily/City of Wilmington)

Three-lot, single-family subdivision on Carlton Avenue

What: A three-lot single-family subdivision with an access easement on 0.75 acres

Location: 2101 Carlton Ave.

Owner: WFCLHK Properties, LLC

Applicant: Cindee Wolf of Design Solutions

Fast facts: The owners of the land are seeking a rezoning for a three-lot single-family subdivision with an access easement. City planning staff is also recommending officials reject these plans since “the prospect of an additional lot located within a floodplain is inconsistent with the policies of the [Create Wilmington Comprehensive Plan].”

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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