Monday, June 27, 2022

Surf City annexes roughly 40 acres of undeveloped land

Town council voted to zone the land multi-family cluster, developmental plan is next step

Located north of Hampstead between Belt Road and NC Hwy. 210 East on the mainland, the roughly 40 acres council voted on is now considered a contiguous annexation. (Courtesy Surf City Planning Board)

SURF CITY — Town council in Surf City unanimously voted to approve a large swath of unincorporated land into town limits Tuesday.

The 38.48 acres is located in Topsail Township, which encompasses Surf City, Hampstead and Topsail Beach in Pender County — population 28,016. The land is owned by the Sullivan family. 

A request for annexation was submitted by Henry Allen Sullivan, Cynthia Cooper Sullivan, Bonnie Jean and Kevin Sullivan, all co-trustees of the Richard Ray Sullivan Trust. The Sullivans are long-time property owners in Pender County and originally owned over 240 acres of land that now make up Waterside — one of the largest residential developments in the county.

Located north of Hampstead between Belt Road and NC Highway 210 East on the mainland, the roughly 40 acres is now considered a contiguous annexation, previously zoned in Pender County as residential performance. This means it was intended to allow a variety of residential uses and densities, as well as limited commercial activities and agritourism.

The Sullivan family deeded a 1.2-acre portion of its property to Surf City Pet Hospital on Aug. 4, 2021.

That petition was presented to council at a Jan. 21 work session, where all were in favor of moving forward on investigating the submission.

“Once that happens, it goes to the planning board for recommendation on a zoning classification,” town manager Kyle Breuer explained. “It needs to be zoned to go under our planning jurisdiction.”

At the Mar. 1 meeting, council approved annexation and the zoning of multi-family cluster (MFC) —  a district that should be mainly used for residential development. The recommended zoning is compatible with Surf City’s current land use plan.

The caveat to become an MFC is that necessary public water and adequate sewage disposal facilities must be available. It also must still protect open space and the natural environment. Lots within this zoning ordinance can have a maximum density of 10 units per acre and new development must leave 30% of the land as open space.

Based on Surf City’s zoning ordinances, an MFC area is permitted to include:

  • Bed and breakfast inns, tourist homes and boarding houses
  • Accessory buildings
  • Community and recreations centers
  • Hotels and motels
  • Mixed-use buildings
  • Religious institutions and schools
  • Residential dwellings of various layouts

Waterside also is zoned MFC and encompasses nearly 3,000 properties slated to become homes, apartments and condos. Future plans include mixed-use commercial development too.

Valued at $351,720, the 38.48 acres is currently undeveloped and touches portions of N.C. 210 near Walmart. It faces Tortuga Drive, where the sea turtle rehabilitation hospital is located, and is bordered by another large residential area.

It’s not clear how the land will be used, as no plans have been brought forth to the town. Breuer said a development proposal would be the next logical step.

“The biggest benefit to the town is it allows the town to control the growth occurring with our rules and regulations,” Breuer said.

Surf City will benefit from municipal taxation of the property and provide fire and police services.

Since 2019, Surf City has annexed an additional 10 acres into town limits, 3.35 as zoned mixed-use and 6.28 as residential. The properties include:

  • Almost 2 acres along N.C. 50 near the county line, owned by real estate company Lynlee Properties
  • 1.35 acres along N.C. 50 owned by Topsail Tide LLC
  • 6.28 acres, owned by Topsail Tide LLC, along N.C. 210

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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