Sunday, August 14, 2022

109 acres owned by Ocean Isle Beach mayor rezoned in Brunswick County

Site plans for Holden Beach Landing, approved by the Brunswick County Planning Board Mar. 14. (Port City Daily/Courtesy)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Over 100 acres near the coast, about a mile-and-a-half north of Holden Beach, have been picked out in the latest major development application in Brunswick County. 

On Monday, the Brunswick County Planning Board voted in favor of a proposal from Holden Beach Landing, LLC to build 186 single-family lots on the 109-acre tract. Developers can now move forward with seeking permits necessary for final approval. 

Holden Beach Landing — the limited liability company that has owned the tract since around 2006, according to property records — is managed by Debbie Sloane Smith, the mayor of Ocean Isle Beach, and her brother, George “Tripp” Sloane III. They both manage the family-owned company Sloane Realty in Ocean Isle Beach. 

A deal is in place to sell the property, located off Holden Beach Road S.W., according to county records. In August of last year, Holden Beach Landing LLC entered into a “memorandum of agreement” with Forestar Real Estate Group Inc., a Delaware corporation intent on buying the lot. 

Debbie Sloane Smith has been mayor of Ocean Isle Beach — a barrier island town of less than 1,000 full-time residents, separated from Holden Beach by the Shallotte Inlet — since 2003. She was first elected to public office in 1983 and has been a realtor since 1972, according to her Sloane Realty biography

Her brother, according to his real estate biography, played a part in developing and selling the golf course communities Lockwood Folly and Brunswick Plantation. When Holden Beach Landing, LLC was formed in 2006, the brother was the sole company official listed in filings with the N.C. Secretary of State. Debbie Sloane Smith was added as a company official in either 2017 or 2018, according to state filings. 

Of the nearly 110 acres included in the project, its backers proposed leaving almost 45 acres as open space (the open space requirement is 27 acres). There are no multi-family units included in project plans, according to the application. 

The planning board approved the application with the conditions “that the developer over-engineer the stormwater to the 25-year storm event and that the existing ditches must be rerouted in accordance with all applicable regulations,” according to planning staff. 

“There were some plans back — that’s probably been 12 or 14 years ago now — to develop that property,” Smith told Port City Daily. “Of course, the recession came and that’s changed a lot of development plans. But that property is now under contract to be sold. And this is the purchasers that are going through rezoning and seeing what they can do with the property.”

Smith is not the only local mayor with links to Brunswick County’s development scene. Hundreds of acres previously owned by the Saffo family progressed through the planning board earlier this month


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