Friday, September 30, 2022

$250K townhomes coming to Carolina Beach Road

WILMINGTON — Forty-eight affordable housing options will soon be erected off Carolina Beach Road, south of Monkey Junction, as part of a townhome project by the Wilmington Realtors Foundation.

The two-story attached single-family homes will be built on a roughly 6-acre sliver of land at 6221-6229 Carolina Beach Rd. The community is intended to house residents earning an area median income between 81% and 120%, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

That means the target sale price is about $250,000.

“I’m not going to go into how many properties are available at this time in that price range because there are none to talk about,” Wilmington Realtors Foundation president Jody Wainio told commissioners earlier in the week. Her nonprofit has expressed a commitment to addressing gaps in affordable housing.

Commissioner and fellow realtor Jonathan Barfield said one of his clients was preapproved for $300,000 in the 28409 and 28412 zip codes. Upon a search, he came up with only two townhomes for sale at $295,000.

“That’s a pretty wide area,” he said. “We have a crisis.”

Four commissioners unanimously approved the necessary rezoning to make the project possible (Deb Hays was recused as an active realtor with Cape Fear Realtors, of which Wilmington Realtor Foundation is a subsidiary). Commissioner Rob Zapple applauded the foundation for its efforts and expressed hope others would follow its example.

The nonprofit has owned the land since at least 2018 when agent Sherri Pickard purchased it for $157,500 and transferred it, according to property records.

“There are a lot of organizations around this town who talk the talk about affordable housing,” Zapple said, “and you have taken one of your prized possessions — land in this case, here, in a desirable area of Wilmington — and turned it into a really fantastic project.”

PREVIOUSLY: More infill townhomes requested off Carolina Beach Road

Each of the units would come with restrictive covenants to require owner occupancy and assure investors can’t rent the homes for a profit or convert them into AirBnbs, Vrbo vacation homes or other short-term lodgings. Those provisions will stay in place for at least 15 years.

An April 2020 New Hanover County housing needs assessment revealed the townhome’s target range — the 81% to 120% AMI earners — is the second-most needed type of housing in the area, the foundation’s consultant Cindee Wolf pointed out. (The greatest gap was of units $296,001 and up.) The assessment estimated more than 3,600 units are needed between 2020 and 2030 for that demographic, who take home $63,001 to $94,000 annually.

The rezoning was necessary to allow for a greater density on the narrow parcel. Under the previous zoning, 2.5 units would have been permitted per acre, or a total of 15 single-family homes for this particular site. The presented project comprises 8 units per acre, which Wolf said is still a modest request compared to its surroundings.

The area has been zoned for lower-density residential development (R-15) since the early ‘70s when water and sewer were less connectable in the area. It’s now become more common to see commercial or multi-family developments pop up along the corridor.

“Townhome communities such as this are in demand due to lifestyle preferences, affordability factors and certainly proximity to services,” Wolf said.

Wolf indicated the slow development of Carolina Beach Road’s western boundary is attributable to the lack of public utilities and is part of what makes lower prices feasible on the property.

“The land value might perhaps be somewhat more affordable to offset the cost that a developer is going to have to spend to provide service,” Wolf said.

The units will be built in clusters of two or four per building “for a more interesting streetscape,” with variations of roof styles and color schemes, Wolf explained. Each home will feature a downstairs master bedroom and a one-car garage, supplying enough parking space for three cars with the driveway. There will be extra spots for guests’ vehicles.

A 6-foot-tall solid wood fence will separate the community from adjacent properties, and a stormwater pond will exist toward the back of the development.

“Landscaping will include vegetation along the buffer yards, nicely planted foundations around the units, street trees along the access drive,” Wolf described. “And in a case like this, maintenance responsibility by a homeowner’s association guarantees upkeep and sustainability of the common areas.”

The project must undergo a technical and zoning review prior to construction.


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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 alexandria@localdailymedia.com or on Twitter @alexsands_

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