Saturday, September 30, 2023

61 cottage-style townhomes proposed near Oleander, Greenville Loop

Lumina Station developer Joel Tomaselli leads the charge

Bradley Heights is a new subdivision planned for Giles and Peiffer avenues off Oleander Dr. (Courtesy/City of Wilmington)

WILMINGTON — A new subdivision is in the works near Oleander Drive and Greenville Loop. Bradley Heights will create 61 units on a roughly 9-acre tract of land.

Local entity Bradley Heights LLC submitted plans to Wilmington’s Technical Review Committee March 9; however, the developer has been working with city staff since April 2020. The LLC is registered with Joel Tomaselli, Ross Tomaselli and city council member Luke Waddell.

Waddell is a minor contributing member, as he owns one of the lots on Peiffer Avenue. He said he will recuse himself from any council votes involving the development.

Tomaselli is most known for his creation of Lumina Station along Eastwood Road, as well as the Laurel Lea subdivision near Porters Neck.

The Wilmington Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposed 48-unit quadraplex development on a portion of the property May 5, 2021. According to Tomaselli, an adjacent property owner questioned the legality of the road access, leading him to withdraw the proposal. 

Giles Avenue is currently a platted, unimproved, 30-foot wide right of way and an existing right of way is located at the end of the road connecting to Peiffer Avenue. Right now, this connection is used to access two single dwellings.

Tomaselli and his son have since acquired additional property to provide an alternate access point and re-submitted the application March 15. They also decreased the unit size from 77, based on city concerns.

“We found a few lots down Peiffer available and redesigned the project to come in off Peiffer,” Tomaselli explained. “We’re going to hold back some of that land and look at that later.”

Plans for Bradley Heights include 20 buildings total, with 24 one-bedroom units and 37 two-bedrooms. It also includes 112 off-street parking spaces and 22 garages. It’s estimated this construction will result in 466 daily trips, 24 at peak morning hours and 31 at peak evening hours.

The property was platted as part of the Bradley Heights subdivision recorded in December 1948 and was part of a 1998 annexation area, effective Sept. 30, 2000. A little over 7 acres of the land is currently vacant, with single-family homes built along Peiffer Avenue.

“It’s an opportunity to do an attractive, creative neighborhood with a courtyard concept in a good location,” Tomaselli said. “It’s a relatively creative and progressive plan for Wilmington.”

Homes will face inward to the wooded courtyards, which will be common areas shared among neighbors.

The six vacant parcels on Giles and Peiffer avenues are currently zoned R-15, low-density residential and the developer is requesting a zoning change to R-5 (CD), a conditional high-density district. 

The original plan called for square quadraplexes but Tomaselli said the redesign focuses on townhomes that are courtyard-cottage style, inspired by neighborhoods he’s seen in other markets.

The R-5 district is intended to accommodate compact, walkable neighborhoods connecting to urban services, according to city documents.

The property is bound by an existing manufactured-home community, Lee AcresMobile Home Park apartments, to the east and west and single-family homes to the north and south.

“The proposed development looks to harmonize with the surrounding land uses and existing trees and not disrupt the character of the existing neighboring properties,” the application states.

None of the buildings will exceed 35 feet in height to remain in scale with surrounding buildings.

The single-dwelling units will have a minimum lot area of 3,500 square feet with at least 10% open space. Three courtyards are proposed at just over 1 acre each, with a fourth bordering the western side of the development at 0.82 acres. According to the application, the courtyards will be preserved as natural areas.

“Existing trees will be regarded highly as assets for this community and will be protected to the greatest extent possible,” according to the application.

There will also be sidewalks installed for access to other homes and the open space.

The applicant is requesting design adjustments from the city to be able to improve the existing portion of Giles Avenue, adjacent to the site. Tomaselli also wants to construct a new 40-foot street that would connect Giles and Peiffer avenues and provide entrance to the development. Installing a sidewalk on one side of the new road is planned as well. 

Concepts would vary from the city’s regulations, requiring approved variances. The design adjustment committee voted unanimously May 18 to continue the item. This allows the applicant additional time to address parking concerns with the proposed improvements. There were some issues raised about on-street parking and whether the road was wide enough to accommodate additional space. A second hearing is scheduled for June 15.

The proposed development will go before the planning commission for a public hearing June 1 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 102 North 3rd St. 

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