Monday, April 15, 2024

Florida developer proposes 300-unit complex, gas station off Carolina Beach Road

The site plan showing apartment buildings surrounding a pond, a clubhouse with a pool and a gas station project on the eastern extreme of the site.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A large development that includes a convenience store may be coming to a growing part of the county.

Proposed by Boca Raton-based Impeccable Development, the project would take seven parcels on the 6800 block of Carolina Beach Road, across from the intersection at Myrtle Grove Road. If approved, it will include a new gas station from an undisclosed major brand, with a shared access road running to a 300-unit apartment complex behind it.

READ MORE: Several high-density rezonings could pave way for 270 more housing units in county

The parcels in the vacant 11.77-acre site are zoned R-15, a classification that allows single-family homes and townhomes, but it’s not suited for commercial development or an apartment complex. The developer plans to seek B-1 commercial district rezoning for the gas station and one of the county’s higher-density zoning districts to allow for apartments.

Tuesday, attorney Amy Schaefer, with Wilmington law firm Lee Kaess — of which Senator Michael Lee is a partner — held a public information meeting regarding the development. Roughly 10 people who live nearby attended to learn about the conceptualized plans. 

The community meeting is a required first step to submitting a rezoning application to the planning board. Then a public hearing before the county planning board would take place, with the board’s recommendation going to the county commissioners for final approval.

One attendee asked if the development would contain Section 8 housing. Shaefer said no units will be subsidized, though a small number may be set aside as workforce housing, affordable for professionals like teachers and firefighters.

Attendees were largely residents of the Old Cape Cod neighborhood directly to the south of the proposed development.

Gary Nance, whose family has lived there for almost 25 years, told Port City Daily his main concerns with the project was line-of-sight, the size of the buffer and the results of a required traffic study. He preferred a fixed barrier to the south of the site.

“I’m all for development,” Nance said. “I just don’t want 270-some people in our neighborhood wandering around.”

Schaefer addressed the buffer area, which has a 20-foot minimum. It could be populated with a mix of materials from fencing to trees and engineering firms can take measurements to make sure line-of-sight is not an issue, she added. 

“We have to work within the code and what the county says a building has to be built like,” Schaefer said, adding the developer is willing to meet with neary community members once design is further along and perform property walkthroughs of the property and take suggestions. “There are certain things we can work with homeowners and neighbors about.”. 

Concerning traffic, she noted the project will have to undergo an impact study. About 36,000 vehicles travel through that section of Carolina Beach Road every day according to North Carolina Department of Transportation data. Developers would have to work with the NCDOT if any improvements are needed. 

Shaefer said it is too early to say whether the development would require new turn or deceleration lanes leading into the complex. It already benefits from a traffic signal at Carolina Beach and Myrtle Grove roads, which NCDOT will likely want the development to connect to.

Nance told PCD his wife’s car was totaled after a wreck on Myrtle Grove Road and noted the tourism traffic has played into serious wrecks near his home over the years. Most recently a collision overturned a car at the intersection of Carolina Beach and South College roads, less than a mile north.

Schaefer said there is no estimate for when construction could begin or wrap; the zoning issue alone could take until April to work through. She told Port City Daily the developer has not assessed how many trees are on site yet, thus it is too early to create a tree plan.

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