Marina upsets balance in New Hanover Co. neighborhood

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Peter Smelser - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Several New Hanover County homeowners are upset over a court ruling that will put a marina in their backyards.

County commissioners turned down the proposed Carolina Marina project last year, but a judge overturned the decision.

The planned boat dock will house 200 boats and add at least 50 parking spaces to a residential neighborhood along the Intracoastal Waterway.

Now that the county says they will not fight the plans, neighbors say they are afraid of what is coming.

"You'll all hear this forklift, ringing in your ears, every morning and every afternoon," said neighbor David Ward.

Residents say the Superior Court ruling earlier this month is a blow worse than Hurricane Fran.

"I lost everything, but everybody pitched in, they rebuilt our community," said Pat Wall. "[We] made it better, but if this man comes in and puts this dry stack storage in, he's going to destroy the community and we won't be able to rebuild."

New Hanover County commissioners denied the marina project last July, saying the dock would not be "in harmony" with a residential neighborhood.

Neighbors say the marina will ruin their property values and the area's natural habitat. They are also worried this decision will erode the county's authority when other development issues arise.

"We're asking them to fight for themselves," said Ward. "Fight for New Hanover County citizens, because this is something that's going to hurt everyone in the county in the future."

New Hanover County Commissioner Bobby Greer says the families can choose to appeal the decision on their own, but the neighbors feel the appeal would be more effective coming from the county.

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