My Turn: Affordable senior housing - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Affordable senior housing

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The WHA wants to build on the vacant properties on John D. Barry Drive and South 17th Street The WHA wants to build on the vacant properties on John D. Barry Drive and South 17th Street

I'm disappointed with the Wilmington Planning Commission's unanimous decision in March of this year to deny a rezoning request that would have allowed for the building of an affordable senior housing apartment complex. That decision forced a vote this week by council that made necessary a super majority vote to overturn the decision. They got the majority but missed the super majority by one vote.

It is well documented that affordable housing is a major issue in the Cape Fear area, and specifically within the Wilmington city limits. Statistics indicate a large number of elderly are living in sub-standard housing and housing is costing many of them well over 35 percent of their fixed income.

The area in question is not actually in a neighborhood. It is on the lower end of 17th Street, near a shopping center, a pre-school and an assisted-living facility.

You wonder if nearby residents fighting this have a problem with older people? Probably not. I'm guessing it's the "low-income" nomenclature that causes them to be so adamant at keeping that complex away from anywhere near their neighborhoods. It's the old "not-in- my-backyard" axiom.

So what happened this week leaves our city planners and leaders with a few questions:

  • If not there, where?
  • If not now, when?
  • And if they are not going to work to solve this problem, who will?

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at


Emailed comments from viewers:

I think you hit the nail right on the head here.  Thanks.

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