Community plans to appeal decision on growing neighborhood - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Community plans to appeal decision on growing neighborhood

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WECT) – A community in the Porter's Neck area plan to appeal a recent decision by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.

The board unanimously approved the rezoning of land on Stephens Church Road that would allow for the development of a proposed 192-unit apartment complex. The planning board unanimously denied the proposal, citing issues with traffic and safety.

Commissioners added a condition to their approval that the developer needs to improve the intersection of Stephens Church and Highway 17. On the other side of the super street sits the Futch Creek community, where commissioners denied a special use permit for an apartment complex earlier in the year.

Pam Latter, who fought the proposed development in Futch Creek, said the condition for the Stephen Church intersection does not rectify the board's decision against staff's recommendation.

"Let's just cut them out of the budget if their opinion doesn't matter," she said.

Most of the families living next to the currently vacant property missed a chance to comment Tuesday night because the doors to the historic courthouse in downtown Wilmington were locked.

Jackie Adair, who planned to speak that night, said it was upsetting to lose her voice in the process.

"Since we were denied the chance to speak, we don't know if we would've had an impact," Adair said.

Chairman Jonathan Barfield apologized to the group for the mix up. Wednesday afternoon commissioner Rick Catlin said inaccessibility to the meeting is a problem.

"I don't know how that could have happened," said Catlin.

Bonnie Murray, speaking on behalf of her Stephens Church Road neighbors, said Wednesday that they plan to formally appeal the rezoning.

"We're not against the apartments, we're against the traffic  ," Murray said.

Any decision involving special use permits in New Hanover County is subject to review by Superior Court, according to the county's code of zoning ordinances. 

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