Wilmington officials eyeing rezoning, some disagree with restric - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Wilmington officials eyeing rezoning, some disagree with restrictions

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A rezoning might be in store for some of Wilmington's oldest neighborhoods. Which include more than 600 parcels and extend to parts of 17th Street.

According to Christine Hughes, a planner for the city of Wilmington, the land the city is considering rezoning was incorporated in 1945. She says, they got the idea after a neighborhood study was done in the proposed areas. 

"Our existing zoning regulations really weren't working well with that urban development pattern that exists," said Hughes. "There are a lot of small lots in the area. A lot of irregular strangely shaped lots and the setbacks and required parking were just overwhelming for small urban lots."

Hughes said rezoning will help with parking issues and make development easier. But some people, including the owners of Davis funeral home off South Fifth Avenue believe rezoning will impact them in a negative way. They were hoping to open a crematory on Seventh Street, but the proposed zoning plan prohibits that. 

"When you come across that bridge and head up Dawson Street, one of the best sights you see entering the city is Davis Funeral Home," General Manager Robert Bruson told council members earlier this week. "Now, this plan is telling me what I can and cannot do for the future of that funeral home and the future of my children to compete in my business."

The proposed plan would also ban nightclubs and industrial businesses like moving companies.

"We don't have a lot of room to grow. There have recently been some changes to the annexation laws at the state level," explained Hughes. "It's become more important to find ways to redevelop inside the city limits and creating a zoning district that is more flexible is one of the best ways we can do redevelopment."

City planners said residents decided when they completed the neighborhood study which items would be prohibited under the rezoning. There will be a public hearing on the matter March 19. 

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