PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Plans were submitted this week to build an 11 acre triathlon training and event center in Pender County, but commissioners did not like what they saw.
It was standing room only Tuesday night, as the public came out in force to talk for and against the facility. After hearing what the public had to say about bringing the facility to the area, County Commissioners voted to deny the developer the rights to a special permit needed to build the trihabitat facility.
According to the plans, the center would host about 20 events a year. Members of the Pender County Planning Department say each event is expected to draw about 2,000 people.
According to plans, the center would sit at the end of John Humphrey Road in Burgaw, that's off of Stag Park Road. It would include a 14 mile bike course, 6.5 mile running trail, and a 25 acre lake that would be built.
If approved, there would have also been stadium seats at the halfway point and at the finish line, as well as cabins, a lodge, RV parking, a 'race village' for vendors, an amphitheater and a conference center. Despite the features, plans say 2/3 of the site would remain natural. There would also be a 100 ft buffer between the property and nearby homeowners.
Some people that live nearby were excited about the project.
"I think it's a good idea," said Thomas Rivenbark. "Looking at the application, we learned neighbors will be able to use the facility on non-race days at a minimum cost. People will be able to go there in peace and quiet and walk around and just enjoy themselves."
Others had concerns. "I don't like it, personally I think it's a good idea, I just don't know if this is the best spot for it," said Magen Hinson, whose lived in the area for 10 years. With so many people coming and going, she says traffic is a big concern.
"2,000 to 3,000 cars coming in, even if it's one day every couple of weeks, that's a lot of traffic. These people are not going to be able to get out of their homes, it's going to back up traffic, we don't live in Wilmington for a reason," said Hinson.
Even though plans call for adding an extra lane to John Humphrey road, she worries it will change the quiet neighborhood she moved into.
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