Wilmington City Council continued a discussion Tuesday regarding a zoning amendment that could potentially create a big impact to Wilmington businesses.
The council voted to amend the Urban Mixed Use (UMX) zoning district process on the first reading. The amendment would allow UMX applicability to parcels of land outside the city's 1945 Corporate Limits. The second reading of the amendment will be in two weeks.
According to city staffers, the UMX zone is designed to accommodate modern structures that are built vertically in nature. For instance, taller parking decks would be preferred to parking lots that take up a lot of space.
Council member Kevin O'Grady likes the concept, but thinks the amendment has been rushed.
"My concern is that it needs a little bit more work. I think it's a good concept but it needs some more work and I don't think we can do it by tomorrow night," O'Grady explained.
O'Grady said the public should've been made more aware of the new UMX zoning amendment prior to Tuesday's meeting. He said he was also concerned with some of the language. He hopes more time is put into the writing of the text.
The site currently known as the Galleria could be one area zoned for the new UMX label.
The City of Wilmington recently acquired the property from Wrightsville Beach. A vacant shopping center is currently sitting on the property. On Tuesday City Council continued the application process for the UMX zoning to the Galleria until September.
"What we're looking for is something more of a mixed use, more on the order of Mayfaire but perhaps a little more concentrated," said O'Grady.
He said another property that could benefit from the UMX zoning is the land housing the K-Mart on College road.
"If somebody wanted to come in and redevelop that site, this would give them the opportunity to build a mixed use facility that would hopefully contain all the traffic and all the parking, "said O'Grady.
He said the city council and staffers are faced with a dilemma because there is no time limit for creating a new zone, but there are restrictions on how long a specific property can sit idle before it is re-zoned. Therefore the new UMX zone must be approved soon if it is going to be provided to the Galleria property.
O'Grady suggested that the city temporarily zone the Galleria site as a business site and then re-zone it to UMX once the new code is properly written.
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