NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The new planning director for New Hanover County says he's pleased with the development of downtown Wilmington and wants to turn his attention toward "untapped potential" north of the city.
"People can walk to where their jobs are and walk to their shops and that same concept is what I understand what we are looking for in the suburban areas," Wayne Clark, NHC planning director, said. "Obviously not on the downtown scale. On the suburban scale, so out in the northern parts of the county there will be places where people can live close by to work."
Clark worked as Wilmington's planning manager for eight years before taking a job in Florida in 2007.
Ten years later, he's back in the Cape Fear region and taking on an expanded role with the county.
Clark said the mixed-use areas in downtown Wilmington set a good example for what he'd like done north of the city. The planning director said new infrastructure improvements present a possible opportunity for development.
"The main area of change appears to be the northern area, particularly the 421 corridor with the water and sewer infrastructure going in," Clark said. "We may have an opportunity to get high-end jobs for this community with the water and sewer lines and then any of the development that goes into the north will be planned in a more efficient manner."
The new planning director understands concerns of too much growth all at once and explained a balance of new developments with current resident frustrations will be crucial in the coming months and years.
"While there will be growth coming, the idea is to make it as efficient as possible and that it ties in with all the infrastructure improvements as well," he said.