Commissioners Approve River Road Shift

WILMINGTON -- Residents who live near River Road are outraged after a unanimous vote Monday night by New Hanover County commissioners to move the road inland.

The move will make room for a previously approved development, but residents say it will also mean more noise and pollution that will ruin their quality of life. Many stormed out of the meeting after the vote.

"I think it really came across in this meeting that you know what, the county commissioners know what's better for you more than you do, and you are gonna get it from them whether you like it or not," said John Deputy, a resident of that area.

Developers say they've tried to work with residents in the area to mitigate the problems.

"There have been some offers from us to the community to talk about how we could define some buffers in their areas of concern when the road gets 225 from some of their houses," said developer Jay Smith.

But residents say that's not enough, because the road will still be in their back yard.

"We pretty much expected that vote," said Deputy, who serves as treasurer for the Silva Terra Home Owners Association. "We have about $750 in our checking account. Mr. Smith has about $750 million in his checking account."

During the discussion, Commissioner Nancy Pritchett pointed out she lives 200 feet away from a road, and told residents their fears are unfounded.

The project will get started sometime this year, but the developer says the first home won't go up for about two years, and it will take 10 years to complete the project.

Also Tuesday night, commissioners voted to change existing leash laws.

Dog owners in New Hanover can no longer tether or tie up their pets and leave them unattended - even in their own back yards.

Owners can only tie up pets if they are not left alone. The new law also forbids people from using chains and ropes as leashes.

In another vote, commissioners said they're not ready to join 19 other counties in asking state lawmakers to approve a list of new taxes.

The new taxes would include a higher sales tax, a prepared food tax and a controversial real estate transfer tax, which would require anyone selling their home to pay the county a tax on the amount of the home sale.

Reported by Kacey Gaumer