Wilmington Planning Commission denies rezoning request for townhomes on Hooker Road

Townhome proposal for Hooker Rd. shot down

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - “Save Hooker Road” was the phrase emblazoned on neon T-shirts worn by dozens of attendees at the first Wilmington Planning Commission meeting of 2019.

The contingent came to the meeting to protest a 106-unit townhome development proposed for 321 Hooker Road to replace a manufactured home park.

Developers gave a brief presentation stating their case, saying the units would revitalize the neighborhood that has “emptied out” over the last few years, and would be a more economically beneficial use of the 10.7 acres.

The plan included 3.75 acres of green space, and would provide an affordable housing option close to UNCW, Mayfaire and other major draws in the area.

City staff, however, disagreed.

During its presentation, the city planning department said the commission should deny the request to rezone the property from R-15 residential to MFL multi-family.

Staff said the site plan does not fit with the Create Wilmington Comprehensive Plan, and would be contradictory to the plan for the surrounding neighborhood, which is almost entirely made up of single family homes.

Additionally, staff members said the site would be too dense, and the corridor of Hooker Road could not support that increase in density.

Developers said the density would be similar to the residential zoning if the mobile home park were full.

During the public hearing, more than a dozen people signed up to speak in opposition to the project. None signed up to speak in favor.

Of those who spoke, several said they were concerned about the increase in traffic, and said the development would “destroy” the integrity of the neighborhood.

Others, who are residents of the mobile home park, said they would be unfairly displaced, that they own the trailers on the rented land, and have no way to move them somewhere else.

The commission voted unanimously to deny the rezoning request, and after other business was dealt with, discussed the need to potentially change the manufactured home policies in the city zoning code.

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