PORTERS NECK, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Planning Board approved a re-zoning request for a new development of apartments, town homes and single family homes in Porters Neck Thursday to the dismay of dozens of people who showed up to protest it.
It was standing room only inside the assembly room at the New Hanover County Historic Courthouse with some people forced to wait outside once the room reached fire capacity.
The public hearing lasted 2.5 hours as over a dozen people spoke, including a representative of the developer, a representative from the N.C. Dept. of Transportation, a lawyer representing one Porters Neck neighborhood group and several individual citizens. None of the citizens spoke in favor of the proposal.
Logan Developers is planning to develop 52 acres off Market Street in Porter’s Neck between Old Market Street and Shiraz Way. The development will be called The Oaks at Murray Farm.
Neighbors are concerned about traffic, flooding and stress on the area’s water systems and schools.
“The impact that we got from various storms from Florence, from Dorian, from general rain storms has been pretty dire for us over the last several years," said Trevor Matthes. "We have a brand new school that’s already over capacity. We are supported by two lane roads in and out of the area, both of which statistically our intersections are at the highest level of accident rates, so when we find we have a neighborhood proposed with this kind of density it’s really problematic for us.”
The Planning Board unanimously approved a resolution to re-zone the area with several contingencies including:
- Project includes storm water facilities to accommodate a 100-year storm
- Project will add a second westbound right turn lane on Futch Creek Rd./Market Street at the U.S. 17 intersection
- Three road stubs on the northern half of the site will be gated between the Vineyard Plantation and The Oaks at Murray Farm for use by emergency personnel only
- Reduction of population density by one apartment building (24 units) and the re-working of parking to be off-street
- A gate will control traffic between the apartment buildings and the single family homes within the complex to minimize the use of neighborhood streets as cut- throughs
Upon the approval, much of the crowd was visibly upset and began to leave. The board called for a ten minute recess before continuing with other business.
“What I’m amazed is that the will of the community, the will of the community is totally not recognized, you know, the will of the community was to not have the apartments,” Porters Neck resident Manny Klein said afterward.
Now, the planning board makes its recommendation to county commissioners. That’s expected to happen at the commission’s next meeting on February 3.
Porter’s Neck residents say they’re not done fighting the proposal quite yet.
“I have not come across a single person in the Porters Neck peninsula who is for the development of the apartments." Klein said. "They’re all for the development of the area, which is fine for the development of the R-15 zoning, but definitely no apartments.”