Leland votes to add annexation, extend corporate limits for industrial growth

Three ordinances passed to encourage development
Longtime Leland Fire-Rescue Chief John Grimes has been hired to fill the newly created position.
Longtime Leland Fire-Rescue Chief John Grimes has been hired to fill the newly created position.(Town of Leland)
Updated: Jul. 16, 2020 at 11:53 PM EDT
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LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - Leland’s town council voted Thursday night to adopt three ordinances encouraging the growth of businesses in the town.

One ordinance amends different sections of the town’s Code of Ordinances to create a new zoning district called the Innovation District. The first piece of property that will go under that zoning district is a 225 acre property called Leland Innovation Park, which is adjacent to the Windsor Park neighborhood.

The other two ordinances passed allowed the voluntary annexation of that land from an unincorporated area in Brunswick County to extend the Town of Leland’s corporate limits.

“Up until tonight, the town had very little land that would be appropriate for manufacturing and distribution companies. For the town to keep growing and attracting high paying jobs for its residents, we needed to find land outside of our current boundaries,”says Gary Vidmar, the town’s Economic and Community Development Director.

The town hopes to begin focusing more attention on the Leland Innovation Park and working with the property owner, WCM enterprises, to attract businesses. What those developments will look like is a big question Windsor Park residents have.

“As a property owner, one thing it comes down to is aesthetics. Will we be seeing a tall commercial going right across the street from us? Is that going to be the view out of our front door? How much traffic with this increase? There will be a lot of wear and tear on our infrastructure and that’s what we don’t want to happen,” says Mike Holt, a resident of the Windsor Park neighborhood.

Holt says he is all for development, but is concerned about the type of companies and businesses that will pop up.

“We don’t want some major industry in there that has a lot of chemicals, fumes and VOC’s near because we’ll all smell it. We don’t want a paper mill,” said Holt.

According to Vidmar, those types of businesses won’t be permitted in the town’s new innovation district. Instead, leaders have left the possibility open for residential, retail and small businesses to come and develop in that area.

“We’ve created land use regulations with this zoning district that would permit very small companies, startup companies, entrepreneurs setting up on a one-acre parcel, not forcing someone to buy 50 acres and create a large building. So, we’re focused on entrepreneurs as well and startup businesses that we can’t currently do in this town,” Vidmar said.

Leland hopes to see permits and applications coming in soon and to begin selling land to possible developers. Vidmar says that could take weeks, months, or even years.

[RELATED: Census: Leland is fastest growing town in North Carolina]

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