Leland Planning Board approves 460 new townhomes

Leland planners will hear proposals for two more subdivisions totaling 466 townhomes
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - Leland’s planning board approved two new subdivisions at Tuesday night’s meeting, potentially adding over 460 townhomes to the area.

Named just three years ago as the fastest-growing town in the state, Leland has become a top choice for homebuyers in southeastern North Carolina.

“People are just so friendly down here compared to up north,” said Amanda Summers, who moved to the area from Connecticut in 2017. “You get a sense of community.”

More annexations and zonings on the agenda were also approved, potentially bringing even more developments to the area.

“The town strategy is to take into consideration how we should grow and not put a cap to it,” said planning and inspections director Ben Andrea. “We want to be able to react to the fluctuations in the market and the changes in demand we may see.”

One subdivision will add 256 townhomes to a few parcels of land on West Gate Drive. A second development just a few miles away would expand the Seabrooke development by adding 212 townhome and open space areas.

Some neighbors of Leland spoke up at Tuesday night’s meeting with their concerns of the escalated growth, but Planning Board Chair Bob Penwell says, there’s no real way to stop it.

“I don’t think we know when it’s going to stop,” Penwell said. “Secondly, we don’t really have an ability to do that. When the people come, the builders and the developers make those decisions of what that business, what that house unit is going to be, not the planning board or the town council. So that being the case, we can accommodate the legalities. But we can’t say no, stop.”

Residents who will live in these new communities will likely shop at already busy stores like the Walmart and Lowes Foods locations along Highway 17.

Many people wonder if the area’s infrastructure and commercial base is ready for the continued influx of new homes and residents. Andrea says town staff pay attention to that as well, but he’s not concerned about commercial services’ ability to keep up.

“The commercial development will come after residential development,” said Andrea. “For Leland specifically, we are seeing more interest recently in commercial development and that is because, in my opinion, the town has reached where the residential growth provides a sustainable market for businesses who are looking to move to the area.”

Although adding new neighbors doesn’t seem to bother some residents, Summers does hope town leaders keep infrastructure in mind as they consider future project

“If you only focus on one then you’re just going to be shooting yourself in the foot and being like ‘Oh no, I don’t want to live here anymore,’ but if we have a good balance, everything’s going to be good,” said Summers.

Now that these have been approved, developers can move forward with the next steps including infrastructure improvements and submitting building permit applications to start construction.

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