Community members concerned about over-development in rural Brunswick County

As growth continues southeastern North Carolina, some are concerned about the extent of new developments.
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:26 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Brunswick County is often mentioned as the fastest growing county in North Carolina, but some worry the county’s infrastructure won’t keep up with the rising population.

Lana Humphrey voiced her concerns about a recent planned development at the county’s planning board meeting on September 12. She lives just off of Malmo Loop Road where a planned development would have brought nearly 5,000 new homes to her neighborhood.

“The overcrowding is a big concern,” said Humphrey. “It’s slowing up the medical, it’s slowing up the schools, its impact on our roads, the impact on the animals and the environment in this area as well.”

The board ended up denying the project partly because of what she and others had to say. Now, Humphrey wants commissioners to hear the same message.

There is already another development slated to be built on Malmo Loop Road. That project will bring about 1,800 units to the rural area, drawing concerns from several neighbors. Humphrey says the infrastructure can’t handle that much growth all at once.

“There’s a pothole that half my car would go down in just turning out on 74/76,” said Humphrey. “If you added 15 hundred more trips from this development, I mean, we’re definitely going to have to have a traffic light is gonna have to be there. The wait times to get in and out will definitely extend and also, it’ll be difficult for the busses to come in and out.”

The Planning Board acknowledged that the denied development on Malmo Loop Road would have required improvements to the road there. Heavy rains washed out part of the road just about this same time last year.

Humphrey and several other neighbors plan to speak up at Monday night’s Board of Commissioners meeting. No action will be taken on the issue but residents hope their concerns are heard and changes are made to not only make mindful decisions about the county’s growth but to keep residents in the loop.

“If they would just get the word out and let the community know a little more in advance,” said Humphrey, who says the county only notifies people who own property surrounding planned developments, rather than those within a certain radius. “Project 72 happened and we had no idea and I live just around the corner. Why wasn’t the whole community brought in with information to understand what is happening around them? Just one day, all of a sudden, there’s a development or construction going on and you don’t know why, when or where.”