Former Wilmington mayor weighs in on The Avenue

Former Wilmington mayor weighs in on The Avenue

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Opponents of a proposed upscale development off Military Cutoff Road spoke out at Wilmington's planning commission meeting Monday.

Former Wilmington Mayor Harper Peterson and several others spoke out against The Avenue, a proposed luxury mixed-use development.

Peterson says he believes the city is creating loopholes for The Avenue by voting to amend a code that would allow the property to enter a development agreement. That agreement would allow a maximum height for the property to reach 75 feet without a special use permit.

"We see this as a dilution of the review and approval process, especially on land uses that are very sensitive," said Peterson. "Specifically, the avenue which this proposal has been taken from essentially. It requests the same thing the developer was requesting a year ago."

The commission said a development agreement was a quasi-judicial process that would allow all city resources to review the agreement. They also added it would give all parties an opportunity to weigh in.

Peterson noted he is not against development, but believes it must be done in the correct way.

"Good, designed development has to be in the right place and answer in this case the forefindings of fact," he said. "Will it have a negative impact on certain criteria? That's essential. We're not saying no growth or stop growth. We welcome positive growth. It creates jobs. It builds our economy. ... But it's where we put it, how we approve it."

Copyright 2018 WECT. All rights reserved.