Proposed College Acres townhomes cause stir

Proposed College Acres townhomes cause stir
Classes will resume on Oct. 1 for most UNCW students, Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli said in a message to students Tuesday.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Neighbors of UNCW who live along or around College Acres Drive will have to wait another month before they know if a new townhome development will get the OK from city officials.

The Wilmington Planning Commission postponed action Wednesday night on a rezoning request that would make way for a 45-unit townhome development on College Acres Drive.

If approved, the development would have a total footprint of 3.55 acres, and would be marketed to attract UNCW students.

Developers said the close proximity to the campus would be ideal for students who either don't have a vehicle or who would prefer to walk. Parking would be restricted to tenants with only 80 to 89 spots available.

In addition to the townhomes, which would each have two to four bedrooms, the development would include a mixed-use area that could hold a coffee shop, salon or gym.

Last week, developers held a community meeting with neighboring residents to go over the site plan and get feedback.

At Wednesday night's meeting, city staff said they recommend the project, and that it meets the guidelines of the city's comprehensive plan.

Commissioners asked developers to meet with UNCW officials and neighbors to discuss some of the issues raised in a lengthy public hearing Wednesday night.

Residents who live on the stretch of College Acres Drive between Racine and South College Road expressed concern over the density of the development, and the ramifications adding up to 145 people — primarily students — to the area.

"We feel like we're being invaded," Lee West, who lives in the neighborhood, said. "We've invested a lot of money in our homes so we want to let the city know that we didn't approve of this particular request."

West and others spoke during the public hearing about their worries for increased traffic, noise and safety concerns that would come with the development.

UNCW also expressed concern at the short notice it had to review the project.

The commission requested that developers meet with UNCW and neighbors to see if they can address some of the concerns.

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