Wilmington apartments blocked by refusal to rezon at Monkey Junction

An apartment complex slated for up to 300 new apartments in Monkey Junction was grounded on Monday when New Hanover County officials denied a rezoning needed for the project to move forward.

The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners rejected the rezoning by a 4-1 vote at its regular meeting on Monday. Vice President Deb Hays cast the only vote against a motion to deny the rezoning.

Indiana-based company Thompson Thrift Development, Inc. has submitted an application to change the zoning designation of over 20 acres of land located at 6124 Carolina Beach Road to allow construction of a 300-square-foot apartment complex units. The current zoning designation of the land allows commercial and commercial uses.

Following:A new apartment complex rises next to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge

Following:What’s coming to Wilmington? Here are 7 New Hanover developments to watch in 2022

The plans for the apartments, called Watermark at Wilmington, would have distributed the units among 15 separate buildings. Each was to house 20 apartments.

The project’s developers encountered their first problem when the project was presented to the New Hanover County Planning Board at its December 2 meeting.

Planning board members discussed concerns about development impacts on traffic along Carolina Beach Road and heard concerns from a representative of the neighboring Beau Rivage Homeowners Association.

The planning board ultimately voted to deny the rezoning on a 5-2 vote.

The promoters then appealed the refusal to the Council of Commissioners. They presented revised plans that addressed some of the traffic issues.

The new plans, for example, removed parking spaces near a fork on Carolina Beach Road to allow more room for cars to enter and exit the site and added other mechanisms to improve traffic flow.

Nevertheless, the plans have always been met with some concern from the commissioners.

Commissioner Bill Rivenbark said he was concerned about the number of cars already on Carolina Beach Road, school overcrowding and the lack of workforce housing in the project plans.

“I could stretch a bit, but I haven’t seen anything here regarding workforce housing,” he said. “I can’t vote for this project like that.”

Commissioner Rob Zapple also expressed concern about the traffic 300 apartments could bring to the area.

A rendering of a proposed apartment complex along Carolina Beach Road.

Sam Franck, an attorney with Wilmington-based Ward and Smith PA, represented the developer at Monday’s meeting. He told the commissioners that the proposed apartment complex would generate less traffic than a commercial project that could be built on the site under its current zoning.

“This is a downgrading proposal,” he said. “It’s a reduction in intensity of use. It’s a reduction in intensity of traffic. It’s deliberately low-impact.”

Three area residents spoke about the project at the meeting.

Tracey Florence, president of the Beau Rivage Homeowners Association, said residents in her neighborhood are concerned about how stormwater will drain from the area as new land is built.

“We have great concerns about the development of every piece of land around us,” she said.

Franck said development of the site would require on-site stormwater treatment.

Ted Haigler, another Beau Rivage resident, asked commissioners to carefully consider approving projects as areas on both sides of Carolina Beach Road continue to see new homes and apartments.

“I’m not against development, but let’s look at the pattern of what you’re dealing with,” he said. “To be responsible.”

Reporter Emma Dill can be reached at 910-343-2096 or [email protected]

About Gene Schafer

Check Also

Viewpoints: Low-income residents need more market-priced apartments

“Viewpoints” is a place on Chapelboro where locals are encouraged to share their unique perspectives …