By WECT Staff | September 30, 2020 at 7:18 AM EDT – Updated September 30 at 12:12 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – More than 500 acres of land in northern New Hanover County could soon be rezoned to make way for more residential developments near the I-40 and I-140 interchange.
There are two requests from Trask heading to the county’s Planning Board that would change the zoning of 509 acres of property from industrial and less-dense residential uses to denser residential zoning districts.
The properties in question are located both north and south of the I-140/I-40 interchange.
The first request is for approximately 158 acres to be rezoned from light industrial and R-15 residential, to R-5 residential moderate-high density and residential multi-family low density. If approved, the request would allow for more than 1,200 more residential units than what is currently permitted.
“The proposed RMF-L district could potentially allow up to 966 units at 10 du/ac, while the R-5 district could allow allow up to 496 units at 8 du/ac. The 1,462 total potential units is an increase of 1,220 units more than the site can currently accommodate by-right. However, with the requested zoning change, the site will no longer be able to be developed with a variety of light industrial, manufacturing,and commercial uses,” according to county documents.
Traffic will be dramatically impacted if the request is approved compared to what could potentially be developed under the existing development standards.
“It is estimated the site would generate about 277 AM and 315 PM peak hour trips if developed under the parameters of the current zoning districts. Development under the proposed RMF-L and R-5 districts could increase the estimated number of peak hour trips by approximately 350 trips in the AM peak and 435 trips in the PM peak compared to those potentially generated under the existing zoning,” according to the staff summary.
It’s not just traffic that the county needs to account for, school enrollment rates are also expected to increase with the requests.
“Using a generalized historic student generation rate, development within the proposed zoning districts can be estimated to generate 351 (161 elementary, 73 middle,and 117 high) students, which is approximately 293 more than if developed under existing zoning,” according to the report.
The schools that students would attend include, Castle Hayne Elementary, Holly Shelter Middle School, and Laney High School. These schools are currently estimated at 97%, 107%, and 105% capacity respectively according to the staff report.
The second of the two requests is for 350 acres of land currently zoned for heavy industrial and R-15 to R-10 residential.
“Under the County’s performance residential standards, the residentially zoned area of the site would be permitted up to 625 dwelling units at a density of 2.5 du/ac as currently zoned, while the industrially zoned area could potentially accommodate up to 435,000 square feet of heavy industrial space. The proposed R-10 district could potentially allow up to 1,155 units at 3.3 du/ac. The 1,155 total poten1al units is an increase of 530 units more than the site can currently accommodate by-right,” according to the county’s report.
Traffic increases for the request would increase the peak number of trips by approximately 76 morning trips and 175 evening peak trips compared to what the current by-right development would create. Student rates would also increase if approved, though, not as many as the first request.
“Using a generalized historic student generation rate, development within the proposed zoning district can be estimated to generate 277 (127 elementary, 58 middle,and 92 high) students, which is approximately 127 more than if developed under existing zoning,” according to the county.
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