By Kendall McGee | April 30, 2021 at 5:16 PM EDT – Updated April 30 at 7:13 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – For the first time in decades, the city of Wilmington has completed a total re-write of their land development code (LDC). The LDC is basically the rules for development going forward, and its goals were set by thousands of city residents.
“Making the city more walk-able, making the city more bike-able, making services more convenient, where people live so you don’t have to drive everywhere to get everything you need, those are the priorities,” said Glenn Harbeck, the city’s director of planning, development and transportation. “We want Wilmington to be a place where people will be glad to continue to live.”
The code itself is more than 600 pages long and touches on everything from trees, storm water, to reducing traffic. Leaders anticipate people will notice the most changes to major roadways.
“We are proposing to change the way that signs are permitted particularly among our major corridors like Carolina Beach Road, Oleander, to really improve the aesthetic condition of those roadways. We’re requiring things like connecting parking lots, so if you’re driving between two commercial uses, you don’t have to turn out on the major roadway, get stuck in the traffic again, just to make a right turn into the next commercial parking lot. Simple changes like that can really help,” explained senior planner Christine Hughes.
As Wilmington runs out of undeveloped land, enacting these incremental changes soon are critical.
“We’ve got to respect the value of that land and make better use of the land,” said Harbeck.
The changes wont happen overnight, but leaders know you have to start today to create the city of tomorrow.
“It’s the most important thing is how we’re going to accommodate people that want to move here– they’re going to move here, so we have to figure out the best way to accommodate them,” added Harbeck.
The code isn’t officially complete yet. It will be voted on by city council later this year and if it’s adopted, the new rules would likely go into effect in January of 2022.
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