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Additional residential units allowed at Riverlights, residents protest

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Hannah Breisinger
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The approved request would allow Riverlights to increase its maximum number of residential units.

An approved rezoning request for the Riverlights community marked a win for developers this week. Wilmington’s City Council moved to allow more residential units in the neighborhood, despite protests from Riverlights residents. 

The approved ordinances would rezone approximately 120 acres from residential to mixed-use zoning. That’s around 9% of the Riverlights area.

The applicant, Newland, aims to develop a master-planned mixed-use center -- Newland’s representative noted that potential commercial services could include a neighborhood market, or retail shops.

But the approved request would also allow Riverlights to increase its maximum number of residential units. And residents took issue with that point in particular.

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Credit City of Wilmington
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City of Wilmington
The section of land requested to be rezoned is circled in red.

Five neighbors who spoke all opposed the project. They shared concerns that, based on a gradual increase in allowed residential space since the neighborhood’s creation -- Newland would actually reduce commercial amenities, and add more high-density residential space, like apartment complexes, instead.

Responding to questions from councilman Kevin O’Grady, City Senior Planner Brian Chambers noted that the developer would not be able to eliminate commercial space, based on what council has approved.

Councilmembers moved the request forward 6-1. Councilman Kevin Spears cast the lone dissenting vote.

View the city's supporting documents on the ordinance here and here