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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

Planning Commission sends open space requirements back to staff for tweaks

New Hanover County Flickr page
Wilmington is in the midst of rewriting open space requirements for the Land Development Code.

Wilmington planning staff is reworking open space requirements for new developments after officials passed on an initial proposal; they questioned how the new regulations would work, and what counts as green space.

The Wilmington Planning Commission voted last evening to continue the discussion on modifications to two zoning districts: multifamily and residential subdivisions. 

For multifamily, there’s a proposed decrease in the percentage of open space. Candy Cortes is a Planning Commissioner. 

“When we were going over the commercial district mixed-use, we were trying really hard to get more open space -- and I think we ended up compromising on the 20%. So I’m curious as to why we’re going from 35% in multifamily down to the same 20% as the CDMU?” 

Christine Hughes is a senior planner with the city’s Comprehensive Planning and Design division. She says this change is more about quality over quantity:

“Sometimes we see with the 35%, it’s a large number and so people will try to piece it together however they can so you get just the strip of grass between two buildings that really isn’t usable space, meaningful space.” 

Hughes says that countable space has to be a minimum of 10 feet.

For subdivisions, the proposal is to go from a set amount of open space per housing unit to ten percent of the overall tract. Hughes says whether or not that creates more green space depends on how many units the developer is building. 

Other issues with the amendment: clearly stating in the code examples of what counts as open space -- and possibly include more items in the list such as paved plazas and courtyards.  

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to have staff tweak the regulations and include them in the overall Land Development Code rewrite.


Click here to follow the city's efforts to rewrite the Land Development Code.


Click here to view Wednesday night's amendment proposal.