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Wilmington Planning Commission votes against rezoning Carolinian Inn property on Market Street

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The Carolinian Inn on Market Street in Wilmington.

On Wednesday night, the City of Wilmington Planning Commission held a meeting to discuss the rezoning proposal of the Carolinian Inn on Market Street.

The meeting held on Wednesday night was to discuss the rezoning of 8.84 acres located at 2916 Market Street and 14 Wayne Drive from O&I, Office and Institutional district & R-15, Moderate-density single-dwelling district to MD-17(CD), High-density multiple-dwelling residential district.

Rezoning the motel property and the forested area behind it would allow for a multi-dwelling residential development of 112 apartments and 36 townhomes.

Jeff Walton, associate planner, gave a staff presentation about the history of the area and how the region would be affected by the proposed changes.

After the presentations from staff, there was a lengthy public comment period, where members from the community opposed the rezoning.

Gary Shipman, who represents neighboring property-owners, spoke up, said the proposed development is not in line with the City’s development plan.

“Call it what it is, a large apartment, 52 feet in height, 279 parking spaces sandwiched between two low-density single-family dwelling places, eliminating 5.89 [acres] of urban forest and the natural resource interconnectivity, especially in the very sensitive Burnt Mill Creek area," Shipman said.

Others complained that the surrounding areas simply do not have the capacity to accommodate more traffic from a large housing development.

Lyla Varnum came forward with a few other children to express their concerns about the development and how it would affect their neighborhood.

“We’ve heard that this project would put hundreds more cars on our streets. Many of us enjoy riding our bikes and walking to each other's houses. A lot of us also walk home from the bus stop or from school, including my brother. And this project makes us concerned for our safety. We already have problems with cars speeding through, and we do not want to be hurt or killed by the extra cars this project will bring," Lyla said.

The Planning Commission voted 4-2 to deny the zoning request.

However, the rezoning request will still go to Wilmington City Council; council members will take the planning commission's vote into consideration, but will still make their own final decision to approve or deny the rezoning.

Camille hails from Long Island, NY where the exuberance of sports season never ended. She graduated from Boston University with a BS in Journalism and double minors in Classical Civilizations and Philosophy. Chasing stories has been a passion of hers since she was little, channeling itself through her art and writing. Camille’s journey in audio is never ending and she’s served as a podcast producer on multiple shows. When she’s not working she enjoys chatting and gaming with friends, reading, and creating digital art.