Staff brief NHC Commissioners on West Bank development options of Cape Fear River
New Hanover County staff presented County Commissioners with the pros and cons of five options, listed from least to most dense: Conservation, Limited Use, Functional Waterfront, Small-Scale Mixed Use, and Urban Mixed Use – this last is actually the current zoning.
Each option responds to varying degrees to flooding and cultural heritage concerns and, as staff noted, there are transportation projects planned by the NCDOT that also need to be considered.
Another potential problem relates to public spending, regardless of who owns the land. Public money should be used to supply sewers and water pipes in the area, and this only increases with density. However, a call for higher density increases New Hanover County’s tax base.
Although floods are not explicitly mentioned in all briefing materials, planning director Rebekah Roth was quick to mention that they is one of their main concerns regarding the development of this field.
“I think a more detailed flood and potentially even hydrological risk assessment sounds like what you would all want to have in place before foreign policy decisions are made regarding development in this region,” he said. she stated.
Staff said it was impossible to get an accurate picture of what the West Bank will look like in coming years because the extent of sea level rise could change, but that sea level are should increase.