Community raises concern over development, rezoning, annexation proposal in Leland

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — A proposed development in Brunswick County could bring hundreds of multi-family luxury apartments along Highway 133, which is also known as River Road Southeast.

Monday night, the first of two pre-application meetings was held in the Holiday Inn Express in Leland.

Caviness & Cates Home Builders is seeking to develop the multi-family project on 29 acres of land located at 964 River Road SE.

Along with the proposed development, the developer is requesting a conditional zoning of the property within the Town of Leland.

Ward and Smith, P.A. on behalf of Caviness & Cates, presented conceptual stages of the location from its current state to what the builders envision for the development in the future.

At the beginning of the meeting, there was a brief overview of what the multi-family development would feature, including a yoga studio and a pool among other luxury amenities.

The buildings are intended to be 3-stories tall and have over 300 units, with an estimate of 10 units per acre.

With two vehicles per unit, the parking lot would hold over 600 vehicles, adding traffic to what the community says is already a dangerous road.

Some people attending tonight’s meeting voiced concerns about the impact the proposed development would have on the surrounding area.

Mary Katherine, a concerned Leland resident, says, “I’m not against development, I’m for responsible development. One of my biggest concerns is 133, how wide it is, safety concerns on the road, the effect on the environment, water run-off, flooding, (and) being able to access Wilmington emergency services.”

There was a man in attendance at Monday’s meeting who almost lost a son in a car accident on River Road SE. He was concerned that the road is already dangerous, and that adding more traffic means more accidents.

A 27-year-old man, who grew up in Leland, mentioned that with the current cost of rent, the need to build luxury apartments in the near future was unclear to him.

Another commenter said that she didn’t feel the multi-family apartment complex fit the historic waterfront area.

It was also mentioned among the attendees that the local schools are already over-crowded, and that bringing this many families in one area would add to the problem.

Another Leland resident said, “We didn’t pick this area because we want apartments next to us, we have a sense of pride and ownership.”

The spokesman for the Caviness & Cates responded to the concerns by saying, “We believe there is a meaningful purpose behind this… We do not choose to develop what people do not want to rent.”

The public comment was supposed to last 15 minutes, but it exceeded an hour.

The spokesman also gave concerned residents the opportunity to talk with them one-on-one after the meeting.

Due to the unexpected high volume of residents who attended Monday’s meeting, the location of the second meeting is going to be re-considered.

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