During its monthly meeting on Thursday, Aug. 14, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen heard director of planning and parks Tony Wilson’s unfavorable recommendation regarding M&M Developers’ request for a parking exemption for a proposed conditional use permit for the C-3 zone at 100 West Salisbury St. The property, zoned mixed use, was previously a convenience store but has been vacant for several years.
Cindee Wolf of Design Solutions revealed site plans for the project, which showed a three-story building with parking on the ground level, commercial units on the second floor and residential units on the third floor.
The development would require 27 parking spaces, but only 17 legal spaces would fit in the proposed parking lot. The board had the option to grant a parking exemption for 10 additional spaces if public parking could be found within 400 feet of the main entrance to the building.
Wolf said the board should grant the exception because businesses that would likely occupy the building would not require much parking and many of the customers would be people walking or biking the John Nesbitt Loop.
“The vacant site has become an eyesore and it serves no purpose to the town or its residents,” Wolf said. “It’s hard to say what [businesses]will occupy there, but I don’t see high volume retail occupying these buildings.”
The board and the public’s main concern was the location of the 10 overflow parking spaces. The applicant indicated customers would be able to park on Pelican Drive or walk across Salisbury Street to the building. Becky Steadman, of 2 Pelican Drive, whose property is across Kenan Creek from 100 W. Salisbury St. said parking on Pelican Drive was not consistently available.
“If I owned that business and I wanted to rely on those parking spots that’s not going to happen,” Steadman said. “Along Pelican they’re the closest spots to the beach so on any weekend they’re the first ones to fill up.”
Alderwoman Lisa Weeks agreed, adding that even with a proposed crosswalk, it was still not safe or convenient to require people to walk down that busy section of Salisbury Street.
“As far as public safety is concerned I don’t see how that’s public safety asking someone to walk down along Salisbury and walk across,” Weeks said.
The board decided although the property needed to be developed to create something beneficial for the town and the residents, too many issues existed with the proposed project. Mayor pro tem Darryl Mills summarized the board’s mixed feelings.
“We all would like to see something happen over there,” Mills said. “But dealing with all the parking issues we’ve got . . . some of the residents over there want us to start policing it like we do Harbor Island, so this kind of runs counter to that. It’s not like we’ve had other ideas come to us for that area so that kind of makes it tough.”
Based mainly on the parking issue, the board voted unanimously to deny M&M Developers a mixed-use permit for 100 West Salisbury Street.