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Wrightsville Beach
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Aldermen invite public input on two building issues

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The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen is holding two public hearings during its Jan. 8 meeting.

First, the board will seek input on a proposed text amendment to allow two principal buildings on a single lot meeting certain size requirements in the R-2 residential zoning district. The buildings would need to be of the same use and be separated by at least 30 feet.

The town received an application for the text amendment from Josh Mihaly, authorized agent for John C. Whitaker Jr., who is seeking the amendment to construct a guesthouse and single-family residence at 123 S. Lumina Ave.

During its Dec. 2 meeting the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board voted 5-0 to forward a favorable recommendation to the board of aldermen regarding the adoption of the text amendment.

The board will then invite public opinion on another proposed text amendment that would allow planning staff to accept applications for mixed-use projects with a proposed height greater than 40 feet.

The text amendment would eliminate the height requirement for mixed-use commercial-residential property in Wrightsville Beach’s commercial districts. When the issue was discussed during the planning board’s December meeting, director of planning and parks Tony Wilson described the amendment as a conceptual step to simply allow more mixed-use project applications to be accepted by town staff.

“We felt like it would be good for the individuals to be able to bring the project before the planning board and board of aldermen to get comments at that time,” Wilson said.

Planning board members expressed concerns about leaving the height requirement open ended. However, they voted 4-1 to forward a favorable recommendation to the board of aldermen.

The aldermen will also decide whether to take action to hire a coastal engineer to assist the town with a formal appeal of FEMA’s preliminary floodplain designation for Harbor Island.

In October, coastal research specialist Spencer Rogers presented the board with an explanation of the new flood zone designations. Then, in December, the aldermen met with representatives from the state floodplain mapping program to gain a further understanding of the models and variables used to create the designations and therefore determine possible methods for appealing them.

Jan. 8, prior to its regularly scheduled meeting, the board will meet with coastal engineering firm Applied Technology and Management (ATM) to determine the probability of actually winning an appeal before committing to a possibly lengthy and expensive process.

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