County eliminates extra corridor development standards

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By Brian Slattery

Business development won out over corridor development at Monday’s Brunswick County Commissioners’ meeting.

Two-dozen property owners of land along U.S. 17, N.C. 211, U.S. 74/76, N.C. 130, N.C. 133 and N.C. 904 attended the May meeting in hopes board members would strip away corridor-development standards.

They are additional development standards beyond basic property zoning for non-residential, multi-family and mobile-home parks that were part of Brunswick County’s Unified Development Ordinance.

The intent of the corridor development standards was to reduce or eliminate commercial strip development and visual clutter, minimize the number of driveway cuts onto the roads, promote joint access points and encourage development that improves the character and image of the most visible and heavily traveled corridors in Brunswick County.

But landowners who attended Monday night’s meeting—and filled the room during a March planning board meeting on the same subject—said standards limited their opportunities to develop their property.

During the planning board public hearing, numerous property owners spoke out for elimination of the CDS.

The planning board voted unanimously to recommend county commissioners eliminate the additional standards.

During Monday’s public hearing before the board, property owners were ready to argue the point to commissioners.

If additional development standards were removed, the landowners would still have to comply with the setbacks, minimum lot size and building height requirements in their properties’ zoning districts.

Dan Stevenson, a landowner on N.C. 211 and Long Beach Road, announced himself as one of the property owners at the planning board meeting.

“This should be eliminated,” he said. “There are quite a few regulations that stifle and put a stranglehold on business.”

Clerk Debby Gore read a statement from Mike Richards, who said options available other than eliminating CDS only allowed property owners to pay taxes and keep the property looking beautiful.

After a few audience members got up to speak, chairman Phil Norris told them the comments were keeping them from getting the vote they came for.

“We’re planning to get rid of this. The longer y’all talk, the longer this will take,” he said.

Before the next speaker could identify himself to the board, he said, “If you plan not to pass it, I’ll sit down,” and went back to his chair.

After Norris closed the public hearing, Cooke made a motion to remove the CDS, reverting the roads back to basic zoning rules.

“Let’s do away with this matter,” Cooke said. “It’s what the people want.”

Commissioner Frank Williams added the change will make Brunswick County a more business-friendly county.

Board members approved the move unanimously, 5-0, which drew a round of applause from the audience.


Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.