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The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce was disappointed with the votes last night of New Hanover County Commissioners Dawson and Barfield, who voted against the modifications that would have added clarification to the Special Use Permitting (SUP) process.

At no time did the Chamber ask for the existing SUP process to end, but the Chamber does believe revisions are necessary. Our concerns continue to revolve around the constant feedback we are receiving from businesses and site selectors that New Hanover County will not be on the list of considered locations for investment due to the lack of specificity of the County’s Special Use Permitting process. They have provided an objective, independent assessment of existing barriers to business entry and sustainable job growth within our community.

Last night’s vote adds another hurdle to overcome in an already difficult business climate. From year-end 2002 to year-end 2012, New Hanover County lost 1,987 manufacturing jobs, 26% of our manufacturing base. The current SUP process was put in place in 2011 so it certainly did not cause these losses. However, the current SUP process will prevent us from replacing the jobs that were lost.

As a community, we need to work to strengthen our tax base so that the schools, roads, and other amenities our fellow citizens deserve can be paid for. We need to be proactive in making our community more business friendly, not hope to prove the site selectors wrong. We feel confident they are not.

We commend the County staff and others for the open dialogue and hard work that went into the proposed modifications. We also appreciate the support of Commissioners White and Wolfe, who strongly supported these proposed changes. We feel comfortable we would have set our community on a stronger economic course if they had been adopted.

Comment on this Story

  • Timekeeper

    It is all about the dollar, with the C of C and big business. It is refreshing to know that not everybody totally forgets the wishes of the people and does not bow down to those who would damage our quality of life and health for the almighty buck.

  • Vog46

    A well written letter.
    I hasten to add that since 2002 “we” have paid through our tax dollars MILLIONS yes thats MILLIONS to people like the “CEO” of WDI John Hinnant, and to WBD to promote and encourage development in this area.
    Perhaps now – as you so eloquently put it :
    ” From year-end 2002 to year-end 2012, New Hanover County lost 1,987 manufacturing jobs, 26% of our manufacturing base”

    We shall now look at the performance of these so called “development committees” as being abysmal failures as the loss of jobs indicates them to be. If either Hinnat or Satterfield was in a REAL private industry job this level of NON performance would have resulted in their collective termination – with nary a blip of remorse either I might add.

    And hyphen lady? (Majeure-Rhett) YOU are included in that list. YOU promoted a $57M ball park, and a dinosaur known as the Convention Center – yet you seem to imply you are above reproach, above being criticised. Sorry but as a leader in the development of the local area you share in the blame.


  • taxpayer

    The Chamber wants what the Chamber wants…all at the expense of the rest of us. You didn’t get your way, so now you’re taking your ball and going home.


  • Carol Kramer

    As far as I can tell, the Chamber of Commerce is all for illegal immigration (10 to 20 to 30 MILLION) “workers”.

    As far as I can tell, the Chamber of Commerce is all for Common Core so that Education is not only Federalized, but its most important goal becomes the production of “workers.” They are much less interested in the education of productive citizens. That’s right, they care about turning students into production tools.

    As far as I can tell, the Chamber of Commerce is all for jobs, forgetting the importance of local control and approval. Clearly, special use permits are in their way. Wilmington citizens want to preserve what is still a beautiful area. We don’t want to become an industrial wasteland. (Cough, cough Titan) Careful planning is essential, welcomed and required.

    Nothing recommends your position better than getting the Chamber upset at you!

  • Sandy Mitchell

    I agree completely with this comment by Rick Wilson. I have been very active in the Republican Party in New Hanover County, and it sickens me that Scott Satterfield and Billy King (staff at WBD) and the Wilmington Chamber try to blame the special use permit rules for problems. Fact is, WBD is ineffective and it’s staff should be fired. It should never receive any public money — not one cent. It’s a huge conflict of interest that WBD receives much funding from industrial polluters on Hwy 421 — who oppose any changes — but also claims to represent the “official” government-backed business development plans. You cannot serve two masters.

    Question — what have you done for me lately WBD? Nothing, unless you count the endless golf fundraisers and to get it’s staff those massive salaries. Pathetic.

  • Rick Wilson

    The Chamber and Wilmington Business Development (WBD) are using the Special Use Permit as an excuse for their own failures. WBD has received $1,217,221.00 total from just NH County in the last 10 years and the Chamber and WBD pay 6 figure salaries for zero net results. Their failures are amplified by the fact that during one of the biggest building booms the area has ever seen, they did nothing without a SUP. This was a time when loan money was so easy to get than it almost bankrupted this country. All this talk about the SUP is a smoke screen to mask their failures and dismal records so the gravy train for them will continue. It is time for the Chamber and Wilmington Business Development to show how all monies collected in the last 20 years was spent down to the penny. I believe once this information is public, both the taxpayers and private donors will realize the money would be much better spent elsewhere. When they start with their gloom and doom stories if they were eliminated, ask them to show what difference they have made other than wasting money and complaining about something that protects the public’s interest. Commissioners Barfield and Dawson are to be commended for standing up to Special Interest and the leeches………they proved they put the people that elected them ahead of the puppeteers that control the others.


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