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Burgaw planning for growth

READ MORE: Burgaw planning for long-term growth
BURGAW -- More people, more homes, and more traffic that's what Burgaw town leaders are planning for. The growing Pender County town is showing few signs of slowing down. Town officials are trying to be proactive about handling the growth so it doesn't end up overwhelming them down the road. A recently approved growth plan aims to help. Many people who live and work in Burgaw say their town's quaint atmosphere is its most defining characteristic. Burgaw resident Melinda Knoerzer said, "It catches people's eye. When I hear people come here from out of town for the first time they always say, wow, I never thought a place like this existed." But steady growth is a challenge facing the town. Burgaw resident Lantz Lanier said, "The growth is frightening some people about the development around the area, property tax and stuff like that going up." Planning administrator Chad McEwen is especially feeling the pressure. He said, "It's exciting. Sometimes it's overwhelming with the amount of growth expected in the town considering the size of the town." An estimated 4,000 people live in Burgaw right now. By the year 2020 that's expected to swell to 7,000. "We are always, unfortunately, a little bit behind the eight ball. So when growth comes, although we know it's coming, we don't ever know what form it's coming in," Lanier said. That's what town officials hope to change by planning for the future. A Highway 53 corridor study approved by Burgaw would help ease congestion. What's needed now is DOT funding, which is very uncertain. The estimated $5 million project would include adding traffic circles to problem intersections, and improving sidewalks and crosswalks. McEwen said, "There's negatives and positives with everything, pros and cons, but I think it's changing for the better." He says planners must be careful about what they approve. "We have not approved a project that we cannot provide water and sewer service for now." Even in a down economy, Burgaw continues to face growth challenges. One Burgaw realtor said the Pender County housing market hasn't been hit quite as badly as other areas. But 2006 was more successful than 2007. She said this year is looking promising so far.

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Hey I'm all for putting a Super Walmart, Lowes, HomeDepot etc on Hwy 53 between Atkinson and Burgaw. I for one am sick of driving to Wilmington. I here Wallace is getting a Super Walmart. Oh I know if we put one out here then all the small stores in Burgaw and Atkinson would go under. I don't think that would happen if they keep up the small town appearance. And how about someone spending some money in Atkinson the stores, sidewalks and the gas station are all a mess. Doesn't anyone know how to paint and cut the edge of the lawn. I hate driving through there.

Get with it Pender!

"We are always, unfortunately, a little bit behind the eight ball. So when growth comes, although we know it's coming, we don't ever know what form it's coming in," Behind the eight ball is an understatement...have you ever tried to pull perk information on property from the environmental office? Forget computers, they bring you files stored in a milk crate! It's a shame how much revenue the county is missing by the lack of vision for sewer. There needs to be new government in place that are looking out for the best interest of all of it's residents, and not just their own hidden agendas...sorry, no offense but the fossils need to go! This county is not moving forward or planning the way a small town government should. And by the doubt HAMPSTEAD end of Pender is where the sewer will much you want to bet...even though there is capacity in NH co that is allocated to Pender Co. that is not being used that could support development in the Swann Plantation area...sure is funny DEL labs gets to pump over there...but not residents who own land that need to tie in because their property fails to perk. If you knew a hurricane was coming you would be know the population growth is coming...GET PREPARED!! If you live in Pender County, you need to be asking your elected officials where they stand on all this.

Looking to NH for sewer?

You need to keep up with what's happenings in neighboring New Hanover county. That county could probably win the state lottery on sewer spills. They use their waterways as sewer overflow tanks. They pass development without the necessary sewer capacity, or roads, for that matter. If you're looking for that county to handle some of your sewer treatment, please be warned.