WILMINGTON -- At Tuesday's Wilmington City Council meeting, city staff proposed some changes to the city's Vision 2020 plan, which was adopted more than a decade ago. Staff members presented a new package of regulations for downtown's central business district. As it stands now, a downtown building can be built without a special permit to a height of 100 feet above the ground. City staff proposed reducing that limit to 60 feet. Development Services Director Kaye Graybeal said,"It's a preservation strategy to take the pressure off demolishing older buildings to achieve more height." But City Council wants further study of the issue, and asked staff members to re-examine the issue. Historic Wilmington Foundation Executive Director George Edwards said, "Although we did not get a vote last night for the new preservation standards that would have protected buildings against speculative demolition, I think the kind of public debate that council engaged in last night, the show of general support for preservation, which was clearly evident last night, leaves me encouraged." City council passed some changes to the Vision 2020 plan, including making the zoning code more clear and adding more flexibility to it. "We're trying to achieve that balance between protecting historic resources, protecting our riverfront while also allowing quality growth and development," said Graybeal.
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