Marsh Oaks residents sue Wilmington over re-zoning of annexed area


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The battle over rezoning one section of Market Street is not over. Some Marsh Oaks residents have filed a lawsuit against the City of Wilmington.

Marsh Oaks residents Carl Hudson, Dale Baehmann and their wives are suing the city over its decision in January to rezone a section of Market Street near Marsh Oaks Drive.

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The land is now zoned a multi-family medium density district. That lets a developer build luxury apartments there. It’s something Marsh Oaks residents have hotly contested for months. Now, it’s a legal matter.

“We’ve appealed the zoning decision and asked the court to invalidate it, because we’ve felt this decision was arbitrary and capricious because it’s inconsistent with the city’s land use plans,” said James Eldridge, the attorney for the plaintiffs.

Eldrige filed the lawsuit against the city two weeks ago. Part of it states that the zoning would cause overcrowding and increase the strain on neighboring schools and the infrastructure, namely the traffic on Market St.

It’s estimated that this apartment complex could add nearly 3,000 trips on Market Street at this location. That’s why New Hanover County denied the developer’s request for rezoning. Last fall, the developer asked to be voluntarily annexed into the city. The city voted to annex the property and approved the zoning request bringing an unwelcome neighbor to this community.

The residents who filed the lawsuit did not want to speak out at this time.

We called the city attorney to get the city’s response. He said it’s their policy not to comment on ongoing lawsuits.