Project on hold after dozens voice opposition to apartment complex

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A new apartment complex project is on hold for now after dozens of Ogden neighbors came out to a meeting Monday night asking county commissioners not to allow construction.

The 30-acre piece of land is zoned B-2, meant for things like shopping centers, hotels, and car dealerships. Back in August, Tribute Properties filed a special use permit for the parcel that borders Market Street and Lendire Road.

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The complex would include 288 apartments and nearly 7,500 sq. ft. of commercial space.

Neighbors who live near the property have concerns about road conditions, traffic, school overcrowding, and especially drainage, with flooding from hurricanes Florence and Dorian fresh on their minds.

“We can’t leave our homes every time it rains,” one neighbor said. “I need this board to consider what we’re going through.”



An attorney for the developer, Matt Nichols, says building this complex would be less intrusive to residents than the alternative.

“Currently, a developer could, by right, develop this property in a fairly intense commercial manner,” Nichols said. “In a much more intense manner than we are proposing under this special use permit.”

Nichols says the company has pledged to build a retention pond big enough to handle a 100-year flood, compared to the 25-year-event mandate.

New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White noted that there seemed to be a disconnect between the developer and the audience.

“The evidence that he presented,” White said, “showed that storm water would be better and traffic would be better than the present zoning.”

After a failed motion by Commissioner Rob Zapple to deny the permit, and some back and forth between commissioners and the developer’s attorney, commissioners ultimately voted to table the vote for 90 days in order to gather more data.

Neighbors showed a positive reaction.

“When you go and you make this building,” neighbor Cynthia Boulay said, “wait until all of the other systems are in place and working well, and can accommodate all of the extra that you’re asking for it to. Because right now, it can’t.”

WWAY asked the development team about the decision, but they did not wish to comment.