‘It’s not a good fit:’ Project Indigo discussions continue after planning board recommends denial

Mayor Joe Pat Hatem says the proposed development is not a good fit for Southport, particularly because of its size.

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — Leaders in one Brunswick County city met on Thursday night to hear more on a developer’s plan to build more than a thousand new homes.

The Southport Board of Aldermen heard more about the proposed Phase Two of Indigo Plantation. The development would bring 1,542 homes to the city, nearly doubling the city’s existing plantation. In addition to the homes, the project would include 8,000 square feet of commercial space.

On July 21, the planning board unanimously recommended the denial of the project. Wes MacLeod with the Cape Fear Council of Government presented a summary of the project and the planning board’s recommendation.

Before the presentation, several people spoke out against the development during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The aldermen only heard the presentation and did not take a vote on the development.

Mayor Joe Pat Hatem says he rarely speaks for the board as a whole, but he believes they’re all in agreement that the project’s large density is not a good fit for Southport.

“We don’t have the infrastructure, the water, the roads, the sewer, that type thing,” Hatem said. “It doesn’t preserve our historic heritage. It doesn’t promote public health and safety. It’s just too many people in such a small area. It certainly doesn’t preserve the quaint neighborhoods and coastal living that we have.”

Though the project hit a wall, the decision is not final. Hatem says the town is now in the negotiation phase with the developers to find common ground on what would be a better fit for the city.

“Growth, development, and change are inevitable. You cannot stop it, it’s not possible, but we can guide it in the right direction,” Hatem said. “I just want our citizens to know that we are listening to their voice. Listening to the voice of the people is a very important part of the process.”

The aldermen also denied a text amendment that would have allowed commercial recreation, like putt putt or water parks, in the historic district. Mayor Hatem says there’s nothing wrong with those things, but there is a place for them outside of the historic district.

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