Podcast Jan. 5 – Development process gets streamlined, again, plus Galleria, and…

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We kick off the New Year with a move by Wilmington’s Planning Commission — a proposal to remove the commission from the process of approving special use permits (what’s that? don’t worry, we get to that).

On the one hand, the Planning Commission hearings serve a valuable role, informing the public and giving them a chance to speak their minds on new developments. On the other hand, the tight restrictions placed on City Council when it comes to a vote on a special use permit makes the Commissioner’s vote largely ceremonial.

So how does this shake out in the balance between limiting bureaucracy and giving residents a voice in the process? We get into it.

Next up: a quick recap of the latest on the Galleria project on Wrightsville Avenue. We break down the latest issue between developer Jeffery Kentner and Wilmington; we also talk about what we know — and don’t know — about the relationship between the city and developers.

Meanwhile, in Carolina Beach, town council hired a new town manager to replace Michael Cramer, who was fired last year. While the town has high hopes for its new manager, questions remain about how he was hired.

For instance, why did the town hold a meeting on the Saturday before Christmas? And why hold open that meeting until the New Year, allowing council to legally hold another meeting without notifying the press or the public? While nothing illegal happened, we have to ask — why the sneaky move?

And, before we end, a quick check-in on the ongoing lawsuits between Carolina Beach and the private landowners at Freeman Park. While, as always, we cannot 100 percent say what the landowners’ plan for area, we do know that, in their latest legal move, they accuse Carolina Beach of hurting their chances of selling or developing the area.

Freeman Park Beach Resort? We’ll have to wait and see.

If you missed any of these stories you can catch up below, then take a deeper dive with our weekly podcast.

The Avenue changed how Wilmington treats developments, now it’s coming back

Planning Commission could be removed from special-use permit requests, public involvement restricted

This private UNCW study helped make the case for The Avenue. Here’s what it actually said

Galleria developer won’t build project Wilmington wants without millions in Wrightsville Avenue improvements

Part two: Property owners fight Carolina Beach over ability to market or develop Freeman Park land

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