Developer requesting text amendment in Carolina Beach to cut back commercial requirementsWhy did the…

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Mixed-use developments in Carolina Beach are somewhat new but interest appears to be picking up (Port City Daily/File)

CAROLINA BEACH — Mixed-use developments are not a new concept, but over the past few years, as land becomes more scarce in the Cape Fear region, these types of developments have been seen more frequently. This influx of new developments has led to local governments writing up new construction guidelines.

For example, in Carolina Beach, 50 percent of a mixed-use building’s footprint must be devoted to commercial space in order to be approved. But a new text amendment could be changing that if the Town Council approves a request from developer Jeff Stokley.

“Mixed-use buildings are allowed in commercial zoning districts. The idea is two have commercial space on the ground floor or first habitable space (for elevated buildings) with residential units above. The current ordinance was clarified in 2015 for how much commercial space had to be devoted to a mixed-use building. The current ordinance requires 50% of the building footprint to be devoted to commercial space. The reaming portion of the building could be used for parking, storage, or entryway to the residential units above,” according to the Town Council’s upcoming agenda.

Instead of 50 percent, Stokley is requesting the town amend the rules to allow just 25 percent of the footprint to be dedicated to commercial uses if the property is located within the V flood zone.

“There are two types of flood zones an AE and V zone. The AE is subject to raising water and commercial buildings have the option to flood-proof. In the V-zone properties cannot be floodproofed and have to be elevated due to high-velocity wave action. The current flood maps went into effect in August 2018. The new maps reduced the number of V-zone properties,” according to the agenda.

While the new maps did remove a lot of the properties in Carolina Beach from the V-zone, there are still some located along the waterfront.

“There are 25 V-zone properties that are split between the V-zone and AE flood zone Because of the difficulties with providing commercial space on the ground floor due to V-zone regulations, the applicant is proposing to reduce the minimum sq. ft. of commercial space for these properties,” according to the request.

Town Council will vote on the amendment Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.


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