Matt Born/StarNews

NC - Wilmington groups gather to oppose west bank development ahead of city decision

A coalition of Wilmington-area groups gathered on the deck of Battleship North Carolina on Wednesday to voice their opposition to a text amendment that would allow a new development to move forward on the Cape Fear River's west bank.

The proposed site of the residential and commercial development is sometimes referred to as Point Peter and lies just north of the battleship. It was visible from the battleship's deck as representatives of various nonprofit groups spoke about the potential challenges a development could create, including burdens on infrastructure, environmental concerns and the destruction of cultural resources.

Travis Gilbert, the executive director of the Historic Wilmington Foundation, said the groups are looking to "make it evident that it is not a good idea to rezone Point Peter."

More:In 'last grasp' effort, Cape Fear west bank developers hope to appeal recent project denial

The opposition to the text amendment comes just days before it's set to be considered by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. The amendment would establish the Riverfront Urban Mixed Use district, a new zoning designation.

The new district is needed for the currently proposed project to move forward, according project developer KFJ Development Group.

"We don't fit in anything else," Frank Pasquale, the group's technical director, told the New Hanover County Planning Board in November.

Initial plans for the project, dubbed the Villages at Battleship Point, included hundreds of condos and apartments along with space for restaurants, retail and a "high-end hospitality venue." Developers are looking to build on an 8.4 acre site located at 1100 Point Harbor Road, which is situated just across the river from the northern end of downtown Wilmington.

The planning board denied the group's request to establish the zoning district at their Dec. 2 meeting. KFJ Development Group appealed the decision and the item has been placed on the agenda of the Jan. 10 meeting of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.

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