Tonbo Meadow approved, trees spared

by Daniel Bowden
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wilmington city council members paved the way for two new developments within the Wilmington city limits during their Dec. 4 meeting.

In rezoning 3.19 acres located at 6007 Greenville Loop Road, council members unanimously approved the construction of Tonbo Meadow, a 14-unit attached single-family housing community. Fasse Construction, the project developer, had previously gained approval to build 10 detached single family homes, but opted to amend the plan to include shared walls and four additional units. The target market for the new community is early retirees and empty nesters.

This project had a valid protest petition on file with the city clerk. Several residents of neighboring properties showed up in opposition, citing stormwater drainage and increased traffic as their primary concerns.

The developers were able to alleviate these concerns for the council members, at least, explaining that the new design would actually improve current subpar drainage conditions in the area, and that the change from the previously approved plan would reduce the traffic impact of the project by 1 percent, despite the four additional units.

Gary McKay, engineer with Red Line Engineering, said problems associated with traffic and stormwater drainage were more closely linked to the number of bedrooms on a property than the number of units. The new project plan called for two-bedroom units, reducing the total number of bedrooms planned for the community and its projected impact on traffic and stormwater drainage.

Councilwoman Laura Padgett commended the project, declaring it, “a development that goes beyond our standards, and one we may look to in the future to satisfy our environmental concerns.”

A second ordinance rezoned the area in between properties at 4317 Lake Ave. and 4310 Spirea Drive to allow for Lake Park Village, a seven-structure, 24-unit upscale townhome community. The units are planned to be rented initially, but transitioned into for-sale properties in the future.

Council also unanimously passed an ordinance amending the city’s land development code to allow for developers to remove trees on lots prior to the issuance of a building permit on individual lots. 

Councilman Charlie Rivenbark said, “If we pass this tonight, I promise it will save trees.”

Some builders will prefer to build within the confines of the previously hollowed lots, due to the high price of bringing equipment back for additional clearing.

“It’s expensive for contractors to come back and clear more,” said Councilman Kevin O’Grady. “They’d rather not clear any more trees.”

The Cape Fear Garden Club donated $6,500 to the Wilmington Tree Commission, and council unanimously approved the appropriation of those funds to the parks and landscapes division for the purpose of planting new high-rise oak trees and Formosa azaleas along Market Street.

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