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Focus Should Begin With New Hanover County SUP Proposal

Since March, New Hanover County staff has been working on a revised version of the Special Use Permit.  During that process, County staff created a new draft, then sought and incorporated input from the County’s new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) consultant.  The new version was made public on Monday afternoon, and Wilmington Chamber leadership is reviewing that proposal to see if it accomplishes our goals for SUP revision.

The Chamber recommends that upcoming deliberations on this issue focus on the County staff’s new proposal. The North Carolina Coastal Federation’s campaign to build support for what they have dubbed the ‘model’ Special Use Permit (SUP) is not supported by the Wilmington Chamber. In 2015, the Coastal Federation created a community task force and hired a consultant to develop a revised version of the SUP.  Once drafted by the Coastal Federation’s consultant, that proposal did not receive a majority of support from the members of the committee not employed by the Coastal Federation. The Coastal Federation proposal does not represent a community consensus on this issue and does not adequately address the business community’s concerns. Despite their lack of success in building consensus for their plan, the Coastal Federation has now launched an active campaign to promote their version.

This issue is of utmost importance to our community. Manufacturing provides an important base of jobs, especially for those without a college degree, and salaries are typically much higher than service jobs. Chamber leadership will continue to work to promote effective revisions and address the aspects of the current SUP process which unduly hinder the community’s economic growth and the prosperity of its citizens.

Mitch Lamm
Chairman, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce