Wilmington City Council approved what could very well be the city’s largest voluntary annexation ever on Tuesday night.
It was a unanimous vote to approve annexing more than 1,300 acres into the city for a waterfront mixed-use development along River Road.
Newland Communities, the developer of the proposed Riverlights mixed-use development along River Road, requested the approved voluntary annexation.
“They really like to create a sense of home when it comes to their developments, they want to create healthy living systems, and they want to be real innovative in the way they do that,” said Newland representative Michael Lee.
The developers favor working under city ordinances and zoning rules, rather than those of the county.
Before voting, council did hear some opposition. “Look at this, not in a vacuum, not as just the project itself, but how it’s going to have an impact on the entire River Road area,” said Jonathan Deputy who lives near the annexed area.
The project will include redirecting a portion of River Road, which is currently owned by the state and will be taken over by the city.
But those concerns didn’t sway City Council.
“This project will bring planned, quality growth, that’s one of the things we’ve always heard over and over again,” said Mayor Saffo.
Growth isn’t the only thing the development will bring, as the tax base will have more than $3 million added as a result of the annexation.
This voluntary annexation is larger than the involuntary annexation of the Monkey Junction area that Council approved a few weeks ago.