December 2015 Update

New_Hanover_County graphicOver the last 12 months, the Project Team convened at the New Hanover County Executive Development Center for sessions on Jan. 16, March 31, June 26, and Sept. 18, 2015. The directive for this committee was to find common ground and solutions by evaluating New Hanover County’s existing SUP procedures, identifying regulatory incentives and disincentives to attracting appropriate industries to the county, and to create a blueprint for the planning consultant to draft the model process.

Throughout the four meetings, the Project Team was encouraged to review and provide feedback regarding the concepts presented by the consultant including points of agreement and disagreement with text sections, suggestions, framework, etc. from the consultant’s drafts.

The proposed 2015 Model Industrial Development Special Use Permit Process has been completed and presented to New Hanover County Staff for review and consideration. The document is the result of the consultant’s thorough evaluation of existing ordinances within North Carolina and other states, in consultation with zoning and land uses experts and community stakeholders. The product creates a process with greater clarity, predictability, and fairness for new industries seeking to locate in New Hanover County. The proposed 2015 amendments create a more comprehensive, and public review process for those few heavy industries with the greatest potential for adverse impacts on our community, while removing unnecessary impediments for the vast majority of industries recognized as being desirable additions to the community.

It has been our goal to develop a process that balances industrial development with protection of the community’s resources, health and economy. While the committee did not reach consensus on all issues and revisions, the final product represent a majority concurrence of the proposed changes resulting from the collective efforts of the group.

What’s next?
Since November, the Coastal Federation has been conducting community outreach and educational events to promote the adoption of these collaborative improvements to New Hanover County’s industrial development process. The goal of this campaign is simple. We need to educate and engage businesses in our community on this issue, and encourage our elected officials to support the timely adoption of these SUP amendments. Your support is vital to the success of this effort. We recognize that the community benefits when policy makers, stakeholders, business representatives and residents all participate in the decisions that shape the future of our county.

Interested in participating and getting involved? Contact Karen Dunn, North Carolina Coastal Federation’s Clean Communities Coordinator at or call 910-509-2838 Ext. 205. Learn how you and/or your business can help support the adoption of the Model Industrial SUP by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.