Courtesy of the Cape Fear Patriot blog comes this report of Wilmington City Council engaging in a classic case of crony capitalism.
Do you have a piece of property outside of the city limits and the county is refusing to meet your zoning demands? No worries. The Wilmington City Council is apparently for sale, happy to help you circumvent the New Hanover County Commissioners and grant your special zoning request, for a price.
The current example is a 27 acre parcel 2.5 miles from the borders of the city. Flournoy Development Company, a property developer out of Columbus GA, is planning to build luxury apartments off of Market Street in the northern part of the county. When the county denied Flournoy’s rezoning request, Flournoy turned to the city for help.
Seems the Wilmington City Council is now eager to annex the property to enable the devloper to skirt county zoning laws. In exchange, the city will collect the taxes generated by the new development. A nice quid pro quo among the political class and the politically connected.
Making matters worse, is that the City is embarking on a public relations campaign to convince residents that the annexation would bring public services to the area being annexed. Problem is, that claim is untrue, as public service are already being provided to the area. There will be no net benefit for the residents in the area under consideration of being annexed to benefit the developer.
County Commissioner Jason Thompson agrees. In a telephone interview he stated that the move by the city was nothing more than an attempt by the city to usurp the counties zoning authority for the developer in exchange for the ability to tax future property owners in the development.