Leland Seeks to Attract High-Quality, High-Tech Trades

As part of a continued effort to guide positive and balanced growth in Leland, Town officials have adopted a new zoning district for the development of innovative manufacturing, research and other high-tech trades in the area.

Leland council members approved a zoning ordinance establishing the Innovation District within the Town during their regular monthly meeting on July 16. The new ordinance specifically addresses a mixture of uses, including limited manufacturing, servicing and research activities, as well as supporting retail and personal-service businesses and restaurants.

“This new zoning district allows for the creation of high-quality employment centers that can offer a moderate to high concentration of skilled labor and technical jobs, while also allowing for easy access – even within walking distance – to businesses that employees may need to utilize in the course of their daily activities,” said Ben Andrea, Director of Planning and Inspections for the Town of Leland.

Heavy industrial and similar uses in which there is a significant output of noise, glare, odor, vibration or smoke are discouraged in the Innovation District, which also calls for an aesthetically pleasing buffer between nonresidential uses and current and future residential areas.

“The types of uses allowed in the Innovation District are limited in order to ensure protection to Leland’s citizens, neighbors and environment,” Andrea noted.

The new Innovation District will apply first to a 225-acre tract of land in Leland Innovation Park (formerly Leland Industrial Park) that has been voluntarily annexed into the Town of Leland by request of landowner WCM Enterprises, LLC and following approval by Leland Town Council on July 16.

But Gary Vidmar, Director of Economic and Community Development for the Town of Leland, said the Innovation District guidelines will shape much of the employment center development throughout the Town moving forward. Those guidelines can be applied to suitable locations outside Leland Innovation Park on single or multiple properties that are at least 50 acres.

“For many years, Leland has had a desire to attract clean, high-tech small manufacturing and distribution companies that can provide sustainable, high-paying jobs to residents. We do not have any desire to bring outdated smokestack-type industries to the area,” Vidmar said. “This annexation and establishment of a new zoning district will go a long way toward enabling the Town to accomplish this goal.”


Read the Greater Wilmington Business Journal's coverage of the Innovation District


View a TV news segment on the Innovation District from WECT