Commercial Zoning

Town of Carolina Beach Adopts Zoning Text Amendment to Allow Restaurant Expansion

The Town of Carolina Beach sits 19 miles due south of Wilmington, North Carolina, where it boasts itself a scenic point of unrivaled surf fishing and historic enclave of Civil War tales. Tourism, of course, is a significant concern in the Town and with it comes the usual amenities of food and fun.

Under the Town’s Code, it has long been the case that neither the construction of new drive-through restaurants nor the expansion or renovation of existing drive-through restaurants could occur within the area zoned as Central Business District. Such a restriction is meant to protect the pedestrian-friendly nature of the designated area, and is claimed to be consistent with the Town’s Master Plan as well as the express purpose of that very zoning district.

McDonald’s Corporation seeks to expand by 800 square feet its restaurant built in 1984 and located within that Central Business District. Due to the aforementioned Code restriction, however, McDonald’s would need a zoning text amendment to achieve that end.

On Tuesday evening, the Town Council voted unanimously to adopt the text amendment, allowing McDonald’s Corporation (and other drive-through restaurants located in the Central Business District) to grow its size on North Lake Park Boulevard. What’s more, the Code may undergo further scrutiny by the Town Council in months to come insofar as the restriction at issue applied only to drive-through restaurants, and leaves dry cleaners, banks and Dunkin’ Donut shops–to name the few–without the same limitation.

Do you want fries with this post?

Mike Thelen is an associate in Womble Carlyle’s Real Estate and Real Estate Litigation practice groups. He regularly represents a wide variety of clients in land use issues, from local governments to businesses, in both state and federal venues throughout North Carolina.

Categories: Commercial Zoning

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