courthouse-clocktowerHere in New Hanover County, the community, elected officials and county staff cooperate to balance a high quality of life with a progressive business and economic climate.

At less than 200 square miles, New Hanover County is the second smallest – geographically – of the 100 North Carolina counties; however, it is home to more than 232,000 people.

New Hanover County is not just a great place in which to live or visit. New Hanover County is also a great place to do business. Tourism, film production, the service and retail sectors are the engines that power our economy.

Our Mission: New Hanover County is committed to progressive public policy, superior service, courteous contact, judicious exercise of authority, and sound fiscal management to meet the needs and concerns of our citizens today and tomorrow.

The government of New Hanover County is committed to ensuring that you are safe, healthy and secure; that is our promise to you.

New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet serves as chief administrator of county government and maintains responsibility for administering all departments under the general control of the five-member Board of Commissioners.

The county manager’s work includes the development of the county’s annual budget. The budget is the policy document, financial plan, and operations guide and communications device of county government. It reflects the county’s response to the needs of the community and residents’ requests for services. New Hanover County’s government is operating on a $399.6 million multi-fund budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2020 and ends June 30, 2021. In addition, the county also administers $294 million in state and federal funding. Through this $693 million, the county serves more than 233,000 residents.

In addition, the manager and his executive leadership team are responsible for aligning the operations of the county to the adopted strategic plan and advancing the county’s mission and vision through five key focus areas: superior education and workforce, superior public health and safety, intelligent growth and economic development, strong financial performance, and effective county management.

Mr. Coudriet has served as the county manager since July 2012. Prior to his appointment, he served as assistant county manager for New Hanover County for four years and as county manager in Franklin and Washington counties, N.C.

Mr. Coudriet has twenty-five years of public administration experience, with fifteen years as a county manager or assistant county manager in North Carolina. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from East Carolina University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

He is a native of eastern North Carolina. Chris and his wife, Leigh, and two children Montgomery and Silas, reside in Wilmington.

New Hanover County’s work is aligned with five shared values: Professionalism, Integrity, Innovation, Stewardship, and Accountability. The county’s employees consistently exemplify these values and go above and beyond in carrying out the mission to serve the county’s citizens.

Learn more about the county’s mission, vision, and strategy here.

New Hanover County has received the final economic development target analysis report from Jay Garner titled Pathways to Prosperity: New Hanover County’s Plan for Jobs and Investment and it’s critical companion piece, the Competitive Realties Report.

Manager's Message

Smart, Responsible Development is key for New Hanover County

Posted November 12, 2020 at 8:35 am

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet

New Hanover County is changing. Our population is growing, the needs of residents to be more connected and have different housing options is evolving, and our development landscape is moving to a more focused approach on smart growth and density.  

And while change is constant, it is how we manage through those changes, adapt and grow that is the key. 

I believe New Hanover County’s Planning and Land Use Department has done that, and will continue to 

With the support and approval of the Board of Commissioners, they have finalized the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), a complete reorganization of the county’s land use and zoning codes into one easy-to-use document that is reflective of the county’s 2016 Comprehensive Plan. The UDO also includes eight new zoning districts that allow for more diversity in development options and reduce the uncertainty for residents about potential impacts from general district rezonings; and it upgrades out-of-date zoning tools so they are better understood by the development community and are easier to use. 

The work of our Planning and Land Use staff continues this month when they present to the Board of Commissioners on November 16 the final ordinance change associated with the UDO project, focused on tree protections and other modernizations and refinements of the county’s regulations to, among other things, provide more clarity and consistency 

This is the culmination of thorough research and reviews, community input, and stakeholder meetings, and the final product is a coherent and specific plan of how the county will help ensure smart, responsible development in the unincorporated areas of New Hanover County. I think it will open more doors for good projects that can utilize the new land use tools available to them. 

I appreciate the support and expertise of the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners throughout this process, along with our Planning staff. Much of the in-depth work has been led by Rebekah Roth, who has served as senior planner and is now our interim planning director, and Wayne Clark, who formerly served as planning director. The two of them have worked hand-in-hand and have positioned the county’s Planning and Land Use Department on really solid footing.  

Wayne recently left the county to return to Florida, where his family is, and I asked Rebekah to serve as interim because I am confident in her work to continue moving our planning team forward, working with the community and working with our development partners.  

At this time, I don’t plan to begin recruiting a new director until early 2021, with the holidays coming up and because of Rebekah’s expertise and leadership that is already in place.  

Rebekah has led, for the past four years, our long range planning team’s implementation of the 2016 Comprehensive Plan and has played a senior role in coordinating with our partners at CFPUA, the WMPO, and New Hanover County Schools on planning for future community infrastructure needs. She also brings an extensive background in current planning and zoning administration through her eight-plus years of work with the Town of Burgaw where she was responsible for the full range of the planning process – from comprehensive plan development to permitting and zoning compliance. 

I believe with our team, and the planning and land use framework and updates that are now nearly complete, this is an opportune time for development in New Hanover County.  

We have also strategically implemented additional programs and initiatives to further support smart development, including a new Stormwater Services Program that began this year to help address persistent flooding in the unincorporated county, greater efficiencies in building permitting (including remote inspections), enhanced involvement of our Building Safety Department to hear concerns and improvement suggestions directly from stakeholders, a COAST development portal for customers to submit applications and obtain permits in a more streamlined way, and more.   

New Hanover County has created an environment for smart, intentional, and responsible development, and I believe we are poised to be successful in our changing landscape – both now and in the years to come.  


Embarking on the county’s first Master Aging Plan for a healthier, purposeful future

Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:28 am

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet Older adults are living longer, healthier and more productive lives. I’m glad, especially since my 50th birthday is right around the corner. My mom is 70, and she remains active … Read More »


Share your feedback, perceptions about workforce housing and housing affordability

Posted September 18, 2020 at 8:30 am

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet When you hear the term “housing affordability” – what comes to your mind? Some equate it to lower income or subsidized housing, others see it … Read More »


New Hanover County supports businesses, helps families, expands wireless

Posted August 25, 2020 at 9:03 am

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet Since the start of COVID-19, New Hanover County has led the public health response in our community: setting up testing sites, performing contact tracing to … Read More »


2020 Census count will guide important funding for our region – and it’s needed now more than ever

Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:58 am

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet The COVID-19 pandemic has rescheduled, canceled and changed the course of most every event and plan in the past four months. The 2020 Census is … Read More »