New Hanover County’s First Comprehensive Plan

I am pleased to tell you that the very first Comprehensive Plan – “Plan NHC” – has been adopted in New Hanover County. This is a historic achievement, and it charts the course for our next 25 years of economic development and land use. Thank you to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners and Planning Board, the countless citizens, stakeholders, and staff experts who all worked together to create a plan that will be successfully implemented in the years to come.

The process of developing Plan NHC began in July 2013. After three years of extensive research and community input, the final draft of Plan NHC was unanimously approved by our Board of Commissioners on July 11, 2016. I encourage you to watch the final presentation here and visit  to view the entire plan.

This is a first for our county, and it furthers our commitment to being the model of good governance. Below is a recent county news release about the significance of Plan NHC:

New Hanover County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the county’s first Comprehensive Plan , Plan NHC, at the July 11, 2016 board meeting. This approval provides a path for New Hanover County’s economic development and provides a direct vision for the county’s future.

Plan NHC is a series of reports, including statistical and historical information, and provides a detailed implementation plan that will help achieve the overall vision for the future of New Hanover County with a focus on a more mixed-use style of land use. It will provide guidance to elected officials and staff on development and redevelopment proposals, zoning regulations, policies, programs and initiatives that will sustain New Hanover County as a vibrant, prosperous and diverse coastal community.

“This is a historic action for the county and this Board of Commissioners,” said Chairman Beth Dawson. “The county’s very first long-range Comprehensive Plan will guide all of us as we plan for the growth and future business in New Hanover County. It is going to direct the choices we make and the policies we create, so that future generations are able to work and thrive in this beautiful county.”

By 2040, the population in New Hanover County is expected to be more than 57% larger than it is today. Plan NHC notes that, with this growth, there is a need for responsible development. “Plan NHC takes into account the county’s current infrastructure and the need to preserve our natural resources,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet. “It will help increase economic development and ensure that stewardship remains a top priority.”

Plan NHC was led by the county’s Planning staff and developed with extensive community input, including meetings, theme committees, public discussions, and Planning Board recommendations. Divided into five chapters, the plan can be read in its entirety at

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