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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Neighbors in the Seabreeze community are worried about their neighborhood's future. A petitioner is trying to rezone two of the community's five commercial acres into residential acres. They say that could hurt current and future businesses.
Turn left off Carolina Beach Road, before the beach bridge, and you will find the historic Seabreeze community.
"If you listen to the residents, the people that live here, they have great stories," said Frederick Cooper, who lives in the neighborhood. He says the town was created in the 1920's and served as one of the only African-American owned beach front properties in the area.
"That history touches all of our lives, especially in the African- American community, generation after generation," said Cooper. He says the popular spot attracted many people every weekend.
"It was a great nightlife, there were piers where people danced, food was served, clam fritters - that's a seabreeze cuisine," said Cooper. He says in the 1980's businesses shut down, but recently residents have been working to open doors back up.
"There is a movement to bring back and restore some of the culture of the past," said Cooper. He says that can't happen if the petitioner succeeds in rezoning the commercial part of the property. "It's just going to open the door to the destruction of the commercial district," said Cooper. He is also worried about what that would do to existing businesses.
"When you down-zone from a business zone to a residential zone, businesses lose intensity and we can't afford that," said Cooper.
Neighbors will meet Saturday at noon to sign a petition. The issue goes before New Hanover County commissioners on August 6.
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