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Why are there no homes on Eagles Island?

Cammie Bellamy

What Eagles Island property owners can do with their land is limited by Leland and Brunswick County zoning laws.

Leland’s portion of the island is a natural zone, meaning buildings are not allowed. Most of the island is under the county’s jurisdiction, and parts of it are zoned for conservation, industry and rural low density residential.

According to county code, homes and even residential clusters could be allowed in those rural low density residential zones. But a map from the Eagles Island Coalition shows that only a few parcels on the island have private owners; most of the land is owned by entities like the Battleship Commission, N.C. Ports Authority, the United States Maritime Commission and industrial owners.

While private owners could put homes on their Eagles Island property, they would have a hard time working around the lack of roads and utilities. Since the mid-1800s, Eagles Island has been used primarily for industry; as a result, residential infrastructure has not been installed.

In January, Mooresville-based Diamondback Development LLC bought 19 acres of land near the Battleship. Past owners of that parcel have considered residential development, but Diamondback has not announced any plans for the land. Some areas, including historic shipwrecks on the island, are protected from construction by conservation laws.

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