Land Development Code

Built upon a multi-year foundation of grassroots engagement, the Land Development Code (LDC) will help tomorrow’s Wilmington reflect the community’s preferences and hopes for the future. The LDC provides the framework for development to align with the Comprehensive Plan.

Answers to common questions and guidance on navigating the code can be found in the LDC User Guide(PDF, 15MB). We created the guide for those that may be new to permitting and development in Wilmington or unfamiliar with our Land Development Code. The process can seem overwhelming and we hope the guide simplifies it for you and helps you with your project.

About the LDC

The LDC responds to new and emerging city needs with strategies to properly manage the city's growth for the coming years. It aims to reduce sprawl, improve traffic conditions, preserve and grow our tree canopy, better manage stormwater, and develop a more convenient, compact, and connected future city with a more thoughtful land use approach. Some of the bigger ideas to help us improve our quality of life are:

  • Tree-lined streets create a sense of place and elevate the appearance of the city's major corridors.
  • Ample sidewalks to make the city more walkable.
  • Streets can integrate bicycle lanes, connect to the city's network of multi-use trails, and improve safety and traffic flow.
  • Locating retail, work, and residential options together enables shorter trips and reduce traffic demand on major roads.
  • Reduce sprawl by encouraging infill development. This helps to reduce long travel times on major roads and improves access and convenience for nearby neighborhoods.
  • Locate residential housing closer to retail, restaurants, other services, and offices. This lessens the need to drive major corridors, reducing traffic congestion and making the community more convenient, walkable, and bike-friendly.
  • Encourage the on-site management of stormwater runoff and structured parking instead of expansive surface parking along major roads. This reduces the amount of runoff and flooding on surrounding streets and properties and enhances major roads' appearance.
  • Locate buildings closer to the street and parking behind the building to create a sense of place and make the community more walkable and connected.