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Project Scope

The CPNI Virtual Workshop with the Belhaven, NC was completed October 22-23, 2020. The CPNI team met with officials, residents, and community members from the Village of Marvin for a two-day virtual workshop. CPNI and NCGrowth conducted this workshop virtually and in person in order to maintain social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belhaven is a beautiful town on the banks of the Pungo River. Popular as a stop on the intracoastal waterways, many passersby and visitors have become permanent residents over the years. Though Belhaven is a hidden gem of the inner banks’ area, the town experienced a significant economic recession when the primary employer, Pungo Hospital, left in 2014. Since then, the town’s businesses have experienced a “renaissance,” and residential real estate sales have increased. However, the town is still left with many vacant properties and would benefit from a more robust economic development plan

Team Members


  • Jess Wilkinson, NCGrowth Economic Development Manager
  • Rachel Taylor, NCGrowth Economic Development Analyst


  • Brian Crutchfield, team leader – Timmons Group
  • Doug Burns, SGA | Narmour Wright Design
  • Michael Cole, ColeJenest
  • Phil Jones, Retired UNCC
  • Wayne Robinson, VHB
  • Pat Fogleman, CPN of NC


Next Steps for Belhaven


  • Appoint a planning committee or master planning taskforce
    • Recommend a five to ten-year vision guide the process
    • Make a plan for public input and diverse community engagement
    • Incorporate Land-Use & Land Acquisition plans into Master Plan
    • Consolidate Maps and Identify Community Assets and Needs

Activate Downtown

  • Form a 501(c)3 Downtown Development Organization
  • Create Attractive and Walkable Spaces
  • Increase Wayfinding and Develop Placemaking Initiatives

Invest in Multi-use Development that is Compatible with the Environment

  • Use existing assets to develop creative uses and events that work with the natural landscape

Strategically Market the Town

  • Engage in External and Internal Marketing
    • Create a strategic marketing plan
    • External: focus on attracting visitors and businesses
    • Internal: focus on community engagement and buy-in
  • Create an Online and Social Media Strategy
    • Start by focusing on a few platforms
    • Encourage businesses to host “review-ins” to boost search engine optimization
    • Create a “one-stop-shop” website for all trip planning and local information
  • Engage in Cross-Promotion
    • Encourage businesses to work together to promote the district, each other, and the town
  • Build Community Engagement through Internal Marketing

Build Equitably and Engage in Community Development

  • Build Equity into all aspects of the planning and redevelopment process
  • Create a community profile
  • Engage community members from diverse backgrounds
  • Conduct appropriate impact analyses and research
  • Consider forming a community development taskforce or committee

Design and work with Council to approve form-based codes

Final Summary

Click here to read the final report