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Carolina Beach To Meet June 22 On Pier Properties, Sunny Point and Other Issues

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council scheduled a special meeting for June 22, at their June 12, regular meeting to discuss a number of issues including how to proceed on funding properties they purchased some years ago for a state pier, the future of property leased from the Army and a new capital improvement plan.
The issues were deemed to complex to tackle during the Tuesday night regular meeting.
According to Councilman Steve Shuttleworth, the Council voted to hold a special meeting June 22, at 9AM at Town Hall with another date set for June 26.
The Town was notified in April they are in violation of their 1972 lease agreement with the U.S. Army for land off of Dow Road.
The property currently houses the Town's Operations Department including public works, public utilities, storm water department and the Town's garage. Additionally, it's home to a greenhouse and various office and storage areas. 
According to the Army, the land was only to be used for a specific purpose. In a letter to the Town the Army explained that per the lease, "The area will be used for construction and operation of a sewage treatment facility and necessary appurtenances and the construction and maintenance of a 40' x 100' storage building and fenced outside storage area."
On April 13, Cindy B. Turner, Savannah District, Deputy Chief, Real Estate Division for the Army Corp of Engineers wrote to the Town, "It is my expectation that removal of all items not specifically authorized for the operation and maintenance of the sewage treatment facility be accomplished by December 31, 2012."
She explained that multiple requests by the Town for other uses were denied over the years.
The "buffer zone" is land owned by the U.S. Army for the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU) across the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County. The port deals in ammunition and the buffer zone serves as a "blast zone" in the event of an incident. The zone covers the largest area of land west of Dow Road in Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher.
Town Manager Tim Owens explained to the Council, "As you are aware, the Town received a recent inspection from representatives of the Savannah District Corps of Engineers and from the Military Ocean Terminal, Sunny Point. The Corps of Engineers is the responsible party for inspecting, maintaining, and overseeing all outparcel leases such as the one on Dow Road. It appears that the last inspection of the Dow Road facilities was in the mid-1990's."
Owens explained, "Through this inspection the Town was cited on a number of items that were not in conformance with the lease arrangement signed in 1964 with subsequent amendments. From that inspection, the Town has remedied many of the items and continues to work on other items as noted. As of late, we are in the process of removing and disposing of items a noted on the inspection. Likewise, we are working on a process of general maintenance of the area and consolidating and shrinking the storage of vehicles, equipment, and lay down materials."
He explained, "As of the last correspondence, the Army Corps of Engineers and officials of MOTSU are requesting a corrective plan of action to be submitted to them by June 30, 2012 and to have completed that action plan by December 31, 2012. The corrective action plan is underway with a lot of work to complete. Once that corrective action plan is complete, I believe that it is important that the Town Council hold a workshop to discuss the action plan. I am proposing that the workshop be held on Friday, June 22, at a time to be decided by the Town Council (or any other date and time around this time-frame)."
Owens explained, "As of May 31st, Mayor Rothrock, Councilwoman Friede, me and key staff held a conference call with representatives of the Savannah District Corps of Engineers and MOTSU staff. We better understand the expectations of MOTSU and will devise a plan accordingly."
Owens said the plan will include continued maintenance of the leased areas and setting a time-line to complete other activities not completed by June 30, 2012. Also, to create and request a modification to the existing lease agreement and submit that to the appropriate officials.
Owens said at that point they will wait for a response on the lease modification and action plan. Following that response, they will take further corrective action as required by MOTSU.
He added that once the Town is in compliance, they should, "request an extension to the 50 year lease arrangement for the Waste Water Treatment Plant operation."
He explained, "In order to accomplish the above, I am requesting that the Town Council approve a budget of up to $75,000 to accomplish all of the tasks in a timely manner. The funds can be allocated from the water/sewer reserve fund. These funds will primarily be used for unfinished maintenance items, disposal of any debris, hiring contractors to assist in accomplishing tasks, surveys, legal work, surveys, engineering or any other needed tasks."
At the June 22, meeting the Council will also discuss how and whether or not to proceed with seeking grants for an ocean side park and a capital improvement plan for various future Town projects.