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Carolina Beach Approves $100,000 To Comply With Military Land Lease

The U.S. Army has notified the Town of Carolina Beach they are in violation of their lease on land in the Sunny Point Buffer Zone used for the sewer treatment plant. They are requiring a plan to remedy the issues in June and compliance by the end of this year. The Council approved $100,000 towards compliance at their June 12, meeting.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach was notified in April they are in violation of their 1972 lease agreement with the U.S. Army for land off of Dow Road.
At their June 12, meeting the Council approved $100,000 to fund efforts to comply with the original conditions of the lease.
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. The Army is demanding the Town comply by the end of 2012.
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.
On November 7, 2011, Sunny Point officials inspected the Operation's yard and other areas of the buffer zone used by the Town. A letter date January 19, 2012 was sent to Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens providing a copy of the inspection report.
The Town sent a letter back outlining improvements noted in the Army's inspection report.
On April 13, Cindy B. Turner, Savannah District, Deputy Chief, Real Estate Division for the Army Corp of Engineers wrote to the Town, "Pursuant to Condition No. 6 of the subject lease, compliance inspections of the leased premises were conducted on November 7, 2011 with a follow-up inspection on March 22, 2012, by my staff and Mr. Michael Fuller of Military Ocean Terminal, Sunny Point. Both inspections identified deficiencies regarding the use of the leased premises. During the follow-up inspection the recent construction of a water retention pond to collect contaminated water runoff
adjacent to the dumpsters was noted. It is evident that the lease site is being utilized for operations that do not comply with the terms and conditions of our lease."
Turner explained, "Condition No. 26 in Supplement No. 1 dated August 11, 1972, states, "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." A review of our files shows multiple requests by the Town of Carolina Beach and subsequent denials for permission to relocate the town's public works area, utilities equipment, parking area, supplies and materials to this lease site. The site was leased and made available specifically for the construction, operation and maintenance of a sewage disposal facility to assist in efforts being made by the State of North Carolina to abate the pollution of waters throughout the State. The Government's sole determination was that the requests were not in the best interest of the Government and adversely impacted this commands mission requirements."
The Town has until the end of this month to present a plan for compliance to remove items stored for auction, multiple storage buildings, FEMA trailer, marine vessels, generators, undercarriage water station, maintenance shop and multiple dumpsters and retention pond. That must be finished by the end of the year.
On June 12, Owens asked Council to set a workshop to discuss the issue. He said the Town will likely ask for an amendment to the lease to permit certain uses.
He requested $100,000 from the water and sewer fund to clean up various areas of the property. In particular two areas containing debris.
The Town is contacting Congressman Mike McIntye in an attempt to obtain support in their negotiations with Army officials.
The Council voted to continue discussion at a workshop set for June 22 at 9AM at Town Hall.