- Published on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 17:42
- Written by Super User
The Federal Point Shopping Center on North Lake Park Blvd will soon have a new tenant, the Town of Carolina Beach Operations and Public Works Department.
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach is being forced to move the majority of their Operations Department off of military land. On October 19, they voted to rent space at the Federal Point Shopping Center until a long-term solution can be researched.
The Town will rent an 8,000 square foot location in the center and use a grassy area for outdoor storage while parking heavier equipment in the rear of the center. There's enough room for parking over 30 town vehicles. Employees will be based in the Police Training Room at Town Hall.
The lease is $3,500 per month for six months with three six-month options for an total of two-years leaving the Town the flexibility to vacate the center should the Council decide upon a more permanent location elsewhere.
In the 1970’s the Town leased land from the U.S. Army to construct a wastewater treatment plant. Earlier this year the Town was notified they are in violation of the lease terms by using the land for uses not permitted in the lease. They were given until the end of this year to comply.
The Town’s "Operations Yard" is located off Dow Road on U.S. Army land. The "buffer zone" is land taken by the military in the 1950’s for the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU) across the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County.
The port is the largest of it’s kind in the world dealing in storage and transportation of explosive munitions. The buffer zone serves as a "blast zone" in the event of an incident. That zone covers the largest area of land west of Dow Road in Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher.
Following an inspection last year, the military informed the Town in April their use of that land was largely in violation of the 1972 lease.
That lease only permitted a wastewater treatment plant, a 40’ by 100’ storage building and limited fenced in outdoor storage area related to the treatment plant. The Army demanded removal of items stored for auction, multiple storage buildings, trailer, marine vessels, generators, undercarriage water station, maintenance shop, multiple dumpsters and a retention pond. A corrective action plan was submitted to the Army by a June deadline. The Town has examined options to relocate those uses including land at Town Hall, Town property on Spartanburg Avenue for outdoor storage and relocating office space within Town Hall.
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 the 1972 lease 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." She explained, "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 Town was given until the end of June 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.
Currently the Town is working on complying with the lease and hopes that in the near future when the lease is up for renewal, they can negotiate additional uses on the military property.
Currently the Town has no alternative location for the Town Garage and has been contacting area automotive repair shops to discuss options for vehicle maintenance.