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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local Carolina Beach Moves Operations Department Into New Home

Carolina Beach Moves Operations Department Into New Home

The Town of Carolina Beach Operations Department has moved into a new 8,000 square foot space with outdoor storage in the Federal Point Shopping Center on N. Lake Park Blvd. The Army notified the Town they had violated a land lease earlier this year.

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - In October the Carolina Beach Town Council voted to move their Operations Department (Public Works) to an 8,000 square foot space in the Federal Point Shopping Center with outdoor storage. That move is almost complete with a new fence to store equipment, storage sheds and other materials.
Earlier this year the U.S. Army told the Town to move the department off military land.
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.
Heavier equipment will park 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.
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.
At the Council's Tuesday November 13, meeting Town Manager Tim Owens said, "We are proceeding forward with moving our Operations Department out of the MOTSU leased area."
Owens said the rent for the remainder of the year will be $28,000. Utilities are estimated at $400 per month. Temporary employees have been hired to aid in the relocation efforts.
Owens said, "I'm proposing and additional $5,000 in the temporary employee funding."
Owens said converting the police training room for Operations employees will require using the Council meeting room for training events and other town functions.
He said in order to meet those needs in the Council chamber, he is proposing funding for chairs, tables and other items.
He said, "The total amount I'm requesting is $52,700. That should cover everything we've talked about. That would come from the Water and Sewer reserve fund."
Owens proposed replacing the older larger chairs with stackable chairs to accommodate training meetings and other events in the Council room.
Councilmen Bob Lewis and Lonnie Lashley said they liked the larger more comfortable four seat sectionals and believed Owens could make it work and keep those seats.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth asked Owens to get quotes on "hard walls" in the police training room rather than partitions to provide
more private office space for Operations employees.
He said shifting some office areas within Town Hall would help facilitate additional office space.
Councilman Lewis spoke about parking for those employees saying, "Take my parking space. We don't need parking spaces for Council. We're not here but once or twice a month. Take these parking spaces and give them to the employees that come here everyday" because it will add five additional spaces at Town Hall.
Shuttleworth said, "I think what we are saying is, the consensus is, you need to move forward, spend some of this money. We just ask you to make a hard assessment of how to make those offices work and look at other spaces in the building... and lay it out the best you can. For the chairs, I think these things do move in groups of five or four.  You can move them around a little bit. Before we go out and spend another $6,500 for chairs let's give it a go. We can always do it later."
Mayor Ray Rothrock said a representative of the Army will be inspecting their property on November 28 and, "I sincerely believe it would be advantageous... in going over the location with him, what we have and what we've moved and how it looks, if we could get rid of" a double-wide trailer the Army demanded be removed.
Rothrock said the Fort Fisher Ferry system is within the buffer zone and, "There's over 150,000 automobiles moved on that ferry on an annual basis. In addition to that, there's over 450,000 people moved on that ferry on an annual basis. In addition to that, that I'm going to point out to Colonel Hall is that the Air Force Recreation and Army National Guard Training area at Fort Fisher... the most recent Seafood Blues and Jazz Festival, " held at the base, "had over 5,000 tickets sold and on Saturday afternoon, evening and most of Sunday there was over 5,000 people in the buffer zone."
Rothrock said, "I'm going to present that to the Colonel... and ask him to explain to us why we cannot have the public works garage and two mechanics in the northeastern" corner of the leased land farthest from Sunny Point in the buffer zone.
He said, "I think moving the doublewide would be advantageous" along with completing some other items.
He said the Council should consider selling it as soon as possible. Owens said selling it is complicated because the Town never received a title for the trailer.
Owens said someone is interested in buying the trailer for $5,000 with proper title, or $2,500 without a title.
He said they are waiting on the Department of Motor Vehicles to inspect the identification numbers to resolve the title issue.
Owens requested $46,200 after removing the funds for buying new chairs.
The Council voted unanimously in favor of the request.
A representative from the Army Corp of Engineers Real Estate Division will be in Carolina Beach on December 6th, to look at well sites, Mike Chappel Park and the water and sewer plant properties for a follow up inspection to ensure compliance.