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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local 2012 YEAR IN REVIEW: Traffic Projects, Storms, Economy, Elections, Resignations & More...

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW: Traffic Projects, Storms, Economy, Elections, Resignations & More...

Crews working for the North Carolina Department of Transportation began grinding up asphalt on Lake Park Blvd in Carolina Beach Tuesday April 24. The road was resurfaced and returned to a four-lane traffic pattern. This follows a failed Road Diet implemented a couple of years ago reducing the road to two lanes with a center turn lane and bike paths behind diagonally parked cars. That resulted in massive congestion and public outcry.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - Each year the Island Gazette publishes highlights of top stories from through out the year. 2012 was a busy year with a variety of news stories landing on the front page. The following is a look back at stories from 2012:

Returning Lake Park To Four Lanes
CAROLINA BEACH -  Fixing ill-conceived traffic ideas evidently cost a couple hundred thousand dollars.
Crews working for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) began a project Tuesday April 24, to return Lake Park Blvd in Carolina Beach back to a four-lane traffic pattern.
The project is the result of a failed "Road Diet" traffic pattern implemented a few years ago by the NCDOT at the request of the Town of Carolina Beach under a prior administration.
The Road Diet reduced the four-lane road to two lanes with a center turn lane and bike paths on either side of the road behind diagonal parking spaces. That pattern led to public outcry about traffic congestion sometimes backing up north to Snow's Cut Bridge and South to the neighboring Town of Kure Beach. Not just on busy holiday weekends or normally busy summer weekends, but also traffic backups during the normal weekdays.
The Road Diet included the area on Lake Park Blvd from Carl Winner Avenue south to the area just before the Carolina Beach Lake.
The Town Council voted unanimously to revert to the original traffic pattern on Lake Park Blvd with four lanes and angled parking at their August 23, 2011 meeting. At that time it was estimated to cost over $200,000 to return to the old pattern in use for 30 or 40 years.
The Road Diet resulted in traffic backups during busy summer months during peak and non-peak times of the week.
Holiday weekends have always been busy for traffic throughout Pleasure Island, but the Road Diet resulted in people waiting for upwards of 40 minutes to travel from neighboring Kure Beach to Carolina Beach. Many motorists were frustrated with people on bikes traveling through Town quicker and freely than vehicles.
Business owners grew frustrated when customers would express concerns about not being able to get in or out of their parking lots.
Residents expressed concern about increased traffic on traditionally quiet residential side streets because people aggressively sought alternate routes.
The Town attempted to curtail congestion by erecting a sign on Lake Park Blvd at Ocean Blvd to divert traffic west to Dow Road. That resulted in traffic backups which angered many since Dow Road traditionally served as a back-road for locals to avoid summer tourism traffic.
Ironically, the Gazette pointed out the need to test the pattern before permanently painting the traffic pattern lines. That recommendation fell on deaf ears and the Town made it permanent with no test period. And that mistake cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

County Commissioners Reconsider Birth-control Vote At April 2nd Meeting
NEW HANOVER CTY - In the wake of protestors shouting "You hate women" the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners reversed their March 12, unanimous decision not to use an $8,899 State Family Planning grant for a particular form of long-term birth control.
According to the Health Department, the grant would provide "medical services related to family planning including physician's consultation, examination, prescription, continuing supervision, laboratory examination and contraceptive supplies."
No matching funds would be required from the County. The money can be used for other family planning expenditures. IUDs are small, "T-shaped" devices made of flexible plastic. A health care provider inserts an IUD into a woman's uterus to prevent pregnancy.
With an IUD a woman doesn't have to remember to take a birth control pill or receive regular birth-control injections. Reducing the odds they'll get pregnant over the long-term. It can be used to treat other conditions.
Commissioner Rick Catlin - who serves on the Board of Health - explained he asked question at a previous Board of Health meeting and, "The answers I got were this would be used predominately for people who were being inconsistent or irresponsible in their existing family planning" and, "I have a fundamental philosophical issue with using taxpayer dollars to fund someone's irresponsibility. If that's not the case it's a different story, but that's the way it was described to me at the meeting."
Commissioner Jonathan Barfield explained, "With me serving on the DSS Board and the Hospital Board I see directly the impact of those that do have children out of wedlock or pregnancies that for whatever reason happened and that burden falls upon the county or the state to finance."
Catlin explained the issue has nothing to do with a national debate on contraception and healthcare. He said, "It's about personal responsibility and accountability."
Commissioner Davis stated, "I just think personally its a sad day when the taxpayers are asked to pay money to buy contraceptives to keep young women - who should not be having sex but are having sex - from becoming pregnant. If these young women were responsible people and didn't have the sex to begin with we wouldn't be in this situation. But unfortunately that's the problem that we have."
The Board unanimously voted not to approve the budget amendment accepting the grant funding. Following that vote at the March meeting, controversy exploded online among supporters of Family Planning. That prompted Commissioner Barfield to answer critics on his Facebook page stating, "I'm getting a good lesson from my wife right this minute on the error of my vote." and, "I don't have the right to choose for any woman...Bottom line we should have accepted the money."
A protest of the decision was organized at Riverfront Park in Wilmington, NC with protesters voicing their opposition to a "war on women".
At the April 2, meeting Chairman Ted Davis said at the March meeting the item was pulled from their consent agenda and brought up for discussion with little background information.
Davis said a report in the Star News covering a previous Board of Health meeting quoted a staff member of that department as saying, "IUD's make, quote, a good choice for women who are inconsistent with other methods of contraception. We have a lot of women who are irresponsible with taking the pill."
Davis said the item at the March 12, meeting took around six minutes with a short presentation by Health Department Director David Rice. Davis said Rice gave a brief presentation and he read the comments in the newspaper from the Board of Health meeting and, "I made certain statements and a vote was taken."
Davis explained, "At no time did David Rice or anyone else comment on or contradict the statements that had been made by anyone on the board before the vote had been taken."
He said, "I do not apologize for my vote, because I voted based upon the information that I had at that time. However, I understand there are women who were offended by some of my statements. If that is so, I sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart. That was not my intention and certainly I did not mean to do so."
Davis said, "The $8,899 that we are discussing is just for the purpose of the IUD devices. If this money was spent to purchase IUD's without hormones - which is the cheaper of the two - approximately 65 devices could be purchased. The charge by the health department for an IUD device and the procedure to insert it is $705.00. This is not free to every woman that may receive such a device. If the person has insurance, that insurance is used. If that person does not have insurance then there's a sliding scale charge."
He explained, "There are presently no IUD devices at the health department" because the providers that inserted IUD's left the department last year. Since then an advance practitioner was hired in December with another hired in January.
Davis said part of the existing funding for the department can be used to purchase IUD's and there is no reason the health department can't currently serve the 64 women already on a waiting list for IUD's.
He said the $8,899 grant would provide additional funding and the department has requested it be used to purchase IUD's but the offset to the existing budget could be used for other family planning expenses.
Davis said he realizes women seeking contraception from the department are being responsible.
With Davis, Catlin and Barfield voting to overturn their previous position, Commissioner Jason Thompson was unsatisfied that staff could not answer a number of specific questions about statistics. Commissioner Brian Berger also took issue and voted against the item with Thompson.
Thompson said if they have 20,000 condoms on the shelves, could they reduce that number and spend the money on something else. Officials couldn't say how many condoms they hand out each month. The same for birth control pills.
Commissioner Rick Catlin said he was amazed at the difference between what he heard April 2, and what he was told prior to the March meeting.
He explained the quote mentioned by Davis, "That was in the paper was the only explanation I received. I was shocked by that explanation as everyone has been. These were not my words... I did respond to them, I did relay them to the board, but they were not my words. If I had heard today's presentation or heard anything other than what I heard at the meeting, chances are we wouldn't be here tonight."
He said, "It's our job as elected officials to question every use of taxpayer money and that's what I was doing. Grants are not free money. We all pay for them. They have strings attached sometimes. They can make us add staff. They can affect our policies and behavior and make us even more dependent on government funding."
He said at the same Health Department meeting, they voted not to accept a $2 million dollar grant because there were too many strings attached, but that wasn't on the radar of people at the April 2, meeting.
The Board voted three to two to approve of the request by the Health Department to use the grant funding for IUD's as previously requested.

Carolina Beach Council Reverses Decision To Extend Parking Enforcement Hours; Rates Will Still Increase
CAROLINA BEACH -  The Carolina Beach Town Council didn't ask the community the first time around, and after hearing some feedback on the street, they reversed a decision to extend hours of parking enforcement at their March 30, meeting. Enforcement will continue to stop at 7PM instead of being extended to 9PM throughout Town as previously approved in March when Council also raised parking rates. The rate increase continued as planned.
The March 13, agenda did list a presentation by the Town's Parking Enforcement Contractor, Lanier Parking Solutions, regarding the upcoming season but did not list the issue of raising rates for changing hours of enforcement.
Following the presentation, the Council voted to increase the daily rate at pay parking lots from $7 to $8, increase the hourly rate for lots and metered spaces from $1.25 to $1.50 and to extend the amount of time they enforce parking to 9PM rather than ending at 7PM.
No citizens or business owner’s spoke during the March 13, meeting largely because no public hearing was scheduled and no one was aware the Council and Parking contractor would attempt such a change without first alerting the public.
Kerry Loomis, general manager of Lanier Parking Solutions said they've seen an increase over the past few years in activity at night after 7PM when enforcement stops. She explained, "You guys have a number of events that attract visitors to your areas. We constantly try to think of ways that can increase revenue."
She explained, "We looked at your peak season which is typically May through August, and your highest occupancy during those nights is Thursday through Saturday. We looked at the amount of revenue that could be collected if it was paid parking in that time frame." She said that could equate to an additional $18,000 to the Town's bottom line.
The Town has around 760 public parking spaces in Town. 198 of them are on Lake Park Blvd that are time-limited with no charge.
Councilman Lonnie Lashley said previously he inquired about raising the daily rate in parking lots from $7 to $8 a day and it was estimated it would bring in an additional $30,000 per year. He said they would need the additional revenue from the paid parking lots and the extra revenues by extending enforcement hours to charge people attending nighttime events in the downtown area.
He said, "We're up to $50,000. We're going to need that" because the Town Manager is talking about using $780,000 from reserve funds to balance the budget for next fiscal year. He said, "We need to look at that really hard by deleting something or increasing revenue."
Councilman Bob Lewis said, "We're only talking a $1.25 an hour extending for a few hours. I don't think it really harms anybody. "
We need revenue. I'm telling you, we need to generate revenue in this coming budget year. We need to start having monies for sand renourishment, about $300,000 a year. We need to address these things."
Councilman Lewis said, "I think something that brought this to light was, we were given results from Wrightsville Beach who collects two million dollars in parking fees and it cost a half million dollars to service that account. So they are generating $1.5 million without a Freeman Park."
Wrightsville Beach parking fees and citations are higher than Carolina Beach. Wrightsville citations are $25 for first 72 hours and $50 after 30 days. In Carolina Beach, it's $15 to $25.
At the Council's March 30, meeting, they voted to reverse part of their previous parking decision. They voted unanimously to maintain the parking rate increases but not to extend parking enforcement hours from 7PM to 9PM.
Councilman Bob Lewis said, "A lot of business owners in the Central Business District... they just want to make sure that where we have two hour parking, the enforcement stays the way it was in years past" and, "The parking rates are fine... They just don't want enforcement" for extended hours.
Lewis explained, "I've got like four calls and all of the business owners are upset. People come in here at six o'clock, they are use to this thing where no one goes out there and gives citations after six or seven. But they just basically say that's gonna kill our customers" extending to 9PM.
Owens said he knew after the March 13, vote extending the hours of enforcement would be a problem for people visiting the boardwalk at 8PM for free fireworks displays throughout the summer months.
It would also affect other free events such as Family Night at the Boardwalk and free movies at the Carolina Beach Lake on Sundays throughout the season where the public traditionally has enjoyed free public parking as a way to encourage increased traffic at local businesses.
The Council voted unanimously to reserve the decision on hours of enforcement. Enforcement will continue to stop at 7PM.
Mayor Rothrock said, "So it's back to 7PM. Unanimous vote, back to 7PM. I've heard some things about it to. We learn by doing. We did and we undone it."
Councilman Lonnie Lashley said, "It won't be the first time."
The rate increase was from $1.25 to $1.50 per hour and that daily parking be increased from $7 to $8 affective 1st of April, 2012.

Kure Beach Council Says No To Paid Parking Proposal

The Kure Beach Town Council turned down a proposal to implement paid parking and enforcement in the downtown area and at beach access lots. The Council held a public hearing and heard concerns from business owners and residents.  The Council pointed out they must examine all potential sources of revenue in the future to pay for projects such as beach nourishment.

KURE BEACH -  The Town of Kure Beach will remain the only beach town in New Hanover County that provides free public parking.
The Town Council decided in early 2012 not to continue exploring a proposal for a paid parking program at their April 17, meeting following a public hearing.
Lanier Parking Systems made spoke to the Council at their January 17, meeting. It's not the first time the topic had come before the Council. The last time was in June 2011. At that time the Council reached a consensus to ask Lanier and the Shoreline Access and Parking Committee to return with more information on revenues and expenditures.
Initially Lanier quoted revenues of $245,320.00 with expenses of $124,000.00 leaving a net income for the Town of $121,320.00.
Councilman David Heglar said believed the actual revenues would range between $30,000 and $60,000." Several factors he considered included offering resident parking passes which would affect revenues and the life of equipment which he believed is shorter than previously indicated by Lanier because of the oceanfront environment.
During an April 17, public hearing Heglar explained public input was important because, "The Council has a responsibility to review all revenue options. As everyone in the audience knows... this is going to be a tough budget year."
Heglar said Wrightsville Beach has an over 25-year old parking program and over 35 pages of ordinances. He said with most parking programs, when one is started, a Town has to constantly evolve their ordinances to address issues such as finding other places to park for free. He said now Wrightsville Beach even has ordinances governing parking on residential streets. Also, unlike Carolina Beach, their residents can't park in areas closest to the beach using their parking decals. That's reserved for visitors.
Wrightsville makes in excess of a million dollars a year from parking revenues. Heglar said, "Carolina Beach makes $300,000 a year. That's what they said at the meeting" and that Carolina Beach has the popular Freeman Park at the north end that charges for 4x4 vehicle access to the beach.
Local resident Judy Larick said she believes, "Paid parking offers very little benefit to our Town and creates an unfriendly, unwanted environment to tourists and a detriment to our business community. This sends the opposite message than 'Welcome to Kure Beach."
She said it would become a tax and, "It's more trouble than it's worth" adding that Town's with parking programs are often raising rates, funding repairs and it would be an inconvenience to businesses. She said, "No one seems to make much money except Lanier Parking and the towing companies."
Mike Robertson, owner of the Kure Beach Fishing Pier and other downtown commercial properties said he agreed with Judy and was concerned with how it would impact people fishing on the pier. He said after speaking with pier owners in Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach, "It's definitely hurt their business because folks are having to feed the meters all day long. It's twelve hours to go fishing and it's two dollars and hour to park." He said paid parking is a bad idea and the Town should consider increasing public parking options. Mayor Dean Lambeth said, "I hear very clearly from the people they don't want paid parking." The audience applauded.
Councilman Heglar said, "I'm not a proponent of paid parking" and, "I'm doing exactly what you elected me to do which is look at issues. Paid parking actually came up from the previous Council before I was elected, when I was assigned to the Shoreline Access and Parking Committee."
He said the Council directed them to get more information and, "We want to investigate any revenue issues that are brought up to the Council."
Councilman Chuck Keener said the issue has come up over the years and like now there was never enough money to be generated to make it worthwhile.
Council member Emilie Swearingen said Carolina Beach "barely broke even" on their parking meters.
The Council voted unanimously not to move forward in any way with paid parking at this time.

NCDOT Awards $4.6 Million Contract to Rehab Snow's Cut Bridge

The four-lane Snow's Cut Bridge leading onto Pleasure Island was reduced to one lane in each direction starting Monday October 29th. The North Carolina Department of Transportation announced an earlier start for lane-reductions and later moved it to Monday. At least any two of the lanes will be closed for months during a bridge rehabilitation project.

CAROLINA BEACH - Snow's Cut Bridge leading onto Pleasure Island turned 50 years old in 2011. North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti announced Tuesday June 5th, NCDOT has awarded a $4.6 million contract to American Bridge Co. of Coraopolis, Pa. to preserve the bridge over Snows Cut on U.S. 421 in Carolina Beach. The bridge was built in the 1960's and needs attention to areas weathered by the elements over the decades.
Work began in the fall and is expected to be completed on the road surface by March of 2013.
This bridge will be rehabilitated using a new resurfacing technique called hydro-demolition. During this resurfacing process, the deteriorated concrete on the bridge deck will be removed in part using high-pressure water, and the bridge will be resurfaced using high-strength concrete.
Hydro-demolition is more precise than traditional pavement removal with a jackhammer, and it reduces the potential for damage to the bridge.  In addition, hydro-demolition is safer and faster than traditional demolition methods and minimizes the impact to traffic.
Before the rehab project started earlier this year a separate project installed guardrails on both sides of the approaches onto and off of Pleasure Island.  In recent years vehicles have driven off the road just before the bridge, rolling down a steep hill.
Amanda T. Glynn, P.E. - Division Bridge Program Manager for NCDOT  Division 3 - explained earlier this year that hydro-demolition involves using a machine jetting water under high pressure at the road surface to remove typically one to one and a half inches of loose or deteriorated concrete. Sometimes there are deeper areas depending on the condition of the road surface which varies from one area to the next. After that, a latex modified concrete will be put down to protect the underlying concrete and superstructure from salt intrusion.
During the project travel lanes will be restricted at times.
In addition to hydro-demolition, the contract also includes painting of structural steel and repairs to substructure concrete.
Built in 1961, Snow’s Cut Bridge is the only bridge serving Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher on Pleasure Island. It receives periodic maintenance and a full inspection every two years.

Carolina Beach Council Wants State To Permit Beach-Smoking Ban

Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens advises the Town Council on a proposed beachfront smoking ban on August 14. The Town Attorney advised the Council they have no authority to enact such a ban. The Council approved adopting the smoking ban pending consideration for approval next year by the State General Assembly.  Residents filled the room in support of the ban.

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council voted to send a letter to the North Carolina General Assembly requesting permission to ban smoking on the beachfront within Town limits at their September 11, meeting.
In August the Council voted to adopt an ordinance spelling out a smoking ban on the beachfront with the caveat that it would not be enforced until the State granted the Town permission through legislation.
Many residents supported the ban citing concerns of public health and second hand smoke as well as environmental impacts of cigarette butts on fish and other wildlife.
State law permits a city to adopt an ordinance to regulate the illegal disposal of solid waste, including littering on public and private property.
Legislation adopted by the State Legislature in 2010 permits Town's to enact a smoking ban in certain areas. One is on "local government grounds. The Council was informed by their Town Attorney earlier this summer the Town originally believed they had ownership of a large portion of the beach, but due to a state law that is not the case. Beaches that receive public funds for renourishment projects pumping sand on to the beach do not have ownership. The title to those beaches vests with, or belongs to, the State of North Carolina.
Since the 2010 State Law regulating bans on smoking by local governments is specific in its language, Town Attorney Lawrence Cragie explained, "Absent enabling legislation from the general assembly that gives the Town of Carolina Beach the authority to prohibit or regulate smoking on the public beach, the Town cannot do so."
On September 11, Town Manager Tim Owens said in addition to requesting state authority, there was direction from Council in August to come up with ways to address smoking on the beach and litter.
Owens said littering is illegal and cigarette butts are litter. He said, "In order to get a ticket, you have to be witnessed by an officer for the most part so it's very hard to do that with a cigarette butt." He said signs could be placed at beach access areas alerting the public to litter law enforcement. He said the Town previously got a grant to provide foil-packets for smokers to dispose of their butts but those can cost as much as $1.50 each.
Owens said they are working on a cigarette disposal canister that can be placed on the beach. A can on a wooden post. 
Currently it's a $50 fine for littering.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said, "I'm more inclined to focus on the littering aspect rather than telling people what they should or should not be doing as a lifestyle. I am a proponent of making it by ordinance a smoke free beach but I don't really want to be out there telling people what they should or shouldn't do."
He favors visible signs telling people to pick up their butts and said one business in Wrightsville Beach put out cans on sticks that people can take on the beach, dispose properly and return at the end of their visit.
Shuttleworth said he's had personal conversations with legislators and there are varying opinions on how to address the issue. He said another County chose a different route and went through their County Health Department to enact a countywide ban in public areas.
Mayor Ray Rothrock said he didn't support the ban and would not author or sign such a letter to the state.
Owens said sending the letter and visiting legislators will "get the ball rolling."
Shuttleworth said some county and state leaders have indicated support if it's a countywide or statewide issue. He said, "There are some that said they would prefer to see it go back to the public for a vote."
Council member Sarah Friede said she would draft the letter. Shuttleworth said as Mayor Pro-tem, he would sign the letter. Mayor Rothrock voted no.
Under the ban people smoking on the beach would be subject to a fine of $50 with no criminal penalty.

Kure Beach Council Informed Beach Smoking Ban Not An Option
KURE BEACH, NC - Kure Beach Town Attorney Andy Canoutas informed the Town Council at their July 19, meeting they have no legal authority to adopt a ban on smoking on the beachfront similar to proposals in Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach.
Mayor Dean Lambeth requested the item be added to the agenda to address the issue due to the ongoing issue in the other two beach towns.
The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen debated the issue earlier this year ultimately voting not to implement such a ban. Concerned residents petitioned the Board to hold a referendum that appeared on the November 2012 ballot posing the question of whether or not to ban smoking on their beachfront.
Voters approved the Wrightsville Beach smoking ban in the November 2012 election.
The Carolina Beach Council held a public hearing at their July meeting. Citizens offered a wide variety of opinions both in favor and in opposition to a smoking ban on the beachfront. The Carolina Beach Council voted to consider a ban at their August regular meeting and later adopted the ban pending permission from the state legislature which has yet to materialize.
On Tuesday July 17, Kure Beach Mayor Dean Lambeth said in anticipation of the issue being brought up due to proposals in both Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach, "I wanted to let them know we don't own the beach."
Lambeth said, "Most of the cigarette butts on our beach come from storm water runoff" that reaches the beach via storm drain outfall pipes. He added, "Plus, it would be hell to enforce. I haven't heard of anyone bringing up the issue at this point, but we need to go ahead and have Council discussion."
During the July 19, Council meeting Town Attorney Canoutas explained, "Under the state law which is "Smoking Prohibited in Public Places and Places of Employment" that the legislature passed... states that local governments can pass these ordinances on local government grounds. When you read the definitions of the general statute, grounds is defined as an unenclosed area owned, leased or occupied by the local government. Well, we don't own any of that out there" on the beach.
He explained, "The property out here on the beach, we are very unique. Back in the days of old when the Kure's first started selling properties, they use to sell the properties on the oceanfront to the high water mark. And there are a lot of people out there still paying taxes on that even though it is in public-trust by case law."
The terms "Public Trust" refer to the an ancient common law observed in North Carolina that says the public can use the beach from the dunes to the water regardless of whether any portion is held in private ownership. It's also an important part in local beach nourishment agreements with the federal government and supports the state's long-standing position that public access to the beach and ocean is a paramount public right.
Canoutas explained, "In my opinion, we don't have the authority" to impose a smoking ban. He said, "Wrightsville Beach is in a different position because in 1939 they acquired the beach by deed. They own their beach so they can enforce anything they want to out there."
Canoutas explained, "I don't know about Carolina Beach. All I know is in 1963 they got an act passed establishing a building line but I don't know what that is as far as title to property."
He said, "I know that we don't own anything out there on that sand. We are blessed by the fact that we have our easement line for beach renourishment and also the CAMA coastal line pretty well takes care of our problems out on the beach therefore we don't need any other laws or any other possession. I just don't see where we have the authority to get into a smoking ban."
He said dog ordinances and other regulations on the beach such as littering are enforceable on the beach because they are part of the Town's general policing power, but the state set specific requirements for adopting smoking bans.
Canoutas said the Town could cite people for littering.
Mayor Lambeth said, "And that'll be another dozen police officers..."
Councilman David Heglar asked, "What if the original owners put up no-smoking signs there? Since it's not our property, could everybody go outside their house and put one up?"
Canoutas said that's unlikely because it wouldn't be enforceable and they'd likely have to get permits for signs and pay for surveys.
Council member Emilie Swearingen asked, "Does the state have any responsibility? Could you go to the state to put a smoking ban out there?"
Canoutas said, "You can go to the legislature anytime to get anything passed."
Mayor Lambeth said, "We would have to ask the state."
Heglar said the state could change the statute to permit Kure Beach to impose a smoking ban on the beach.
Lambeth said, "It's my recommendation to let Carolina Beach work through this quagmire before we're brought into it."
In response to a comment in the audience about where the state law permits bans on the beach, Heglar said, "This is a tobacco state. I'm not sure exactly how the legislature wrote that [law] but they wrote it specifically around what the government could control around smoking."
The Council took no action.
Currently there are 130 beaches in the U.S. that have a smoking ban in place. The residents of Wrightsville Beach voted in November on a similar ban. Carolina Beach still seeking permission from the state to enact a smoking ban on the beach.

Kure Beach Mayor Storms Out Of Council Meeting; Threatens To Resign
KURE BEACH - It's not often a mayor storms out of an official Town Council meeting after displaying frustration and telling fellow elected leaders they can take the job and shove it in a certain place. That's what Kure Beach Mayor Dean Lambeth did Tuesday January 24, near the end of a daylong goal setting and budget planning retreat.
Lambeth said he's not resigning but the issue that set him off was Councilman Chuck Keener rehashing an old issue from over two and a half years ago about stop signs. Lambeth said he received input from residents on Atlantic Avenue about controlling vehicle speeds on the narrow road. After sitting in the area and observing for over three hours, he asked the Police Chief to put up some stop signs at certain intersections. Lambeth said two elected officials at the time, Councilmen Chuck Keener and Tim Fuller, took issue with him directing the Chief to put up the signs without first getting a vote of the full council.
Lambeth said at the time he had asked the Town Attorney if it was ok to ask the Chief and was told it was fine.
Lambeth said on January 30, "People had legitimate concerns about slowing vehicles down. It turned out to be the right thing to do."
He acknowledges that the proper protocol was to take it to Council for a decision, but at the time he was under the impression that it was ok.
Lambeth pointed out that Keener had at one point asked the Chief to install street signs in a particular area of Town and that was an identical issue. That caused him frustration when Keener "rehashed" the issue at the January 24, meeting.
Lambeth said he and Keener have been working well together in spite of running against each other for the office of Mayor last November.
Lambeth said, "I shouldn't have lost my temper but I'm not going to regret it. I'm getting the job done. Who can get more done for the Town? If they feel like they can, step up to the plate."
He said, "I work hard for the Town and don't need this kind of treatment."
He said the issue occurred two and a half years ago and he did what he did for public safety.
Lambeth said, "I will be politically direct, not politically correct."
Lambeth said of Keener, "I still love him, but don't know why he rehashed that issue."
On Tuesday Keener said he wasn't trying to specifically point a finger at Lambeth and instead wanted to talk about the interaction between all members of council and department heads on issues that should come before council for action.
Keener said, "He took it personally and he felt we were against him."
When asked whether he had also directed the police chief to install signs in the past Keener said, "It's probably true. And I told him I was just as guilty."
Keener said, "We're buds again. Everything is fine" and the retreat, "Helped him realize he's not in total control of the Town."
Keener said, "He's a strong guy sometimes. Certainly a nice guy and is very passionate about the Town, the people."
He said Lambeth does have a lot of pull and is respected by colleagues in Raleigh. He pointed out Lambeth was recently voted in as Vice Chairman of the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
During the day-long meeting, Keener said, "Street signs. Stop signs. We didn't even know about it."
Lambeth said, "Is the attorney still here? Mr. Attorney, the day that that was discussed was I under the impression that I could do that."
Town Attorney Andy Canoutas said, "Yeah."
Lambeth said, "Alright, now are we through with that @#$% because I'm getting God @#$% tired of it."
Keener said, "Dean, this is not for you."
Lambeth said, "You just said it was. Make up your mind. If you don't like the way I'm operating tell me now and you can take this job and shove it up your @#$. I'm done with it. You'll get my God @#$% resignation tomorrow morning."
Keener said, "We've all done this. Not just him."
Lambeth said, "You keep doing it. You make the contacts I'm making Chuck."
Keener said, "We love your contacts and we need you. Come back in here!"
Keener said, "I've told you I've made mistakes. Everybody here has made mistakes. This is not about you."
Lambeth said of his resignation, "It will be typed up by my secretary."
After Lambeth left the meeting Councilman David Heglar said, "The department heads shouldn't need to be micro-managed that much to begin with. I'm fine with telling everyone, if I talk to Dennis or anybody about something I think is significant. But I'm going to talk to department heads about all kinds of stuff all the time. Some of it is just to get their opinion on stuff so I can make good votes."
Heglar said, "As far as directing department heads to do something, I think that should be a council decision. I 100% agree with you."
Shortly after that Lambeth said he wasn't really going to resign.

Carolina Beach Town Manager And Two Elected Leaders Resign; Council Selects Interim Manager

Left to right: Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens, Mayor Ray Rothrock and Councilman Lonnie Lashley. Owens has submitted his resignation and Rothrock and Lashley resigned their seats following a closed session at the end of their Tuesday November 13, meeting.

CAROLINA BEACH - The Council agreed to accept the resignation of Town Manager Tim Owens during a late evening closed session held at the end of the Council's November 13, meeting.
When the Council emerged and the announcement was made, Mayor Ray Rothrock and Councilman Lonnie Lashley both resigned their seats on Council citing opposition to the move.
Mayor Rothrock said, "Discussed in closed session was real estate, direction given to the Town Manager and attorney client privilege information and that also was given to the manager. It was discussed, and the Council will accept, the Town Manager's resignation and the Town Attorney will handle paper work to make sure everything is in proper order."
He said, "The resignation will be in accordance with the Town Manager's current contract." That includes a severance package with pay and benefits for a certain period.
Councilman Lonnie Lashley said, "I would like to say that the resignation by the [manager] was a three to two vote. I would like to have that on record please."
Council member Sarah Friede thanked Owens for his years of service and wished him well.
Mayor Ray Rothrock promptly said, "In view of all that, the final thing I have to say is, I resign. I quit. You folks can have it. I'll take my gavel. My name tag and go home."
Lashley said, "That's two of us. So you have some work ahead of you council. I wish you well. I've enjoyed working with you. All three of you."
Mayor Rothrock motioned to adjourn the meeting and Councilman Bob Lewis asked the Town Attorney to clarify if the Council was required to accept their resignations.
It was determined that Rothrock and Lashley's resignations were verbal in an open meeting and no further action was required.
After the meeting Lewis said, "I think the Town needs new direction" and said fellow Council members Steve Shuttleworth and Sarah Friede were not opposed to the manager's resignation. He said, "It was a mutual decision" with Owens.
Following the meeting Mayor Rothrock explained Carolina Beach is facing some serious issues including future beach nourishment funding, the logistics of an upcoming beach nourishment project later this fall, obtaining funding for dredging the Carolina Beach Inlet and how to deal with moving the Town's Operations Department to a new location off military land.
Rothrock said his resignation was "effective immediately" and he's not going to change his mind. He said, "There's no need as Mayor to sit there with my hands tied and a Council working against everything. They have all the answers, they can figure it out."
Rothrock said, "I've felt for some time now there is no communication between us. No calls, no personal contacts. There has to be teamwork."
Rothrock said one example of a number of bad decisons was Council voting to rent an 8,000 square foot space at the Federal Point Shopping Center to relocate their Operations Department but at the same time moving the employees into the Police Training Room at Town Hall.
Rothrock said, "Putting all Operations employees in the training room will not work.It's used by a large number of people on a regular basis" including training by law enforcement agencies from around the region and for Town functions.
Owens issued a statement Wednesday November 14, via email. He wrote, "Effective immediately, I have resigned the position of Town Manager for the Town of Carolina Beach.  I have enjoyed working for the Town and I am proud of all of the accomplishments of my co-workers over the past six and a half years. Carolina Beach is fortunate to have a great group of employees that will continue to move the Town forward. I value all of the relationships built over the years and I appreciate all those that have positively supported the Town during my tenure as manager."
On Saturday November 17, Councilman Lonnie Lashley commented on his Facebook page, "I have plans NOT to continue seeking a return to the CB council. It's been my pleasure serving for the past three years the citizens of Carolina Beach and I would appreciate the citizens of CB give the sitting council your FULL support as I will mine." Lashley previously commented to media that he already missed serving on Council a few days after resigning.
Shuttleworth said, "I was kind of shocked" about the entire situation and, "The mayor got agitated and said some rude things" and that the Mayor was upset, "Every time we have a vote and not the way he wants it" to turn out.

Carolina Beach Council Appoint Bridges, Smith For Vacant Seats

Carolina Beach Town Council interviews applicants for appointment for two vacant seats at a December 11 meeting. (Pictured above:) Michael "Tom" Bridges addresses the Council and answers questions about his views on issues facing the Town. Sitting in the front row behind him are applicants (Left to right:) Douglas B. Andrews, LeAnn Pierce, Dennis "Duke" Hagestrom and Jody N. Smith.  Ultimately Bridges and Smith were appointed to Council for a one-year term.

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council appointed Jody Smith and Tom Bridges to fill two vacant seats during their Tuesday December 18, meeting. They were selected from a list of top five candidates drawn from 16 applicants who expressed an interest in serving in writing by November 30.
On November 13, the Council announced the resignation of Town Manager Tim Owens following a closed session meeting. Immediately following that announcement, Councilman Lonnie Lashley and Mayor Ray Rothrock resigned in opposition to Owen's resignation.
The Council interviewed the top five candidates from a pool of 16 people who applied for appointment to the vacancies for Mayor and a Council seat during a meeting held December 11. They voted to appoint Councilman Bob Lewis as Mayor.
Lewis, Smith and Bridges will take the oath of office at the Council's January 8th, meeting starting at 6:30PM.
The top five were Douglas B. Andrews, Dennis "Duke" Hagestrom, LeAnn Pierce, Jody N. Smith and Michael "Tom" Bridges.
Hagestrom withdrew on December 17. In a letter to Council he stated, "I recently confirmed that my appointment to a council vacancy would result in a conflict of interest regarding personnel at one of my businesses and a contract I have in place with the Town."
Doug Andrews recently changed his voter registration. According to Marvin McFadyen, Director of New Hanover County Board of Elections, Andrews applied for a change in voter registration from an area north of Carolina Beach on November 19. The Board received the application from the state on November 27 and changed the registration on November 29.
Andrews had not previously voted in Carolina Beach and until recently was registered at an address in the Inlet Point neighborhood north of Carolina Beach. He told local news station WECT last week he has lived in Carolina Beach since 2010 and was eligible for appointment since he's eligible to vote.
Bridges and Smith will serve until December 2013. They will have the opportunity to run for Mayor (2 years) or Council (4 years) during the November Elections. Lewis will serve as Mayor until December when his original Council term was set to expire.
Jody Smith has lived in Carolina Beach since 2001 after attending the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She said, "I remember when I was at UNCW working on my degree there that Carolina Beach just was not a place you went. It wasn't a place to go to. It wasn't a place you took your kids and it wasn't a place to go out. I'm honored to say that over the past nine years living in Carolina Beach, 12 years total on the Island, that I've seen that turn around completely."
She works with the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project that interacts with local government on a regular basis.
Smith said challenges facing the Town include how to deal with an uncertain future for property previously purchased for a Pier and Park, dealing with finding a long-term location for the Town's Operations Department and finding a new Town Manager.
On controversial issues, Smith said, "At the top of the list is just to listen to what the people want" and, "It's important to take in as many ideas and input." She said there would be times when decisions are made that not everyone will like.
Tom Bridges has lived here since 2007 and moved here after working as a principal in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System for 23 years. The first seven was as a school psychologist.
Bridges said, "I have a wide variety of public service and certainly have had to deal with the public on a daily basis also constantly making decisions" as well as interviews and working with staff.
Bridges said, "I'm not a politician" and public perception is key to being successful. He said, "That's something I can bring to the table... as a group you need to be a cohesive group. If you have something to discuss, you discuss it in an intelligent manner and even if you have some disagreements, you take it outside somewhere else. Backroom, you talk about it somewhere else. If you have five people you can actually meet two on two or one on one and not have to have an open meeting." He said he had to turn around schools that didn't have the best reputations and has extensive experience in budgeting. He currently serves on the Town's Planning Commission and Freeman Park Committee.

Wilmington Baseball Stadium Bond Referendum Fails
Wilmington voters turned down a bond referendum for a $37 million taxpayer funded baseball stadium with 34,480 voting no and 14,746 voting in favor. The measure would have required a two and a half cent property tax increase equating to approximately $50 a year on a $200,000 home.
Had the bond measure passed, the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball would have relocated a single-A minor league to a new stadium on the river front in Downtown Wilmington under a long term agreement with the City buying the land, building the stadium and realizing very little in return through a lease agreement.
Signs could be seen throughout Wilmington leading up to Election Day saying support the Wilmington Baseball Stadium or "Stop the Stadium Tax".

Sandy Blows By Southeast NC Leaving Beach Erosion In Her Wake; Northern States Suffer Worse Impact

Hurricane Sandy was 100's of miles off shore as she moved north along the Atlantic coast. Strong surf conditions and storm surge lashed at the Riggings Condos in Kure Beach protected only by sand bags. No major damage. (Photo: Joshua Trillizio)

NEW HANOVER CTY - The southeastern North Carolina coast suffered minor beach erosion and very minor property damage compared to previous storms as hurricane Sandy progressed north along the Atlantic coast eventually making landfall along the southern New Jersey shore Monday night October 29. Sandy caused 33 deaths and left millions without power. Wind, storm surge and flood damage was most severe in areas closure to New Jersey and New York  flooding the subway and destroying a portion of the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
According to Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the southern New Jersey coast on the evening of October 29, 2012. As the storm came ashore, it continued to pack strong wings—roughly 85 miles (140 kilometers) per hour. Tide gauges recorded storm-surge heights of 12.4 feet (3.8 meters) at Kings Point, New York. Sandy’s clouds stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to Chicago. Clusters of lights gave away the locations of some cities throughout the region; but along the East Coast, clouds obscured the lights, many of which were blacked out due to the storm. On October 30, CNN reported that several million customers in multiple states were without electricity.
In North Carolina, property damage was less severe. One man died when a tree fell on his truck. Governor Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency for 24 counties in anticipation of Sandy impacting coastal areas.
Off the coast of North Carolina the tall ship HMS Bounty  sank in rough seas. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 crew members from the rough seas. One crew member was located some time later and passed away. The captain was not located at press time and after several days of searching, his body was not recovered. The ship was built in the 1960's and used for filming the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty and most recently in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
In the New Hanover County area, life went on for many without problems. There was noticeable beach erosion but no major property damage.
All New Hanover County Beaches experienced some beach erosion. The most noticeable areas impacted by erosion were in the southern area of Kure Beach, NC.
The Riggings condos have long sat on the edge of a narrow beach protected entirely by sand bags placed there many years ago. Those buildings weathered the storm.
Just north of the Riggings, the Ocean Dunes condo complex watched the strong waves wash away much of the sand their Homeowners Association paid to place on the beach building up a dune system last year.
On Monday those dunes had disappeared in many areas leaving a few feet between the beach and the parking areas under the buildings.
Both Kure Beach and Carolina Beach are due for a beach renourishment project to pump sand on the beach later this year.

Congress Approves $9.3 Million For Local Beach Nourishment Projects

Congress recently approved $9.3 million dollars to fund beach nourishment in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach.  While local leaders welcome the funds, the continuing trend of last-minute funding measures for such projects has caused local governments to plan for a future without federal funding. 

CAROLINA BEACH - Leaders in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach received good news in early December, the Army Corp of Engineers located additional funding from another project to provide $9.3 million for beach nourishment in both Town's starting sometime over the next few months.
As a part of the federally sponsored Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project in place for the two communities, $4,681,500 will be invested on Carolina Beach and $4,635,550 will be invested on Kure Beach.
The funds were approved by Congress in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012. Sand placement will likely begin in late December or early January.
As is required by the project design, federal spending will cover 65 percent of the cost of the project and non-federal (local and state governments) will cover 35 percent of the cost of the project. The local share of the project is funded by Room Occupancy Taxes levied on hotels, motels and short-term vacation accommodations.
Earlier this year Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and New Hanover County agreed to a contingency plan in the event that federal funding disappeared.
This summer Carolina Beach received federal funding along with the state's share of the percentage and county room tax revenues. Kure Beach was not federally funded and was left out of the State's budget. The Carolina Beach Town Council and New Hanover County Board of Commissioners worked out a deal to shift some funding from the Carolina Beach project to cover Kure Beach.
On Tuesday December 5, Kure Beach Mayor Dean Lambeth said the news of the $9.3 million approved by Congress is a blessing and restores federal funding for Kure Beach's portion of the nourishment project, but state funding will still be non-existent and they are examining how to cover that smaller short fall.
The project will pump 680,000 cubic yards of sand on to Carolina Beach likely from the North End Pier south to the Carolina Beach Lake. It will also pump 432,000 cubic yards on to Kure Beach from the southern beach in Carolina Beach to an area north of the Kure Beach Pier. A final section is south of that pier.
Robert Keistler with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Wilmington District explained Monday, December 03, the Army Corp of Engineers, "was able to award the Carolina Beach / Kure Beach Storm Damage Reduction Contract late last Friday (11/30/12).  Good news for our non-Federal partners is that Army Corp of Engineers Wilmington District was able to find additional Federal dollars to help fund this contract.  Only non-Federal cost share dollars were required to award this contract. "
He explained the contingency plan adopted by the County and the Beach Town's is not required.
The federal share (65%) for Kure Beach is $3,047,165.10. For Carolina Beach it's $3,057,327.00 The Non-federal share paid for by the state and county room taxes (35%) is $1,588,384.90 for Kure Beach and $1,624,173.00 for Carolina Beach.
Total Contract Cost for Carolina Beach is $4,681,500.00 and $4,635,550.00 for Kure Beach.

Carolina Beach Announces New Police Chief Kurt Bartley

(Left to right: Carolina Beach Mayor Ray Rothrock, newly selected Police Chief Kurt Bartley and Town Manager Tim Owens.) Owens announced the promotion of Captain Kurt Bartley as new police chief at the Council's Tuesday July 10, meeting. 

CAROLINA BEACH - Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens announced the selection of a new police chief at the Council's Tuesday July 10, meeting. Captain Kurt Bartley.
Owens explained, "I'm very pleased to inform you guys that this guy right here is the next police chief of Carolina Beach." He said, "He's been interim chief for about eight months now and he's done a wonderful job. He's been with the department for about 22 years total. He's been captain since 2005 and he's got a lot of great ideas. I'm really excited about him being our new chief." Kurt began working for the Carolina Beach Police Department where he was hired as a police dispatcher in 1984.
Kurt stayed with the Department for 2 years before joining the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department where he became a Juvenile Investigator.
In 1993, Kurt returned to the Carolina Beach Police Department. Kurt was promoted through the ranks and in 2004, was made Captain. Additionally, Kurt was named the Town’s Harbor Master for the Boat Basin.
Stemming from Kurt’s previous experience he was also the Department’s DARE officer promoting a drug-free message to the classrooms in Carolina Beach.
Former Police Chief William Younginer retired effective December 1, 2011.
Earlier this year Owens said he did interview other applicants from within North Carolina and one from Florida.

Council Votes To Eliminate Freeman Park Pass Early Discount

Freeman Park at the North End of Carolina Beach. The Town Council voted to raise the annual pass price for vehicle access to drive on the beach by eliminating a discount for early purchases and making all passes $100.

CAROLINA BEACH - Earlier this month the Carolina Beach Town Council voted to keep discounts, although restricted, but a week later they voted to eliminate discounts for people wishing to purchase annual passes to Freeman Park prior to April. Rather than getting the discount rate of $60, everyone will now pay $100 a year. The overall purpose is to generate revenues of around $400,000 a year to help fund beach nourishment and inlet maintenance projects.
In recent years federal and state funding for beach nourishment and dredging the Carolina Beach Inlet has become unpredictable and could disappear in the near future. The Town is seeking ways to create a fund annually to save up for future projects. To add to the funding concerns, the Town was recently informed by the Army Corp of Engineers they are responsible for maintaining a rock wall on the oceanfront on Carolina Beach Avenue North.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said he liked the idea of setting aside $40 of each annual pass and, "With the requirement that if we fall short of $400,000 it's augmented out of the Freeman Park and parking revenues. I like the idea of being able to explain to our population that the reason we are not discounting the ticket is we've now been hit with new costs."
Lonnie Lashley said, "We're not really raising the annual rate" and that it's simply an elimination of a discount.
Shuttleworth questioned whether the Town should raise the annual rate and then offer a discount for early purchases.
Mayor Ray Rothrock said that's an idea but Council should not move in that direction this year. He said, "Already we know there will be people, and Will is here and might or might not write about it, who say you did this without a public hearing. We have time constraints and things that we do certainly when it comes to the budget" and they are under time constraints to let the Parking Enforcement company, Lanier Parking, know what the rates are in time to prepare for selling passes in the new year.
Councilman Bob Lewis said there will be some diminishing return by eliminating the discounted annual passes.
The Council voted unanimously to change all annual passes to $100 per year with no discount and to allocate monies to go towards beach and inlet maintenance projects.
Council member Sarah Friede said it's important to inform the pass holders what the funds are being used for.
Lashley said, "The tourists are paying for a lot of this... we are not raising taxes or setting a fee for all of our residents, that's the key."
Shuttleworth said a note could be included with each pass saying where the funds are spent.
For this season from 2011 to 2012, 8,951 annual passes were sold. (In 2011, 8,220). For this season, 6,413 passes were sold before April 1 at the discounted $60 rate. After April 1, 2,538 annual passes were sold at the full $100 rate. Freeman Park generated $900,909.05 for 2011. To date for this season, with only a couple of months left, it's generated $885,743.85.
Freeman Park, located beyond the end of Canal Drive on the Northern End of Pleasure Island, is largely outside of the Town's jurisdiction. They have authority to manage the area as a park. That was granted to them by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners some years ago. There is a fee charged for vehicle access to drive on the beachfront within the park. The Town, by it's own admission, doesn't charge people to walk into the park. They can only charge for four-wheel drive vehicle access. Permit applications are not required for daily passes. Daily passes may be purchased for $20.00 at the entrance of Freeman Park.  Weekend passes are available at $40 for 2 days and $50 for 3 days. Credit cards are accepted.

Carolina Beach Council Seeking Ways To Keep Town Garage

The Town of Carolina Beach was informed in early 2012 they violated a lease for land owned by the U.S. Army and had to remove all uses from their operations yard leaving only a wastewater treatment plant and storage building with limited outdoor storage. The deadline was January 1, 2013.  They recently got an extension until June for a garage and dumpsters.

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach was informed earlier this year they have to vacate land leased from the U.S. Army in the 1970's. They can continue using the land for a wastewater treatment plant, a storage building and some limited outdoor storage. Other uses including a green house, office trailer, town garage and dumpsters must be removed by the end of the year. The dumpsters can remain until March. The existing Town garage must be relocated or the Town can hire commercial garages for maintenance on police, fire and public works vehicles. The Town Council met Tuesday November 27, and discussed ways to maintain their existing "fleet" maintenance department and continue to save money.
The Town Council ultimately decided to relocate their Operations Department employee offices to Town Hall in the Police Training Room. The room was modified to provide office areas.
Storage for materials and equipment was relocated to the Federal Point Shopping Center in an 8,000 square foot commercial space with outdoor storage. The Town erected a fence to keep the storage sheds and equipment out of public view.
Recently the Town was granted an extension by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to continue utilizing their Town Garage to service vehicles and continue using dumpsters until June of 2013. The original deadline was the end of December. The Town doesn't want to eliminate their vehicle "fleet maintenance" department but needs more time to find an alternate location for personnel and equipment.
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.

Weather and an astronomical high tide caused rough surf conditions and over wash on the north end of Carolina Beach in early November. The Carolina Beach Town Council was updated on an upcoming beach nourishment project and a requirement by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to maintain a decades old rock wall along the oceanfront on Carolina Beach Avenue North. The State no longer permits rock walls on the beach but may allow "maintenance." The Town is still working on ways to fund the project with hopes it can be done during the upcoming renourishment project to save money.

One of many piles of trash and debris left on Sunday morning, Memorial Day weekend at Freeman Park. Town officials say they try to meet the demand for garbage disposal, but many people simply pile it up on busy weekends.

(Photo: Chuck Thomas) 2012 was the 8th year of the Steve Haydu St. Patrick's LoTide Run to benefit local recipients who are fighting cancer and have no insurance.  On Saturday, March 17, Carolina Beach was splashed with green as close to 2,100 race participants, along with their supporters and volunteers, took to the streets for 5K and 10K Road Races. Pictured above: The starting line was on the beach in front of the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.  The 9th Annual Lo Tide Run which will be held on March 16, 2013. Their website at  will be updated and online registration will be open January 1st.