- Published on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 21:11
- Written by Super User
The Carolina Beach Town Council approved relocating their trash transfer station to land located adjacent to a residential neighborhood at their March 12, meeting after hearing from residents opposed to the plan.
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach has until June to find a new home for temporary refuse collection. The Town's very own Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously denied the Town's request to relocate that operation to Town property at their February 14, meeting after hearing feedback from nearby residents opposing the plan.
The Council voted four to one Tuesday March 12, to approve of the plan even after hearing concerns from over 10 residents living in the adjacent neighborhood of Carolina Beach Village.
Mayor Bob Lewis voted against the plan. Council members Sarah Friede, Tom Bridges, Steve Shuttleworth and Jody Smith voted in favor.
The request from the Town of Carolina Beach was to relocate a portion of the Public Works/Utilities facility from the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU) buffer zone to a nearly ten acre 427,637 sq. ft parcel at 1110 N Lake Park Blvd. That land is undeveloped and bordered to the west and south by a commercial district. The land is zoned only for residential use and is bordered to the east by the Carolina Beach Village subdivision.
The permit will allow the Town to locate trash compactors and landscaping debris containers on a corner of the lot equal to 7% of the parcel. The permit would also permit future relocation of the Town's vehicle maintenance garage.
The site will be used for temporary collection of refuse from public trashcans throughout Town, along the beach front and within Freeman Park. Also, for roadside debris often picked up by the Town.
Senior Planner Ed Parvin explained gated driveway access to the site will be located behind the Federal Point Shopping Center with very limited vehicle traffic to reduce impact on adjacent properties. Employee occupancy will be low.
He explained no parking spaces will be used. A work truck will drive to appropriate areas for pickup and drop off. Any temporary parking would occur within a fenced in area to help maintain a safe, clean appearance. Refuse will be collected at the location and, "The site will be kept in a clean, clutter-free condition at all times."
A 15 foot buffer is being provided and 6 ft. fence to shield the facility from the adjacent properties along N Lake Park Blvd. That is above the 10’ buffer required for government facilities. A natural vegetative buffer will be between the facility and Carolina Beach Village. The distance from the facility to the closest property in that neighborhood is around 400 ft.
Parvin explained, "The majority of the property is designated 404 wetlands and will remain undisturbed in its natural state. The refuse on site will be located in covered compactors to minimize the impacts. There will be a recycling ben and an open vegetative debris container."
The land was once part of a civil war line and many residents opposed disturbing that historical area.
One requirement for approval of the permit is the "location and character of the use... will be in harmony with the area in which it is to be located and in general conformity with the Town Land Use Plan and Policies."
Parvin explained, "This area is designated for single family development. The design of the facility should result in a use that has less impact on adjacent properties than the allowed density for the area. The facility is a low-moderate development with minimum lot coverage that is consistent with the 2007 Land Use plan."
Another requirement is that, "That the use will not substantially injure the value of adjoining or abutting property, or that the use is a public necessity".
Parvin explained, "A conditional use permit is required when a certain use is desired in a zoning district, but some of its characteristics could negatively impact the surrounding area. To alleviate potential impacts on adjacent property owners the site has been left in its natural state as much as possible. In addition the site will include extensive landscaping and fencing to shield stored items from adjacent properties."
Neighbors opposed the permit citing concerns over excessive noise pollution, contaminated stormwater runoff, negative impact on property values and preserving the natural state of the land
Mary Joe Lewis Stewart told the Council her father Joseph Ryder Lewis donated the tract of land to the Town some years ago. She explained, "When the Town agreed to accept this donation they also agreed to the stipulations that went along with it. It clearly states in the deed, July 5th, 2000.... that the grantee agrees to utilize the conveyed property for the purpose of municipal development and shall attempt to preserve the natural environment and historical significance of the property for the public benefit."
She quoted an article in the Island Gazette that quoted Ryder Lewis as saying, "Ryder hopes the remaining nine plus acres will be used for a park to view wildlife and rare plants."
She said, "My father loved this Town and the people in it. His intentions for this land is just as stated, a park or a greenway to better the community, to make it more family oriented, to make it a place where families come together to have a good time."
She asked the Council to honor her father's wishes and preserve the land and preserve the family oriented impression that greets people when they cross over the bridge. She said, "Not a waste transfer station."
Currently the Town has an extension granted by the U.S. Army to continue operating their Town Garage on military land off Dow Road until June. The original date to remove the operation and only use the building for storage was December 31.
The Town continued searching for a temporary location for the garage to service their fleet of vehicles and equipment.
The Town was notified in April of last year they were in violation of their 1972 lease agreement with the U.S. Army for land off of Dow Road. 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.
The property housed the Town's Operations Department including public works, public utilities, storm water department and the Town's garage. Additionally, it was home to a greenhouse, various office and storage areas and dumpsters.
The Army is demanding the Town comply by the end of 2012. The 1972 lease only permitted a wastewater treatment plant, a storage building and related uses.
One of the more complicated issues is where to relocate dumpsters used to hold trash collected from public trashcans throughout Town and along the beach front as well as debris picked up from the side of the road.
Currently those dumpsters are used as a holding area until they are picked up and hauled to the County landfill. Relocating that operation to the land referenced in the permit request would allow the same operation using covered trash compactors.
Currently the Town has a similar trash compactor near the downtown Boardwalk area.
Council member Sarah Friede said options are limited on the Island and no matter where the transfer station is located it will be within a short distance of other residential properties.
Councilman Shuttleworth said Council is faced with relocating the transfer station and previously voted down a plan to locate operations to a smaller lot on another residential street. He said the Town also looked at landlocked property across the bridge the Town owns as well as other areas. He said none of those other options worked.
Council agreed the primary use of the transfer station is to service trash coming from Freeman Park on the north end of the Island. That park is a popular destination permitting vehicle assess to drive on the beach and camping.
Councilman Tom Bridges said the existing Federal Point Shopping Center will eventually be redeveloped and will have an impact on the adjacent neighborhood with dumpsters and large trucks making deliveries.
Mayor Lewis said the compelling testimony for him was from Mary Joe Lewis Stewart regarding her father's view of how the Town would utilize the land. He said, "What we are thinking about doing with the property had anything to do with the mission he thought, in the future, would be when donating the property in the first place."
He said he believes in preserving the integrity of the residential neighborhoods and the Town hasn't done any research on the impact on property values of nearby residential homes.
A petition with nearly 300 names opposing the permit was delivered to the Council during the meeting.
The residents were visibly upset and began discussing their legal right to challenge the decision in court.