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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local 2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: PART TWO: Hotels, Tattoos, MOTSU, Sweepstakes, Recycling and More...

2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: PART TWO: Hotels, Tattoos, MOTSU, Sweepstakes, Recycling and More...

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - Each year the Island Gazette publishes highlights of top stories from throughout the year. 2013 was a busy year with a variety of news stories landing on the front page. The following is Part Two of a two-part look back at stories in 2013:

Carolina Beach Markets Former Pier Project Properties For $4.65 Million

 

The Carolina Beach Town Council voted to sell properties once slated for a North Carolina Aquarium Pier by putting them on the market for $4.65 million dollars.

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina wrestled in 2013 with how to deal with paying the debt on $4.3 million dollars in property it purchased in 2009 on Canal Drive and Carolina Beach Avenue North to facilitate a future NC Aquarium Pier and park.
On October 9th, 2012 the Town Council voted to forego an expensive oceanfront park idea and put all of the properties on the market to pay off what they owe BB&T.
In February the properties were put up for sale for $4.65 million dollars.
According to a release issued in February, Paul S. Loukas CCIM, Vice President of the Wilmington based firm, Cape Fear Commercial, announced the sale of nearly 1.972 acres of oceanfront and 2nd row land that includes a 62-room operating and stabilized motel.
The release stated, "The sale is an assemblage of seven parcels totaling 1.972 acres along Carolina Beach Avenue North in the central business district. The properties can be classified into two distinct assets: (1) six parcels owned by CBP3, Inc. (an entity controlled by the Town of Carolina Beach) that contain Surfside Oceanfront Lodge and Guy Johnson motel, and (2) a single, vacant parcel of land owned by the Town of Carolina Beach that is currently used as paid public parking."
According to the release, "This sale presents a tremendous opportunity to acquire prime oceanfront and 2nd row properties that provide immediate cash flow with excellent future development potential," Loukas said.
The bulk asking price for all the properties is $4.65 million dollars. The offering hit the market in mid February.
Loukas said he already received serious interest from both local investors and larger buyers from outside the region.
The properties are located at 234, 235, 236, 237, 239, 302, and 309 Carolina Beach Avenue North, Carolina Beach, NC.

The Surfside Motorlodge on Carolina Beach Avenue North.

Mayor Bob Lewis commented that, "To understand the current challenges with the property you have to know the land parcels themselves were acquired and loans secured by the town in 2008 with the property titles and loans setup in a non-profit holding company CBP3, LLC."
He explained, "The hope of that council at that time was that the NC Aquariums would move forward with a planned educational and fishing pier as the centerpiece of the central business district.  Unfortunately council went ahead and approved the purchase of this land without any formal signed agreement with the State of North Carolina agreeing to build a pier on the site."
With the economic downturn in the economy, the state said they would not be able to fund the project. The estimated cost was $15 million for the pier with the state funding the land upon which the actual structure would be located.
The North Carolina Aquariums Division had planned to construct three piers along the coastline. One was built in Nags Head, NC in the Outer Banks. The second pier was planned for Emerald Isle, NC but was not funded. The Carolina Beach project was to be the third pier.
The original pier project called for a 1,000 foot long concrete pier with wooden decking proposed by the NC Aquariums complete with seating kiosks, fish tanks, conference space, kitchen facilities, pier store, decks and balconies to view the ocean, equipment rentals, a 10,000 square foot pier house, ADA accessibility and the potential for outdoor entertainment. The Town would be required to sponsor other improvements including 150+ parking spaces that are adjacent to existing parking lots.
The Town said they don't own the land, their separate shell corporation - called CBP3 - owns it. The Town pays the bills. That shell corporation was established because some state grant agencies will not award grants to reimburse for property that's already been purchased.
The Council worked to renegotiate the loans with BB&T as well as generate revenue from two hotels located on the properties to help pay the mortgage.
Mayor Lewis explained, "The town still has some state grants which we can possibly be utilized if we wanted to build a park of some sort on the property but the challenge there is these are mostly matching grants which means the town would need to come up with close to $2 Million of our tax dollars to pay off the loan and would need to demolish buildings on the land and build a park at an additional cost. A park which cost the taxpayers between $3 and $4 million dollars just does not seem to be a good investment when we have Freeman Park, Mike Chappell Park and the Lake which serves us well for recreation and open green space."
Lewis explained, "As you know a couple of our current council representatives secured a reduction in the interest rate and terms of the financing of the property in question significantly reducing our annual debt payment.  Thinking out of the box and at the direction of the bank holding our note on the property, council also restructure how we managed the revenue and expenses on the two operating motels on the property reversing our financial exposure on a yearly basis so we now find ourselves in a situation where the current revenue income basically covers our annual costs.  This however is just a short term strategy which was targeted to get us through the next 5 years or so with little or no cost to our taxpayers."
He explained, " The plan is that during the next 5 years the property value of these parcels may return to a closer number to what we paid for it originally. Council never planned to keep the property long term as the mission of a public entity is not to be in the hotel business and that is not in the best interest of the town to keep the property. We also made the decision in October, 2012 to begin the process of selling off this commercial real estate if possible without taking a huge hit and have recommended the board members of the CBP3, LLC execute an agreement to hire a professional commercial real estate company to do so.   CBP3 interviewed a number of commercial real estate companies in November and signed a listing agreement with Paul Loukas and Cape Fear Commercial in December of last year to market the properties."
Lewis explained, " The reality is that the property value in today’s market may not bring the $4.3 million dollars needed to retire the note.   It is not our intention or interest at this time to take a $1.5 - $2 million dollar hit on our town’s revenue reserves to quickly sell off this property. We will offer the property for sale but are prepared to hold out for our price as the market continues to improve with the plan that as we get to a breakeven on the sale of the property versus our pay off we would take action."
The land owned by CBP3 can be sold just like any other commercial property depending on whether or not the offer is acceptable to the CBP3 Board and Town Council.
The parcels owned by the Town must go through a different process.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said Monday February 4, the Town would have to follow an upset bid process where an offer is entertained, a deposit is made by the potential buyer, and then a period of time is required to permit other interested parties to submit higher bids.

New Wave Transit Bus Route For Pleasure Island

CAROLINA BEACH - The Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority expanded service to Pleasure Island and the Leland area while eliminating service to Belville in Brunswick County and the Wilmington neighborhood of Creekwood.
The new routes began Sunday February 3, along with a fare increase from $1.50 to $2.00 per adult rider.
The new route to Pleasure Island only has stops as far south as Carolina Beach. People in Kure Beach must make their way into Carolina Beach in order to catch the bus to Monkey Junction and then connect via another bus into the rest of the Wave Transit system serving Wilmington and New Hanover County.
Albert Eby of Wave Transit spoke to the Kure Beach Town Council at their January 15, meeting about the new route from the Wilmington area to Pleasure Island.
Eby explained, "We were down here about a year or so ago to make a proposal about what we would consider a pretty intensive service down to Pleasure Island."
He said Wave Transit is an independent transportation authority and, "We provide public transportation not only to the City of Wilmington but to all of New Hanover County with limited support from New Hanover County as well as service to Brunswick County. Since the last time I was here we've started providing van pool service" to Elizabeth Town and Jacksonville. They also provide service to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and 90% of Medicaid Transportation.
In 2011 the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority  (Wave Transit) released plans to expand bus service to Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach.
In order to fund that expansion, they proposed an additional vehicle registration tax of up to $7 dollars per vehicle to generate an estimated $1,104,040.00 in revenues to cover that expansion and system funding in general.
Eby said the last proposal was for a vehicle registration fee to support a new route to the Island. He said, "While that wasn't successful, we haven't stopped fighting for it and we will continue on that path. But one of the things the Council asked us when we were here last time - in response to some folks from the help center that were here - was to reach out to those folks with the help center on Pleasure Island to see if there was something we could do to both identify the need of transportation... especially to more of the retail areas not only in Wilmington, but New Hanover County and the Medical Center. Also to get a good handle on what the need is and how we may be able to possibly address the needs with our current structure."
He said after speaking with the Help Center and working with Council member Emilie Swearingen, "We were able in or short range transit plan... to identify some areas were we could see some efficiencies and to provide extended service down to Monkey Junction. Instead of one route to Monkey Junction we will now be providing two routes to Monkey Junction."
Eby explained, "I think one of the things that I was most amazed with when working with the Help Center was the real need for public transportation here on Pleasure Island. Us folks up in Wilmington just think beach community, people can take care of themselves, you don't have any poverty, you don't have anybody that needs assistance. With the assistance of the Help Center we had over 120 surveys and while we are still analyzing the data... one of the things our planning staff pointed out the number of folks that live on Pleasure Island that don't have transportation off the Island. They are dependent on friends, on family and folks that do have a limited amount of funds sometimes have to take a taxi cab to Monkey Junction so they can access the services of Wave Transit and this can cost as much as $35 to $50 round trip just to get a $2 bus ride."
He explained, "We felt we had to step up and find a way to address the need down here on Pleasure Island because we were created to serve not only the City of Wilmington but New Hanover County."
Eby said, "Monday through Saturday we'll have five trips from Monkey Junction to Pleasure Island starting at 7:30 in the morning and ending at 7:30 in the evening. On Sundays we will have limited service so we will have three trips starting 10:30 in the morning and ending at 4:30 in the afternoon."
He said, "We see this as a first step. This is by no means something that can't be changed as we get a better understanding of what the needs of the folks on Pleasure Island are."
He said, "The bus coming from Monkey Junction would go just past Town Hall in Carolina Beach, turn around there on Canal Drive and Carl Winner and come back. I think that will still be a challenge for folks that live south of Carolina Beach to access that service but certainly it takes in a large area that has been unserved or underserved in the past. While we are not where I think we can be and should be, we are certainly a lot better off than I think we were before we made this change."
Eby said the new route will began February 3 and provides access to educational services, medical services, and employment opportunities for people that would not normally be able to travel to other areas of the County.
The cost is $2 from Pleasure Island to Monkey Junction where riders can transfer to a bus at $2 a ride that routes to other areas in Wilmington and New Hanover County. Eby said the cost for a roundtrip would be $8.
He said, "And once you get in our system, you can transfer to other buses without additional cost."
One resident asked when service would be extended south of Carolina Beach to Kure Beach.
Eby said, "Our time frame kind of equals our money frame. Unfortunately. The challenge right now is, we are supported not only by the local governments, City of Wilmington and New Hanover County, but a lot of our support comes from the State and Federal governments and to some degree we are under assault right now. While I say it's one of our priorities, we obviously have to find the resources to bring it down to Kure Beach."
For more information, visit www.wavetransit.com

State Approves Lease for Cold Storage Facility At Port Of Wilmington

North Carolina State Port at Wilmington.

RALEIGH, N.C. : February 5, 2013 - The North Carolina Council of State voted February 5, to approve a  lease that gives the go-ahead to a public-private partnership seeking to construct a cold storage facility at the Port of Wilmington. The 20 year lease has an option for another 20 years.
The partnership between the North Carolina State Ports Authority and local Developer Chuck Schoninger of USA Investco is expected to create a state-of-the-art cold storage facility for near-vessel storage of fruits and vegetables, meat and other agriculture products, both imports and exports. This project is contingent upon the award of state and local incentives. Plans call for a 75,000-square-foot facility, expandable to 300,000-square-feet, at an initial investment of $13 million. The project would create 110 new jobs while supporting the state’s number one industry: agriculture.
“We appreciate the support of the Council of State and the teamwork between the departments of Commerce, Agriculture and Transportation in advancing this important, job-producing project for the State of North Carolina,” said State Transportation Secretary Anthony J. Tata.
A modern cold storage facility at the Port of Wilmington is expected to generate substantial savings to the state’s agriculture industry by reducing logistics costs to and from ports. Once constructed, this facility would enable the state’s farmers to use the state’s ports, as opposed to neighboring facilities in Norfolk, Va., Savannah, Ga. and Charleston, S.C.
“North Carolina exports more than $3 billion worth of agricultural products each year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Upgrades to the Port at Wilmington will help our farmers and agribusinesses boost that number even higher. The cold storage facility is a vital piece of infrastructure that our producers have needed for a long time, and I’m happy that a public-private partnership will be able to make it a reality.”
“The existence of a modern, industrial cold-chain distribution center located at one of our state’s ports provides a strategic competitive advantage over competing neighboring ports,” said Ports Authority Acting Executive Director Jeff Miles. “We are grateful for the support of the Council of State and collaborating agencies as we seek to make North Carolina’s ports the ports of choice for our state’s agricultural interests.”
The Ports Authority Board of Directors voted to approve the lease in a teleconference meeting last week.
The Ports must now solidify the final details of the operating agreement between the Authority and the private partner, and other state and local agencies must consider and vote on incentives necessary for the project.
Schoninger's company operates under the Employment Based Program #5, or EB5 program that provides a green card to foreign investors who invest $500,000 or more.

Carolina Beach Council Approves Funding For 2013 Boardwalk Makeover Events

 

The Carolina Beach Boardwalk, amusement rides and Thursday night entertainment at the gazebo. The Council voted February 19, to fully fund events held by the Carolina Beach Downtown Initiative. (CBDI)

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council approved funding for the Carolina Beach Downtown Initiative (formerly Boardwalk Makeover group) at their February 19, meeting.
The Council previously postponed approval of the funding at their February 12, meeting due to questions regarding funds for marketing and changes to the Boardwalk gazebo. Also, the Council asked the Chamber of Commerce to take over Thursday night music events in the summer since they already handle fireworks displays on the same nights.
According to a letter from the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors sent to the Council on Friday February 15, during questions after their February 12, proposal, Council member Sarah Friede started a dialogue that concluded in the request that the Chamber take over the Boardwalk Thursday night music program which began and is operated by the Boardwalk Makeover Group. Greg Reynolds' response was that he would take that request to the Chamber Board at their next meeting the following morning.
Brett Keeler of the Boardwalk Makeover Group, now called the Carolina Beach Downtown Initiative (CBDI), presented a request for various activities which included $20,000 for Thursday night music.
The Council tabled that request until February 19.
At the Chamber's Board of Directors meeting on February 13, the item was discussed with a 12 to 1 vote that the Chamber would take over the Thursday night event if it was the only way to keep if from elimination.
According to the Chamber's letter to the Town, the Chamber  did not seek or request this transfer of programs at any time. The CBDI had not approached or requested the Chamber to adopt their program. The letter states, "We understand they have every intention of continuing this program."
The letter stated in a preliminary review, the costs would be greater than the requested $20,000 from CBDI by some $2,250. The Chamber would need to increase their volunteer base and further research and discussion would be needed to ascertain all elements of a successful program with costs and manpower identified.
The letter posed the question, "Has the Council discussed this with representatives of the CBDI?"
The letter stated, "At this point, we would encourage a meeting of representatives of the Council and CBDI to discuss this specific item further and see if there is common ground for continuation of this very successful program. Therefore, we respectfully request further dialogue among all parties prior to our final decision."
The funding for the CBDI comes from room occupancy tax funds generated by hotels, motels and short-term vacation rentals. Of those funds, a portion is used for events that increase tourism or "put more heads on beds" in local lodging accommodations.
The CBDI issued a release encouraging people to support them at the February 19, Council meeting.
The release stated, "As you may know the Boardwalk Makeover summer event series is partially funded by Room Occupancy Tax dollars (ROT funding). No CB taxpayer dollars are used. By law, ROT dollars can only be used to promote tourism - which our events do. For the last five years the Boardwalk Makeover Group has received ROT funding. We use those funds, along with private funding, for improvement projects and to bring other events to our town, such as Christmas by the Sea and Island Day."
The release stated, "We also run Wednesday night BINGO. Our profits from bingo are donated to our local non-profit organizations, such as; Help Center, Senior Center, Kure Beach Community Center, Polar Plunge, Joe Eakes Park, Boy Scouts, Ashley High School Track Fund, and many others."
The release stated, "At the last town meeting, council postponed our funding request until next Tuesday’s meeting, stating that they were considering taking away our funding for Thursday night music and asking another organization to run that event. Since that meeting we have been informed that they are looking to do the same with Tuesday Family Night. This was a surprise to us, as our group has never received any notification from council or the town of such intentions, nor has council ever asked to meet with us to discuss any concerns related to funding."
The release stated, "Since the creation of our group, we have produced over 250 events for the community. We created these events – we did not take them from another group or from the town. However, despite the hard work required to create these events, our successful management of such – and the fact that we do not use taxpayer dollars – our ROT funding is in question. We understand that our events should be consistent with council’s vision for the town, and that has always been our goal. We also understand that council recommends where the ROT funds are used. Still, we have worked hard to make these events successful and our volunteers do not feel they are council’s to take and give."
The CBDI stated, "Not only is our group currently running these events properly and safely, we are doing them with an all volunteer staff and for less cost. In the process we are using extra funds we raise to take care of the Boardwalk area and bring even more events to the town for our locals to enjoy. We also contribute the BINGO money raised to support our local non-profit groups – contributions that directly benefit our citizens."
CBDI asked citizens and volunteers to attend the February 19, meeting to support their efforts and to call elected leaders to express support.
At the February 19, meeting Councilman Steve Shuttleworth explained, "The issue I brought up last week didn’t have anything to do with the music or who was delivering the music, it dealt on some other issues. I have no problem hearing from Mr. [Dan] Wilcox on the history of the music or how they want to move forward with it. But I want to make it perfectly clear in a 100% transparent meeting that there was never a discussion by this Council to not fund any of the events. There was no discussion about Tuesday night, no discussion about Christmas by the Sea. The discussion was shifting the funding from one entity to another. So the uproar this past week about being accused of not wanting to fund the events on the boardwalk is misfounded and ill placed."
He explained, "I've repeatedly said I don't care who puts on the music. I don't care if they get paid for it. Its not an issue of people getting paid for services they provide. The issue for me was about the number of volunteers that may or may not be available and trying to streamline something. That set off a firestorm with people threatening and calling me up to tell me I'm not going to do this or I'm not going to do that unless you do the package deal, that's a response and a choice."
He explained, "That was not the direction of this council person or the council. I just want to get that on the record. There was never a discussion about not funding Tuesday night, or bingo or Christmas by the Sea or anything else. So the actions and reactions were a little extreme."
Shuttleworth said, "I'm happy to hear from Mr. Wilcox on the history of the music and how we can move forward through the Boardwalk Makeover or the CBDI. I have some questions furthermore about, it wasn't an impropriety and no one has ever accused anyone of impropriety. What we've said is some transparency."
Shuttleworth questioned the structure of the CBDI and their non-profit corporate structure.
He said, "All I've asked for is transparency."
Shuttleworth said, "Share the books. Share the funding. Show us what's going on. Transparency. Dan, transparency means when the Town gives you guys $25,000 a year to run music and sound and then you turn around and apparently get sponsors for Thursday night and sell raffle tickets and then give that money away to other people, I have people that ask me what’s going on down there and I say I don't know, we're doing a lot of great events, they work really hard, its good for the Island. That doesn't always work for some people."
CBDI said they make donations to many area non-profits.
Shuttleworth said, "I personally do not appreciate people saying if you don't, I won't and its a package deal and trying to jam us up and say this is the way it is, its our way or the highway. That sir was a little extreme."
Prior to the meeting Wilcox commented the Thursday night music program and other events build upon each other. Money raised at one can help fund another in addition to funds raised by sponsors and raffle tickets that are often used to make donations to various non-profits such as the senior center, school sports programs and others. Also, funds raised through sponsorships can be used to make other improvements and help build a reserve for capital projects or in the future if funding falls short.
Wilcox said the financial information for CBDI is available and the Town can make requests about specific items of interest.
Brett Keeler of CBDI said members of Council did make a request to see financial information at a previous meeting and CBDI agreed to an audit if the Town had specific requests. Also, that the Town use the same audit compliance requirement made incumbent upon every other private and non-profit partner that receives subsidies from the Town.
CBDI currently provides accounting of room occupancy tax funds granted by the Council on an annual basis.
Councilman Shuttleworth made a motion to fund the CBDI for the Thursday night and Tuesday night events as well as insurance.
He said, "For future discussion and facilitation was the gazebo and the advertising."
The Town Manager will work on a contract between the Town and CBDI.
The $7,500 for marketing was not included as originally requested. The Council encouraged CBDI to work through another existing marketing vehicle managed by the Tourism Development Authority which also uses room occupancy tax funds to promote tourism in the County. The County voted unanimously.

Council Approves New Tattoo Shop Permit At Pleasure Island Plaza

 

January 8th, 2013: The Carolina Beach Town Council approved allowing tattoo studios in the Highway Business District (Lake Park Blvd). The Council later approved a permit for Pleasure Island Tattoo at the Pleasure Island Plaza on North Lake Park Blvd.

 

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council held a public hearing on the controversial issue of permitting a new tattoo shop in the Pleasure Island Plaza on North Lake Park Blvd at their April 9th, meeting.
The Council voted three to two with Mayor Bob Lewis and Council members Steve Shuttleworth and Jody Smith voting in favor of the permit. Council members Sarah Friede and Tom Bridges voted against permitting the tattoo shop.
The applicant, Dixon Broadfoot, requested a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a tattoo studio called Pleasure Island Tattoo. Tattoo Studios are permissible under a CUP in the Highway Business (HB) zoning district following a zoning amendment approved by the Council earlier this year.
The proposed tattoo studio will be located in an existing 960 sq. ft. unit. The prior use was Island Pet Shop.
The plaza was built in 1984 as a 14 unit condo commercial structure. The applicant proposes tattooing, permanent cosmetic make-up, and an art gallery. The proposed hours of operation were 11:00am -9:00pm. The applicant did not propose any additions or changes to the existing building. The Carolina Beach Town Council voted at their January 8, meeting to allow tattoo studios in the Highway Business District (Lake Park Blvd).
The Council voted three to two in favor of permitting them as a Conditional Use in the Highway Business (HB) district. New studios have to obtain a Conditional Use Permit and meet certain conditions including hours of operation from 8AM to 9PM and a certain distance from residential districts, a church or school, public parks, playgrounds, libraries and other tattoo studio establishments. Those permits are reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission and then by the Town Council who ultimately approves or denies issuing a permit. Body piercing was originally requested as an allowable use along with Tattoo Studios, but the Council did not vote to permit piercing.
The Carolina Beach Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended Town Council approve of the request during their Thursday February 14, meeting. The Commission heard from other owners in the Plaza that if permitted a tattoo parlor would cause the Homeowner's Association to lose discounts on their insurance thus costing them more money each year.
The Commission was not satisfied with the level of evidence provided and recommended the Council approve of the request.
At the Council's April 9th meeting, a lengthy public hearing was held with attorney's for the applicant and the opposing business owners in the Plaza presenting evidence, expert witnesses and arguing over what evidence was competent, material and substantial.
The Council heard testimony regarding the Homeowner's Association losing discounts on their insurance thus costing them more money each year. The claim by the opponents was that insurance companies view tattoo parlors as a higher risk. Also, that national companies often dictate to their landlords that such businesses will not be permitted in the same center. Previously it was stated that if permitted the adjacent major-name tax preparation service would have to move due to franchise requirements.
The overall arguement was that a tattoo studio was not in harmony with other retail and office type businesses in the Plaza.
Council member Sarah Friede made a motion to deny the permit request stating, "The use if developed according to the plan as submitted and approved will not be in harmony with the area in which it is to be located. Based on that I would make a motion that the conditional use permit application be denied."
Mayor Bob Lewis said he took issue with quoting the Land Use Plan as requiring businesses to be "family-oriented" because that's a vague concept. He said a massage parlor could be viewed as not family-friendly because kids don't get massages.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said he disagreed with Friede's motion saying, "I have a hard time saying you can have a nail salon but you can't have a tattoo parlor."
Lewis said, "If the two parties could come together with some type of negotiation... to make this all work but it seems like that's not going to happen."
Council member Jody Smith explained, "I don't see Mr. Broadfoot's store or shop, studio, being a negative impact on that plaza. I feel like he's meeting the conditions."
Councilman Tom Bridges said, "I don't know what evidence we can weigh in on but there is a lot of evidence that you can look at that says its going to affect the other occupants of the shopping center. And it’s going to cost them and that's one of the things we are supposed to look at. How's that going to affect them? If it’s going to negatively affect the adjoining businesses and it certainly seems that’s a strong possibility that’s going to happen in my opinion."
There was testimony presented that the HOA had met with the applicant and said he could open up in the Plaza as long as he didn't use the word tattoo on the sign. He could call it an art studio and still tattoo clients, but not advertise it on a sign on the building.
Ken Horne of Pleasure Island Insurance said they also said they would not oppose the permit if that agreement was adhered to but that some time later they received a letter from the applicants attorney to the contrary and that's one reason why they are opposing the permit.
Council member Smith said, "Mr. Broadfoot is well respected already in his industry and that could bring a demographic here positively to the Pleasure Island Plaza and no one will know until he's open. It’s unfortunate that there's a lot of bad blood started with the potential neighbors. That's my biggest concern."
Councilman Shuttleworth said if the decision could be delayed for 30 days that would allow both parties to get together to try again to work out their differences. He said if approved that night, it would certainly lead to lawsuits between both parties.
The Council was advised by their attorney they could continue the hearing but its not advisable because no communication could take place between Council and other parties and only consider evidence heard during the hearing. The public hearing had already been officially closed. If denied, the applicant would have to wait for a year  to reapply unless they returned with a proposal that was a major change from the current application. On the issue of leaving the word tattoo off the sign, Shuttleworth said, "If their argument and complaint is its going to be classified differently and our insurance is going to go up you can't tell me they are actually going to go out and knowingly defraud their insurance carrier knowing the guys going to have a tattoo shop. They're just not going to put it on a sign and have a wink and a nod and look the other direction." The Council voted on Friede's motion to deny. It failed three to two with Bridges and Friede voting in favor. Bridges made a motion to deny because it will injure the value of adjoining properties. That motion also failed three to two.
Council voted three to two with Lewis, Shuttleworth and Jody Smith voting in favor of the permit. Council members Sarah Friede and Tom Bridges voted against permitting the tattoo shop.

The Carolina Beach Town Council approved a controversial permit for a new tattoo studio to open in the former home to Island Pet Shop. Pleasure Island Tattoo is located in the Pleasure Island Plaza in Carolina Beach at 1009 North Lake Park Boulevard unit B2.

New Recycling Bins Delivered In Carolina Beach

 

Crews were out delivering new 96-gallon recycling bins on Carolina Beach Avenue North and other streets throughout Carolina Beach on Tuesday May 7. The new bins replace the 18-gallon bins at no additional cost.

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach began delivering new 96-gallon rollout recycling bins on Tuesday May 7. The new bins replaced the existing 18-gallon bins. Earlier this year 4,500 carts were delivered to the Town's Operations Center at the Federal Point Shopping Center prior to placement at homes throughout Town.
Even though the bins are larger, your utility bill will not increase.
According to Jerry Haire, Project Manager for the Town, on April 23, 2013 the Town received notice of approval of a Curbside Recycling Roll-Out Cart Grant from the NC DENR Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach (DEAO). The grant award for $45,550 will provide funds to offset the rental cost differential for upgrading from the existing 18-gallon bins to 96-gallon rollout containers.
The Council approved the change in December 2012 along with a rate increase not to exceed $2.19 per month to cover the costs. Later the Council decided not to raise the rate and would instead revisit the issue when planning for the 2014-2015 budget. Data will be collected to see how the larger carts encourage recycling and a reduction in the waste stream that would otherwise be disposed of as garbage at the County's landfill.
The current monthly recycling charge for each dwelling unit is  $2.56 per month. That rate will not change.
Haire explained earlier this week, "Current recycling figures provided by Waste Industries show an average of 84.25 tons per month, which equates to 37 pounds per household
per month. It is expected that this volume will rise significantly with the new 96-gallon cart program.  As part of a Measurement Plan for the program Waste Industries will submit monthly reports to the Town to include set out rates and tons collected."
He explained, "The program includes a Public Outreach Plan to promote the program on the Town website, through social media, and with printed materials available at Town Hall and other public facilities, and mailed out with utility bills. Printed materials will also be distributed with the carts and instructional decals will be placed on each cart.  Town staff will be available to assist citizens with any questions or concerns."
He explained, "With the upgrade, the Town will continue weekly pick up for approximately 550 households in the beachfront areas that experience higher volumes due to visitor rentals, and switch to every other week pick up for approximately 4,000 households off the beach. The decision to upgrade was in response to citizen requests for higher capacity containers, and in an effort to address the New Hanover County goal of reducing waste by 40%. The new carts are scheduled for delivery May 6 through 10."
For customers that have trash picked up once per week, the first pick-up using the 96-gallon carts was May 27th. Recycling was picked up on normal trash day that week. Recycling was then picked up every other week on normal trash day. Trash is still picked up every week.
Recycling containers can be used for metal and aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars including green, brown and clear glass (wash containers before placing in carts).
For plastic, rigid plastic containers labeled 1-7. Please, no plastic bags.
For paper products, newspaper, white paper, junk mail, computer paper, magazines, cereal boxes and soft covered books. Also, corrugated cardboard boxes, but no waxed boxes.
For more information, call the Carolina Beach Town Hall at 910-458-2999.

Kure Beach Adopts Balanced Budget; Raises Trash Fees

The Kure Beach Town Council adopted their 2013-2014 fiscal year budget at their Tuesday June 18th, meeting. The $6.1 million dollar budget maintains the current property tax rate of $0.2615 for every $100 of property valuation while raising some fees. Those include raising residential garbage collection  from $4.00 to $6.00 per month, per can and raising commercial garbage collection from $17.50 to $26.25 per month, per can.
The budget also includes an additional four full time employees. Three for the fire department and one for the finance department.
There's a 3.5% merit pay increase to award employees for performance.
During a public hearing held June 12th, one resident asked the Council to consider a lower rate for part-time residents who sometimes only need trash pickup twenty times a year. She recommended a sticker be placed on trashcans indicating their part-time status.
Heglar said that would be nearly impossible to manage.
Swearingen said it would be hard to monitor when people were using their properties or renting them out.
There was some discussion about adding $10,000 into the budget to help fund dredging of the Carolina Beach Inlet.
The Town previously chipped in $15,000 along with other communities including Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County.
Federal and State funding to maintain the shallow draft inlet at the northern end of Pleasure Island has become an issue in recent years.
A couple of years ago area leaders and recreational and commercial boat captains worked together to secure additional local funding for dredging.
Council member Emilie Swearingen asked Budget and Finance Officer Arlen Copenhaver if he was aware of a request from Layton Bedsole with New Hanover County for $10,000 to be in the budget this year.
After lengthy discussion as to when a decision was made to include that money in the budget, Councilman David Heglar requested to see more information from previous meetings and noted that if funding is needed later in the year the Town has a contingency fund that could be used to approve such funding.
There was also discussion as to how the $10,000 figure was arrived at since Kure Beach is smaller than the other beach towns by population.
Mayor Lambeth said Wrightsville was asked for $5,000 but only included $2,500 in their budget.
Heglar said there was no need to change the budget that late in the process.
The Council voted unanimously to adopt the budget at their June 18th, meeting.

Carolina Beach Police Chief Retiring

Carolina Beach Police Chief Kurt Bartley retired following over 30 years of service. 

CAROLINA BEACH - Carolina Beach Police Chief Kurt Bartley retired effective August 1st and began his final vacation time July 12th.
Kurt said he's worked for the Town for almost 33 years as an EMS responder, fire fighter and in the police department. On Tuesday July 2, Bartley said he originally planned for retirement in December, but is retiring a little early to focus on family matters. Bartley was promoted to Chief in July of 2012 after serving as interim chief for eight months. He took the position previously held by Chief William Younginer who retired  December 1, 2011.
Bartley previously served as captain of the department starting in 2005. Bartley 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, Bartley returned to the Carolina Beach Police Department. Bartley was promoted through the ranks and in 2004, was made Captain. Additionally, he was named the Town’s Harbor Master for the Boat Basin.
Stemming from Bartley's previous experience he was also the Department’s DARE officer promoting a drug-free message to the classrooms in Carolina Beach.
Bartley also worked for the Town's fire department for many years before retiring from that position. He previously worked for the Town's EMS Rescue Squad for a number of years in the early 1980's.
Bartley said that he will continue to be active in the community. He said on July 12th he’d step back and help an interim chief make a smooth transition to take charge until a new chief is selected.
Bartley said, "I don't want to leave them in the dark about operational aspects of the department. I won't be in a decision making position, but will help them make the transition."
He said one of his last major projects is rewriting the department's Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual which will be presented to the Council for approval at their next meeting. Bartley said the new SOP will hopefully set the stage for even more future improvements in the department.

Carolina Beach Welcomes New Police Chief; HR Director

 

The Carolina Beach Town Council welcomed two new employees at their Tuesday November 12, meeting.  New police chief Kenneth Hinkle and new Human Resources Director, Holly Brooks.  Pictured above: Left: Town manager Michael Cramer welcomes new Police Chief Ken Hinkle.

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council welcomed two new employees at their Tuesday November 12, meeting. New police chief Kenneth Hinkle and Human Resources Director Holly Brooks.
Town Manager Michael Cramer introduced Hinkle saying, "Ken is a 30 year veteran of policing and we are pleased to have him. He has recently come to us from Obetz, Ohio, where he had spent about five years as police chief there. Ken has an extensive knowledge of the principles and practices for community policing and also developing strong relationships with the community itself. I think that Ken will fit in extremely well here and today was his first day and we haven't scared him off yet and that's a good thing. Ken is a graduate of Ohio University and he has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and we just want to welcome him to Carolina Beach."
Hinkle explained, "I can't tell you how happy I am to be here. My wife and I have had a place on Snapper Lane going on three years now. I'm in there permanently now. My wife will join me on Sunday. She has the task of bringing the Harley Davidson down. That's a good thing. This is home. I'm glad to live here, work here, play here and be the police chief of this town. Thank you."
According to the Village of Obetz website, "Chief Ken Hinkle began as the Chief of Obetz in October, 2007 after serving 27 years in law enforcement with the United States Air Force and the Newark Division of Police in Newark, Ohio. Chief Hinkle holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University in Criminal Justice. He is a graduate of the Police Executive Leadership College (PELC) and the Certified Law Enforcement Executive program (CLEE). Chief Hinkle currently serves as the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police President (OACP) and has been on the Executive Board for 5 years.  As the OACP President Chief Hinkle serves as a liaison between Ohio Chiefs and other statewide stakeholders in law enforcement.  Currently Chief Hinkle is a member of the School Safety Task Force and Special Needs Task Force."
Chief Hinkle and his wife Gina have three grown children. Former Police Chief William Younginer retired effective December 1, 2011. Interim Chief Kurt Barley retired earlier this year and since that time Harry Humphries has served as Interim Chief.
The Council was also introduced to their new Human Resources Director Holly Brooks.
Cramer explained, "Holly is our new HR director. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a Bachelors degree in business administration. She has 25 years of HR experience in the private and public sector. She's a certified HR professional. She most recently had a stint in Hartford County, North Carolina."
Mayor Bob Lewis explained, "Both of those positions where very much needed. I appreciate staff working through that. I know we had a pretty extensive group of people who did the interviewing of the police chiefs. That included police management from outside of Carolina Beach."
Lewis explained, "From the human resource side we appreciate Holly. One of the things we found last year as we changed over and our human resource director left us, that if you look through our policies and procedures they needed a lot of updating. There were a number of things going on that left us very liable to a number of different things. Fortunately we've gone through that with a consultant who has helped us and now Holly can run with that from here on in."

Carolina Beach Council Approves Lease For Waste Transfer Station

 

The garage at the Town of Carolina Beach Operations Yard on Dow Road. The Town received another extension in 2013 to move dumpsters and the garage operation from the property leased from the U.S. Army in the Sunny Point Buffer Zone.

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council unanimously approved entering into a lease with an option to buy property at 1313 Bridge Barrier Road at their August 13, meeting. The land will be used as a waste transfer station and storage area for their Operations Department.
The Town has been searching for a location for many months after the U.S. Army notified them over a year ago dumpsters located on land leased to the Town were not in compliance and had to be removed.
The Council searched for alternate locations including land behind the Federal Point Shopping Center on North Lake Park Blvd.
After receiving permission to extend several deadlines to comply with the lease, the Town requested another extension from the U.S. Army earlier this year to continue various operations until September.
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 offices and storage areas as well as large dumpsters.
The 1972 lease only permitted a wastewater treatment plant, a storage building and related uses. One of the more complicated issues was where to relocate dumpsters used to hold trash collected from public trashcans throughout Town and along the beachfront.
The Army originally demanded the Town comply by the end of 2012 and granted an extension until June 2013 to continue using dumpsters on site and a garage to maintain Town vehicles.
The Town searched for alternate locations for both the dumpsters and garage for a number of months.
They ultimately approved a permit to locate both on property they own in a residential district behind the Federal Point Shopping Center off North Lake Park Blvd a short distance from Town Hall.
That would have called for using a small portion of a nearly 10-acre tract of land for trash compactors and a garage building.
Homeowners in the adjacent neighborhood behind the shopping center filed an action in court challenging the decision citing concerns with noise, odor and other issues.
The Town began negotiations with Jim Conlon, the owner of property at 110 Dow Road to pay an annual lease.
That would have served as an alternate location from the previous plan to locate the transfer station and garage behind the shopping center.
On Tuesday April 30, Mayor Bob Lewis said the Army Corp of Engineers granted their request for another extension until September 15, of this year but said there would be no further extensions and the Town must complete an environmental assessment of the property.
The Town has already eliminated their garage and associated personnel and is now outsourcing to local automotive shops for vehicle servicing and repairs.
Shuttleworth said in April it’s important to note the problem facing the Town with coming into compliance with the 1972 lease was brought on by the actions of previous administrations and they are now having to take steps to come into compliance and rectify the situation before that lease comes up for renewal in the near future.
On Tuesday August 6th, Mayor Bob Lewis said the Council discussed in closed session on August 5th the potential to lease with an option to buy land at 1313 Bridge Barrier Road adjacent to the Post Office behind Food Lion. That land would be used for a waste transfer station and storage of vehicles and other materials.
Lewis said the area is already zoned for that type of activity and their options are limited.
During the Council's August 13, meeting Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin said it's a lease with an option to purchase. The document was not signed, but they are confident the lease will be approved by the owner.
Parvin said boats and other vehicles stored on the property would remain for 60 days and then be removed. He said Old Dow Road will be used for access rather than Bridge Barrier Road behind the Food Lion Shopping Center.
The Council voted unanimously to approve of the lease.
Vehicles and other equipment will be stored in the rear of the property. A large trash compactor, recycling container and vegetation debris container will be placed towards the Bridge Barrier Road portion of the property directly behind residential homes on Glenn Avenue.

Construction Spending up 350 percent from FY2011-12

NEW HANOVER CTY - July 9th, 2013 - Construction dollars spent in June climbed to almost $106 million closing out the fiscal year with $576.9 million. This is an increase of $128 million over the $449 million spent during FY2011-12. 
More than 2,303 permits were issued, a 23 percent increase over the number of permits issued last fiscal year.
According to a construction activity report issued by the New Hanover County Development Services Center, the largest projects permitted in June were nine apartment complexes with a combined total of 445 units, totaling almost $60 million.
The projects are located on Old Maccumber Station Rd., Pepys Ln., and Amaryllis Dr.
Other significant highlights include:
Residential New Construction
• A total of 97 new single family residential permits were issued in June, a 23 percent increase from same period in 2012 and the largest one month total since FY2005-06.
• For this fiscal year permits have been issued for 802 new single family homes compared to 524 units during FY2011-12.
Total Construction Comparison (June 2013 to June 2012)
• The overall number of inspections increased by 13 percent.
• Construction permits issued increased by 23 percent.
• Construction dollars spent increased by 350 percent.
Total Construction Fiscal Year Comparison (2012-13 to 2011-12)
• Total construction dollars spent increased by 28 percent.
• Total number of permits issued increased by 5 percent.
• Total inspections for Building, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, and Zoning increased by 9 percent.
• Total construction dollars spent for new residential construction totaling $242.3 million is up sharply from $140.6 million.

The first Annual Carolina Beach Dragon Boat Regatta and Festival was held October 25 and 26, 2013 on the harbor and Municipal Marina.  Hundreds of spectators came out to cheer on their favorite group that consisted of 13 teams including Island Men, Flashy Dragon Women, Team Coastwalk, Team Loggerheads, Jungle Beach Vikings, Sea Coast Warriors, Intracoastal’ Blazing Paddles, Draggin’ Slayers, One World Dragon Boat, Craige & Fox, Gibby’s Dock and Dine, The Lazy Hopping Witches and UMUC Virtual Dragons. There could only be one winner and this year the Island Montessori School’s “Dragon Slayers” took the win, team “One World Dragon Boat” took second place and UMUC Virtual Dragons came in third. Proceeds from this event will go directly to the Carolina Beach Volunteer Fire Department and the Got-Em-On-Live-Bait Club to help fund the club’s annual Disabled Sportsman’s Fishing Tournaments. Special Thanks to the Regatta and Festival Committee and all the volunteers who came out to help.

Ethan and Grayson Syster of Boy Scout Troop 210 painted new ash receptacles at Freeman Park in August. The new concrete containers were placed at the park to provide a safe means for visitors to dispose of burned wood from campfires. The Town got permission from the State of North Carolina to use the new containers earlier this year. Operations Director Brian Stanberry said use is increasing and thanked Ethan and Grayson for their efforts.

Carolina Beach Police Shut Down Sweepstakes Parlor. The Carolina Beach Police Department executed a warrant on October 9th at the Snow's Cut Internet Center Sweepstakes parlor in the Food Lion Shopping Center. The business was shutdown and machines taken away.  A prior court case upheld a state law banning such businesses.

The Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce held their annual Labor Day Fireworks Show at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk on Friday August 30th. Crowds enjoyed live entertainment at the Boardwalk Gazebo and a Triple Fireworks Display. Additional fireworks were included due to previous Thursday night shows being rained out throughout the summer.

One of many piles of trash and debris left on Sunday morning, Memorial Day weekend at Freeman Park in Carolina Beach. (Photo by: Robbie Johnson) The Council held public hearings at their April 9th meeting regarding banning household furniture, portable human waste devices and additional penalties and ultimately received permission from the State and Federal Government to utilize a mechanical beach rake on a more frequent schedule to remove debris.

The old car wash across from the Carolina Beach Lake was demolished Tuesday May 21. The Town Council agreed in closed session to lease the property with an option to buy at a later date. The land will be used to provide public parking for events at the Carolina Beach Lake and a beach access. 

The Town of Carolina Beach honored Interim Town Manager Bruce Shell for his service to the Town on Tuesday July 2nd, by holding a ribbon cutting ceremony to open a new parking lot called "The Shell Lot" that was formerly a Car Wash. (Left to right: Mayor Bob Lewis and Shell holding the scissors)

Saturday March 16th: The 9th Annual Steve Haydu St. Patrick’s Lo Tide Run brought close to 1,900 runners and walkers to Carolina Beach to help financially support uninsured locals battling cancer.