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Council Gets Update On Waste Transfer Station

Town of Carolina Beach Waste Transfer Station on Bridge Barrier Road adjacent to the Post Office and residential homes.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council got an update during their June 10th, meeting on the operation of a new waste transfer station on Bridge Barrier Road adjacent to the Carolina Beach Post Office and residential homes.
The Carolina Beach Town Council unanimously approved entering into a lease with an option to buy property at 1313 Bridge Barrier Road for $260,000 at their August 13, 2013 meeting.
The land is being used as a waste transfer station to hold trash collected from public cans throughout Town, along the beachfront and at Freeman Park.
The Town had 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. After receiving permission to extend several deadlines to comply with the lease, the Town requested another extension from the U.S. Army to continue various operations until September 2013.
The Town was notified in April of 2012 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 is 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.
Ultimately the Town signed a lease with an option to buy for the Bridge Barrier Road property. A large ramp and concrete containment area was constructed to permit disposal of refuse in a trash
compactor. The refuse is collected from public trashcans throughout town, along the beachfront and within Freeman Park. The compactor is emptied by a trash hauler on a regular basis.
Residents living adjacent to the property complained earlier this year about noise and odor coming from the site and the negative impacts it is having on their quality of life and property values.
In March of this year the Council voted to postpone a decision to purchase the land on Bridge Barrier Road pending more information on alternate uses for the property and seeking a new location for the station. The did Council approve spending up to $34,909.00 for the additional improvements to the waste transfer station to address concerns.
At the Council's June 10th, meeting Public Works Director Brian Stanberry reported to Council that in response to citizen concerns they have made additional improvements. 
He explained the Town operated the site successfully through Memorial Day weekend with 19.2 tons of refuse transported. To date $212,000 has been spent
to make improvements to the site including installing a bulkhead and ramp, trash compactor and other improvements.
Stanberry said steps have been taken to address concerns about odor, noise and pest control. An automatic rinse down has been installed to keep the area clean. Schedules have been established to minimize noise. A fence and
landscaping has been installed to shield the area from neighboring properties.
A deodorizer system has been installed and the lids on the containers and compactor remain closed at all times.
One of the largest contributors to odor is fish disposed of in cans at the Town's marina from fishing boats.
Pest control companies have been contacted to place bait traps for rodents.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth asked if Stanberry had explored opportunities to use part of the property for storage of materials
his department currently uses. He also inquired about ways to mitigate the fish smell from cans collected at the marina.
Town Manager Michael Cramer said one option is a fish grinding station similar to grinders used in wastewater treatment plants to handle larger objects in the sewer flow.
Cramer said such equipment is expensive and could cost around $100,000. He said they are continuing to work on ways to address the fish odor issue.
Council member Sarah Friede said the Town should check with the Kure Beach Fishing Pier to see how they deal with odor from their trashcans.
Cramer said they are preparing to contact other local governments on the east coast because other communities have likely already found ways to address the issue.
Shuttleworth said he asked for the item to be placed on the agenda because, "There's been a continuing discussion, a will, of several on Council to continue to explore other alternatives and not move forward on an option to purchase this property and we've had some abbreviated discussions about an operations center. And that's really my question for Council is, I keep hearing that we need an operations center and I keep asking what do you mean about an operations center. I get half hearted answers which is we need another waste transfer or we another place for the employees."
Shuttleworth said, "I'm looking for my fellow council people to share with myself and the public what it is you guys think we need in the way of an operations center or what move is afoot to
continue to explore other properties and what those uses would be for."
Mayor Wilcox said, "There are a number of options. It's my understanding the Town Manager is working on a plan to bring to council to address the operations yard... including [materials] lay down yard and facilities for staff."
Shuttleworth asked if that included building a new operations center and building.
Wilcox said, "We are looking at all options Steve."
Shuttleworth said, "That's the question. Who is we? Last I checked I was on Council to."
Councilman Gary Doetsch said there are a number of Town vehicles that take up space in the parking lot behind Town Hall since they were relocated from the previous Operations Center on Army land.
Shuttleworth said that parking lot is never full except during kids Basketball season.
He said, "I guess what I'm hearing is that you and Dan and others would like to have an operations center which envisions a building for employees and another parking lot and spending money. I'm trying to understand because we have these conversations and we get cut off."
Currently Operations employee’s offices are located in Police Training room that was converted to office space. The Town spends $3,600 a month to lease space at the Federal Point Shopping Center for indoor and outdoor storage of materials used by the Public Works and Stormwater Departments.
Mayor Wilcox suggested scheduling a workshop to further discuss the issue.
Shuttleworth said he's tired of the issue continuously being delayed or put off to an untelevised meeting and would like to finally finish the discussion.
The Council scheduled a workshop meeting for July 2nd, at 6PM at Town Hall.