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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: Town Wants To Open Outdoor Storage Yard Near Your Home

Editorial: Town Wants To Open Outdoor Storage Yard Near Your Home

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

This issue is ripe with contradictions and double standards.
Question: Do you believe the Town of Carolina Beach would ever permit a commercial outdoor storage yard next to your home in a purely residential area of Town?
Of course not. That's not the type of land-use envisioned by leaders decades ago when they established those "residential-only" single-family zoning districts.
That's why the Carolina Beach zoning ordinance (and zoning map) clearly mandates such land-uses are not permitted within those residential districts.
Fenced in (or not) storage yards devoted to storing construction materials and sheds to store tools with increased vehicle traffic associated with that type of use is not "in harmony" with residential districts.
Yet the Town of Carolina Beach wants to do just that.
They claim since they're, "The government" and they previously voted to allow themselves to operate outside of rules mandated on commercial businesses, they can put an outdoor storage yard anywhere they please without having to follow that pesky little zoning ordinance the citizens have worked hard to fashion over many decades.
An ordinance born from hundreds of public hearings to ensure protection of the residential districts while reasonably governing commercial districts to maintain separation of both areas.
Now it doesn't matter if it's a $200,000 home or a million dollar home, they could be bringing a storage yard to land right next to you or people who might consider buying you property.
Take a look at the situation taking shape in the 600 block of Spartanburg Avenue. It's likely   the quietest part of Carolina Beach you can imagine. Nestled at the back of a purely residential area of town abutting undeveloped military land used as a buffer zone for a base located miles away.
Yet the Town managed to buy some lots back in that area a number of years ago and now that they're in a pinch for land, they're willing to tell those residents, "We need to open an outdoor storage yard" to store materials and equipment. Maybe do some work there occasionally. 
If any of us walked into the Planning Department at Town Hall and requested the same, they would tell us no. If we pressed the issue, they'd laugh us out of the building.
The Town Council would absolutely say no to a proposal from a commercial business.
For a private citizen, if you started accumulating such materials and equipment on your property in a residential area, they'd tell you to remove it or be fined each day until you comply. 
Now they're willing to march right in and set up the same scenario. Their reason? The Military says the Town has violated a land-lease from the 1970's and they have to remove operations such as those involved in an outdoor storage yard.
That's a problem for the Town. But it shouldn't be solved upon the backs of property owners in residential districts.
The Town's violated their lease with the military, using land improperly per that lease, and now they want to move into a quiet neighborhood and use otherwise entirely residential property for a use not in harmony with the surrounding area. Much to the detriment of the value of the surrounding residential homes.
They've violated their lease with the military and now they're seeking to violate the residential sanctity that resident’s value so highly. A violation they expect their elected leaders to protect them from without consideration of whether or not it's a business or government claiming "for the greater good." That's simply saying, "Take one for the team."