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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: Army Should Be More Flexible With Town Of Carolina Beach

Editorial: Army Should Be More Flexible With Town Of Carolina Beach

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has officially demanded the Town of Carolina Beach remove their public works and storm water departments from land the Town leased from the Army in the early 1970's for a wastewater treatment plant, storage building and limited fenced in outdoor storage.
See report on page 1-A.
It's true that over the years the Town gradually began using the land at 404 Dow Road for a long list of uses including a Town garage, vehicle and equipment storage, offices, temporary trash storage and other public-works functions.
The Army says they have denied, in writing, previous requests from past Town administrations over the years. Still, upon inspection, violations of the lease were clear.
The only permitted use is a wastewater treatment plant, 40' by 100' storage building and limited outdoor storage area.
Current Town leaders and citizens could seek out past leaders and employees looking for someone to blame. And perhaps that's in order, but not at this time.
What's important now is basic practical common sense.
Army officials appear unwilling to be flexible with regards to the use of the land. They have their stated reasons. Most noted is the stated purpose of the land, a buffer zone. If some of their munitions explode, the area is supposed to buffer our population from that hazard.
The Town could in fact relocate offices and employee areas somewhere within Town Hall. They've already discussed that possibility and there are workable solutions for accommodations by shifting some offices around in that building.
The most expensive and intrusive issue at this point is where to store equipment, vehicles and materials as well as trash and the Town garage. None of those issues requires human "occupation" beyond those personnel the Army is already willing to permit on the land to operate the wastewater treatment plant and one or two people at the existing garage.
Removing the green house and the office trailer would remove the majority of the occupancy factor.
But the garage, storing materials, parking equipment and dumpsters for temporary trash disposal pending transfer to the landfill should not be a safety concern. No more than the Army's willingness to permit a bike and pedestrian path within the buffer zone or other existing parks previously permitted in the same buffer zone.
Bottom line, if the Army sticks to their current mandate to relocate all other uses from this land, it will most certainly lead to spending additional taxpayer dollars. That will lead to future tax increases due to the Town having to relocate, buy additional land, etc.
Town leaders are seeking other avenues of dialogue with Army officials; let's hope common sense prevails. It's cheaper than costing taxpayers even more money in this stressed out economy.