Editorial: Town Hall Should Talk To Neighbors Before Making Plans

By / Editorials / الأربعاء, 08 تشرين1/أكتوير 2014 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Hall property was originally home to a museum. Following hurricanes in the late 1990's, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said they would pay over $4 million dollars to relocate
the administrative and police offices to the land where Town Hall currently is located at 1121 North Lake Park Blvd back towards 7th Street.
Administrative officers had already located in the old museum. FEMA paid to relocate all Town government offices to that land by expanding that building to what it is today.
The Town's public works and utilities department was located off Dow Road.
In recent years the Town was told by the Army they could only use the land off Dow Road for a Sewer Treatment Plant and they have been looking for a new home ever since.
Up until a around seven years ago the back portion of the Town Hall land
was zoned "residential" which is why an adjacent large parcel of land was developed into - you guessed it - a quiet residential neighborhood called Olde Mariner's Village.
This was an issue when a former administration wanted to locate a skate park on Town Hall property directly behind the homes in Olde Mariner's Village.
That plan was met with strong opposition from adjacent property owners with good reason, a skate board park would be loud and present a host of problems as eventually learned
at the current skate park located a long distance away at Mike Chappel Park.
Fast-forward to the present, and the Council majority of Mayor Dan Wilcox, Council members Gary Doetsch and Leann Pierce voted to move forward with purchasing
several parcels of land elsewhere in Town as well as erecting buildings and a large storage area right behind homes in Olde Mariner's Village.
Not as obvious as a skate park, but with similar issues.
Storage for loud heavy equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers, trashcan machines, large trucks, etc.
Large lights for nighttime security.
Storage of various items like lifeguard towers, drainage pipes, and other various project-oriented construction materials, specialized vehicles, etc.
Activity will likely occur from before sunrise until 5 or 6PM at night five days a week and likely seven days a week in the busy summer season.
That's not an ideal situation for homeowners in Olde Mariner's Village that had their homes built when  the land in question at Town Hall was actually restricted from such uses when it was zoned "residential." And with good reason, because the property Town Hall is built upon was never meant for this type of use. It was meant to house Town Hall administrative offices, police department and recreation department within the four walls of a recreation center.
The parking lot and grass area behind Town Hall was never intended for use as anything other than parking and occasionally having the grass mowed.
Bottom line: The Town of Carolina Beach should leave the land surrounding Town Hall untouched in its current state. Parking for Town vehicles is acceptable, but outdoor storage and large warehouse buildings is not likely to sit well with adjacent property owners.
Yes, the Town owns the land, but that doesn't excuse them from the responsibility of asking the neighbors what they think about any given plan before making a final decision. They discuss it at their October 14th meeting.

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