Editorial: Buffer Zone Fence With Or Without Greenway

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 05 November 2014 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

For many years the Town of Carolina Beach has been working on a new Greenway or bike and pedestrian path connecting various parts of Pleasure Island.
A bike path that increases the community's quality of life and property values is one that is not bordered by a tall chain link fence topped with barbed wire. In quiet residential areas of Carolina Beach such a fence will stand out like a sore thumb and negatively impact the community as a whole.
In recent weeks residents living in the Carolina Sands neighborhood have expressed concern because they were told several years ago the path would be located west of a retention pond behind the neighborhood. Now that path will be located east of the pond near their backyards. The land the path will be located on is owned by the U.S. Army as a buffer zone for the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point across the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County. They deal with shipping explosives and if something goes off, the trees are supposed to protect us.
After a healthy dose of public outcry opposing the prison style fence along a path behind residential properties, members of the Carolina Beach Town Council met with Sunny Point officials and residents of Carolina Sands. Basically, that resulted in no change.
The message from the Army is, they have a mission to secure their property and while they currently have no money in the budget to fund a fence along their property line on Pleasure Island, they will require the Town to install one if they want to locate the path on military land.
In other words, get a fence or get a fence with a bike path.
The path will run from Mike Chappel Park to Alabama Avenue.
Mayor Dan Wilcox commented to a resident, "The overarching point I was trying to share last night was that the Army does appear intent on securing this area, with or without a bike path. Therefore ironically, the only thing that likely stands between you and a fence directly behind (and very close to) your property, is the installation of the bike path. If that holds true, even if we have to tweak the rules and/or activities for the bike path, it will likely be the more attractive of the two options."
A meeting is scheduled for Nov. 18th at 6PM at the Carolina Beach Town Hall.

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