Council Buys Land At Freeman Park For $500,000; Pursuing Eight Other Parcels

Council Buys Land At  Freeman Park For $500,000; Pursuing Eight Other Parcels

Council Buys Land At Freeman Park For $500,000; Pursuing Eight Other Parcels Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 14 March 2018 14:28

The Carolina Beach Town Council voted to purchase 0 Freeman Park (Lot 6-B) (Outlined in red in the photo) during their March 13th, meeting for $500,000. The Town currently manages the public-trust beach area as a park allowing four wheel drive vehicle access on the beach and reserved campsites. The Town also plans to, "Obtain Title to Eight “Freeman Park Area” Tracts by Either Voluntary Acquisition or Condemnation."

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council unanimously voted to purchase 13.17 acres of land at Freeman Park during their Tuesday March 13th, meeting for $500,000. The property address is 0 Freeman Park (Lot 6-B) and is currently owned by Richard Burnette, Jr. of Jacksonville, FL.

The Town also recently announced they have initiated a process to, "Obtain Title to Eight “Freeman Park Area” Tracts by Either Voluntary Acquisition or Condemnation."

Freeman Park, located beyond the end of Canal Drive on the Northern End of Pleasure Island, is largely outside of the Town's jurisdiction. The Town owns the first 1,000 feet beyond of the end of Canal Drive. After that, individual parcels are privately owned. Private properties west of the front of the dune line are considered private while any portion of a property located east of the front of the dune line is open to public use under State Law as a public-trust area. That includes the dry sand beach east to the high water mark. The wet sand beach belongs to the State of North Carolina.

The Town has authority to manage the public-trust beach as a park. That was granted to them by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners some years ago.

There is a fee charged for camping and vehicle access to drive on the beach front within the park. The Town doesn't charge people a fee to walk into the park. They can only charge for four-wheel drive vehicle access.

The Town also has the authority under State Law to “regulate, restrict and prohibit” vehicles driving on the dry sand beach within the public-trust area.

The agenda item for the March 13th, meeting stated, "As part of the Towns adopted 2017 - 2-22 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan the Town has a goal to provide for the protection, preservation, conservation of, and access to open space and green spaces.  It has come to our attention that property located at Lot 6B Freeman Park and identified as property R08500-006-004-000 has come available.  It is the Towns intent to purchase this property as open space."

On Tuesday March 6th, Town Manager Michael Cramer explained, "The property purchase price is $500,000 with a 10% earnest money."

On March 5th, Cramer sent an email to Richard Burnette, Jr. stating, "I wanted to let you know that the earnest money was wired to Mr. Hochuli this afternoon.  Council will vote on March 13th.  We can schedule closing following that meeting.  Thanks for all your help."

During the March 13th, meeting Councilman Steve Shuttleworth explained, "I've seen a lot from the community lately about how we are paying for this and what the end game is. I think it's important for us to convey to the community that these are not local ad valorem tax dollars or county dollars. These are monies coming from fees that were collected from users of the park. So it's strictly a user pay basis. Unfortunately this particular one was one of the last pieces that had not been purchased by someone that's been buying up property out there and in the course of that the price escalated dramatically."

The Town will pay the entire amount to Burnette without financing the purchase.

Town To Pursue Purchase Of Other Area Properties, Or Seek To Obtain Them Via Condemnation Under State Law

During the Council's February 27th, meeting following a closed session, Special Counsel Steve Coggins with the Wilmington, NC based law firm Rountree Losee, LLP, presented a resolution in open session for Council consideration titled, "A Resolution Authorizing the Town to Obtain Title to Eight “Freeman Park Area” Tracts by Either Voluntary Acquisition or Condemnation."

Coggins read the resolution to the Council which states:

WHEREAS, Chapter 40A of the North Carolina General Statutes authorizes each municipality to acquire by purchase, gift or condemnation any property, either inside or outside its boundaries, for the public purposes that include, but are not limited to, (1) establishing, enlarging, or improving parks, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities; (2) engaging in or participating with other governmental entities in acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, extending, or otherwise building or improving beach erosion control or flood and hurricane protection works, including, but not limited to, the acquisition of any property that may be required as a source for beach renourishment; (3) establishing access for the public to public trust beaches and appurtenant parking areas; and (4) for any other public purpose authorized by law; and

WHEREAS, the Town of Carolina Beach (“Town”) desires to explore acquisition and proceed to acquire, title to eight separate real property tracts in the general vicinity of Freeman Park (the “Tracts”), the Tracts being within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the Town, and which are generally located at (a) the north end of Carolina Beach, (b) south of the public trust beaches along Carolina Beach Inlet, (c) west of the public trust beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, and (d) east of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Intracoastal Waterway eastern right of way line and public trust beaches east of Myrtle Grove Sound, the Tracts being identified by New Hanover County Parcel ID #s, their respective owners (hereinafter “Owners”), and New Hanover Registry Deed Book and Page ##s as follows:
 Parcel ID# Owner(s) Deed Book & Page:
• R08500-006-990-000 Freeman Beach, LLC 5996-2735
• R08500-006-008-000 B & F Enterprises of Calabash, LLC 5589-2181
• R08500-006-007-001 Carolina Freeman, LLC 5947-2278
• R08500-006-007-000 Carolina Freeman, LLC 5957-2314
• R08500-006-006-000 Carolina Freeman, LLC 5957-2314
• R08500-006-005-000 Carolina Freeman, LLC 6095-1836
• R08500-006-003-000 DRDK, LLC 6101-457
• R08500-006-002-000Winnie Everett Futch Heirs 85-361

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the Town and public for the Town to acquire the Tracts, whether by voluntary acquisition or by condemnation, for the public purposes set forth above; and

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town of Carolina Beach is authorized to take actions to obtain the Tracts, either (i) by voluntary acquisition or (ii) by eminent domain pursuant to Chapter 40A of the North Carolina General Statues and other applicable law authorizing the Town to condemn and acquire title to the Tracts.

The Council voted unanimously to adopt the resolution.

"Eminent domain" means the power to divest right, title or interest from the current owner of property and vest it in the possessor - in this case the Town - of the power against the will of the owner upon the payment of just compensation for the right, title or interest divested.

The terms "Just compensation" generally mean the fair market value of the land to be taken using the powers of Eminent domain.

The Town has stated a desire to acquire all of the parcels along Freeman Park for open space to serve as a larger park.

The process takes time with an initial action being notice issued to the property owners no less than 30 days prior to filing to condemn their properties.

Author

Super User

Super User

Carolina Beach North Carolina

Scattered showers
69°F
SE at 28 mph /71%
Tuesday
59°F / 72°F
Wednesday
51°F / 57°F
Thursday
53°F / 69°F

 

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.