Carolina Beach Town Council Considers Proposal For New Boardwalk Area Bathrooms

The Carolina Beach Council gave preliminary approval for a public bathroom facility concept during their February 26th, meeting. They asked Town staff to communicate with a neighboring developer for input before moving forward. Pictured above: A rendering of the proposed bathroom facility (bottom right) adjacent to a new mixed-use commercial and residential development being constructed on the adjacent lot. The Carolina Beach Council gave preliminary approval for a public bathroom facility concept during their February 26th, meeting. They asked Town staff to communicate with a neighboring developer for input before moving forward. Pictured above: A rendering of the proposed bathroom facility (bottom right) adjacent to a new mixed-use commercial and residential development being constructed on the adjacent lot.

Carolina Beach Town Council Considers Proposal For New Boardwalk Area Bathrooms Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 27 February 2019 16:20

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH -  The Carolina Beach Town Council was presented with a proposal to construct a bathroom facility at 100 Cape Fear Blvd during their February 26th, workshop meeting.

The property was purchased in 2003 by the Town of Carolina Beach for $139,500 using a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of a buy-out program for properties in flood zones.

The property was formerly home to H&S Sports.

Jeremy Hardison - Asst.Director of Planning & Development - presented Council with drawings and a rendering of the new facility. He explained, "Staff has been looking at locations to build a new public bathroom facility. Currently the facility we have at the Boardwalk is limited and when it was built it couldn't be rebuilt in it's current location because of CAMA requirements and getting a variance from the Coastal Resources Commission."

The existing ground level brick bathrooms at the downtown Boardwalk are located on the ocean front and were built decades ago when state coastal development regulations were less restrictive than  current regulations.

The building is old and rather than spend money on repairing the building, the Council expressed a desire last year to explore options for replacing the bathrooms with a larger modern building.

Haridson explained, "We are limited on improvements and can't expand it. For the number of visitors we have coming to the Boardwalk and Gazebo events as well as fireworks displays, it has it's challenges."

During the busy summer months numerous events are held at in the Boardwalk area including weekly fireworks displays, the annual Beach Music Festival and others.

He said the FEMA lot on Cape Fear Blvd. has remained vacant since the Town purchased it in 2003 and, "There are some deed restrictions on what you can do with it" and while the property has been used to host amusement rides in the summer months, "Other than that there has really never been a plan for this property."

He said one use permitted by FEMA is for the construction of public rest rooms that are elevated or flood proofed.

Hardison said the property adjacent to the FEMA lot, "Is under construction now building a mixed-use building with a restaurant on the ground floor."

Behind the FEMA property the Town operates a recently reconstructed and improved sewer lift station. The Council expressed a desire for Town staff to speak with the developer of the new mixed-use residential and commercial building about the location, size and other aspects of the proposed rest room facilities.
Council member Leann Pierce said, "The Town of Carolina Beach has to be a good neighbor just like we ask other people to be a good neighbor."

Hardison said the developer is aware the Town has been considering building bathroom facilities on the FEMA property.

He explained, "If we get direction from Council to move forward we would go into the design phase and then we would go out to bid. Then we would take it to Council to award the bid and then we go through and get FEMA and State approval and then start construction."

Councilman Jodan Garza said, "During the design phase I would recommend one of two options. The first one... push it as far back as possible and let's speak with that property owner and see how willing they would be to allow us to get into that easement and the second one is what you currently have here."

Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said he would like Town staff to speak with the developers of the adjacent property and he would rather see a ground level flood proofed building rather than elevating the structure and requiring more impact on the property with decking for stairs and ADA access ramps.

Pierce said she prefers the Town speak with the developers first because, "I wouldn't want them to lose a lease on a restaurant because of something we are building either. I want them to be aware. If I was putting a restaurant there I would have a concern about it."

Hardison said the estimated cost without entering the design phase at this point is likely around $200 per square foot, or around $124,000 plus the additional cost of flood proofing the structure.

A more accurate estimate will be calculated during the engineering and bidding of the project. At that point, the Council will be asked to vote on final approval before moving forward.

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