Kure Beach Council Votes To Purchase Residential Lot Without Public Hearing

Kure Beach Council Votes To Purchase Residential Lot Without Public Hearing Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 10 December 2014 05:00

KURE BEACH - The Kure Beach Town Council voted   to purchase property at 334 South 4th Street for $115,000 following a closed session meeting on December 3rd.
The Council voted three to one at their previous November 18th meeting with Mayor Dean Lambeth and Council members Steve Pagley and Craig Bloszinsky voting in favor of the purchase and Council member Emilie Swearingen voting no. The Town's due diligence period ended December 5th prompting the December 3rd, meeting.
The closing date for the purchase is December 11, 2014.
The residential lot is located in the RA-2 residential zoning district near H. Avenue and a short distance from the Town's Public Works building.
The item was not listed on the agenda for the November 18th meeting. Councilman David Heglar was out of Town and did not vote on the item.
A request was sent via email to Town Clerk Nancy Avery asking for minutes of previous discussions at council meetings regarding purchasing the property.
Avery explained the Council discussed the item during a retreat held in January of this year. She explained, "No discussion pertaining to purchasing the property referenced has occurred in open session, so there are no minutes for that other than the draft November minutes which are not complete and the item on the November Action list."
The minutes for the Council's January 7th, retreat at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area National Guard Training Center include a brief paragraph on the subject after Mayor Pro Tem Craig Bloszinski asked the Council to consider selling the Town property on Sandman Drive to "increase its revenue."
The minutes state, "Building Inspector John Batson told Council that the Eakes family is getting ready to sell three lots right across the street from Public Works. He said he talked to Mayor Pro Tem Bloszinski who agreed that the Town would probably never do anything with the property on Sandman Drive, except perhaps put a park there one day. He asked Council why they don't sell the Sandman [Drive] property or consider trading it for the property near Public Works. He gave Council the maps of the Sandman property to examine."
A request was sent by the Island Gazette to the Mayor and Council members via email on Monday November 24th, inquiring if the Town had a specific intended use planned for the property and when public hearings will be scheduled to review those plans with the community before moving forward.
Council member Emilie Swearingen voted against the purchase and commented on Tuesday November 25th, via telephone that, "The need for the purchase has not been justified in my mind."
She said the purchase happened quickly and she was not advised as to what the property would be used for.
On Tuesday Mayor Lambeth said no use had been established. He added, "It's in anticipation of issues MOTSU has had with our Public Works facility on their land." MOTSU is short for Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point. The terminal is one of two large volume deep-water ammunition terminals in the continental United States. Operations are located on the other side of the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County and the "buffer zone" occupies a large portion of Pleasure Island encompassing land in both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach on the riverside of the Island.
The Town of Kure Beach leases land from the Military for various uses including Public Works facilities and recreational areas such as a disc golf course and Joe Eakes Park on K Avenue.
Lambeth said the Town will try to put a bid on two adjacent properties on the corner of 4th Avenue and H Avenue which were recently purchased but have not been developed yet.
He said the land, "Could be used for a lay down yard" for storage of various materials used by the Public Works Department. He added, "We have to plan for the future."
The property is located in the RA-2 residential zone. The Town's zoning ordinance describes this district in detail stating, "The RA-2 district is composed of certain quiet, low density residential sections of the community plus certain open areas where similar residential development appears likely to occur as indicated by the land development trend and for the housing of seasonal tourists. The regulations of this district are intended to discourage any use which because of its character would substantially interfere with the development of single- and two-family residences in the districts and which would be detrimental to the quiet residential nature of the areas included within this district."
The Town's zoning ordinance states, "Town buildings and facilities shall be permitted in all zoning districts and shall not be considered to be nonconforming to the area in which they are located. These include, but are not limited to, the town hall, town fire station, town garage, various lift stations, well sites, water storage tanks."
It states, "Public utilities and facilities, necessary to the public health, safety and welfare, shall be permitted in all zoning districts and shall not be considered nonconforming to the area in which they are located, so long as they do not present a health hazard or create noise pollution. The public utilities or facilities shall meet all lot setback requirements and height limitations for the districts they are located in and such facilities shall be exempt from fence height limitations for the protection of equipment and public safety. Every effort shall be made for the facility to blend in with the district in which they are located
and this will be accomplished with fences and/or screening shrubs for small equipment and with the shell of a building for larger equipment. All public utilities and facilities will need final approval by town council of site plans. The approval of site plans in no way negates any town, county, or state codes or regulations."
During the Council's December 3rd, meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Bloszinsky made the motion to proceed with purchase of the lot at an estimated cost of $115,000 with a closing date of December 11, 2014, to approve Resolution 14-09 transferring funds from the contingency budget line item in the amount of $115,000, to approve Budget Amendment 15-03 transferring those funds, and to approve Resolution 14-10 declaring official intent to reimburse for the purchase of the lot referenced at the amount stated.
The Council voted three to one with Mayor Dean Lambeth and Council members Steve Pagley and Craig Bloszinsky voting in favor of the purchase and Council member Emilie Swearingen voting no. Councilman David Heglar previously asked to be excused from voting since his wife, a real estate agent, was involved in the transaction.

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