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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: No Simple Solution To Trash Issue

Editorial: No Simple Solution To Trash Issue

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

This isn't a popular opinion, but it’s worth putting out there for public consumption.
Earlier this month the Carolina Beach Town Council approved of their own permit to locate trash compactors and an operations garage on undeveloped land they own behind the Federal Point Shopping Center and adjacent neighborhood of Carolina Beach Village.
Understandably the residents of that neighborhood strongly objected to that proposal due to a number of issues. They fear excessive noise, increased storm water runoff into their neighborhood, environmental impacts and overall negative impact on their property values by such an operation being located several hundred feet away with a forest in between.
That's a short summary of a public hearing that lasted over an hour at the March 12, meeting.
The Council on the other hand is faced with finding a new home to temporarily hold garbage picked up from public trashcans in Freeman Park and throughout Town during the busy summer months.
They were informed by the U.S. Army last year the lease they have on land currently used for that operation does not permit the temporary storage of refuse in addition to a list of other uses not permited on that land.
Therefore, the Town has to find a new location for that activity.
Buying land has proven to be a costly endeavor on our tiny Island. Especially in the current economy when the public is increasingly attentive and decreasingly forgiving of tax increases brought on by land purchases.
Local leaders have over the past few years tightened the budgetary belt (according to their philosophies and claims) as much as possible and are already faced with future additional expenses such as funding beach nourishment, inlet dredging and a long list of needed infrastructure projects (Not to mention a pool which doesn't really fit in that previous list of budgetary "needs".)
Bottom line: The cost of government is - due to many factors - going to increase in the near future. And leaders have to be mindful of impending increases to taxpayers already stretched wallets including flood insurance, homeowners insurance, beach nourishment, and other rising expenses including an increase on electric bills.
Which brings us back to the issue of locating a couple of trash compactors on 7% of nearly 10 acres of land the Town currently owns.
The neighbors concerns are justified. No one wants to hear trash trucks dumping and picking up compactors or hearing their "back-up-alarms" beeping throughout the day.
Storm water is not as big of a concern realistically if the Town has an engineered plan tied in to the sanitary sewer system for run off.
Here's the rub of the whole situation, there's a shopping center located nearby. Not just nearby, but closer to the residential subdivision than what the Town approved for locating trash compactors actually behind that shopping center.
The Federal Point Shopping Center was built in the early 1980's. It was home to Food Lion, Maxway's and a host of other businesses including: Pizza Hut; CVS; Michael's Seafood; a Cinema and others.  Also, a short distance from the shopping center was Jubilee Park with a go-cart track and many other "loud" rides that could be heard as far away as the bridge or the Boardwalk and Canal Drive on the North End.
 What's involved in the operation of a shopping center of that type?
18-wheel tractor-trailer deliveries. Large garbage trucks emptying dumpsters under a hundred feet away from homes in Carolina Beach Village (not over 300 feet as recently proposed by the Town.)
Traffic of all types. Far exceeding the concerns of the neighboring residents with regards to the Town's transfer station (temporary garbage holding area) or vehicle garage.
The Federal Point Shopping Center has in recent years seen an exodus of business including Food Lion, Pizza Hut, CVS, Subway, a Laundromat, Michael's Seafood and the Cinema. Those businesses relocated to other locations in Town.
There has been talk of redeveloping that center and building a new one directly south of that property.
When that eventually happens, and it will, unless the owners build a condominium project where the old shopping center currently stands, they'll likely build another commercial development.
Residents living in Carolina Beach Village will not have the same level of proper complaint as they currently have against the Town's small trash compactor and Town garage area.
Simply put, the noise and large trucks will be back in full swing like they were in the 80's, 90's and early 2000's and those property owners will tell you: We've been here for years and propose to build anew.
And there's vacant land just over the property line from the opposed trash compactor area that is zoned "commercial" which currently allows go-cart tracts, landscaping nurseries, outdoor entertainment, restaurants, automotive shops, and many other commercial operations all of which require dumpsters only, not trash compactors at the rear of their buildings.
Another thing to consider is, people throughout Carolina Beach can hear noise from our tourism-based economy. Unless you live towards the back of the Island near Dow Road or in Kure Beach, you are going to be impacted by "noise."
That includes outdoor entertainment, the blowers at the car wash across from Town Hall (Which I can hear back near 6th Street and Harper Ave on most days and nights), the amusements at the Boardwalk, even traffic crossing the bridge if the wind is blowing right. People living along Harper Ave can hear the pumps at the lake if the wind is blowing right. People on Canal Drive hear the party boats coming and going in the summer evenings (also heard as far back as 7th Street).
Not without suggestion: The Town could scale back their proposal to eliminate the "garage" aspect and grant a perpetual easement to the adjacent neighborhood that would guarantee no additional development will take place other than for use as a public park. The Town would simply agree to the stated small area for the trash compactors and make other efforts to ensure it's an out-of-sight operation.
Perhaps the Town can find other locations for their fleet maintenance garage at a reasonable price.
The alternative is purchasing land elsewhere for the trash transfer station and on this tiny Island there are likely no alternatives that will not upset some property owners.
Another option is to raise garbage fees and purchase land over the bridge for a transfer station or to simply pay the expense of hauling the refuse to the County land fill a couple of times each day.