Permit request for floating bar forwarded to Carolina Beach Town Council

Amendment allowing distillery in business district approved

Permit request for floating bar forwarded to Carolina Beach Town Council

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) - Two alcoholic beverage related items were presented for consideration at Thursday's meeting of the Carolina Beach Planning and Zoning Commission.

One received full support from the board and the other resulted in a tie vote after several residents voiced concerns about the proposed plan.

At issue was the request for a conditional use permit to operate a floating bar at the Carolina Beach Marina and Yacht Club on Marina Street. Planning and zoning commission members voted 3-3, but the Carolina Beach Town Council was going to hear more on the request at its Dec. 11 meeting anyway unless it was tabled Thursday night.

Officials who did not approve the permit request said they didn't think the floating bar would be in harmony with the area based on its location and character of use.

People with homes on or near Marina Street had plenty to say and cited parking, trash, possible drunk driving/boating and noise as their primary concerns.

"I'm totally against this whole thing," said Marina Street resident Allan Perry. "Will there be anyone to check for how many beers they drink before getting back in the boat? I live next door and I think I have voice. I hope you will consider that."

Another resident said having a floating bar would ruin the peaceful nature of the neighborhood.

"Alcohol and boating don't go together," David Smith said. "I have an 8-year-old grandson and what are people going to do out there? They're gonna sit on a barge and consume alcohol, sometimes a lot of alcohol. I'm not only concerned about impaired boating, but the roads are narrow and there are a lot of people out walking.

“I ask you to consider that,” Smith told the board. “I don’t want to see it approved.”

Eight residents spoke out against the permit request.

Developer Chad Cook said his group has worked to improve the condition of the marina and said the concerns about drunkenness are premature, especially considering the hours of operation for the barge.

“When we bought the marina, it was falling in the ocean. It was a complete wreck,” Cook said. "For months we have been trying to improve this marina for the community. It looks 1,000 percent better.

"We're not looking to make it a dive bar. We're looking to serve hamburgers and hot dogs for tourists and we shut down at 5 (p.m.) in the winter and 6 in the summer."

The commission said if the applicants were just planning to open a concession stand with food and soda — and no alcohol sales — there would not have been a need for a discussion.

In other news from the meeting, CB planning and zoning members unanimously approved an amendment that would allow for a distillery in the highway business district.

Applicants have not chosen a location because they wanted to hear what the commission said Thursday night, but they have met with a building inspector. They said it would probably be a two-year process to get the distillery up and running.

Tastings would be permitted, but the applicants said they are “not looking to be a bar. We’re just looking to add something to the island.”

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