Editor’s Note: This article originally stated plans for the project were denied in 2018, when in fact they were pulled by the applicant. We regret the error.
CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - A controversial project to expand a marina on the north side of Pleasure Island has once again been pushed back.
According to town clerk Kim Ward, the applicant sent notice that their attorney is ill and would not be able to make a presentation to the Carolina Beach Town Council Monday night, as planned.
The Carolina Beach Marina and Yacht Club is seeking a conditional use permit to expand its footprint and amenities — something that is not sitting well with the residents of the neighborhoods that surround the property.
Originally the marina asked for the ability to expand in 2018 and was pulled by the applicant after a split vote by the planning board, but resubmitted this year with modifications to the plan.
The plans the council would have considered Monday night include an additional fuel pump and reconfiguration of the fueling area, as well as a new barge that will hold a floating snack bar and grill. That restaurant, allowed in the zoning code the property is under, is allowed under conditional use.
Neighbors such as Jimmy Sanderford and Bo Furr argue the plans would cause harm to the neighborhood — and shouldn’t be allowed according to the town’s zoning code.
Furr and Sanderford contend the parking lot the marina uses and is necessary in order to meet the minimum requirements of the conditional use permit is not in compliance with the zoning code, because it is residential.
The lot, which is on the inside of the gated Oceana community, dates back to 1994, but the town and concerned neighbors differ on whether or not it is in compliance.
Neighbors brought the issue before the Carolina Beach board of adjustment after the marina initially applied for the expansion, but the board sided with the developers.
Furr said the homeowners have the ability to appeal the decision to superior court, which they plan to do if the town does not change its mind.
“We are just trying to get them to go back to their own zoning ordinances and make this right. It’s a shame that we’re going to have to take them to court to get that decision reversed,” Furr said. “Really it boils down to the town following their own ordinances.”
In the agenda packed that would have been referenced at Monday night’s meeting, the developers and city staff argue the application is within the requirements, and that in 1994 the issue with the parking lot being in the residential zone was dealt with.
Sanderford says as a resident of the town, he doesn’t want to see the situation go to court.
“It’s just a simple thing. Adhere to your agreements that you make with people and live by your ordinances,” he said. “That’s all you need to do, and that’s what’s not happening there. And it’s going to, it’s causing, the taxpayers of Carolina Beach are going to have to pay the burden for all these mistakes.”
Furr and Sanderford hope to speak at the meeting when the item is considered, though they say the clerk’s office informed them the town attorney said they would not be permitted to give a formal presentation, but could only speak for three minutes during the public hearing.
Consideration of the conditional use permit has been rescheduled for Jan. 14, 2020.