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SHALLOTTE—Town aldermen have approved a conditional use allowing The Academy of Coastal Carolina to continue to operate in Calvary Baptist Church.
One of the administrators of the private Christian school, Terry Cox, came before the board at its meeting last Wednesday.
“We have been operating at Calvary Baptist Church, and we’re trying to meet all the provisions to be in compliance with the town of Shallotte. We’ve worked out those issues with the fire marshal, and now we’re requesting to operate in that facility to continue educating these children,” Cox said.
The school now serves about 60 students in kindergarten through ninth grade, and Cox said the school’s board of directors has no plans to expand the school while it’s still housed at Calvary.
Town administrator Paul Sabiston told the board school officials need to pay a capital reserve fee of $50 per student due to the increased use of the facilities.
The board approved the conditional use pending payment of the fees.
Also on Wednesday, aldermen tabled a vote on a planned building group design for Walgreens, planned for 4535 Main St., the site of the old Jones store.
Alderman John Kinlaw questioned engineer Elizabeth Nelson, representing the developer, about the lack of space for trucks unloading in the back of the store.
“How are the trucks going to unload without blocking access to the entrance,” Kinlaw asked.
Nelson said she did not have that information, but she thought the Walgreens Co. had it in their plans.
Alderman Walt Eccard questioned the plan for parking in the front of the store.
“Our vision plan is going to contemplate buildings closer to the street and parking in the rear rather than in the front,” he explained.
“We haven’t adopted it yet, but I hate to approve a major new building when we’re very close to having a vision plan that says this is not the direction the town wants to go.”
Nelson explained both the site and landscaping plans were originally approved for the project in 2004, and the developer has kept in contact with town staff since then to make sure they were doing everything right.
“We did not build right away because of the [planned] Smith Avenue extension,” Nelson said. “They have been in contact on a regular basis all along with town staff and were under the impression they were fine for all their approvals. They have all their permits. They are ready to construct. They have pulled their permit from the town for demolition.”
Nelson said they were asked last month to “please revisit the planned building group.”
“We have all the permits from state stormwater, erosion control, N.C. DOT, and we’re ready to start construction. This was a surprise to the developer.”
Sabiston interjected they were told to come back “because their approval expired 18 months ago.”
“The record is clear. They got one extension with no problem, and that expired about 18 months ago,” he said.
Sabiston said Nelson was implying it was the town’s fault, which she denied.
He informed the aldermen even if the plans meet the town ordinances, the board has the authority to change something if it should be changed.
“There’s more than one way to meet the ordinance,” he said.
Finally, the aldermen asked Nelson to come back with all the information about the loading area at the May 27 pre-agenda meeting.
Eccard said he believed the long-planned project should go forward but warned, “In the future, anything that doesn’t have parking in the back, I am going to have serious problems with."
In other business, the board approved an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance regarding dumpster screening.
The amendment states the property owner or lessee must “gate and screen all four sides of an onsite dumpster to ensure that the dumpster container is not visible.”
Screening should follow the town’s buffering requirements using methods such as buffering strips, fencing, walls or berms.
The aldermen discussed how long to give existing business owners to come into compliance with the ordinance. Planning director Chris Rogers suggested 18 months, but the aldermen agreed after some discussion that 12 months would be adequate.
The board also approved the preliminary and final plats for 13.89 acres on South Willis Road off Village Road.
sarah shew wilson is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.