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CAROLINA SHORES—Town commissioners tabled consideration Tuesday of a proposal to create a single voting district in the town.
At issue is N.C. House Bill 742, which created two voting districts in the town after Carolina Shores involuntarily annexed the Village at Calabash in 2003.
Commissioner Tom Puls, who proposed tabling the matter, said the bill was adopted to ensure the newly annexed community, which became voting District 1 for town elections, always had representation on the board. Carolina Shores proper became District 2 for local elections.
But now that “five or six” communities have been annexed into the town, including the Farm at Brunswick and Beacon Townes, Puls said “this particular bill no longer has validity.”
Puls was responding to a letter commissioner Jack Csernecky received from Bob Joyce, an elections law expert with the N.C. School of Government, offering an opinion the matter could be decided at the local level.
“If we do [the change] here, nobody has to make that trip to Raleigh,” Csernecky said.
Puls suggested delaying the matter because board members still aren’t sure whether the decision is a local one or one that must be made by the state legislature. Puls said it also was his understanding the town could not revert to a single, at-large voting district until January 2009.
“I’m not sure why we’re rushing to judgment,” he said, pointing out the next town election is two years away and at-large election is four years away.
“I have spoken to one of the original sponsors of the bill,” Puls said. “He has indicated to me there is nothing we can do to ensure we are all Carolina Shores until January ’09.”
Puls said he still believes the measure must go back to the legislature in order to be repealed.
Commissioners agreed to delay consideration until the town has had time to consult an attorney.
On another matter, after much discussion commissioners agreed to negotiate with Centex Homes and select a third party to scrutinize the builder’s plans for repairing a wetland crossing at Beacon Townes townhomes.
Town administrator Linda Herncane said the town has been working diligently to try to resolve the issue and has agreed to negotiate the price of construction, with a third party to come in and inspect what has to be done. She said it’s important to have an independent person involved.
Town building inspector Jean Crowley, noting the town has had a problem with the safety of the crossing for the past two years, said her department also prefers the opinion of an unbiased party.
Matt Raines, representing Centex, said his company is agreeable to that.
During public comment time, Village at Calabash resident Bill Brennan expressed concern about plans for the new Thomasboro Center to be built along Thomasboro Road in front of his community.
Brennan said it will cause traffic problems and create a “hazardous situation.”
He also suggested commissioners take action to have the speed limit reduced along Thomasboro Road from 55 to 35 miles per hour.