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County planning department, local merchants mull causeway improvement plan

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

BOLIVIA—County commissioners on Monday gave planning director Leslie Bell the green light to move forward with a preliminary study of the future of the Holden Beach Causeway.

The causeway, a predominantly commercial stretch, spans from the intersection of Sabbath Home Road to the foot of the bridge. Bell said the project would be a fact or data gathering project to solicit input from local merchants on the future of the causeway, including questionnaires and public input meetings.

“There has been some interest from some merchants to make it nicer and more pedestrian friendly,” Bell said.

With the project, Bell hopes to “assess what the property owners’ interests are” in any causeway improvement projects.

Bell plans to meet with local merchants to determine the need for such a project before applying for any grants.

Though it’s unavailable now, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has an enhancement grant for landscaping, shared parking and traffic calming.

Also on Monday night, commissioners scheduled a public hearing for 6:30 p.m. July 21 for the enterprise service connection hardship program.

Finance director Ann Hardy said board members approved the hardship program in March, and the public hearing is to solicit input for the design of the program.

Families qualifying for the hardship program will be eligible for 24, 36 or 48 months of interest-free financing for connecting to the water or wastewater systems.

To qualify, families must provide proof of income. Eligibility for the hardship program will be based on the Wilmington-area Housing and Urban Development (HUD) chart.

Board members also approved a contract with the town of Calabash for building inspections.

County building inspections director Delaney Aycock told commissioners the town has a building inspections department but it is “falling behind” in inspections, specifically with proposed multi-family subdivisions slated for upcoming inspections.

“With the slowdown of the department, we feel like we would be able to accommodate them,” Aycock said.

In other business, board members approved:

e--A public hearing for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 4 for proposed map and future land use amendment Z-08-622.

e--A single-family rehabilitation program legal services contract with Geddings and Kleva PLLC.

e--A budget amendment for a grant match for $15,000 for the Calabash Fire Department.

e--An emergency management performance grant annual award for $52,576.

e--An agreement with HDR Engineering Inc. of the Carolinas for the Pinewood force main project for $49,900.

e--A capital project ordinance amendment for Calabash collection system project easements.

e--A contract with HDR Engineering Inc. of the Carolinas for the 2008-2009 water service area system improvements project.

e--Awarded a contract with Herring-Rivenbark Inc. for 2007-2008 water service area system improvements.

e--An agreement with the National Association of Counties and Caremark for a discount prescription card program for uninsured county residents.