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CAROLINA SHORES—The Brunswick County Economic Development Commission is willing to help the town of Carolina Shores lure more businesses into town.
That’s what Jim Bradshaw, director of the BCEDC, told the town board of commissioners at its monthly workshop Monday.
Bradshaw distributed copies of a handout and told board members he’d be glad to try to answer any questions they might have.
Town commissioner Bill Brennan wondered about drawing new business with the tiny commercial district the town has. He noted there are still vacant storefronts at the Food Lion shopping center.
“I don’t know that you can get any kind of small retailer who wants to go to a stand-alone facility with nothing around it and to be the only draw,” Brennan said. “How do you work your way around that?”
Bradshaw said it depends on the circumstances, citing as an example the local CVS drugstore. Even though the town is small, “they wanted to be in this area,” he said. “They found a site and were willing to take a risk to locate a drugstore [in Carolina Shores]. There are other retailers that can do the same thing. It depends on what you want.”
Does the town want large or small retailers, he asked, advising board members to discuss what they want to attract to the area with the limited amount of available land.
“Maybe we can assist you with that,” Bradshaw said.
He also asked that the town keep him up-to-date on zoned retail sites as he is representing the county, towns and property owners “to try to get retail [and] industrial to those sites.”
Town commissioner Joyce Dunn asked Bradshaw what he thought about the town of Leland recently lowering inspection fees to $1 to attract new business.
“It’s the fact that the community took the effort,” Bradshaw said. “You want to have a good first impression.”
He also cited the town of Shallotte for readjusting efforts to lure more businesses.
Bradshaw said Carolina Shores is on its way to do likewise with its Unified Development Ordinance and friendly town administrator Mike Hargett.
After Bradshaw’s presentation, Hargett said the town can make progress in developing specific strategies and establishing a good relationship with him.
Calabash Lakes setback changes
Board members agreed to have a public hearing in July for proposed property setback modifications for unsold single-family lots in Calabash Lakes subdivision.
The request from developer D.R. Horton is to adhere to setbacks outlined in the town’s current UDO, to reduce front-yard setbacks from 35 feet to 25 feet and rear-yard setbacks from 30 feet to 20 feet. The new UDO also reduces side-yard setbacks from 15 feet to 10 feet for the R8 zone covering the Calabash Lakes lots, town building inspector Chuck Riggins said.
The advantages for changing would allow for shifting to have a larger backyard.
“You can also shift from side-to-side to have side garages,” Riggins said, adding he thinks it’s a good idea as far as the sizes of homes that are still capped to 3,900 square feet of impervious surface.
“They have a number of homes that right now they can’t locate on some of those lots,” Riggins said. “This would allow them to do that.”
Town commissioner Greg Davis said the change would only allow shifting of a structure on a lot in order to be more flexible. Davis said he has seen all 22 plans, and “most fit in quite nicely.”
Carolina Shores Mayor Walter Goodenough said he’s all for being friendly to developers, but not at the expense of residents.
“That’s not how I play the game,” he said.
Board members wondered why D.R. Horton representatives haven’t personally attended town planning and commissioners sessions to speak for themselves.
Davis said, “This could be easily solved if D.R. Horton met with homeowners.”
“That’s not the way developers should be working,” Goodenough said.
Town commissioner Joseph Przywara said residents should be notified and Horton representatives should be on hand next time to explain what they’re doing.
“That’s how the town does business,” Dunn said. “We want our residents to know what’s going on.”
Budget up for adoption Thursday
The town board will conduct final review of the proposed town budget for fiscal year 2013-14 at its monthly meeting at 2 p.m. this Thursday, June 6.
Hargett said town finance director Julie Munday and he have been monitoring email traffic from the state legislature to ensure nothing has happened that would affect town revenue. He said they are not aware of anything that could cause a problem for the coming year.
Hold communications committee
Board members have also agreed to put on hold the town communications committee due to fewer members and people volunteering to serve.
They said the town HOA/POA board can continue handling the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program previously handled by the communications committee.
“This communications committee has been a struggle from day one,” Goodenough said, adding he doesn’t know if it can keep going.
Dunn also wondered who will handle the town newsletter previously handled by the communications committee.
Leave ETJ as is
The town planning board has recommended by a 3-2 vote leaving the town extraterritorial jurisdiction as is.
“It appears that the loss of control that would result from removing the ETJ was the deciding factor in the planning board’s recommendation,” Hargett wrote in his monthly report for May.
As suggested by the town tree committee, a process gauging the type and volume of vegetative material coming through the town recycling center is under way.
The tree committee should be able to formulate a recommendation to town commissioners in July, Hargett said.
“Most people are complying with what we’ve asked them to do,” he said.
Road lines and signs
During public comment at Monday’s workshop, former town commissioner Tom Puls asked the board to consider implementation of lines down main roads in his neighborhood, Village at Calabash.
Former town commissioner Gere Dale presented members with a baggy containing composted material from the county recycling center.
“I’m absolutely convinced composting of yard waste is viable,” he said.
Dale also said a road median or strip is needed in “old Carolina Shores.”
He said he opposed implementing a rule banning residential yard-sale and other types of signs in town rights-of-way.
“Residents cannot conduct business on the weekend without signs,” Dale said.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.