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Jaguar's Lair work

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Following are some of property owner Cas Kacala’s detailed claims about work at Jaguar’s Lair with town councilwoman Karen Joseph’s responses on behalf of the town.

Regarding results of the first four meetings, after a tolling agreement was approved May 24, between two council members, town staff and Coastal Communities representatives, Kacala claimed status for completed infrastructure was only received for Section 1 in Jaguar’s Lair.

“Not accurate,” Joseph wrote. “We have a complete status report on all infrastructure issues.”

Kacala wrote the town agreed with Coastal to install Section 1 roadway with curbing and compacted base material rather than asphalt.

Joseph said there are reasons the town agreed to postpone asphalt. “There is no logic to laying asphalt unless and until homes are built and people are living in them.”

Kacala wrote the town agreed Section 1 roadwork would start Aug. 6, with the next part to start at the end of October.

Joseph responded, “The agreement on timing is, and was stated, that work on the second phase would begin ‘in’ October after the initial roadwork was completed and the concrete cured. The curing process takes 28 days, according to all contractors and our building inspector.”

Kacala wrote that at the town committee’s last meeting with Coastal representatives Sept. 5, no additional agreements were made.

“True,” Joseph responded. “If you have ever engaged in negotiations, you know that not every meeting results in new agreements. You fail to acknowledge that what has occurred for the last four years simply cannot be undone in just a few meetings.”

Referring to council’s Sept. 10 meeting, Kacala wrote council reps stated Sunset Beach is “doing much better than Shallotte town council as no work as yet has been started at Rivers Edge.”

He wrote Sunset Beach Mayor Richard Cerrato had asked for written milestones and that the ongoing meetings with Coastal Companies be open to the public. He noted Mayor Pro Tem Lou DeVita said such milestones weren’t needed.

Joseph responded, “The mayor pro tem stated no written milestones were needed ‘at this time’ since work was moving forward.”

Further, Kacala wrote DeVita stated council would not call the bonds because Coastal is doing work.

“True,” Joseph responded. “Why would council call the bonds and bring all work to an abrupt stop rather than continue to negotiate and allow work to continue?”

Kacala faulted the town for omitting details about 1.3 miles of roadway requiring completion in Section 1 of Jaguar’s Lair. Based on an approved schedule of 12 weeks to complete a tenth of a mile, he calculated it will take three years to finish all of that work.

“You are making assumptions without facts,” Joseph wrote. “You are reaching your own conclusions based on some imaginary approach.”

Kacala claimed the approved schedule will result in only 8 percent of total Jaguar’s Lair infrastructure being completed in three years.

“You are misrepresenting the reality of the situation,” Joseph wrote. “True, we never indicated your 8 percent number…There was nothing nefarious in the omission and to suggest such is irresponsible. And to state that the town’s intention is to address only 8 percent of the total infrastructure over three years is another absurd conclusion and you know that is not our intention.”

Kacala said council never stated it will take 38 years to complete all Jaguar’s Lair infrastructure, at an estimated $1,925,729, based on the standard it has accepted, with Coastal spending $11,771 every 12 weeks.

“…We never stated it will take 38 years to complete the infrastructure because that is simply a ridiculous statement to make and would never be accepted by the town,” Joseph responded. “In fact, Mr. Kacala, by making such a statement you undermine your own credibility.”

In response to other claims by Kacala about how long it will take Coastal to do the work, Joseph wrote he is again making assumptions and reaching conclusions without facts.

Kacala wrote DeVita stated at a council work meeting, prior to the first meeting with Coastal, “that it would only take a meeting or two to get milestones to confirm if Coastal will provide good-faith results to complete the entire project.”

Joseph responded, “Far more important to you and every property owner should be the actions of the town’s elected representatives and staff. Everyone has acted appropriately; no one has ignored the situation. You may personally disagree with not calling the bonds in 2012, but council believes it is in the interest of the property owners to get work started rather than call the bonds and force owners to wait another two to three years for anything to be done. This council’s focus has always been the best way to get construction of the infrastructure done sooner rather than later.

“In addition, you clearly never take into account the financial obligation the town of Sunset Beach will bear if indeed we call the bonds. Council bears responsibility for spending taxpayer dollars, and making such a commitment is a decision we all take with great care.”

Kacala wrote Shallotte has been more successful than Sunset Beach in its meetings with Coastal, which he said has agreed to install 1.7 miles of sewer lines in Rivers Edge after getting state approval that could take four months. He also charged a Sunset Beach council member attending meetings with Coastal has a potential conflict-of-interest.

“You are damaging a man’s reputation with this comment, and I find it highly objectionable,” Joseph wrote. “There is no conflict of interest; his actions have been nothing but above board and in the interest of the property owners, the taxpayers of Sunset Beach, and the town in general.”

In response to Kacala’s claim that town administrator Gary Parker “almost succeeded in allowing the four bonds (valued at $3 million) to expire,” Joseph stated that is a misrepresentation of facts. She said Parker was first made aware of the Jaguar’s Lair bonds in January 2008 during his first month of employment with the town. After consulting with the town attorney, Parker renewed the bonds and instructed the town’s chief building inspector to monitor the progress, Joseph wrote.

She said Parker sent a letter to Coastal Communities informing them the town was planning to call the bonds in early February 2009.

“The response from Coastal revealed that the timelines in question would not expire until the end of February and they would be asking town council for an extension. That request was taken to the council in February 2009 and was approved.”

Joseph said that in December 2009, Parker sent a letter to Coastal Communities concerned it would not meet the first of the newly established deadlines in the developer agreements. He indicated he did not believe town council would approve another extension, which would result in the calling of the bonds. 

“The town attorney then reminded Mr. Parker and the council that the N.C. General Assembly had extended the timelines when it enacted the Permit Extension Act, and the town could not call the Jaguar’s Lair bonds. The town was placed in the position of waiting to monitor the economy and Coastal’s construction progress or lack thereof until the legislatively adjusted deadline dates were reached, in some cases three years later. That timeline brought us to the current situation.

“Now you have a true and accurate calendar of the facts.”

Joseph also charged Kacala misrepresented “the entire annexation process in the state of North Carolina. When Jaguar’s Lair was started Mr. Parker was not even employed by the town of Sunset Beach. At that time Coastal Communities had the option to voluntarily present the development for annexation to Sunset Beach as it is in the town’s ETJ. Coastal Communities chose not to take that action. Some municipalities in N.C. have a policy that if they own the water and sewer systems, which the town of Sunset Beach does not, the town may require annexation in order for the community to receive those services.”