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Ocean Isle votes to install playground on island

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By Kathryn Jacewicz, Staff writer

OCEAN ISLE BEACH—Children will now have a new place to play on Ocean Isle Beach.

The board of commissioners approved the installation of a playground on Third Street near the Museum of Coastal Carolina at its meeting Tuesday.

The Ocean Isle Beach Conservancy approached the board of commissioners at its February meeting and proposed the idea for a playground to add to the family-friendly atmosphere of the island.

The town approved the design and layout presented by the conservancy. It includes a 50-by-80-foot fenced area that will contain two playground areas, a tire swing and swing set.

The Conservancy is funding the $46,000 for the playground equipment and asked the council to provide funding for the fence and sand to put underneath the equipment.

Town administrator Daisy Ivey said money is available in the general fund that could be used to create a line item for playground funding.

The town unanimously agreed to appropriate the funding.

“I think they’re adding to the quality of life,” commissioner Dean Walters said.

In other business, the board:

• Discussed its stance on House Bill 768 and Senate Bill 839, which will modernize the ABC System to become a state-controlled agency.

“I’m opposed to that action,” Walters said. “It’s the state trying to come in and take away…I think that this is just not a good position for us to be in.”

The board unanimously agreed to enter into a resolution in opposition of the proposed bills.

• Voted to issue a refund to concrete canal T-lot property owners. Property owners were billed by linear foot during a recent project, and the council decided to refund T-lot property owners for 30-feet of land, which equals a $730.80 refund.

• Discussed an amendment to the ATMC water tower lease agreement. ATMC is requesting the installation of three additional antennas; six coax lines and an equipment cabinet. The council unanimously voted to present a new lease to ATMC, with a 25 percent increase for the additional equipment.

• Discussed a possible agreement with BEMC. Mayor Debbie Smith said the town has been discussing trading a piece of land to BEMC in return for having the power lines on the causeway relocated underground and the streetlights replaced.

The town suggested a piece of land off Georgetown/Four-Mile Road, but only one acre of the soil was usable. The town decided to continue looking for possible land to trade, as the amount of work BEMC would be providing would be about $400,000.

• Decided to send a request from Ray Harris to the planning board. Harris requested the town permit him to add breakaway walls to Sharkey’s to enclose the waiting area. The walls would serve an aesthetic purpose only, and no additional tables or seating would be added.

Justin Whiteside, planning director, would not issue the permit and brought the issue before the board.

Whiteside said it did not coincide with the town’s ordinance, and setback requirements from the ABC store next door did not meet town regulations. He also said the enlarged area would lead to more traffic and parking problems.

Harris said the area is already used for waiting, but adding walls would prevent people from having to wait outside. He also questioned the setback requirements since the waiting area is on the opposite side from the ABC store.

Commissioner C.D. Blythe agreed he did not see a potential parking issue.

“If that’s where you’ve been waiting before, parking shouldn’t change,” he said.

The board unanimously voted to send the issue to the planning board, which meets at 9 a.m. April 21.

• Recognized Robin Farmer as the employee of the month.