Sunset Beach mayor consults county official about Jaguar's Lair

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

Sunset Beach Mayor Richard Cerrato says he has consulted a county official about Jaguar's Lair.

At a specially called town council meeting Sept. 11, Cerrato said he has talked to Brunswick County Commissioners Chairman Phil Norris about the unfinished development.

“Since (property owners) are Brunswick County taxpayers, why are we in this business?” Cerrato asked. “Shouldn’t this be something the county is doing and not us? Phil advised me he is not a legal expert, nor am I.”

He said he’s asking council to consider having Sunset Beach attorney Michael Isenberg, Norris and the county attorney determine whether “that part of town can be given back to the county” and let the county handle infrastructure issues in Jaguar’s Lair with developer Mark Saunders. Cerrato also asked that council’s discussion be deferred.

Town councilwoman Karen Joseph said it was highly inappropriate of Cerrato to go to anyone without prior discussion by council.

She said the town had a legal responsibility to proceed with its review of the document and that she and fellow council member Wilson Sherrill needed direction for the Jaguar’s Lair committee.

She said she needs to correct “fiction that is out there” and that section 1 roadway work is actually 1.8 miles.

She said she and Sherrill drove out the previous day and could not only see curbing for Mayfair but curbing that had been redone after being destroyed by rain.

“They are very close to completion of the curbing of the roadway and then appropriate leveling out and paving,” Joseph said. “It’s not a quarter of a mile.”

Sunset Beach Town Councilman Lou DeVita questioned wording in the document for sections 2A and 2B, for which the board is reviewing establishing a completion-deadline agreement with Coastal Companies. Joseph said she doesn’t know how many lots are owned by Coastal Communities (Saunders) but “we know that some of them are.”

Isenberg told DeVita the bond the town holds still covers those lots.

“We have to at least keep enough bonds to cover what has to be done,” Isenberg said.

He said the town has to approve any changes.

DeVita said the agreement needs to include a statement that if the developer misses the section 1 deadline (Dec. 31), “this agreement is void. That’s got to be in there.”

Town councilwoman Carol Scott and Joseph agreed.

Isenberg suggested a deadline of Jan. 1, 2014, for the new agreement.

DeVita also said if Saunders is doing work elsewhere in Ocean Ridge, “it’s a slap in the face. If the best efforts and commitment to this council are working to make this happen, then he should be taking these resources and applying them here.”

Joseph said the work in question, at Barrington Place in Ocean Ridge, where an open house is scheduled Sept. 28, consists of seven lots and that part of the infrastructure was already done.

“I’m not saying you’re wrong,” she said. “I’m just saying that’s what the facts are.”

“(Saunders) stood in council chambers and said, ‘I’m committed,’” DeVita said. “We went along to create a win-win situation. I think we’re still working toward that, but I think he’s tilted the boat a little.”


Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.