Board of adjustments talk tabled in Carolina Shores

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

CAROLINA SHORES—The town planning and zoning board has tabled discussion about how to best compose the town board of adjustments.

Town commissioners have asked P&Z members to serve a dual role as the board of adjustments, but concerns were discussed at the March 19 workshop.

Members Jim Parsch, John Miner, Ruth Martin and Jim Mokrycki initially agreed the board of adjustments should be a separate entity.

Parsch said it was his understanding the board of adjustments would review matters that had already been addressed by the P&Z board.

“I’m in agreement with my colleagues,” board Chairman Jim Hartnett added. “I feel like it would be a conflict one way or the other.”

But town administrator Linda Herncane said it’s the town’s building inspectors who reject something and bring it to the board of adjustment for consideration.

“This [planning and zoning] board does not see it first or see it ever,” she said.

Town building inspector Jean Crowley said the board of adjustments addresses issues that are “exceptions to the rules,” such as building setbacks.

“The first time you see it is when it’s an appeal,” Mayor Stephen Selby said.

Instead of the town’s five commissioners serving as the board of adjustments, “it would be you five,” he said.

Sprinkler presentation

On another matter, Calabash Fire Chief Karl Bennett and Brunswick County Fire Marshal Scott Garner presented a video program outlining how sprinkler systems save lives and property and require substantially less water than fire engines dousing a blaze.

“The design is to get people out so that they survive,” Garner said. “They’re not necessarily a property-saving tool. There’s a lot of different things that are good about them.”

He said his department is pushing for systems that cost about 1 to 1 percent the cost of a home. Details also were presented showing it is next to impossible for a sprinkler head to accidentally trigger, especially the newer recessed models.

“We know it saves lives, and we know it saves property,” Garner said. “It’s like having a firefighter with you 24 hours a day.”

At present, in response to a question from Carolina Shores Commissioner Gere Dale, Garner said he knows of no developments that are installing sprinkler systems. But he said one developer in the Shallotte area is including them on an option sheet for homeowners.

“Most people don’t know it’s an option,” Garner said. “One option on the home could pay for a sprinkler system.”

By law, the county can’t require the systems, but Garner cited an instance where he urged one entity to strongly consider installing one because of a lack of escape methods.

Bennett cited a restaurant in Calabash that is sprinklered, which has led to a significant reduction in commercial insurance rates.

The restaurant’s owner “has told me his pay-back with the sprinklers was between three to four years,” Bennett said. “And that was about 12 to 13 years ago. So he has made a lot of money by having sprinklers in that restaurant.”