Surf zones OK, driveways and metal roofs debated

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lumina News file photo 

The Wrightsville Beach Planning Board is in ongoing discussion on what to do about glare caused by sunlight reflecting off of metal roofing.

Surfing around commercial fishing piers was the first of three town ordinances addressed by the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board on Tuesday, Dec. 4, after the length of the restriction was questioned at the October Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen meeting. 

While the board discussed banning spearfishing, scuba diving and snorkeling underneath commercial fishing piers, it was questioned whether the prohibition of surfing within 500 feet of those same structures was too extensive.

Town planner I, Eryn Moller, said Wrightsville Beach Fire Chief Frank Smith and ocean rescue director Dave Baker had no problem with the current ordinance and felt the Surf Zone Committee did a sufficient job with researching the restriction. Planning board member, Ace Cofer, added that the 500-foot restriction is double the same restriction as most other North Carolina beaches. However, after a brief discussion, the board decided the recommendation of Smith and Baker to leave the ordinance alone was a sufficient enough reason not to alter it. 

Gene Miller and Bill Morris, who both own properties on North Lumina Avenue on Lollipop Bay, raised concerns about their inability to replace or repair their driveways because the newly adopted Unified Development Ordinance prohibits the replacement of driveways located in the property’s setback. Interim town manager and director of planning and inspections, Tony Wilson, said the purpose of the provision was to deter new construction from building driveways in the setbacks and to encourage more green space. 

Since the driveways of both Miller and Morris were approved to run along their property lines long before the UDO was adopted, the two asked if the board could alter the ordinance to allow them to replace the impervious pavement in the setbacks with pervious pavement. With the planning board in concurrence that the request was reasonable for older, grandfathered properties, Wilson said he would bring an amendment of the ordinance to the board’s January meeting to be voted on. 

Another ordinance amendment the planning board will continue to discuss at its January meeting, and possibly a few more, is how to best address the issue of the glare from metal roofing initially raised by Wrightsville Beach resident Neal Briggi. Due to the glare intruding into his home from his neighbor’s blue metal roof, Briggi requested the planning board develop a way to deter the use of reflective roofing around the island. 

After researching the issue, Moller said she had discovered some municipalities like Lake Tahoe and Nevada City limit metal roof color options to earth tones to reduce glare. The majority of the planning board was not in favor of restricting the colors homeowners could choose; however, the board also did not decide on an effective alternative. Wilson said he thinks it will take several more meetings before the board can arrive at a consensus about the issue. 

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