Hearings for Pelican Drive and Harbor Island parking coming

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Lumina News file photo 

A roundabout at the intersection of Causeway Drive and Salisbury Street is one of the recommendations for transportation improvements made in the WMPO-sponsored Wrightsville Beach Comprehensive Transportation Plan. The plan will be presented to and considered for adoption by the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen at its Feb. 14 meeting. 

As an outcome of Lanier Parking’s annual presentation to the town of Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen in January, two of the public hearings scheduled for the board’s Feb. 14 meeting concern parking in the Harbor Island Parking District and the possible metering of Pelican Drive. 

One of the side effects of the Harbor Island parking district, which was enacted in 2012, is that many residents no longer have space for guest parking due to the fact that many of the lots have very confined space for a driveway. In response to complaints from residents, the board decided to leave the district unchanged for 2013 at its annual retreat on Feb. 2. It was the consensus of the board that another year would allow residents to grow more accustomed to the district and learn when they can call Lanier Parking to arrange an exemption for special events.

The public hearing set for Thursday’s meeting will allow any residents within the Harbor Island parking district to voice concerns about their experiences with the system. 

A public hearing about establishing metered parking on Pelican Drive will also allow concerned citizens to share their thoughts on the proposal. 

Lanier Parking manager Bryant Sykes said his company has identified a total of 75 possible parking spaces that could be metered on Pelican Drive. If the board does vote to meter Pelican Drive, Lanier estimated that the total cost would be $61,172, including the purchase of new meter heads. This cost would be reduced, however, with the use of the older meter heads from Sunset Avenue to Iula Street to be replaced this year. 

Another public hearing set for Thursday’s meeting involves a text amendment for Johnnie Mercer’s Pier. In anticipation of Joe’s Crab Shack moving into the pier house, the attorney representing Johnnie Mercer’s Pier owner Matt Johnson applied for an amendment to enclose the front entryway, adding a trash cooler to the outside of the building and the addition of a concrete wheelchair ramp for ingress and egress from the south side of the building. The Wrightsville Beach Planning Board gave a favorable recommendation for all aspects of the text amendment at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Prior to the public hearings, a series of presentations will be made regarding the finalized Wrightsville Beach Comprehensive Transportation Plan, an Eagle Scout project and the Nancy Faye Craig Volunteer of the Year Award. Last year the annual award was presented to Ginger Taylor of the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project.

Sponsored by the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Wrightsville Beach Comprehensive Transportation Plan was completed by staff from the town of Wrightsville Beach, the WMPO, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the design consulting firm Kimley-Horn and Associates. Outlined in the plan are recommendations for improvements to all modes of transportation within the town including a roundabout at the intersection of Causeway Drive and Salisbury Street, sharrows on Causeway Drive and reducing Waynick Boulevard to a two-lane road with a middle turning lane and a multiuse path on the road’s west side. 

The board will have the option of adopting the plan at Thursday’s meeting. If adopted, the town would be able to use the recommendations and analysis included in the plan to procure funding for these projects in the future. 

Following Eagle Scout Mark Fleishman’s refurbishment of Lee’s Nature Park in the fall of 2012, another Eagle Scout, Rhett Freeman, will present the board with his plans to complete landscaping improvements at either the South Channel Drive Mini-Park or the Island Drive Mini-Park.  

The last item listed on the board’s Feb. 14 agenda is the consideration of a nuisance ordinance that would hold rental property owners responsible for multiple town ordinance violations by their tenants. In his prepared materials for the meeting, town manager Tim Owens said the board should decide when and under which circumstances property owners could be fined, how much the fine should be, if there will be an appeal process and who is responsible for the enforcement of the new ordinance. 

email cole@luminanews.com

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