Pets on beach, lighting ordinances intact

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The town of Wrightsville Beach’s ordinance prohibiting dogs on the beach strand from April 1 to Sept. 30 was called into question at the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen meeting on April 11, when Alderman Darryl Mills said a handful of residents had again approached him about increasing the amount of time dogs are allowed on the beach. As a result, the issue was passed down to the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board, which chose to leave the ordinance unchanged at its Tuesday, May 7 meeting. 

In town planner Eryn Moller’s prepared documents for the discussion, she included the dog ordinances of 10 other beach towns from Ocean Isle Beach to Emerald Isle and it was the consensus of the board that Wrightsville Beach’s ordinance was among the least prohibitive. Compared to Wrightsville’s ordinance, the time frame dogs are allowed on Carolina Beach is two months shorter; Oak Island’s is one month shorter; and Kure Beach’s is the same. However, Emerald Isle, Topsail Beach, Surf City, Holden Beach and Ocean Isle Beach are less prohibitive in their ordinances concerning dogs on the beach. 

In a unanimous vote, the board agreed not to alter the ordinance based on the lack of public outcry for a change and the funds and staff time it would take to change the ordinance and the related signage. 

The planning board also voted unanimously to leave the town’s outdoor lighting ordinance in place regarding residential holiday lighting. This issue was also brought to the planning board at the behest of a member of the board of aldermen during the final review of the town’s Unified Development Ordinance with the suggestion to put a time limit on when decorative holiday lights could be used. 

The town’s current residential decorative lighting ordinance prohibits any outdoor lighting using lamps brighter than 36 watts, or lighting that creates up-lighting, light trespass onto adjoining properties, or with bulbs that can be viewed from a public right of way. 

With essentially all holiday lights matching those prohibited uses, Moller said she believed the town could enforce the ordinance effectively as is and on a complaint driven basis, with which the board agreed. 

Following up on planning board member Walt DeVries’ request for a copy of former planning board member David Culp’s survey of the town’s public rights of way street ends, it was determined by the board that the town should devise a policy by which private citizens may improve those 45 possible street ends. 

Town planning and parks director Tony Wilson said the town did not have that process in writing and that he usually has a few instances a year when residents approach him about improving the public access to those rights of way. 

To address these concerns, the planning board passed a resolution to ask the board of aldermen if the policy could be developed by the planning board to submit for the aldermen’s approval. 


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