Hank Miller alderman candidate, shy guy

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hank Miller is senior vice president at Cape Fear Commercial, and one of four candidates for two open seats on the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen.

What is the reason you are running for alderman? Was there any specific issue or issues that really sparked your interest in running?†

I have always wanted to serve in some sort of leadership capacity in public service. Iím 50 years old, business is good and Iíve got the time.†

Describe your outlook on the townís budget and financial philosophy.†

It is a needs-based budget as far as Iím concerned. As soon as we pay for the things we need we will get around to what we want. But you have to balance that with the quality of life, the residents have to decide how much of their taxes they want to spend in the budget and we have to carry that out.†

How do you feel about soft revenues like parking and ROT funds? What should their role be in the townís budget?

If they donít play a significant role the property taxes go up. Ö We always need to keep an eye on it because there are always other folks trying to put their hands in the pot. I think we need to protect what we have got and need to find a way to increase user fees.†

What is your opinion of the townís mix of commercial and residential property?

We have three mixed-use sites that Ö havenít been developed yet. If the residents of Wrightsville Beach want commercial property we are going to have to find a mix between what the developers are willing to build and what the residents are willing to allow. Clearly what we have now is not working.†

Are you in favor of or opposed to increasing the 40-foot height limit in the R-1 and/or R-2 residential zones? Please explain your answer.

I am not rigid on 40 feet. I think 40 feet and the floor-to-area ratio worked well and has worked well. If you have to raise your house another two feet without any give on the top, then it is something we have to look at on a case-by-case basis. Again, it is up to the residents but at some point it is just not going to be cost effective.†

Are you in favor of or opposed to modifying the existing C-5 commercial zoning (specifically the Galleria property) to allow permanent residential structures to be constructed there as a mixed use development?

In my opinion it needs to go through a process, it needs to have public hearings and it needs to be something where the town decides what it wants to see on its property. The highest and best use of that site is not commercial. It just doesnít lend itself to a commercial site; but having said that, it is our property. It brings in tax base so we need to decide what we want.†

What would be your first step as alderman to address Biggert-Waters?

Iíve called Mike McIntyre and Ö Andrew Simpson, who is leading the charge in the Congressmanís office. Mike will work with us. If it can happen he will make it happen.†

Also just making [residents] aware of it. The letter writing is OK; but this thing passed in June 2012, we should have been writing letters in May or June of 2011. It is like the bridge, we have to find a way to get ahead of these things instead of fighting from behind. †

What is your opinion of the list of Nos on the beach access entrance signs?

I hate it but at the same time I understand the need to inform people. At some point people have to take responsibility for their own actions. I have been here my whole life and perception is reality, whether I agree with your perception or not. There are people on [the west] side of the bridge that just donít think they are welcome here.†

Where do you see WB in 10 years? How important is it for the beach to adapt and change?

We owe it to the next generation to leave them this wonderful little community we have had for a long time. What I would like to see in 10 years is Ö that we are the same safe community; we have gotten Wrightsville Beach School back to being a Wrightsville Beach school; our quality of life is 10 times better than it is today; that we have a sound budget and that we have the types of commercial and residential that complement each other; and our beaches are clean and they have sand.†

What is something people should know about you that they donít?

I would consider myself shy; most people probably wouldnít believe that.†

email cole@luminanews.com

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