Audubon to present south end habitat replacement

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Audubon North Carolina staff will present information about south end bird colony improvements to supplement sand loss during the upcoming beach renourishment project when the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen meets at 6 p.m. at Town Hall Chambers on Thursday, Nov. 14.

“We’re going to present how we’re working with the [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] on that project to see that bird habitat’s considered because of the colony down there,” said Lindsay Addison, Audubon North Carolina coastal biologist.

Town Manager Tim Owens said Audubon is proposing to create a habitat for the habitat lost during the renourishment project by flattening out the dune area to make it more suitable for bird populations.

Regarding the upcoming beach renourishment project, Owens said, “There’s a tip of the island that’s actually both habitat for the birds as well as within the Corps’ channel.”

Owens said he expects the Corps to use the south end sand area to replenish the beach at the tip of the island. He also said he believes Audubon hopes when contractors are on the south end, they will create another habitat before they leave.

The presentation is for informational purposes only, and the Town of Wrightsville Beach is not proposing to participate in the project.

The Nov. 14 meeting will also include three regular agenda items.

The first calls for a board decision about accepting the former Nextel building, located at elevated water tank No. 1 at 1703 North Lumina Ave., as town property.

Nextel is terminating its lease agreement with the town, active since 2006, following consolidation with Sprint. The building is valued from $85,000 to $100,000.

While the town does not have a use for the building yet, staff is recommending the board accept the building.

“They’re basically going to give us the building instead of removing and taking it away,” Owens said. “It’s a building that we can have to use for whatever we might want to use it for, for storage or other things.”

The second agenda item is a request by Dominion Land Corporation for a mixed use conditional use permit extension for the Middle of the Island project, which includes 10 dwelling units totaling 15,888 square feet.

Dominion Land Corporation president Nathan Sanders states in an email to Tony Wilson, Wrightsville Beach Planning and Parks Director, that it is not feasible to start the project yet because of unfavorable market conditions. 

“It is important that it continue to be approved and ready to start when market conditions become favorable,” Sanders also states in the email.

The first permit for the project was granted in 2008, the first effective year of the Permit Extensions Act of 2009. Since then, the permit effective through Dec. 31 has been extended twice by board and staff. Staff is only authorized to grant a six-month extension, which is why it is coming before the board again.

The board is also asked to consider approving the contract for landscape improvements at the Welcome to Wrightsville Beach sign between the town and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, estimated from $70,000 to $90,000. NCDOT would fund the design, bidding and implementation of the project along with one year of maintenance. 

Board members and the public will be allowed input about the plan before implementation.

Owens said the project’s timeframe would hopefully correspond with the completion of the bridgework in spring 2014. After the first year, the town would be responsible for the project. 


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