The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to approve a 1 percent merit pay increase for town employees who have been employed for more than one year.
The increase, which applies to only the second half of fiscal year 2013-14, will cost the town slightly more than $8,800 and will be implemented April 3 following evaluations.
The increase came moments after board members reviewed a request for proposals draft for a Town Operations Study during the Tuesday, Feb. 18 meeting.
Mayor Bill Blair, Mayor pro tem Darryl Mills and Alderwoman Lisa Weeks voiced concerns about results from a similar RFP two years ago, reiterating that they want the study to focus more on efficiency rather than pay.
“Pay is certainly part of it, but the origination of this is an efficiency study,” Mills said.
Town manager Tim Owens recommended a pay study either way, citing 2004 as the last year a pay study was completed.
The board will advertise a March 19 public hearing for proposed parking changes when looking at increasing enforcement hours, rates and amount of spaces.
There are a potential 25-35 additional locations for parking spaces throughout the town and an additional 10-25 spaces for compact cars. The estimated revenue for an additional 35 regular spaces is $52,500.
From the crowd, resident and former alderwoman Kitty Brunjes said the parking change discussions are affecting residents on the beach strand.
“We are super upset over this,” Brunjes said before the motion to advertise a public hearing. “I’m glad I’m here tonight.”
Blair said he wants the public to understand board members have spent a lot of time discussing parking changes, and they are trying to recover from a shortfall.
Weeks opposed any residential parking pass increases, and Alderman Hank Miller III said he opposes hourly rate increases.
100 W. Salisbury St. public hearings
The board voted unanimously to reduce a front yard setback from 30 to 15 feet for conditional uses in line with projects approved before the Unified Development Ordinance was adopted.
The Wrightsville Beach Planning Board unanimously approved the request in February to reduce the front yard minimum setback, reversing a Wrightsville Beach Board of Adjustment December 2013 decision.
The zoning code reads that 15 feet is required for permitted uses and 30 feet for conditional uses in the C-3 district, but properties zoned prior to the UDO in November 2012 were allowed a 15-foot setback for conditional uses.
“We just didn’t pick up on it from the consulting firm to our UDO is the reason why we’re back here,” said Tony Wilson, Wrightsville Beach planning and parks director. “I did bring this up at the variance hearing a few months ago that I felt like that was an issue. … You will see more of these come in the future, little things that we didn’t see or pick up on.”
Immediately following the vote, Attorney Jay Short, representing Kenan Properties, Inc, presented the mixed-use conceptual plan for the same property, located at 100 W. Salisbury St.
The 0.35-acre project includes six units, three units for retail and commercial space and three for residential with the minimum amount of 21 parking spaces. Short also said there would be a future request for a dock and pier.
Town attorney John Wessell said the town had previous problems with people using offices as residences. Realtor Mark Bodford of Intracoastal Realty said the commercial space is designed for mortgage companies.
The board unanimously approved to send a project resolution with comments to the planning board before it comes before the aldermen again in March.
The next board meeting date was rescheduled from Thursday, March 13 to Wednesday, March 19.