Vessel for hire definition, use could change

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A text amendment changing the application process for permitted and conditional uses of vessels for hire will head before the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen following unanimous approval by the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board.

Chairman Ace Cofer voiced concerns during the Tuesday, March 4 planning board meeting about which definition of vessel for hire will come before the aldermen, requesting that town attorney John Wessell look deeper into the U.S. Coast Guard’s definition.

“Wrightsville Beach’s definition has some holes in it,” Cofer said. “… I’m not trying to derail this, I just think we need to tighten this up.”

Dustin Frye, a Wilmington resident interested in starting a charter boat business in Wrightsville Beach, submitted the text amendment request to town planning staff on Jan. 3.

The proposed wording of the text amendment reflects the change from watercraft for hire carrying nine or more persons to carrying seven or more persons, requiring a conditional use permit in the C-3 district. The amendment would also add a line for watercraft carrying six or fewer persons as a permitted use, which Frye is requesting.

“That No. 9 was probably obsolete,” said Tony Wilson, planning and parks director. “It’s been in there for some time. … We tried to think of some issues that we would have with this … I don’t see any big issues.”

The item will come before the aldermen March 19, but Wilson said the item could be opened and moved to a later date if necessary.

UDO update

After a request by Wrightsville Beach Marina, the entire town could see changes in the allowed number of buildings and uses per lot on Wrightsville Beach property.

The current ordinance allows only one principal building and use per lot, contradictory to commercial district zoning wording before the adoption of the Unified Development Ordinance.

The proposed amendment would allow one principal building and one use on lots located in the R-1 and R-2 districts, one principal building and one or more uses in the C-1, C-2, C-3 and C-4 districts and multiple buildings and one or more uses in the C-5 district.

“It’s something we need to address for the future of the Town of Wrightsville Beach,” Wilson said. “… You will see more of these coming as we get into the ordinances. When you pass new ordinances, you’re going to see some old issues that you continue to have to update.”

The planning board unanimously motioned to send a favorable recommendation of the text amendment before the aldermen, for the March 19 meeting.


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