Coffee talk stirs pot at Wrightsville Beach planning board meeting

by Marimar McNaughton
Thursday, April 7, 2011

Staff photo by Joshua Curry

The former Intracoastal Realty building located at 534 Causeway Drive may open as a coffee shop, pending a conditional use permit. The shop would be a second location for the Daily Grind coffee shop which originated in Surf City.

Owners of Surf City’s Daily Grind hope to open a second storefront in Wrightsville Beach this summer at 534 Causeway Drive. Their request for a conditional use permit to rehab the former real estate office for a proposed coffee shop was approved in a 5-1 vote with planning board chairman Lori Rosbrough dissenting. (David Culp was absent.)

Rosbrough’s apprehension upheld the concerns of local resident Harold King who said it was a great idea but the wrong location for it. King was also speaking as a trustee for Wrightsville United Methodist Church and The Landing, which the church also owns. Both are adjacent properties.

Spokesmen for the applicant including Robbie Robinson of North Channel Avenue and Marcello Caliva of Intracoastal Realty said most of the coffee shop customers would be walking up or bicycling, not driving. Yet, the central issue revolved around parking, ingress and egress. Based on occupancy plus staff, the required number of parking spaces equals seven but there are only five. Applicant Jeremy Shugarts is seeking two parking exemptions. With no metered parking nearby, the question is where will those parking spaces be located? King made it clear the church plans to close the egress to its parking lot and the contiguous parking lot at The Landing. Planning board member Darryl Mills suggested Shugarts befriend some church members and mend some fences.

Jimmy Carter, proprietor of Lagerheads, returned to request an amendment to an existing conditional use permit to operate a commercial parking lot behind his North Lumina Avenue establishment.

The planning board originally approved his request in 2009 but Carter was later turned down by the board of aldermen in a 3-2 vote. According to the letter of the ordinance, he had to wait a year to reapply.

Susan Wakild and Kevin Peters, who reside near Lagerheads, both expressed concerns that noise ordinance violations and excessive littering had not improved at that location in the intervening time.

Planning board member Walt DeVries asked planning and inspections director Tony Wilson why the request had been turned down by the BOA and Wilson said he could not recall. It was Wakild who stated the reason stemmed from Lagerheads’ business license that established the bar as a private club seeking to operate a commercial parking lot.

After that BOA vote, alderman Susan Collins who was in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, said she had requested that town clerk Sylvia Holleman and town manager Bob Simpson ask the Alcohol Beverage Commission if they had an issue with Carter and if the leasing of space in his parking lot impinged on that license. Collins said Holleman replied that the ABC cited no conflict with Carter renting his parking lot spaces to the public.

Carter’s request was unanimously approved.

Both Shugarts and Carter will appear before the BOA for final votes.

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