Church school rooms OK’d for second year

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, April 3, 2013

With the continued overcrowding issues at Wrightsville Beach School and the need for New Hanover County Schools to have more time to create a long-term solution to the issue, NHCS requested to renew the use of two classrooms in Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church for a second year. 

At its March meeting, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen requested NHCS to put the bond referendum — which would pay for a new county elementary school, and renovations to College Park and WBS — to vote by the fall of 2013. However, at the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board meeting on Tuesday, April 2, NHCS director of facilities and planning, Eddie Anderson, said in informal conversations NHCS has had with New Hanover County officials, the county would like to postpone the bond referendum to 2014. 

In learning this, planning board member Walt DeVries asked Anderson if that would mean NHCS would have to come back to request to use the church rooms for a third and possibly fourth year. 

“It is a likely scenario,” Anderson said. “I’ll probably be back.”

The planning board unanimously passed a favorable recommendation for the board of aldermen to approve the text amendment allowing WBS to utilize the church rooms for another year. 

In another issue that has been addressed by the planning board numerous times in the past year, the board will have to wait still longer to decide what restrictions to put on the installation of metal roofing.

Introduced in the current session of the North Carolina General Assembly, House Bill 150 would eliminate the ability for local municipalities to regulate building design elements via zoning and development regulation ordinances for one- and two-family residences on items regulated under the North Carolina Building Code. 

Due to the fact that roof materials are regulated under the state building code, town attorney John Wessel recommended the planning board take no action on the issue until the fate of the HB150 is decided. At press time, the bill had passed the House and was in the Senate. 

In response to the opposing verdicts from the planning board and board of aldermen on the issuance of a Conditional Use Permit for the operation of a Joe’s Crab Shack in the Johnnie Mercer’s Pier House, at the end of the planning board meeting DeVries questioned if the two boards needed to have a meeting to discuss the town’s CUP policies. The strictness of how the planning board should weigh parking requirements was something that particularly puzzled DeVries. 

“What bothered me was, we voted 5 to 0 unanimously for the recommendation and then two weeks later the board of aldermen votes 5 to 0 against it; so what happened,” DeVries asked. “We have been passing CUPs on this board as long as I’ve been on it but if [the board of aldermen] is now saying to us, ‘you need to strictly follow what the codes state,’ then we have a problem.” 

The majority of the planning board echoed DeVries’ concerns about the disconnect between the two boards on granting CUPs, and planning and parks director Tony Wilson said he would set up a joint meeting to discuss the issue. 

email cole@luminanews.com


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