Previously denied C-3 variance request resurfaces, passes

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Staff photo by Joshua Curry

Banks Channel Pub and Grille hopes to expand its outdoor seating.



The Wrightsville Beach Planning Board unanimously approved a request to reduce a front yard minimum setback on Tuesday, Feb. 4, reversing a December 2013 Wrightsville Beach Board of Adjustment decision.

Attorney Jay Short, representing Kenan Properties, Inc., submitted the petition for a text amendment, reducing the front yard minimum setback from 30 to 15 feet at 100 W. Salisbury St.

“Right before the meeting, I realized, after reviewing our old ordinances, that it should have been 15 feet,” planning director Tony Wilson said about the board of adjustment meeting. “I did bring it up at the meeting.” 

Wilson said he realized it the night before the meeting, which is why the hearing took place.

Wilson also told the board if the ordinance was not changed, it could affect other C-3 district properties, including The Landing and Seapath Marina.

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 prior to the Unified Development Ordinance in November 2012 were allowed a 15-foot setback for conditional uses.

 “We realized that it probably should be 15 feet, because that’s what it always has been,” Short said. “… I guess the last time it came up was when Mellow Mushroom got their outside seating.”

The decision will go before the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen for approval.

The planning board spent the first hour of the meeting discussing a conditional use permit application from Banks Channel Pub and Grille to expand the outdoor dining area.

While noise was addressed as a concern, the majority of conversation circled around the number of seats. 

Ultimately, the board unanimously approved a 24-seat expansion of the outdoor dining area with stipulations that there is no live music, only two speakers and a closing time of 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 

Also, if two noise violations are received annually for the entire outside dining area, the issue will come before the board of aldermen.

Resident Harold King questioned the number of tables in the architect’s drawing. Owner Damon Scarpelli said the current outside dining area is set up for 35 seats.

While the planning board’s recommendation makes its way before the board of aldermen for approval, planning staff will look into how many tables are currently outside and if they have been approved.

The board withdrew the meeting’s first unfinished agenda item concerning a text amendment for beach chairs and umbrella beachfront storage per the petitioner’s request. Mary Baggett Martin, co-owner of the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, originally filed the petition in August 2013, but withdrew after realizing that the text amendment could conflict with the town’s designation as a sea turtle sanctuary.

A text amendment for another old business item regarding permitted shore zone activities in the S-1 shore zone district, which also concerns the Blockade Runner, is scheduled to come back before the planning board in April.

The new board elected Ace Cofer to serve as chairman and Ken Dull to serve as vice chairman of the board. Zeke Partin was absent from the meeting.

email kelly@luminanews.com  


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