The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen chose new and familiar appointees for town committees and boards on Thursday, Jan. 12. They also declined 3-2 to relocate the farmers’ market this summer, committed to spending $6,000 for an expanded concert series, chose the intersection of Causeway and North Channel drives for a special crosswalk light, and agreed to an expansion of the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Aquaculture Facility.
Out of six planning board candidates, the board chose Dale Walker to continue on the board and added teacher Janice Clark. Allen Rippy Jr. won a runoff vote for the third seat.
Out of three candidates for the historic landmark commission Catherine O’Quinn kept her seat, and Marjorie Way returned after a year off.
The board chose retirees Charlotte Murchison and Martha Chaffins from five new candidates for the parks and recreation advisory committee.
Seven people applied for the marketing advisory committee, including former aldermen’s delegate Lisa Weeks. The board, however, chose to return Sue Bulluck and Jason St. Clair, while adding retiree Vivian "Zeke" Partin and Shell Island general manager Edmund Puodziunas.
Mayor David Cignotti was reappointed to the board of adjustment, while alderman Elizabeth Brown King took the term of former Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Weeks, which expires in 2014. Alderman Darryl Mills took over for former Alderman Bill Blair, whose term ends in 2015. Blair withdrew his application as an alternate, so the board retained Kitty Brunjes as first alternate and Greg Files as second alternate.
The proposal to relocate the farmers’ market from Old Causeway Drive to Town Hall property was recommended by the parks and recreation advisory committee to allow more parking, restroom facilities and more visibility.
Alderman Bill Sisson said it would also eliminate the $1,500 cost for portable toilets during the season.
Cignotti moved to relocate the market to the municipal complex, seconded by Sisson. However, Collins, Mills and King voted against the proposal.
Expansion of the Sounds of Summer Concert Series was introduced by parks and recreation program supervisor Katie Ryan.
With support from the Wrightsville Beach Merchants Association and the Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation Foundation, Ryan proposed an eight-concert season. WECT TV, which sponsors four or five concerts, requested a $6,000 appropriation to fund the additional concerts. Cignotti moved to write a letter of commitment; Sisson seconded, and the board approved unanimously.
The location of a crosswalk was also unanimously approved.
Town manager Bob Simpson said the North Carolina Department of Transportation had offered to place a high-intensity activated crosswalk at the intersection of Causeway and North Channel drives, or at Causeway and Coral drives if the town made at least $150,000 in infrastructure improvements.
Mills and Collins both raised the concern of traffic snarls, especially in the summer. Cignotti strongly urged supporting the project.
"We’ve never gotten this close," he said.
Sue Bulluck, Harold King and Gary Lee spoke from the audience, urging approval. Lee said the congestion wouldn’t get much worse, and a person’s life couldn’t be replaced.
The board approved the North Channel site unanimously. It also voted 3-2 to pay an extra $6,000 to have the stainless steel light poles powder-coated black, with Cignotti and Sisson opposed.
University of North Carolina Wilmington Aquaculture Facility director Dr. Wade Watanabe asked to expand his operation into adjacent space vacated by the Division of Marine Fisheries with no increase in rent. Watanabe explained that the extra space would allow more flexibility for research.
Mayor Cignotti suggested the town ask the university to pay for a land survey and the legal costs to amend the lease. The board agreed to the expansion, contingent upon details to be worked out between Simpson, Watanabe and town attorney John Wessell.
Regarding parking changes on Harbor Island, the board delayed any decisions on those issues, which will be added to a special parking workshop and aldermen’s meeting called for 5 p.m. on Feb 2.
The aldermen also set a special budget meeting at 5 p.m. on Jan. 26.
This story was first reported on www.LuminaNews.com on Thursday, Jan. 12.