The Brunswick beacon. (Shallotte, N.C.) 19??-current, October 21, 1993, Image 1
Quarry Opponents Want Zone Change; Board Wants Study UV Luu /'Ain i'am - * ??*' in URIC CARLSON Responding to an impressive show of public op posilion Monday night, the Brunswick County Commissioners agreed to request an environmental impact study of a proposed rock quarry near Southport and will ask the mining company to ex plain its intentions at a public forum. More than 150 people packed a Bolivia assem bly hall after the county board's regular meeting was moved from commissioners chambers to ac commodate the crowd. Nearly all indicated their opposition to the limestone mine that Martin Marietta Aggregates Inc. plans to open between Bethel Church Road and the entrance to Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point off N.C 87/133. A similar crowd was expected Wednesday night when the Brunswick County Planning Board was scheduled to hear a re-zoning request that would prohibit the mine from opening. Robert Ouinn of Southport. speaking on behali of a newly formed Mining Awareness Committee (MAC), criticized the former board of commission ers for rushing to pass a county zoning ordinance that designates the area around the proposed min ing site for "heavy manufacturing uses" including hazardous materials treatment facilities, animal slaughterhouses, incineration facilities and below ground storage tanks. "In doing so. they violated not only the interest of people in the communities, hut the stated intent of the document itself." Ouinn said. "I and the indi viduals I represent ask that the proposed zoning or dinance lie changed prior to issuing any permits or accepting plans from anyone." Ouinn was one of several people from the Southport area who consistently opposed the heavy manufacturing zone during a series of joint zoning workshops between the commissioners and plan ning board last summer. k (See FORUM. Page 2-A) ROBERT QUINN tells the Brunswick County Commissioners why he doesn 7 want a proposed limestone quarry to open just north of his home in Southport. * ^TAFF PHOTO BY ERIC CARLSON TH r 31 /99 HO AG & SONS BOOK B P.O. BOX 162 SPR I NGPORT MI 4928 :;fr SWlCK Thirty-First Yeor, Number 48 ?IfW TH? MUNSWTCX KACON Shallotte, North Carolina, Thursday, October 21, 1993 .&L? J?i 50< Per Copy 40 Pages, 3 Sections, 2 Inserts -iW REVALUATION COMPLETED jMram STAFF PHOTO BY ERIC CARLSON Feeding A Hungry Horde James Watson and Kermit Finchum spread another sack of steamers on the grill on the opening day of the 13th annual X.C. Oyster Festival held Friday and Saturday at Seaside. Festival-goers enjoyed a picture-perfect day Friday, followed by a wet hut warm Saturday. More festival photos are inside. Oyster Season Off To Good Start BY DOUG Rl' ITKR Brunswick County seafood deal ers say oyster season is off to a good start and they're optimistic that this will he another decent season for commercial shellfishermen. "The supply looks good." Var namtown oyster dealer Krnie Gal loway said Tuesday. "It looks like everything is good and healthy. Ev erything looks alive in the river." Ishmael Chadwick said Chad wick's Seafood at Shell Point was hustling with activity when the sea son opened last Friday. "This land ing down here was full up on both sides of the highway." he said. "It's been pretty good. The de mand is pretty good," Chadwick added. "! believe it's a little bit bet ter than it was last year. That's what the fishermen say." Inside... Birthdays 2B Business News 11C Church News 14A Classified 1-9C Report ????????????? 17A ..9A, I6A Golf UB Obituaries 14A Opinion 4-5A People In The News ? ??? 4B Plant Doctor JB Sports 8-12B Television 6-7B "The river's in good shape. I think it looks pretty good as far as the seed and small oysters. " ? Ernie Galloways Galloway said most commercial oystcrmen who worked the I>ock wood Folly River on opening day managed to find their limit of five bushels per person. The limit was seven bushels last year, bul reduced this year in an effort to preserve the state's declining oyster stocks. Despite an ailing oyster popula tion along the North Carolina coast, Brunswick County commercial fish ermen have harvested an average of 103.323 pounds the last two sea sons. The average was just 62,1X5 pounds during the previous four sea sons. From early indications. Gallo way expects this oyster season to be similar to the last one. "It looks like last year did. We were surprised that the oysters grew as much as they did," he said. "I think we'll be about like last year. It should be fair if everything keeps going like it is." Oyster season usually runs through the middle or end of March, hut the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries may close it earlier than normal to protect the oyster popula tion. Galloway and Chadwick said they don't think there are enough oysters to last a full live months if local rivers are heavily harvested. "It just depends," Galloway said. "If a lot of people work the river there's not enough big ones down there to keep up. There's never enough oysters if there's too many people." Said Chadwick, "I doubt that it will last the season. I think it will last longer than it has been." The U.S. Army Corps of En gineers dredged Lockwood Folly Kiver earlier this year, and Galloway says it has apparently helped the riv er, which has been plagued by bacte rial pollution for the past decade. "The river's in good shape," Galloway said. "I think it looks pret ty good as far as the seed and small oysters." Chadwick said if the Corps of Engineers would improve Shallotte Inlet it would help the oystermen who make a living in the Shallotte River. "If we could just get that inlet put back to where it was and get it main tained to 8 or 10 foot it would mean a whole lot to everyone." he said. "I don't know why can't they spend a little bit of money here instead of wasting it somewhere else." Chadwick said food tor the oys ters cannot get through Shallotte Inlet because it is clogged with sand. "That's where the food comes from. The food is coming from the ocean." Property Values Are Up; Not As Much As Last Time BY ERIC CARLSON Brunswick County's 1994 proper ty revaluation has been completed and Tax Administrator Boyd Wi lliamson has some good news and some bad news, depending on your address and your point of view. Beginning early next month, the tax office will begin mailing notices to the owners of more than 9<).<XK) tracts of land, telling them how much their properly is currently worth for tax purposes. The mailing culminates a one-year revaluation study in which every improved piece of property in the county was visited by an appraiser. Williamson said. The assessment cannot be used to determine the amount of a 1994 property tax bill until a new tax rate is adopted as part of the 1994-95 budget. Tax rates are usually adjust ed after a revaluation. Countywide property values did not rise as quickly in the past eight years as they did during the previous revaluation cycle. Williamson told the county commissioners Monday night. While assessments nearly doubled between 1978 and 1986, they have only risen about 22 per cent since the county last took in ventory of its value. The highest rates of increase oc curred in the south end of the coun ty, with values generally climbing from the Shallotte River to the state line, Williamson said. Values in creased the most in the area between Calabash and Sunset Beach, espe cially in retirement communities where the demand for property has been the highest. "That's where the activity is. That's where the sales are. So that's where you're going to see property being worth more." Williamson said. In what seems to be a new trend, the value of retirement property is increasing at a faster rate than con dominium and single-family resort property, he said. The slowdown re flects the passing of a 1980s resort housing boom. Beachfront property continues to increase more quickly than most land in Brunswick County, with the values ranging from the most expen sive on Sunset Beach to the least ex pensive on I>ong Beach. Some beach properties at the south end of the county have doubled in value since the last revaluation, he said. Property values in the Lcland area have begun to increase at a higher rate, which Williamson attributes to the area's proximity to industrial jobs and its development as a bed room community of Wilmington. He also suggested that much of the land there was undervalued during the last assessment. In Leland. as in other areas, the fastest rates of increase are found near the water, particularly in river front developments like Riverfront landing. Rivercroft and Liberty Landing. Land along the Intracoastal Waterway also continues to see a more rapid increase in value, espe cially on the north shore, Williamson said. "I can show you lots in St. James Plantation that are worth $115, (XX) where you can throw a rock across the waterway and hit a lot the same size selling for $75,000," he said. Williamson said the revaluation figures indicate two areas of con cern. where market values are actu (See COUNTY, Page 2-A) 'Above Average' Rating Gets Superintendent $2,500 Bonus He'll Share BY SUSAN USHKR Superintendent of Schools Ralph Johnston ended his first year on the job in Brunswick County with "very satisfactory" ratings hy the school board and $2,500 in merit pay. Tuesday, saying the merit pay was "a total surprise," Johnston reiterated a pledge made shortly after terms of his contract were announced a year ago ? to share the bonus with those whose efforts contributed to achieve ment of the goals. "It's been a fast one year and 12 days," Johnston said Tuesday, reflect ing on his tenure here. " Anything we have accomplished here has been through the principals and especially the teachers," said Johnston. "Ralph Johnston didn't do this. Hopefully he had a vision and some people are buying into that. "It is not a great deal of money but I intend to use it where it will im pact children or teachers." Board Chairman Donna Baxter said Johnston's performance "came out very satisfactory." "He had a lot of good strengths. It was because of what he had accom plished in relation to those seven goals and we know he will be accom plishing even more with the strong people he has brought on board. "However, we felt there were several things that needed to be worked on. We need to be accountable just as we expect the principals in the schools to he accountable." District 1 member Thurman Cause said he believes Johnston was "com fortable" with the above-average overall evaluation he received. "He realized he had some areas he needs to improve on. He admitted some of the things he should have done in the past and said he had learned from his mistakes and plans to correct things in the future. We'll just have to see." Among the board's concerns: the need to have school staff fully in place (See EVALUATION, Page 2-A) SMITH AVENUE PLANT TO CLOSE Uncertain Holiday Ahead For 85 Whose Jobs Will End BY SUSAN USHER An eight-month reprieve for workers at a Shallotte cut-and-sew plant will end in mid-December when Perry Manufacturing Co. closes its Pelican Manufac turing plant on Smith Avenue. Plant Manager Jim Saunders confirmed Monday af ternoon that, just before the Christmas holidays. Perry Manufacturing will shut the doors and 85 workers, mainly women, will lose their jobs. "December 17, that's what they're saying," he said. A notice has been posted at the plant to that effect. The plant was first scheduled to close in mid March. putting 118 people out of work. But in February the company announced that a new order from an established customer would keep the plant operating until late this year and most workers were rehired. At the time Saunders viewed the announcement as an indication the plant was back in business for the long term. But it was merely a stay of execution. "I don't think they (Perry Manufacturing) will come back with anything this time," Saunders said Monday. "We had a good run, eight months. But we were hoping it would last at least until January, hut it's not. We're full through the 10th of December and probably into the week of the 1 7th." Employees have been sewing cotton and Lycra "stirrup pants" for The Land's End Co., a catalog sales company based in Dodgeville, Wis. The Smith Avenue site, leased by Perry Man ufacturing since 1M83, is its only plant that sews "bot toms" such as slacks, shorts and skirts, instead of tops. Perry Executive Vice President Alan Connolly has said the company had trouble selling the garments the plant is suited to produce and therefore couldn't main tain a full production schedule. When the plant closes, Saunders said he expects to transfer, at least temporarily, to another Perry-owned plant. Most of those who lose jobs will qualify for retrain ing and unemployment benefits through the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina. Those will be their only benefits. Perry Man ufacturing did not have a pension or retirement plan and will provide no severance pay. However, workers were told this spring they would be given preferential treatment in hiring if they choose to transfer to other Perry plants. The closest is Pellany Manufacturing Co. in Richlands. Business is off at some of Perry's other plants, but none are scheduled to close. The Smith Avenue operation is housed in a 24,(MH) square foot facility built in 1467 and leased since then to three different cut-and-sew operations. Perry Manu facturing has leased the plant since 1983. Saunders said he conducted a tour of the facility Monday for one prospective tenant referred by the Brunswick County Economic Development Commis sion.