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Shallotte Family Loses Home,
Possessions In Friday Blaze
BY SUSAN USHER
A Shallotte area woman was
slightly injured in a fire Friday
morning that destroyed her home on
McMilly Road and all her house
Gertrude Williams. S2. was treat
ed for superficial burns at The
Brunswick Hospital after she tried to
douse a fire in a bedroom closet
with a pail of water. Her hair and
face were singed.
"She was extremely lucky." said
Shallotte Fire Chief David A.
Moore, who answered the 11:15
a.m. call along with nearly 20 other
volunteer firefighters from the
Shallotte and Shallotte Point depart
ments. McMilK Road connects OU1
Shallotte Road and N.C. 130 West.
Mixire said Monday that firefight
ers have satisfied themselves that the
blaze started in a foot massager that
was on the closet flixir. plugged in.
"The pattern of the fire indicated
it started in the floor. It burned a
hole down through the floor where it
was setting and up the wall behind
it. he said, we found remnants of
the foot massager."
Williams' shingled frame house
was built of "fat lighter" pine, a
highly resinous wood which burns
quickly and creates a very hot fire
with thick, dark smoke.
Firefighters had w ater on the fire
within eight minutes of the alarm,
but the house was already fully en
gulfed \\ ith flames when they ar
rived. said Shallottc Fire Chief
"Houses made of fat lighter are
really fireboxes." he said, because
any fire that starts in one burns so
quickly and hotly.
Williams shared her home with a
granddaughter. Jacqueline Jones.
;ind two of Jones' children. Dom
imnque. 4. and Kenado, 3. none of
whom were at home when the fire
Another great-grandchild, Dnae
Stanley. 6. had walked over to the
Williams house io gei iiei iiuiiliei's
cigarettes from a bedroom when she
saw fire in the bottom of the closet
where her sister's "church clothes"
hung, she said.
She ran into the living room,
where Williams was watching tele
vision. When Williams tried to
douse the fire, it flared up toward
Meanwhile family members liv
ing next door spotted the blaze and
called the fire department.
Bridget Williams, a teen who
lives two houses away, said the fire
was burning at both ends of the
house by the time she came over a
few minutes later.
Gertrude Williams' house, which
was not insured, was a total loss.
Moore said household members lost
virtuallv all they had as well.
STAFF PHOTO BY SUSAN USHER
THICK BLACK SMOKE POURS from the Gertrude Williams home on McMilly Road as it burns
Friday morning. Nearly 20 volunteer firefighters from Shallotte and Shallotte Point responded.
The fire department called the by mid-morning Saturday the fire de- and meet other needs of the family.
American Red Cross to assist the partment iiau been contacted l>v .1 lo- "I was really touched by their re
family with its immediate needs, and cal church eager to provide clothing sponse," said Moore.
Hear Merits Of Self Help Program
BY dok; ri ti er
Holden Beach could save money anil build communi
ty spirit it it uses a concept known as "sell-help" to
build a sewer system for the island.
That was the message tow n commissioners heard
Monday night from a state official who works w ith com
munities interested in cutting costs as much as possible
as they pursue big projects like sewer systems.
Eric Stockton, manager ot the Small Community Self
Help Program with the N'.C. Division (if Environmental
Management, offered his free assistance if and when the
town decide to build a sewer svstem.
"I'm not here to push anything on anyone because
I've got a lot of communities to work with." Stockton
Stockton said he would not get involved in such a
project at Holden Beach unless there is widespread sup
port for a sewer system. The community is divided over
the issue now.
"We can't afford to get involved in a project and then
get involved in negotiating w hether the project is needed
in the community." Stockton told the town board.
II the town supports a sewer system and decides to
build one. Stockton said he can provide contacts for
funding and technical assistance in an effort to minimize
the financial burden on residents and taxpayers.
"We would do as much as we can to reduce the costs
before we go asking for money." Stockton explained.
One way to cut costs is to use volunteer labor from
the community and seek out donations of equipment or
supplies from businesses. Stockton said "self-help" pro
jects in New York have cut costs by an average ol 30
Stockton said the "self-help" concept has not been
used in North Carolina for a project as big as the sewer
system Holden Beach would need to meet its future
Jim Griffin, who serves on the town sewer eommiltee
th;ii has been working for the past year to identify the
best alternatives, said "self-help" is not a new concept at
"The tow n hal! that you're meeting in was built by the
citizens at the time." he said. "It was done by volunteer
If the town board is interested in the program.
Stockton said commissioners would have to make a firm
commitment to the concept before appointing local
"spark plugs" who would oversee the project.
Prior to Stockton's presentation. Holden Beach devel
oper Alan Holden urged the town board to start acting
on a sewer system.
He said Calabash. Sunset Beach. Ocean Isle Beach.
Yaupon Beach, Long Beach and other areas either have
sewer systems already or are moving in that direction.
"It's going to lake years to implement the use of a
sewer system...." Holden said. "We've got to start look
ing dow n the road. Our neighbors are. and they're acting
Holden Beach collected 98.85 percent of its taxes dur
ing the 1992-93 fiscal year, according to the annual audit
report presented Monday by accountant Alan Thompson
of Thompson. Price and Co.
In the general fund, expenditures for the fiscal year
exceeded revenues by $95.532. However, the town had a
surplus ol $74.508 in the occupancy tax, water and capi
tal projects funds at year's end.
Thompson said the biggest thing the town needs to
work on is updating its list of fixed assets w hich include
buildings, vehicles and equipment.
"Most of the items other than the fixed asset list are mi
nor items." Thompson said of his recommendations. "It
will lake a little hit of research and a little bit of time."
The auditor also noted that the there is not an ade
quate segregation of duties among the administration
staff, which is a common problem in small towns like
Fed Up With FEMA
Frustrated by the federal government's lack of re
sponse to a town plan to rebuild oceanfront dunes.
Holden Beach officials were seething Monday night.
Town Manager (jus Ulrich said the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has not ap
proved the town's plan for spending approximately
SMI.IHM) in tederal money to reinforce dunes that were
damaged in a storm last winter.
Commissioners have been waiting several months for
FEMA to approve a spending plan that differs greatly
Irom what federal officials recommended following the
March 13 storm.
"Surely somebody there nas a gift for the obvious and
can say, "We're being stupid'," Commissioner David
Sandifer said of th?- delay.
"I think you're giving them too much credit," said
Commissioner Jim Fournier.
Mayor Pro Tern Gay Alkins said the town should go
ahead and spend the money instead of waiting any
longer. "We're trying to follow the system and we
should just go lor it."
Added Sandifer: "I think we ought to call 60 Minutes
and say,' You ought to see this'."
Ulrich said approximately 30 oceanfront property
owners have indicated they are interested in paying for
dune renourishment at their property in response to a re
cent town mailing.
Sea Turtle Update
Judy Bryan of the Hoiden Beach Turtle Patrol report
ed Monday that sea turtles laid 42 nests on the island in
Thirty of the nests had to he relocated to higher
ground so the eggs would not he damaged during high
tides. Volunteer residents and visitors helped lead 4,382
baby turtles to the ocean.
The turtle patrol needs old brooms to sweep trenches
on the strand. Anyone interested in donating can call
Bryan at S42-7242!
LOTS REMAIN RESIDENTIAL
Rezon i ng Request Denied
BY DOUG RUTTER
Holden Beach Commissioners de
nied a request to change the zoning
of several lots near the town hall
from residential to commercial
Monday, but the issue may not be
dead just yet.
At least one of the property own
ers involved indicated he plans to
submit another request seeking a
change from the R-l residential zon
ing class to the less restrictive R-2
Following a public hearing Mon
day night, commissioners voted to
uphold a Holden Beach Planning
and Zoning Board ruling concerning
the rezoning of land owned by Alan
Holden and John O- Holden.
The planning board in November
denied the owners requests to re
zone one oceanfront lot and property
along the unopened portion of
Rothschild Street northwest ol town
hall from R-l toC-t,
The Moldens appealed the deci
sion, but they did no! find the relief
ihev were seekinu from town com
missioners Monday night
Alan Molden s request involved
four lots located at 119, 121 123
and 125 Rothschild. The half-acre
tract north of 125 Rothschild .inil a
lot ai 135 Ocean Boulevard West is
owned by John Holden.
The unanimous vote to deny the
rezoning request*; followed an un
successful attempt by Commissioner
Dwight Carroll to delay the vote un
til the board's next meeting on Jan
"In the past it's always been done
at the next meeting after the public
hearing,"' Carroll said.
However. Commissioner Jim
Fournier was the only other hoard
member who voted to postpone a
decision on the issue Carroll s mo
tion failed on by 3-2 m.irgm
Commissioner Dav id Sandifcr
said il wouldn't lx- fair to postpone
the vote three weeks when nobody
on the board intended to grant the
requests. He said voting this week
would give the owners more lime to
Alan Holden said Monday he
would accept a zoning change to R
2 if the town board was opposed to
the C-l proposal.
The R-2 zoning would not allow
the offices, stores, hotels, restaurants
and other businesses that are permit
ted in the C-l district, hut it is less
restrictive than R-1.
Multi-family residential develop
ment is allowed in the R-2 districts,
while development in R-i zones is
limited to single-family houses and
Town Attorney Ken Campbell
s.iid the landowners would probably
have to submit new applications to
the planning and zoning board and
another public hearing would be re
quired to rezone the property R-2.
Campbell's ruling angered
Holden. who said commissioners
have approved revised reporting re
quests in the past without requiring
the landowner to go through the en
tire legal process again.
Holden said the board was being
unfair and handling his case differ
ently than it has handled previous
rezoning requests. "I don't think
that's right. I think that's wrong."
Fournier said the town board has
n<>i approved a revised re/oning re
quest without following the proper
procedure since his election in I'WI.
"I do not discriminate. I do not like
being told that I do."
During Monday night's public
hearing, Alan Holden showed a
videotape of his property, which has
been used as the horseshoe pit area
during the N.C. Festival My The
Holden said there were no objec
tions to the re/oning from adjacent
property owneis. which include the
town. Holden Beach Enterprises and
Holden Beach Chapel
Holden said he wants the land re
zoned because he hasn't been able to
sell the property tor residential use.
Nobody wants to live next to the
water tower and recycling center, he
Holden would not say what he
planned to do with the property had
it been rezoned commercial. He said
it would he illegal to disclose his
plans because it would be consid
ered "contract zoning."
John 0- Holden. a Maryland resi
dent. did not attend Monday s meet
ing but Mayor Wally Ausley read a
written statement during the hearing.
Holden said the rezoning would give
I* H .>?? ? I ? i m
? lllll IIIUIC IICAiUllll^I III U.llllfc, v/l .>cii*
ing his property.
He wrote that only part of his
tract on Rothschild Street is current
ly usable because the rest is situated
in the Corps of Engineers easement.
Also, he said the oceanfront lot (135
OBW) is "virtually in a commercial
During the public hearing, Ausley
also read two other letters that the
town received concerning the rezon
Homeowner James Bisset indicat
ed that he opposed the requests, say
ing that more businesses would low
er residential property values and
;idd to t*xislint> summer traffic prob
lems near the bridge.
in his letter to the board, island
resident Crawford Hart opposed the
commercial zoning but suggested
the town offer to purchase the
Rothschild Street property for future
Alan Holden said Monday he "did
everything but beg the town board
to purchase the property in the past
but giit no response. "It was like
talking to a wall." he said.
Judy Bryan, a former commis
sioner, urged the board to deny the
rezoning requests. She cited a IWO
survey of landow ners in which most
people indicated they do not want
more commercially-zoned areas on
"I think that ought to be taken in
to consideration, what the people
said on their questionnaires," Bryan
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