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HOPE TO REACH DECISION BY JAN. 23
Sunset Beach , SeaQuest
Try To Resolve ' Explorer ' Rental Feud
BY SUSAN USHER
A watercraft rental company and
the Town of Sunset Beach arc trying
to work out their differences outside
the courtroom and well before the
1995 summer season.
Kevin Smith, president of The
SeaOiies! ^ orp , m>'' with ^nnwi
Beach Planning and Zoning Board
members last Thursday in an effort
to rcach a negotiated settlement by
Jan. 23 that would allow the compa
ny to operate its watercraft rental
business in the town next summer
and end a civil action filed in June in
Brunswick County Superior Court
Board members listened, asked
questions and took no action Thurs
day. Chairman Richard Good said
later this year the planning board
will recommend "what it thinks are
appropriate provisions" to the coun
cil for consideration, keeping in
mind that the guidelines set for any
conditional use permit granted to
SeaOucst would also apply to any
other company that applies to rent
watercraft at Sunset Beach.
Smith dcscribcs the "Explorer"
rented by SeaOucst as "a cross be
tween a personal watercraft and an
inflatable runabout". The vessel can
hold three to five people and reaches
speeds of up to 30 mph to 37 mph
The board will decide where,
when and how the boats can operate
in the ocean and or waterway . w here
?k. m?i.i :*..u *
tin. iVMini iru.miv.vi iixtt ion tytiait,
on the island or mainland, and other
guidelines These might includc lia
bility insurance limits, supervision
provisions and other factors the
town would want to remain consis
tent from rental company to rental
If the Town of Sunset Beach
gr3i;!r, SeaQues! permission to oper
ate on a permanent basis in a man
ner acceptable to the company, the
civil action against the town will be
dismissed. If not, then it will pro
rwH at the tint ion of SeaOuest and
its partners. Smith and Alex Kinlaw.
according to an agreement signed by
them and the town.
Talking with the planning board
before its conference with Smith.
Town Administrator Linda Flucgel
advised, "We can make it a spccial
use and put it anywhere and set spe
"As long as we arc making it per
missible, we can make it permissible
any way we want to."
The civil action against Sunse>
Beach claims the town violated their
rights when the company was not al
lowed to operate a watercraft rental
business on the beach. The town
filed an answer and countersuit in
Smith and Kinlaw approached the
town council in fall 1993 seeking
permission to rent out the rigid-wall
inflatable "Explorers" from the wet
sand beach at Sunset Beach during
tho t(MH Tnw
? ??v a /y-r JVUdUII. iunu v*ll IV1UIO UU"
vised that town ordinances didn't
permit that type of business and that
an amendment of the zoning ordi
nance would be required.
Smith anr j If inlaw rnnliniipft to
contact town officials by letter and
telephone. The plaintiffs and town
differ in their accounts, but agree no
formal application was made for a
zoning ordinance change and that
the two were never told they could
do business in the town. The plain
tiffs claim they were also never told
what they could do specifically to
get their business approved.
In late May the company notified
Sunset Beach they had leased an of
fice in the beach business area and
docking space at a local marina and
planned to go into business Mem
orial Day weekend.
SeaQucst opened its doors with
out the town's permission, saying
the operation would not violate the
town's personal watercraft, peddling
or zoning ordinances and that no
permit was needed.
Auction Saturday At Sunset
An auction on Saturday will benefit the Sunset Bcach Fire
Department and needy families the department chooses for holiday giv
The event Ugiin at 11.30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at the fire depart
ment on N.C. 179.
Goods to be sold include antiques, collectibles, furniture, bakery
good and more Refreshments will be available.
The fire department will pick up items for donation. For more infor
mation, call Fire Chief TJ. Lyke at 579-2456.
Beginning Friday after Thanksgiving
Nov. 25 thru Monday, Nov. 28,
all new books in stock will be
It is a pleasure serving such a nice community.
Barbara and Jim Lowell
3004 Holden Beach Rd. (next to True Value)
D A Bookstore in the Classic Tradition
C*?M 'Mt Bft-SSytC* BCACON
According to SeaQuest, the com
pany was first dircctcd to relocate
operations fro~i the island to the wa
terway, then eventually shut down
for allegedly impeding navigation
on the Intracoastal Waterway.
In their agreement, neither the
town nor ScaQtj'St ad~.it any Ciiui
on their own part or recognize any
validity to the claims of the other
party. They do agree to put the civil
action on hold while attempting set
The agreement allowed SeaQuest
to continue operating through Sept.
12 from the Sunset Beach Gift Shop
at the corner of Sunset Boulevard
and Main Street, to launch rental
boats from the beach and to operate
them within 300 yards of the beach
when coming and going.
The company had operated part of
the summer under a temporary court
uider. The order barred the town
from closing down the business be
cause other items not specified by
town ordinance were also being
rented from the beach business dis
trict, such as boogie boards and bi
In turn, SeaQuest agreed to apply
for an amendment to the town zon
ing ordinance on or before Oct. 1
which would allow SeaQuest's type
of business as either a permitted use
or a conditional use within the town.
If the town adds the business as a
conditional use. SeaQuest is to
promptly apply for a permit using a
form provided in timely fashion by
The town is to process the zoning
amendment application "promptly"
and render a final decision on or be
fore Jan. 23, 1995, and to provide a
60-day turnaround time on any ap
plication by SeaQuest for a special
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