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Master Plan Revisions Concern Chapel Hill Residents
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Diana Steele, owner of Willow Hill Preschool, prepares lunch with students in October. Her
Mason Farm Road preschool and home might be threatened by Master Plan developments.
By Faith Ray
Assistant State & National Editor
When the heat of the sun beats down on a multitude of
beachgoers, the coasts of North Carolina often resemble
havens of relaxation and enjoyment.
Every year millions of people flock to the state’s east
ern shore - from the Outer Banks to the southern coast
line - to experience the amenities of small coastal towns
and relatively uncrowded shores.
But behind the many attractions N.C. beaches offer,
there is an ongoing battle between beachfront property
owners and nature -a struggle marked by coastal erosion
and human attempts to combat it.
A natural and constant process, coastal erosion is the
biggest enemy to beachfront properties that often brings
Beaches are constantly shifting and changing shape,
providing an unstable foundation for any structure on its
Erosion adds to this fluctuating environment by rede
positing sand from one location to another.
Jack Hall, director of environmental studies at
UNC-Wilmington, said several factors such as hurricanes
and smaller storms cause the erosion of shorelines by wash
ing sand offshore into deeper waters, never to
return to the coastline.
Hall said that along the East Coast, the
largest mover of sand is long shore transport
-a process involving waves and currents that
shift sand north to south.
Erosion can be easily identified by the
changes in beach topography around a build
ing that has been constructed near a shoreline.
Ocean waves take sand away from buildings,
eroding away the land underneath the prop
erty and eventually undermining its founda
“Beaches move; houses don’t,” Hall said.
“Plain and simple.”
At the northern tip of Wrightsville Beach, where ero
sion and several hurricanes have shifted Mason’s Inlet
about a quarter of a mile south since the 1980 sand threat
en to destroy Shell Island Resort, property owners are not
relying on the state to protect their property.
Shell Island Resort is a $22 million property that offers
Tar Heels Fade at End of Once-Promising Season
By T. Nolan Hayes
NEW ORLEANS - The show of emotion
wasn’t unexpected, but the timing of it was.
North Carolina coach Matt Doherty, a man
whose face reveals his mood, fought back tears
as he addressed the media Sunday afternoon.
Doherty’s Tar Heels had lost 82-74 to Penn
State in the second round of the NCAA tour
nament, and their season was over.
What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?
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Beachgoers walk past large sandbags in front of Shell Island Resort at Wrightsville Beach. The barrier
was built as a preventive measure to shield the resort from erosion and an ever-approaching waterline.
an oceanff ont view of Mason’s Inlet and the eroding shore
line that threatens to destroy it.
Charles Casteen, condo owner and member of the
board of directors at the resort, said several hurricanes and
coastal erosion have diminished the distance from the
resort to the water from a quarter of a mile to 65 feet.
Sandbags were installed near the edge of the resort’s
foundation to ward off imminent erosion, but they provide
only limited protection. Several types of hard stabilization
such as seawalls, which are structures constructed parallel to
the shore and range from concrete walls to piles of large
A four-part series on some
of the major environmental
issues facing North Carolina.
Wednesday: Hog Lagoons
they carry sand away. There is no resupply.”
But hard stabilization of any type is prohibited by law
in North Carolina, and Casteen said the only alternative is
dredging -a process that involves moving sand from one
location to the spot affected by erosion.
The Home Owners Association, composed of people
Earlier than most people had expected, and
certainly earlier than the Tar Heels wanted.
How did it happen? UNC’s 22 turnovers
were the big reason in that one game, but
there was more to it than that. How did the
team that won 18 games in a row at one point
finish the season 5-5?
It seems the Tar Heels were looking out for
No. 1. The ranking, that is.
North Carolina rolled through the first half
of the ACC season and took over the top
Bring your application to serve on
the DTH Editor Selection
Committee to Union Suite 104.
Serving the students and the University community since 1893
By Amanda Wilson
Peg Rees once rescued ferns from the Smith
Center’s construction site and planted them in
the refuge of her garden, but a pending version
of UNC Master Plan development threatens to
uproot the ferns again.
The Board of Trustees will vote Thursday on
a version of the Master Plan, a blueprint for
campus growth for the next 50 years. The plan
could include campus growth onto land now
occupied by residents.
The triangle of land where Rees lives,
formed by the junctions of Fordham Boulevard,
Mason Farm Road and Otey’s Road, stands
direcdy in the path of proposed development.
“I believe that the University is interested in
obtaining this triangle,” Rees said.
But Rees said she thinks that her communi
ty is an indispensible part of Chapel Hill.
“This development would destroy a very
viable neighborhood that has been here a long
time,” Rees said. “Out of the eight houses that
stand within the triangle, six house residents
rocks and jetties, which are perpendicu
lar to the shore, can temporarily prevent
Hall describes seawalls as structures
that encompass beach property and
serve to shield the sand behind it but, in
reality, destroy the beach around it. He
added that sand in front of a seawall dis
appears quickly because constant wave
action “bounces” off the seawall, carry
ing away sand to deeper waters.
“(Seawalls) protect the structure, but
destroy everything around them,” Hall
said. “(It will) block long shore trans
port. The waves are still rolling, and
ranking in the polls the week after winning
85-83 at Duke on Feb. 1.
The success was remarkable for a team that
was picked to finish third in the league.
“I don’t think we handled it real well,”
Doherty said. “That’s sometimes a tough
thing to do, to deal with success, and I don’t
think we handled it real well. Things slipped,
and it’s hard to get it back.”
The Tar Heels never did get “it” back.
They began losing control of it after their Feb.
who have lived here for over 20 years.”
Rees said that two of the houses are owned
by the University and rented to students, who
walk to school. She and her husband also
walked to the school, as employees, during
their 29-year residence at 503 Otey’s Road.
Rees said accessibility to UNC would dete
riorate with Master Plan development, creating
a gap between school and community.
“I assume that the plan that is presented to
the Board of Trustees will be the plan that will
show development in the south of campus,” she
said. But Rees said she isn’t sure about the time
her house would remain standing, as no resi
dents have seen plans for development phasing.
Rees said she also has concern that the BOT is
voting before seeing results of a pending Major
Investment Study on transportation being con
ducted by the N.C. Department of Transportation,
Duke University, UNC, the Triangle Transit
Authority and Durham and Orange counties.
“It is too bad that they are putting this to a
vote before they have any traffic study to see
why they need a road or any research on the
environmental impact,” Rees said.
who own property near and at the resort, proposed a
dredging project to relocate Mason’s Inlet 3,000 feet north
in an attempt to salvage the resort, Hall said.
Casteen has owned a condo at Shell Island Resort for
10 years and said the extreme erosion of the island took
him by surprise. “Not in my wildest dreams did I think it
would be a threat.”
When N.C. beachfront property owners face the dilem
ma of erosion, there are few options to protect their invest
ments that do not involve public funds because of the high
cost of stemming erosion. But the project at Mason’s Inlet
is unique because no taxpayer money will go toward the
expense and will be funded by the property owners.
Despite the private funding and lack of state involvement,
the proposed project has created controversy among N.C.
lawmakers, condominium owners and environmentalists.
Environmentalist protesters have caused a delay in the
project and raised awareness of marine species, like the
Piping Plover and the sea turtle, that could be harmed if
the plan is enacted.
The Piping Plover, a rare and endangered bird, has
been spotted at Mason’s Inlet, and environmentalists are
concerned that dredging would destroy the species locat
ed there. They also are worried that dredging would dis
rupt the sea turtle nesting season.
Carol Giachetti, property manager for the association,
said the Piping Plover might choose to winter at Shell Island,
so the association is waiting for a permit to start the dredging.
She also said business at the resort has declined because
of the rapidly eroding inlet, causing a drop in tourism rev-
See EROSION, Page 2
10 win at home against Maryland.
UNC played its best game of the season
that day, shooting 58.3 percent and throttling
the Terrapins 96-82. But then came an eight
day layoff that culminated in a 75-65 loss at
From then on, it was a limp to the finish
line. And fairly or not, what could have been
a great season turned into merely a good one
See MEN'S BASKETBALL, Page 2
Today: Rain, 45
Wednesday: Rain, 48
Thursday: Cloudy, 63
Diana Steele, who owns a preschool on Mason
Farm Road, said she was surprised die BOT was
voting before the results of the study. “I think that
they will be voting on a plan that they don’t know
is necessary. They don’t have the numbers.”
Steele said the plan is very attractive, but with
out numbers to confirm necessity, it might not
have much connection with reality. “I think they
may be voting on whether they think that (the
plan is) a pretty picture or not, and the pictures are
pretty,” she said. “I would be impressed if they
had the wisdom to wait because it seems fool
hardy to rush ahead with unproven plans.”
Rees, whose husband will attend the meet
ing, also said her ties to the property are deep
because she raised two sons in her home.
“We have two boys and they are very upset
that they may not be coming to this house when
they come home,” Rees said.
“It’s one thing to move away, but this is dif
ferent. This whole process has had incredible
emotional toil on all of us.”
The City Editor can be reached at
A U.S. marshal could face charges of assault
with a deadly weapon after shooting Bariel
Aguilar Martinez in the leg at La Hacienda.
By Isaac Groves
A Hispanic community leader hopes law enforcement offi
cers will learn the importance of cultural sensitivity from a mis
taken shooting of a man at a Chapel Hill restaurant March 12.
Mauricio Castro, president of the Board of Directors of El
Centro Latino, said last week’s shooting has hurt relations
between police and Hispanics. “These are professional peo
ple who should have the training to recognize the situation,”
Castro said. “Perhaps there is a need for more training.”
The U.S. Marshals Service and Chapel Hill police had a
stakeout Monday for a Hispanic fugitive wanted in a Drug
Enforcement Administration investigation. Between 8:15 p.m.
and 9 p.m., Bariel Aguilar Martinez and his family arrived in
a car matching the description of the suspect’s at La Hacienda
restaurant on Chapel Hill Boulevard.
U.S. Marshals Chief Deputy Dave Griffith said Aguilar got
out of the car and a deputy marshal shot him in the leg above
the knee. The U.S. Marshals and the State Bureau of
Investigation are now conducting separate investigations of
the incident, while the hunt for the real fugitive continues.
“The deputy saw something he thought to be a threat to his
life and fired one shot,” Griffith said. “(Aguilar) didn’t speak
English very well; he didn’t understand what the officer was
The Marshals Service is withholding the name of the offi
cer who shot Aguilar. Orange-Chatham District Attorney Carl
Fox said the officer could face charges of assault with a dead
ly weapon if the SBI investigation finds evidence of excessive
Miguel Martinez, a waiter at La Hacienda and a photog
rapher, was working in the restaurant that night. Martinez said
Aguilar came to the restaurant to pay him for pictures he had
taken of daughter Kenia Aguilar’s 15th birthday celebration.
Martinez said he was not angry with the officers involved but
hoped they would do something to help Aguilar.
“I am not exacdy angry, more like frustrated and disap
pointed,” he said. “They need to ask for an apology and take
care of him in case he cannot work.”
Although Aguilar has not been able to return to his work
in Durham, Griffith said the Marshals Service has not made
official overtures to Aguilar because investigations are pend
ing and litigation might be imminent.
“Because of the legal situation, we cannot reach out to the
(Aguilar) family the way we would like to,” Griffith said.
“We’ll be the first to say that this is a tragic event.”
But Castro said the marshals have only made the situation
worse by impounding Aguilar’s car and not explaining them
selves. “The Latino community is watching to see how this
will unfold, how they will explain.”
Castro said he thinks law enforcement officers in the area
need a better understanding of the Hispanic community.
“The Triangle is experiencing a tremendous growth in the
Latino community,” he said.
“It’s important for law enforcement and other agencies to
leam how to deal with this increasing population, to work with
them, to understand them.
But Griffith said any charges of profiling were unfounded.
“(Racial profiling) has nothing to do with this.”
The City Editor can be reached at citydeskQunc.edu.
Tuesday, March 20, 2001