Holden Beach Moves Ahead With Sewage Management, Sidewalks
BY l)()l <; RliriER
Holden Beach officials moved
forward this week on two long
standing proposals to establish a
wastewater management program
and buiid sidewalks along Ocean
On a unanimous vote, commis
sioners have asked the new town
manager. Gary Parker, to develop a
lob description and work out other
details for a sewage management
Town officials haven't decided
how the program wdl work or how
it will be funded. But the idea of the
entity is to monitor and ensure that
septic Links and other wastewater
systems on the island are being
Parker, former town manager of
Erwin, received his instructions dur
ing his first day on the job. He was
given 6() days to work out the
details and recommend a specific
"Thai's a significant vote right
there," Mayor John Tandy said. "I
would just pal these guys on the
back for thai one."
Commissioners first endorsed the
management entity last spring while
working on the 1990 kind use plan
Since then, the town's planning
and zoning board has recommended
that a wastewater management divi
sion be set up to document the loca
tion and capacity of existing septic
tanks and recommend and imple
ment a maintenance program.
The division would inspect and
test for pollution, determine the fea
sibility of alternative systems and
work to educate homeowners, under
the planning board proposal.
Sul Swans, a former planning
board member who is coordinating
the management entity for the town,
said there arc no other programs in
the country to serve as a model.
"Whatever we set up is going to be
best for Holden Beach." he said.
At a workshop last month. N.C.
Stale University soil science profes
sor I>r. Michael Hoover said septic
tanks can be a long-term solution to
wastewater management if they are
He said a management program
could help ensure maintenance and
also open the door to alternative
systems, which require more moni
toring than septic tanks but could
allow for the development of land
unsuitable for septic tanks.
In a related matter Monday, com
missioners gave the building in
spector the authority to "close
down" houses with malfunctioning
Inspector Dwight Carroll said
one system on the island had been
operating for two weeks while it
was uncovered and open on top. He
said the opening was large enough
for a child to fall in and drown.
At another location, Carroll said
sewage had been running out of a
septic tank lor a month, preventing
a neighbor from using his house.
The building inspector said the
Brunswick County Health Depart
ment usually gives owners 30 days
to repair the systems, even if they
create an immediate health hazard.
Commissioner Kenner Amos said
he recently saw a septic tank near
jrf VI VHHHB
StAFF PMOTOe* DOUG RUT TEH
GARY PARKER (right) takes an oath of office Monday as new
manager of II oUlen It each. Administering the oath is Mayor John
his house being pumped out.
"They're failing left and right on us
righi now," he said.
After several years of talking
aboul sidewalks, town commission
ers voted Monday to seek bids lor a
concrete walkway and start con
Based on their discussion, com
missioners plan to build a sidewalk
on the north side of Ocean Boule
vard, somewhere between Jordan
Boulevard and Sand Dollar Drive.
Town officials are worried about
the safety of people who walk, jog
and ride bicycles on the side of
Ocean Boulevard, where traffic is
usually heavy during the summer.
"We have more potential of
someone being killed by cars than
somebody drowning," Commission
er Gay Atkins said Monday. She has
been a major proponent of side
walks lor years.
The town has had S40,(XX) in the
budget lor sidewalks since the
1989-90 fiscal year. (Jus Ulrich, the
outgoing interim town manager, es
timated that would pay lor 5,6(K)
feet of fivc-fool-wide sidewalk.
Commissioners adopted the
town's third land use plan update
Monday, ending a process that start
ed about two years ago.
Town officials say in the plan Unit
they want to maintain a "quiet, lam
ily-oricntcd beach community ol
primarily single-family residences
with limited commercial develop
Hie land use plan includes devel
opment policies and provides "a
blueprint for future growth so that
growth will occur on the communi
ty's own terms rather than in a hap
ITie Holden Beach Planning and
Zoning Hoard did most of the work
on the land use plan, working with
consultants from Henry Von Oesen
and Associates of Wilmington.
Changes and additions that were
requested by the N.C. Division of
Coastal Management delayed adop
tion of the plan by several months.
"It's born a long time," W.ivor
Tandy said Monday. " I"hc wheels ol
government turned slow on that
Ihc N.C. Coastal Resources
Commission should give final ap
proval of the plan when it meets in
In other business Monday, com
?Delayed adoption of an ordinance
requiring bulkheads on all canal lots
before construction. Commissioners
sent the rule back to the planning
board. The proposed rule dt>es not
address whether landowners would
tv required to niaiiilain bulkheads
01 what would liapivu it there is an
?Adopted ail ordinance setting the
year round speed limit along all ol
Occan Boulevard at 35 mph. I he
limit used i?> be 45 mph west ol the
fishing pier duting the oil season.
The speed limit on all othei streets
is 25 mph.
?Agreed there is no need loi .1 iet
eiendum on a pn?|H)sed change m
the ^5-fix)t building height limn.
Karlier this year, town off icials dis
cussed raising the height limn to
offset changes in federal Hood ele
vations. Some builders sa> the
changes could keep people from
building two story homes and pre
vent homeowners fiotn rebuilding
storm damaged homes.
?Adopted a preliminary assessment
resolution and set a public hearing
for Sept. 9 on the paving ol Burl
ington Street. The board also atilho
rized the town manager to accept
bids tin the paving ol Salisbury and
Shrimp streets. Woik should Ivgin
after I.aboi Day.
?Voted to dispose of a l''84 samta
lion department pickup truck.
? Made no decision on whether to
continue membership in the C'a|v
Fear Council of Governments The
group's new director, Jerrv Walters,
attended the meeting Monday and
urged the town to continue us mem
Town Plans Removal Of Underground Gas Tank
Holdcn Beach will remove ils un
derground gasoline storage tank be
fore new federal rules take effect
that require monitoring and special
Commissioners voted Monday to
hire the Wilmington engineering
finn Henry Von Oesen and Associ
ates to supervise the removal, which
w ill be done by town employees.
Chris Militscher, environmental
resources manager w ith Von Oesen,
recommended the 1 ,0(X)-gallon tank
be removed as soon as possible. The
lank stores gas which is used in
town policc cars and other vehicles.
Militschcr said options include
replacing it with an above-ground
lank, a state-of-the-art underground
tank or getting gas from a local gas
Holden Beach will pay Von
Oescn SI, 16(1 lor the engineering,
construction, inspection and moni
toring services. The engineering
firm will ensure the tank is removed
according to stale guidelines.
Militscher, who worked 10 years
for the Environmental Protection
Agency, said undergrounJ storage
tanks have become "a national
plague on our environment."
He said 40 percent of the under
ground storage tanks in North
Carolina are leaking, and even a
small amount of gasoline can con
taminate a water source for 20
Owners of leaking tanks face
lines for pollution and high costs to
remove contaminated soil, he said.
Carolina Beach has paid more than
S150.IKK) lor the removal anil
cleanup of an underground tank that
New regulations that will take ef
fect in September will require more
monitoring of underground tanks,
Militschcr said. Owners of under
ground tanks also will he required
to purchase insurance starting in
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