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PAGE 4 A THURSDAY DECEMBER 12, 1991
Vote Excellent Example
Of Why Boards Shouldn't
Make Decisions In Haste
A recent vote by the Brunswick County Commissioners to
override a decision of the Brunswick County Planning Board re
garding a subdivision matter is a good example of why boards
should act \\ ith deliberation and thought, rather than in haste.
Alter having had his request turned down by county man
agement and by the chairman of the board, an aggrieved devel
oper. who just happened to be a former commissioner, ap
proached individual commissioners with his tale of woe and al
legations of "unfair treatment" at the hands of the planning
hoard and its staff.
Then, during the "public comment" portion of a meeting
agenda, he asked the board to override a 1986 planning board
decision regarding a proposed final plat for Lakeside
Subdivision on Oxpen Road.
Without having checked to see if there was more to the sto
ry. four of five commissioners quickly voted to do so. over the
objections of the board chairman. No explanation was given as
to why such urgent action was needed on a five-year-old deci
sion. No reason for why the board shouldn't simply hear the re
quest. then check it out before rendering a decision.
By the time this edition of the newspaper is published, the
board may or may not have rescinded its earlier action ? after
the property ow ner has filed a new plat reflecting the change.
In acting hastily, the board violated the public's trust. It erred
in more ways than one. apparently:
1 1 It acted on the basis of incomplete, biased information:
2 1 It overrode an action of one of its appointive boards with
out inviting that board's comment, opening "Pandora's Box" to
a potential flood of similar requests and jeopardizing the will
ingness of dedicated volunteers to continue serving on the plan
ning board: and
3) It apparently violated the county's own procedure for ap
pealing a decision of the planning board ? a procedure with
which both the former commissioner and the current commis
sioners should have been familiar.
The petitioner is to first tile a formal request with the plan
ning board for a variance, which may be granted under certain
circumstances that are unique to the project and where a hard
ship might be created. Only after going through this process is a
petitioner to file an appeal with the board of commissioners.
It is doubtful the situation in question was even one for
which the planning board or county could have legally provided
relief: The county had been told there was no "appeal" of the
DO T staff decision, though DOT offered to work w ith the prop
erty ow ner on a compromise design.
The question at issue was whether a final plat should be ap
proved for a subdivision with multiple driveways entering a
public roadway at 75-foot or less intervals when the state
Department of Transportation had advised the project be re
designed with either a frontage road or driveways with turn
In a cooperative effort. DOT routinely reviews subdivision
plat proposals presented to the county to check compliance with
its ow n regulations before construction is allowed to begin.
Another residential housing development on the same road
has frequent driveway connections to a state road. Contrary to
what the petitioner told commissioners at their Dec. 2 meeting,
it happened to be built more than a year before the county subdi
vision ordinance went into effect and doesn't qualify for com
County residents appreciate elected officials who are willing
to act decisively, rather than always straddling fences. At the
same lime, we have a right to expect elected officials to reach
those decisions in a thoughtful manner by careful and thorough
Local Resident Produces 'Labor Of Love'
In the l.cland community. 1 nolle
Dresser HI. ike is an institution.
She's a longtime resident, local
historian, serves on the I eland
Planning Board and can he found
sitting on the front row in the audi
ence at all of the town council meet
She has written a history ol
l.cland Irom the lSl'Os to PWI.
copies of which she presented to the
town at a council meeting in
"You could call it a lalxu of
love." said Ms. Blake.
Because of the recent turn of
events, there is another chapter to
A new council Un>k office in
l.cland last week that sort of closed
the chapter on the town's first elect
ed officers, founding fathers of a
town that as of last Thursday was
only two years and S4 days old.
But l.cland. in northern Bruns
wick County, is much richer in its
history than that.
It's like a suburb of Wilmington.
A certain percentage of its popula
tion is rather transient, people pass
ing through while holding tempo
rary jobs or enroute cither north or
south along the shoreline.
A larger percentage consists of
permanent residents, whose forefa
thers settled in the area where Vill
age Road once crossed the Wil
mington, Columbia and Augusta
f< ' *
Railroad tracks 011 the way to
Summervillc and Phoenix.
This is Mrs. Make's story.
"The name Lelarul came into ex
istence in the latter part ol I8l)7
when Mr. Joseph \V. Gay and other
eili/ens 111 the area petitioned the
i'ost Office m Washington. D.C".. lor
a local Post Office," she writes.
Gay sent the Post Office
Department a list of three names
from which to choose. The name of
ficials selected was Leland, having
been submitted because it was the
name of Gay's nephew. Leland
The new Post Office opened in
February 1 898 with Gay as postmas
ter. It was also located in the corner
of the family store. Gay's General
Store. There have been 1 1 postmas
ters since, said Ms. Blake.
Needless to say, the Gays were
prominent figures in the early settle
ment of Leland, but also blazing the
trail were Will CI. Adams. Richard
"Captain Dick" Williams and the
Krahnke. Murrcll and Dickons fami
Ciay even hail a haiul in Lclaiul's
lirsi consul iilatod scIhhiI. An aero ol
land was purchased from (lay whore
a two-slorv while Iraino building
o|vnod in *1910. but some area resi
dents mot with the Board ol
Kducation to complain.
"They thought the building, and I
quote, 'was loo commodious' lor
tlio number of students in the area,"
said Ms. Blake. "The Board thought
otherwise and told the group they
wore out ol line."
\ls. Blake's history tracks the
presence ol at least 20 plantations 111
the northern Brunswick County
area ? Belville Plantation, site of to
day's town of Belville: Belvedere
Plantation, now Belvedere Heights:
Woodburn Plantation, now the
Wixulburn area ami Baldwin Sub
division, the nucleus of the incorpo
rated area ol Leland: Bluff Plan
tation. now the town of Navassa:
Magnolia Plantation, now whore the
site of the Du Pont company; Point
Repose Plantation, tin the north side
of Hoods Crook; and others.
Other facts Ms. Blake has uncov
ered that are also new to mo include:
?The Malmo community got its
name from Malmo. Sweden.
? The Battle Royal community,
pronounced "Batta Ra" by locals
there, was named for a Revolu
tionary War skirmish or for Batlrora
Hrjm.ii. "Either sounds possible."
?Maco is a shortened version til
Maraco and laid out as a town in
IS'X) by the Hugh McKae Company,
but was never developed.
Ms. Blake's previous history ?>|
I .eland was written in P>7X.
"How things have changed in 12
years," she notes.
Some ol the old businesses are
gone and new.shopping centers have
been built. There is a I eland San
itary District supplying county water
and a I. eland Industrial Park is ai
trading new businesses.
"Greatest of all changes is the in
corporation of the town ol 1. eland."
Ms. Hlakc writes.
The former A.M. McFarland
home is now the temporary I. eland
Town Mall. It is the town's oldest
existing home, she notes, having
been built in 1916.
"The town should he proud ol the
renovations made to this home." she
writes. "Our Town Council should
be commended for having the lore*
sight to purchase the McFarland
properly when it bccamc available."
Plans are to build the new Lcland
area library on the same tract ol land
along witli a new town hall some
"Great things arc being planned
for Lcland, and in 10 years the histo
ry will need to be updated again,"
Area Civic Groups Need Place To Call Home
The entire Soulh Brunswick Is
lands area needs a community build
ing, a place where civic groups and
other not-for-profit organizations
can meet on a regular basis. A place
they can call home.
The few local restaurants with
meeting rooms are able to accom
modate clubs only about one-half to
three-quarters of the year: each
spring or summer groups get
"bumped" as regular business in
creases during the tourist season.
For four to six months they roam
like nomads, meeting one lime here,
one lime there, wherever they can
They need a centrally located
meeting house ? a building where
their plaques, trophies and banners
can be stored and/or displayed per
manently. A place where they can
meet every month, except perhaps
on special occasions, and a place to
hold special events such as fund
Anyone who has ever lived in or
visited a community with such a fa
cility, such as Morganton's Com
munity House, knows what a boon
to the entire community it could be.
The need for a permanent base for
civic groups has been pointed out
before, with the old Sunnysidc
Sch<x>l suggested first as a possible
solution and then the former Shal
lotte Presbyterian Church Building.
For differing reasons, neither pro
positi worked out.
What is needed is a facility that is
simple and flexible in design and sit
ed on a lot with plenty of parking
space as well as rcxim to expand. It
should have, at minimum, a com
mercial-type kitchen, restnx>ms, two
lo four meeting rooms of various
si/es and a large lobby area lo ac
commodate registration activity.
While a new building would be
ideal, other possibilities ? such as
renovating existing space in a shop
ping center ? shouldn't be ignored .
Such a facility? and/or the meet
ing rooms within it, could be named
after outstanding civic leaders past
and present. Two names come im
mediately to mind: Marie Foscue
Kourk and Wtxulrow Russ. I'm cer
tain you could think of others.
How to make it happen? I'm not
sure, but it seems we should be able
to build upon existing cooperative
efforts among the clubs, such as the
recent Christmas tree-lighting pro
gram in downtown Shallotte.
One club or a handful of clubs
would need to take the lead, survey
ing the rest to determine interest and
commitment and researching how
other communities built and operate
their facilities. It's the kind ol pro
ject the South Brunswick Islands
Chamber of Commerce ought to as
sisi wilh in some fashion, because
healthy, active civic organizations
are viuil to a thriving community.
If there is sufficient interest and
commitment, then an ad hoc com
mittee could be formed to look ink)
incorporating as a not-for-profit or
ganization with a hoard of trustees
for the center. A fund could he set
up to accept contributions. C'luhs
could set aside a percentage of their
fund-raising profits each year to
ward the project, or hold one project
a year just for the community build
Keeping such a community build
ing in business would also take plan
ning upfront, making sure meeting
charges cover the cost of a manager
and kitchen crew and maintenance,
perhaps seeking endowments to
guarantee steady income for that
A community building for the
South Bninswick Islands area would
be a major undertaking, but one with
a guaranteed high return on our in
THE BASKETBALL TEAM - NOT THE RACIST1.! /y
So, How Are The Oysters Tonight?
Sometimes, a pathetic, silly situa
tion occurs in our lives that isn't
very funny, but we have a good
laugh about it later on.
I think most residents of this area
will agree with me that the situation
I'm about to describe was pretty
My own dear mother and her hus
band drove up from Georgia to visit
me over the Thanksgiving weekend,
and I recommended that they Like
advantage of one of the many bene
fits of coastal living.
Forget the turkey; there's seafood
to bo eaten.
That Friday evening my husband
and 1 uxik them to a seafood restau
rant right on the water in Calabash
where they could dine on the most
fresh, tenderly -cookcd products of
the sea that they'd had in a long
My mom's husband (we'll call
him Stepdad for the sake of conve
nience) saw the sign on the door that
read "Oyster Roast Tonight." My
mother described il lo him and he
said "I'm having that."
Stepdad is famous in my family
for the large quantities of food he
can eat, so neither my mother nor 1
gave that a second thought.
It was when the waitress was tak
ing the order thai we should have
known to stop.
My mother asked the waitress
how many oysters came in a whole
order as opposed lo the half-order, to
which the girl replied "Plcn-tcee."
Stepdad announced thai they were
novices at this oyster roast tiling,
and the waitress said that she'd
show them how it w as done.
The whole oysier roast was or
dered for Stepdad. who agreed to
share some with my mom. She or
dered a shrimp plate for herself, anil
my husband anil 1 each ordered a
plate of food for ourselves as well.
Stepdad had never shucked an
oyster, but he knew he liked ihem.
My mother, even though she was
raised in Kansas and has lived in
Atlanta for 23 years, hail also lived
in New Orleans, La., and
Charleston. S.C., for a fair amount
of years. She said she'd shucked an
oyster or two many years ago, but
thai these would probably arrive
partially open as clams do when
I've seen it done a few times, and
thought something sounded w rong.
Is everybody gelling an idea of
what's about to happen?
Good, because we didn't.
Why my husband anil I didn't
speak up is not known to this day.
We blame it on being tired from a
long day's work.
We sat there and watched as the
large towel and sturdy knife arrived
and my mom and her husband
looked at each other, slightly
Stepdad wisecracked lo the wait
ress, "Is this a hint?"
My husband, the local boy, jusi
When the massive tub was placed
on the table, we knew we were in
The task of shucking the oysters
fell to my mom. Stcpdad hail an in
jury on his left hand, so that
wouldn't have worked out Ux> well.
In true Spartan fashion, my moth
er proceeded to shuck almost the en
tire tub of oysters. Sure, it took a
while, but everybody was fed to sat
Stepdad even fed my mom some
shrimp and oysters while she la
We soon finished w ith our meals,
but Mama kept shucking away.
A gentleman at the next table
even leaned over and said "So, how
are the oysters tonight?"
Stepdad saiil they were great and
did he want any? "1 think we have a
little more than we can handle." he
said, but the gentleman kindly re
fused the offer.
Signs of exhaustion began to
show on my dear mother's face and
we urged her to slop. For a while
she refused; she was on a roll.
But there were just too many to
For the rest of the visit, nobody
had another oyster. Shrimp, fish and
even prime rib were consumed, bui I
think it will be a long time before ei
ther my mom or her husband eat an
Oh sure, we can laugh about it
now, but my memories of just sitting
there watching my mother shuck
about 50 oysters will remain as one
of those pitiful moments every fami
Something tells me that my mom
would like to inilicl some pain on
the waitress who knew that she and
her husband were novices and didn't
explain her definition of the word
Probably she'd rather just forget it