North Carolina Newspapers

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AMERICAN FLAGS flap in the Faster breeze, welcoming visi
tors to Ocean Isle Beach. Mayor Hetty Williamson (right) and |
Janet Sanders planted the ensigns as part of a causeway heau
tification project.
Surprise Display Greets
Residents And Visitors
To Ocean Isle Beach
Residents and holiday visitors to Ocean Isle Beach (OIB) were aston
ished list weekend as liiey approached the bridge to the island. Two
columns of fluttering American flags lined both sides of the causeway,
the red, white and blue flashing atop tall silver poles. Forty- lour of them,
spaced 20 feet apart, turned the area into a military parade ground.
This beautification project was undertaken by Mayor Bctty
Williamson and Town Commissioner Janet Sanders, both serv ing on the
bcauiification committee for the town's Property Owners' Association, j
They were "planting" flags at 6:30 Friday morning, with the help of
Dave Harrcll and Police Officer Danny 1 lunter.
"It's a joint town and property owners' project," Williamson ex
plained. "We try to do something every year to beautify the causeway.
We wanted it to be special for Uie holidays.'
The flags will fly, Williamson said, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on every
holiday weekend throughout the year, but will remain in place daily
throughout the week of July 4.
Most of the S 1,700 cost is being borne by the POA, according to
"We started beautifying the causeway about five years ago, adding
something every year," she said, pointing to the Christmas tree planted
last year, and crepe myrtle bushes planted three years ago. The area has
been landscaped on both sides of the highway and planted with flowers
and (lowering trees.
This year's contribution is the most spectacular, the two women
"We've been hearing reactions all day," Sanders said. "One person
said tears came to her eyes; another said he was shocked."
Williamson reported a woman telling her, "It makes me feel so spe
cial," to which the mayor responded, "You ARE special, and that's why
we've done this. It's a way of saying Ocean Isle Beach is a very special
place to visit."
Turnout Light For First Public Hearing
On Sunset Beach Sewer System Plans
A proposed combination sewer
system/storm water management
plan at Sunset Beach could bccomc
a demonstration project because of
its unique approach, a trio of engi
neers told a group of 35 people at
the local fire station Monday night.
Mayor Mason Barber said he was
disappointed at the turnout for the
first public hearing on the proposed
sewer system becausc the meeting,
which last three hours, would have
been a way of getting information to
a lot of people at one time. It was
held at the fire station instead of
town hall in anticipation of greater
Those who did got to ask ques
tions following a one-and-one-half
hour overview by consulting engi
neers Jim Billups and Joseph
Tombro of Powell Associates of
North Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Phil
Smith of Piedmont Olscn Henslcy of
Raleigh. Questions ranged from how
the system would be funded to itspo
tential impact on the coastal envi
The engineering consultants are
recommending the town procccd
with a new master stormwater man
agement plan concurrent with devel
omcnt of a sewer system, but also
even if plans for a sewer system arc
scratched. The stormwater plan
would address not only management
to ensure that future development of
any size does not contribute to addi
tional water pollution, but also pro
vides for remediation.
One proposal, for example, sug
gests lying emptied septic tanks on
the island to provide individual site
stormwater control.
Offset Increased Run-Off
The stormwater managment sys
tem addresses a key concern raised
by agencies thai must issue permits
for a municipal sewer system: con
trol of increased surface run-off that
typically occurs with increased den
sity of development accommodated
by sewerage. Run-off is considered
a major source of water pollution.
While the pbn cannot be imple
mented throughout the entire
15,000-acrc Sunset Beach-Calabash
sewer study planning area, it can be
put in place in Sunset Beach, the
mayor said after the meeting. "It
will include the island, and that's the
most sensitive area, the area they're
most concerned about," he
saidBillups said the projected cost of
S10.5 million is conservatively high,
and will decline if Sunset Beach and
neighboring Calabash join together
to develop a regional treatment
The actual cost of the system is
estimated ai SI 1.5 million, but the
town's net cost to the town would be
closer to SI 0.5 million after reim
bursements from developers for de
velopment-related costs. Of thai
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sum, S9 million would be needed
initially, and another SI. 5 million
within one to two years.
Mayor Barber said a bond refer
endum would be major source of
revenues for construction of the sys
Island resident Sue Weddle's
commcnt was typical. "If there is an
environmental need for sewers, then
I'm for sewers," she said.
First, she wants evidence to that
effect, she said, such as additional
coliform bacteria samples taken dur
ing summerTurnou, when homes on
the island with septic tanks designed
to serve four-member households
must handle waste from crowds of
eight or more people all season long.
Responded Councilman Bud
Scrantom, "To answer your ques
tion, we're going to do it."
To Serve 1,400 Initially
System cost estimates arc tenta
tive and are based on providing ser
vice initially to a large customer
base, approximately 1,400 units, in
cluding all areas within the town
limits, plus several areas outside
A wall map showed lines extend
ing through the island of Sunset
Beach, the Maples, Sugar Sands and
immediate Jones/Byrd Clubhouse
areas of Sea Trail and extending out
to Seaside Center and Seaside North
developments, then on to Old
Georgetown Road and Sea Village
development and beyond.
As proposed, wastewater from
Sunset Beach-and possibly from
Calabash and surrounding
areas-would be piped to a 1 million
gallon-pcr-day treatment facility
northwest of Sea Trails Plantation.
The plant would be expected to ini
tially treat an annual wastewater
flow of 194,910,(XX) gallons, with a
summertime peak of 855,700 gal
lons per day.
Sunset Beach docs not know yet,
for example, if it will be building a
treauncnt facility by itself or in con
junction with Calabash and possibly
other municipalities.
That will affect the size, type and
cost of system built, Tombro indi
cated, as will the funds available for
Pursuing Farmers Home Dollars
Al present, ihc town is vigorously
pursuing a Farmers Home
Administration grant and should
know within approximately 30 days
if it is eligible to apply. Then it must
undertake a comprehensive environ
mental impact study and other appli
cation steps. Tombo said the study
should take only 90 to 120 days, be
cause the firm has already gathered
substantial data to support the town's
Witli large retirement populations
on fixed incomes, said the engi
neers, both Sunset Beach and
Calabash meet income eligibility
levels, based on average household
incomes reported on the last census.
The grant would be used to bring the
monthly service cost down to an "af
fordable" level, typically S16 to S18
per month.
With no grant funding and a
Farmers Home Administration loan
at 6 percent for 40 years, the town's
annual debt retirement for construc
tion would be approximately
5697,830, according to the sewer
study. Maintenance and operation is
expected to cost another 5250,000 a
year. If the town didn't charge an
impact fee, up-front, that would put
the cost at S29.22 a month for a
household using about 2(H) gallons
of town water per day. The figure
could drop lower if an impact fee
were charged and/or Farmers Home
grant or other grant money obtained.
One point to be resolved: How
fully developed the island of Sunset
Beach actually is. While only 60
percent to 70 percent built out, the
entire island is platted for develop
Federal funds can be used to pro
vide sewer service to existing devel
opment, but not to new development
under the terms of the Barrier
Islands Act. The act is part of feder
al policy that discourages develop
ment of barrier islands and other ar
eas in the 100-year fioodplain by not
providing funds for that purpose.
Fdi i'uai same reason, said
Tombro, Farmers Home "isn't going
to let you develop increased density
in the flood zone."
The engineers contend that plat
ting of the island is the equivalent of
"With no kind left on the island
to subdivide, the provision of sewer
service should not serve to support
any new development of undevel
oped land," ther report suggested.
Engineers arc also exploring other
sources of funding, such as state and
federal grants for a demonstration
project, given the uniqueness of the
combination sewer study/storm wa
ter management plan approach, ap
parently the first of its kind in the
state if pursued. The storm water
plan is expected to add another 5
percent to the loud cost of the effort.
Before town residents vote on
whether to fund a sewer system with
a bond referendum, a detailed finan
cial plan mast be prepared.
Golf Course Irrigation
Based on the expectation that new
state regulations allowing land ap
plication of effluent on golf courses
arc approved next month, treated ef
fluent would be pumped to sur
rounding golf courses for use in irri
(Tombros said contracts with golf
courses would be developed through
negotiation, since the arrangement
would be mutually beneficial.
The town has very limited options
for wastewater disposal, he said, and
the golf courses need the water, but
must make exj)ensive changcs to ac
commodate use of effluent. These
include building of holding ponds
for storage of effluent when rainfall
is adequate for irrigation.
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^j^HiThurs., Fri., Sat. 11-5

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