Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Wrightsville Beach Aldermen wants to keep sailboats out of their waters for extended stays

Town leaders discussed concerns, including sewage discharge, dangers posed by unattended boats, and the use of moored vessels as short-term rentals.

Sailboats in Banks Channel are a common sight, but some Wrightsville Beach Alderman don't want them overstaying their welcome (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)
Sailboats in Banks Channel are a common sight, but some Wrightsville Beach Alderman don’t want them overstaying their welcome. (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)f

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — Sailors anchoring in Banks Channel may not be welcome for extended stays in Wrightsville Beach any longer, especially those using sailboats as short-term rentals. During last month’s Board of Alderman meeting, Alderman Elizabeth King brought up her concerns with sailboats anchoring in town waters for more than 30 days.

“This has been something I’ve been concerned about for the past five or six years. It has grown from three or four boats to about 15 boats. I have looked at it and now several of them are on Airbnb,” King said.

As it stands, boats are not permitted to anchor in town waters for more than 30 days within a 180 consecutive day period.

What can be done?

During the town’s August meeting the topic was brought before the entire board as a discussion item from Town Manager Tim Owens with several perceived problems that include:

  • Boats moored outside of the town municipal limits were under the assumption that town ordinances do not apply
  • There is a legitimate concern that boats anchored for long periods of time are discharging sewage in a “No discharge zone”
  • There were at least five boats using short-term rental websites to rent boats and ferrying passengers to and from the shore using Wynn Plaza
  • There is at least one boat anchored whose owners have been renting out their home in another location while living aboard a boat in water within the zoning jurisdiction of the town
  • There are other boats that are being stored in the waters of the town for use as a weekend retreat or because owners have no other place to store their boat
  • There is a concern by residents regarding potential damage to docks from unattended boats

Owens suggested several possible solutions to the board including reducing the length of time boaters can moor in town waters to only 14 days.

Hiring an additional park ranger to monitor boats anchored in the waters around Wrightsville Beach. Another suggestion was the complete banning of short-term rentals of boats anchored within waters of the town.

Owens also proposed placing restrictions on Wynn Plaza, regarding the transport of short-term rental customers.

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