Friday, August 12, 2022

Property owners of Freeman Park land propose easement swap with town

Freeman Beach LLC members are requesting an easement for the construction of a Freeman family memorial in exchange for an easement granted to the town (Port City Daily/File)
Freeman Beach LLC members are requesting an easement for the construction of a Freeman family memorial in exchange for an easement granted to the town. (Port City Daily/File)

CAROLINA BEACH — Property owners at Freeman Park are hoping to get something out of the Town of Carolina Beach’s request for a temporary easement through their land for beach nourishment – and this time, members of the Freeman Family are getting involved.

In a last-minute move by property owners Freeman Beach LLC, a request to add an additional item onto the Town Council’s agenda during its Tuesday night meeting was approved. Steve Fort, representing Freeman Beach LLC, along with two members of the Freeman Family were able to propose a solution to council; the proposal will have to be discussed further by attorneys before it is voted on.

According to Town Clerk Kim Ward, “Noel (the town attorney) notified me at 2:30 yesterday afternoon saying that Mr. Clifton Hester (attorney for Freeman Beach, LLC) called and asked to be put on the agenda.  He said that he would be sending Mr. Steve Fort, Mr. Eric Freeman, and Mr. William Freeman to respond to the Aug. 3 Notice of Intent.”

In an effort to get something out of the deal, which would allow Carolina Beach to temporarily run pipes across the land to deliver sand, Fort proposed a trade agreement that would grant the Freeman Family a permanent easement to a planned monument on the LLC’s property.

“Their proposal is to have an exchange of easements. They will grant the Town the easements needed for beach re-nourishment in exchange for the Town conveying a specific dedicated easement for the Freeman Beach Associates rather than the general access that they currently have,” Ward said.

“When the purchase was made from the Freeman heirs, Freeman Beach, LLC promised to construct a monument on the property in honor of the family.  Their proposal suggests that this easement would allow access for the family to visit the monument,” she concluded.

Fort and Freeman Beach LLC are requesting an easement from the Hatteras Ramp to the town limits, about 700-feet, in exchange for the easement for beach nourishment.

“A request was made and an agreement was entered into with the Freeman family to grant them an easement for the construction of a monument to the Freeman family, to Freeman Beach … I think some money has been set aside for that purpose. We are ready to fulfill our end of the agreement but we can only grant them an easement through our property line,” Fort said.

Town Council members were not opposed to the idea of having a monument to the Freeman Family on the property, but there were questions regarding the proposed easement.

One possible solution, suggested by Councilman Steve Shuttleworth, was putting the monument on town property, instead of private property; that way the town could help with protection and maintaining the property.

“I think it would be wonderful to have a Freeman monument back there. We like the idea of keeping it undeveloped area back there but if we had it on the town property we could help maintain it and you don’t need anything additional,” Shuttleworth said.

Ultimately the town council requested more information and made no decision on the request.

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