Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Residents speak out against Carolina Beach Marina expansion plans for floating bar

One question for the marina expansion application asks what type of impact the proposed permit would have on neighbors. The applicant answered that it would have no negative impact on surrounding properties --- but neighbors disagreed.

Residents in the neighborhoods surrounding the marina voiced concerns with plans for expansion (Port City Daily/Courtesy Carolina Beach)
Residents in the neighborhoods surrounding the marina voiced concerns with plans for expansion. (Port City Daily/Courtesy Carolina Beach)

CAROLINA BEACH — Plans for an expansion at the Carolina Beach Yacht Club and Marina, including a floating bar atop of a barge, faced a backlash from neighboring residents voicing concerns of inebriated boaters, noise complaints, and additional traffic — just to name a few.

The town’s Planning and Zoning Board failed to reach an agreement on approving or denying a conditional use permit that would make the plans possible; the board’s 3-3 split vote means the request will be decided by Town Council.

The marina was formerly known as Joyner Marina until it was sold to new owners who have been working to enhance the marina. The new owners are pursuing expansion plans, if the town approves them.

The request states, “The applicant would like to expand the marina store to the barge and erect a 40-foot by 16-foot building that will contain a concession stand, dockhand office, retail and a horseshoe bar that will provide hot dogs, sandwiches, beer and wine.”

Unfinished business

The Carolina Beach Yacht Club and Marina was originally part of a larger development called Spinnaker Point that would consist of 376-units, a marina, and other amenities. But development plans fell through and only a portion of the planned development was completed, according to Assistant Director of Planning Jeremy Hardison.

In the 90s development picked back up and homes were constructed around the perimeter of the marina. The fissure in the development created three separate entities: the marina, the original few units that were completed of Spinnaker Point, and the subdivision Oceana.

The marina itself sits within marina district zoning but is surrounded by private residential zoning.

Resistance from neighbors

One question for the marina expansion application asks what type of impact the proposed permit would have on neighbors. The applicant answered that it would have no negative impact on surrounding properties — but neighbors disagreed.

For nearly two hours during the Planning and Zoning Board meeting, residents voiced concerns surrounding the impact the plans would have on their homes.

James Saniford lives on Marina Street and said neighbors had only found out about the plans and had to work fast to research what was being proposed. For him, parking issues are one of his main concerns since the marina actually has parking spaces within the neighborhood.

“The purpose of it was for every slip to have one parking space in the Oceana/Spinnaker area and what’s happened is they are using it for boat parking, they are using it for trailer parking —It’s not really conducive to a residential area … What we have now is more like a marina parking lot,” he said.

Allen Perry lives right next to the property in question and raised concerns over the request to serve beer and wine, as well as possible nuisance odors if plans are approved.

“The barge is going to become a place for people to sit out and drink all afternoon, all evening,” Perry said.

He also has concerns that the barge will be the stage for live music and the smell from cooking on the flat top grill will make its way to his house.

Onward to Town Council

After hearing from the mostly disgruntled residents the Planning and Zoning Board saw a motion to deny the request. This motion was met with a tie vote with three members in favor of denying the application, and three opposed to the denial.

With a deadlock vote, the application will now be decided on by Town Council at its December meeting.


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