Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Carolina Beach’s Flooding Committee wants to fine drivers up to $500 for driving through water

If approved, a new ordinance would put stricter regulations into effect for drivers in floodwaters.

Flooding along Canal Drive in Carolina Beach on Saturday. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)
Flooding along Canal Drive in Carolina Beach in late November. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)

CAROLINA BEACH — Residents in Carolina Beach are well aware of the flooding issues the town faces, especially on Canal Drive, it has been a thorn in the side of local leaders for years. That’s why the town created the Canal Drive Flooding Committee to help find solutions to the frustrating problem.

For years now the town has utilized traffic barricades to prevent drivers from making their way through standing waters during flooding events, but there are still those who choose to drive around the blockades through the waters.

Variable message sign at the corner of Canal Dr. and Carl Winner Dr. in Carolina Beach (Port City Daily/File)

Dale Walters, chairman of the Canal Drive Flooding Committee, gave a presentation to Town Council last week encouraging more enforcement and penalties for drivers who bypass the barricades. Town Council will also be presented with a new Canal Drive ordinance in February outlining some of the proposed changes in enforcement tactics.

“The salient features of the proposed ordinance are, officer discretion was of paramount concern when drafting up the recommended citation capacity with the objective of not restricting reasonable, cautious resident traffic from utilizing the roads when it is safe to do so,” Walters said.

The new code would be town-wide and give officers the ability to write citations for driving through floodwaters anywhere in Carolina Beach.

The fee scheduled maxes out at $500 for what Walters called “egregious violations.” Anyone caught moving or tampering with town equipment like the barricades would be fined $250, and a $50 citation for driving around the barricades and creating nuisance wakes and splashes.

So how does the town plan on enforcing this?

Well, the ordinance would allow for residents who witness a violation to take pictures and send them to police who will then send out the citations.

Walters said this will prevent confrontation between residents and drivers, however, drivers would, in theory, be permitted to find out who sent their photo to the police.

Town Council will likely take action on approving the ordinance in an upcoming council meeting where residents will have a chance to weigh in on the proposal.

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