CAROLINA BEACH –– Mike Hoffer is vying for one of the open seats on the Carolina Beach Town Council.
Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate running in municipal elections and has dropped its paywall on the profiles to help voters make informed decisions ahead of the 2021 election year. (Though, your support of local, independent journalism is appreciated through a monthly subscription. Also, consider signing up for Port City Daily’s free newsletter, Wilmington Wire, to get the headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.)
As a reminder, the early voting period begins Oct. 14, with the registration deadline on Oct. 8. Voters may partake in same-day registration throughout the two-week early voting period, which ends Oct. 30 (check if your registration is active at your current address).
Election Day is Nov. 2.
Hoffer’s stances on local issues are discussed below. Port City Daily has included all responses in full, and only edited responses for grammatical and spelling errors.
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Mike Hoffer — Independent
- Education: Master’s Degree, public administration, UNCW; Bachelor of Science, mechanical engineering
- Job title: Mechanical inspector, New Hanover County
- Experience: Mechanical engineering, civil engineering, nonprofit management, local government, small business owner
- Family: Wife Janet; children, John (18) and Sarah (16); cats, The Dude (12) and Lamar Catson (2)
Port City Daily (PCD): What are your top three priorities, if elected?
Mike Hoffer (MH): 1. Bike/Pedestrian safety and convenience. This is the canary in the coal mine for town. If your children can walk to school safely and you can enjoy a bike ride downtown, then you live in a nice place. When you can’t do those things, you have lost something that you may never get back.
2. Improving our parking situation. We have to ensure that our town works for the locals. You should be able to park downtown or at a beach access without too much trouble. We need more golf cart parking, bike racks and short-term parking. It can be done without expensive “solutions” like a parking deck.
3. Stormwater. The funding is in place, the solutions are obvious. We just need more oversight, enforcement and continuous improvements.
PCD: Stormwater flooding and runoff present a persistent concern for the island. Is enough being done to address these issues? Why or why not?
MH: No. The biggest, most important project of them all is Carolina Beach Lake and it remains unfinished. (It’s now been six years and counting.) Money is in the budget for it, so let’s get this done!
Meanwhile, Canal Drive floods every king tide and Florida Avenue is still a mess. Aside from these big problem areas, we’re not in terrible shape We just need more oversight, enforcement and continuous improvements.
PCD: How will you influence the future of land use and development at Carolina Beach? As an elected official, what would be your guiding principles when it comes to deliberating on planning and zoning decisions?
MH: My guiding principle is “make it work for the locals.” The best thing that town council can do for our citizens is negotiate more strongly on our behalf. New developments must make our lives better, not worse. Case in point: The Proximity development. If it results in improved pedestrian safety along Lake Park Boulevard and St. Joseph’s Street, if it provides access to a pool, if it has quality open space, if they make infrastructure improvements, then I can support it. If it offers none of those things, then I would reject it.
PCD: Are there development practices you might have recently seen on the beach that you think should be discouraged and encouraged?
MH: My greatest frustration is when new developments cut off public access and/or don’t improve access around or through them. The developers who brought us the Publix would have improved the crossing at Lake Park Boulevard, if only we would have asked. They would have provided better bike/pedestrian access, if only we would have asked. These poor practices go all the way back to when the Marriott came to town in 2003.
PCD: Council is slated to review a new tree ordinance soon. How far should the ordinance go? What specific provisions do you want to see included?
MH: I support a reasonable tree ordinance that would protect trees on large properties and commercial developments. Small lots (50-by-100) and existing properties should not be regulated. It’s just too restrictive of property rights, and in most cases, people will preserve trees if possible.
That being said, I’m very much in support of a tree planting policy on the town’s part. The best way to increase the tree population is to start planting them! We have nonprofit organizations ready to start planting trees today. Let’s set a goal and get started.
PCD: Are you comfortable with the town’s parking policy and setup? What, if anything, should change?
MH: First, we should provide more golf cart parking, bike racks and short-term parking because that would benefit the locals. We recently fired out parking company. Good because they were not only harassing people, but they also weren’t helping us to maximize our potential.
PCD: Freeman Park has been a source of legal controversy and natural erosion. Do you have any stance on the future of this access point as it pertains to the town’s control and maintenance of it?
MH: I would like to see Freeman Park open to the public forever. The town should charge whatever is necessary to keep it safe, convenient and clean. We are the stewards of this land and we must take the responsibility seriously.
PCD: Are you comfortable with the current short-term rental ordinance and would you like to see these properties regulated further?
MH: I believe in property rights, so I don’t support any increased regulation. We just need to enforce our nuisance laws. If people are parking all over the place, making too much noise or causing problems, then enforce the laws strictly. If there are no external problems, then property owners should be free to pursue their interests. But room occupancy taxes must be paid!
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