Monday, June 27, 2022

Election 2021: Councilman Lynn Barbee is running for Carolina Beach mayor

Lynn Barbee is on the ballot for mayor in Carolina Beach, Nov. 2. (Port City Daily/Courtesy photo)

CAROLINA BEACH –– Carolina Beach Councilman Lynn Barbee is running to serve as mayor. Barbee will face Dan Wilcox, who previously served as mayor.

Barbee was first elected to town council in 2019.

Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate running in municipal elections, which are nonpartisan, 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.

Barbee’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.

READ MORE: Catch up on all elections coverage

Lynn Barbee — Unaffiliated

  • Education: BS Computer Science UNCW, MS Computer Science University of Virginia
  • Job title: Chief Information Officer, Atlantic Corporation of Wilmington
  • Experience: Carolina Beach Town Council (2019)
  • Family: Susan (Wife), Alex (Son), Shelby (Daughter)

Port City Daily (PCD): What are your top three priorities, if elected?
Lynn Barbee (LB): 1. Quality of Experience: Carolina Beach is has become very popular and is growing rapidly, which creates significant competition for both public and private resources. These challenges are magnified by growth of southern New Hanover county, increases in retirees, and an increasingly mobile workforce choosing our quality of life.

Under my leadership Carolina Beach will continue our tradition as a welcoming community that cherishes our tourism heritage, but we are seeing erosion in the quality of experience for residents and visitors alike. I will seek to balance these needs.

I want a good experience for all at Carolina Beach, memorable experiences bring our visitors back time and time again, which fuels our businesses and enhances resident quality of life.

2. Infrastructure: The growth is stretching an already aging infrastructure to its limits. I will continue to support our long-range plans to improve our water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure.

I will continue the excellent relationships built with the county, state and federal officials to ensure that our beaches continue to be renourished so they can serve our tourism economy and protect our homes and infrastructure.

I will do the same to keep our Carolina Beach Inlet open which fuels our boating and fishing enthusiasts.

3. Fiscal Responsibility: Continue the fiscally responsible path we have established over the last two years.  We have added significantly to our general fund after a period of decline. I will also continue to retire debt from our previous infrastructure improvements so that we can accelerate future needs. Continue my efforts to make our government more transparent to the taxpayers.  Sometimes we may disagree on the best course of action, but the options need to be in public view.

PCD: Stormwater flooding and runoff present a persistent concern for the island. Is enough being done to address these issues? Why or why not?
LB: Flooding is a persistent concern for every coastal community. Town council has put focus specifically on the issues within the systems the town manages. The lake dredge project is moving forward and the stormwater management continues to improve. We need to be diligent on our development practices and closely monitor development as it’s happening to alleviate unnecessary risks for adjacent property owners.

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?
LB: In 2019, I voted to approve our CAMA future land use plan. I view this document as the voice of the people.  While it certainly does not address every possible situation, it will provide the guidance we need. I am guided by “Quality of Experience” for both our residents and our visitors. That’s the question I always ask myself when reviewing any proposed changes in land use: Will this project improve our quality of life?

PCD: What development practices, that you might have recently seen on the beach, do you think should be discouraged and encouraged? 
LB: We should encourage detailed stormwater plans during constructions and upon completion.

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?
LB: The tree ordinance has to encourage a culture of care for trees. It has to preserve the property rights of the owners. I prefer incentives over punitive actions where possible. I surely want to save every tree possible.

PCD: Are you comfortable with the town’s parking policy and setup? What, if anything, should change?
LB: Council is working on parking at this moment. We need significant overhaul of ordinances around signage which clearly communicates to the type of lot (commercial or municipal), the costs and billing options. This ties right in to my “Quality of Experience” initiatives. 

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?
LB: The large majority of Freeman Park visitors are not town residents. As long as the operation of Freeman Park is self-sustaining, then I am supportive of its continued operation. It is a very unique opportunity for our visitors and generally has been win/win. However, erosion or legal constraints could impact that in the future.

PCD: Are you comfortable with the current short-term rental ordinance and would you like to see these properties regulated further?
LB: Short-term rental regulation is a national and state issue. At the core is the definition of property rights and zoning regulations. Until such time as the courts or the legislature clarify short term rental regulations, I do not think it would make financial sense for the town to venture into what would certainly be a costly legal fight.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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