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Carolina Beach Seeking Permission To Store Items On Army Land

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach is requesting permission to utilize a storage building located on land leased to the Town by the U.S. Army since 1972. Currently the Town is renting space at the Federal Point Shopping Center for storage of various materials and equipment.
The Town was notified in April of 2012 they were in violation of their 1972 lease agreement with the U.S. Army for land off of Dow Road. The "buffer zone" is land owned by the U.S. Army for the MilitaryOcean Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU) across the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County. The port deals in ammunition and the buffer zone serves as a "blast zone" in the event of an incident. The zone covers the largest area of land west of Dow Road in Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher.
The property housed the Town's Operations Department including public works, public utilities, storm water department and the Town's garage. Additionally, it was home to a greenhouse, various offices and storage areas as well as large dumpsters.
The 1972 lease only permitted a wastewater treatment plant, a storage building and related uses.
Town manager Michael Cramer sent a request to Col. James A. Rupkalvis - Commander of the Military Ocean Terminal, Sunny Point - on April 21st requesting permission to utilize a 40' by 100' metal storage building constructed by the Town on the leased property many years ago.
Cramer wrote to Rupkalvis stating, "Thank you for your help in securing the approval to upgrade the Town of Carolina Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant with two new variable frequency drive blowers. We anticipate that construction will be complete within a couple of months and we will contact Mr. Fuller to perform an inspection when the project is complete. Given our improving relationship I am reluctant, yet compelled, to ask for additional help with another issue."
Cramer explained, "Since the inspection of the given lease property on November 7, 2011 the Town of Carolina Beach has been actively engaged in bringing the former Fleet Maintenance and Operation activities into compliance with lease agreement No. DACA21-l-64-4180. Following the inspection the Town spent approximately $467,756.19 completing the corrective actions needed to fulfill our obligations. The only aspect of the corrective action plan that is still in the process of being completed is the environmental remediation activities."
He explained, "To date the town has hired a consultant to perform initial soil samples and outline potential contaminates related to the towns previous activities at the former Fleet Maintenance and Operation facility. On August 20, 2013 your office received an email for Ben Ashba with Catlin Engineering that explained the types of environmental tests that had been performed and the types of material found. In October 2013 a compliance inspection was conducted by a USACE Reality Specialist and on November 5, 2013 we received an email communication from Yadira Gill, Senior Reality Specialist from the Savanna District indicating that we "may store supplies in the building with the understanding (and agreement by the Town) that all supplies / equipment must be removed, if and when asked to do so by MOTSU and /or USACE." The email continued to state "For planning purposes, MOTSU has agreed to grant a one year extension to the lease to allow sufficient time to resolve the environmental issues. On January 7, 2013, we received a letter from Mr. Robert M. Jewell Chief, Management and Disposal Branch requesting that we complete the lease extension documents and return the documents with a check for $13,800 to Yadira Gill for the processing of the lease extension. We complied with that request of January 21, 2014 and have since waited for confirmation of the receipt of the lease extension before we begin storing the approved list of supplies and materials in the building. On April 8, 2014, we received the executed copy of the lease extension."
Cramer explained, "Between August 20, 2013 and April 4, 2014 we have discussed with several environmental engineering firms the results of the initial sample tests and found that all of the firms have recommended additional soil and groundwater samples be conducted in order to identify the exact location of the areas of interest, before we engage a contractor and perform a remedial action plan. You have been copied on all correspondence with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources regarding our intention to perform the additional tests and develop a remediation plan that can meet the standards of NCDENR."
Cramer explained the Town currently leases space in the Federal Point Shopping Center on North Lake Park Blvd to store supplies and materials that are approved to be stored in the former metal building. He explained, "We are currently spending approximately $3,600 per month for this storage area. We are prepared to move the approved list of supplies and materials into the facility and utilize the savings to perform the additional tests and environmental remediation action. However, before we do that I would appreciate receiving that approval in writing from you. Attached is a copy of the approved list of supplies and materials."
Cramer explained, "We do not want to make the same mistakes that were made in the past, so we are requesting permission before continuing the process. We have no intention of placing any materials or supplies in the fenced in area, only in the storage building. We agree to the previous understanding that if and when asked to do so by MOTSU or USACE, we will remove these supplies and materials. We hope that our two and a half year dedication and the level of funding placed behind resolving all of the identified issues are evidence that we are serious about completing this project and restoring the USACE confidence in our relationship."
He explained, "We are requesting permission to store the approved list of supplies and materials inside the 40 ftx100 ft metal building located on the north eastern corner of lease the property described in Lease Agreement no. DACA21-l-64-4180.In accordance with the terms of our lease, we hereby submit this letter as the Town of Carolina Beach's formal request."
Last month the Council voted to delay a decision to purchase land on Bridge Barrier Road for a permanent location to house a waste transfer station to handle garbage and debris collected throughout Town from public trashcans. Since the Town was first notified of violations of their lease on the military land, the Town explored various locations to relocate the transfer station. Ultimately the Council approved spending funds to lease property at 1313 Bridge Barrier Road adjacent to the Carolina Beach Post Office.
The decision to delay purchasing the property was in response to area residential property owners complaining about the potential for odor from trash, rats and loud noise from trucks backing up a tall ramp to dump trash into a large compactor.
Currently Town management is researching a property at 110 Dow Road behind a commercial storage facility as a possible site to locate a waste transfer station and area to store certain materials. That was a previous location researched by the Town in 2013 and abuts undeveloped land with the exception of the commercial storage facility and a power substation.
For the Bridge Barrier Road property, the Council discussed the property may be of some use other than a waste transfer station but would like more research before making a final decision.