Council had its work retreat on Friday, January 26th. Many important items were discussed and one was communications with our citizens. We decided to reestablish coffee with the Mayor on the last Saturday of each month starting on February 24th. This will be from 9 am to 11am at our temporary facilities located on the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area. Also, each month you will receive a note from a Council member on things of importance or general information.
One important aspect of the retreat was a meeting with our Sunny Point neighbors, the current Commanding Officer and key staff in preparation for our Land Use Study with the Department of Defense. Access to Sunny Point property by private citizens was also discussed and in all circumstances permission should be requested and will generally be given. Our military cannot publish when they are loading or are on high alert, therefore please seek permission to avoid potential policing interaction from the military.
Focus on our remaining 266 vacant lots is important as zoning requirements help us to determine what our town population may be in a few years with a potential for 300 or more new structures. On average, we provide 25 to 30 building permits per year. This activity sets our sites on the needed infrastructure and necessary personnel to sustain the level of all services we expect. Our new Fire Station and Town Hall renovations will be a good start to that work. We will have a ground breaking event at 9 am on Tuesday, February 20th, and hope you will attend.
As expected, parking is always an important subject. Last year the paid parking experiment did not meet the expectations for revenue to cover costs. This discussion will continue as we look at ideas on managing parking in all areas. We have no plans for town sponsored paid parking this summer; however, business zoned properties do have the ability to charge for parking on their own lots if they desire.
Your Council members each sent a letter to the Acting Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) requesting an extended comment period and a local meeting for Wilmington and coastal areas on the proposed leasing of the coastal shelf for oil and gas exploration. The letters were attached to our Town Resolution opposing seismic testing and offshore drilling.
Concluding this first communication, there is plenty of activity to keep our town safe and clean with recreational opportunities for citizens and guests with high serviceability at affordable cost. Stay tuned...