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Carolina Beach in time crunch to move storage materials off Army owned land

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY)– After several decades of using property leased from the federal government for storage, the Town of Carolina Beach must finally comply with its lease. What was only supposed to be used for a water treatment facility, over time the town has used it for storage not approved by the Army.

It seems pretty simple. Carolina Beach just needs to comply with the lease agreement they originally made, but if they can’t move everything out by their deadline, it could become a bit complicated.

In the early 1970’s the town began leasing more than 5 acres of U.S. Army-owned land off of Dow Road. The land is a “buffer zone,” for the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point across the river in Brunswick County. Carolina Beach promised to only use it for a water treatment plant with one storage building, but through the years the town has used the land for storage, for anything from impounded cars to a green house to building materials.

“We’ve had letters come back if you look in the files, the Army did not really approve any of those things to be done, but town managers and the town itself just pushed it back there,” says Carolina Beach Town Councilman Bob Lewis.

Lewis says the town has requested several times to be allowed to keep the stored items on the property, but the Army has repeatedly said no and is requiring the town to comply by the end of the year. That means everything, except the water treatment plant, must be moved out by December 31.

“So that includes people, equipment, ground storage, small buildings, a greenhouse,” Lewis says. “So, 90 days is a pretty aggressive time frame but I think we can get it done.”

However, where to put everything is now the issue. Town council is holding a special meeting Wednesday, October 3 at 3 p.m. to talk about what the town should do.

“There’s various types of options,” Lewis says. “Some of those are temporary. Some of those can be permanent.”

If for some reason the town is unable to comply with the agreement, Lewis says the Army could potentially cancel the town’s lease, which would mean moving the water treatment facility and cost the town several million dollars.

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