Jason Windham was awarded the Wrightsville Beach Police Department’s Officer of the Year Thursday, July 10. Police chief Dan House made the presentation yet said Windham was singled out by his peers. In 2013 Windham was one of two WBPD officers who rescued two adult females and an infant who were being swept out to sea by a rip current near Public Beach Access No. 31.
House also administered the oath of office to Sten Taube and Joshua Lee sworn as full-time officers, and Otis Medlin who was sworn in as a reserve officer, bringing the town’s police force up to full staff with 24 officers. Five of 10 reserve officer positions are also filled.
Following a request by Linda Brown of the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, the board voted unanimously to uplight more than 30 live oak trees on the island side of the Heide Trask Drawbridge.
Brown said, “The year-round lighting display will give people a really warm welcome, as well as our residents, every day and every night.”
Pending approval by the North Carolina Department of Transportation Right of Way, the foundation has agreed to support the purchase of the lights estimated at $7,700. In addition to its funding, the Harbor Island Garden Club has also contributed $6,000 toward the project. After its installation, the light array will be left up to the town to maintain.
The board also voted unanimously to authorize $85,000 in earmarked funds plus spend an allocated $10,000 for website redesign, hosting and server virtualization to increase visibility, usability, speed and data memory capacity.
“If you go down you get up quicker,” said town manager Tim Owens, who accepted direction from the board to discuss credit card fees with several local banking institutions. Owens will also draft a request for proposal for website design to present to the board during the Aug. 14 meeting.
Two speed humps will be installed on North Channel Drive as traffic-calming devices and one speed hump will be installed south of the Sprunt Street intersection with South Lumina Avenue. The first project followed town protocol earning the agreement of at least 75 percent of the residents affected, as well as the unanimous vote of aldermen. The South Lumina Avenue hump prompted debate from an affected resident as well as a member of the Hanover Seaside Club. The one-block area is the member’s only ingress to the club’s parking lot.
Though there was not a formal public hearing advertised, Mayor Bill Blair allowed residents present to speak.
Bob Morton of 608 S. Lumina Ave. said, “Perhaps this is a good idea but I’m not certain you’re not violating your own policy,” citing speed bumps must be more than 100 feet from an intersection. “The previous bump was an atrocity,” Morton said. “I don’t think 75 percent of the people want to put this up.” With five grandchildren under the age of 6, Morton said he found the same situation on every cross street from Waynick to South Lumina. “I don’t think we’re following the process on it,” he said.
Jake Wessell, a member of the Hanover Seaside Club, agreed with Morton and Mayor Blair that something needed to be done. Wessell suggested reversing the traffic pattern to provide ingress to the club’s grounds from Iula Street.
Aldermen voted 4-1 (Weeks) to install a speed hump and consider a mirror and other signage moving forward.
The board voted unanimously to allow the construction of a boatlift on the Sea Diamond Pier on Banks Channel; approved a one-year lease with Fasse Construction for town property on Live Oak Drive; and renewed a 10-year lease with the Wrightsville Beach Chamber of Commerce for two rooms inside the Wrightsville Beach Visitors Center at the town’s historic square.
One item, the consideration of an additional Mallard Street driveway for the Surf Club, was pulled. During approval of the consent agenda, request for an Aug. 14 public hearing for consideration of a text amendment for fences and walls was set for 6 p.m. or as soon thereafter as possible; but a requested public hearing for a mixed use project at 100 Salisbury Street was removed.