Sheriff’s office to step up Palm Tree Island enforcement

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After a meeting on Wednesday between Wrightsville Beach police officials and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, officers will be “aggressively” enforcing state and county ordinances on Palm Tree Island, the Wrightsville Beach Police Department announced.

The announcement comes after residents raised complaints with Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House at a meeting in July, following a raucous Independence Day celebration on the island that’s a popular stop for boaters on Lees Cut and the Intracoastal Waterway. The island, named for its fake palm tree, emerges only during low tides. Residents of Channel Walk, Lees Cut and Shoreline neighborhoods said the drinking, debauchery, profane music, trespassing and public drunkenness was becoming a dangerous nuisance.

In its announcement, the Wrightsville Beach police department said that Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit would be “aggressively” enforcing the ordinances over the next few weeks. The Lees Cut neighborhood will also hire a sheriff’s deputy to enforce trespassing in the neighborhood, with Wrightsville Beach police assisting when necessary.

During the July meeting, House said that Wrightsville Beach police didn’t have enforcement authority on the island, but said he was working with New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon to improve conditions on the island.

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