By Michael Praats | November 10, 2020 at 5:35 AM EST – Updated November 11 at 12:37 PM
CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – The Town of Carolina Beach town council voted against allowing floating structures at its meeting on Tuesday night.
For months, the Town of Carolina Beach has struggled to pass proposed regulations that would restrict floating homes in town waters.
On Tuesday, the Town Council approved a newly-worded ordinance that clarifies what is, and what isn’t allowed in the town waters.
“It was something that presented itself months ago,” said Carolina Beach Mayor LeAnn Pierce. “We’ve been back-and-forth in a lot of controversy and, like I said during the meeting, you’re only as good as your ordinances are until they are challenged. We clarified our zoning ordinance tonight that we are prohibiting floating structures.”
The request for the addition of a new definition was a reactionary step taken by property owners in Oceana after the owners of the Carolina Beach Marina and Yacht Club brought in a barge with a home sitting atop it. Neighbors complained but upon further inspection of the structure, town staff said it met the definition of a ‘vessel’ and was permitted.
Technically, according to town code, floating homes are prohibited but the addition of two outboard motors on the barge meant the structure could be considered a vessel.
“Floating Structure means a barge-like structure, that is not used as a means of transportation on water but which serves purposes or provides services typically associated with a structure on or other improvement to real property used for human habitation or commerce. Incidental movement or the capability of movement upon water does not preclude a structure from classification as a floating structure,” according to the Town Council agenda for Tuesday.
This definition removes some ambiguity that allowed the current structure to remain. Furthermore, the town is looking to ensure that just because state law allows the registration of something as a vessel, does not mean it is permitted in the town waters.
“Registration of the structure as a vessel, in accordance with NCGS Chapter 75A, does not preclude a structure from classification as a floating structure. Boat (vessel) means watercraft of any type or size specifically designed to be self-propelled, whether by engine, sail, oar, paddle, or other means, used to travel from place to place by water. A boat or vessel shall also include any machine designed or intended to travel over water by self-propulsion,” according to the proposed ordinance.
The current structure will not have to be moved because it’s been grandfathered in and is allowed to stay.
Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.