EMERALD ISLE — Town officials, responding to public opposition, have dropped plans for a proposed meeting and events center on a portion of the regional beach access off Islander Drive, the Carteret County News-Times reported.
A town newsletter for October recently noted that an initial proposal to incorporate the Western Ocean Regional Access facility into the broader plan for the event center had been scrapped and the town will instead focus all of its development efforts on a recently acquired 1.8-acre tract nearby at 203 Islander Drive.
The town bought the property in June for about $630,000, including $450,000 in county economic development funds and money borrowed from the town’s beach nourishment fund. The plan called for a public-private partnership with a privately built and operated facility on town property, according to information presented during the town commissioners’ meeting Sept. 19. That meeting drew a standing-room-only crowd, mostly opponents of plans to develop the public beach access site.
That information included conceptual drawings with buildings at the rear of the 4.4-acre beach access property, not on the 1.8-acre tract. Town Manager Frank Rush said the concepts were preliminary and not final plans for the site and public input would continue to be part of the process.