By Joy Warren
White Lake business owner Jake Womble made a request to the Town of White Lake Board of Commissioners at their monthly meeting Tuesday evening. Womble, who is currently renovating Goldston’s Beach to offer a better experience for locals and guests, made the request for the Board to either approve mixed beverages (liquor by the drink) and/or allow the citizens to vote on this matter.
Womble wrote in his request “I see the need for a full-service bar area on the waterfront and the Town’s help in completing the process. I currently can sell beer and wine on premises but would desire to have the addition of mixed beverages in the near future. I believe this will attract more people/revenue to the area benefiting all small businesses and the Town.”
The Board approved a resolution requesting that the Bladen County Board of Elections place the sale of mixed beverages on the ballot of the November 2, 2021 Municipal Election. Council also reversed a previous resolution opting out of One-Stop Voting and Absentee by Mail voting.
Citizens expressed their concerns during the last election about not having the option to use the One Stop or Absentee by Mail. The Board adopted a resolution to enter into agreement with the Bladen County Board of Elections to reinstate One Stop Voting and Absentee by Mail voting for White Lake. There will be three Town Commissioner seats available for the Town during the Municipal Election – Mike Suggs, Tim Blount, and Paul Evans.
Dr. Diane Lauritsen presented a written report on the White Lake “Lake” Water Management Project. Dr. Lauritsen indicated that “based on work done in recent years, including groundwater modeling, assessments of nutrient sources to the lake, lake water quality monitoring, the Town’s Comprehensive Planning and the changes in regional land use, the following objectives are proposed:
1) Preserve undeveloped lakeshore and wetlands.
2) Preserve land in the watersheds contributing polluted stormwater to the lake and protect groundwater recharge zones.
3) Purchase the Turtle Cove outlet – this is an integral part of the lake that should be owned and managed by State Parks.
4) Engage in regional land planning with Bladen County, with the potential for creating protected buffer zones between agricultural lands and the Town’s planning area.
5) Look for ways to build connections with other Carolina Bays and Bay Lakes. Economic development which explores the potential for Bay Lakes ecotourism could reap long-term benefits for the region.” Lauritsen reported that “there is less and less [land] left to preserve around White Lake, which means that cumulative impacts of the present style of development are becoming greater and greater with every passing year.”
In administrative matter, the Board approved Tax Releases ($453.93), Tax Refunds ($76.66), and 2020 Tax Lien advertisement; approved participation in the OSFM Volunteer Fire Department Fund Grant application process; approved renewal of Aclara Premier Maintenance agreement; appointed Hope Campbell, Jonathan Langston, and Mary Greene to the Planning & Zoning Board of Adjustment; adopted an ordinance declaring road closure for the White Lake Water Festival Parade on Saturday, May 22nd; approved budget ordinances as presented; adopted resolution requesting approval for USDA Rural Business Development Grant for the Multi-Use Path; and approved contract with First Source Client Service to provide temporary staffing services for vacant positions.
The Board tabled a request from Jeff Howell to reconsider the post-construction fee for a zoning violation.
In order to provide more time to explore other funding options for Phase II of the Multi-Use Path, the Board tabled the Multi-Use Bid Tabulation for the project. All three bids exceeded the estimated construction cost of the project.