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Springhill Suites hotel planned for Carolina Beach, conditional use permit requestedNearly two years…

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A SpringHill Suites has been proposed for Carolina Beach (Port City Daily/Courtesy Carolina Beach)

CAROLINA BEACH — Carolina Beach has tried to keep its small-town feel alive as more and more chains and franchises see the potential in the beach town and stake their claim to what little developable land is left.

From independently owned restaurants to locally operated hotels, the island town has managed to keep some of that appeal. But a new hotel, SpringHill Suites, is hoping the town’s committees will approve a conditional use permit that could dramatically change the gateway to the town.

The permit is listed for 1341 N. Lake Park Avenue and consists of nearly 2-acres of land near the Wallgreens in Carolina Beach. The applicant, Avon Park Holdings, LLC is based out of Greenville S.C.

The process of obtaining a special use permit is somewhat confusing as it is a quasi-judicial hearing. A ‘SUP’ is used to approve development that normally would not work in a zoning district.

Related: Quasi-judicial, fully confusing: Understanding special-use permits in Wilmington

According to the town’s website, “Conditional use permits add flexibility to the zoning regulations. Subject to high standards of planning and design, certain property uses may be allowed in certain districts where these uses would not otherwise be acceptable. By means of controls exercised through the conditional use permit procedures, property uses which would otherwise be undesirable in certain districts can be developed to minimize any adverse effects they might have on surrounding properties.”

In order for the town to approve a CUP, the applicant must prove four different factors:

  1. Indicate how the proposed CUP will not adversely affect health or safety if located where proposed and developed according to the plan submitted
  2. Indicate if the proposed Conditional Use Permit meets all required conditions and specifications or if any waivers are requested
  3. Indicate how the proposed Conditional Use Permit will not substantially injure the value of adjoining or abutting property, or that the use is a public necessity
  4. Indicate that the location and use of the proposed Conditional Use Permit, if developed according to the plan as submitted, will be in harmony with the area in which it is to be located and in general conformity with the Town of Carolina Beach’s Land Use Plan and policies

The hotel itself would consist of 4-stories, 128 rooms, and more than 70,000-square-feet of building space. It would also house a swimming pool and fitness center.

Developer’s responses

According to the application, the applicant the proposed CUP would not adversely affect health or safety if approved, in fact, the applicants claim it will “enhance the local economy.”

As far as waivers go, the development would need a waiver to encroach into the landscape buffer since the parking lot would extend into it.

The location is in a retail area and the applicants claim that the hotel would not injure any adjacent properties but enhance the value by “locating tourists and business travelers within the retail zone.

There are still plenty of steps needed before the hotel can become a reality, including a hearing for the CUP which will be open to the public.

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