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WB aldermen talk restaurant plan, smoking ban, school safety

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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- It was a busy night at the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen meeting. The meeting included a new face and talk of a new restaurant.

The first order of business was to swear in new Town Manager Tim Owens, and it turned to be quite an eventful first meeting.

Thursday night's meeting was the first for Owens. He held the same position in Carolina Beach before resigning in November.

"Everybody's been super nice and really helpful. You know, I've been here three days and I got sworn in tonight and i'm just excited to be here," Owens said.

The board began the meeting considering the New Hanover County Commission's request for the beach town to provide it's own security for it's elementary school.

This week, Wilmington decided to provide four police officers. But Wrightsille Beach went a different direction, deciding to simply contribute up to $28,500 cash.

"We have a small police force, and it's really a burden for us to have to be able to pull one or two people off," Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti said.

There was also talk of national seafood restaurant chain Joe's Crab Shack, which has shown in leasing space in Johnnie Mercer's Pier. That proposal is still in the early stages.

"(The planning board) will look at anything like parking," Owens said. They'd look at noise, how it affects the community, those types of things. So that's what the planning board will be looking at."

The Board of Aldermen also approved a project by Eagle Scout Andrew Stoycos, who has an idea to make Wrightsville Beach's new beach smoking ban easier. He will build 18 cigarette butt receptacles to put at beach access entrances.

"I got the idea from walking around downtown (Wilmington)," Stoycos said. "They actually have the same things. They have canisters mounted on the trashcans, so we decided to maybe bring it over to Wrightsville."

Stoycos plans to have the receptacles in place by Memorial Day in time for summer tourists.

Many residents and tourists are anxiously waiting to see if Joe's Crab Shack will, in fact, be coming to the town. Owens says more will be known after a public hearing set for March 14.

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