CEDAR POINT — Cedar Point town manager David Rief said Wednesday he is satisfied with progress in cleaning up two properties on Highway 24 and has given the owner an additional 30 days to complete the job.
As a result, the manager said, there is no lawsuit imminent, although town commissioners agreed by consensus in a Sept. 28 meeting to ask the town attorney, Neil Whitford, to initiate legal action to force cleanup, if necessary.
The properties were owned by Drew Lutheran, who died Oct. 15. Mr. Lutheran was president of Swannsborough Yacht Club Enterprises Inc., which Carteret County lists as the owner of the old Cedar Point Tavern building and property at 1121 Highway 24. He is also personally recorded as the owner of the adjoining property to the east, 1127 Highway 24.
“I informed the board (Oct. 21) that I had met with Dana Lutheran (Mr. Lutheran’s sister) and gave her another 30 days,” Mr. Rief said. “I’d say they are about 60 percent finished. They have done most of the tedious work.”
Mr. Rief said there is no point in taking legal action as long as there is progress on the property.
Mr. Lutheran was sick for a couple of months before he died, and in September, his attorney, Mike Lincoln, told the News-Times his client was “not in any condition to make any decisions” about cleaning up the properties. Mr. Lincoln also criticized the town for threatening legal action while Mr. Lutheran was sick and in intensive care, and said he would fight any complaint filed by the town.
The town has been pushing for the cleanup for more than a year and has issued fines for noncompliance. So far, Mr. Rief said, the fines total about $15,000 to $16,000.
Problems on the properties have reportedly included abandoned vehicles and debris, some from The Swannsborough Yacht Club in Swansboro, also owned by Mr. Lutheran. The club was severely damaged during Hurricane Florence in September 2018 and has not reopened.
Mr. Rief said the cleanup of the Cedar Point properties began in early October before Mr. Lutheran died, with family and friends taking on the job. Currently, the manager said there are still some abandoned vehicles on one of the properties, but those involved in the cleanup are trying to identify the owners before removing them.
“My personal opinion is I’m pleased with what they have done,” Mr. Rief said.
The fine for noncompliance with the cleanup order has been $100 per violation the first day, then $50 per violation on subsequent days.
Cedar Point commissioners voted 4-0 in December 2020 to approve a special-use permit for Mr. Lutheran to operate a private bar in the Cedar Point Tavern building. The permit is good for one year.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.