Swansboro will continue its effort to bring the Swannsborough Yacht Club property into compliance with town ordinances.

Drew Lutheran, owner of the property, died on Oct. 15. At the time, Lutheran was attempting to repair and renovate the property following significant damage in Hurricane Florence and the subsequent closure forced by state mandates in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

A request from Tideland News for comment on Lutheran’s death, relative to the negotiations concerning the property, brought a response from Michael J. Parrish of the Ward and Smith law firm. Ward and Smith represents the town.

“The Town of Swansboro was very sorry to learn of the recent passing of Drew Lutheran,” Parrish stated in an email. “However, the town has an obligation to ensure that property within its jurisdiction complies with the town’s ordinances. Because the property formerly owned by Mr. Lutheran remains non-compliant, the town’s pending lawsuit relating to that property will continue.”

While Lutheran was at work to resolve the problems with Swansboro, he was also embroiled in a similar situation in nearby Cedar Point concerning property he owned, the former Cedar Point Tavern property and an adjacent lot.

An article in the Nov. 2 Carteret County News-Times reported that Cedar Point officials have been working with Lutheran’s sister to resolve the problems, which included removing abandoned vehicles and debris from the two properties.

“The town has been pushing for the cleanup for more than a year and has issued fines for noncompliance,” the article stated. In the article, David Rief, Cedar Point town manager, said progress has been made.

“I’d say they are about 60 percent finished,” Rief said. “They have done the most tedious work.”

Lutheran’s issues in Swansboro were more complicated.

He had spent months on the repair and remodeling work at the Swannsborough Yacht Club – some of which took place without benefit of a building permit – and at the time of his death was hoping to settle the dispute with the town, complete the work and get the doors to the iconic nightclub and restaurant open.

According to information from Parrish, the Yacht Club was damaged during Hurricane Florence in September 2018.

Then, in May 2019, Lutheran received a building permit to install new roof trusses.

“On Aug. 4, 2020, the existing building permit was revised due to a difference in roof design submitted by Mr. Lutheran,” Parrish states in a letter to Lutheran’s attorney, Mike Lincoln. A stop-work order was issued on Aug. 31, 2020. The two sides have been at odds since then.

In a Tideland News article that ran on Sept. 1, Lutheran said that after the hurricane he made the repairs necessary to get the business open and the Swannsborough Yacht Club was fully operational until March 2020 when Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders forced many bars, restaurants and private clubs to shut down or drastically curtail operations.

“COVID came and we were closed,” he said in the article. So, while the business was closed during COVID precautions, he said he started to complete the remodeling.

While the work was underway, Swansboro warned Lutheran about the town’s 50-percent rule, which states, “If the cost to repair the building or structure with minimum standards is 50 percent or less of its then-current value, the ordinance shall require the owner to either repair or demolish and remove the building or structure within 90 days. If the cost to repair the building or structure to bring it into compliance with minimum standards exceeds 50 percent of its then-current value, the ordinance shall require the owner to demolish and remove the building or structure within 90 days.”

In order to resume, Lutheran needed to prove that the work could be accomplished for less than half of the value of the building at the time the repairs were undertaken.

Lutheran claimed the appraisal came in at more than $300,000, which would allow up to $150,000 worth of repairs.

In the Sept. 1 article, Lutheran said, “I’m not even close …”

Requests for comment from Lincoln were unanswered.

Email Jimmy Williams at jimmy@tidelandnews.com.

(8) comments

David Collins

Who now owns the property ?

Shore Service

If Onslow County GIS system up to date....

Current Owner is LUTHERAN DREW J

David Collins

Now that is indeed the definition of absentee ownership !


“The town has been pushing for the cleanup for more than a year and has issued fines for noncompliance,” the article stated. In the article, David Rief, Cedar Point town manager, said progress has been made. Hope you are now happy Mr Reif. What now??? What specific non-compliance. Make your case and save the innuendo Are we now guilty until proven innocent???.


No crime here. Bureaucratic bullying - yes. Mr Reif still waiting for an explanation. The site did not look that bad in relation to the reaction and misery dumped on the owner. There are many sites that are far worse - . starting with nearby commercial fishermen.and the general look of historic Swansboro. Using the codes to bully is a bad idea - a clear abuse of power.. Shame!!! Who is next???

David Collins

These guys always come out with some nebulous reply like “ progress has been made “ . No specifics but that is for saving face . Heck , someone could have disposed with a board or two and that is making progress . It is a game . Your eyes will know the truth and little has or will change anytime soon . That goes for both locations .

David Collins

Yes codes can be used to bully but then the word bully is rather overused like so many other words these days . All you have to do is keep your sandbox clean and straight . How hard is that ? There are always those that will say , the heck with that and I am gonna do as I please . You know this is true and if you look about it is evident in so many locations . Out of sight , out of mind till it creeps into sight over time . Not saying that we need to go the way of legendary HOA zealots , heavens no , but there should be pride in how these towns look . Legislating pride is impossible but should come from within . When that fails , action should be taken before things get out of control . Lack of true leadership and quick action , not empty words , just makes things worse . A fine line indeed but still a line .

Yes , certain areas of Swansboro have their mini dumps and some not so mini . Looks like new auto salvage yards are on the rise to various degrees and the general run down look is evident in the much touted Historic District . But then old and rundown often go hand in hand . The roads are screaming for help , help that is sorely lacking .

David Collins

In the interest of fairness, I did see that some cleanup has occurred in the Cedar Point location .

The Swansboro location looks just as blighted now as it did months ago . I know the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly but what is anyone waiting for ? It looks terrible . A real credit to the current leadership .

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