Monday, August 15, 2011

Corolla towing problem may be soon solved

Here is an update article from the Daily Advance on the A-1 Towing operation for those of you who have been following

Corolla towing problem may be soon solved

By Cindy Beamon

Staff Writer

Monday, August 15, 2011

CURRITUCK — Towed vehicles in Corolla and the off-road beaches of northern Currituck had nowhere to go but Kitty Hawk this summer, but the problem may be resolved soon.

A-1 Towing — Corolla’s only towing company — lost its special use permit last December and was not allowed to operate its impound lot in Villages at Ocean Hill this summer.

Since then, Dare County has became the closest destination for broken-down and wrecked vehicles, or those impounded after driving-while-impaired arrests.

A-1 Towing is seeking a new permit to reopen its impound lot after it was shut down by the county. The request won approval from the Currituck Planning Board on condition that the property owner build a new access road to the property. In addition to the impound lot, the company is also seeking approval of two equipment storage/stockpile areas on the site.

For the past 10 years, the towing company has used Ponton Lane, off N.C. Highway 12, to access its impound lot, said Midlantic manager Jim Bickford.

The access was not part of the original plan, but the adjacent property owner Gerald Friedman allowed the company to pass on his property.

A “squabble” between the two businessmen has brought that agreement to an end, said Bickford.

In September, the county granted A-1 Towing an extension of its special use permit to create another access north of Ponton Lane. When nothing happened, the county shut down the operation.

On Friday, the A-1 tow truck was parked in Carova, and Bickford said the operator was still towing vehicles but had no place to take them in Currituck.

Under the terms of the new special use permit, Bickford will have a year to get the new access built.

As a temporary fix, Friedman has agreed to let A-1 Towing use Ponton Lane for another year.

Once that agreement expires, however, A-1 Towing has no other way to reach its impound lot unless Midlantic builds an access where it originally planned.

Building the access will take some time, said Bickford, because the small 30-foot easement crosses wetlands, which will require a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

County planners said Midlantic will also need to improve the dirt road leading back to the impound lot if it wants to use the site for equipment storage and stockpiling. Otherwise, the site can only be used as an impound lot without the road improvements.

Bickford said he was willing to make the investment in the road because of the community’s need for the services.

Karen Ish, representing the Ocean Hill Property Owners Association, attended last week’s Planning Board meeting to oppose any possibility that the Coral Lane stub would be used as an access. Ish said the stub is part of the subdivision’s stormwater management system and should not be part of the towing operation’s route.

Currituck commissioners are scheduled to consider the special use permit request in September.