Bath: Catnip Estates lingers in bankruptcy

Published 9:04 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2013

BATH – Bath’s Town Council met for its regular meeting Monday night and addressed a variety of issues: more parking for old Bath High School, a budget work session to iron out the 2013-2014 budget, banners for light posts along Main and Front streets and the use of the old Bath High School gym for the Bath High School Preservation’s tag sale this Saturday.

Since April’s meeting, Commissioners Jay Hardin and Keith Tankand, along with Town Administrator Bubs Carson, took Beaufort County Economic Development Commissioner Director Bob Heuts and County Manager Randell Woodruff on a tour of Bath and its various sites and facilities, according to Carson. On the heels of a brief description of the visit, Commissioner Jay Hardin was nominated and approved to serve as the town’s representative on the county economic board.

Town Attorney Charles “Chip” Edwards Jr. addressed a request from the owners of the Quarterdeck Marina in response to the town’s recent denial of the business’ change in use application from a food stand/convenience store to a full service restaurant with seating for 36 people. The town’s denial stated that the change in use would violate a state-issued moratorium limiting wastewater flow until the completion of a new wastewater treatment plant, as determined by an official with the North Carolina Division of Water Quality. According to Edwards, the Quarterdeck owners have asked the town exactly how much they could expand without violating the moratorium — a request that, if granted, could potentially spur other businesses to submit the same.

Edwards also directed the conversation to the ongoing issue of a Bath Bridgewater LLC residential development, Catnip Estates, which abuts the town limits behind Catnip Point. The development, with one spec house constructed, fell into bankruptcy in either early 2012 or late 2011, according to Edwards. Though a bankruptcy court ordered the deeds for the 30 lots transferred from Bath Bridgewater LLC to Capitol Bank as payment of debt, Capital Bank filed a non-acceptance of deeds, which puts the burden of selling the land back in Bath Bridgewater’s hands. The 30 lots were mapped out and approved for development, but not included in any survey approved by the town was the lone waterfront lot that could grant water access to potential Catnip Estates residents, according to Edwards. The lots cannot be sold as having “water-access” until approved by the town planning board and council. Until the bankruptcy issues are resolved, any town ordinances and settlements due will not be resolved, Edwards explained.

“We’ve done what we could with the bankruptcy in place,” Edwards said. “Hopefully, it (will be resolved) sooner rather than later.”

Commissioner Trisha Duffer asked that it be made known to entities seeking Town of Bath funds in the next fiscal year that they should make those requests before the budgeting work session on May 28.

A public hearing for the budget is expected to take place at the next scheduled regular council meeting on June 10.