Grateful appreciation to Bill Grumley, who was so patient with me and who edited this history; to Kendall Bellamy, owner of Indigo Farms and Marynell Eaddy (first CSPOA secretary from 1974 to 1978) for their valuable information which added to the history of the area; and to Charles Bingham, the POA President who asked me to write a history of Carolina Shores.
A History of Carolina Shores
THE FIRST TEN YEARS
Early in 1972 Carolina-Caribbean-Corporation of Banner Elk, N.C. bought the Carolina Shores property from Canal Wood Industries. Carolina-Caribbean had developed Beech Mountain Resort in western North Carolina and was hunting new areas to develop. The property purchased extended from the Calabash River, including the basin for a marina, to beyond Ocean Highway (Route 17), including the property now known as Carolina Shores North. It also purchased the property which is now called “Windjammer”. It envisioned some 1,000 residential and commercial lots, condominiums, two18-hole golf courses, a large marina, water and sewer systems with a waste treatment plant, underground utilities, swimming pool, tennis courts, fishing ponds and surfaced roads.
Carolina-Caribbean entered into a joint venture with Blythe Construction Company of Charlotte, N. C. to develop the property. Carolina-Caribbean would handle land planning and sales, and Blythe would do the engineering and construction. The golf course was designed by Tom Jackson of Greenville, S. C.
On a contract basis, it hired Blythe to build the roads, ditches and sewer lines in Windjammer. As a consequence, Windjammer was served by the Carolina Shores sewer system.
By 1973 initial planning was completed and the dust was flying. Dennis Lehmann, who had been with Carolina-Caribbean at Beech Mountain, was named manager of the Carolina Shores project. Outside contractors were building the pro shop, tennis courts, swimming pool, the condominiums and sales office (now POA clubhouse). Contracts were signed with the electric and telephone companies to install underground lines. The Acreage Estates section was to have septic tanks and overhead electric lines. Plans were made to marl the Acreage Estates roads.
Allen May was named sales manager. His office was a trailer in front of the present POA clubhouse.
In November 1973, the partnership was dissolved, and the project taken over by Blythe Properties, Inc. (EPI). It was announced that the new arrangement would “solidify resources and offer increased commitments to prospective customers.” Dennis Lehman continued as manager.
The year 1974 saw remarkable progress. Major recreation and support facilities were built, roads cut and some paved, the sanitary treatment plant neared completion, the golf clubhouse and sales office were finished and condominiums built. Roger Harmon, formerly at Duckwoods Country Club, Kitty, Hawk, N.C. was links superintendent. He planted the fairways with Tifton 419 and the greens with Tif Dwarf Bermuda. The front nine opened on Labor Day 1974 and the back nine in early September 1975.
Del Marketing Inc. of Vienna, Va. took over sales and marketing in August 1974. Mike Plunkett was resident sales manager. The group began selling lots on the front nine, the acreage estates and condominiums with amazing frequency.
Our Property Owners Association was chartered by the state on June 28, 1974, as a nonprofit corporation. An organizational meeting was held in August of that year. Dennis Lehmann became president. Bylaws provided that each property would represent one vote and the developers could vote for each unsold lot.
The first issue of Shorelines appeared, dated Winter 1974-1975. It said one house was completed and occupied in Acreage Estates, another was under construction there, one home was being built in Section 4 near the sales office and another already approved. One condominium was occupied.
Incidentally, the Calabash Volunteer Fire Department was chartered in February 1974. It soon had 27 members. The’ fire house was built the following year with the aid of an FHA loan.
Some 75 persons, including lot owners and the developer’s officials and staff, attended the first annual POA meeting on March 8, 1975 in the Pro Shop. President Lehmann announced that 284 homesites were sold, 45 percent of the lots then available. Assessments were set at $200 per year. Members who had paid their POA dues paid no greens fees, with carts for nine holes $4.50 and $8 for a full round. Cart fees were not much different in 1975 than in 1984.
There were many activities for the members: golf, tennis, swimming, fishing, basketball, and archery available on weekends only. The ponds back of the condominiums and on hole No. 3 were stocked with bream, sunfish and large mouth bass.
Early residents had two pet alligators (Fifi and Arnold) who lived in those ponds. Many enjoyed feeding and watching them. Finally, vandals killed them!
It seemed nothing could go wrong
Lookers at Carolina Shores property often became buyers because they could see the finished golf course, pro shop, tennis courts and pool; the lots had water, sewers and other utilities already in.
These advantages, however, led to the developers’ downfall. The “up front” costs buried them. The single most expensive aspect of the Carolina Shores community was the multi-million dollar waste treatment and water system facility. The proximity of shell-fishing areas forced the designing of the plant so that it discharged nothing into adjacent bodies of water. The end product was almost as pure as drinking water.
The developers went through reorganization in January 1975, becoming Carolina-Blythe Coastal Properties, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blythe Properties. Carolina— Caribbean, the original developer, was no longer involved with Carolina Shores. The reorganization did not last long for early in 1976 the roof really caved in
North Carolina National Bank foreclosed on a multi-million dollar development loan that had been used to construct roads, utilities and recreational facilities, and it included unsold and undeveloped land. The foreclosure did not affect lots already sold. At the annual meeting of the POA in March of that year, a bank official said: “This action was necessary to continue the growth and development of the project and to insure value, not only to you but also for NCNB.” A month later, at a foreclosure sale, the development was acquired by CIA Properties, Inc., a wholly—owned subsidiary of NCNB. Dennis Lehmann resigned as president of the POA and vice president of Carolina-Blythe.
A new management team took over immediately. Roger Hard and Steve Hooks, calling themselves The Phoenix Group, began day-to--day supervision of the development. At the meeting a new assessment schedule was adopted; lot owners would pay $120 annually and condominium owners $80. Members who wished to use the swimming pool, tennis courts and other recreational facilities would pay an additional $80 per family. Those who wished to use the golf facilities would pay an additional $100.00.
Work went forward at an accelerated pace. Contracts were awarded to blacktop roads on the back nine of the golf course, and with the electric company for street lights. Water and sewer lines were completed and lift stations built to move effluence to the treatment plant.
The Phoenix Group, operating Carolina Shores for CIA Properties, the wholly—owned subsidiary of NCNB, said, “The objective is to maintain and improve the property, to continue sales of the project either in homesites or otherwise, and investigate the possibility of finding other qualified developers capable of completing the underdeveloped sections at Carolina Shores”.
In the spring of 1977, CLA brought in a new marketing group, SCS Associates, Inc. (Smith-Callahan-Small) to sell the rest of the homesites and the remainder of the condominiums. By mid 1980, this had been accomplished.
CLA Properties announced in July 1978 that it planned to offer lots for “patio homes” on the 9th, 10th, 17th and 18th fairways. Approximately 60 homesites would be available.
At the same time, CLA announced that a separate subdivision, Carolina Shores North, would be opened in early 1979. Approximately 350 half—acre parcels wou1d be offered. Each owner would have his own well and septic tank. The subdivision was to be separate from Carolina Shores and have its own restrictions, POA, pool, tennis courts and clubhouse. Owners there were not allowed to use the pool or tennis facilities of Carolina Shores.
To further reduce its investment in Carolina Shores, CLA let it be known that it would consider bids for various parts of the development and its facilities.
First, CLA sold off the property across Highway 179, including the land where the proposed marina was to have been built, and also the land where Marsh Harbour Golf Links was later built. (In turn, the new owner auctioned off the commercial lots facing Route 179 at a spirited sale one Saturday morning.)
The land on our side of Route 179, from the corner to the miniature golf course in Calabash, was sold earlier to individuals who were, or had been, associated with the developers.
In the December 1978 Shorelines was a story that CLA had reached an agreement to sell the golf course facilities to Jim Stoffel, then pro at the Surf Club in North Myrtle Beach. He assumed ownership on February 1, 1979, and stated that the program, instituted by CLA, of season passes and reduced cart fees would be continued, at least for a period of time.
That winter the water and sewer system was sold, effective April 15, 1979, to BWB, Inc. (Burnett, Wenzl, Burris). The company announced that it would go on “metered rates” instead of flat fees and, billings would be quarterly. The owners were to install an iron removal process later that year (which they did) and erect a 150,000 gallon overhead storage tank to assure customers 50 pounds of pressure. This was done in 1980.
It was becoming increasingly clear that, with the sale of undeveloped Carolina Shores property by CLA Properties and SCS sales organization, the bank, NCNB, had recovered most of its foreclosure loan and wanted to finalize its involvement with Carolina Shores. Therefore, at the March 1979 annual meeting, Roger Hard resigned as president of the POA. Immediately following that meeting a new board was named. All were volunteers and POA members.
The new board immediately faced a crucial question. The bank offered to sell the swimming pool, tennis courts, sales office and approximately 4½ acres of land to the POA. The terms of the offer specified that the directors were to reply by August 1, 1979 - - five months later - - whether the entire membership would approve or disapprove the purchase.
Ballots and notice of a special meeting of the Carolina Shores Property Owners Association, Inc. were sent to all members in good standing. The meeting was held July 28, 1979 and overwhelming approval was given for the purchase.
The asking price was substantial, yet the POA did not want any of this property sold to outsiders. Hard negotiations took place. The final agreement stated that the bank would give the pool and tennis courts to the POA. The contract for the sales office (future POA clubhouse) and acreage (which, when surveyed, tuned out to be 7 acres instead of 4½ acres) was signed on June 12, 1980 for approximately one—half of the appraised value of the sales office. The POA agreed to make space available in the clubhouse for three months to the sales group and, in return, would get new patio decks on the back side and front of the building. The contract with the bank stated that the POA mortgage was to be paid back in three years. By judicious investments, the mortgage loan was repaid in two years. This resulted in a substantial saving to the POA.
With the clubhouse available, residents expanded their activities. A memorable volunteer project took place when about 30 residents participated in a two-day “paint party” and applied two coats of stain to the building. Considering all of the food consumed, the “slave labor” still saved the POA more than $l,000!
In this first 10 years, residents have tried almost every activity suggested. In addition to the POA board meetings, the clubhouse has been used for ladies’ coffees, garden and sewing groups, bridge, poker, darts, art and handicrafts and exercise groups, just to mention a few. A library has been established, furbished by donations from residents. A monthly bulletin for residents became a necessity so that they could schedule events for the month. Many residents have found activities outside Carolina Shores, e.g., they have helped educate those who have had little or no schooling.
Basically a retirement community, nevertheless, Carolina Shores has seen nearly all its residents get involved in some activity.
In 1981 the board received approval from the members to revise the Bylaws to expand the board to five members, with two-year, staggered terms. The changes spread responsibility and afforded continuity of administration. Also, the board expanded the scope of committees that assist it, which include Maintenance, Audit and Finance, Architectural Control, Planning and Development, Advisory, Communications, House, Recreation and Nominating Committees. The board depends largely on volunteer help, and its prime objectives are to place the Association on a sound financial base and maintain the development at a level where future residents of Carolina Shores can enjoy it just as much as present ones do.
Initially, the POA had to contract much of the maintenance work. However, by 1983 the Association had acquired the equipment and, a small crew of laborers, together with a foreman, were hired to care for the roads, shoulders and ditches. They also clean the Clubhouse and other facilities, tasks which would be onerous to most of the residents.
Residents are continuing to provide a tremendous pool of talent in various fields, such as administration, legal, financial, engineering, mechanical, electronics, maintenance, insurance, public relations, teaching and others. Their volunteer work for nearby hospitals, schools, fire department, rescue squad and other organizations helped bring about the establishment of a medical clinic in Little River, just three miles from our front gate and, a rescue squad at our doorstep. Some serve on the boards of the fire department and rescue squad.
June 1984 completed the first ten years of Carolina Shores history. It has experienced phenomenal growth, which has enabled the surrounding area to also expand.
Our history is continuing through the pages of Shorelines which is sent four times a year to property owners throughout the world. Our POA family numbers about 1150, and they live in 41 states and 7 foreign countries.
Someday our children and grandchildren will realize that we, too, were