More heat than light
I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for the story, "More fighting over Currituck lighthouse" (April 28) by Barbara Solow.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was awarded to the Outer Banks Conservationists by the U.S. Department of the Interior under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. The Outer Banks Conservationists have worked for decades to restore and preserve this historic lightstation, taking on the cause and bringing it back from the shambles it was in when nobody else cared, including the county government.
As we all know Currituck County also applied to become the owner of the lighthouse under the NHLPA. When the lighthouse was originally awarded to the OBC, the Currituck County commissioners appealed the decision. After the appeal process was over, the lighthouse was once again awarded to the OBC, the only qualified applicant, much to the dismay of the county commissioners!
Now the Currituck County Commissioners have given the OBC 10 days to apply for a "conditional use permit" for the tower. They say that the OBC must supply 125 parking spaces and rest rooms for visitors to the lighthouse. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was built in 1875 and opened as a public attraction in 1990 (the county's primary tourist attraction, according to County Commissioner Ernie Bowden), two years before the county's Unified Development Ordinance was passed. The tower should be grandfathered in as an acceptable nonconforming use.
As Commissioner Bowden says, "With other businesses, they don't invoke these restrictions they know cannot be complied with." The lighthouse sits on eight-tenths of an acre and does not have space for permanent rest rooms or more parking.
Let's hope that Governor Easley and the state Attorney General step in and prevent the county from closing this historic lighthouse to the public. If the lighthouse were forced to close it would be a loss to everyone in the beautiful state of North Carolina!
Paul F. Conlin
American Lighthouse Foundation
Eagerly, I scanned this week's Independent ("Best of the Triangle," April 21), hoping to find the best video rental place in my new home, but apparently it's unfamiliar to most of your readers. (It's not Blockbuster or North American Video.) I'm looking for the place that has a copy of every film I've ever known. You know, the place where I can find Breaking Away, Local Hero and the original French version of Fathers Day. The store stocks everything ever made by Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn or Rupert Everett. It's got whole sections devoted to Merchant/Ivory and Kurusawa. This place must exist somewhere in the Triangle, and perhaps one of your visitors can tell me where it is.
Giving 'em Hayek
In searching through the April 7 Independent for the follow-up letters on your feeble attempt to argue that the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy is part of a cabal to silence liberal professors, I happened to notice something equally absurd in Peter Eichenberger's column ("Franklinton vs. global, corporate fascism"). He launches an attack on Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek. Why does Eichenberger dislike Hayek? He claims that Hayek (who died in 1992) said that "private profit" must always trump "social or environmental considerations."
Back in my days as an economics professor, I read most of Hayek's writings. Nowhere did he ever say that government must ignore the problem of pollution. He did contend that governmental attempts to deal with the "social considerations" of a free society would probably be counterproductive, but that's quite different from your writer's aspersions.
Perhaps a few readers actually went to the Hayek Center's Web site. If so, they might have discovered one of the more profound thinkers of the 20th century. But probably not. The point of the paragraph was merely to put Hayek on the "enemies list" rather than to encourage discussion of his ideas. What a waste of paper and ink.
George C. Leef
John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy
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