Mayor Barbara Harris called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
Present for the meeting were Mayor Barbara Harris; Commissioner Emily Farmer; Commissioner Patricia McElraft; Commissioner Emory Trainham; Commissioner John Wootten; Town Manager Pete Allen; Interim Town Manager Mitsy Overman; Town Attorney Derek Taylor; Town Clerk Carolyn Custy; Planning Board Chairman Ceil Saunders; Police Chief Mark Wilson; Kent Hood, Fire Department; Alesia Sanderson, Parks and Recreation; Building Inspections Department Head Carol Angus; and Public Works Director Robert Conrad.
Mayor Harris asked for a motion to excuse Commissioner Murphy due to illness.
Commissioner Trainham moved, Commissioner McElraft seconded, and the Board voted unanimously to excuse Commissioner Murphy due to illness. Motion carried
- MAYOR’S COMMENTS
Mayor Harris introduced the new Town Accounting Clerk, Vicki Dudley.
- ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Mayor Harris said she had been asked to eliminate Item 13 from the Agenda.
- CONSENT AGENDA
Commissioner Trainham moved and Commissioner McElraft seconded the approval of the Consent Agenda, which included Minutes of the Workshop Meeting of January 12, 2001, and Regular Meeting of January 13, 2001, and the Tax Refunds and Releases and Line Item Budget Transfers. The Board voted unanimously to approve. Motion carried.
- MR. HOWARD KOHN OF THE CHESAPEAKE GROUP, THE FIRM ASSISTING WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF A CARTERET COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN, WILL ADDRESS THE BOARD.
Mr. Howard Kohn apologized for not having sufficient numbers of his handouts but said he would leave some for copies to be made. He said he is a temporary resident of Emerald Isle.
One of the things that has been lost track of in the county is that what happens in one part of the county does have something to do with what happens in another part and there are many common interests and bonds. They have been involved in a very significant public involvement process that included telephone surveys of full- and part-time residents and visitors to the area; forums for public input in different locations; a survey of over 500 businesses in the county; open task force meetings held once a month; personal interviews with “stakeholders”; other meetings (tonight is an example). They are disseminating information on a regular basis through the newspapers, progress reports on a monthly basis, and articles in other publications for other organizations.
The Task Force members, appointed by the County, play a key role in getting back to their group. It involves “environmentalists,” “developers,” people from all ends of the county, including elected officials and regular citizens. It has been a very good group, and they have some great inputs.
In most comprehensive plans, there is one part to it where policies are established. This is a three-part process. Establishing goals and objectives was the first phase, and they have completed it. From there, they will develop programs on how to implement those goals and objectives. After that, they will be looking at land use on a countywide basis, not to circumvent anything done in Emerald Isle or any other individual community.
Eight or nine goals have been established. They can be modified at any time as the Task Force continues to take input. The goals are not in order of priority, but are just in the order in which they were placed in the particular document.
1) Provide a balanced transportation system that includes quality roads, public transit, and bicycle trails throughout the county to ensure access to jobs, services, resources, to all residents and visitors to the area. Promote quality roads and road conditions, encourage quality and efficient evacuation from Bogue Banks, encourage mass transit systems, and expand and improve bicycle paths and trails.
2) Promote and protect the quality of the environment and quality of life for all residents of the county. Protect and improve surface water, water quality, expand greenways, promote industry compatible with environmental quality and quality of life, establish carrying capacities based on land use and water quality baselines, and provide adequate infrastructure and public facilities for sustainable growth.
3) Preserve and respect cultural diversity.
4) Preserve and enhance the county’s natural and historic resources.
5) Preserve and enhance the county’s recreational opportunities for all its residents. Provide adequate water access for economic and recreational purposes. Water access is not just for someone to go to the beach—there are areas in the county that need access to the water for their livelihood; the seafood and fishing industry. Expand recreational opportunities for, including but not limited to, hiking, biking, swimming, walking, and other special-use facilities. Expand cultural enrichment opportunities.
6) Develop a diversified economic base, capitalize upon the county’s natural and human resources and assets by providing a range of employment and economic opportunity. There are many people concerned that their children, after they get an education, will not be able to live and work here because the job base is not here. There are also concerns about environmental issues about jobs. Reduce unemployment and under-employment. Increase well-paying full-time employment for county residents. Raise the educational levels and skills of the current and future workforce based on technology and technical skills. Retain and expand the county’s businesses and industries. Retain a greater share of retail spending power inside the county. Enhance the county’s hospitality industry, our number one industry. Support implementation programs and services that foster economic development and provide services necessary to expand the retiree base population.
7) Provide a quality education for the county’s current and future residents, ensuring the ability to achieve economic and personal opportunities.
8) Ensure quality health care and access to health care throughout the county. Keep health care here. Promote and encourage the use of the medical facilities within Carteret County. Encourage development of small business employee health insurance.
9) Promote the county’s goals, objectives, policies, and positions through coordination, communications, and participation with and through involving federal, state, regional, and multi-county government interests and related activities. Much of what happens in this county is impacted in one way or another by forces, sources that are outside of the county, and we need to beef up our involvement from that activity. Expand the level, involvement, and accountability of Carteret County representation on state and regional boards, commissions, and others that create, monitor, and control policies and regulations that impact the county. Improve communications between businesses and industry and government regulators. Enhance the county’s attractiveness to business and industry.
This part is complete. Most comprehensive plans stop here. From here, the Task Force will take these areas and look in more detail to create policies and programs to put things into place. They want consensus on how they will accomplish the goals and objectives.
Commissioner Farmer mentioned the forum at the western end of the county to be held on April 4, 2001, at the Western Community Center. Mr. Kohn thought it was scheduled for 6:00 P.M.
- MR. JOE MCKINNEY, DIRECTOR OF THE EASTERN CAROLINA COUNCIL (FORMERLY NEUSE RIVER COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS) WILL APPEAR BEFORE THE BOARD TO EXPLAIN THE SERVICES OFFERED BY THE ECC AND HOW THESE SERVICES CAN ASSIST THE TOWN OF EMERALD ISLE.
Mr. Joe McKinney explained that the name change is part of the reorganization that was taking place before he came on board 3 years ago. They are designated by state government as one of the 17 regional planning agencies in the state. They serve 9 counties, starting with Wayne County and coming toward the beach. There are 58 municipalities. Primarily they are responsible for coordinating regional efforts on a variety of issues. The focus within the last 2 to 3 years has been on economic development. They have been successful helping communities apply for federal funds, most recently Carteret Community College’s $1 million for a training facility for the boating industry.
He explained the packet of information he had given the commissioners. The ECC serves as an audit level for the federal government to make sure federal monies are spent properly. Probably one program that a lot of people utilize is the ombudsman program. They have employees who are advocates for residents in long-term care facilities, and there is an 800 number for use by anyone who has somebody in a facility who is not receiving proper treatment. There are employees who go to the facility as advocates of the residents; and if they find treatment problems, it goes on to Department of Social Services, and they do a complete investigation.
Other services provided are grant writing for funding for waste water projects, and a non-profit small business lending program that covers the 9 counties plus Johnson County with 5 different loan programs for small businesses just getting started or expanding that do not qualify for traditional bank financing. They do workshops for local governments on budgeting, capital improvement planning, special event festival planning. They also do basic planning work for local governments for subdivision regulations, developing zoning ordinances, doing annexation studies, etc.
Mr. McKinney said when he came on board 3 years ago, they had 5 staff members. They are now up to 14. The fund balance when he arrived was $60,000 and now is $108,000. Membership when he arrived was low, and now all 9 counties are involved. The real benefit is being able to share problems regionally.
The ECC has been selected to be the project sponsor of the Joint Land Use Study going on with Craven, Carteret, Havelock, Bogue, and Emerald Isle in conjunction with the base, to look at land uses around those facilities to see how they can be more compatible with the communities.
Last year, they were successful in obtaining a federal grant to start a regional Geographic Information System program, which is primarily mapping of various types of data. That program has been very successful. They computerize zoning maps that are done in pencil to give communities the ability to change and alter data without having to re-draw a zoning map every time it changes.
Commissioner Wootten said this is an organization that spends in the neighborhood of $4.4 million this year for the local development. What he was impressed with was that $4.2 million is coming out of the federal government or the state, so the agency is drawing in outside money to the betterment of the communities they serve. That is a good conduit to get outside money.
Mayor Harris asked if the Town is already a member. Mr. McKinneyreplied that they are not. Mayor Harris asked if the Board is interested in joining. Commissioner McElraft said the membership fee is only $880.
Mayor Harris said they would discuss joining the EEC.
- MR. DAVID LENKER, SUPERINTENDENT OF CARTERET COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, WILL ADDRESS THE BOARD ON THE ISSUE OF THE UPCOMING SCHOOL BOND REFERENDUM WHICH WILL BE HELD ON MARCH 20, 2001.
Dr. David Lenker said his handout included a breakdown of projects. First is a new elementary school for children of Beaufort because renovations on the existing school would cost as much as to build a brand new school. The total cost to the citizens will be $7.3 million, which is cheaper than it would normally be because they received $2 million from the state in Critical Needs Funds. This money has to be committed within the next 18 months and has to be used for new construction. The School Board and County commissioners voted to put that $2 million toward a new Beaufort elementary school.
Renovations will extend the life of the school another 35 years. A new roof, heating and air conditioning system with dehumidification system, and other things could be done for $9 million. If they had to build a new high school of that size, it would be closer to $18 million.
Morehead City Elementary School renovation is the same thing as East Carteret. Costs are less because it is one third the size. They are talking about putting in a standing seamed metal roof on top each of the buildings, four-pipe heating and air conditioning system to provide dehumidification that they have to have in the buildings now. Before Bertha in 1996, the state was not as concerned about the kind of heating and air conditioning system. In the last six years, the state is not recommending building any building without a four-pipe system that will have dehumidification as part of the process. They are a little more expensive and are more expensive to operate, but in the long run around here, you cannot have big buildings without being able to dehumidify the air.
The fourth project is a 750-seat auditorium at Croatan High School, at a cost of $3.5 million. That would complete programming for Croatan. They have auditoriums at East and West, and they need one at Croatan.
The final project is a new elementary school in Newport on land they already own. The school needs to be built because of the overcrowding at White Oak, Newport, and Bogue Sound. They can control the populations in each of those schools by changing the attendance lines. The attendance line runs out NC 24. The White Oak attendance line goes within a mile of Bogue Sound Elementary. They would move that line out toward White Oak. On the Morehead side of Bogue Sound, they would move those children into Newport. One building would take care of crowding in three schools. Cost of that building would be about $10.5 million.
For the elementary schools, they are using the prototype of Bogue Sound Elementary. It is a good school, a little smaller than they would like so they have enlarged it a little for Beaufort Elementary, and Newport Elementary would be exactly like Beaufort. That saves $300,000 in architectural fees.
If you own a $100,000 house in 2002, taxes would go up $.02, which would amount to $20.00. In 2003, taxes would go up $.03, which would be another $30.00. For that $100,000 property, taxes would go up $50.00 to pay for the $33 million bond.
Mayor Harris said that the only question the public has come to her with is where the money has gone so far. Dr. Lenker said that at Croatan, they designed for 12 outlets for every classroom for computers. At East Carteret, they have 2. There have been some leaks at Croatan through the wall (not the roof), and 90 to 95% of those leaks have been stopped at the expense of the architect and general contractor, at close to $190,000. They are still looking at a final step or two to finish the project. The school has been built two other times, and another county has been in looking at the design.
Commissioner Wootten said the polls will be open on Tuesday, March 20, and he encouraged everybody to get out and voice their opinion.
- PUBLIC HEARING TO DISCUSS AND TAKE PUBLIC COMMENTS AND POSSIBLE ACTION ON THE PROPOSED REVISIONS TO THE SIGN ORDINANCE, SECTIONS 19-131 THROUGH 19-150 OF THE EMERALD ISLE CODIFICATION.
Mayor Harris said it was decided at the very beginning of the Sign Committee meetings to repeal the entire sign ordinance and replace it with the new ordinance, Section 19-131 through Section 19-150.
Commissioner McElraft moved to open the public hearing. Commissioner Farmer seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous in favor. Motion carried.
Mr. Tom Sneed, resident of Emerald Isle and owner of Emerald Video, said everything that is in the ordinance that pertains to his store is trying to put him out of business. 1) He can only use 25% of his space on windows, and when he puts posters in his windows, one poster takes up 25% of the space. If this goes through, he will have to pull 3 of them. 2) He said in section 19-135, 14, it says signs “are devices that are designed to attract the public.” 3) His last complaint was about the neon. He has a sign that says “Movies.” Everybody who goes by his store and sees Movies, they know what business he is in. It is a small sign, not obnoxious. The mantra of the elite people around here do not want it to turn into Myrtle Beach. That sign will not turn it into Myrtle Beach. According to what is written in the ordinance, there are so many signs that will have to be taken down—Emerald Plantation sign, Michelangelo’s Pizza. The sign ordinance committee is coming into people’s stores and is trying to tell them how to run their business, and that is not right. He urged the commissioners to think twice before passing the ordinance.
Mr. Rick Smith, owner of Emerald Isle Mini-Mart, said his family and he have been in business in Emerald Isle for over 25 years. They have seen a lot of changes, some good, some bad. Never in his life has he witnessed an unwarranted attack on the business community of this town. What have they done to deserve this? They support 56% of the entire town’s tax base. He is bothered by doing away with the grandfather clause and asked if the town is willing to reimburse him for his past investments and the costs of his complying with the new ordinance. Why should he have to buy a permit for a sign he has had for 20 years? Signs are designed to attract attention. His little business is four businesses in one store. He has an Open sign, which is the only thing that will be allowed to be placed in the window, but it has to be no more than 2 feet square. The average Open sign is 3.5 sq ft. He has a Gift Shop sign that lets people know he is more than just a convenience store. He begged the Board to think of what they are doing. Bear with the business people who try to generate business, who bring in the tax dollars that support the town. Please give it a lot of thought before adopting it.
Mr. George Kuhorn, resident of 7223 Canal Drive, said the most shocking thing about the ordinance is the attitude toward political signs. It seems to be glossed over. He likes what he sees in Pine Knoll Shores, where those signs are allowed. Our town is proliferated with signs for 90 days, and each guy has 5 signs on one corner. It is stupid. He thinks they should look into that.
Mr. Ronnie Watson, owner of Holiday Trav-L-Park resort, said he has questions. What bothers him is that every sign that is there now has to have a permit. Also mentioned is that all signs have to comply. If a tenant leases a spot in a building and the other signs are non-conforming according to the way this is written, do all other signs have to comply before that tenant can get a permit? It also says no grandfathering will apply, and that is totally wrong. He does not think anybody in the room wants to see a Myrtle Beach, and it will never happen. The thing the commissioners have to understand is that they are in business in Emerald Isle, they do supply jobs, and there is a lot of struggling just to make it. They make their money in 5 months out of the year; the other 7 months they struggle. He thinks that instead of working against the businesses, the commissioners ought to work with them. The sign ordinance as proposed is not good at all. He asked about banners or flags that have been flying for 10 years and now will be prohibited, so will the little checkered flags at the Emerald Isle Speedway be prohibited? What about vending machines? Is that a sign? About fluorescent signs and neon signs, some are done in good taste, yet they are saying now that the only neon sign that will be allowed is an Open sign. Emerald Isle Wine Market is done very tastefully. If someone has a 16-foot sign that has to be replaced in 6 years by a 15-foot one, who will pay for that? The ordinance needs a lot of work, and he thinks they need to get more people in the business community involved because they are the ones affected. They should have more input from the business people.
Mr. Craig Connelly, owner of Box Office Bagels, expressed some dismay that it appears that the town is out to get the businesses based on this new ordinance. The town has the point of view that the owners of businesses do not need to let people know that they run a business. If they cannot let people know they run a business, how are they supposed to get people into their businesses? If they cannot get people to come into the businesses, how are they supposed to pay the rent on the facilities that pay the taxes for the town? If they are not allowed to bring people into the facility by advertising, how do they support the town? How do they provide the tax revenue, which is around 56%, that the town presently lives on? When is the confrontation going to cease and a joint effort ensue to have something which is reasonable in the commercial districts which the Board has zoned? This is not residential, this is not a place where people have to see it every day, this is a place where it is specifically for the use of the businesses as B zoning. He is very disappointed that the town took the position that they did versus the business people that are here.
Mr. Mike Hodges, who runs the movie theaters at Emerald Plantation, said they came to town in 1988 and he likes to tell people that the movie theater has grown as the town has. Emerald Isle has always had controlled growth, which is understandable and appreciated, but this ordinance is stifling to businesses. He urged the Board not to approve it tonight, to table it, and take another look at it before they make any motions to move forward.
Dr. Bogus said he recently opened a store in Emerald Isle. He is trying to set up a small business that involves fishing and arts and crafts and things. When they built their house in 1992, they liked the atmosphere and set up the business. It is very difficult to get a small business going in a community like this, and some of the things over the last year or so—the sign ordinance and new restrictions on beach access—have really put a crimp in that. He would like the Board to reconsider the ordinance, as it is very unfriendly to the businesses, especially to new ones that do not have any recognition whatsoever.
Mr. Allen Watson, owner of Emerald Isle Speedway, referred to Section 19-135 number 4 concerning pennants. He puts flags up for about 5 months every year at the speedway to attract families. He is running a legitimate business, and his understanding last year was that the “Sign Ordinance Committee” was griping about the fact that he had some pennants that were flying over state right-of-way space. They were on his property, but if the wind blew a certain direction, they were flying over state right-of-way property, and they thought that it was illegal. His concern is that his employees keep a lot of the state right-of-way clean when trash is blowing around. They keep from Coast Guard Road to Islander Drive picked up, they mow it, they clean it, and fly a few flags to attract business. What they do for the town—and then they get this thrown at them.
Commissioner Wootten made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner McElraft seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous in favor. Motion carried.
Commissioner Farmer said the committee was made up of 2 commissioners, 2 Planning Board members, 2 representatives from the business community, and Carol Angus as chairman. It started in September. They did not rewrite the whole sign ordinance. They felt it was easier to follow it if they put it all in a new format. A number of the issues were actually already in the sign ordinance. The neon part has been in the ordinance for about 2 years. That was not passed by this Board. The thing on banners and pennants has always been in the sign ordinance. It was brought up tonight that there is a grandfather clause in this. The signs that are there now have 6 years after this ordinance passes before they have to come into compliance. Six years was the feeling of the committee to be pretty much the life of the sign. Political signs are supposed to be limited to private property, and she believes that is the way the ordinance reads now except that the town makes an exception for state right-of-way. It was never enforced, so this is more of an enforcement issue. She agreed that she would be happy to get rid of all political signs.
Commissioner Farmer said there have been a lot of residents who have been concerned about the way the town has been looking. There are a number of signs that are in place now that are illegal. The committee did not want to get into the situation where they were going to people to say take the sign down even though you have had it up for 3 months or a year because it does not conform. What this ordinance is allowing is for any signs that have not gotten permits to be permitted as non-conforming under the new ordinance so that they will not have to go out and get permits if they already have permits for the signs. That part applies to people who have put up signs not understanding that they needed to get a permit first, and this allows them to come into compliance so they are following the rules that everyone else in town has to follow.
Commissioner McElraft said the Sign Committee worked very hard on this, and they did have 2 business people. It sounds like all the business interests have not been made known. Even if banners or flags were restricted before, what she sees on the Speedway is not offensive to her 5 months of the year. The business people have a right to make a living here, and something that might be unsightly to one person needs to be judged also with the person’s income in perspective. She would like to table this tonight, have a public workshop where they could hear input. Maybe some of the business owners that made comments tonight could write down areas they do not agree with, and they can work on a solution. They have 6 years grandfathering now, so they do not have to get this done immediately. She suggested working with the business people and trying to get their input.
Commissioner Trainham said he is very concerned about the attitude the business community has towards this Board. They are all for the business people, they are not against them, and they want to do everything they can to help them succeed. He is a business person himself, and he can understand where they are coming from and he appreciates their comments. He agrees with Commissioner McElraft that the Board needs to hear from them.
Commissioner McElraft made a motion to table Section 19-131 through 19-150. Commissioner Trainham seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous in favor. Motion carried.
Mayor Harris said this would be tabled. They will set up a new workshop just for signs, and notification will be in the newspaper.
Commissioner Wootten said he hoped that everyone who spoke would attend the workshop and have the conversation in more detail with some more examples. The worst thing they could do is have a workshop and not have them show up. If they have to have it in the evening to make it workable, that is what they will have to do.
Mayor Harris said the ones who spoke tonight will be contacted to attend. Mrs. Carol Angus said she will personally contact each one of them to let them know the time and date of the meeting.
- DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE APPROVAL OF A COMMERCIAL REVIEW FOR EMERALD MOTEL.
Mayor Harris ascertained that Mr. Ronnie Watson and Mr. Ken Burnette were present. Everything is in order except for a few things on storm water. Mr. Burnette said the engineer had answered all of the questions that had arisen. Since the last Planning Board meeting, he answered some specific requests, and he met last week with some members of the Planning Board and addressed additional information. There was one request that came in this morning to show calculations that they comply with the city ordinance. There was not enough time between this morning and this meeting to generate those. Other than that, they have met them all. They are in compliance, and their engineer sent a letter to Carol Angus indicating that they would be in strict and absolute compliance with it. The request came at such a late hour that there was no time to provide what was asked for.
Mayor Harris asked who had made the request. Mrs. Angus replied it was Dr. Almeida.
Dr. Almeida said this project came to the Planning Board about 8 months ago, and at that time, they were asked for a storm water plan. It came back to the Planning Board at the February meeting, and there was not enough time during the meeting to review the drawings, so what the Planning Board did was approve the project contingent on his reviewing the storm water plan and approving it. They went through some revisions of the original plan, but it came down to storage of 1½ inches of runoff onsite. What they did not realize was there was no compliance with Article 16-7 of the ordinance the “requirement to ensure that after development the runoff from the site approximates the rate of flow, volume, and timing of runoff that would have occurred following the same rainfall and existing conditions and, to the extent practicable, pre-development conditions.” There is a problem at the junction of Reed Drive and Islander Drive. There is flooding, and you can see that water has accumulated on the roadside. What is happening is that the area that will be developed for the motel is enclosed by a perimeter brick wall and the whole area inside is baked. What will happen is, it is true that they comply with the requirement of collecting the 1½ inch runoff onsite, but if there is a heavy downpour, anything beyond that, there is nothing to absorb the rainwater. It will flow onto Reed Drive. That is the concern they started with. The ordinance requires that they comply with that requirement. If they are unable to comply with that requirement, they might need some radical revisions. He has two suggestions for the Board of Commissioners: one is that they do something to improve the drainage at the Reed Drive/Islander Drive junction, and the second is his recommendation that they refer this back to the Planning Board because the Planning Board as a group has not had a detailed discussion on this issue.
Mr. Allen said he believes the town has solved the problem very simply. They have gone in and resurfaced and re-tilted the low area at the intersection. They are trying to wait to get some on-site data with rainfall to see if what they have done has solved the problem, which he thinks they have. If that does not work, what the town agreed to do since there is already a problem there, is put some catch basins in the intersection to feed the water through those over to the ditch that feeds out to the canal at Loon Drive. The little rainfall we have had so far, it has totally eliminated the water standing at that intersection.
Commissioner Wootten asked if that had been done last month. Mr. Allenreplied it was part of the road improvements, and you can see the difference in the color of the asphalt. What was happening, Islander Drive going through the intersection was lower than the other side of the road, which is where the discharge point is. He thinks the problem is solved.
Mayor Harris said the excess would be piped to the Loon discharge pipe.
Dr. Almeida said there is another concern. They might have solved the problem as far as the present condition is concerned. If they look at the drawing, along Reed Drive the plan is to fill up to a level of 3 to1½ feet above the Reed Drive edge. The ground will be sloping straight down. There is no swale there; in fact, that is something lacking in the standards of the town. We do not have good standards as far as putting swales around the side of the road so they can drain the water away from the road, through the swale, onto an outlet. If somebody drives there, they will find that the elevation along the boundary of the motel is going to be from 3 to 1½ feet above the edge of the road, and with the present road sloping straight down, whenever there is a heavy rainfall within the built-up area, there will be no choice but that the water will run straight down on Reed Drive.
Commissioner Wootten said it sounds like this is a problem that is newly uncovered. Mr. Burnette is saying he just got the request this morning for some information. Dr. Almeida has been tasked individually to look at it, not the entire Planning Board. Is this an issue that if the Planning Board had another look at it next Monday night, is solvable to everybody’s satisfaction to be sure the ordinance is being followed and the drainage is taken care of in such a way that does not use time delay?
Dr. Almeida said there are two options available to the Board of Commissioners. One is to approve it conditionally. The other is to send it to the Planning Board. The concern he has is that if they have to make a major modification, they run into a problem. Suppose they cannot comply within the scope of the work that they have done. What do they do? They are approving something on a contingency basis that might require a lot of changes. What he suggested is that the Planning Board is meeting on Monday. He would be glad to sit with the engineer. He had given the paperwork to Mrs. Angus on Monday, but she was not in then so it sat in the Inspections Department. It is true that the request came late from the Planning Board, but that is part of the ordinance.
Commissioner Wootten asked Mr. Burnette if it would be conceivable that the Planning Board look at this on Monday. The Board of Commissioners has a workshop scheduled, so they know they will be together on March 25, 2001, and it would be easy to convert it to a special meeting in order to deal with this subject and give it approval then. Does that make sense for both sides?
Mr. Burnette replied that it is doable, but he would like for them to consider approving the project tonight contingent on this one point being satisfied when they meet with the Planning Board on Monday. If they meet with the Planning Board on Monday and are unable to satisfy it, then they are not approved. This would keep them from having to readdress this administratively and would allow them to move on once they have met the criteria. They have a letter from their engineer assuring them with his seal on the letter that these can and will be met. They presented the storm water plan in September, and they met with the Map Committee in September and then there was a moratorium. Because of the moratorium, they could not come back and get on the agenda until after the moratorium was over. They took the comments from the Map Committee and applied them to the site plan, and to his knowledge they are in compliance with all the things that were requested. If it will work, they would request consideration of approval tonight contingent on them meeting that requirement.
Commissioner Trainham said he hated to see it put off. They have waited long enough. He would like to see it done on a contingency basis and hopefully they can get this squared away Monday night.
Commissioner Farmer said this section of the storm water management plan has never been enforced, and she thinks a lot of the flooding problems they are having in the commercial area are due to the fact that this part has never been enforced. She thanked the Planning Board for discovering it, and said it would make a significant difference in how they handle storm water in town in the future. The part of the ordinance that has always gotten the focus was the 1½ inches in the design standard; but the performance standard, which requires that the storm water that is on the lot now and how it is handled fairly naturally now be met after construction is something that has been ignored. She personally does not like conditional approvals. She thinks that is a bad way to do business. She thinks it is very sloppy. The Planning Board and the Board of Commissioners need all the pieces at one time in a project because they all impact on each other. However, she will this once go along with it so that Mr. Watson does not feel that she is picking on him. She does think in the future that conditional approval of projects is not the way to go. They do not want to be holding up developers, but on the other hand, she thinks it is important for them to get all the documentation needed into the Planning Board and to have it all turned over to the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner McElraft said Mr. Watson has redrawn the plans many times. The Board of Commissioners changed building heights on him, then put a moratorium out there. She is in favor of letting him go ahead with the project with the storm water condition on there. She is happy that they are going to have a nice hotel in Emerald Isle.
Commissioner Farmer said she agreed with Commissioner McElraft. She is thrilled, that she will have a place for her relatives to stay. She has concerns, and they are minor. One is vegetation, and they have quite an effort underway in town to re-vegetate, and they are trying to get all the residents involved. Commissioner McElraft is involved in that. They have a town survey, and one of the questions was whether the town should encourage vegetation of all residential and commercial setbacks. 855 people said “yes”, 45 were neutral, and 14 disagreed. There is a lot of interest in the town that we vegetate as much as we possibly can. She would encourage, because they cannot require, them to vegetate, and by vegetation she does not mean grass, she does not mean specimen plantings, she means real trees and shrubs. The community would appreciate that.
Commissioner Farmer continued that she had one other thing—also picky. On the natural area, would it be too difficult to split the natural area for the two parcels so that they show separately? It shows a natural area of 44%, and if it could be broken down into two separate parcels, parcel A is more like 17%, and the ordinance is 15%. They are complying with it, but it would be nice to have it shown that way. Mr. Burnette said they could do that.
Mr. Watson said his track record speaks for itself in terms of vegetation and landscaping. She does not have to tell him that, he will do it. Commissioner Farmer said she was not telling, she was asking.
Mr. Burnette said Mr. Watson had gone to considerable expense at this point with the storm water plan, trying to make sure that it does comply. His marching orders to Mr. Burnette and the engineers are to comply.
Commissioner Wootten moved that the Board approve the plans for the Emerald Motel as presented contingent on the Planning Board review and approval of the storm water management plan and its compliance with Section 16-7 of the Code. Commissioner Trainham seconded, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.
The Board took a 10-minute break.
- DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE APPROVAL OF A COMMERCIAL REVIEW FOR CVS DRUG STORE AND PHARMACY.
Mayor Harris asked if there were any questions of Mr. John Odum or Mr. Larry Watson.
Commissioner Farmer asked about the drive-through. The road in back coming off Old Ferry Road is two-way. She is concerned that that is not safe with the drive-through there and asked if it would be difficult to make that one-way exiting. Mr. Watson replied they had discussed that, and they really wanted to keep it two-way. They do quite a bit of pavement marking and directional arrows, and in the past, they felt that they had taken care of that.
Commissioner Farmer commented on vegetation and said they would appreciate any nice vegetation they can get.
Commissioner Farmer said the other problem she had is the storm water problem. She said that Mr. Watson is in the same situation his brother is in, that this was not something he was told he needed to comply with. Mr. Watsonreplied that they have complied with that, and the system that exists now is big enough to handle what is there. They are not doing any real impervious area. After all the hurricanes, there has been no water in the parking lot, it has discharged out, so they feel like they are in good shape with that requirement. Commissioner Farmer said there were no additional impervious surfaces to be added. Mr. Watson responded that there would be redistributing of it, but none over what is already there. Commissioner Farmer said that theoretically the ordinance is quite clear, that the storm water management plan is not to be accepted until both pieces, the design standards and the performance standards, are met. It has not been calculated out. She said if Dr. Almeida is satisfied, she would be satisfied.
Dr. Almeida said he is satisfied as far as the 1½ inches is concerned. There have been no computations turned in, and they had not requested them, in terms of compliance with 16-7. At the most it might be marginal, but he suggested that they submit them for the record so they can be looked at.
Commissioner Wootten said there is a different situation because the property was developed and impervious surfaces are not changing, as opposed to the situation earlier with the motel and the empty lot and the water flow. He agreed that they should get it documented for the record.
Dr. Almeida said if the impervious surfaces have not changed, it should not be a major problem.
Commissioner Trainham asked if the catch basins that are there affect the carrying of the water as far as the current situation is concerned. Mr. Odumsaid there was never any standing water at any time, on the right-of-way or on the property. Dr. Almeida said there is a swale on the side of the road that would take care of some of it.
Commissioner Wootten moved that the Board approve the plans for the CVS at the intersection of Emerald Drive, Mangrove and Old Ferry Road. Commissioner McElraft seconded, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.
- DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE APPROVAL OF A RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT FOR THE WESTERN CARTERET COUNTY LIBRARY.
Commissioner Trainham read the resolution of support which has been incorporated into these minutes at the end.
Commissioner Trainham moved for support of the resolution. Commissioner McElraft seconded the motion, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.
Commissioner Trainham commented that his background has always been in education. One of the thrills he sees for the county library opportunity is the bringing together of the Community College into Western Carteret County, which is much needed. Many of our students go to Onslow to get their education, and they slip out of our county because it is more convenient. He thinks the time has come when Western Carteret County ought to have some benefits. He would look forward to the opportunity this has presented. He suggested that they need all the help they can get to get the County Board of Commissioners to agree to the procedure set forth in this resolution. He asked that the public put down March 19, 2001, 6:00 P.M., and get to Beaufort before 6:00 P.M. because they are expecting a big crowd in favor of this resolution and the movement of the library to Western Carteret County. It is greatly needed.
Commissioner McElraft said that is the first thing on the agenda on March 19. They need everybody there, and she said if they cannot come, please call the County commissioners in support of this. The funding is very important, many volunteer hours have gone in over the past 5 years to raise $250,000 that we will match with County money that the Western Carteret County library fund will be donating. She urged that the public call the County Commissioners if they cannot be there on Monday night.
- DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE APPROVAL OF A RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF ROOM OCCUPANCY TAX LEGISLATION.
Mayor Harris said the resolution is long, the Board has read it, and it is available on the back table.
Commissioner McElraft said that Julia Wax from Emerald Isle has been instrumental in working with the Tourism Development Board to try to get this occupancy tax. They heard the citizens loud and clear that they did not want to pay for beach nourishment, that they would like for the tourists to pay their fair share, and raising the occupancy tax this 3% will help that and will help us get our beach nourishment for the federal plan, and hopefully with the 3% we will have a split between the Bogue Banks towns to help with some short-term solutions, too. She is in favor of this, and there is still some discussion on how it will completely turn out, but she trusts Julia Wax 100% to look out for town interests.
Commissioner McElraft made a motion to accept the resolution, Commissioner Wootten seconded, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.,
- DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE APPROVAL OF AN AMENDMENT TO CHAPTER 2, SECTION 2-41, REGULAR MEETINGS, ORDINANCE #01-03-13-02.
Mayor Harris said when they looked through the ordinances, they caught this. The ordinance codification book says meetings will be held at 7:30 P.M. She does not remember any meeting at 7:30. There was discussion on having the meetings at an earlier time, but that did not go over well. They have to change it in the ordinance book.
Commissioner Wootten moved that they approve the change to the Chapter 2 ordinance to change the time of the meeting to 7:00 P.M. Commissioner Farmer seconded the motion, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.
- DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE APPROVAL OF RENEWAL OF AUDIT AND ACCOUNTING CONTRACT WITH BELL & COMPANY, CPA.
Commissioner Farmer said that Joy Bell has always done a wonderful job for the Town of Emerald Isle.
Commissioner Wootten said it is a reasonable price. The cost for the annual audit of the town this year is $6,750, which is up $500 over last year. The offset to this is because of Joy Bell’s competency and Mitsy Overman is that the town has only expended about $2,500 of accounting service dollars. This is a win-win situation.
Commissioner Wootten moved that they approve the contract with Joy Bell’s CPA firm for the annual audit for the town. Commissioner Farmer seconded the motion, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.
- APPOINTMENT TO THE JOINT LAND USE STUDY COMMITTEE.
Mayor Harris said that Mr. Allen had been appointed by the JLUS as Town Manager. Interim Manager Overman has attended the other meetings, and the Technical Committee has requested that she be appointed.
Commissioner Trainham said this is the Scope Committee, not the Policy Committee.
Mr. Allen said there are two committees, the Technical Committee who did the scope of work, and a Policy Committee. He had served on the Technical Committee, and this is what she will serve on.
Commissioner Trainham moved that Mitsy Overman be appointed to the Technical Committee, Commissioner McElraft seconded, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.
- APPOINTMENT OF A NEW PLANNING BOARD MEMBER.
Mayor Harris said they appointed Mr. Harry Thompson at the last Board meeting. He has moved to Cape Carteret, and a person must be a full-time resident of Emerald Isle to serve on this Board.
Commissioner Wootten nominated Mr. Fred Josey for appointment to the Planning Board effective immediately through March 2002. Commissioner McElraft seconded the nomination. Vote was unanimous in favor of the nomination.
- DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION ON AN AGREEMENT FOR SERVICES WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT “UNIT COST” CONTRACT WITH BENCHMARK, INC.
Commissioner Wootten said that at the last meeting, they had a discussion that they needed to add a couple of things that they were unsure of.
Mr. Derek Taylor, Town Attorney, said that based on the information provided to him at the last meeting, he had made some suggested changes to the contract. He does not believe any of the changes will give indigestion to the folks from Benchmark since it was fairly loosely written anyway. They are primarily interested in capping expenditures by the department heads without approvals by the Board at some level. That level was set at $3,000. The departments should be interfacing with the town manager for expenditures of this type, and that was made explicit. They had a right as the town to cancel this agreement for cause, and Mr. Taylor added a reason to cancel without cause, primarily for issues that might relate to governmental restrictions. He made it explicit that particular situations where they might restrict governmental activities that would not be bound by this contract.
Commissioner Wootten explained that what they are trying to do is establish a contract with Benchmark so that if the Planning Board and Inspections Department feel that they need help on a specific subject, this contract allows the town manager to go out and get specific help from an expert if Benchmark happens to be the one to do that. This is laying out the ability to do that. He thinks the Board feels this is something that was overdue because of the work load they are putting on the Planning Board, that there are certain things that they could and should have some outside help on.
Commissioner Farmer added that she had been in touch with Mike Harvey of Benchmark. He will be sending a proposal to the town for a grant for CAMA for planning funding. Mr. Allen said they had an application in.
Commissioner Trainham moved that they agree to the $3,000 figure indicated in the “Unit Cost” contract and the changes indicated by Mr. Taylor. Commissioner Farmer seconded, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.
- SOLID WASTE/RECYCLING COMMITTEE REPORT.
Mr. Dick Eckhardt said that he and Mr. Jim Ramsey would be giving the results of the Solid Waste Management Committee. In September, the Board appointed the committee to study solid waste problems and recommend how to solve them. The committee met half a dozen times during December and January.
They eliminated things from the scope that they did not feel were problems, such as high-rise and/or association waste, yard trash, commercial waste, cost of the service provided, existing contractor performance. They keyed in on residential waste for residential units and the transfer station. The committee members were Scarlet Williamson, Joanne Sutherland, James Ramsey, Floyd Messer, Nancy Eckhardt and himself.
A copy of the report is attached, although Mr. Eckhardt did add some comments. Concerning the 90-gallon roll-out system that was started in 1993, he said it was started for a reason, and it seems that it was abandoned along the way.
The committee recommends one 90-gallon roll-out Zarn container for every 6 people a residential unit sleeps. Waste Industries mentioned that number, and the largest property manager in town came up with that number also. They recommend that all roll-out garbage containers be placed at the curb from dusk the evening before collection day and returned to the dwelling after collection on collection day, and this would start as soon as possible. By January 1, 2002, all residential units would be required to have the 90-gallon roll-out containers.
Mr. Eckhardt said what they are looking at is a higher standard for everyone, for homeowners, for residents, for property managers, for visitors. One of the terms used was “pride of ownership.”
Commissioner McElraft asked about the 90-gallon roll-out. She has had experience with both with renters. She has a duplex that has 6 trash cans on each side inside nice racks. That is plenty for a duplex. She had the 90-gallon roll-out at another duplex. They always ended up in the street, were not taken out by the renters because they were too lazy to take them all the way to the street. Sometimes the trash would not be picked up during the week. She found that at the duplex that had the 12 trash cans, it looked better. She wondered if the roll-away containers could be encased and left at the curb also. She does not see renters taking them out, and enforcement from the real estate companies will be a nightmare.
Mr. Eckhardt responded that the committee addressed that. They had a hard time with double standards. They felt that the type of thing that they would get into with renters is the same type of thing that they feared when recycling went in, that renters would not recycle. But they did recycle. Most of the people who come to the island also roll their garbage out. It is a concern, but through education, they think it can be done.
Commissioner McElraft asked if the committee recommends the prior-to-1993 rules stay in effect, or do those houses have to comply with the 90-gallon Zarn containers. Mr. Eckhardt replied that by 2002, everyone should go to the 90-gallon containers, and effective immediately, anything will wheels on it goes in and out.
Commissioner Trainham observed that he wished there were some way the committee could allow for decent-looking and nice-looking racks. He had just finished fixing his up, and it really looks nice. He hates the idea of having to roll his 90-gallon job up the driveway, and he has no place to put it up at the house. One of the problems they have is that the renter will go home Sunday evening and leave his garbage out there with no way to pick it up the next day when the garbage man comes. How do they get the container back up where it belongs? He has neighbors that has happened to. If they are gone a day or two, the cans sit out on the street. After the wind the previous night, the cans were across the street in someone else’s yard. There are some racks around that look terrible and ought to be fixed.
Mr. Eckhardt said some racks look better than his house, as far as being painted. The committee had a hard time addressing the double standard, and the way other communities have addressed people who are not in town when the garbage is supposed to be put out is through options. Options are to have a neighbor do it, pay someone to do it, or use the transfer station on 24 or 58.
Mayor Harris asked if the committee had asked Waste Industries if they are willing to pick up the old cans and racks and deliver the 90-gallon containers. Mr. Eckhardt replied that they will work with the town on that. Mr. Keith Stroud , of Waste Industries, said that many times when the town makes a large move like this, they assist with the delivery, set up, and removal of old racks. They are willing to work any way they can to help the town.
Commissioner Wootten said that early on in the committee, there was a conversation to look hard at the possibility of a Saturday or Sunday pickup. In a lot of ways, a Saturday or Sunday pickup, especially along Ocean Drive, would solve a lot of problems in town. He asked if the committee looked hard at the ability to do that.
Mr. Eckhardt said they had brought that up. It was not agreed that it was going to solve the problem. They felt that it could be a secondary, and more costly thing, if they could not solve the problem by more containers.
Mayor Harris said Waste Industries had agreed to do that, but the landfill would not open. Mr. Stroud said they have a capacity problem, and they have to dump out in order to cover the whole town in a day. The disposal site closes at noon on Saturday, and it takes all day to go through the town, and on Sunday it is not open. Waste Industries does not have enough equipment presently; and to accomplish that, they would have to get other equipment in, which is a tremendous cost just to use the extra services. They have explored with the Authority about opening it up, but they are not conducive to it because with the other transfer station, they would have to open the landfill and create an understructure of private support.
Commissioner McElraft asked if they could give homeowners a choice of having sufficient amounts of trash cans in a nice contained area. It will be an enforcement nightmare. She can see them ticketing the rental companies. After the people take the trash out, they will not roll the containers back. The ones in the racks do not get blown around. People mix them up, they do not know which one belongs to which unit, they lie in the middle of the street. As long as there are enough cans to contain the trash for a whole week, they should be given an option of doing that.
Mr. Eckhardt said again that they did not know how to address a double standard. There are a lot of homes in the area they looked at that will be using six 90-gallon cans plus the recycling cans. How do you attach them, how do you get them into a nice something to contain them. They thought maybe posts would work. Anything they looked at would be a double standard. They could not address it.
Mayor Harris said the bottom line is a 90-gallon pull-out. Mr. Eckhardtadded they would be rolled in and rolled out. He thinks it has to be up to the property managers to have something to tell people when and how to do it. He cannot agree that people will not do it.
Commissioner Trainham echoed what Commissioner McElraft said. He does not agree with Mr. Eckhardt in that it is a double standard. If there are private homes that have nice looking racks, that is not a double standard. The problem will not go away by asking them to roll back their 90-gallon containers. They will still be in the street. In the racks, they are contained, and that is a very important factor.
Mr. Eckhardt said they tried to look at that, and said that is the Board’s business. He does not know how they will address it.
Commissioner McElraft agreed that the 90-gallon cans are great. She has them at her personal home. But she keeps going back to the situation where they will be flying all over the street, and she knows the renters. They may have to address that at a workshop.
Mr. George Kuhorn said he has a driveway that is hard to maneuver, and he cannot see himself or his wife taking the can down the driveway because he will get run over. He drives around town, and even though they are put out in the morning, by the time the garbage men get there, they are lying down on their side. He suggests that they look at people who have nice racks and let them stay. Those who do not, give the ticket to the guy and clean it up and give him 30 days to get a new rack.
Mr. Frank Vance said he had been looking at this problem since before 1993. There can be a rack made to handle the 90-gallon cans. Leave one side open, put a latch on it, and leave them at the street. If there is a good enough rack and enough garbage cans to meet the needs of the renters, the problem is the number of people they cram into the houses.
Mr. John Grady said there are a lot of old folks who have the old cans and good racks. He has shrubbery around his, and you cannot see it in the summer. He puts it out and takes it in himself. He is for keeping the racks they have as long as they are in good shape. If they are not, give a ticket, but leave the rest of the folks alone. They do not need a shotgun approach.
Mr. Ron Brooks said Commissioner McElraft had made several references about renters. Commissioner Trainham made a reference to his personal rack. Every real estate company around has maintenance crews. They can police the tenant problem. What has not been mentioned is absentee property owners. They come down and spend a week or week-end. On this end of the island, trash pickup is Tuesday. These people leave on Sunday afternoon, put their trash cans in the rack, trash is picked up on Tuesday. If the racks and cans are taken away, the roll-away can would have to be put down there sundown the day before collection. Are permanent residents supposed to run around on Monday and put out all the containers for the neighbors who were down for the weekend?
Mrs. Doje Marks said she thinks the biggest problem is the rental units on the oceanfront. She does not need 90 gallons, and a lot of her neighbors do not. They need to address the issue, not everybody in town. Deal with the rental properties, which are the true problem.
Commissioner Wootten said the number one problem is Ocean Drive. They looked at the possibility of a weekend pickup on Ocean Drive. Mr. Allen commented that money would get them anything. If they want to look at the cost of that or back door pickup in the summer time, it is money. Commissioner Wootten said they are already spending 19.1% of their total budget on trash collection. Commissioner Wootten said he is thinking of passing the cost to the rental units if that is the source of the problem.
Commissioner McElraft said the owners of the property should be spending the money. They need to be buying as many trash cans as she bought for her duplex, and she thinks the town needs to work with the rental management companies to make sure to locate the areas in each of the communities and find out where the problems are and demand of them that they go to the property owners and do what some of the owners have done. Her renters have put their garbage in the trash cans because she has plenty of them. They cannot expect a duplex to have two trash cans on each side and that be sufficient. If they would do what she did and make a nice rack on each side and put six cans with lids on them and keep them nice, they will not be blowing all over. Her garbage is in the cans.
Mr. Eckhardt says she is the exception. Commissioner Wootten said she is also interested in her home and does not live too far away from it and will probably pass there Sunday afternoon to check. Commissioner McElraftsuggested they start an education process with the rental companies and really push it and make them buy them or they will have to go with the 90-gallon containers or a containment for the 90-gallon cans. They should not penalize other people who have already solved their problems.
Mayor Harris suggested they take the committee’s report to the workshop and asked Mr. Eckhardt to come back for that. She said the committee had put a tremendous amount of work into it. Mr. Eckhardt thanked the committee, and he reiterated that the major problem is containment.
Commissioner Wootten asked that when Mr. Eckhardt comes to the workshop he bring details on what other towns do. It cannot be a problem unique to Emerald Isle.
Commissioner Farmer asked Mr. Eckhardt if, when he comes to the workshop, he could give some thought to an education campaign they can work on for the property managers and give suggestions on that. She likes Commissioner McElraft’s idea that they start with an education process with the stick being that if the education process does not work, it will become more formal.
Commissioner McElraft suggested that someone representing each of the management companies come to the workshop, too, and let them give their input and what they see as a solution.
- DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE APPROVAL, AMEND AND APPROVAL OR DENY APPROVAL OF BEACH NOURISHMENT CO-APPLICANT LETTER.
Mayor Harris explained that the town has been requested to complete and sign a co-applicant letter on possible beach nourishment activities for future beach nourishment projects with Carteret County and Bogue Banks municipalities. Being a co-applicant would allow the town to participate and be a part of a banks-wide nourishment permitting process without having to apply individually for Corps of Engineers or CAMA permits. If they do this, they will be ahead of the game.
Mayor Harris read one of the draft letters that is attached at the end of these Minutes.
Commissioner Farmer asked Mr. Taylor about this. When she first read this, it was her understanding that this was for a federal project, and now it is looking like it is not. She wanted to make sure they have no liability for any other renourishment projects that the Town of Emerald Isle specifically is not involved in. Mr. Taylor replied that to the best of his knowledge, it appears that they are asking the town to pitch in with a resolution, which is not a dedication of any funds from this. It is like a support resolution. Until such time they are asked to make a commitment of funds in some sort of ordinance fashion or project area fashion, he thinks they are safe with what they are doing. That is a cursory look.
Commissioner Farmer said her concern is that as a co-applicant, should for some reason some liability issues arise through the Pine Knoll Shores project, would they be a party to that liability. If they are, that makes her nervous.
Commissioner McElraft asked if Commissioner Farmer meant a financial liability. This is for permitting only. They have to do this to continue the permitting process for the federal plan, and they need us to be co-applicants with the county so that it shows that the town will participate in the permitting stage of the federal plan.
Commissioner Farmer said what threw her was that the Mayor said something about 2001–2002.
Mr. Allen said there should be a revision typed on Town of Emerald Isle letterhead. Commissioner Farmer said that is the one she was originally looking at and had no problem with. If this is for the federal beach renourishment project the Corps is currently doing the feasibility study on, she had no problem with it.
Commissioner McElraft moved that the Board approve the co-applicant letter signed by the Mayor to submit to the County, Corps of Engineers, and CAMA to participate as a permittee in the permitting process for the long-term plan. Commissioner Farmer seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous in favor. Motion carried.
- PUBLIC COMMENTS
Mr. John Grady, resident of 113 Fawn Drive, discussed the school bond referendum and said he would vote against it. He showed a chart that showed what the people have given to the county to fund the school system and a miniscule amount to other things. Sea Level is about to lose their rescue service and will have 141 square miles to cover. He thinks there is a real problem. We are paying 84.1% of our ad valorem taxes to schools. We pay 39.3% of our general tax funds on sales, tax, etc., to the same school systems. If you add that up, it is 123.4%. We are next to Wake County in what we are giving to our county school system. The only problem is Wake County has 41 which is 500 kids more than we have. They need to take a look at it. Starting in 1996, $8,373,728 was the budget for the schools. Today it is $22,403,179. That comes out to a 167.5% increase since 1996. He has problems with what they are doing. He is from Lenoir County, and he counted 6 schools in his county that have been remodeled. In Nash County, 12 schools have been remodeled. Croatan High School and Bogue Sound could have been built at a savings of $12 million if they had used the same folks that built in Onslow County.
Mr. Pete Cochran, resident of Coast Guard Road, said he had been before the Board the previous month asking for their support in allowing them to take their property and allow a couple of horses on it. He gave the Board a proposal that his wife and he had put together that has 10 proposals that would be in the best interests of Emerald Isle and for his wife and him. He said he and his wife would be available to answer questions at the workshop. Mayor Harris said he would be notified of the workshop.
- COMMENTS – Department Heads
Ms. Alesia Sanderson, Parks and Recreation, reminded everyone that the Garden Club would be giving away free trees for the town at the St. Patrick’s Day Festival on Saturday. She said irrigation on 58 was moving along.
Mr. Kent Hood, Fire Department, said Chief Walker left him no information. There were four fires, but he was not working for any of them.
Police Chief Mark Wilson reported that summer is coming, so get ready. Three months ago, he read that there were a lot of break-ins in Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Morehead City. Pine Knoll Shores arrested the guy and asked him why he did not come to Emerald Isle. He responded that it was because of the police department here.
Mrs. Ceil Saunders, Planning Board, commented that Commissioner Farmer had said she would like everything in the package to come before the Board. This is the only time they had done this with a contingency. Lots of times they get the package but there are still a few things they would like to research, and that is what the motel/hotel thing involved. She thinks they do a pretty good job at working for nothing.
Mr. Bob Conrad, Public Works, had no comment. Most roads have been finished.
Mrs. Carol Angus, Inspections Department, reported that for the month of February, they did permits for 5 new homes and 2 mobile homes, and with all the additions put an estimated value of $5,316,000.
- COMMENTS – Town Clerk, Town Attorney, Interim Town Manager, Board Members, Mayor
Mrs. Carolyn Custy, Town Clerk, had no comment.
Mayor Harris introduced Ms. Mitsy Overman as the new Interim Town Manager. She is doing a fantastic job and they are depending on her to keep on doing it. Ms. Overman asked that the Board be patient with her.
Commissioner Wootten had no comment.
Commissioner Trainham addressed the enforcement of ordinances. One of the concerns he had when he ran for office was the fact that he would try to do the best he could to enforce ordinances. The merchants are a little upset because they think that this Board is really crowding them on the ordinances when really they are saying the ordinances they have on the books ought to be enforced. There have been a few changes to the ordinances, but he wanted to get on record that they are not against the business community at all. They are all for their success. With his background as a professor of business administration, he could be expected to say this. He believes it very strongly. He asked the remaining public to pass the word to people in business that they are all for their success.
Commissioner Trainham said that there have been people who have come in and messed up the island without getting permits. He announced that they have been working with Chief Wilson policing permit signs, working to help the Inspections Department, so that the Inspections Department can do their job. What happens is that people come in on Saturday and Sunday when the Inspections Department is on break, and do what they please cutting down trees, filling in wetlands, doing all kinds of things with no permit. He and Ms. Overman had a conference with the Chief and are delighted that he is going to give the orders to his patrolmen to look for signs.
Commissioner Farmer had no comment.
Commissioner McElraft said there are a lot of trees still back there. Some people personally had purchased 900 trees, and the town had purchased 3,000—loblolly, red cedar, bald cypress—and they desperately need the public to plant them.
Mr. Derek Taylor, Town Attorney, said there was nothing to report.
Mayor Harris said the Workshop is March 26, 2001, at 9:00 A.M. The Budget Workshop is March 27, 2001.
Commissioner Trainham moved, Commissioner Farmer seconded, and the Board voted unanimously to adjourn.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 P.M.