Emerald Tidings

April 2007

  1. Coast Guard Road Traffic Improvements Project Complete
  2. New Sidewalk Planned for Islander Drive
  3. 2007 Street Resurfacing Program
  4. Village West Zoning District Created
  5. NC CRC Considering Amendment to
  6. More 50th Birthday Events

Emerald Tidings, composed monthly by Town Manager Frank Rush, is the official newsletter of the Town of Emerald Isle.

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Coast Guard Road Traffic Improvements Project Complete

Designed to Provide Additional Stacking Capacity and Improve Traffic Flow

The Town recently completed significant traffic improvements on Coast Guard Road at its intersection with NC 58 and Reed Drive.  The project began in early January with the relocation of telephone and power utilities, and was completed in early March just in time for the St. Patrick's Festival crowds.

The redesigned intersection includes a 400 ft. long dedicated left turn lane for traffic exiting Coast Guard Road onto NC 58, a new dedicated right turn lane onto Reed Drive and NC 58, and additional turn lanes at the entrance to Bell Cove Village shopping center and Pebble Beach.  These turn lane improvements are intended to provide additional stacking capacity at the intersection and allow traffic not turning left onto NC 58 to exit the intersection quicker, thus freeing up more space for traffic making the left turn out of Coast Guard Road.  These improvements will not solve all of the traffic congestion experienced at this location during the summer, but should be a significant improvement over previous conditions.

The project also involved the straightening of the curve in Coast Guard Road, allowing for safer vehicle movements.  The Town continues to increase its emphasis on the aesthetics of public spaces, and added two decorative landscape islands in the new roadway to break up the appearance of continuous asphalt.  The project also includes the initial segment of a dedicated 10 ft. wide bicycle path along Coast Guard Road.  The new path extends the existing NC 58 bike path past the Valero gas station, across Reed Drive, and down toward the entrance to Pebble Beach condominiums.  The Town plans to extend the bike path further down Coast Guard Road in the future as grant funding becomes available.

The Town often receives requests from residents and property owners for a dedicated green left-turn signal for traffic exiting Coast Guard Road onto NC 58.  The Town has submitted this request to the NC Department of Transportation (responsible for traffic signals), and Senator Jean Preston and Representative Pat McElraft have communicated their support.  NCDOT will soon be upgrading the Town's traffic signals, and we are hopeful that this feature will be included.  NCDOT has not yet determined whether or not this feature will be included. 

New Sidewalk Planned for Islander Drive

Will Provide Safe Pedestrian Route to Western Ocean Regional Access At its March 13 regular meeting, the Board of Commissioners authorized a contract with Johnson Construction Company, Maysville, NC for the construction of  1150 linear feet of new sidewalk along the western side of Islander Drive from NC 58 to the Town's Western Ocean Regional Access (WORA).  The new sidewalk will provide a safe pedestrian route along Islander Drive for visitors to the WORA and the various amusements in this area.   The new sidewalk will also connect to the NC 58 bike path in this area.  Construction of the new sidewalk will occur in April so that pedestrians and bicyclists can take advantage of the new route this summer.  The Town also has future plans for the construction of new sidewalk on the east side of Islander Drive when funding can be identified.  The entire Islander Drive area is part of the "Village West" area outlined in the Town's Land Use Plan, and is envisioned as a village-like atmosphere with public spaces, a mixture of residential and commercial uses, and an emphasis on tourism and entertainment. 

2007 Street Resurfacing Program

The Town's 2007 street resurfacing program was recently completed, and included the resurfacing of approximately 2.15 miles of Town streets throughout Town.  The Town maintains a total of 46 miles of streets in Town, and our goal is to resurface at least 2.3 miles annually, which equates to each street being resurfaced once every 20 years.  Due to declining State funds earmarked for street maintenance and the rising cost of asphalt, the Town fell just short of its annual goal this year.

Town staff review the condition of all street segments in Town during January of each year, and also review the historical resurfacing records to determine the last time that a particular segment was resurfaced.  The preliminary list of streets in need of resurfacing always exceeds the 2.3 mile standard, and Town staff further evaluate and prioritize the resurfacing needs.  Town staff then solicit bids for this work, and the Board of Commissioners typically awards the annual resurfacing contract to the lowest responsive bidder in late winter / early spring.  In order to achieve the best pricing, the Town assembles all street resurfacing work in one annual contract.

Streets resurfaced as part of the 2007 program include the following:

  • Ebb Tide Drive (all)
  • Rip Tide Court (all)
  • Ocean Drive (near Ebb Tide Drive and Rip Tide Court)
  • West Seaview Drive (all)
  • Mangrove Drive (all)
  • Reed Drive (Mangrove Drive to Sandbur Drive)
  • Reed Drive (at Islander Drive intersection)
  • Sand Castle Drive (from curve to Ocean Drive)
  • Sea Dunes Drive (Coast Guard Road to Sand Castle intersection)
  • Channel Drive (all)
  • Old Coast Guard Road (all)
  • Bogue Court (all)

With a few exceptions involving significant deterioration, all of the street segments above had not been resurfaced in at least 19 years.  The 2007 program also included the paving of short pedestrian paths leading to the Holly Street pedestrian bridge.  

If you believe your street is in need of resurfacing, please contact the Public Works Department at 252-354-4450, and it will be given due consideration for the 2008 resurfacing program.  Smaller pothole repairs and pavement patches are completed throughout the year, and these should also be reported to Public Works.

Village West Zoning District Created

Reflects Goals Outlined in Town's CAMA Land Use Plan

At its March 13 meeting, the Board of Commissioners adopted new zoning regulations for the area known as "Village West" in the Town's CAMA Land Use Plan.  Resulting from a lengthy planning process with significant public input, the Village West area is targeted for mixed-use, village-style development with an emphasis on public spaces, tourism, and entertainment. 

The Village West area includes approximately 35 acres in the vicinity of Islander Drive and NC 58.  The new zoning district will allow both residential and commercial uses in the same zoning district, and also in the same building.  A maximum of 6 residential units per acre is authorized, with potential to allow up to 10 units per acre if significant public recreational benefits are included in the development plan.  The new Village West zoning district is modeled closely after the Village East zoning district approved for the area surrounding Bogue Inlet Pier in October 2006.

The Board of Commissioners action on March 13 simply established the new zoning district, and no specific properties have been rezoned.  The Town will rely on individual property owners and/or developers to request rezoning to the new zoning district.  The Town will only consider rezoning properties included in the designated Village East and Village West areas in the Town's CAMA Land Use Plan.  Both of these areas are likely to face redevelopment pressure in the future, and the Town has clearly and proactively articulated its vision for these areas when redevelopment does in fact proceed.

NC Coastal Resources Commission Considering Amendment to "Static Vegetation Line" Rule

At its March meeting in Kill Devil Hills, the NC Coastal Resources Commission directed staff of the NC Division of Coastal Management to work with affected municipalities to develop draft rule language to replace the "static vegetation line" rule. 

The "static vegetation line" is a perpetual line drawn at the location of the first line of stable vegetation just prior to the construction of a beach nourishment project.  Under current CAMA rules, this line then becomes the setback measurement line for all oceanfront development along certain nourished beaches.  The result is that the setback line can never move seaward, and is used in perpetuity regardless of where the actual first line of stable vegetation may be located over time.

In Emerald Isle, the application of the static vegetation line along the easternmost 2.5 +/- miles of beach results in a total of 168 properties being classified as "non-conforming" forever, with no chance of changing this designation.  This area of the beach was initially nourished in 2003, resulting in a wide beach and significant new dune in many places.  The beach and dune system remain very healthy in this area, and the actual vegetation line has moved seaward in many locations.  Despite the health of the beach, "non-conforming" properties are not permitted to be reconstructed if damaged more than 50% by storms or fire, and if the lot is vacant then no construction is permitted.  In eastern Emerald Isle, 158 non-conforming properties have existing structures, and 10 vacant lots in this area are non-conforming. 

The Town is on record as supporting a change to CAMA's "static vegetation line" rule, and will be involved in the rule-amendment process over the coming months.  The Town's goal is to enable property owners in this area to reconstruct their homes if they are unfortunate and suffer severe damage (greater than 50%), allow for reasonable redevelopment of older beach homes (within limits), and allow for limited in-fill development on the 10 vacant lots.  The Town supports this change because of the storm protection afforded by the new beach and dune, a desire to assist property owners damaged more than 50%, to promote redevelopment that will result in a more aesthetically pleasing community, and to promote redevelopment utilizing today's stronger building codes.  Many of the homes in this area are 30 - 50 years old, and are not as storm-resistant as new construction. 

The Town does not want a new policy to place anyone in harm's way, and is encouraging the CRC to adopt a new rule that encourages safe redevelopment and that is fair to property owners.  The Town will advocate for keeping any new construction behind the existing dune line and in a consistent line with existing homes in this area.  The Town does not support the location of homes further seaward than the existing homes in this area. 

The CRC is likely to consider additional requirements that may limit the size of construction in these areas, waiting periods after beach nourishment, requirements for monitoring of nourishment projects, and future nourishment commitments.  The Town will be closely following this issue and will participate as appropriate.  Any potential rule change is not likely to occur for at least several months.  

For more information about this issue, contact the NC Division of Coastal Management at 919-733-2293, ext 241.

More 50th Birthday Events!

 

The Town of Emerald Isle is 50 years old in 2007, and many great events are planned to commemorate this milestone! Mark your calendars for these upcoming events commemorating the Town's 50th Birthday:

    LIMITED EDITION Commemorative 50th Birthday Lapel Pins and Picture Books Coming Soon!  

The Town has commissioned the design of the official 50th Birthday commemorative pin, and these pins will be on sale at various locations in Emerald Isle in the coming weeks.  Cost is $5 per pin.  Keep an eye out for its attractive design!

  The Town has also commissioned the creation of a special 50th Birthday coffee table book highlighting the pictorial history of Emerald Isle.  The book will feature a variety of historical photos and notes, and select local recipes.  The book will be first quality, and will be a must-have for everyone who loves Emerald Isle!  Cost is $19.57 per book, and they will be available throughout Town in the coming weeks.
 
 

Dinner & A Movie
 

April 28, 2007   5:00pm

Alicia Baucom of Cape Carteret, winner of ABC's "Desperate Housewives, Desperate for Dinner" challenge, and Colleen Maloney, "Good Morning Eastern Carolina" anchor, team up to host an evening of delicious entertainment.  The festivities begin at the wine tasting and cheese bar where you won't want to miss the opportunity to taste an absolute perfect pairing to Alicia's Shrimp and Grits entrée. Move from the wine tasting to your table and feast your eyes on a delectable demonstration of the evening's appetizer, entrée and dessert preparation.  Linger over dinner and dessert while you take in a three of the best "I Love Lucy" episodes on a theatre-size movie screen.  The evening promises something for everyone, but in honor of Emerald Isle's 50th birthday only 50 lucky people will get a chance to take part in this unique culinary experience.  Tickets are available for purchase at

EmeraldIsleParks and RecreationCommunity Center, 7500 Emerald Drive.  Tickets are $50 per person and include wine tasting, appetizer, wine service before & after entrée, entrée, dessert, recipes, entertainment and a chance to win a classic raffle prize.  Wine tasting provided by Emerald Isle Wine Market.

  Drive-In Movie "ET"
May 18, 2007
Gates Open at 6:00pm
Movie Showtime Dusk  

Flash back to the 50's and the height of the drive-in movie explosion for a night of pure family fun!  Put 'em in their pj's and pack 'em into your '57 Chevy or your '07 minivan.  One thing is for sure - you'll want to bring the whole family to see "ET" under the stars.  Concessions will be served, fees apply.  Admission is free. It's going to be a blast!  Drive-in movie takes place at the Eastern Ocean Regional Access, between Pier Point and Ocean Reef Condominiums at 2701 Emerald Drive.  Gates open at 6pm and the movie begins at dusk.  All children must be supervised.  

Drive-In Movie "Grease"
May 19, 2007
Gates Open at 6:00pm
Movie Showtime Dusk

Flash back to the 50's and the height of the drive-in movie explosion for an evening under the stars and chance to watch "Grease" on the outdoor, big screen.  This movie will have you singing and dancing before the evening is through.  Concessions will be served, fees apply.  Admission is free.  "Grease" is rated PG.  It's going to be a blast!  Drive-in movie takes place at the Eastern Ocean Regional Access, between Pier Point and Ocean Reef Condominiums at 2701 Emerald Drive.  Gates open at 6pm and the movie begins at dusk.  All children must be supervised. 

 

Additional information about future events will be published in upcoming editions of Emerald Tidings. Planning for the grand celebration event, scheduled for Saturday, September 22, is underway, and details will be announced soon!  A large, free outdoor music concert is planned!  For more information about the entire 50th Birthday celebration, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 252-354-6350 or visit www.emeraldisle-nc.org.

 

Frank A. Rush, Jr.
Town Manager
252-354-3424
frush@emeraldisle-nc.org
Posted by Frank Rush Sunday, April 1, 2007 11:33:00 AM

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