Posts From January, 2001

January 15, 2001  

Planning Board

Town of Emerald Isle Planning Board Minutes

Regular Monthly Meeting

Monday, January 15, 2001



The meeting was called to order by Chairman Cary Harrison, at 7:00 P.M.

Members in attendance: Cary Harrison, Ceil Saunders, Phil Almeida, George McLaughlin, Ed Dowling, David Schock, and Frank Vance. Also in attendance were Carolyn Custy, Town Clerk, substituting for Carol Angus; and Pete Allen, Town Manager.

Minutes of the regular meeting of December 7, 2000, were approved with two comments made by Phil Almeida: 1) on page 4, change the wording to what he said, "Rezoning of the property would not be fair to the owner. On the other hand, if the project is developed in its entirety, the community would suffer further added traffic problems"; 2) on page 4, Mr. Harrison’s words "The capacity of Coast Guard Road" should be changed to "The traffic volume of Coast Guard Road would largely increase by approximately 6,600 cars per day."

Motion was made by David Schock to accept the minutes as changed with a second by George McLaughlin. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Report from Town Manager – Mr. Pete Allen reported that the Town Board granted final plat approval for the 4-lot commercial subdivision and the 9-lot residential subdivision in Block 15. The Board also approved a resolution of support for establishing a state-funded Beach Renourishment and Restoration Commission. The two other items, which they are discussing this evening, are special use permits in B3 zones and possible gateway overlay district.

Report from Building Inspector – Mr. James Taylor was not in attendance to give the report. Chairman Harrison said that the permits issued for the last month totaled 101 permits for a total of $1.78 million. Mr. Almeida said he had been driving down Coast Guard Road and noticed that there might be an encroachment from the Texaco station onto the right-of-way of Coast Guard Road near the junction of Hwy 58. He thinks that needs to be checked, as he thinks the island is too close to the right-of-way; and when they start building the right-hand land, they will run into problems.


Chairman Harrison said there was an item he wanted to add. Dr. Almeida wanted a few minutes to go over some comments he had about stormwater issues. They started off with that item.

A. Stormwater Issues

  • Mr. Almeida said they had stormwater problems and they have a $5 million solution that Moffat & Nichol had suggested. That solution and implementation is still a ways off. His concern is that there is development going on, and they are compounding the problem. He would like to move that they make a motion to the commissioners that they should set priorities if they want the current stormwater ordinance to be revised.

    Mr. Harrison said he was inclined to agree with Mr. Almeida. It is critical, and a lot of things were impacted by the commissioners and the Planning Board last year. It was brought up by Benchmark in a workshop they had on January 12, and they suggested that commercial structures be required to retain all the storm water from a 2-hour, 10-year storm event, which turned out to be 4¼ inches. He asked if that sounded like a plausible number. Mr. Almeida said that might be tough to order because the water table is so high and they can store the water only above the water table. In locations where the water table is 2 feet below ground, there is not that much volume where they can retain all that.Mr. Harrison said the other thing they discussed was the notion of requiring that all residences retain the first 1½ inches, and that is currently a requirement but is not something that is not well enforced. Mr. Almeida said it is currently a requirement, but if you look at some of the lots that are very low, very close to a pond, there is no way they can retain that 1½ inch because the water table is so high.

    Mr. Harrison asked, if they were to remove the exemption for single-family duplexes to submit some stormwater plan . . . . Mr. Almeida said they really need to do that without making it really difficult on the individual homeowner, but at least have some semblance of stormwater management for what they propose to do. Otherwise, they might get the problem they have had in Spinnakers and other areas.

    Mr. Almeida moved that the Planning Board make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners that the revision of the stormwater ordinance be placed on priority. Mr. Dowling seconded. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

    Mr. Dowling commented that he thought it was long overdue and it should be their priority. He looks at the subdivisions downstream from 58 and looks at the problems they had with the hurricane and with the last storm where people were walking through the water to bring their kids to a bus and to pick up their mail. That is uncalled for. He thinks they had two petitions before the Board of Commissioners and would also recommend that they take a special look, as part of the stormwater, at the engineering off the end of the island that was brought up by Mr. Bob Isenhour at the last Board of Commissioners meeting. He addressed that issue and made a plea for the second time because he did put a petition in for the Board of Commissioners that they do something and prioritize that that, and Mr. Dowling does not think that has been done. They owe that to the citizens.

    Commissioner John Wootten commented that if they want to prioritize it, do it. They wrote the standard operating procedures in such a way that the chairman of the Planning Board could come back to the commissioners and say these are the priorities of the group. They have the ability to do it. Mr. Harrison said for the short term, they might well make the recommendation because this is something that will take some time and hence will take away from some other issues, and they need to make sure that the Board of Commissioners is well aware of it. Historically, the Planning Board has hardly ever embarked on a single issue by itself, they’ve always been instructed.

    Commissioner Wootten said the standard operating procedures were written so that the Board of Commissioners would not get down at the level of the Planning Board’s business and try to tell them what to do and not to do in priorities.

    Mr. Almeida said he recalled some discussion somewhere that they would get the Board of Commissioners to prioritize the projects to be taken up by the Planning Board. Commissioner Wootten said, "Read your standard operating procedure." Mrs. Saunders said the standard operating procedure also says that what they get comes from the Board of Commissioners signed by the mayor. Commissioner Wootten said the Planning Board can fit it into what slot they want it.

    Mr. Allen commented that whoever wants to take this and go with it contact him first because there is a lot of activity going on that he is not sure the Planning Board knows about—a lot of attempts to get grant money, the big picture and small localized projects to solve. Mr. Harrison asked Mr. Almeida if he could do that informally, and Mr. Almeida said he could.

  1. CVS Drug Store, Commercial Review, Block 38, at present location of Beachmart and Coconut Grove Miniature Golf, adjacent to Hwy 58.
  • Mr. Harrison explained that CVS is contemplating a move from their current location to the corner of Mangrove and NC 58 where it is a Beachmart and miniature golf facility. This is a preliminary stage for this, as they routinely send this on to the Mapping Committee for discussion later on in the week.

    Mr. Schock asked if they would have architectural drawings of the site. Mr. John Odom said that Mrs. Angus had the two color renderings of it. The smaller one was passed to the Planning Board members. Mr. Odom said it was pretty generic, that the signs are too big on the side view, but the building would be made of that type of material. Mr. Harrison asked if it would be a complete redo of the façade. Mr. Odom said yes, that there is a lot of glass in the Beachmart building that they will block over. Mr. Harrison said it would not be a mere reoccupation of the building. They are talking about an approximate 50% increase in the size—a 4,000 sq. ft. addition to the building. The longest side of the building would face Hwy 58.

    Mr. Odem said the signs would be redone.

    Mr. Dowling asked about the flow of water. Mr. Odom replied that there is a stormwater plan that covers it that he had provided to Mrs. Angus. Mr. Dowling asked about a vegetative buffer around the dumpster. Mr. Odom said he would put an arrow on the plat showing that.

    Mr. Harrison asked about lighting on the building. He said there were 8 area lights in the parking lot. In addition to what is already there, what else will be on the building. Mr. Odom said he did not know, but they have plans coming for that from the builder. Mr. McLaughlin asked if they would have any free-standing signs. Mr. Odom said that was noted around parking space 43. Mr. McLaughlin asked whether they are willing to conform to the new sign ordinance, and Mr. Odom replied that they had submitted a sign proposal to Mrs. Angus that does blend with the new rules.

    Mr. Harrison said they showed a new entrance onto NC 58, but the DOT had recently said no more from Merchants Park all the way to the bridge. Mr. Odom said they had revised the plan to take that out, but they will still work towards that.

    Mr. Harrison said that from his understanding with Mrs. Angus, there was a request by the owners of CVS, that in order to get their materials and crews on the job prior to the heavy traffic season, to fast-track this and get it reviewed and approved by Wednesday. Given the fact that they do not have a stormwater plan and there are a lot of other questions about it, he does not think that is possible.

    Mr. Odom said the stormwater plan was submitted when the maps were submitted. Mr. Harrison said they did not have it in their hands. Mr. Almeida said there are no computations. Mr. Odom said he had what was needed.

    Mr. Harrison said it would be reviewed at the Mapping Committee on Wednesday.

    Mr. Odom said the reason they are in a hurry to get started is that there is a building that has to be removed, some demolition that needs to go on in the interim. They are anxious to be open for the season or at least a portion of the season. Mr. Harrison said he understands that, but for the record, somebody else’s last minute planning does not necessarily make it so that the Planning Board needs to put it into double gear to accommodate a tourist season.

C. Sign Ordinance Committee Proposal

  • Mr. Dowling praised Mrs. Angus and the committee, representatives from the community and from the Merchants Association, and said Mrs. Angus was very well versed in her leadership role. Mrs. Angus presented what she wanted with courses of action that were appropriate, and they discussed them in great depth, and she really was a professional. He wanted the Planning Board to know that a lot of work went into this, and it is all due directly to Carol Angus and the committee.

    Mr. Vance added that he had sat in on two of the meetings, and the discussions that went on were really good. They tried to consider every aspect, tried to make it fair to everyone, and it was. It was a good committee.

    Mr. Harrison explained that the whole idea was born from the fact that there was a workshop held between the Planning Board and the Board of Commissioners, and they realized after an hour and a half of arguing about the very first point of the ordinance that they were going nowhere quick. Somebody suggested the brainstorm of getting a couple of business people, a couple of normal citizens who didn’t have business interests, Planning Board people, and commissioners together to come up with a fair sign ordinance. This was something that worked out very well and is hopefully something that can be done in the future.

    Mrs. Angus had reported to Mr. Harrison that they had used a total of 14 tapes, so they have many, many hours. They met 12 times on this, and for the record, they thank them, because it took a huge burden off the Planning Board. Thanks to George McLaughlin and Ed Dowling, to Carol Angus, Emily Farmer, Pat Patteson, Bernie Whalley, Mike Crews, and Jay Murphy. Their work is very much appreciated.

    Mr. McLaughlin commented that the section is a total re-write. They didn’t go in and change one word to another because they found that would be very laborious and difficult for the public to understand because they would have needed two documents—one to see what the old one said, and one to see what the new one said and what words were changed. So they rewrote it sentence by sentence, making changes where they felt it appropriate, and on the copy that they had, the highlighted portions were those that were changed. If there were paragraphs that were no longer relevant, they went by the wayside. They had 11 meetings between September 7 and November 30, three hours at a clip. The input from Mike Crews and Pat Patteson, who have business interests, were very helpful because they gave them a point of view from the business side, something that most of them wouldn’t have had, Mike especially saying what was the minimum they could get by with for this kind of business. It was fair to everybody, especially when they got down to when non-conforming signs would be brought into conformity, and it was decided 6 years, given the cost that the people had gone into to get it where it is today. Six years would be a suitable amount of time to let them write it off as a business expense.

    Mr. Harrison said this was available to everyone in the town, but asked Mr. McLaughlin to give the audience a quick synopsis.

    Mr. McLaughlin said they didn’t just pull it out of thin air. They got town ordinances from 3 or 4 different towns in several areas of the country. From one extreme in Cary, NC, the max sign height is 44 inches, which you can’t even see. During the last election cycle, they passed out $6,500 in fines for election signs that exceeded the limits, including to somebody running for office, a town councilman who passed it. He took pictures in Glastonbury, Connecticut. One of the big things they came up with was limiting the height of the signs, to get them down more into conformity to where they are not only at eye level, but they will be more pleasing to look at, given what the committee feels the community wants to look like.

    Mr. McLaughlin continued that the maximum height of a sign now is 15 feet, depending on, if it is a gang sign, how many advertisers are on it. They geared it all to pieces of 4 x 8 plywood. That’s how the measurements were geared. They changed some of the signs on Wings, etc., to try to tone them down. A business has to decide where the main entrance is, on what street.

    Mr. Harrison said there was a remark about portable signs—signs on wheels, attached to a trailer or vehicle, A-frames or other devices. These are prohibited signs. He asked if that included magnetic ones that people stick on their vehicles. Mr. McLaughlin replied "no," that if you have a business and use your car for that business and park it in front of your house, that is allowed because that is a private vehicle and is not being used to advertise a business at the house. He used the example of Box Office Bagels and said you can’t take a vehicle and just park it in a parking lot and leave it. That doesn’t go. You have to use it for the business, move it around, and leave it where the business is generally located. There was some discussion about the Pepsi-Cola truck that is always parked in the parking lot at Food Lion. It is advertising Pepsi-Cola, but the reason it is there is because of the amount of Pepsi Cola that is needed at the store instead of running to New Bern or Morehead City, where they have to bring in a new supply every day. That is done throughout the country, not just here. They are there for supply purposes, not advertising purposes.

    Mr. Harrison asked about the intent, of promoting the aesthetic qualities of the town, promoting the business community by conveying information, and promoting the safety of persons and property by providing that signs do not create traffic hazards due to collapse, fire, collision, disrepair, and abandonment. He did not understand how that was a likelihood for signs to catch on fire and become a traffic hazard. Mr. McLaughlin answered that they were trying to get at the free-standing signs that could become a hazard if they got damaged in a storm, and one of the traffic hazards of the signs is if they are so visible from the road that the drivers are distracted—they then become a hazard.

    Mr. Mark Brennesholtz, a resident, asked about lighting. Does the ordinance address sign lighting, lighting up, lighting down? Mr. McLaughlin replied that lighting is covered separately. They didn’t address it directly, and he said they had talked about, for example, the sign at Eagles with purple lighting. All they would have to do is change the bulbs, and that became quite an issue. Mr. Dowling said that all lighting plans have to be first put before the Planning Board and have to be noted on the plat. They centered on neon and fluorescent lights. They did not want to the lights conspicuously displayed on new buildings for fluorescent purposes, so they limited it in that area. Neon and fluorescent lights either in the form of strip lighting or as a part of a decorative display, signage, or other building structures are prohibited on either the exterior of any commercial building or commercial property. They also addressed neon lights in buildings like the famous ice cream cone and Open signs, but they gave the benefit of the doubt to the merchants for a period of 6 years, so they were very fair and were looking after the merchants in that area.

    Mr. Harrison said he assumed that anyone who starts to do business after acceptance of the signage ordinance will be in conformity, and the rest will be amortized. Mr. Dowling agreed, but added with the exception of hurricane or storm damage. Mr. McLaughlin said if they take a sign down, it is down.

    Mr. Harrison said there had been a lot of talk about the Town doing almost the identical thing, i.e. a complete rewrite, to the lighting ordinances. There is a huge need for that, and it will follow close in the footsteps of the stormwater study.

    A businessman asked for a copy of the proposal so he could see how it would affect his business. Mr. Harrison was under the impression that they would be laid out at the back of the room. Mr. Dowling explained that Mrs. Angus was sick and was home in bed and asked him to bear with them. Mr. Harrison said he would provide him a copy at the end of the meeting. The businessman advised he had to leave now. A copy was given to him.

    Commissioner Trainham asked if the committee had done anything about considering the problem of political signage. Pine Knoll Shores does a beautiful job of taking care of that matter. Mr. Harrison said they can’t place the signs out prior to 90 days before the election, and they have to be picked up within 10 days after the election. Commissioner Trainham said Pine Knoll Shores had been able to take care of it so they can put political signs in the private yards, and it lends a lot to the appearance of things. Mr. Vance said the signs are to be kept on private property. Commissioner Farmer said they limited political signs to private property, and they should not be on Hwy 58. They had a lot of discussion back and forth about doing away with it entirely, but they can’t do that on people’s private property. Mr. Harrison asked if they would be permitted on public property, i.e. the entrance. Commissioner Farmer said her memory says no.

    Mrs. Dorothy Marks, a resident, said they presently have an ordinance that says a sign can be no more than 32 sq. ft, mainly 4 x 8. The sign on the Scoops shop at Coconut Grove is made up of individual ice cream cones and names that certainly exceeds 32 sq ft. Has that type of thing been addressed?

    Mr. Harrison said it depends on the zone they’re looking at, and currently, in a B3 zone where this property is located, they can have a sign up to 100 sq ft that can stand 20 feet tall if freestanding. As far as attached signs, they’re allowed and can have up to 32 sq ft. He asked if attached signs greater than 32 sq ft had been addressed. Commissioner Farmer said as she recalled, it was addressed and that would not comply. It would be allowed to stay up for 6 years. Mr. Harrison said for the CVS drug store, the freestanding sign will be allowed, but as far as the attached sign, they will be limited to 32 sq ft. Commissioner Farmer said for freestanding signs, they gave more area to signs that were advertising more than one business. For a single business freestanding sign, they are limited to 32 sq ft. as well. Mr. Dowling said they addressed that also under temporary signs because they said a lot of businesses put those signs (Sale, for instance) up, and they rewrote under exceptions 19-134, paragraph 11, Temporary Signs, and that is brand new, i.e. "window displays will be limited to 25% of the window surface and one designated facade for calculation purpose. A business of 2,500 sq. ft. or less is limited to not more than two signs. A business over 2,500 sq. ft. is limited to not more than 4 signs. Signs are not to be posted more than 12 feet from the top of the sign to the walking elevation. Each sign cannot exceed 6 feet in width, and no descriptive advertisement or affixed to merchandise may be displayed in the window, i.e. towels and t-shirts."

    Mr. Harrison asked whether the walking elevation is where the feet are or where the eyes are. Mr. Dowling replied, "Where your feet are, from the walking surface."

    Mr. Harrison said that for the record, and he realizes this is an artifact of people being sick, he thinks that for things like the wireless ordinance and sign ordinance when they are 15 and 20 pages apiece, they should have it on the website, have copies available, and a few copies in the back, or at least a synopsis. It is only fair that people understand what is going to happen with these ordinances.

    Mr. Vance made a motion to pass the proposed sign ordinance on to the Board of Commissioners, Mr. Almeida seconded. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

    Mr. Harrison thanked everybody who worked so diligently on this problem.

D. Discussion and possible recommendation of Special Use for B-3 Zoning

  • Mr. Harrison explained that commercial enterprises were laid out in Emerald Isle for general public use, and almost always they provide some sort of asset—drugstores, grocery stores, clothing stores, etc. There are times when they become a detriment, either in terms of traffic generation, stormwater, aesthetics, on and on. There are things that businesses can do that cause a problem to the health and welfare and safety and property values. The commissioners asked the Planning Board to look into this issue. This past Friday, both people from the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners met to discuss this with Mike Harvey of Benchmark Engineering, and they talked at length of the need for this proposal, what it should encompass, what items should be in there, what sort of details should be in there, etc. They started looking initially into what was already in the Code of Ordinances, and in there, there is a lot of what they need currently in place; specifically, the Code of Ordinances says that the commissioners have the right to limit anything (in an application for a special use) which might be injurious to public health, welfare, or safety, that might injure the property values; in fact, most everything they were trying to cover is already in there. There was a small handful of things that did not quite pigeonhole what they wanted, but most everything else did. The one thing that this section does say is that the commissioners have the right to require, and the group thought it was important to mandate that the commissioners HAD to require, to charge them with the responsibility to make certain that any development that is done in this town did not injure public health, safety, and welfare and did not injure property values. That should be by definition part of their job. They went farther to add a couple of comments.

    Mr. Harrison said that what is currently in place says that "permission may be granted for the establishment of uses listed, special uses if the Board of Commissioners finds through the evidence, maps and documents filed or produced after a study that complete records and following a hearing regarding the application for a special use permit, that every condition below, of items 1 through 7, is adhered to." That is currently in place. Further, "the Board of Commissioners is required in its review of any special use application, to ascertain that the use and requirements of the proposed development will adhere to the following conditions", and it enumerates items 1 through 7. These pertain to public health, safety, welfare, and property valuation. The few items that did not pigeonhole are the following, and these were written up by Benchmark and modified by Mr. Harrison and would be discussed by the Planning Board: that any development maintain a full parameter 12-foot-wide fire lane access purely for reasons of safety; that a boardwalk or sidewalk that provides some sort of grade separation between pedestrians and vehicular traffic be constructed; that the Board of Commissioners determine the number of allowable points of access and their spacing; that the developer shall install a pedestrian sidewalk along the full length of each public right-of-way to which the development abuts; that the Board of Commissioners shall impose additional requirements to assure the development’s compliance to section 19-84, which is basically what he had just read.

    What development would this pertain to? They looked at all the business zones and all the potential uses within each zone and tried to feel out numerically what traffic volumes, stormwater volumes, etc., would be injurious to the town. They came up with the following two zones that they feel should be restricted to special use: B-3 and B-2. What size building? 5,000 sq. ft. How did they come up with that number? They started looking at the traffic that could be generated by varying building sizes. They looked at everything from 2,000 sq ft on up to 16,000 and above and tried to find out if you put a business at a bad intersection, what would be some sort of injury. This would allow, not mandate, the commissioners to stop it and allow them to review it to see if it is going to injure public health, safety, welfare, or property values. What they did is lower it down to 5,000 sq. ft. That seems small, but it is almost anything that is going to happen in B-2 or B-3, but this allows the commissioners to look at and very quickly pass on, for example only, the CVS to say this is no problem because their outflow is here and the traffic volume is going to be such and such, the stormwater plan is no difficulty. There may be other issues where the buildings are fairly small that are quite a difficulty. The fellow from Benchmark Engineering pointed out to them that they might be talking about something initially of 8,000 sq. ft., but if they have a McDonald’s of 8,000 sq. ft., that will generate a whole lot more vehicles in a day on a square footage basis than anything else they could have in town. So they reduced the threshold so they could encompass a lot of things and hopefully have the commissioners pass on the majority of the developments but be able to catch in that sieve the ones that do pose a problem to the town.

    The wording is still somewhat loose at this point. They had someone in the audience asking for the exact wording, but they are not quite there yet. They will be submitting this on Friday morning to the Board of Commissioners should it pass approval by the Planning Board this evening.

    Mr. Rick Farrington mentioned the 12-foot border around the property. He asked about the side and rear setbacks in B-3 zone. He said there was a 0 side setback, and now they have made it a 12-foot side setback. Mr. Harrisonsaid the rear setback is 15 now. The rear would be the only one with any difficulty and would short them by 2 feet. Mr. Harrison said the idea of this is to have it be reviewed by commissioners and to make sure that it accomplishes the objectives that are already in the Code book about injuring public health, safety, welfare, and property values. If there is a commercial building abutting another commercial building and there is no way you can get a road in there, the Board of Commissioners will have the good common sense to look and say this is obviously not required. If it is physically possible, then the notion is, for public safety, to be able to have fire access on all possible sides.

    Mr. Bill Holz said he always thought that one of the purposes of writing ordinances was to eliminate this committee review of everything that goes on. You write your ordinances, you have the book, setbacks, heights, parking requirements, then somebody who wants to do something comes and deals with the building inspection department, which hopefully are professionals, and they show them what they are supposed to do and make sure they comply. What they have done with the B-3 overlay is make every project in B3 be approved by committee, and that opens things up for mischief; and if the commissioners like this project, this person, they will be more inclined to think it conforms to their public safety requirements. If the commissioners are against this developer or another t-shirt shop or whatever it is, they will find ways to stop it. Good ordinances, good planning, eliminates this very thing they are creating, which is by committee. That is why you have the ordinances and an ordinance book, so that somebody can come in, see what the requirements are, design for them, and apply for a building permit. Now they have everybody in B-3 who wants to do anything will have to go through this series of vague committee meetings. There is nothing black and white that somebody can plan a project, building, etc. for.

    Mr. Harrison replied that he cannot speak for any commissioners or Planning Board members, but he would hope like crazy that it never happens that people will be prejudicial to anything they do. Mr. Holz said they are making it a law and are correcting laws that were passed 20 years ago because they don’t think they’re any good.

    Mr. Harrison said his second point would be that if the Board of Commissioners are not looking out for public health, safety, welfare, and property values, then they have no business, in his opinion, sitting up there at all. That is a priority, what the definition of their job needs to be. The third thing, when talking about a review, they already have a review of every commercial project that has ever happened in Emerald Isle and ever will happen. Mr. Holz said that is to make sure they are conforming to the written down printed ordinances. Mr. Harrison replied that this will be written down. Mr. Holz said it has judgment factors all over it, so that committees decide if they think it is going to meet it or not meet it. Mr. Harrison said it would not be committees, it would be the Board of Commissioners.

    Ms. Saunders said that right now the Board of Commissioners has the final say anyway. If 10 years down the road, a new board comes in, everything changes, but that is nature.

    Mr. Holz said the ordinances do not change unless they are rewritten as the Planning Board is doing, and then go to public hearing, then they are changed. If they have a new group that comes in and they start making these judgments based on this overlay where every single building has to come and be approved by committee, then you might not get the same interpretation you get from this board that you do in 5 years. Mr. Harrison said if they are not using as a measure of their passage of any development those basic tenets that look after the public health and welfare and safety, then something is missing. That is all this ordinance asks them to do, it charges them to do that.

    Mr. Holz said the ordinances they have, if he came over and asked for the requirements for building a house, they would give him those to take home and study and conform to. And the health and safety is taken care of because it should be in the ordinances in black and white. Mr. Harrison said Mr. Holz is asking for quantitative things, when this is actually a qualitative issue.

    Mr. Holz said what they are doing is making every building permit for every B-3 development a decision by committee based on interpretation of the people who happen to be on that committee.

    Mr. Farrington said that prior to doing any type of development of any size, there is a lot of money spent on planning, and a lot of decisions made prior to construction actually beginning. Gray is not good when it comes to bankers and things like that. The average investor or person with engineers should be able to lay out on paper without having to go talk to 50 people in the town what they can and cannot do on a piece of property.

    Ms. Saunders asked if he didn’t think also that sometimes they get builders in that activate that gray area, too. What the Planning Board is trying to do is make sure that everything is the way it should be, and she is sure things will not deviate by going to the Planning Board with the drawings, getting the building permit, and the same type of procedure. Mr. Harrison added "unless there is an inherent problem with the development," in which case this will hopefully catch that problem. If they want to come and put a McDonald’s on the busiest intersection in Emerald Isle and have a super-size McDonald’s, he can almost guarantee them that it will be in black and white that they will probably have difficulty with this proposed ordinance.

    Mr. Holz said that in the real world, that is where McDonald’s are built, the busiest intersections. They could say there is an intersection 5 miles down the beach where there isn’t anybody, go build the McDonald’s down there. Mr. Harrison said that for anybody who lives on this island, they will be concerned if there is a McDonald’s pouring out whatever number of vehicles into the traffic pattern every single day.

    Mrs. Paxon Holz said it kills her when they talk about a McDonald’s when they have no There is not going to be anything generating that amount of traffic for we have no sewer. Mr. Harrison said that he is not certain that he necessarily agrees with her, that is something they discussed the other day. There are already Swedish firms and other people aware of the pressures on land, and to be able to put McDonald’s on street corners in places like Emerald Isle and to be able to come up with a technology that would allow them to buy the filtered sewage onsite is not by any means an impossible dream anymore. Mrs. Holz suggested that the stormwater study take that technology into account and use it. If there is such technology available, she recommends that those considering the awful problems we have with stormwater in that section of the island utilize that knowledge to treat stormwater effectively because it is not going to go away.

    Mr. Gus Farmakidis said he applauded the Board for taking an initiative in writing this, and he is sure they went to a lot of other places and checked out what they have. He is a citizen, pays taxes, started coming down here in 1953 to Atlantic Beach, and what does that look like when you go across the bridge. This town still is beautiful, and they have to do these sorts of things. These developers come up here and everyone is against them. In Cedar Island [sic], Cape Carteret, you need 20,000 square feet to build a duplex. Here it could be 11,000 and 15,000. You have to start improving all this stuff. These people aren’t going to do anything for you, they’re not going to make this a better place. They’re going to level it. They don’t want any restrictions. That’s bull, and he applauds the Planning Board.

    Mr. Holz replied that the people Mr. Farmakidis was talking about, the developers, are the ones that created this island that he is so proud of. Mr. Farmakidis responded, "I am? And what have you done for it? You haven’t made any money? You’re broke, right?"

    Mr. Harrison stopped the argument and asked if there were any more constructive questions.

    Mr. Dowling said he would like to add that the Jacksonville Daily News reported "Council pushes beautification." They want a prettier place to live, and there is a picture of what you can put in the B3 area—self-storage, U-Haul, a pawn shop. And now they are trying to roll back what they have. Mr. Dowling quoted from the article, "‘Otherwise,’ Jones said, ‘we’re going to condemn the next generation to what we are already apologizing for.’" This is the trend of the United States urban sprawl.

    Commissioner Farmer asked about the stormwater ordinance. The Board of Commissioners can turn to that, as will the Planning Board, to look at stormwater problems. She is glad they will be looking at that ordinance. She is concerned about the traffic impacts; that is what got this whole thing started. There is nothing in this ordinance that specifically directs the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners to look at traffic impacts, and therefore, they need to have an educated Board of Commissioners and an educated Planning Board that will think health, safety, that means traffic. Or is she missing something?

    Mr. Harrison replied that is one of the concerns they had early on. They started talking about 1) how these things pigeonhole, and 2) how somebody is going to be aware. There is a learning curve that happens with anybody elected to an office. He agreed with Commissioner Farmer that there has to be some learning curve, but this has to be a mutual process. That is why they wanted to charge them and require that the commissioners HAD to do all these things, not that they may do it, but that they had to. That would allow anybody in the room to come up before the commissioners and say, "Excuse me, you are not following the code. You are not looking at this traffic issue, for instance, which you should be addressing. If you are going to bottleneck this road up here and that one down there, how are you going to get an ambulance to the beach."

    Commissioner Farmer said her suggestion would be to give them a hint, and that is to put in that paragraph in parentheses "i.e. traffic, stormwater, noise," whatever. Mr. Harrison said they had started doing that, and called it their first level of detail, because it was a question of how much they wanted to mire in the details. This was something they intentionally wanted to avoid. They could have written volumes on how big the vegetative buffer should be, how deep it should be, how long it should be, etc. And what they tried to do was avoid the details and follow the inherent logic of what the commissioners are supposed to be doing. They are supposed to be here for the community. Commissioner Farmer said she would drink to that, they are supposed to be there for the community, but she is not convinced that that is the way it always turns out. She feels that if they give them a nudge in black and white to be looking at traffic and stormwater, they will be the two biggest, they should give them a gentle nudge. Mr. Harrison said they could add the first order level of details in there. Benchmark had written volumes of information, but the committee backed off the details and tried to make it an inherently simple ordinance that had an inherently simple objective. He agrees that it would not hurt to have that. Hopefully nobody would look at the details so much if they get the big picture of what they are supposed to be doing.

    Mrs. Holz said she had referred previously to the Emerald Isle 2000 survey that was given out October 10, 2000. She asked who formulated the survey. Commissioner Farmer answered that she, along with a couple of other citizens, sat down and took the 1990 survey that was done in conjunction with the land use plan, and updated it.

    Mrs. Holz said that is interesting because the survey generated some responses with respect to this district that she asked the Planning Board to keep in mind. Most of Emerald Isle’s business zones "run from the bridge to Town Hall on both sides of Emerald Drive and remain only partially developed. Areas zoned for business should be: increased, 60; decreased, 183; remain the same, 623; no response, 45. The overall appearance of the business district is: good, 304; fair, 464; poor, 132; no response, 12." So overwhelmingly, the citizens who cared enough to answer the survey said they feel the area zoned for business should remain the same. And said the overall appearance presently is fair and good. So where does the impetus come from for all these changes?

    Mr. Harrison asked her what her point was. If the people basically said do not increase the volume of the business district and don’t decrease the volume of the business district, keep it the same . . . . Mrs. Holz said they are saying don’t decrease the property zoned for business. Mr. Harrison added, "And don’t increase it."

    Mrs. Holz said they were not saying don’t increase it. The point is that the business district is a necessarily strictly limited district. And they are proposing to put even more limitations on it that adversely impact the use of the property.

    Mr. Harrison said the proper implementation of what they are talking about will not adversely impact in excess of 95% of the developments that come before the Town. It will probably adversely impact 5% of the ones that will necessarily be adversely impacted in the community. Mrs. Holz said that is no comfort to those 5%.

    Mr. Phil Gagnon, resident, said he answered that question on that survey but said his understanding of the question was, is there enough business development as is in Emerald Isle. That is why he answered don’t change it. Mr. Harrison said that was his implication. Commissioner Farmer said the question before that indicates that there is quite a bit of concern about and interest in the commercial development in Emerald Isle.

    Mrs. Holz said the highest number is "The following statement best describes the rate of growth." The most answers were 300 saying it is the right pace. Commissioner Farmer said there is another question, too. Commissioner Trainham said Mrs. Holz was taking the questions out of context. Commissioner Farmer said she would bring the survey results to the workshop on Friday.

    Mr. Gus Farakidis, resident, said in rebuttal to the developer, the same thing was brought up before. She read the same statement. They are mixing apples and oranges because at that time, there was no threat of development along there. At this point in time, if they took the same survey, he doesn’t think they would get the same results.

    Mr. Mark Brennesholtz, resident, said he agrees with Mr. Gagnon. When he filled out the survey, he read it too quickly. His interpretation was do we have enough commercial development on the island, and the answer was "yes." That is what he checked, it was not would you like to see the entire area from Langston Bridge up to Town Hall fully developed commercially. The answer to that would have been most definitely "no."

    Commissioner Trainham said it had been his finding that this has been the consensus of people on the island. They are very concerned. We have already been built out in many areas, and he is questioning whether they are building out in so far as the business area is concerned. We plan for the future, and we have buildings right now standing empty. To keep these open and to keep them vibrant during the year is not easy for the merchants to do.

    Commissioner McElraft asked how the special use worked. Does the person who builds the building have to come back every year to get it renewed? Mr. Harrison replied that was an excellent question, and this is the one problem they stumbled into last Friday. A special use permit is good for a maximum of 24 months. They had remarked that they will likely have to amend that statement in the Code that it is good for a maximum of 24 months except as the commissioners may approve it an appurtenant use. Nobody is going to go and say they would like to build a 15,000 foot store, go to the bank, apply for a loan, and tell them that they may yank it in two years. They won’t get the loan. It is something they will have to address.

    Commissioner McElraft said that after it is built, they don’t have to go back in two years. Mr. Harrison said that in the case of all special uses for all the time they are listed as such. If somebody is found in absolute violation, there is a direct procedure already in the book that says they will be notified, there will be a public hearing, and then the special use can be removed. That is not likely to change. This is not designed to hamper development. This is designed to identify the problematic development that is going to injure this community in whatever way, shape, or form.

    Mr. Harrison continued that it would be a virtually invisible process. It is not another step, it is not another set of meetings, it is not another month. It is something that is an additional review, and it is additional by empowerment of the commissioners to look at things they consider to be problematic development. It also removes the burden from the Town to defend their lack of support for any development.

    An audience participant, who did not identify himself, asked if they could go through the process. There is not a proposed ordinance that they will adopt tonight. Mr. Harrison said they may well adopt the wording for passage on to the commissioners. The participant, an attorney, said it is hard to address what they are proposing when he hasn’t seen it, his client didn’t receive any notice that this was going to be happening. They do own B-3 property. This is the time when you need comment from the B-3 property owners. It makes it difficult.

    Mr. Harrison said they don’t serve half-baked eggs. If they get the wording together, it will be made available to everybody. Also, nobody directly notifies all property owners. There are posted notices in the newspaper and on the board outside and on the website. These are public meetings. The attorney said it would be good as far as having a discussion about proposing an ordinance that it be out there. Mr. Harrison said it is out there and he hopes people do see it. The attorney said somebody will make a motion and say we propose to send this to the Board of Commissioners. Mr. Harrison said the issue is out there, not the wording of the ordinance. That is not on the website or on the bulletin board or on the back table. The agenda item is out there.

    The attorney asked if a motion were adopted, would the motion adopt language that will then go to the workshop. Mr. Harrison said they would look through it, as this does not all necessarily fit in one place in the ordinance but three or potentially four places, on a piecemeal basis, discuss it, accept these, then pass it or not pass it on to the commissioners. The wording will be on tape and will be available before the Board of Commissioners meeting.

    Mr. Dowling mentioned the sidewalks. From past history, a developer or owner of new property wants to come in and modify them, it can take them out. (Change to tape 2) He would make a recommendation that wording be included in the statement, because right now this is a weak statement in that they can be removed within a year, 2, or 3 years. He also mentioned page 2, the bottom paragraph. Do they want to tie down any more of the statements with a stronger "may" or "shall" or "will" or "must."

    Mr. Harrison commented that this would be under section 19-83, "Notes, requirements, and conditions for certain permitted and special uses." This would be a subsection, a denotation off the zoned use table that already has 23 denotations, and this would be number 24. "That all commercial and retail structures within the B-3 and B-2 zoning district greater than 5,000 square feet in area are a special use and subject to the following conditions:

    1. That a 12-foot wide fire lane access be provided along each building as is physically possible;
    2. A sidewalk or boardwalk which provides a grade separation of pedestrian from vehicular traffic shall be constructed;
    3. The Board of Commissioners shall determine the number of allowable points of access to the development and their spacing;
    4. The developer shall install a pedestrian sidewalk along the full length of each public right-of-way to which the development abuts;
    5. The Board of Commissioners shall impose additional requirements to assure the development’s compliance with section 19-84."
  • Mr. Almeida asked about item 3. Could they be more definitive on that? Mr. Harrison said the point is that they don’t want to have a piece of property where there are 3, 4, or 5 entrances onto a street. The commissioners might say that would be confusing for traffic, pedestrians, etc., and all they would need is 2. This would give them the position to limit the number and spacing of the access points. Mr. Almeida said the problem he sees is that the developer needs to know the number of access points allowed; otherwise it becomes a trial and error solution. It leaves it too much up in the air. Mr. Almeida suggested changing to wording to two or more access points and go on from there.Mr. Harrison asked if two or more is always going to be plausible. There are no entrances from NC 58. Give them a latitude that they will usually be allowed two unless it’s a problem. Mr. Harrison said that "two or more where possible" is not a lot more definitive than what they already have.

    Mr. Dowling said that would give them variance that they could appeal. He suggested inserting the words "two or more." They would have latitude to appeal that based upon the plan and according to the ordinance. Mr. Harrison said he was considering some of the businesses around town—Sound Ace Hardware has one, BP has two. He was trying to think of instances where it would be problematic. Mr. Harrison continued that if he were the developer, he would come before the Board of Commissioners and Planning Board asking what he wanted. If he wanted two entrances, he would ask for two. Mr. Dowling complimented Mr. Harrison and said it was outstanding, but he would like to see the gateway concept.

    No-one had objections to that portion, so Mr. Harrison put it aside as temporarily approved. They would need some wording about the 24-month special use termination period. In section 84, he proposed adding "except that the Board of Commissioners may approve a special use as an appurtenant use." He asked Mr. Schock to read Section 7, which says "All special use permits shall be issued for a period not exceeding twenty-four (24) months, and special use permits may be renewed by the board of commissioners provided all conditions and requirements of this chapter have been satisfied. However, the board of commissioners is authorized to issue special use permits appurtenant to the special use so approved for the property. Provided, however, that any such special use permit shall become invalid upon the cessation of the special use for twelve (12) months." Mr. Harrison said he would add the wording "except for the Board of Commissioners may approve a special use as an appurtenant use." They can check with the Town Attorney and make sure that this is proper. Mr. Schock said if they were going to grant a special use to a builder to build a building and commit resources, they need to make sure that it is not every 24 months. Mr. Harrison replied "with the exception of, say, a stormwater system and filtration system failing, that they have this in perpetuity." Mr. Schock said any time they have to go back and change the structure or re-do anything of the building, anybody has to go back and get a permit from the town.

    Mr. Harrison said the third component on this issue is Section 19-84, Restrictions and Conditions for Special Uses, permission may be granted for the establishment of uses listed as special uses if the Board of Commissioners finds through the evidence, maps, documents, files produced, after studying the complete records and following a hearing regarding the application for a special use permit, that every condition below is adhered to. That is currently in the book, and what they would be adding to that section would be "Further, the Board of Commissioners is required in its review of a special use application to ascertain that the use and requirements of the proposed development will adhere to the following conditions." It lists numbers 1 through 7, which relate to public health, safety, welfare, property values, etc.

    Mr. Harrison asked if they could sell an entire package. He asked if everybody was in agreement that all three points are ok.

    Mr. Schock moved that they pass the three points and the special use on to the Board of Commissioners, Mr. McLaughlin seconded, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

    E. Discussion And Possible Recommendation Of Proposed Overlay District For Emerald Isle Gateway (Entrance To Emerald Isle From Langston Bridge)

    Mr. Dowling read and submitted a working paper, furnishing background and information supplementing the e-mail that the Planning Board had received that gave the parameters of special interest. He acknowledged 32 people that he talked to in soliciting information that supplements and complements and gives him 100% backing on the document. He discussed this with homeowners associations in Osprey and Cape Emerald. There is already a formal letter or petition on file from Osprey homeowners from when they made an appearance to the Board before (attached to these minutes).

    # 2 From the people Mr. Dowling spoke with, the stress was on aesthetics. As soon as you come over the bridge, they held close to their hearts the beauty of the island and did not want it closed off. The key philosophy behind the document is also echoed in the code.

    #3 We all know about the ponding in Osprey. When we had the last flood, they had 5 feet of water contiguous to the boundaries of each one of those apartments. The Planning Board went down and looked at that, and their hearts went out to those people.

    Scratch the one sentence about 6,300 ingoing and 6,300 outgoing cars. They are treated the same for a total of 6,000. They are talking 6,300 cars vs. the present 2,000 cars.

    Stormwater – when you look at the land, although it is not classified as a hazardous flood plain, it is like a bathtub, and Mr. Larry Spell maintains that the way you manage floodwater in this town, based upon the conversation with Daisy Spell, is that you keep the ponds in existence. They have already seen on the property two footprints filled in of ponds. Mr. Spell has agreed to keep the ponds in effect back there, but they still have one major pond that prevents drainage that goes into Cape Emerald and out through the pipe into the Sound, which is grandfathered. So there are headwaters that have to be thought about.

    The condos contiguous to the boundary of this B3 piece of land are already affected. It is very hard to sell the houses.

    Property value – is it worth the billion dollars that they are seeing flooded out in the Dunes on down to Lands End. Is it worth seeing that area flooded out? 

    Mr. Dowling had numerous additional comments and figures. (His working paper and notes are attached)

  • Mr. Harrison had some comments. The interest of this island is very valuable, very attractive to the residents and people who visit it. It speaks a lot to the community’s commitment to quality growth. It is an understatement to say that most of us prefer the view from Cameron Langston bridge to the view from the bridge at the other end of the island. The entryway onto the island is enough of an asset to the community in general that the means to preserve this view should be investigated. Commissioner Farmer has authored a gateway overlay district to address it. Mr. Harrison said he had read the entire proposal and could not agree more with the intent, the scope, and the delineation of this proposed overlay district.

    However, he personally disagrees with the strong constraints that the proposal places on land owners that are listed within its guidelines. The guidelines call for a 50-foot vegetative buffer along NC58. All other commercial property is required to have a 5-foot buffer. Some compromise is in order. Any development in this overlay district would be required to avoid excessive grading and vegetation removal. He agrees but feels it should be required for all commercial districts, not just a gateway district. Structures shall be designed to be unobtrusive and shall be set into natural land forms and existing vegetation. He agrees but thinks it should pertain to all commercial districts. Single story structures or ones having discreet second stories contained within the roof would be required, and maximum roof heights would be limited to 35 feet. The maximum building height was recently reduced by this Planning Board and by this Board of Commissioners, and he does not feel that it is fair to further constrain the owners of these properties with an additional reduction in height. Nature blending hip roofs are encouraged and flat roofs would be prohibited. He agrees and thinks it should be the case for all commercial districts. He agrees with the size limitations but thinks it should be required for all commercial districts. He agrees with all of the remaining comments about the structure blending in with the community but it should be required everywhere on this island. He feels that if it could be demonstrated that the proposed overlay district is indeed as important as we all feel that it is, the Town should make the ultimate preservation efforts by buying the properties. Most of the constraints listed in the proposal should apply to all commercial properties and structures, especially along NC58.

    Mr. Schock said that the gateway is so important financially to everybody on the island, and that the design group did such a great job, and this cannot be done from a Planning Board point of view or Board point of view. He proposed that, if they are going to do a gateway resolution or ordinance change or anything like that, that they put together another committee with business leaders, residents, Planning Board members, and commissioners to do exactly what they did with the sign ordinance and look at the big picture.

    Mr. Harrison asked if Mr. Schock was implying that this should pertain to a gateway district or an entire NC58 district. Mr. Schock replied that could be discussed by the group when it assembles. The original idea was the gateway coming onto the island. If there is more concern that the entire island needs to be worked on, he does not know about that. He wants everybody’s fair use of the people who own the land and also to maintain as much of the natural habitat as they can. If the proposed committee cannot reach a consensus among the members, they could come back to the Planning Board.

    Mr. Harrison said it was an excellent idea. It would take some load off the Planning Board, that is very overburdened, and it would have fair representation from the citizens, from business owners, planners, commissioners, etc.

    Mr. Dowling asked if they could put a time frame on it. Or do they want it to go on as long as the sign committee did? He thinks it is only fair to the developers who are sitting in the room that they put a limitation on that so they can get back and satisfy them. Mr. Harrison said they are not holding anybody up. Mr. Schock said he is not aware of any development right now that would be affected by the gateway. He would like to see it take as long as it needs to to get it done right so it is fair for everybody, the people who come across the island and bring all their hard-earned money and spend it on their vacations to the people who own the property and to the residents.

    Mr. Almeida said he thinks they are rushing to push this thing through. He agrees in principle, that the idea of an overlay district is good. The Town is having difficulty acquiring land for solving the stormwater problem. That is the first priority rather than going to buy land to address the overlay mission. When you come from 24 toward the island, what has been done is fairly nice up to the point where you get to Coast Guard Road in terms of vegetation and planting that the city has done. Once you cross Coast Guard Road and go farther east on 58, there is something lacking. He thinks the city can do something there. If they are going to require private individuals to develop the land to meet this overlay requirement, the city should also demonstrate good faith by trying to beautify the area. Mr. Harrison agreed. Getting back to Mr. Dowling’s point that there is an inherent cost in building out or improving the junction of Coast Guard Road and NC58, he thinks that a month ago the Board of Commissioners agreed in principle to that when it comes to beach renourishment, people who live on the ocean should pay more than others because they will benefit much more than others. If you apply the same analogy to the cost of redeveloping or improving the junction, it would appear that it would be reasonable to charge a special assessment to the business property that is around that area that would benefit from that improvement. It is nothing new; it has been done in other parts of the country. There is always a special assessment if property value goes up because of certain development. Mr. Almeida continued that as far as the 300 feet and other things, there are minor things that need to be changed. They have defined distances from the edge of the existing road, NC58. Tomorrow if they make it 4 lanes, the road moves out. Do they move the 300 feet? It should be from the center of the road or the edge of the right-of-way rather than the edge of the pavement.

    Mr. Dowling conceded that point. Mr. Almeida said they need to sit down and discuss this in detail. Mr. Dowling said the 50 feet is what is in the 2002 plan for the state. It is for discussion. They do not know how much the wetland purchase would be. Mr. Almeida said they have to be realistic. Mr. Harrison said they have to ascertain whether this is important enough to people in this town to pay the taxes. Mr. Dowling said he asked the same question, and the response was "How much are you talking?" He said he did not know, maybe $100 a year, maybe $500. Most of them said if it was going to be under $1,000, it is ok, they would buy the land with the town and would be willing to have a special tax to pay for that. That was before they came in with the recent assessments.

    Mr. Vance said he agreed with Mr. Schock about forming a committee, and he thinks they should scrub it, not rush it, and come up with a good plan and have the business sector and residential person, Planning Board, commissioners to look at it. If they could get a committee as good as the sign committee to work on this, they could satisfy most people.

    Mrs. Saunders said she thinks the main concern right now is stormwater more than the gateway. She believes that with the special use permit and being able to control the buildings more and let the people build, stormwater is more important than anything. They have a problem there that has to be fixed before anything else, and she thinks they can do the special use on both sides of 58 and do the buffers and things like that, but the stormwater is the big issue before they get into other spending projects.

    Mr. Harrison said that in a nutshell everybody seems to be in agreement that they need to get some sort of corridor/gateway study group. He hates hearing of committees being appointed in government, it is always something that drags on forever, and one of his favorite words is hyperdemopronehilifaction, (people meeting frequently to do nothing). That is not the case with these groups. The groups that have been generated by the Board of Commissioners and by the Planning Board have accomplished some real things, and if they get a study group of business people, citizens, planners, commissioners, etc. together and look at this issue, they will really go somewhere.

    Mr. McLaughlin moved that they make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners at their meeting on Friday morning to appoint a committee of business people, citizens, planners, and commissioners to look at the gateway issue. Phil Almeida seconded, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

    Mr. Allen said he wasn’t sure that they would have room on the agenda for this on Friday morning. Mr. Harrison replied that two of the issues are already on the agenda.


  • Mrs. Saunders commented that this was Mr. Harrison’s last meeting, and it would be a tough act to follow. She did not know which one of the brave souls was going to step up, but she is real hesitant. Mr. Harrison said he could see some consistent faces in the audience that seem to have a lot of interest in what goes on in the Town, they care about it, they care enough to show up at meetings, make positive comments and negative comments. He suggested they may want to do something as near suicidal as putting in an application for the Planning Board. He joked that it pays well, but said seriously it is a very rewarding experience, and they get to work with some really terrific people.

    Mr. Rick Farrington said he had looked to Black’s Law Dictionary when some of this started surfacing. He read the definition of "private property"—protected from being taken for public uses; such properties that belong absolutely to an individual and of which he has the exclusive right of disposition. The definition of "property" is that which is peculiar or proper to any person; that which belongs exclusively to one; in the strict legal sense, an aggregate of rights which are guaranteed and protected by the government. Mr. Farrington commented that when you put a 50-foot buffer on a piece of property, you are depriving that personal property owner of the rights to the value of his property and his highest and best use of that property. The word "deprivation" means taking away or confiscation as a deprivation of a constitutional right or the taking or property under eminent domain without due process of law. That refers to "taking", whose definition was there is taking of property when government action directly interferes with or substantially disturbs the owner’s use and enjoyment of the property; to constitute a taking within constitutional limitations, it is not essential that there be a physical seizure or appropriation, and any actual or material interference with private property rights constitutes a taking; also, taking of property is effective to the application of zoning law denies the property owner the economically viable use of his land, which can consist of preventing best use of land or extinguishing fundamental attributes of ownership.

    Mr. Farrington read that "public property" is the term that is commonly used as a designation of those things which are public juris and therefore considered as being owned by the public, the entire state or community, and not restricted to the dominion of a private person; it may also apply to any subject of property owned by a state, a nation, or a municipal corporation. He said it is easy to make plans and develop other people’s personal private property. To do things right, the town would need to purchase that property instead of restricting it to the point where it cannot be developed to its highest and best use by the owner of the property. That would be fair, and to do that, you would have to raise everybody’s taxes in Emerald Isle. Right now the people who own the property (private property owners), just because they are on the main road, that zone was developed B3. You do not want to put a buffer between the traffic and the front of the business where you cannot see the business. That is why that was all laid out as B3, it is the highest and best use for the property as a town. They have to look at it from a legal point of view and look at the rights of all the owners of all the property in Emerald Isle. The way it is being approached is not fair, and Mr. Farrington does not think making a quick change is fair. The people have a right to develop and use the property they have been paying taxes on since 1957. It is zoned, there are current laws that are black and white. A business person cannot do business with a bunch of people that are emotional making the decisions for them. If we were to do that, we would never get any loans to develop property. There are 3 to 4 months once they get a plan developed, that is approved by the Planning Board and the Board of Commissioners. It should be very simple to have engineers draw a plan, where a business person will know that he won’t have delay after delay after delay. He thinks the rules that are in place are good, but they need to keep in consideration that that property has been B3 for a very long time. Even though it has not been developed, the person who owns it has a right to develop it. And if we have a right to use it and enjoy it with nothing on it, then we need to exercise our right to buy it from them at fair market value.

    Mr. Mark Brennesholtz, resident of 9322 Ocean Drive, said they had heard the argument a couple of times that the owner of the property has owned the property for longer than most of us have owned ours. His inclination is to ask why didn’t they develop it in 1970, or 1957. Since they didn’t, what is the hurry now? He thinks the answer is that their property has become far more valuable because the rest of us are now residents here. We have moved in, and it is because there is now a population here, there is now an influx of summer visitors that weren’t here in 1957 or 1970, the property is more valuable because of the investments that other people have made in their property. He is sympathetic to the rights of private property owners, but on the other hand, he does not feel that the people who have taken the actions and made the investments that caused their property to increase in value should in effect have to subsidize the development of their property, either directly by improving road of infrastructure or by potentially watching the value of our property go down because the gateway district becomes paved with asphalt. He thinks the reason they are complaining now and are in a hurry now is because of the investment that we have made in the past to make that property valuable.

    Mrs. Dorothy Marks, resident of 134 Sand Castle, answered Mr. Farrington’s comments. Every single one of us that owns property in Emerald Isle has restrictions placed upon us. We have setbacks that limit how much we can put on that property. The amount of land that can be covered by houses and so on are limited by the ordinances. So to say that we are placing an unfair burden on the B3 property owners and not on anybody else is a mis-statement. Every single one of us has restrictions on what we can do with our land.

    Mr. Bill Holz said everybody does have setbacks, impervious zones, etc. What they are seeing on this particular piece of property is an attack on it to increase something to an unacceptable level. This property has come under attack by the good people they talk to primarily who live down on Coast Guard Road, turn right on Coast Guard Road—they don’t want to see that property developed, they want to see the trees, so they have come out and started the attack on this thing. The first attack was the traffic, which in discussions of the Planning Board and discussions of the Town Board, this piece of property that sits empty is the villain. What about the people of Lands End—do they use that road, do they create any traffic? They are part of the problem—they are the traffic problem. Everybody who builds a house is part of the traffic problem. The poor people in Osprey with the 5 feet of water—the implication is that this property has created 5 feet of water. This property is in its natural state except for the little parking lot that Look Realty had. In fact, Osprey Ridge is probably creating a problem on this property because of all their pavement and houses, condos, there is a real good chance that their water is making its way onto this property. As Mr. Farrington said, this town was incorporated soon after they developed their zoning, and they zoned this property commercial. At some point, they made it B3. The town and the property owner, who has remained consistent for the whole time, have a covenant. When the town says here is our ordinance, therefore we are taxing you based on what the property is zoned under these ordinances, you create a covenant. The property owner pays those taxes year after year, and when they want to develop that property, that is up to them. Now you have people who don’t want to see it developed, and they come up with a traffic excuse, now it’s the gateway thing and we have to maintain the beauty. Mr. Holz said Mr. Harrison had used the term "an asset to the community." If they start basing these decisions on how good it is for the town, what an asset it is for the town, then they are asking a private property owner to lose value to benefit the town. The town buying the property would obviously be the solution. Can they afford it? No, maybe.

    Mr. Holz said the agenda tonight was to propose some ordinances for the town to create a public hearing. It seems that a board like this, and particularly the town board, when they call a public hearing or ask for public comment and have 50 or 60 people speaking against the property and one property owner who wants to develop it in accordance with ordinances that have been in existence for years, it is tough on the Planning Board and the town board to say they have 50 or 100 voters raising hell saying don’t let them do it, and one lone property owner saying what about the moral implications to do the right thing. It must be tempting to say we have the crowd, we have the public, let’s go ahead and change the ordinances and let the property owner worry about the consequences. He hoped that the Planning Board would take all these things under consideration.

    Mrs. Saunders commented that anything the Planning Board gets to do like change an ordinance or update anything, they are directed by the commissioners to do so. It is not the Planning Board’s decision to do this. They are directed as to what to do. They are following orders like anyone else would in the job, for $25 a month. She does not want Mr. Holz to think that it is just the Planning Board that is doing this on their own, because they are not. Personally, she does not feel that there is anything wrong with the ordinances that are in place. They might need a little tweaking here and there. She can understand both sides of the argument with the property at Coast Guard Road, why they want it developed and why they don’t want it developed. It puts the Planning Board in a hell of a position to try and get all the reports in and make something of it. She knows how she would feel if she were sitting on that property.

    Mr. Harrison said, with due respect, it is not as if a request had been made for a subdivision of this property and they simply said no. He cannot tell Mr. Holz how many hundreds of hours he personally and the rest of this board has in this issue; the fact that the town has almost $15,000 invested in traffic studies; the volumes of materials they have gone through that pertain to this property. It is not something where they said that is a pretty piece of property, so let’s not let them develop it. This is a piece of property where people said this could be a problem if you maximize what can possibly be built on there—and he has to rely on estimates—and they have examined this and there is immense reason to be concerned about the traffic. He wishes the property were up the way or down the way, away from this intersection. We would love to see you develop it; he would have been able to see his kids a whole lot more this summer and fall; and to hear that this property and its owners are being attacked he takes personal offense to. This Planning Board is a highly professional unit that he will not allow to do anything of the sort, and he does not think any of them personally or individually would do something of the sort.

    Mr. Holz said the town board had directed the Planning Board because of the complaints from people who live down Coast Guard Road who did not want to see this property developed. Mr. Harrison replied, "Not at all." If the buck stops anywhere, it stops with the Planning Board, because as soon as they (and he) got the proposal for the subdivision and he heard about a NCDOT study that he has a copy of and read, that is where it started. People down Coast Guard Road heard about it after the fact. This board and the Board of Commissioners were the source of that, not the people down Coast Guard Road.

    Mr. Holz said the first DOT traffic study was done by a 23-year-old intern who was telling the Town of Emerald Isle how to zone the property. It was the most bizarre thing he had ever seen. That triggered the other thing. Back when the old town board was in force a couple of years ago, Paxon went to them and said how about abandoning Reed Drive so they could plan the property properly. The Board said they wanted to see a plan. She said she didn’t have a plan because she couldn’t do anything unless she knew if Reed Drive was there or not. They said they wouldn’t consider it unless she had a plan. So instead of spending $150,000, she asked an engineer to draw up a big box that looked like a super K-Mart just for something so she could go in and give them a plan. Somehow that plan drifted out into the community because in the last election, the thing that surprised him at the candidates’ meeting was all the people coming up and asking about the development at Coast Guard Road. There was no big development—it was a thing to satisfy the existing town board who then said they would not abandon Reed Drive. So Paxon said she had to market the property and came up with the subdivision of the three lots utilizing Reed Drive and fronting on 58, and that’s when all this stuff started.

    Mr. Harrison said Mr. Holz could understand how it started for the Planning Board, too. When somebody wants to use a piece of property and is asked what is going on there and responds they have no idea, all the Planning Board can do is look in the book and say they have to take away this for a buffer and that for a buffer. If parking will take up this, and septic will take up this, that will leave a building like this. You get two different firms, as well as the NCDOT, to look at it and generate traffic numbers to be spilled onto Coast Guard Road which is about 60-70% maxed out as it stands, and there is reason for concern. It is nothing personal, there is no attack, it is pure good estimates that cause reason for concern. One third of the resident population lives down Coast Guard Road, and he does not want his kid to fall off his skateboard and hit his head and need an ambulance when there is a roadblock right there because of the tourists who come down here and are more interested in turning left than in letting anything happen. When you pre-empt an ambulance or any emergency vehicle from making it down there—and that is the only way you can get there—there is a reason to be concerned about the safety and welfare of this community.

    Mr. Holz argued that this property does not have to bear the burden for all the development down Coast Guard Road, and that is what is happening. They could come up and say that anybody who lives down Coast Guard Road can make one trip out and in a day. Or everybody down Coast Guard Road can have one vehicle per house. Mr. Harrison said that is a public road, and their burden is real and present. Mr. Holz’s burden is estimated at some point in the future.

    Mrs. Paxon Holz said the intern who did the traffic study that started all this misconception listed a square footage of 17 acres in the tract including Reed Drive. There are not 7. So from the beginning the traffic studies were flawed. Mr. Harrison said he did not see any reference to the acreage in the study. He asked Mr. Allen if Mr. Lassiter had authored the NCDOT study. Mr. Allen said the study was initially requested by the old town board. The author is Joel Cranford, and he is an urban traffic engineer.

    Mrs. Saunders said the thing that bothers her on this Planning Board is when they get a project, they do not know what they are dealing with. Anybody could bring in a drawing that had one building on it, and this is what they have to go by. In the meantime after they have said ok and it has been approved, somebody has bought the property and it is into something else, and it keeps snowballing.

    Mr. Harrison said the Planning Board is very happy to play every card they have face up, which is the proper way to do things. It is a shame that some people do not choose to play the card game the same way. A lot of times, if developers came to the Board of Commissioners and the Planning Board and said this is what they want and had an informal discussion rather than presenting and saying "Will you approve this?", he does not think there would be any difficulty. Maybe there wasn’t any call for all these studies, maybe they wasted taxpayer money, but it is the only way they could come up with viable estimates. They were not Ceil’s estimates, they weren’t Frank’s estimates, they were the estimates of two professional traffic engineering firms that charged very dearly to give us that information.

    Mr. Holz said they came up with the solution to have an entrance off 58, which everybody knew they couldn’t do anyway. Mr. Harrison said he agreed.

    Mr. Farrington said if he appeared to be on the attack, it was on the issue and not on anybody individually.

    Mrs. Korin Gagnon said she wanted to make sure the CAMA issues that are on the table coming up to be finalized in 2003 are included in the discussion and that they make it clear to everyone on the island what is going on. There are a lot of people who do not have a clue.

    Mr. Harrison said he had heard property owners, taxpayers, and quite often the same person make the comment about not knowing what is going on. The town does everything they can to promulgate by website, by the bulletin board outside, by handouts, and by notifications required in the newspaper. Mrs. Gagnon said they need more coverage so the people know to come to the meetings. Mr. Harrison said the people need to look in the newspaper. Mrs. Gagnon said they should not assume that everybody knows what is going on because everybody does not.

    Mr. Almeida proposed a word of thanks to Cary Harrison on the outstanding job he had done. Mr. Harrison was given a standing ovation.

    Mr. McLaughlin moved that the meeting be adjourned, Ed Dowling seconded, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

    Meeting was adjourned at 9:25 P.M.

Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 01/15/2001

January 9, 2001 

Board of Commissioners

Synopsis of  January 9, 2001 Board Meeting.

At the Board's regular monthly meeting held on January 9, the Board granted final plat approval for a 9 lot residential subdivision and a 4 lot commercial subdivision located in Block 15 adjacent to the Emerald Isle Mini-Mart. These requests were made by JTW, Inc.

The Board approved a Resolution of Support for State funded beach renourishment and a study commission on Coastal Beach Movement, Beach Renourishment and Storm Mitigation due to be considered in the upcoming Long Session of the General Assembly reconvening on January 20, 2001.

In other action, the Board, discussed Special Use Permits in B-3 Commercial Zones and Gateway Overlay Districts and sent both issues to the Planning Board for further review and possible recommendation.

On another matter, the Board will review suggestions from the Bogue Field Committee at a January 19 workshop meeting and determine which of these recommendations should be offered for consideration to the committee working on the scope of work for the Area Land Use Study (ALUS) policy committee due to meet on January 30.



TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2001 – 7:00 P.M. – TOWN HALL

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 Jay Murphy; Commissioner Emory Trainham; Commissioner John Wootten; Town Manager Pete Allen; Town Attorney Derek Taylor; Town Clerk Carolyn Custy; Planning Board Chairman Cary Harrison; 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 commented that Commissioner Trainham had come forth with a recommendation list from the Bogue Field Committee that he wished to add to the agenda this evening. All commissioners had the list.

Commissioner Farmer moved that the Board add the Bogue Field Committee’s recommendations for the Joint Land Use Study Scope to the agenda. Commissioner Trainham seconded the motion. The vote was 2 for (Commissioners Farmer and Trainham), 3 against (Commissioners McElraft, Murphy, and Wootten). The motion failed.

Commissioner Farmer said this request had come specifically from Commissioner Wootten at the Bogue Field Committee meeting, and the Bogue Field Committee was following Commissioner Wootten’s request that it be on the agenda tonight.Mayor Harris said she had received it that day. Commissioner Farmer said they had not been given a lot of time.

Commissioner Wootten said he did have a dialog with the committee and did ask for the input, and what this was is a piece of paper of recommendations of things that should be brought to the Joint Land Use Study, but he just got the piece of paper. He was seeing it for the first time and was not ready to approve or discuss some of the things. They asked the committee for a report in the February timeframe. That is sufficient time to deal with it at that point in order to get it to the Joint Land Use Technical Committee. That was the point of all of this; that is where we are trying to go.

Commissioner Trainham said that was incorrect. He did not want the wrong impression to get before the group here tonight. The fact remains that the Scope Technical Committee is to meet before the next JLUS meeting, and this was the reason the committee had moved ahead and tried to provide for this. This was to be presented to our town manager.

Mayor Harris said Commissioner Trainham could, under the Comments, use his time to submit this then. The motion was denied.


Commissioner Trainham said maybe he had lost sight, but he did not remember numbers 9 and 10 being presented to the Planning Board. He asked if he was correct or wrong. He questioned having 9 and 10 as discussion tonight without the Planning Board’s attention to it first. This is the way they have always operated, and he thought they should operate that way again.

Mayor Harris said it would be discussed tonight whether to go to the Planning Board or not. It will come before them whether they will give the recommendation to go to them.

Commissioner Trainham asked if that is what the discussion on 9 and 10 would be. Mayor Harris replied, "Yes, sir." Commissioner Wootten said his intention was to discuss scheduling, not any substance, who is going to do what and when and how.

Commissioner McElraft moved that the Board accept the Agenda. Commissioner Murphy seconded, and the Board voted unanimously to adopt the agenda. Motion carried.


Commissioner Wootten moved and Commissioner Farmer seconded the approval of the Consent Agenda, which included Minutes listed in a and b and the Tax Refunds and Releases and Line Item Budget Transfers. The Board voted unanimously to approve. Motion carried.


Mayor Harris explained that Block 15 is about 4 miles down, where the Coastal Mart is. Behind that, on Ocean Drive, is the property that is before them, and they will be discussing. She asked if Mr. Pate Phillips or anyone representing him was in the audience. She explained that the Board had the maps, the Carteret County septic tank permits to be issued, actual authorization for construction will be issued once the lot has been prepared. She asked Mrs. Angus if this had been done.

Mrs. Carol Angus said they had applied for and received the modification sheets for all nine lots, and at such time that the lots have actually been prepped, they will be given their authorization for construction.

Mayor Harris said no filling would be permitted on the properties. Mrs. Angusagreed and said only for landscaping, which will be very minimal.

Commissioner Farmer asked about the septic modifications. What do they entail? Is it a lot of fill? Mrs. Angus replied to look hypothetically at Lot 1. Commissioner Farmer asked if they would be creating a stormwater runoff problem. Mrs. Angussaid that area is now a V zone. There is a high ridge through there that the majority of them will go onto, and those that might not satisfy the regular system will have to have one of the low-pressure systems. Commissioner Farmer asked if Mrs. Angus had any idea what they would be doing with the power line. Will that be up to whoever buys the lot to move it—or is it underground? Mrs. Angusreplied that she did not know. Commissioner Farmer said it goes right through Lot 3. Mrs. Angus said she would have to assume at the time that it would have to be addressed when they are ready to develop it.

Commissioner Farmer asked Cary Harrison, Planning Board Chairman, if they had any concerns. Mr. Harrison replied that the only comment he would like to make was that at the bottom of the same plat, to the right of the graphic scale, it says there will be a maintained vegetative buffer along the rear of the lots 3 feet wide by 8’6" high in 3 years. This is something that is required of this subdivision and is related to the next item to be discussed.

Commissioner Wootten said he remembered this topic coming up in front of the previous Planning Board, and it was put on hold awaiting a septic permit. He did not understand what had changed because these words seemed to indicate that something got modified.

Mrs. Angus said every lot is given a modification sheet prior to anyone being able to actually go in and put the system in. If they are not allowed to go in and do the modification that they need to do to each of these individual lots, they can never get a septic tank permit. So they have to be able to go in, and they will not be given a permit out of the Inspections Department until final Board approval has been passed. Commissioner Wootten said they would go in and do what they need to do to the lots in order to make them acceptable to the County for septic permits. Mrs. Angus agreed.

Mayor Harris questioned whether there would be trucking of dirt to build it up.Mrs. Angus said, "No, not in a V zone."

Commissioner Murphy said the only dirt would be landscape dirt, and if it is more than one load in a day, it has to have Mrs. Angus’ approval. Mrs. Angus said they could not even do one every day for four days—she will not let them do that. Just landscaping, once they’re done, to let them put in a little grass or something like that.

Commissioner Trainham moved, Commissioner Wootten seconded, and the Board voted unanimously to approve the final plat of the 9-lot residential subdivision in Block 15. Motion carried.


Mayor Harris explained that this is the same area with Coastal Mart, and this is around Coastal Mart, where it is zoned for business.

Mayor Harris said the Planning Board suggests and recommends that a 15-foot buffer is not to be installed due to the drainage on the south portion of the lots. Also the adjoining Lot 9 has implemented a 15-foot vegetative buffer on the north portion of the property. Should the owners default in this buffer, the commercial area will be required to build or to plan a buffered fence in that area.

Commissioner Farmer asked Mr. Harrison to explain why a buffer is a problem.Mr. Harrison said it is required of any commercial venture when they abut a residential neighborhood; and since this is in part the same group and they have already submitted the plat (the item before this), and they specified in that plat that they will have a vegetative buffer, it is the Planning Board’s concern not to simply say they have it, you don’t need to have it, it is actually their responsibility. Hence the Planning Board asks them to put this caveat on the plat so if these people defaulted or decided they didn’t want their vegetative buffer on the property anymore, then it would be incumbent upon the commercial property owners to replace it.

Commissioner Farmer asked if there is some reason why it doesn’t work to put them on the commercial property as well. Why not have more buffer? Mr. Harrisonreplied that there is a stormwater problem. They came up with a very thorough stormwater management plan for the lot and as things are looking right now, there are some inconsistencies between placing the buffer too adjacent to the other buffer with the proposed stormwater management plan.

Mayor Harris asked for comments from the audience.

Mr. Dick Eckhardt, resident of 4304 Ocean Drive, said that over a year ago this came before the previous Board, and the gentleman at that time was asked whether it drained well. It was treated humorously, and the answer never came up yes, never came up no. After Ron Marks made his presentation last week [sic], it occurred to Mr. Eckhardt that that is a bog. The reason he says that is he tries to ford it every once in a while when there is really heavy rainfall, to get his paper, and he normally ends up walking around it. So when they say stormwater plan, where is it going to drain? If you talk to the people at 102, 103, 104 Connie and one lot on Ocean Drive second house from Connie, you will find out that it is a very wet area, and that is where it drains. The Coastal Mart is already elevated. How do you drain an area like that when you see that we’ve had so much problem in the past with this bog that is not designed to drain? Where is the stormwater runoff going to run?

Mr. Larry Lavecchia, of Oceanside Engineering, explained the storm system. He said that basically each of the four lots is designed to hold an inch runoff. There is a system on the back of each of those four lots on the sound side. He was not the one who designed it, he was here as a representative, so he couldn’t say too much about it because he didn’t know a lot about it.

Mayor Harris asked what happened after an inch of rainfall. Mr. Lavecchia said there is an 18-inch pipe across the back of each lot below grade, and it is wrapped around with rock. There is a catch basin at the end of the pipe, and all the rain water is diverted into each end of the pipes to reach the catch basin and then fill the pipes. The pipe retains it.

Commissioner Farmer asked Mr. Harrison if Phil Almeida of the Planning Board was satisfied that this would not be causing more flooding problems than already exist in that area. Mr. Almeida was present to comment but said he had not looked at the stormwater plan itself. According to the City Ordinance, they are supposed to provide storage for one inch of runoff, and that has been done. The question arises if the rain continues beyond that period, it obviously cannot retain on the site and will flow. That is a problem we have on the island at almost every location.

Commissioner Murphy asked Mr. Almeida if the pipe system that Mr. Lavecchia described was in addition to the one-inch. Mr. Almeida replied "no," that the pipe is designed to retain one inch of runoff.

Mr. Harrison asked Mr. Almeida if he was satisfied with the calculations that Mr. Dunahoo had come up with. Mr. Almeida replied that he hadn’t seen the calculations.

Commissioner Wootten asked, if the plan has been certified by an engineer that it will handle up to an inch? Mr. Harrison replied "yes." Commissioner Wootten said when you look at the property, the answer as to where it is going to go after the inch is that it will go down towards Ocean Drive because that is the lower part of the property. It will go into the residential area. With the town ordinances as they are written now, Commissioner Wootten didn’t know what else the Board could do.

Mr. Almeida said there wasn’t much they could do at this stage. What essentially is happening is the water also gets absorbed in the sandy soil. If there is a really heavy downpour, there will be problems.

Commissioner Farmer asked if it would help to require more vegetation to be planted. Mr. Almeida replied that vegetation is very good; in fact, they could accelerate the program for planting trees. If they look at the Moffat-Nichol report, they said about 20,000 trees have been lost. We should plan to replace them in a 4- or 5-year timeframe, so we are talking 4,000 trees a year. Even conceding that some will die, that is the level of effort required. Those trees will absorb some water and reduce the problem.

Commissioner Farmer asked if it would specifically help on these lots with the location of the septic field. Commissioner Wootten said the question would be the buffer on the residential lots because that is where it would really go. They are relatively small lots, so by the time they put a house and a septic system on the smaller residential lots, there is not a lot of room for vegetation.

Mr. Almeida said he does not believe there is room for vegetation from what he understands. They have provided for stormwater drainage in the area that was set aside for the buffer.

Commissioner McElraft said it was her understanding that there is real sandy soil in that area, which would absorb a lot quicker than any fill dirt. Since they cannot put fill dirt there, that will probably help a lot, too. Mr. Almeida replied that once the ground gets saturated, it cannot absorb. Commissioner McElraft said the sandy soil absorbs quicker than brought-in dirt.

Mayor Harris asked if there was anything in the ordinances that this Board could impose that would take care of more stormwater—planting, less paving, or anything that is on the books at this time. Mrs. Angus replied, "At this time, no."

Commissioner Farmer said there was something in the ordinance that says the Planning Board can require anything more that it deems necessary. Mrs. Angusreplied that they can, but that was not brought up at that point.

Commissioner Farmer said she is stuck on vegetation and wondered if there isn’t more that they could require. It is obviously not going to handle a 48-hour rainfall, but nothing is anyway. The buffer itself is not very big.

Mayor Harris asked Mr. Bob Conrad if there was anything that he knew of that could improve or take care of a downpour. Mr. Conrad replied that the topography, or climate or geology or whatever you want to call it, east of Connie Street will not support vegetation. You will not find a tree east of Connie Street in town except for Timber Trail. There is too much salt air.

Commissioner Wootten said that unfortunately, he did not think the Board had any alternatives but to approve it other than "Buyer Beware" of the residential lots. Commissioner Farmer said that could be a good idea and asked if there could be some sort of notification on these lots that they may have water problems.

Mrs. Angus said these lots are just now being virtually subdivided, so there is no proposed development today. In the event that a special use would ever be used as these lots come on line to be developed, at that point a special use could be attached to each individual lot that they would see that they would have to address the situation. Mayor Harris asked how they would do that.

Mrs. Angus said they are B3, and she does not know whether that would be the best answer. Since there is nothing designed for them right now, maybe they could do it that way.

Commissioner Farmer said the special use may only apply to 10,000 square feet.

Commissioner Wootten said the problem is the residential lots because they are going to be the recipients of the water. The commercial lot is contributing the water above an inch.

Commissioner Farmer said if there is nothing else they can do, at the very least they can warn the people who may be thinking about purchasing the lots.

Mr. Derek Taylor, Town Attorney, said they can make it public knowledge as much as they can, but they cannot force it.

Mayor Harris said there is no way to enforce anything if they publicize that there may be a problem. Mrs. Angus agreed, and said when they come in to see Jim, Mike, or herself regarding development of the property, they will automatically tell them anything that is done down there. She is even telling people who may be interested in the 9-lot residential subdivision that they have some pretty big obstacles they have to overcome before they even start. Being in the V zone is a big factor. There will be a lot of work to do.

Mr. Derek Taylor, Town Attorney said there are certain legal requirements of realty agents who know of certain things to disclose to the buyer. It may be public knowledge enough that they might be able to pass on the responsibility for that.

Commissioner Wootten said it is in a flood zone to begin with (Mrs. Angus said "The worst"), and that is a bigger warning to folks buying those residential lots than water above an inch. They will have to be notified of the flood zone, and that is a bigger warning, and that should be of bigger concern to folks buying those lots than storm water.

Mrs. Ceil Saunders, resident of 5136 Bogue Sound Drive, said that many years ago this came before the Planning Board about rezoning for the residential lots. They were rezoned for residential because it was all commercial, at which time there was to be a vegetative buffer behind the houses. With this new plan, there is a trench in the back and they said that if they need vegetation, they will put it up there. It seems to be sufficient.

Mr. Harrison said that given the code that is in the book, the Planning Board is satisfied with their calculations for retaining an inch and a half of their storm water and the fact that they had come up with natural area calculations that were in excess of 50%.

Mrs. Saunders said the vegetative buffer has to be maintained by the homeowners on the residential side on Ocean Drive.

A request from the audience asked for clarification of if it was 1 inch or 1½ inches? The answer from Mrs. Angus and Mr. Harrison and others was 1½.

Commissioner Wootten made a motion for approval of the final plat for the commercial subdivision for JTW, Inc. Commissioner Farmer seconded the motion, and the Board voted unanimously for approval. Motion carried.


Mayor Harris read the resolution, which is contained in full below.






WHEREAS, a state sponsored Study Commission on Coastal Be4ach Movement, Beach Renourishment and Storm Mitigation, after extensive deliberations, will make some significant recommendations to the State Legislature; and

WHEREAS, the Study Commission recognizes the need for both a state dedicated funding source and unique agency to handle restoration and preservation needs; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Emerald Isle have recognized that beach restoration is vital to the economic wellbeing of the Town and Carteret County, and

WHEREAS; the Board realizes that beach restoration cannot be achieved without a funding source external to the Town and Carteret County; and

WHEREAS; the Board also recognizes that no existing state agencies possess a charter combining the requisite requirement for economic development considerations as well as recreational and environmental factors; and

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Board of Commissioners support the efforts of the Coastal Beach Movement, Beach Restoration and Storm Mitigation Study Commission in recommending to the State Legislature the need for State funding assistance for and a unique agency to manage beach preservation and storm mitigation efforts.

Duly adopted this 9th day of January, 2001.



Barbara M. Harris, Mayor





Carolyn K. Custy, Town Clerk


Mayor Harris opened it up for comments from the public.

Mr. Bill Reist, resident of 8520 Woodcliff Drive, said he had a copy of the resolution and asked to meet with the Mayor earlier today because he had questions, but she didn’t have time for him. He also left a message for Commissioner Murphy, and Mr. Reist didn’t hear back from him. He said it was probably appropriate that he ask these questions in front of an audience, too, because maybe they will become educated and better informed in the process.

Mr. Reist asked who was the proud author of this resolution. Who put it together? Who wrote it? Commissioner Wootten replied that he had drafted it. Mr. Reistasked if it was the final, and Mayor Harris said "Yes, this is going before the Board this evening." Mr. Reist said there are a number of errors in it, which led him to believe they are not too well-informed. He left those for them to dig out.Mayor Harris asked Mr. Reist to keep it to the Board in general, that there would be no name calling. Mr. Reist said it tells him that the Board has not done too much homework.

Mr. Reist asked Commissioner Wootten if, in authoring the resolution, it came to him or did he author it from scratch. Mayor Harris advised Mr. Reist to make his presentation and they would come back to him. Mr. Reist said he thought an author ought to be proud of his work. Commissioner Wootten said he did not know where Mr. Reist was going. Mr. Reist replied that he knew he didn’t and that is why he would not answer.

Mr. Reist asked Commissioner Wootten if other towns had accepted the resolution. Mayor Harris asked Mr. Reist again to address the full Board. Someone nodded in answer to Mr. Reist’s question.

Mr. Reist said that the resolution states that the Board also recognizes that no existing state agencies possess a charter combining the requisite requirements for economic development considerations and asked what "requisite requirements for economic development considerations" means in layman’s terms. Commissioner Wootten asked if he could answer the question now or do it later. Mayor Harrisreplied that she preferred that Mr. Reist go ahead and make his presentation. Mr. Reist said he was asking some questions in order for the public and himself to understand what this is about. If they do not understand it, how are they supposed to know whether they are making rational decisions related to it or not.Mayor Harris said the whole resolution is supporting the beach nourishment that that committee has given to the General Assembly. Mr. Reist said he understands the resolution, but his question about the statement is what does the statement mean.

Commissioner Wootten said he would answer that when he got a turn to make a comment.

Mr. Reist asked if the Board had actually looked at the Division of Coastal Management’s charter or mission statement and also the Coastal Resource Commission’s charter or mission statement. He said the CRC does make provision for economic interests and before the Board acts on this, somebody needs to go back and really identify and understand what the CRC and the Division of Coastal Management is all about. He does not think anyone here had.

Since Mr. Reist felt that the Board is not well informed on this, he suggested that at the next meeting they ask somebody from the Division of Coastal Management and the CRC (the Coastal Resource Commission) to come to explain what their roles are and how they relate to this "requisite requirements for economic development considerations." That would be his recommendation. He would hope they would have these people when they have an audience where the audience would be educated and the Board particularly should be educated. He had attended 3 or 4 of the meetings of the study committee, and he saw Commissioner Murphy and Mayor Harris at one. But he did not see any other commissioners. He really thinks before they make any movement on the resolution they should better educate themselves.

Mr. Jerry Huml, resident of Pebble Beach unit C104 for about 5 years, applauded the Board for their proactive initiative on this perceptual statement. He thought it was vital and had three points to make: 1) the State has already formed a Beach Preservation Commission, and this seems to be very much in line with that; 2) he understood that Carteret County approved to work closely with the Corps of Engineers to get beach preservation and nourishment done around 2008, and this seems appropriate; 3) one of the very first documents that came out of this Board after they were elected and came on board contained two major things: one was beach nourishment and had to do with relying on the state and federal government to help fund beach nourishment because they sensed it was needed, that there were erosion problems, and that was one of their major goals and this was a step forward to achieve that goal.

Mayor Harris said there seemed to be some misunderstanding about the resolution. This resolution supports the Study Commission (out of Raleigh) on the Coastal Beach Movement, Beach Renourishment, and Storm Mitigation. They are sending their recommendations for state money, and Bogue Banks needs to let them know they support this. That is what this is about. The Board has passed two resolutions already that they are for beach renourishment if they can get state, federal, and local funds.

Commissioner Trainham said those resolutions were not unanimous.

Mr. John Grady, resident of 113 Fawn Drive, applauded the Board for coming up with some sort of recommendation on trying to save the beach. He knows there are a couple who are not interested, period. He applauded them for supporting this because the County Commissioners last night approved it also and approved the 933 which has been dragging on for 50 years. If we keep on, there won’t be any beach out there. It won’t do any more damage here than it does in Wilmington with their $121 million last year and this year. And it is time for somebody to support the County commissioners. They approved last night $691,000 that will not come from tax money but from occupancy tax. It will get on the long range plan so we can get on the state and federal program, and it is time for us to quit dragging our feet. He applauded all who are for it.

Mr. Bob Isenhour, resident of 313 Channel Drive, echoed what Mr. Huml said, that he applauded them for approving, if they do, this recommendation. Certainly it is something that in his opinion is needed. Having said that, there is more that is needed here. He took his hat off to Reese Musgraves and the other leaders in Pine Knoll Shores as well as Buck Fugate in Indian Beach. They have approached this problem, they have taken the bull by the horns, and they are handling the matter. They have a problem just like we do. Their resolution in Pine Knoll Shores will pass in March, and they will have sand on their beach by the end of this year. Indian Beach, in like step with Pine Knoll Shores, if the state comes up with the money for the property that they own, will have sand on their beach, and that sand will go right up to the border between Indian Beach and Emerald Isle. He understands the Board is considering forming a committee to look into what should Emerald Isle do. He thinks they should make that decision themselves and go forward with a public hearing and a resolution, but he understands also that Emerald Isle has a different situation than Pine Knoll Shores or Indian Beach. We have three different problems: 1) 1st through 30th Street, which if we were able to join with what Pine Knoll Shores and Indian Beach are doing, we might just be able to tag along and be able to be in the same time frame and at least get nourishment in the first 30 blocks; 2) the Point, which is a more complex issue; 3) the rest of Emerald Isle. If the Board forms a committee, he asked that they do it quickly and move on. They have lost one house, four others are in imminent danger; in fact, all of Bogue Court is in imminent danger as well as the western end of Inlet Drive. Sandbags are a temporary fix, and they have to do something down there as soon as they possibly can; and in that connection, a study has been done by some private individuals who have paid for that study with no Town help whatsoever, no taxpayer money. He had been unable to reach the people today, so he was not at liberty to talk about the details. He said it was well done; however, they have gone as far as they can go financially without some help. The help is going to need to come from the Board, with their help in endorsing a resolution to get funds to help this problem and help us with the Corps of Engineers. It is dead without the Board’s approval of this resolution.

Mayor Harris commented that they had asked the County to submit to their long-term feasibility study—she and Mr. Allen were at their meeting the previous Friday—to include the Point to see if they can get the Corps to work with them on that situation. As far as the sand from 1st to 30th Street, the County said it was too expensive. It has been addressed.

Commissioner Wootten said as the Mayor had indicated, the Study Commission which was chartered by the state did come forward with a recommendation that was published in the paper in the last week or so, to establish an independent commission to oversee beach renourishment and also to put forward a scheme for the State Legislature for the introduction of state money into the effort of beach renourishment and storm mitigation as well. There was a dissenting opinion on the part of one of the commissioners here to that commission finding that received some publicity, and there was some concern on the part of some of the commissioners on this Board that that dissenting opinion would be viewed as an opinion coming from the Town of Emerald Isle. The purpose of this resolution as it is drafted is to confirm to the Study Commission, and maybe to the Legislature, that the Town, or most of the commissioners, will reaffirm to the Commission that we support that and we support them and we do not agree with the dissenting opinion. The dissenting opinion rendered was that the independent commission was not needed, and maybe even funding was not needed; and the point was made that the authority exists already within the Division of Coastal Management and the CRC, and those agencies were reflected in the comments of the dissenting opinion. He did look at, and had in front of him, the by-laws from the CRC and the Division of Coastal Management. He went through them very thoroughly. This is an opinion, an area of disagreement. He personally thinks that if they are ever going to have beach renourishment, they need an independent commission that will balance economic welfare of this Town and the County against the dangers and damage that will be done to the environment and the wildlife as a result of beach renourishment. The basic question is should the environmental community be solely in charge of beach renourishment considerations. The Study Commission that was supporting this resolution said "no," that we need an independent commission. This resolution supports that decision that we need an independent commission. Going through the bylaws of the agencies, the Division of Coastal Management, etc., there is no mention of economic development and best interest of this beach as an asset for the economic welfare of the County and the Town. He was not trying to belittle the Division of Coastal Management or CRC or any of those, but their job is to preserve, defend the public trust, to keep things the way they are. That is why they are in existence, that is the nature of their existence. What we need for beach renourishment is an aggressive activist group that is going to have to draw that balance between the two. That is the reason this statement is written that there is no unique agency that can do that. The Study Commission found that, and that is why they recommended this unique commission. That is why the resolution was drafted, and he hopes the commissioners approve it.

Commissioner Farmer said she does support beach renourishment. She read a statement of her position that has been incorporated into the Minutes as an attachment at the end.

Commissioner McElraft asked Commissioner Farmer if, before she gave her dissenting opinion, she talked with anyone on the Board whom she represented to see if it was the majority of this Board that also agreed with that dissenting opinion.

Commissioner Farmer replied that she did not represent this Board. She was not appointed by the Board to represent Emerald Isle at all. She was appointed by Senator Mark Basnight.

Commissioner McElraft asked if Commissioner Farmer had requested from Senator Mark Basnight that she be appointed or a member of the Emerald Isle town commission be appointed the day after the election. Commissioner Farmerreplied, "Not to represent the Board, to have someone from Emerald Isle on the committee." Commissioner McElraft said "to represent this town." Commissioner Farmer said, "No."

Commissioner Farmer said if they looked at her dissent opinion, they would see nowhere on that does it indicate that she is commissioner from Emerald Isle at all. It says merely Emily Farmer.

Commissioner McElraft said that every e-mail that she had sent to everyone on the legislative study group says Emerald Isle Mayor Pro-tem. Commissioner Farmer replied that she sent one e-mail to the legislative study group saying that she was Mayor pro-tem in Emerald Isle. She did not represent Emerald Isle, and in fact if Commissioner McElraft read the articles in the newspaper, nowhere did it say that Emerald Isle dissented to these recommendations. All the newspapers said Emily Farmer did. Commissioner McElraft added, "Mayor Pro-tem of Emerald Isle."

Commissioner McElraft said that is the reason that the majority of the Board had decided to do the resolution. They feel that the legislative study group looked at her dissenting opinion. She had talked to several of them and they said they absolutely evaluated everything that was on there, they had talked about it in the past, and they decided not to put that in their final report. So everybody on that committee is wrong except for Commissioner Farmer. She said the State of Florida, of whom they are patterning this commission from, have given them a lot of advice. The advice they gave is what they did about 30 years ago when they established their own commission and started having funding that was dedicated to beach nourishment. They were able then to get all the federal projects, walkways, everything that they needed to comply with the Corps of Engineers. The only way we are ever going to get funding in Emerald Isle for beach nourishment is not going to be from the county, it is going to have to come from the state. We’re going to get our portion from the county and from the occupancy tax, but we are going to have to depend on the state, and the state hopefully not only will have the $12 million, but they are looking at lottery and other things to be able to put into this beach nourishment. There will be more money in there than the $12 million. The only way we will get it, like the Clean Water Trust Fund, is to have dedicated funds for beach nourishment. That is why she thinks this resolution needs to pass.

Commissioner Farmer said that this year the Division of Water Resources is spending $11 million on beach renourishment projects to come up with the state match for federal projects; and in fact, Water Resources, according to John Moss, who also spoke to this committee, has always come up with that match. That has not been a problem. The money has always been there for the state match.

Commissioner McElraft said that was prior to Dare County and all the things that are going on in Wilmington and the things that will be going on in Carteret County. There will be no state funds if we don’t get this commission to provide those state funds.

Commissioner Farmer said the Corps is saying their average is $10 million a year over the next 30 years, and that includes Dare County and Bogue Banks.

Commissioner Trainham said everybody in the room knows how he feels about beach renourishment. So far he has not been persuaded that putting sand on the beach without an in-depth study and without some committee work is the way to go. He has approved a local committee to come up with a better way to deal with the beach problem that they have inherited. He certainly is concerned about it. Furthermore, he is more concerned with the inlet problem down at the Point than he is with the rest of the beach. He feels that they would be missing something if they didn’t include that, and he appreciates the former commissioner’s comments about the Point. The Point needs to be there, and we need to do something to change the flow of the water there. He cannot go along with the resolution. When he made his bid to take this seat, he promised the taxpayers that they would be fiscally acceptable in most ways. He still feels that it is wasting money to put sand where it is going to be taken out by the rising ocean; and until he can find a better way to deal with this, he will have to vote against the resolution.

Commissioner Murphy commented that he agreed with Commissioner Trainham on the Point. It is definitely in as much, or probably more, danger than 1st through 30th Street on the beach. He said that he believes this resolution is a step in the right direction and actually sends the message to the state that the Town of Emerald Isle and its Board of Commissioners are in favor of this committee. It is important that they understand that. There has been a little bit of publicity that caused some confusion, and this resolution is a step in the direction to tell the state that we do need the committee and we do need that support.

Mayor Harris said on the commission that Commissioner Farmer was on, there were 19 members, and on that committee that wants to get money and have asked the state for money and have studied it thoroughly, are Senator Martin, Senator Shaw, Senator Allran, Representative Warwick, Mayor Altman, Representative McComas, Representative Rayfield, Representative Redwine, Representative Smith, and Representative Thomas. They all are asking the state for money. They all agree.

Commissioner Farmer said they can’t all agree on everything all the time.

Commissioner McElraft made a motion to approve the resolution of support for the establishment of a state funded beach renourishment and restoration commission of R-01-01-09-01. Commissioner Murphy seconded. The vote was 3 for (McElraft, Murphy, Wootten), 2 against (Farmer and Trainham). Motion carried.


Mayor Harris asked if Mike Harvey of Benchmark was present. He was not.

Commissioner Wootten commented that the subject of the special use permit for B-3 business zone was brought up at the meeting in January. A plan was laid out that Benchmark, Inc., in the form of Mr. Mike Harvey, was going to assist the Planning Board to try to come up with some wording to develop this concept within the Town ordinances. The purpose of the agenda item today is not to get into the substance or words; it is really to discuss schedule so that they keep this thing on track, and they’re a little bit off track already because they do not have Benchmark providing information to the Planning Board yet. He wanted to make sure they did this promptly and everyone is singing from the same sheet of music as they move forward, whatever the decision is as to what should be in the ordinance or not. The Planning Board meets January 15th, so nothing has happened. The objective is to have a public hearing in February.

Commissioner McElraft asked if they could have the Planning Board do that with Mr. Harvey on the 15th. The Board of Commissioners has their special meeting on the 19th. When Mayor Harris said it was a workshop, Commissioner McElraft said maybe they could make it a special meeting on the 19th. She had discussed with Mr. Taylor before they started that it would still allow them the time to get all this in the paper. They need 20 days. Mr. Taylor said they have to do two publications no less than 10 days nor more than 25 days before the hearing.

Commissioner Farmer asked if anyone knew when Mike would be back in town.Mr. Allen said he would be back that day or the next. Commissioner Farmer said it could be conceivable that he would have something for the Planning Board.Commissioner Wootten said he was led to believe that he could in fairly short order. He thought they had gotten mixed up in schedules with him going out of town and Mr. Harrison going out of town. He said he was more concerned about the ability of the Planning Board to deal with the issue in a 3- or 4-day period of time.

Mr. Harrison said if they could get a workshop together with Mike Harvey and some representation from the Planning Board and some from the commissioners, they could pretty easily hammer something out and let Mr. Harvey work with the wording and get it to Mr. Taylor in ample time to have it appear in the meeting on the 19th.

Commissioner Wootten asked if they should set that as an objective for a schedule. Commissioner McElraft asked if they could schedule a public hearing in February or do they have to wait for the January 19th special meeting if they make it a special meeting. Mr. Taylor said they could go ahead and set a schedule aggressively, and if they can’t meet the schedule, back off. There are some issues for publication notice, and they have to deal with Carteret County News-Times. He asked Mrs. Custy if they could meet the schedule and get the publication done.Mrs. Custy said there was time to do it for February 13th but not the January 19thmeeting. Mr. Taylor recommended they set the schedule requesting a public hearing for the February regular meeting calling for a special meeting publication to be printed for January 19th. The Planning Board needs to publish themselves for public comment on the ordinance at their meeting on January 15th. All the Board of Commissioners would have to do is inform the Planning Board they would like them to bring them a recommendation for the January 19th meeting. The Planning Board will take care of what they have to do.

Mr. Harrison said they would need some sort of workshop before the regular meeting. Commissioner Wootten asked Mr. Harrison if he was suggesting that a group from the Planning Board and two commissioners get together with Benchmark prior to their meeting on January 15thMr. Harrison agreed, saying "as a workshop," so they would have the substance at their regular meeting to pass on, and they could pass it on to the Board of Commissioners at the January 19thmeeting.

Mr. Taylor said it was an aggressive schedule, but they are setting their own workload. They have no legal impediments in doing that.

Mayor Harris said that would give them time to notify everybody of the special meeting on the 19th. If the Planning Board has a workshop on Friday the 12th, that is not enough time for publication. Mr. Harrison asked what the earliest date they could hold a workshop with proper notice would be. Mrs. Custy said the first time they could get a notice in the newspaper would be the 12th. They could have it on the 19th, but she didn’t know where she would put them because the room would be full. Commissioner McElraft asked if they could have that meeting right before the scheduled workshop. Mr. Taylor said the Planning Board needed to act on it on the 15thCommissioner Wootten asked Mr. Harrison if they could get this accomplished with two commissioners involved; that way they wouldn’t need to have a notice. Mr. Harrison said it wouldn’t be legally a quorum one way or the other if they have two Planning Board and two commissioners and one outside resource.

Commissioner Wootten said he would recommend that the Board pick two commissioners to meet with the chairman of the Planning Board and maybe another member of the Planning Board and Benchmark prior to the 19th with the objective of drafting wording for a special use permit to be presented to the Planning Board on the 15th and discussed on the 15th. If that all works, the Board of Commissioners would consider this topic on the 19th, which is now classified as a workshop but would have to be turned into a special meeting. The Board would decide on the 19th whether to proceed to public hearing in February or not. That’s an aggressive schedule but it can be done.

Commissioner McElraft said the two commissioners would have to meet prior to the 15th. They could deal with that offline since it is not a meeting.

Mayor Harris said a motion is not required to set up the schedule. If it doesn’t work out, the Planning Board will let the Board know.

Commissioner Wootten suggested that they decide which two commissioners want to do this. Mayor Harris said Commissioner Wootten should be and asked Commissioner Farmer if she would. Commissioner Farmer said she would be happy to. Mayor Harris said that Commissioner Farmer and Commissioner Wootten would meet. Commissioner Wootten said he was just bringing up the schedule.

Mayor Harris asked that they inform her if it does not work out, as the 19th will be a special meeting followed by a workshop. Commissioner Farmer reminded the Board that the special meeting would have to be held in the morning because she is going out of town.

Mr. Taylor asked that it be put in the form of a motion. That way they are calling the special meeting.

Commissioner Wootten made the motion that the special use permit be presented to the Planning Board on the 15th, at which time the Planning Board would turn it over to the Board of Commissioners for consideration at a special meeting on January 19, 2001. Commissioner McElraft seconded, and the Board voted unanimously for approval. Motion carried.


Mayor Harris said this is a gateway corridor overlay district that Commissioner Farmer has brought up and wishes to bring to the Board.

Commissioner Farmer explained that there was quite a bit of discussion when the Planning Board had the Reed Drive subdivision before it from Planning Board members and also residents’ concern preserving the entrance to Emerald Isle between the bridge and Coast Guard Road. One of the Planning Board recommendations was to work on some kind of gateway district. She is not that creative and stole at least the idea—it is certainly not verbatim—from Hilton Head. They have a corridor overlay district that set out what sort of things they should be considering: buffers and signage. She got some feedback from phone calls and e-mails from people in the community and came up with it, which she hoped they could keep on the same schedule as the Benchmark ordinance and pass on to the Planning Board.

Commissioner Wootten asked the Town Attorney for guidance about the gateway. Is it different from B3 and therefore can the schedule be maintained? Mr. Taylor replied that to follow the same schedule, they will be even more aggressive. In this situation, they are changing the zoning map. When changing the zoning map, creating a new district like this, there are different notification requirements. The notification requirements in this instance will require them to first class mail all property owners within the district and all property owners adjoining the district within a 100-foot border.

Commissioner Farmer said this is not necessarily a zone change. Mr. Taylorreplied that it is creating a new zone, an overlay zone. It is changing the zoning map. Commissioner Farmer said B3 now will remain B3 but there will be more restrictions put on, particularly vegetation. Mr. Taylor said it is different because they are creating an overlay zone; they’re really creating a new zone. If it had been B3, residential, B2, RMH, all in this area, they would all be covered by the additional restrictions, this overlay zone, like they did with the beachfront. In those circumstances, they have different notice requirements. There are two choices: 1) the one he had just described, first class mail according to the tax rolls to each individual within and adjoining or abutting the properties; 2) they can publish for four weeks in the newspaper, but that only fixes the situation for the residents that are in the area that newspaper would cover. They would still have to mail to out-of-town people.

Commissioner Farmer said she thinks they want to notify the property owners. She doesn’t think there are that many property owners involved. Mr. Taylor said that would require the zoning officials to make a determination on that.Commissioner Farmer said there are not really that many parcels there.

Mrs. Angus said the only question she would have is if they say within 100 feet of the zoning district they are talking about, they are encompassing Pebble Beach. Does she notify the homeowners association or every condominium owner in Pebble Beach? Mr. Taylor replied, "Every condominium owner."

Commissioner Farmer said she was not sure they would get Pebble Beach because it only extends down Coast Guard Road 200 feet. Mr. Harrison said it would be pretty close if they think about the breaks in the right-of-way. Mrs. Angus said they would be talking about the south side of the property, so they have a 60-foot right-of-way, and once they have gotten to the other side, doesn’t Pebble Beach begin? That’s their property.

Mayor Harris asked Mr. Harrison if the Planning Board had not in some way made their recommendations and addressed this. Mr. Harrison replied that they very generically defined part of the area, but certainly not with the detail that is listed in the document by Mrs. Farmer. They simply made the recommendation that they felt there should be an overlay district established. It was at that point undefined in terms of its depth and length into town.

Commissioner Farmer said that is why she got involved, because she knows that they have totally over-burdened the Planning Board and her Christmas present to the Planning Board was to try to do the really rough draft for them so they could go from there.

Mayor Harris asked if they want to tackle this gateway overlay district at this time. Mr. Harrison asked, "Can you at this time?" Commissioner Wootten replied it depends on the schedule. Commissioner Farmer said it will determine whether Pebble Beach falls into this or not. She doesn’t know how much time they have to give for people to respond.

Mr. Taylor said they basically have the same requirements for those notifications that they discussed before, that it has to be postmarked no closer to the date that they’re going to have the hearing than 10 days, and no farther out than 25 days. So they have to get it postmarked at least 11 days in advance of the hearing. That is a short string, but they also have to have a recommendation from the Planning Board as to what they will be discussing, and they do not have that yet.

Commissioner Farmer suggested passing this to the Planning Board with the goal that they try to keep an eye on the schedule, and if they can’t, they can’t. But this to her and a lot of people is as important as the traffic problem.

Commissioner Wootten said they can try that, but he thinks it will be much more of a controversial issue now, and much more divisive.

Commissioner McElraft said she thought it needed to be different timing altogether.

Commissioner Farmer said she got the impression from the Planning Board meetings, and she thought they had even talked about it at a Board meeting, there were a lot of residents who were very concerned that they were going to lose that view when they come over the bridge and wanted it protected.

Mayor Harris asked if they wanted to take it up with the other or not.

Commissioner McElraft commented that the Planning Board mentioned some vegetation overlay but they didn’t mention infringing on people’s property 100 feet or making buildings only 35 feet high when they’ve made commercial buildings already scaled down to 50 feet. She thinks this will take a lot more work than what they have, and to burden the Planning Board with that on top of the B3 right now she thinks is just not . . . . She appreciated what Commissioner Farmer did, but she doesn’t think that would be agreeable with too many residents or the property owners.

Commissioner Farmer said that is what they need to find out. They need to in fact have it go to the Planning Board and see if they agree with this draft.Commissioner McElraft said she agreed but didn’t think they should burden them with it at the same time the B3 is going on because she understood they were already burdened. She would like to hear from Mrs. Saunders and Mr. Harrison.

Commissioner Trainham said they need to proceed, and they need to proceed on the basis of the time limit, and as Commissioner Farmer has said, if they can’t keep up with it, they can back off. They should at least try.

Commissioner Trainham moved that they try to proceed with the same time line that has been set up for the previous item, and if it cannot be reached they will back off and make for more time for this item. Commissioner Farmer seconded. Vote was 4 for, 1 against (Commissioner McElraft voted against). Motion carried.

Commissioner Farmer thinks this is an extremely important issue to Emerald Isle, and she would hate to have to sit here and try to have a vote on whether they go into a moratorium on building again because the gateway stuff is not done. She thinks it is important that they try to keep it on schedule. It may not be physically possible, it may be that they can only get close.

Mr. Ed Dowling, resident of 404 Cape Emerald Court, proposed that they consider some recommendations. He had worked with some distinguished citizens by e-mail and soliciting 30 people. In talking with them, he had gotten a grasp of the situation. He recommended that they limit the purpose and scope "The gateway consists of out-parcel land on the corner of McLean site tract 1, 3.449 acres, 158,000 square feet plus Reed Drive in the wetlands contiguous to the 404", wetlands as soon as you come over the bridge that you see on the right to Osprey. The Osprey people would be the only ones they would have to canvas because it is within the borders. They already have a petition from the Osprey citizens who outlined six objectives to the building of it, and they addressed particular buffers. If you’re talking of a wetland buffer concept under B3, the Board of Commissioners is charged under the code with totally coming up with it. They have six different classifications in the code right now. They have to be sorted out to make a decision on the wetlands. If they have any questions on the fine items that the gentleman and the ladies he worked with who put together the gateway message that went out over e-mail to everybody in the room that is on two boards, he is prepared to address it. But he thinks if they limit it to that particular land, then charge the Planning Board with coming up with a natural area, "The idea behind the gateway is to require a greater . . . open space and to impose higher standards (and he thinks that is what they should charge them with) than are required." Division 3, "Standards for flood hazard reduction", under section 19-376, "requires a certain percentage of each lot to

maintain . . . promote the aesthetics. . . ."

Commissioner Wootten said Mr. Dowling had lost him, and he had no idea what he was talking about. Commissioner Wootten said he had an e-mail in Emily’s words.

Commissioner Farmer said they need to hear from the Planning Board. Mr. Dowling said he was trying to limit it in purpose and scope.

Commissioner Wootten asked if some group had drafted the piece of paper.Commissioner Farmer said that Mr. Dowling had helped and they had talked with 32 citizens. They got feedback from a bunch of people.

Mr. Rick Farrington, resident of 8802 Sound View Court, said he wanted to know what the hurry was. It seems like they want to change the rules to devalue the property. If they want the gateway, why don’t they get a fair market value of the property, raise all of our taxes, and buy the gateway? That would be fair. They sound like a bunch of developers.

Mr. Bill Reist, resident of 8520 Woodcliff Drive, asked if it would be inappropriate, since he sensed that a lot of people did not want to be educated, and maybe the Board does not like to educate, to read whatever Mrs. Farmer has put together so they have some understanding as to what it is about.

Commissioner Farmer said it would be appropriate, but that was not the point of this being on the agenda tonight. The only reason this was on the agenda was to pass it on to the Planning Board. The Board is not taking any action on it at all other than the language is merely draft language. Mr. Reist said it makes it very difficult when he is sitting in the back to get any sense. Commissioner Farmersaid they got into a discussion that they really did not intend to get into on the details of it. This was just merely to pass something to the Planning Board so that they wouldn’t have to start from scratch.

Commissioner Trainham said that is the reason why, when they started talking about the agenda, that if they were just going to do the scheduling, that is one thing. But they must not get into the details.

Mayor Harris said it had been commented that anyone wishing to hear the discussions go to the Planning Board. It is public, and she has invited everyone. The meeting is scheduled for January 15th at 7:00 P.M.


Mayor Harris reminded the audience that any comments to be made needed to be addressed to the full Board.

Mr. Ron Brooks, resident of 8526 Sound Drive, addressed each member of the Board to wish them a Happy New Year.

Mr. Jerry Stockdale, resident of 8521 Ocean View Drive, thanked those who voted in favor of the resolution to support the committee. We really need that. Obviously there are some points of opinion that don’t agree, but he thinks they are shooting themselves in the foot if they don’t agree with the people that have studied this thing and are willing to work with the state legislature to get us some money. If we don’t agree with that, we should come up with a better idea and try that one, and we don’t have a better idea that he knows of. He wishes there were a way that the Board of Commissioners could have a rule that if anyone is serving on a committee that gets publicity from the state, a state committee or county committee, where they are not representing the Board, that they make it very clear to the people that they are talking with on the committee or to the press that they are not representing the town and that it be very clear that they are not. When he sees things in the paper that one of our commissioners said this or that about beach nourishment or overpass over Hwy 58, it sounds like the Emerald Isle town Board is saying this, but obviously they’re not because he hasn’t heard those things in the discussions. At almost every Board meeting he has come to, he hears "we can’t do this, we can’t do that, we’re going to have to hurry up and stop somebody from doing this," and it seems to be the most oppressive acting Board that he can ever remember. He thinks they should look at doing some things that can be nice, like the sidewalks they’re putting in at Atlantic Beach or some things we could do on a positive note rather than always telling people they can’t do something. He thinks they would get along a lot better if things like that would come out.

Mayor Harris said they do have so many huge problems like storm water, the Point, beach renourishment, flooding people’s yards, that it does seem to be very pressing at times, but these are problems. They want desperately to have some good stuff, and it will come.

Mr. Bill Reist, resident of 8520 Woodcliff Drive, said that going back to the issue of putting 1½ inches of water. . . The Board bounced around on that and talked about having to notify property owners downstream that they are going to get this water, what have you. What about increasing the amount of water they have to retain on the property? They are talking about telling everybody, why not tell these people that they’ll have to hold 2½ inches or something like that.

COMMENTS – Department Heads.

Ms. Alesia Sanderson, Parks and Recreation, commented that they will begin construction on the western regional access public bath house very shortly and improvements to that property and will have it ready for the beginning of the season. Mayor Harris commented on the fireworks, there were over 100 cars, and it was a big success. Ms. Sanderson said the Business Association was solely responsible for that, along with Mike Stanley, who served as pyrotechnician.

Kent Hood, Fire Department, said the Chief did not leave him with any comments.

Chief Mark Wilson, Police Department, reminded everyone that one of the services that the Police Department offers is that if you go out of town for a couple of days, call the Police Department and an officer will come by and check your house.

Mr. Cary Harrison, Planning Board, commented about something that was started in a very good vein a number of years ago, the establishment of beach access for people who can’t get on the beach ordinarily, who have to use a wheelchair. He had gotten a lot of cards that he passed to Pete with checks for $150, $10, $15, etc., that always had lovely comments about the program. The last card he got said that 4 out of 5 chairs were not working. He would love to see the Town do something to make this a line item since it is a very inexpensive program that is a very good reflection on the Town. The Business Association gave a chair, he knows of two families in the room who gave a chair, and other proceeds have been gathered together.

Mayor Harris charged the Town Manager to see that the chairs are fixed.Ms. Sanderson replied that the North Carolina Easter Seals donated another chair. All the beaches on the coastal towns now have these chairs, not all exactly alike. All the chairs are up and functional now. The only time that could have been was during the period when they had a sudden influx of parts being backordered from LandEase. Mr. Hood of the Fire Department said most of the problems they had were with the pins, which are hard to keep up with. Mr. Harrison said he had taken the pins on two or three of the chairs and connected them with stainless wire so they could be pulled out but wouldn’t fall off. Ms. Sanderson said those disappeared, too. They spent close to $2,000 in parts last year for the chairs. There is a lot of maintenance that they do put into them.

Mayor Harris welcomed our representative from the Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Bob Conrad, Public Works, said they started construction on the emergency vehicle access at Doe Drive. It will probably be 60 days before it is completed, but it will be completed before the season starts. They have put about 250 Christmas trees at the Point, hopefully to try for a little sand, or at least deter foot traffic. They will be taking bids the next Monday on street paving; hopefully they will get prices that the paper reported that Atlantic Beach got of $1.00 a yard opposed to $6.00 or $7.00 that they usually pay. In the last couple of weeks, they have experienced freeze thaw cycling on the streets, which they normally do not incur, and that will be something that will create problems in the future. The soil temperature got below freezing for a sustained time, then thaws causes upheaval.

Mrs. Carol Angus, Inspections Department, said things are still kind of slow but are picking up a little bit. For the month of December, they had 7 new starts at a little over $1.5 million assessed value. As Planning Board secretary, she announced that the sign ordinance was also going to the Planning Board on Monday night. For anybody interested, the CVS drug store will be moving from the Food Lion shopping center to where the Beach Mart is, and the Planning Board will be looking at that Monday night.

COMMENTS – Town Clerk, Town Attorney, Town Manager, Board Members, Mayor.

Mrs. Carolyn Custy, Town Clerk, said the Administration Department is winding up their tax collections. Anything not postmarked by January 5th will now have a penalty attached to it. If people haven’t paid their taxes, they will be getting a bill with a penalty on it. Ms. Parker broke her leg in December and is back to work temporarily and the staff is glad she is back.

Commissioner McElraft had no comment.

Commissioner Murphy had no comment.

Mr. Derek Taylor, Town Attorney, had no comment.

Commissioner Farmer said she was speaking solely for herself. She does not live at Crystal Coast Beaches, NC. She referred to the signs on Hwy 58 and 24. She is not changing her address—she lives in Emerald Isle.

Commissioner Trainham said this had not been a good night for him when it comes to the question of the Bogue Field Committee. He was constrained at the beginning of the meeting tonight. He had asked the Mayor to put this on the agenda and then to have three members of the Board to vote it down, and it has created a real problem for the committee and for himself. The Emerald Isle Bogue Field Committee is making some suggestions to be taken to the Joint Land Use Committee, and he thinks this is going to have to go no matter what, but they had wanted to do this with the blessing of the Board because the Board created the Bogue Field Committee. For some reason, for the past two months, there has been considerable dragging of feet on the part of the Board to give some blessing to the Bogue Field Committee. There are some Bogue Field Committee members here tonight, and we are now at the place where they cannot say a word because we are down to the last comments. He said he resented this very much. He wants the three members of the Board who voted against allowing this information to be imparted to this group to know this is unforgivable. The eight points of study are going to be given to our Town Manager, Pete Allen, with or without the Board’s approval, and as indicated a while ago, he is not representing the Board on this. He is representing the committee. He would be derelict if he did not follow through on what the committee’s wishes are. Commissioner Trainham feels that the three members of the Board have been derelict tonight in not allowing this to come to the forum. He is disappointed; he feels that this needs to be said.

Commissioner Trainham also commented that any time he is giving any information to the papers, it is never that this is what the Board is saying. It has always been that it is his own judgment and his own feelings, and he thinks so far as he can tell, the paper reporters have been germane to this. They have taken note of the fact that this is an individual’s comment and not a comment from the Board. There should be a press release from the Bogue Field Committee, but at the present time our hands are tied, and if there is any kind of release, it will have to be done independent of the Board.

Commissioner Wootten said the Board tonight agreed not to bring the list of things up from the Bogue Field Committee this evening. It did not make judgment one way or the other about the details of the list. He personally did not approve of it tonight; although he thought something was coming, he didn’t receive the piece of paper until he sat down. He has questions on it. The key thing is that it does not have to be dealt with tonight. The decision by the JLUS Technical Committee is at least 30 to 60 days away from forming up. The Technical Committee, of which Pete Allen is a member, is going to meet to determine the structure or statement of work of the study. The committee is right in that they should have input into the structure of this JLUS study, but it should be done through the Board and should be done in an orderly fashion. He suggested doing this on January 19th if it is that critical an item.

Mr. Pete Allen, Town Manager, said he didn’t think everybody quite understood what they were working with. The last thing he wants to do is get involved in the middle of this. This Board did not appoint him, this Committee did not appoint him, to this position. His good honorable friend Derryl Garner appointed him. They have their meeting on January 19th, and he had told Mayor Harris that he would be cutting out on the workshop meeting early because he has to attend that meeting. Commissioner Trainham had handed him a bunch of regulations to submit on behalf of the Town. He had just gotten it that afternoon. He had not had a chance to review it, but he had looked at one or two things that he does not agree with himself. He does not feel comfortable going and representing the Committee when he thinks this should be a Board decision. He did not want to serve on this committee but agreed to serve on the committee because Derryl Garner asked him to serve. He will be more than happy to step down and let somebody else do it because they have put him between a rock and a hard place.

Commissioner Wootten said the meeting on the January 19th is not the final meeting that will decide what will go into the study. We have heard the Marines say it will be months before a statement of work for the study is final. We do not have to go rushing through this thing tonight.

Commissioner Trainham said he was referring to the JLUS Policy Committee, that it could be months, probably even years.

Commissioner Wootten said even the Technical Committee will not decide.

Commissioner Wootten said the Board had reviewed at the last workshop the possibility of beach renourishment from 1st through 30th Street. They looked at the possibility of piggybacking on Indian Beach and Salter Path in the same process, and they were advised that it was physically and scheduling impossible to do. This Board decided to form a committee, but it would be on a course of action that would be a year behind if everything is approved. The subject is not dead or forgotten, it was just not feasible to get done in the same timeframe as Indian Beach and Salter Path.

Mr. Allen said he still did not think the Board understands the schedule he is talking about. His meeting with his group is on the 19th and they are supposed to work until however long it takes to get a scope of work ready for the Policy Committee, which meets on the 30th of January. Somebody needs to tell him if the Board is going to support the eight items if they want him to represent the Town of Emerald Isle at that meeting.

Commissioner McElraft said they would let him have it before he leaves for Havelock, that they would have their opinions formed by then.

Mayor Harris said the Bogue Field Committee will bring it to the Board, then they will make their recommendations, and they will give it to Mr. Allen for the 19th.

Mayor Harris announced that with much regret she had received from the Chairman of the Planning Board, Mr. Harrison, this evening, that he will be resigning from the Planning Board. Therefore, there will be an opening for the Planning Board. Pass the word on, they need applications, fill them in, and get them to her as fast as possible so that within the 30 days they’ll have some applications.

Commissioner Murphy moved, Commissioner Emily Farmer seconded, and the Board voted unanimously to adjourn.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 P.M.

Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 01/09/2001