MINUTES OF REGULAR SCHEDULED MEETING
OF THE EMERALD ISLE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2001 – 7:00 P.M. – TOWN HALL
Mayor Barbara Harris called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, February 13, 2001.
Present for the meeting were Mayor Harris, Commissioners Emily Farmer, Emory Trainham, Patricia McElraft, Jay Murphy and John Wootten. Also present were Town Manager Pete Allen, Town Attorney Derek Taylor, Town Clerk Carolyn Custy, Public Works Director Robert Conrad, Parks and Recreations Director Alesia Sanderson, Inspections Department Head Carol Angus, Fire Chief William Walker and Police Chief Mark Wilson.
Item 8d., Solid Waste/Recycling Committee draft report of findings and recommdations was deleted from this Agenda and will appear on the March Agenda due to the fact that Chairman Eckhardt was out of town.
Ms. Gayle Smy, scheduled under 8a., is from out of Town and requested to speak after Routine Tax Refunds, Releases and Line Item Budget Transfers ( 5. Consent Agenda). The Board agreed to honor this request.
Commissioner Trainham commented the Bogue Field Committee is ready to give a report that was required by the Town Board at its December meeting. He also said, a summary without the backup research was available on the table at the back of the Council Room for public inspection.
Commissioner Trainham moved that the Bogue Field Committee be added to the Agenda to summarize their recommendations. Commissioner Farmer seconded motion.
Mayor Harris reminded the Board that there is no Bogue Field Committee. It has been terminated.
Commissioner Murphy asked how long it would take to give this report? Chairman Mark Brennersholz indicated it would take approximately 5 minutes. Commissioner Murphy asked that the report be limited to 5 minutes.
Commissioners Trainham, Murphy and Farmer voted to approve the addition of the Bogue Field Report under Old Business 7d. Commissioners Wootten and McElraft voted not to approve the addition of this item. Motion carried to allow 5 minutes under 7d. for the Bogue Field Report.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
The Board voted unanimously to approve the Agenda with deletions and additions that have been previously noted.
The Board voted unanimously to approve the Consent Agenda that consisted of Approval of Minutes of Regular Meeting of January 9, 2001, Approval of Minutes of Special Meeting of January 19, 2001, Approval of Minutes of Workshop Meeting of January 19, 2001 and Routine tax refunds, releases and line item budget transfers.
Ms. Gayle Smy came forward with a presentation on the Outerbanks Wildlife Shelter (OWLS). She revealed that the shelter started 12 years ago and for 10 years functioned entirely on donations and fund-raisers. They had no public money like grants, etc. Within the last few years the County had given the shelter $3,000 a year. This is nice but they are struggling. They have a new building with 5 acres of land. When moving into the building a loan had to be taken out to upgrade the facilities. It takes $73.00 an average to treat each animal. It is difficult to round up that much money in donations to care for the animals. The shelter is asking that municipalities consider including the shelter in their budgets this year for a donation and suggested $1,000 or any amount. Last year 123 animals came in from Emerald Isle alone. She encouraged the Town to consider some type of donation in the budget for next fiscal year.
Commissioner McElraft interjected she has taken a couple of birds to the shelter and she appreciates what they did. She had no idea what to do with them.
Mayor Harris reassured Ms. Smy the request would be considered at budget time.
PUBLIC HEARING FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMMENT AND POSSIBLE ACTION ON PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS TO SECTIONS 19-83 AND 19-84 OF THE CODIFICATION RELATIVE TO SPECIAL USE PERMITS IN B-2 AND B-3 COMMERCIAL ZONES.
Mayor Harris said there is an amendment that should be added to Section 19-83 (24) (4) which should read with the addition as follows: “The Board of Commissioners shall impose additional requirements or require additional information such as a detailed internal and external traffic circulation plan, to assure the development’s compliance with Section 19-84.”
Attorney Taylor said in his opinion the Board had probably the authority as written without the modification to require those things if the Board needs them. But to spell them out specifically, the Board could be creating a greater burden than the original ordinance. He gave the following recommendation to the Board. If the Board would like to add that language, he suggested that the Ordinance be passed as written after discussion tonight and make a determination. This would allow the Board the opportunity to pass the Ordinance tonight and then modify it at the next meeting after a new Public Hearing has been called and advertised.This would be the safest guess. The Board would probably survive a challenge but he could not guarantee it. It is much safer to deal with it as it is written now and do a modification to be more specific at a later date.
Mayor Harris entertained a motion to accept the Special Use Codification Amendment as it is written this evening and carry it to a Public Hearing and modification in March. Commissioner Murphy so moved. The Motion was seconded by Commissioner Farmer.
Commissioner McElraft commented she has a problem with (3) which reads “The developer shall install a pedestrian sidewalk along the full length of each public right-of-way to which the development abuts.
Commissioner Farmer stated they are going to go through all of this.
Attorney Taylor clarified that the motion that is on the table now is to go ahead and set a Public Hearing on the new language to be added to this ordinance as specified in the Memorandum from Mike Harvey and Attorney Taylor recommends that for the record it be read into the record as to what you are setting the Public Hearing for. The main thing is to get the gist on the record of what you are going to be considering at the Public Hearing. He explained that the Board can go ahead tonight and hold the Public
Hearing as it was originally published and discussed, thereby going through the process of a Public Hearing tonight on what we had and discussing that matter as to how you would like to modify as long as you don’t extend beyond the confines of what will be controlling it.
Attorney Taylor said he believes the Motion was to set the Public Hearing for the next time to consider the language associated with this particular addition of information related to traffic studies as well as storm water studies.
Commissioner Farmer commented she talked with Commissioner Wootten before the meeting and he reminded her that the Storm water Ordinance is being reworked now by the Planning Board and it should take care of the storm water portion.
Attorney Taylor clarified that basically what Commissioner Farmer is saying the only thing to worry about is the detailed internal/external traffic circulation plan. Commissioner Farmer confirmed this was correct.
Attorney Taylor said that wording would be added to Section 19-83 at the end of (4).
Commissioner McElraft asked Mr. Taylor to explain to her why he feels it is not necessary to add to (4). Attorney Taylor said he feels that under the current wording that the Board is considering tonight in the Public Hearing “The Board shall also request and obtain from the applicant any and all additional plats, maps surveys, evaluations, reports, studies or other information which it deems necessary to assure permit compliance with Section 19-84.” If the Board felt that a traffic study was one such report that the Board needed to make a determination to meet the criteria under the Ordinance, it could request that in its current written form. The difference is what the Board is looking at doing in March is to make it clear exactly what the Board might be looking for rather than any kind of report, this would be a very specific report that would be required for the Board to request in the B2-B3 zoning.”
Commissioner McElraft said she guesses when the Board starts requiring this, there may be areas of 8,000 square foot building that the Board does not need to require a traffic study on. If it is left in the language that it is in now, the Board has the flexibility of doing that but yet not imposing that upon the Commissioners to ask for something they do not need.
Attorney Taylor suggested that the Motion be withdrawn for the time being, see what is obtained from what is there tonight and decide what you want to do next. Until this is drawn, there is no cause for a Public Hearing
Commissioner Farmer said she feels this goes back to a discussion at the special meeting where the Board was concerned that the directions to whoever was proposing the development were so loose that there was no real guide. She stated at that time she felt that the two biggest problems that would be facing Emerald Isle in the future would be traffic and storm water and that is how that got in there. If she understands how it reads, it is not requiring a traffic study. It is suggesting that may be one of the studies that may need to be done. You could have an 8,000 square foot building come in that has little to no traffic impact at all and you would not be forced to require a traffic study to be done
Commissioner Farmer further clarified that it is “information such as”. Attorney Taylor agreed. He commented the way it is written in the Memorandum, you could record. It is just giving an example of what could be required.
Commissioner Wootten commented, going back to discussions at the Special Meeting, that was the intent of this thing, not a requirement per se because the requirement was already covered. He feels it is not important if it is in there or not and he does not feel it is worth talking about any more right now. The need is to get into the “meat” of the Ordinance. Attorney Taylor agreed with this.
Commissioner Murphy withdrew his Motion.
Mayor Harris opened the Public Hearing for public comments.
Attorney Richard Stanley representing the McLean Trust came forward to comment. He said he knows what the Board is trying to do but in his opinion “this is both poorly conceived and poorly drafted.” In his professional opinion and he has also consulted with the League of Municipalities on this, “there is no legal basis for doing what you are doing.” Mr. Stanley handed the Board a copy of a page from the Board of Adjustment book that is published by the Institute of Government that tells what a Special Use Permit is for a Special Use. He also gave them a copy of 160A-382 that talks about districts and the last two or three sentences on this had been highlighted.
Mr. Stanley said, “a Special Use refers to a situation in which a particular kind of land use such as commercial, business, grocery store, drug store or whatever. It is not talking about the building but it is talking about a particular kind of land use that is
permitted in a district, not as a matter of right but only under Ordinance provisions that authorize the Board, whether it be the Board of Adjustment or Board of Commissioners, to issue such a permit and it makes specific findings. You have Special Uses in the Ordinance now. There is a table where you have permitted uses and special uses and then you set out specific requirements for those. You have nothing in your Ordinance right now on a Special Use for a building and that is what you are doing here. As far as I can determine, you will be the first town or city in the State of North Carolina that has a Special Use for a building. The reason I point this out is because I gave you 160A-382. You are in effect, let me tell you how this works and Attorney Taylor may disagree with me, but if you have a Drug Store that has 7,999 square feet, it can go in as a matter of right. It comes down to the Building Inspectors Office with its plan and gets a permit. If it has 8,000 square feet, it is not entitled for a permit. It has to come through the Board of Commissioners and the Planning Board for approval of a Special Use Permit. You are essentially rezoning somebody’s property that is going to build an 8,000 square foot building but you are rezoning the property that is going to be the Drug Store with its 7,999 square feet. There is a provision in your Ordinances that says if a certain number of property owners affected by this were to protest, then it would require 75% vote as opposed to 3/5ths. But we don’t know, and the reason we are not here with that, is it is impossible for us to know how many properties are going to be affected by this 8,000 square feet.”
Mr. Stanley continued, “The last part of 382 “Property may be placed in a Special Use District or Conditional Use District only in the in response to a petition by the owners of all the property to be included. I am going to tell you right now that the McLean Trust does not want to be included and they are against this. I am assuming there is probably going to be some others. The way I interpret that and the way others interpret that is you have to have our permission to put up, to rezone up, the second part. Except as authorized by the foregoing, all regulations shall be uniform for each class or kind of building throughout each district but the regulations in one district may differ from those in other districts. The way I interpret that and the way the League interprets that is that you cannot put regulations on an 8,000 square foot building that you do not put on one that contains 7,999 square feet. It has to be consistent for your buildings or what you are doing is basically saying is we are going to create a Special Use Permit for buildings, not for use. This is not allowed in my opinion and in the opinion of others that I have consulted with and researched it with, it is not permitted by North Carolina Law.
“ Having questioned your authority to do that, let me say that we find a lot of problems with your proposed Ordinance. For an 8,000 square foot building, you are putting in a requirement for a sidewalk on there. You are leaving it up to this Board to
determine the number of access by vehicles. For the most part, for a lot owner, it is totally out of his control. I know this Ordinance is coming up because of the problem at Coast Guard Road and Highway 58. But if that is subdivided and a lot owner comes in there and wants to build a building, that lot owner doesn’t have the right, basically does not control the access, they are on a public street. The Subdivision Ordinance says they have to be on a public street. This is so vague; I don’t really know where you are coming on that because most of the property owners when they come in are not going to be able to do anything about the points of access. Paragraph 3 - The developer shall install a pedestrian sidewalk along the full length of each public right-of-way. In my clients’ case, you are talking about a Gateway and leaving natural areas, they have to clear Highway 58 and have to clear Coast Guard Road and put in concrete sidewalks. That doesn’t make much sense if you are trying to preserve the natural state. As far as the bottom part where the Special Use Permits for this is going to be issued for 24 months? Can you imagine a lender or an owner going in and building an 8,000 square building, borrowing the money, can you imagine a lender lending the money to do that when they know they have only got a Permit for 24 months. That just doesn’t happen in today’s economy and today’s business world. If they are going to put that amount of money in there, they obviously are going to want more than 24 months. This is not, in our opinion, a wise move. There are probably better ways to go about achieving what you want to do than this. I ask you, I beg you not to adopt this particular Ordinance.”
Mr. Ronnie Watson came forward. He reiterated what Mr. Stanley had said. He said, you have to put yourself into the position of people. Everyone knows what he has proposed to do on Reid Drive and Coast Guard Road. The bank would laugh at him. He is trying to build a Motel. He would go in there and tell them he has to have a Special Use Permit every two years. He does not know where the Board came up with this idea. It doesn’t make sense to him. He is a businessman, he had commercial property.
Commissioner Wootten interjected at this point that he doesn’t think this Ordinance has a 24 months limitation on Special Use.
Mr. Watson asked the question “Suppose you have a business build, 10,000 to 15,000 square feet, and it is destroyed partially by fire, hurricane or whatever. You have a different Board here and maybe they don’t like that particular business, maybe they don’t like Motels, maybe they don’t like commercial businesses, where does that leave you if it is destroyed more than 50%. You have to come get another Special Use Permit to rebuild it? A Special Use Permit, if you read the way it is interpreted, it is a Special Use. What Mr. Stanley has said it true and I question whether you can legally do it. I don’t want my property rezoned. I question whether you can legally do it or not. You can probably do it but whether it is legal is questionable. I very very much oppose it.”
Mayor Harris read “Section 19-84 (7). Except as herein provided, all special use permits shall be issued for a period not exceeding twenty-four (24) months. They may be renewed for such additional periods of time as may be found appropriate by the Town Council if the Council finds that all of the provisions of the permit have been met. The Council may issue special use permits which have no expiration date and which will expire only if the conditions of the permit or some other provisions of law or regulations pertaining to the use are found by the Council to have been violated. Upon information which leads the Council to believe that such a violation has occurred, the Council will cause the holder of the permit to be notified in writing of the suspected violation, and the permit holder shall have the right to a hearing before the Council concerning the matter if he or she or it makes application in writing delivered to the Town Clerk within ten (10) days of the date that the permit holder receives the notice herein required. The date of personal delivery or of mailing shall be considered the date of notification of the suspected violation.
Mr. Watson asked if you could image taking that to a Bank or lender. They would laugh you out of the bank. What Mr. Stanley says is true. Something like this is not going to work especially in the Commercial field. “All of you know what I am trying to do. I want to build a Hotel. This is not going to fly and I question whether you can legally do it or not.”
Mr. Ricky Farrington of 8802 Sound Court came forward. He stated “My opinion is that we are being regulated more and more, more and more. You just came in with a new height restriction that regulated building heights from 100 feet down to 50 feet. This has taken a big piece of the value that could be put on the property. You keep nibbling, nibbling and nibbling, it is kind of like getting killed by a duck. You get nibbled at so much. It not like we are not regulated right now, we have all the different agencies of the State, Federal, and County. When we present a project to this Town Board there has to be at least an area where we can hire an attorney who can advise us who we need to hire and what we need to get done. With this area there is no predictability from management as to what can and cannot be done which will make the property less valuable and less attractive for anyone trying to develop it. If you want to build a Motel, you have to be able to look at the regulations without any greys, in black and white. As a taxpayer, we spent $15,000 of our tax money in this town to do, on that corner, a traffic study. We did two separate traffic studies. What have we done with traffic studies? Nothing. Nobody has done anything with the traffic studies. It has been going on now – there was a moratorium, when five of these six people were trying to get elected, they had things in the newspapers about developers filling wetlands, developers disobeying rules, developers and contractors doing this and that and the other. Now the Board is changing all of the rules that we supposedly were not following. I don’t think
what you are doing – Special Use has nothing to do with what you are trying to do. Special Use is like putting in a Shrimp Stand. You need to sit back, get some legal advice and not put any more restraints on the private property owners in this Town. We are being regulated to death. If you cannot understand what the regulations are as written now and want to make it more and more – it doesn’t make any practical sense to me at all. You cannot subdivide a corner, you spent $15,000 and cannot tell Mrs. Holz or anybody what they can do on that corner now that you have that study. You have a map showing what to do on that corner from three different consultants. What more do you need on that corner? It opens it up for delay and delay and delay. I don’t think it is good for the business people and the private property owners of Emerald Isle.”
Mrs. Paxon Holz, Trustee for the W.B. McLean Residuary Trust came forward and stated, “It really distresses me, but I am prepared to defend my family values on the properties that they own and it is a shame that I have to do this. My family has never done shabby development. My father, Bless his heart, did everything in his power to make this a wonderful place to live or vacation. We continue to be proud of that tradition and we expect the fruits of all of our labor and we must fight to defend our right to use our property. What you are proposing to do is wrong. It is not fair to impose a Special Use, I don’t believe it is legal and not only will I fight it but I will gather up every property owner of commercial property I can and employ them to join me in not allowing this injustice to be perpetrated upon us. I have bent over backwards, I have sent you surveys, I have sent you engineering, I have hired a traffic planner, I have done everything I could to answer questions and comply with all rules and regulations on one little piece of property that was first said to be 17 acres. The property that we own is not even 7 acres and I can only reiterate what Mr. Stanley has said. With the one hand, you want to establish a Gateway, to have an impenetrable vegetative buffer and on the other hand you want the clearance and come in and concrete sidewalks. I can’t do both. Or is it that you want the concrete sidewalks inaccessible behind the vegetative buffer? I can’t figure it out. It is not fair or reasonable to create gray areas. We should have definitions. You have a spelling book in Elementary School. You know if a word is right or wrong because you had a spelling book. You need a set of Ordinances that people can look at, understand and know what they can do. You should not politicize development.
Mr. Gus Farmakadis who resides at 322 Loblolly Street commented about looking at the intent of doing what the Board is doing. He referred to Atlantic Beach and the fact that it looks like trash over there. The Board is saying they do not want to see that. The developer has done everything right. A report by DOT says that the traffic is going to be abominable down there. It’s wrong. It is going to jam that whole place up. Do they say anything about it? No! The intent here is that all of the stormwater down
there on the Western part of the island, who do you think put that down there? What they are trying to do is to make sure that this island stays pristine and looks beautiful when you come on it, not like a strip mall.
Mrs. Georgia Murray who resides at 8738 Plantation Drive came forward and commented she would like to know the intent of it. She does not know how the owners can comply. She talked with Mr. Howard at First Citizens Bank today and Mr. Howard laughed. She has talked to an attorney. She doesn’t want to waste the Board’s time but she just does not understand it.
Mr. Bill Holz who resides in Cape Carteret but owns property on Emerald Isle commented on the 24 months. Some of the Commissioners, when this subject was brought up, said that is not the case but when the Mayor read the first sentence, it is there. Further down it says that the Board may ----- that’s the whole problem. It is what the Board may do if they feel like it. If I look at Commissioner Farmer and said I want to build a 3,000 square foot building, she would say I don’t know. We will have to think about it and see how we feel about it and you are going to have to come up with a traffic study. If the traffic study says one car, you can’t have 50,000, etc. Nobody knows. It’s a vague thing. The Board shall impose additional requirements. The Board shall request maps, surveys, evaluations, reports and what else. The Planning Board Chairman says don’t worry about this Ordinance. It will not take any more time to get a commercial project approved. Holy Cow! They are going to have to come to the Town Board and find out what additional reports, plats and information they want. Any guidelines what is too much traffic, what are you looking for. This thing just lends itself to what I have called “Contract Zoning.” You will have to know what business is going in to allow decisions to be made based on that. Mr. Holz felt that B-3, this is what we allow, this is the size of building, this is the setback, these are the parking spots, this is the height, this is what you have to do, not we might require some reports and then we will let you know whether or not your property or project applies to them.
The commercial property owners of this island have reached a position where we have a couple of Town Commissioners who are adamantly opposed to infrastructure improvement for this island. When DOT comes and says, maybe we ought to improve the traffic, improve the roads some more, it is said to “get off this island, we don’t want to improve the roads.” DOT has said improve the intersection at Coast Guard Road and Highway 58. Put in a turn lane. The Commissioners said, “No, we don’t want to improve that road.” So we have Commissioners saying we do not want to make improvements to the road and we are not going to approve your project if the roads are not improved. It is a “Catch 22” situation.
Commissioner Trainham moved, Commissioner Murphy seconded and the Board voted unanimously to close the Public Hearing.
Commissioner Wootten commented he is trying to listen to the folks who have the interest in the property the Board is talking about. He thinks the best way to address this subject and review what has happened, where the Board is now and what they are trying to do is to come at it from a chronological standpoint.
The McLean Trust submitted a plan to subdivide three small plots within the 7 some odd acres down on Coast Guard Road. It did not address the entire area to be developed but did address these three small plots. This is the way business has been done in this town for years. It has been an accepted practice that developers can develop and subdivide a piece of the property and not necessarily address the impact of the entire property. This Board, and himself particularly, got very concerned about the impact of traffic in that area. Not just on that side of Highway 58 but also on the other side of the road because you have a somewhat similar situation. The town did spend $15,000 on traffic studies to determine what the nature of the problem was and how to go about it. The results, partially the results of those studies are this amendment and change in the Ordinance as you see it right now. The Town did spend some money and did spend it wisely. What the Board was told in the study is that you cannot address the impact on traffic and health and safety of the entire Town unless the developer is willing to address the entire piece of property to be developed. Fine line is what is being talked about. This Ordinance will require a developer to address the entirety of the property being developed when there is a question of the health and safety of the Town. What this Board is trying to do is to provide the present and future Boards the capability of making those judgments. As it stands now, there are a whole series of Ordinances that have to be followed in the development of commercial property. They are laid out in great detail. Right now, a developer or property owner can come in, follow every one of those Ordinances and still be building in a location or doing something to the contrary to the health and safety of residents of Emerald Isle as viewed by the Board of Commissioners who are powerless to do anything about it.
Commissioner Wootten continued with, “This Ordinance change is introducing the concept of a Special Use Permit. I disagree. It is not on a building. It is on land. It is how land is to be used. At one stage of the game, this started for every building in the developed area, any size but because we didn’t want this to be too restrictive and too excessive, this Board went back up to 8,000 square feet for a building. As a piece of property is developed, 7 plus some odd acres is developed building by building by building, the Town will be able to access and make judgments as to what the primary
concern is to traffic considerations for that piece of property. This is not a rezoning. I have legal opinions that will counter your legal system out of the League of Municipalities that says this is not a rezoning. We don’t need anyone else’s permission
under rezoning laws to do this. There seems to be a wording problem on the 24-month issue. The intent of this Board is to not have a Limited Use Permit of months because we recognize the restrictions and difficulties of the financial community. Maybe we have to straighten that out I am not sure. But that was not the intent. The intent was to not get in the way of financing a piece of property.
Attorney Taylor replied “Commissioner Wootten, just so you have the reason why that is in there – as a matter of fact the current Ordinance, as written and passed in 1983, says it is only for a 24-month period of time. It ended up being in this Ordinance because it was in the previous Ordinance. It is up to the Board to decide if this makes any sense but according to the Ordinance as currently written, it has always been 24 months.
Commissioner Wootten replied “ And we are trying to do away with that for this type of action. The only other thing this Board did in drafting this thing is reach out to get what we felt was important items that were not addressed in Ordinances in other places and did put them into this Special Use Permit so that it would require a developer to address these issues and this included sidewalks. We want developers to be responsible for putting sidewalks on their property if they are in fact on public roads. On points of access, the Board wanted some say into how many points of access would be allowed into a developer’s piece of property. This is trying to do that. A separation between a parking lot and sidewalk is being required. These are the only things being added but what this modification is doing is providing this Board of Commissioners and future Board of Commissioners to get into a negotiation process with a developer saying you are not acting in the best interest of the public safety of the citizens of Emerald Isle.
Commissioner McElraft commented “I hate taking taxpayers money and using it on court. Commissioner McElraft motioned that this be tabled for now and looking into it a little deeper to see if there is another way we can make ordinances where we can have an 8,000 square foot building that we require a traffic study and spell out the storm water and other things that we have mentioned here without making it Special Use.
Commissioner McElraft commented the Board has taken time to do this. She would like to take a little more time and get it right. On the sidewalk issue she totally disagrees also. As she brought up at the last meeting, she feels the Town has a big lawsuit for liability. You have a 7,900 square foot building in one place and you don’t require them to have a sidewalk, 8,000 square foot you require them to have a sidewalk.
You have someone walking without a sidewalk walking on the road. You have someone else walking on a sidewalk where a sidewalk is installed. The Town has a lot of liability when you start requiring that only on certain ones. She would like to see requirements for all to do sidewalks and then we start getting into impervious surfaces again. She has a problem with number 3 on the list to begin with. She is also very concerned and she knows Mr. Stanley has done a lot of research, and she is not saying Mr. Taylor has not, and she feels that the Board needs to look into this a little closer before taxpayer money is used for court. She wants to make sure there are legal grounds to do that. She would like to see it tabled tonight and do a little more research on it.
Commissioner McElraft withdrew her motion so Commissioner Wootten could discuss this more.
Commissioner Wootten said he would like to get into a little more detail of what was proposed. No matter what the Board does, the same people will be back complaining about this type of an action because it is changing the way this has been done in town for years. It will be expressed as taking away freedom, expressed as taking away property but what it is fact doing is providing a mechanism for the Town to have a greater share into how property is developed in Town. With that said, what else does the Town need to do to research this to make people comfortable that this is a legal process because we do know that this Ordinance exists in other communities in North Carolina. This is not a novice idea for Emerald Isle. Commissioner McElraft said, “As a Special Use?” Commissioner Wootten answered, “That’s right. This is not a new idea. This is why we had Benchmark give us the background as to why this is the way to word it.
Commissioner McElraft commented, “So these legal opinions and this information here is erroneous. Commissioner Wootten said, “You can always get a legal opinion to support what you want to hear.”
Commissioner McElraft still feels that the Board should take a little more time, maybe one more month, to research this a little further to make sure there is not any other way we can do this without making it a Special Use. She feels it could be done with an Ordinance change and she has said this from the beginning. She thinks it can be made black and white. They could say with any building over 8,000 square foot, the Board is going to require a traffic study, they are going to require whatever all the different things, storm water and other items, without making it Special Use where the banks laugh at you and there is a possibility it may be illegal and taxpayers will have to foot the bill if this ends up in court.
Commissioner McElraft motioned to table this item for one more month in order for the Board to do more research on it. There was no second. Motion died for lack of a second.
Commissioner Farmer asked to get specific in the language in Section 19-83 (24) 1. reads, “a sidewalk or boardwalk which provides a grade separation of pedestrian from vehicular traffic shall be constructed.” She asked if this could be changed to say “The developer shall construct a sidewalk or boardwalk - - - - - to keep it in the same form as the other stipulations.”
She also indicated she is a little confused on Section 19-84, at the bottom of the page where it says “Adding the following wording at the end of paragraph 1”. If you go to the Code Book is does not quite fit in.
Mr. Jim Slack from the audience asked Mayor Harris “Could we possible have a Special Use Permit for someone to run the air conditioner?” Commissioner Murphy seconded that comment.
Commissioner Wootten commented that there is a nit-picking of words.
Commissioner Wootten motioned that this be tabled until the March meeting with another Public Hearing in the March time frame with the words all ironed out. Commissioner McElraft seconded motion.
Commissioner Farmer interjected that she feels tabling this is absolutely ridiculous. The problem that exists is with a colon. You don’t table an Ordinance because of a colon. She said to leave the ordinance the way it is and vote on it.
Commissioner McElraft commented that if this thing is going to go before lawyers and judges, she feels we need to take one month and make sure it is the right way.
Commissioner Farmer replied she does not think a lawyer or judge is going to have any problem with a colon.
A vote was taken and Commissioners Wootten and McElraft voted to table. Commissioners Trainham, Murphy and Farmer were opposed. Motion denied.
Mayor Harris entertained a Motion that the Special Use Permits for B-2 and B-3 commercial zones stand as written.
Commissioner Murphy said, number (3) on 19-83 (24), “the developer shall install a pedestrian sidewalk along the full length of each public right-of-way to which the development abuts” would be an impervious surface and he is not too crazy about creating more impervious surfaces so he requested that this be taken out.
Commissioner Farmer said, “ I did not support that in the first place. I think it would be nice to have sidewalks at some point but I am not sure this is how we go about getting them. I agree with Commissioner McElraft that sidewalks should apply to everyone who has property fronting the streets. How we figure out how to get them is another question. I would like to see them not be made out of concrete. I would like for them to be impervious surface. I don’t think this Special Use Permit is the way to go about getting them.”
Commissioner Trainham agreed with Commissioner Murphy that number (3) in Section 19-83 (24) should be removed.
Mayor Harris clarified the following. 19-83 (24) (1). The developer shall construct a sidewalk or boardwalk which provides ………
(3) The developer shall install a pedestrian sidewalk along the full length ……DELETED.
Attorney Taylor asked for more discussion to be done before a motion so that things are in sync. He believes Commissioner Farmer suggested that 19-84, adding to the end of paragraph 1 to be deleted from the Ordinance. Commissioner Farmer said, “I said leave it like it is. That would be the old language plus the new.”
Commissioner Murphy asked that 19-84 (7) Line 4 “The Council may issue special use permits, have an insertion, “for buildings or structures 8,000 square feet or larger”, which have no expiration date.
Commissioner Farmer asked for Attorney Taylor’s opinion on the changes. Attorney Taylor asked, “Just for curiosity, historically, why was the 24 month Special Use Permit ever put in the Ordinance?” Mrs. Angus from the Inspections Department replied that is the way it had originally been written. She said this would virtually limit things that you would not want to go on forever.
Attorney Taylor said he thinks this would be fine.
Commissioner Farmer moved that the Board adopt Ordinance 2001-2-13-01 as revised including Section 19-83 (24) (1) “The developer shall construct a sidewalk or boardwalk which provides a grade separation of pedestrian from vehicular traffic; number (3) being deleted, number (4) becomes number ( 3). Section 19-84 (7) third sentence “The Council may issue special use permits for structures 8,000 square or larger, which have no expiration date and which will expire only if the conditions of the permit or some other provisions of law or regulations pertaining to the use are found by the Council to have been violated.
Commissioner Trainham seconded the motion.
Commissioner McElraft noted that while she agrees with these changes, she thinks it does help and she agrees with what the Board is trying to do but she cannot put the Town in legal jeopardy which she is afraid has been done.
Commissioner Farmer stated, “While some of the commercial developers may find it hard to believe that I don’t object to commercial development in Town, I think it is very important that any impacts that come to the Town from these developments are paid for by the developers and not the taxpayers of the Town of Emerald Isle and I think this Ordinance will help.”
A vote was taken and the outcome was a vote of 4-1. Commissioner McElraft opposed the approval. Motion carried.
a. THE BOARD SHOULD DISCUSS THE RECOMMENDED CHANGES TO THE SIGN ORDINANCE AS PROPOSED BY THE SIGN ORDINANCE COMMITTEE AND DECIDE IF IT WISHES TO FORWARD THESE RECOMMENDED CHANGES TO THE MARCH 13 REGULAR MEETING FOR PUBLIC HEARING.
Mayor Harris said the Sign Ordinance Committee had been working for several months on changes to the amendment. The changes will take place in Section 19-131 through Section 19-140.
No one in the audience chose to speak on the proposed ordinance changes.
Commissioner Farmer thanked the Sign Committee. She said Commissioner Murphy and she were on the committee, and it was a pleasure to serve. She particularly thanked Mike Crews and Pat Patteson, who both did a spectacular job. They kept the
committee on the straight and narrow on aesthetics and also kept in mind the businesses and how important signage is to them.
Commissioner Farmer had a few questions. In Section 19-131, Intent, she asked Mr. Taylor about a change he had made. She was not sure what it means. “It is the intent of these regulations to authorize the use of signs whose type, size, and arrangements are compatible with their surroundings.” Mr. Taylorreplied that he had put it in there because at one time, it was one of the intents of the previous sign ordinance. He did not know whether it was an oversight or not, but the reason it is bolded is for them to give consideration to it. Commissioner Farmer recommended that it come out.
Commissioner Wootten said the mode tonight was to take it to public hearing next month, and as suggested changes are made as they go through, he suggested that they deal with those changes as they go through it, piece by piece.
Commissioner Farmer said she did not have that many changes, but she thought it was important that they get the language right so that they are not fumbling around at the public hearing. She asked if it would be agreeable to take out, in Section 19-131, “authorize the use of signs whose type, sizes, and arrangements are compatible with their surroundings while preserving . . .” and put back in “to preserve . . .”. Commissioner Wootten agreed.
Commissioner Farmer next questioned Section 19-134, Exemptions, 11, “for calculation purposes . . .”, which had been removed. What they were trying to explain was that the business can choose one façade, but that is not the side the signs have to be on. It is the façade used for determining the 25%. It does not mean that the signs have to appear only on that one façade but shows how much sign area they can have.
Mr. Taylor asked who would be “designating.” Commissioner Farmersaid the business owner can designate that. He takes a building side, and 25% of that side tells him how big an area he can have, but he does not have to put it on that wall. She suggested putting the words “for calculation purposes” back in.
Commissioner Farmer asked if Mrs. Angus had any additions or corrections. Mrs. Angus replied “No.” She did agree with Commissioner Farmer that the “calculations” did need to be put back in so it is clear. She had a synopsis of what they had changed because they were deleting the entire ordinance and replacing the entire ordinance. She said there may be a lot of misconception on how lengthy that was. If anybody wants to know what changes might affect a business, she has notes so they would not have to read every page of it.
Commissioner Trainham asked Mrs. Angus if she could see any problem with enforcement. Mrs. Angus said, “Yes.” Commissioner Farmer asked if that was always a problem with everything. Mrs. Angus said that on weekends, for signage, it would help if they could get cooperation from the police or fire department. When something happens through the week when she has the inspectors out on something that is ocean-erodable area, signs will take a lesser priority. If someone sees something, it will have to wait until the priority is taken care of.
Commissioner Wootten suggested that this is a somewhat significant change to the sign ordinance. His concern is to make sure that the business owners know about this. They have gone out of their way in terms of the sign committee and published meetings; but even so, he does not know what they can do to make sure that every business owner in town understands what is happening.
Commissioner McElraft asked if they could get a copy of the changes to each one of the businesses. Mrs. Angus said that would be difficult. She made it obvious to the Merchants Association, and Mike Crews is one of the officers. It has been out there since September. Mayor Harris said they would be having their luncheon the next day, and she will take a copy of the synopsis of the changes to the meeting.
Commissioner Wootten moved that the Board approve the holding of a public hearing at the March 13, 2001, meeting with the purpose of approving the draft sign ordinance changes of Sections 19-131 through 19-142 with the two corrections as discussed. Commissioner Trainham seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous in favor of approval. Motion carried.
b. THE MAYOR SHOULD PRESENT CERTIFICATES OF APPRECIATION TO RETIRING PLANNING BOARD MEMBERS CARY HARRISON AND DAVID SCHOCK.
Mayor Harris said that David Schock had called and said it was impossible for him to get to the meeting. She explained that this was Mr. Harrison’s second term. She said he was God-sent, they love him, and they are going to miss him. She read the certificate of appreciation: “The Town of Emerald Isle, Emerald Isle, North Carolina. This is to certify that Cary Harrison is hereby awarded this certificate of appreciation for his outstanding service and contribution to Planning Board Chairman January 2000 to January 2001, on this 13th day of February, 2001.”
THE BOARD NEEDS TO OFICIALLY APPROVE RESOLUTIONS RELATIVE TO THE CREATION OF A STORM WATER PROJECT FUND FOR THE $240,000 IN EXCESS GENERAL FUND BALANCE MONIES GENERATED AT THE END OF FISCAL YEAR JUNE 30, 2000.
Mayor Harris said this was Resolution 01-02-13, Storm Water Project Fund. She read the resolution, which is contained in its entirety below.
Commissioner Wootten explained that the Board decided in the budget process for this fiscal year that any excess monies left over from last year’s operating budget ending June 30, 2000, be set aside to establish a fund for storm water management. The idea was to start accumulating some money to make a contribution for the Moffat and Nichols study, or whatever steps they can take to improve storm water management in the Coast Guard Road area. The Board approved this in the budget process, and he asked the Town Manager how many times they had to approve it. Mr. Allen said that Ms. Overman related to him this needed to be done. Commissioner Wootten said this is the third step of a process to take leftover money from last fiscal year and put it into a separate fund for storm water management.
Commissioner Wootten moved that the Board approve Resolution 01-02-13. Commissioner Farmer seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.
Commissioner Farmer moved that the Board approve Budget Amendment 01-02-13-01. Commissioner Murphy seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.
Commissioner Murphy moved that the Board approve Budget Amendment 01-02-13-02. Commissioner McElraft seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Motion carried.
FINAL REPORT FROM THE BOGUE FIELD COMMITTEE.
Mr. Mark Brennesholtz, resident of 9322 Ocean Drive and a member of the committee, gave the final report for the committee. He said he appreciated the Board putting them on the agenda. This Mayor and Board of Commissioners appointed the Bogue Field Committee originally in September in 2000, and they met for the first time in October. The primary objective at that time that they felt they had been appointed to address was the issue of noise over Emerald Isle, which is controversial—some people love it, some people are indifferent, some people never hear it. It is something of an
issue. As they got further into their research on the subject and in discussions with the Marine Corps, they determined that there was a safety issue that was probably at least as significant as the noise issue.
The issue of the relationship between the Town of Emerald Isle and Bogue Field specifically goes back at least 10 years. In fact, the Board of Commissioners and Mayor in 1993 sent some rather strongly worded letters to the Department of the Navy and to the Marine Corps on the issues. It is not a new thing. It was one of the objectives of this Board to appoint a committee to address the Bogue Field issues, and it is out on the Town’s website as an objective of this Town’s government.
As a committee, they presented an interim report in December, which, considering it made no recommendations at all, turned out to be rather controversial. At that time, the committee was given until the February meeting to come up with a final report with a final set of recommendations. Whether they are final or not remains to be seen, but they have come up with a set of recommendations on this schedule. In the January meeting, they made suggestions for the Joint Land Use Study that is being formed and will be performed. Two members of this Board, Mayor Harris and Commissioner Trainham, are members of that JLUS committee. In the January meeting, the Bogue Field Committee recommended four action points to be addressed by that study. It was not their total recommendation, but it was probably as good as the scope of that particular study is going to address.
At that same meeting, when those action items were approved, the group was disbanded by the Board despite the fact that they had not made their final report. They continued to work on it and have come up with 13 recommendations, which are pretty much common-sense recommendations. He did not read them but said there was a stack of them with rationale on the table in the back of the room.
One of the things the committee found was that there are at least six traffic patterns that have been flown out of Bogue Field. Only one or two of those go over Emerald Isle. The other four are not flown anymore, for one reason or other—only the patterns over Emerald Isle. The ones that the Marines have historically flown in Harriers and other aircraft, for some reason or other they do not fly over the mainland anymore. They fly over the Sound and Emerald Isle. That is a little bit bothersome—because of the proximity, the aircraft cannot reach safe or quiet altitudes before they pass over the Town.
The recommendations come into 6 categories—safety issues, measurements of noise level, modify Bogue Field Standard Operating Procedure, maintain continuing
dialog with the Marine Corps, establish a methodology for handling public comments, and addressing of land use issues.
Under the safety issues, they recommend that the patterns be adjusted to minimize flights directly over the Town of Emerald Isle and over populated areas, especially until safety issues have been addressed concerning the Harrier specifically, to the satisfaction of even the Marine Corps themselves. It is not unanimous within the Marine Corps that the Harrier is a satisfactory or completely safe aircraft. The committee feels that there should be a formal joint command for disaster response. They have heard conflicting reports whether the Town is prepared for a disaster in the event that an aircraft does happen to go down in this area.
Under measuring of actual noise levels, if the pattern were modified or changed, this would be totally unnecessary. The noise would go away. It is a documented concern that both the residents and our visitors, which are our lifeblood here, find this objectionable. Noise concerns would only need to be addressed if they cannot get a minor adjustment to the flight patterns.
Modify the Bogue Field Standard Operating Procedure. There are two items that are common-sense—banning the carrying of live ordnance over Emerald Isle (they say that is the policy anyway, and the committee is suggesting that it be put into the orders) and that first-time pilots using Bogue Field be given a formal briefing about the traffic patterns and the sensitivity of the area as a resort community. In addition, they would like to have some restrictions on normal hours of use of the field. If there is an emergency, clearly nobody would object if they are preparing for a cruise and have to get in some last-minute flight hours. Normal hours of between 8:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. are recommended. Bogue Field does not have radar; and as a result, they cannot track the compliance of their pilots with their own Standard Operating Procedure. The only way they can track aircraft is via radar out of Cherry Point; and any time they fly at low levels, they disappear off the radar screen. The committee is asking for some monitoring of the altitudes, that they are complying with their own orders.
Once every 7 or 8 years, this becomes a hot enough item. The committee thinks there should be a continuing dialog with the Marine Corps on a monthly basis.
The Marine Corps are already addressing handling public complaints, but they used to have an 800 number to place complaint calls or other comment calls that was taken away. They are taking steps to reinstall it.
Mr. Brennesholtz finished by saying that Emerald Isle is a more-or-less built-out community. The typical JLUS responses of “Well, we will use that land over by the Sound as a warehouse district instead of residences”, will not apply here. It might apply in Havelock and other areas, but it will not apply here. The committee thinks the Town should recommend that they take actions to work with the Marine Corps or Department of Defense to address land use issues and property values in those areas that are already committed.
Mr. J.B. Cobble, resident of the west end of the island, said this past weekend there were 3 warships offshore. They were probably 5 miles beyond the sea buoy. For hours, there were helicopters coming in over their residences, shaking the china in the china closet, on maneuvers. He lives a block from the Coast Guard Station, and the guys were coming in with fighter helicopters and landing in the Coast Guard Station. They circled his house and neighborhood for 30 minutes. They have a job to do, and he is glad they have somewhere to work because we may need them someday. If they can make changes, that would be great. They have a little more problem than just on the eastern end of the island. They have two ends to work with.
Mr. Jim Slack, resident of 407 Channel Drive, said there are two sides to these issues. He is a native eastern Carolinian. Bogue Field was established in 1943, and it was for military purposes. They have a job to do. He has lived in Jacksonville since 1973. Along with that job, there are some inconveniences that he may consider, and vice versa. The gentleman alluded to an economic standpoint. The economic base of Onslow County and Carteret County and Craven County is the military and government. If Camp LeJeune, New River, Cherry Point, Bogue Field leave here, the tourism base will not cover it. He lives near J.B., and he got used to it. They have visitors who come who are not used to artillery fire, they think it is a thunder squall. They are doing their job. One night, they heard small arms fire and looked out. There were 14 boats with Navy Seals practicing taking the Coast Guard station. They do not pay any attention to it. He is not saying there should not be concern, but they had to know “Buyer Beware.” Most of the people in here have jobs related to the military. There are two sides to the question and he wanted to present another side.
Mr. Bob Sonzogni, resident of 8726 Emerald Plantation Road, said a funny incident happened a few years back. He called in on the 800 complaint number and asked to speak to whoever was in charge to register a complaint. The person in charge called back the next morning and asked about the problem. Mr. Sonzogni told him the Harriers were noisy and asked if he had a topo map in front of him. He asked if he could see the Food Lion shopping center, and the man replied, “Yes, yours isn’t that yellow stucco house, is it?” That is a landmark. As to caveat emptor, he must admit buyer
beware. He was not aware of Bogue Field when he bought here 9 years ago. Seven years after that, there was discussion that the realtors had to notify prospective buyers of things like Bogue Field and sewage treatment plants and other enjoyable operations. So apparently there must be something wrong with Bogue Field. It is not exactly an amusement park, but be that as it may, it is there. As to it being there in 1943, that was originally built for reciprocating engine, which are much quieter and safer than the Harrier. Why they have to have the most inexperienced pilots, the trainees like the one that went down the previous Saturday, flying the worst piece of equipment over a populated area is beyond him. Why, when that plane takes off, must they go to port and not starboard? Are they concerned about the woodpeckers in the forest? He asked the same questions 5 years ago of the military, and he got the same answer he is getting tonight.
Mrs. Betty Wethington, resident of 121 Sandbur Drive, said she is not anti-military. In 1943, when they built Bogue Field, Emerald Isle was not populated like it is today. It is no excuse for continually flying low, it is a safety issue with the population in our area now.
Mr. Tom Henson, resident of 8806 Sound View Court, encouraged people to take the paper in the back because it is not about noise, it is about safety. The Harrier, since 1991, has 57 crashes, 16 killed, 28 groundings, 14 crashes in eastern North Carolina. It has such a bad safety record that they formed a Harrier Review Panel in 1997 which, in 1998, came out with over 50 recommendations going toward engine failure, pilot proficiency—a Harrier pilot said “Flying so little, I feel I am barely proficient enough to do an engine start”—and maintenance crews, where kids doing the maintenance on the Harrier said parts were reused which were “meant to be thrown away” and enlisted men were “forced” to do things “wrong or dangerous.” Does that sound like the Osprey? That is what is flying over here.
Mayor Harris interrupted Mr. Henson at this point. Mr. Henson, said “ I am not speaking to you Madam Mayor”. Mayor Harris interjected that out of courtesy for the Town of Emerald Isle and our military neighbors, she asked him to please refrain from further comments about the military. It has been answered, and copies of the final report that the Board and Town have sent to JLUS committee are on the back table for folks to read. She asked Mr. Henson to refrain from any other further comment.
Mr. Henson said he would make one other comment, and it is not about the military. Pointing at several members of the Board Mr. Henson said, “It is about all you, and you and you! Mayor Harris said “No sir, you cannot. Mr. Henson please take a seat.”
Commissioner McElraft said, “Lets have some respect for the two young pilots who died.
Mr. Henson replied that they didn’t have to if the military was doing their job.
Commissioner McElraft said “if they are flying where they are suppose to train”. Not one civilian has been killed in a crash by a Harrier”.
Mayor Harris interjected “I will call a recess or adjourn this meeting”.
Commissioner McElraft apologized to the Mayor for her outburst and Mr. Henson took his seat.
MR. PETE COCHRAN HAS REQUESTED TO APPEAR BEFORE THE BOARD TO REQUEST A POSSIBLE AMENDMENT TO THE CODIFICATION’S ANIMAL ORDINANCE TO ALLOW HORSES ON EMERALD ISLE RESIDENTIAL PARCELS OF FIVE (5) ACRES OR MORE.
Mr. Pete Cochran, who owns property on Coast Guard Road, said he was not here to complain about the Town of Emerald Isle or any of the people who work or volunteer here. He was asking for help in making some changes in the Town code. Horses have a longstanding history here on the North Carolina coast. His wife Suzanne and he have had the fortunate opportunity to buy a large section, 10½ acres, of property on the Sound side of Coast Guard Road. They feel that the majority of the residents driving up and down Coast Guard Road in the past four years are very pleased with what they have done to the property to enhance the beauty of Coast Guard Road. Their long-term goal is to build their dream house for themselves and their four children. With that dream, they would like to include their pets. At this time, the Town code on horses reads, in Section 4-6 Horses and Other Livestock, paragraph (a), “It shall be unlawful for any person to have or possess within the town horses, cattle, hogs, goats, fowl and other livestock except through a duly issued permit under paragraph (b) hereafter.” Paragraph (b) says, “The board of commissioners is authorized to approve upon written application a temporary permit for a period of not exceeding seven (7) days for one or more livestock for a parade, circus, fair, or similar event to be held on property other than residentially zoned sites.”
Mr. and Mrs. Cochran ask that the Board remove the word “horse” from the code, and to understand that a horse is considered a companion by the Veterinarians Association. The horse is equal to a dog or a cat in the companionship terms. They ask also that the Board issue them a special use permit so that they may have their horses back on their property. This special use permit can be issued with the following guidelines: a) you must have 5 acres or more to qualify for the special permit; b) you must have a clean and healthy environment for the horses and their surrounding areas; c) you must have the consent from adjoining neighbors. This permit cannot be used in a residential or private community.
Mr. Cochran had asked two people, Jim Slack and Bob Isenhour, who drive by the property two or three times a day to share their personal feelings about this.
Mr. Jim Slack, resident of 407 Channel Drive, said there is a situation in the community that he thinks is aesthetically very pleasing. He prefers horses in these areas over a motel, a high-rise building, or a multi-family complex and all of the consequences that go with it. Mr. and Mrs. Cochran have gone to no ends to make it aesthetically pleasing, they would make a great asset to the area, and he would like to see it be retained as open spaces rather than having it be multi-complex. He hopes the Board will seriously consider allowing them to try it. If they do not like it and they keep it in proper perspective, the privilege can be taken away.
Mr. Bob Isenhour, resident of 313 Channel Drive, lives around the corner from the Cochran family. He knows Mr. Cochran to be a man of his word. When he says he will maintain a safe, clean environment for these horses, they can take it to the bank. Mr. Isenhour drives up and down Coast Guard Road every day and is pleased to see what he has done to the property. Before Mr. Cochran cleaned up the property, it was a tangle of vines, poison ivy, and dead trees. Now it is very pleasing. He is happy to see the horses out there. They are nice to look at, but he is also happy from an environmental standpoint that horses are there rather than multi-family buildings with hardened surfaces. The horses will add a welcome bucolic atmosphere, and he supports their request to amend the ordinance.
Mr. Cochran thanked the Board members who went out to look at his property the day before. He asks that they consider this important matter.
Commissioner McElraft said she agrees that horses are definitely non-impervious, and she loves what Mr. Cochran has done with the property and would love to see more of that. She would like to limit the horses to two. If they did this, they should
make sure that the neighbors agree, and that it has to be 5 acres of more. If the horses are ever mistreated in any way, that special use would be revoked from that owner. She would be in favor of this.
Mr. Taylor said it should be taken into consideration the issues of what ordinance to pass. Several things had been suggested.
Mayor Harris read Section 4-6 Horses in Emerald Isle. Mr. Taylor said if they are going to do this as a special use permit, which has been suggested, they will do this as a zoning issue, which needs a specific public hearing if it goes further. The best they can do tonight is to refer it to the Planning Board or draft a document calling for a public hearing.
Commissioner McElraft moved that the ordinance be referred to the Planning Board. There was no second. Motion denied.
Someone from the audience asked to make a comment on the issue and asked if Roberts Rules is part of the Town Meeting issues. Mr. Taylor asked what his issue was. The gentleman said there was an amendment made to the proposal that was made, and the amendment, not the proposal, was defeated. They should then go back to the proposal.
Mr. Taylor asked for specifics. The gentleman said that Mr. Cochran had asked that horses be allowed to be there, and Mr. Taylor had suggested a procedure. That procedure was voted against, not the issue.
Mr. Taylor said the Board has no authority to issue a special use permit unless it is listed as a special use within the zone he is in. The ordinance would have to be changed. He had given the procedure necessary for changing the ordinance to do what Mr. Cochran wants to do. The Board cannot just say it is ok. It failed to be given to the Planning Board for any further consideration.
MS. PATRICIA BUHR HAS REQUESTED TO APPEAR BEFORE THE BOARD TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF FERAL CATS.
Ms. Patricia Buhr, resident of 119B Sandbur Drive, said she had been asked by the Animal Committee and the people she rents from to speak to the Board about the feral cats on the island. They do present a problem, and the problem lies within us. They are all over. They carry diseases that can affect humans as well as animals. She believes in trapping, spaying/neutering, and setting free. These animals would then be marked. Then they would have the problem of them being inoculated against distemper, feline
leukemia, and rabies. She was part of a trapping and neutering program in Hawaii—they do not have rabies there. Each veterinarian in the area would volunteer one day a week and would go to the Humane Society. Animal control would help the group to take in cats and dogs, and that way it cut down on the population. Canines come into season twice a year, felines come into season, after 6 months of age, every 3 weeks. They have anywhere from 6 to 7 kittens, and they can die.
Ms. Buhr said she is willing to speak to the different veterinarians about them volunteering their time. If they get animals when they are babies, they can be adopted. If they take a grown animal, people do not want them, and they are hard to train. You cannot train a wild animal. She would like to see animal control and understands there is no animal control in Emerald Isle.
People say the cats keep the mouse population down; but when they get in the garbage, they eat raw meat that causes toxidia in animals, which gets into their intestines; and then they die.
Ms. Buhr said she is willing to do anything to help with the situation. She passed out information on diseases.
Commissioner Wootten said there is an Animal Committee, and he was looking forward to their coming forward with suggestions on how to deal with this problem. Ms. Buhr went to the Animal Committee, and they told her to come here. Ms. Buhr said they had asked her to come. Commissioner Woottenencouraged her to keep in touch with the Animal Committee. He is looking for the committee to define a problem and hopefully come up with some type of solution.
Mrs. Anne Eckerson, chairman of the Animal Committee, said it is her understanding that unless Ms. Buhr is approved by the Board, she cannot be part of the Animal Committee. She said she would love to have Ms. Buhr on the committee. Mayor Harris appointed Ms. Buhr to the Animal Committee.
BENCHMARK, INCORPORATED, THE ENGINEERING FIRM WORKING ON VARIOUS ISSUES FOR THE TOWN, RECENTLY HAS SUBMITTED A CONTRACT FOR BOARD CONSIDERATION. THIS CONTRACT DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT THE TOWN USE THEIR SERVICES BUT PROVIDES A FEE SCHEDULE IF IT ELECTS TO DO SO.
The Board had the contract before them.
Mr. Taylor said one of the things he had a concern with from a legal perspective is the N/A in “shall not exceed . . .”. He suggested they set some ceiling that they come before the Board for. Usually the scope of work would do that, but it is right now wide open. The other concern is that he would like to talk with them about the possibility of a couple of additions to the contract. He would like to negotiate with them.
Commissioner Wootten agreed. He is not sure that this would hold up as a contract. Hourly rates should be in there for the type of individual who is going to do the work . . . .
Commissioner Farmer asked why they would need this. Why would they not contract with them as they needed them?
Mayor Harris said the Town has been using them without a contract, and they need something. Commissioner Farmer said the next time they hire them to do something, they need to contract them.
Commissioner Wootten said this is known as a “labor hour professional contract” that says every time they want x individual, he is going to charge the Town so much. This provides the ability to have the individuals do work individually and not as a project.
Commissioner McElraft said they had asked Mike Harvey to do something gratis for them, and he agreed to do that. She understands that may not be happening.
Commissioner Farmer said this contract has nothing to do with what Mike said he would do gratis.
Commissioner Wootten said he would like to have the Town Attorney tighten up the contract.
Commissioner Farmer moved that the Board approve the contract with whatever changes the Town Attorney feels necessary to protect the Town’s interests. Commissioner Murphy seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous for approval. Motion carried.
PLANNING BOARD APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS SHOULD BE DISCUSSED AND/OR APPROVED BY THE BOARD.
Mayor Harris said normally this is done in March, but since there were two openings and the possibility for someone being sick and then not having a quorum, they would do the appointments this evening.
For re-appointment to March of 2003, she named George McLaughlin, Frank Vance, and Phil Almeida.
Commissioner Wootten moved that they approve the re-appointments to the Planning Board. Commissioner Murphy seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous for approval. Motion carried.
Mayor Harris said for the two openings on the Planning Board, they had 6 applications. There were great applications with qualified people, but there were only two openings. The remaining applications will be kept on file.
Commissioner Murphy moved that Art Daniel be appointed to serve from February 14, 2001, through March 1, 2003. Commissioner McElraft seconded the nomination. Vote was unanimous for approval. Motion carried.
Commissioner McElraft moved that Harry Thompson, a retired Department of Transportation road engineer, be appointed to serve from today’s date until March 1, 2002. Commissioner Murphy seconded the nomination. Vote was unanimous for approval. Motion carried.
OFFICIAL BOARD APPOINTMENTS SHOULD BE MADE TO THE REFORESTATION COMMITTEE.
Commissioner McElraft said the Reforestation/Re-vegetation Committee is now over 20 members. There will be no cap on this committee because they want everybody planting trees and vegetation. They will be working with the Garden Club to give free seedlings at the St Patrick’s Day festival. Scott Chadwick and Brian Watson will be helping to work with the Parks and Recreation Department to create an arboretum, or test garden, at the Western Regional Beach Access. They will plant different varieties of plants and vegetation that will grow on the oceanfront, and will tag them with the proper and common names so people can see what will grow on the oceanfront.
The names for the committee are: Tom Ross, Sophie Martin, Doje Marks, Peggy Brown, Joan Simmons, Emily Zucker, Sandy Sherer, Julia Wax, Ed Dowling, Alesia Sanderson, Bill Reist, Jane Diloreto, Tom Ramsey, Brian Watson, Mark Penry, Scott Chadwick, Rose LoPinto, Sylvia Short, and Ed Grant. Commissioner McElraftsaid
they are trying to have representation from every area so they can get as many people involved in the reforestation/re-vegetation effort. It not only helps the beauty of Emerald Isle but helps with the storm water problems, too.
OFFICIAL BOARD APPOINTMENTS SHOULD BE MADE TO THE BEACH NOURISHMENT COMMITTEE.
Mayor Harris said she had received six applications for this committee and discovered at the last minute that a seventh had been misplaced and found.
Commissioner McElraft named the 7 people on the Beach Nourishment Committee: Charles Stuber, Jerry Huml, Julia Wax, Charles Vincent, Bernell Vance, Bob McInnis, and Bob Isenhour.
Mayor Harris read a resignation letter from the Town Manager.
Mr. Cary Harrison, resident of 10010 Coast Guard Road, heard somebody say at one point in time that Mr. Allen was a national treasure and he told that person shortly afterwards he did not think he was a national treasure at all. He is very much a local treasure, and he knows the Town is going to miss him. He said he appreciates Mr. Allen being here and all he has done in the past for the town. He also wants everybody in the audience to not wait until somebody resigns to thank them. They have immense staff that works for the town. If they don’t see what these people do every day, they should take the time to thank them now, and not later.
Mr. Harrison said he was a little bit blind-sided by the process, or lack of process, that went on earlier with Mr. Cochran. He had been under the impression that this Board has been the type that has wanted to go through the ordinance in its entirety and either fix, remove, but certainly enforce everything that is there. There is currently a little bit of a problem in the one section that deals with horses. You cannot have horses in Emerald Isle, in Section 4-6, but in section 4-4, it says you must keep the stables clean. That is in the book—they should look it up. He almost brought his kids tonight because they wanted to know why Mr. Cochran’s horses had to leave, and he had explained to them the process, and he almost brought them to show how you can go before a town and ask for something to change and maybe even get it or at least get the ball rolling. He said he was glad he did not bring them. He has always abhorred people . . ., and it probably stems from his own father getting up and confronting him and saying “It is this way because I said so.” He told his kids he would never say that to them, that he would always explain it to them. He hoped the Board would take the time to explain to
Mr. Cochran what went on tonight, because it has flabbergasted Mr. Harrison. The horses were basically added to the livestock as a result of a pot-bellied pig incident in 1994. There had never been problems with horses in this town. He thinks it is ironic, and we need to take a look at what they have done tonight, because we’re the newcomers and can look at Bogue Field which pre-dated this town by 23 years and tell them they are no longer needed and are in our way and need to get out of the way. We can look at the ponies that inhabited the banks and tell them they are no longer important and need to be outlawed, too. He hopes our successors are a whole lot more gentle to them than we have been to our predecessors. He hopes next time Mr. Cochran comes back, the Board will at least give the Planning Board a chance to look at wording and think about what he is talking about. He would much rather see up the street from him what he is putting in than what other people in the room would put in.
Commissioner Wootten said he had spent some time with Mr. Cochran and they had a frank conversation, and Mr. Cochran knows exactly why he had taken the action he took tonight.
Mr. Cochran said the only answer Commissioner Wootten had given him was “this is going to open up a can of worms” to anybody to put a horse in their back yard, and he had explained that if they put a special permit and in that special permit said 5 acres or more, that would disqualify 95% of the residents in this community. Commissioner Wootten said then he and Mr. Cochran had not communicated as well as he thought they had.
Mr. Harrison asked since when was this Board afraid of a can of worms.
Mr. Bill Ellis said he had been here longer than anyone else on the island. He thanked Pete Allen for all he had done over so many, many years for the people of Emerald Isle.
Mayor Harris said there would be a shindig for Mr. Allen later on and everyone would be notified.
Mr. Bill Reist congratulated Mr. Allen. He also said that at the last meeting, he was pretty critical of Commissioner Wootten and Commissioner Murphy because he thought they were not representing the residents of Emerald Isle. Tonight he congratulated and thanked them for their action on the special permit because he thinks they were acting in the interest of Emerald Isle. He thought if he could be critical he could also compliment them on a good job.
Mr. Pete Allen, Town Manager, said he thought what he would have to endure when he wrote the letter of resignation was to leave here with the attitude of this audience and this Board that he had seen tonight. It floors him. He has spent 13 years of his life and devoted a lot of it to this town. For the life of him, he is totally frustrated, disgusted, and it embarrasses him to no end as to what they have been going through for the last few months. If the Board does not do anything else for him, take control of this situation and get the town back to where it needs to be—professionally, officially. This is totally embarrassing, and they have become the laughing stock, the Barnum and Bailey, of eastern North Carolina. He is sorry to say that he is ashamed to be a part of it. Some-
body said he would be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. He might be jumping from the fire back into the frying pan. He did not want to go away after 13 years of dedicated service to this town, but he is totally embarrassed. If they do not do anything for him other than this, get this town back into shape. This is totally ludicrous and absurd, and he is sorry to have to say that.
COMMENTS – DEPARTMENT HEADS
Mr. Allen said they had asked him to say, because of the lateness of the evening, that they would like to waive their comments.
COMMENTS – BOARD MEMBERS
Commissioner Trainham said so many people had left that maybe they should have comments earlier in the agenda. He announced a 4:30 P.M. meeting Thursday, February 15, 2001, for the library. The meeting will be at the Western Carteret Community Center, and Mrs. Bob Isenhour has been the president. They would hope that some of the audience would show up for that meeting because a lot of decisions need to be made with regard to the library in Western Carteret County.
Commissioner Farmer said she wanted to bring everyone up to date. They had talked at the Board workshop the day before about the ethanol plant. They had been asked to sign a resolution which was going to be on the agenda next month. However, there was a Port Authority meeting today with officials from the County and municipalities, and at that meeting it was announced that DFI and the ethanol plant are out and instead the Port will give an option to lease to an unnamed Fortune 500 company to construct an LNG storage and distribution facility which is significantly larger than the facility planned next to the ethanol plant. While there is no guarantee the County will actually receive any of the LNG from the facility, it will get approximately $3 million in taxes. To put that into perspective, Big Rock brings in about $5 million and recreational boating brings in about $20 million. And then you add tourism to that. Are all these income generators going to be threatened by an LNG plant? Interestingly enough, Eric
Stromberg, Executive Director of the Port, said at the meeting today, “Make no mistake about it, LNG is a dangerous product.” It is explosive, and there is some question as to whether the U.S. Coast Guard safety zone requirements will mean that the ICW at Beaufort Inlet will have to be closed whenever a tanker or barge carrying LNG heads toward the port. The next meeting of the Port Authority will be held in Wilmington next week. The Port had promised that if it extended an option to lease to DFI for the ethanol plant, it would take that action in Morehead. Apparently, this courtesy to Carteret County residents does not extend to the significantly more worrisome LNG facility because it is at that meeting in Wilmington that the contract is expected to be signed.
Commissioner Wootten had no comment.
Commissioner McElraft said there was one person who had wanted to speak who was out of the room when public comments were going on. She asked if she could give up her time to let that person speak. Mayor Harris said she would prefer not. Commissioner McElraft had no comment.
Commissioner Murphy had no comment.
Mayor Harris said the only comment she had is the new medical care at Cape Carteret is now open, and that is for urgent care only. They had asked her to make that announcement.
Commissioner Murphy motioned, Commissioner Wootten seconded and the Board voted unanimously to go into Closed Session to discuss employee contracts and for attorney consultation.
The Board went into closed session at 10:07 P.M.
The Board returned to regular session at 10:50 P.M.
Commissioner Trainham motioned that the Board accept Town Manager Allen’s resignation. Commissioner Murphy seconded and the Board vote was unanimous.
Commissioner Farmer motioned that the Town Board appoint Georgia N. “Mitsy” Overman as Interim Town Manager. Commissioner McElraft seconded the motion and the Board vote was unanimous.
Commissioner Farmer motioned, Commissioner Wootten seconded and the Board voted unanimously to adjourn.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 P.M.