Posts From March, 2000

March 20, 2000 

Planning Board



MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2000


Chairman, Roy Brownlow called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.

Members present were: Chairman Brownlow, Ceil Saunders, George McLaughlin, Frank Vance, Phil Almeida, and David Schock. Also attending: Building Inspector, Jim Taylor; and Secretary, Carol Angus.

Approval of Minutes of Regular Meeting, February 28, 2000 – Ceil Saunders made the motion to approve the minutes as written; second by Frank Vance with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Report from Town Manager – Mr. Allen gave a brief summary of the Board of Commissioners Meeting on March 14, 2000.

Report from Building Inspector – Mr. Taylor gave a brief summary of the February permits written and update on the commercial renovations throughout town.


Mr. William Farrington asked if there had every been any thought to having the Town buy a bulldozer and put it on the beach for renourishment? Mr. Allen replied it is cheaper to contract it out. The Town would still have to charge the individual properties.

Mr. William Reist asked how many parcels were pushed on the recent FEMA grant of $168,000? Mr. Allen replied that there were approximately 213 from 1st St. through Regional Park, and about 30 more west of there that were site specific. It was done based on what FEMA said could be done.

Sunset Harbor Condos, Final Plat, Block 38, Lot 3 – Lori Morris/Rick Farrington

Mr. Brownlow reviewed the few items that were to be addressed on the Final Plat from the Review Committee. (1)The "wood walk" was changed to "concrete", (2) a shift in the parking lot to save trees; (3) shift in the building toward the street to take it outside the flood zone (4) indicate the length of the pier and tee, 79.84’.

Ms. Saunders thanked Ms. Morris for the inclusion of the revision date on the plat. This is something that the board felt would help in tracking the different revisions.

Motion was made by Phil Almeida to recommend Sunset Harbor Condos, Final Plat, Lot 3, Block 38 to the Town Board for approval; second by Frank Vance with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Committee Reports:

Wireless Communications Committee update: Mr. Harrison, chairman of the committee was out of town to give the report. Mr. McLaughlin said he had visited Cherry Point MCAS and had obtained a map of the zone heights permitted in certain zones. The water tower is encroaching on that zone, which is why it is lit up so much. It penetrates the 150’ maximum. He also has a copy of Federal Air Regulations, which were pulled down from the internet. If the town were to allow a tower, they (applicant) have to apply to the FCC for the license to use it. If a license is not issued, a permit cannot be issued to erect the tower.

Building Height Requirement: Ms. Saunders advised the Town Board had adopted the portion of the recommendation made earlier for only the commercial zones of the ordinance. The Planning must now address the residential zones.

Mr. Brownlow said he would like to discuss and recommend this amendment tonight for the multi-family zone. This includes condominiums, apartments, etc. What the Town Board wants is a 40’ maximum height to the highest roof ridge, no more than three stories. Ms. Saunders asked if Pier Pointe Condos was not about 40’, and was informed that it is.

Mr. Brownlow reiterated the measurement to the highest roof ridge is to be taken from the lowest grade immediately adjacent to the building foundation. There will not be an additional 10’ for equipment as in commercial. Mr. Taylor asked, to be sure, that there will not be an average of the roof height, it will be the tallest ridge? He was informed that is correct.

Mr. Almeida had concerns regarding the fill of properties. Mr. Taylor advised the members that in many cases there is no other way to get above the required flood height but to fill. In X zones you are also permitted to fill; however V zones are only to have fill for aesthetic landscaping, not for structural purposes. Most of the oceanfront lots are now in V zones, which allow no filling.

Mr. Almeida asked about filling in order to enhance their view. Mr. Taylor said that would be measured from the fill area. Mr. Almeida said he would like to see this topic be reviewed in the future.

A question from the audience from Mr. James Heatherly asked if a residential single family could have a flat roof? Mr. Brownlow said it could.

Motion to recommend to the Town Board was made by George McLaughlin to amend the Multi-family zone to 40’ height limit with measurement to the highest roof ridge to be taken from the lowest grade immediately adjacent to the building foundation; limited to three stories. Second by Frank Vance with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.


Frank Vance wants to look at how fill is being used on construction sites.

Mr. Taylor added that many of the remaining lots are in a deep valley, which will require fill or it will be unbuildable.

Mr. Vance asked if a house on pilings is still allowed to fill. Mr. Taylor said in A zones, yes they can. Mr. Vance said he understood that if you build on a pad, but on pilings they wouldn’t need to fill because they would be 8 to 10 feet above.

Mr. Almeida asked how Mr. Taylor ensures that fill in a valley does not disturb an existing draining pattern. Mr. Taylor said the ordinance says to capture the first 1 ½ " runoff, off the drip line of the roof and the driveway. Runoff from the land, we don’t have anything to address that. Mr. Almeida asked about water that is running to this area, then gets diverted.

Mr. Taylor responded that the property owner has a right to develop the property, and many times this owner has been taking the runoff from other properties up until the time he wants to develop.

Mr. Almeida said he did not think you can disturb the natural drainage.

Mr. Brownlow disagreed with this point. Mr. Almeida said the intent is not to stop but to be sure it is done in a proper fashion.

Mr. Brownlow said this is an issue that needs to be discussed at a later date.

Ms. Saunders asked Ricky Farrington, who was in the audience, as developer of the Pier Pointe Condominium project, why some buildings are on higher ground than others? Mr. Farrington replied that the buildings are on slabs with the pilings under the slabs, called a pile cap. They were raised for water view and to get them above the flood zone. Ms. Saunders asked if it would have required that much fill to get up above the flood zone, it was done more for ocean view. Mr. Farrington said ocean view was the key, but to raise as high as possible in the event of a storm surge like at Ocean Reef where lower floor units were flooded.

Mr. Taylor added that at the time Ocean Reef was developed, it was located in a "C" zone, which had no restrictions regarding flood zones. They have since been placed in a "V" zone in August of 1998.

Mr. Farrington said that Ocean Reef actually has piling coming through the first floor units that had to be dealt with for floor plans.

Mr. Brownlow briefed the members on a question of whether the board may be violating the open meeting law for committee meetings. Ms. Angus had contacted the Institute of Government, Mr. David Lawrence, and was advised that as long as decisions or recommendations are not made from this body to the Planning Board or the Town Board, and that the public is permitted to attend it is not an illegal meeting. The meetings are to be announced prior to the committee meeting and what is being discussed. A formal agenda is not required, nor minutes required.

Mr. Brownlow added that the Land Use Plan notes that were included in their packets are food for thought and to be reviewed. There are some good points and examples of how vague some of the issues are. He thanked the Secretary for the inclusion of the new zoning maps for each member.

Mr. Brownlow wanted, on behalf of the planning board, to extend sincere appreciation and heartfelt farewell to John Yost, for his service to Emerald Isle, the community, and it citizens; especially for his assistance to the Planning Board.

He will missed, his sense of humor, and he wishes God speed to Mr. Yost in his retirement to "smell the roses".

Motion to adjourn was made by George McLaughlin, second by Phil Almeida with unanimous approval in favor of the motion

Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 03/20/2000

March 14, 2000 

Board of Commissioners
Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 03/14/2000

March 8, 2000 

Board of Adjustment




Chairman, Michael Johnson, called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M..

Members in attendance: Michael Johnson, KevinViverette, Dorothy Marks, Jim Woolard and Joseph Quigley. Jackie Getsinger was out of town, not able to attend.

Mayor Barbara Harris swore in Mr. Joseph Quigley as new member to replace an absence created by Mr. Roy Brownlow who had been appointed to the Planning Board.


  • Case # 0001 Ronnie Watson, requests a variance to erect a singe family residence on lot 48, 8721 Plantation Drive.

    This lot was originally platted for the patio home phase of the subdivision which was to be hooked into the sewage treatment plant and the square footage of the property was in compliance with that portion of the ordinance. However, when it was discovered that the lot could not be hooked into the sewage treatment plant, the request to build the home on the lot with a septic tank permit could not be permitted because the lot did not qualify for the 12,500 sq. ft. necessary for a lot created since June 11, 1977. This lot has 11, 489 square feet.

    Mr. Watson was out of town and was represented by Mr. Steve Matthews and Mr. Kenji Horn and were sworn in by Secretary, Carol Angus.

    Chairman Johnson, asked Mr. Matthews to present the evidence to be entered into the record.

Portion of Town of Emerald Isle Ordinance to prohibit use of the property.

Section 19-102 (1) Minimum lot area -- Seven thousand square feet for lots of Record prior to June 11, 1977, and for which a single-family dwelling is proposed; twelve thousand five hundred square feet for lots recorded after June 11, 1977.

Factors Relevant to the Issuance of a Variance

The Board of Adjustment does not have unlimited discretion in deciding whether to grant a variance. Under the state enabling act, the Board is required to reach three conclusions before it may issue a variance: (a) that there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the way of carrying out the strict letter of the ordinance; (b) that the variance is in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the ordinance and preserves its spirit; and (c) that in granting the variance, the public safety and welfare have been assured and substantial justice has been done. In the spaces provided below, indicate the facts that you intend to show and the arguments that you intend to make to convince the Board that it can properly reach these three required conclusions.

  1. (1) If he complies with the provisions of the ordinance, the property owner can secure no reasonable return from or make no reasonable use of his property.

    Property has not been approved to hook up to the existing sewer system.

    (2) The hardship of which the applicant complains results from unique circumstances related to the applicant’s land.

    It is a unique circumstance in that the property has not been approved for the septic.

    (3) The hardship is not the result of the applicant’s own actions.

    (the) system due to the fault of the utility company.

    Preserves its spirit.

    There are many other septic tanks being utilized in Emerald Plantation and it does not

    Detract from the character of the neighborhood.

    1. There are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the way of carrying out the strict letter of the ordinance. The courts have developed three rules to determine whether in a particular situation "practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships" exist. State facts and arguments in support of each of the following:
    2. The variance is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the ordinance and
    3. The granting of the variance secures the public safety and welfare and does substantial justice.

      Granting of the variance would in no way be detrimental to public safety and welfare.

      Mr. Matthews brought the members up to date regarding the lots in this section of the subdivision that were left off the sewer system when it was installed. It was believed from the beginning that these lots were included in the system. These lots are patio-sized lots, smaller than R-2 zoning. Therefore, when he came to obtain a building permit it must be denied due to the shortage in square footage of the property. By current regulations, 12,500 square feet is required for a single-family dwelling and this lot has 11,489 square feet. He has been able to obtain a septic tank permit from the Health Dept.

      Mr. Matthews went on to say it was not the fault of this property owner, to create his own hardship, he was under the assumption that the system was available to this lot. Some of the lots were able to hook on; others could not and have been able to get a variance to build a single-family residence.

      Ms. Marks said the first variance she remembered here, there were 11 lots affected. Mr. Matthews agreed, and now all but four have been approved for the existing sewer system. She reiterated that the previous variances were with the condition that when the sewer system came on line, that these homes would abandon their septic tank. Mr. Matthews again agreed, and said that the County Health Dept. also makes this stipulation. He further stated that if the variance were to be granted that they intend to lay all the pipes necessary to do this future hookup.

      Chairman Johnson asked about the history of the utility company. Mr. Matthews replied it was paid for by the developers and then given to Fritt Environmental the first year after development. It stated all lines were to be running to all properties.

      Somehow, these lots were not included, no one knows how it happened. There is a loop road around the clubhouse and the lines are to run under the road, but these are not there. He does not know what the problem is, and no one can answer that.

      Chairman Johnson said he heard the problem is with the lift station and will cost about $35,000 to put in the lift station. Mr. Matthews said when the County put the moratorium on the Emerald Plantation for no more building permits. They went to the utilities company, got them out, and saw that the manholes are there in front of the lots. Utilities company said o.k., hook into it, but the county said it was not approved so it could not happen. It looks ready to go, but it’s not there.

      He understands that the utilities company has said they are going to install the lift station and do what the health department says needs to be done.

      Chairman Johnson added that the former applicants appearing before this board had purchased their lots under the assumption that these lots were ready to be built upon. When they got ready to build, they couldn’t hook into the system and could make no reasonable use of their lot without a variance to allow a septic system to be installed. In this situation, it’s the developers problem through oversight of the system.

      Mr. Matthews then remarked the original intent was to have 16 townhouses in this phase, then revised to 11 patio home lots, which is a lesser density than originally planned. You would think if they approved 16 townhouses that 11 houses would be approved. This is not something that the developers did, it was thought to be installed.

      Chairman Johnson said he felt that if someone came up with the $35,000 the lift station could be taken care of and these homes included. Mr. Matthews said he thought that was correct, and the utilities company has agreed to do so and are working on the engineering.

      Mr. Quigley stated that he understood that the request for variance is because the square footage of the property. Mr. Matthews told me that all these lots are patio lots, they are approved as group housing and are to be hooked to a sewer system not requiring the additional square footage for septic systems.

      Mr. Johnson agreed with Mr. Matthews, these lots approved after the June 11, 1977 regulation requiring 12,500 square feet were only because of the use of the patio home lots.

      Mr. Quigley asked then if it is a question of money? Either do the septic system or $35,000 for the sewer system? Mr. Johnson agreed.

      Mr. Johnson asked when the reduction was made from 16 townhouses to 11 patio lots? Ms. Angus said she thought it was about 1993 (later corrected to 1987).

      Mr. Matthews said when the change came about (1987) that all the lots could hook into the system.

      Ms. Marks asked how many more lots will be before this board. Mr. Matthews said there were four lots not approved for the system. Two have a variance, this one being requested, which will leave one additional lot that cannot hook on.

      Ms. Marks asked who owns the open area north of this property. Mr. Matthews

      advised that it is common area owned by the homeowners association. She

      that area might be added to this lot and give it the required square footage for

      construction. Mr. Matthews doubted that would be possible.

      Mr. Kenji Horn advised the board to refer to the septic tank permit issued by the health department that the stipulation is that when the system is available for hookup, that this property must abandon the tank and make the hookup.

      Mr. Woolard asked if there may be an attempt on the part of the utility owner to stall this upgrade and there is an ongoing attempt to facilitate the sewer plant?

      Mr. Matthews said there is an ongoing attempt to upgrade the system.

      Mr. Viverette asked if Mr. Matthews anticipated any action anytime soon? Mr. Matthews said he did not know. Ms. Angus said she has been waiting for the upgrade since 1994.

      Mr. Johnson said there would be no urgency to upgrade the system once each lot has a septic system. Mr. Matthews said there were other complications with this utility other than these patio lots.

      Mr. Quigley asked if this lot is owned by the original developer. Mr. Matthews said it is, but they did not know the system was not installed for this lot.

      Ms. Marks asked the cost of the septic tank for this lot and was advised it would be a cost of $2,300.00.

      Mr. Quigley said the Planning Board had already allowed the exception to the lot size based upon the assumption that the sewer system would be there. Now you ask for a further exception which seems to go against what the intent of the ordinance is.

      Ms. Marks asked if a patio home would be built on the lot, with the zero lot line?

      Mr. Matthews said it would be, however, this lot has no zero lot line because it adjoins the town required access to the sound and must maintain a 15’ side setback as well as the adjoining lot.

      Chairman Johnson then asked for a written vote. The votes then counted and Mr. Johnson stated the request for variance was denied because a 4/5 majority is required and the vote was 3 to grant and 2 to deny. The rationale for this decision is as follows:


      The Findings of Fact were as follows:

      Mr. James Woolard voted to grant the variance based on past actions; it would not be detrimental to the neighborhood to have a septic system on the lot. There is such a minor shortfall of the square footage requirement. The failure of the utility company to upgrade the sewage plant system was not the fault of the party making the request.

      Mr. Kevin Viverette voted to grant the variance based on past actions; it is a temporary solution, because as soon as the treatment plant is upgraded it would be a requirement to have this property hook to the system. The square footage of the property is a few square feet and would not be detrimental.

      Mr. Michael Johnson voted to grant the variance. He felt this case was a little different that the former cases. Through oversight of the utility company it could have been handled as planned. There is minimal square footage to meet the current requirement.

      Mr. Joseph Quigley voted to deny the variance. He felt the plans had been approved through the Planning Board that the sewer system would be installed for that area. If the property owners cannot get the necessary repairs, then who can? Perhaps the homeowners can get the impetus to get the repairs done. The first requirement is be that the unnecessary hardship is not the result of the applicant. He is not satisfied as to why the sewage system cannot be extended to these lots when other lots have been added.

      He stated to that the request is for a variance, not a conditional use. The condition being here, that once the sewer system is upgraded it would be hooked on.

      Dorothy Marks voted to deny the variance. The hardship must be of unique circumstance, and it is not. There are several other properties with the same problem. If we approve this one we will have to approve the next and the next.

      Motion to adjourn was made by Kevin Viverette, second by Joseph Quigley with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 03/08/2000