Minutes of Regular Planning Board Meeting
Monday, April 17, 2000
The meeting was called to order by Chairman, Roy Brownlow at 7:00 P.M. Members present: Roy Brownlow, Ceil Saunders, George McLaughlin, Frank Vance, Phil Almeida, and David Schock. Cary Harrison was excused, being out of town.
Also, in attendance: Pete Allen, Town Manager; Carol Angus, Secretary; and Building Inspector, Jim Taylor.
Chairman Brownlow asked for a motion to remove Section 16-4 issues regard-ing wetlands from the agenda. This item is being further reviewed. Phil Almeida made the motion to remove this item from the agenda; Frank Vance seconded with unanimous board approval.
Approval of Minutes of March 20, 2000 – Mr. McLaughlin asked that NAS be changed to MCAS in regard to Cherry Point. Motion to approve the minutes as amended was made by Ceil Saunders, second by George McLaughlin, with unanimous board approval.
Report from Town Manager – Mr. Allen gave the members a brief summary of the agenda for the Town Board Meeting on April 12, 2000.
Report from Building Inspector – James W. Taylor
|Single family dwellings
Chairman Brownlow asked how many lots are not yet developed. Mr. Allen said that if the Land Use Plan is correct there should be between 400 to 500 available. Mr. Brownlow then asked, on average, how many residential permits are written. Ms. Angus replied that it usually runs about 115 permits. Mr. Allen advised the board that for a number of years the Inspections Dept. had run in the black, when construction was heavy; now things are slowing down, the department is not generating the resources it did in the past. He felt that 7 to 10 years should see Emerald Isle about as built out as it will be.
COMMENTS: Mr. Bill Reist asked that the Chairman define the abbreviations as each item is addressed. (R1-R-2) Residential/1 and 2 family only; (RMF) Residential Multi-family; (RMH) Residential/Motel/Hotel
Motion to amend the motion to include Items B, C, and D, was made by George McLaughlin, second by David Schock with unanimous board approval to delete the two references to "mean roof height" in Sections 19-102 (RMH); 19-103 (Mobile Home) and 19-106 (Institutional).
- Section 19-101 (R2-R2-RMF) to limit building height to 40 feet.
Mr. Brownlow said he felt that a correction be made to the proposal if he understood what the committee had recommended. The roof height not be 40’ from mean roof height, but 40’ from the highest roof ridge. The board agreed that this is the recommendation they had made, to the highest roof ridge.
Motion was made by George McLaughlin, second to Phil Almeida and unanimous board approval that the recommendation to the Town Board is to remove the two references "mean roof height of" be deleted.
Discussion determined that the amendment was correctly worded as was discussed and recommended. Ms. Saunders asked if this request had not been handled in 1997. Ms. Angus replied that it was, but never was codified. The Inspections Department had been enforcing one access to the sound from that time.
Motion was made by Ceil Saunders, second by Dave Schock to recommend that each soundfront lot be limited to one access to Bogue Sound, the board unanimously approved the motion.
Chairman Brownlow asked that since Items F and H are similar that they be considered in that order.
- Section 6-82 – To limit each lot to one access per lot (to Bogue Sound).
- Section 6-83 – to delete entirely and refer to N.C. Building Code.
Mr. Brownlow asked Mr. Taylor if this amendment would make his job easier, or more teeth in the mechanism. Mr. Taylor said that the ordinance was not in conformance with N.C. State Building Code. When changes are made to the code, it conflicts with the ordinance.
Phil Almeida made motion, second by Ceil Sanders with unanimous approval in favor of the motion to delete the building specifications and refer to N.C. Building Code in sections 6-83 and 6-85.
- Section 6-85 – to delete entirely and refer to N.C. Building Code.
Motion to recommend the amendment to read "Maximum length of pier shall be one hundred (100) feet from the high-water mark, unless permitted by the Coastal Area Management Agency District office, however, not to exceed four hundred (400) feet, including any "T" or "L" additions and, the "T" or "L" platform not to exceed two hundred (200) square feet" made by David Schock, second by Ceil Saunders, with unanimous board approval in favor of the motion.
- Section 6-84 (c)– Fixed Piers definition.
- Section 6-102 and 103 to limit one access per lot to ocean and refer to N.C. Building Code.
Mr. Brownlow advised that the State does not become involved with the specifications for accesses for single family or duplexes. Also, there is no reference in current codification as to where the references came from that are specified in the ordinance.
Mr. Schock asked Mr. Taylor to explain about the stable line of vegetation. Mr. Taylor explained the procedure to advise that at this vegetation line is where the walkway must end then a landing and steps to the east or west.
Ms. Saunders read from previous (1997) notes, that this request, too, had been recommended at that time and not codified.
Mr. Schock said he is concerned about the damage done by the dune alteration to allow the platforms. Mr. Taylor said that CAMA considers the driving of pilings as "negligible" alteration to a dune. Also, that the area should be revegetated after putting down pilings and trampling.
Mr. Vance said he felt going over the pushed up sand with an access made more sense than to allow the renters to trample all the new pushed sand. If there is a walkway, they might follow that.
Mr. Taylor advised that to beach bulldoze it is to reinforce the dune face that you have. Typically, you have only a pile of pushed up sand, not a dune. If he allowed people to take structures out over that sand, when it washed away the access is out over the beach, freestanding. Mr. Vance said there should be some type of platform to put on the sand. Mr. Taylor said they can put in sand fencing and some ingenious ideas for a temporary type steps.
Ms. Angus advised the board that at her CAMA workshop the week before one of the speakers commented on what a good job Mr. Taylor was doing in this regard at Emerald Isle.
Having the Town or individuals put signs on the property saying "Keep off the dunes" was discussed.
Mr. Allen asked if he understood correctly, that if beach access was lost, that we are telling them that they can have only one walkway back, and has anybody questioned that? Ms. Angus responded that only one party had challenged it. Mr. Allen was concerned that people who were able to build for each unit, now being told they cannot, could create a problem. Owners who do not get along are an inevitable problem. Mr. Taylor said he was involved in quite a number with Bertha, Fran, and Floyd. He asks each party how he wants to get to the beach. He does a site visit from that drawing prior to a permit. If there is a duplex that had two walkways and lost their steps only, they will be able to get back both sets of steps. For structures that lost back to the deck of the house, he is requiring only one access per lot. Any access that is not destroyed can be repaired to the first line of stable vegetation. The owners have accepted this, and the owners are tired of paying to replace two sets after each storm.
Motion was made by Ceil Saunders, second by David Schock to recommend that Section 6-102 "Beach walkway structures shall be limited to one (1)per lot, with one two hundred (200) square foot or less sitting area, placed landward of the first line of natural stable vegetation. In some instances, a survey may be required by Dunes and Vegetation Protection (DVPO) to make setback determination. Walkway to terminate at first line of natural stable vegetation. Steps placement to beach, to be determined by Dunes and Vegetation Protection Officer (DVPO)."
And, Section 6-103 to read "Construction must conform to all applicable State construction requirements." Members voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
- Section 19-134(11) to limit temporary signs (banners) only to non-profit organizations only for 30 days.
Mr. Brownlow asked what had prompted this amendment from the Inspections Department. Ms. Angus said the biggest issue is the policing. They go up without permits, counting the 100 days, take them down and put them up again. The original 100 days was to give them from Memorial Day until Labor Day. "Open" is not a Special Event as most of them go up. A permit will not be required for a recognized non-profit organization. David Schock said he would like to see the banner be placed on a permanent structure not to be allowed on stakes along the right of way. A fence would qualify as a permanent structure.
Mr. Almeida asked about a group of kids who want to have a jazz festival. Ms. Angus said they would have to prove they are a recognized organization and non-profit.
Mr. Brownlow asked about someone who put up a banner for 30 days, took it down and put it up another 30 days. Ms. Angus said she didn’t think that would happen with a recognized organization such as Shriners, Mile of Hope, etc. It will come down to interpretation.
Mr. Allen highly advised that this change and the sign ordinance be distri-buted to every business in Emerald Isle.
Motion was made by David Schock recommending to the Town Board that Section 19-134(11) be amended to read: "Temporary signs as defined in Section 132 shall be permitted provided such signs are for the express purpose of a special event sponsored by a non-profit organization. Temporary signs shall not exceed 32 square feet in size and must be attached to a building or permanent structure. Temporary signs may be displayed for a period not exceeding thirty (30) continuous days". The second by Frank Vance with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.
- Section 19-101,102,103 to prohibit swimming pools in CAMA Area of Environmental Concern
Mr. Brownlow asked Mr. Taylor if the intent was to limit the pools from the entire CAMA area of environmental concern, as opposed to the CAMA setback line? Mr. Taylor said it was in the beginning; however, he had thought it through and the intent is not to prohibit the use of pools on oceanfront properties, just to limit them within the oceanfront setback. This is only to prevent the pools from erosion from the ocean and falling to the beachfront. Mr. Brownlow gave the members of the board a quick description of the difference between Area of Environmental Concern (i.e. 170’) and the Ocean Erodible Area (i.e. 60’).
David Schock made motion, second by Frank Vance to have "Sections 19-101(9), 19-102(9), and 103(7) be amended to read:"Accessory Building/Swimming Pool Location –No accessory building shall be erected in any setback or required side yards. No swimming pool shall be placed or constructed within the Coastal Area Management Agency (CAMA, Coastal Resources Commission) setback area as established by the ocean erodible area." The motion carried unanimously.
Items to be reviewed for recommendation at later date (June 30, 2000)
Mr. Brownlow said this must be very carefully looked at, not something that is done in a week’s time. He wants to appoint an ad hoc committee on how it would impact property values, tax base.
Mr. Allen was concerned about all the amendments that had been recommended earlier in these specific zones, now a consideration to change some zoning. Mr. Brownlow said there is no plan, as yet, to make any zoning changes. He does not see doing away with any zoning in particular. He would hope there is no intention to do away with RMH.
Mr. Allen said that is not his understanding. The West End S/D Preliminary Plat is RMH. A motel could be placed on that property, possibly with a package treatment plant. He understands that could be changed to R2. Ms. Farmer added that there are some other RMH areas along the sound that are among residential areas that could be developed into motels or hotels development. Mr. Allen asked if the ultimate goal is to limit density? Ms. Farmer replied "to keep residential neighborhoods residential". You could still have hotels and motels, just not in residential neighborhoods.
Mr. Brownlow said he is not envisioning doing away with RMH zoning. There are some areas that RMH may be reduced, but leave other RMH districts. He sees both sides of the issue.
Mr. Vance said, from the letter he had before him from the Mayor, that the board is concerned about tearing down blocks of existing homes and being able to build a motel or hotel. He feels it should stay RMH.
Mr. Brownlow said he saw no problem with leaving the Point Emerald Villas block, or Sound of the Sea in RMH and a hotel be built. He feels it is vital to keep RMH. He also feels it would be catastrophic to try to redo the entire zoning.
Ms. Saunders said when people buy property, they are aware of zoning.
Ms. Farmer tried to clarify the board’s standing: "What the board is trying to do is take residential areas that are currently residential and maintain them as residential, protect them under zoning so they are zoned appro-priately for what is already there. No one wants to turn Sound of the Sea into single family." (There were then several mingled conversations that could not be discerned).
Mr. Brownlow then referred this topic to Review Committee on April 19, to appoint an ad hoc committee.
There was some discussion as to whether the use might be a Permitted Use or a Special Use in B2.
This issue was referred to Review Committee on April 19, 2000.
- Doubling of permit fees for work without permits.
David Schock asked what "work without permits" meant. Mr. Brownlow responded it is those people who begin a project without first obtaining a building permit.
Mr. McLaughlin said he felt there should be a fine as well as doubling the fees. It would make it worth their while to not begin without a permit. Mr. Brownlow said Atlantic Beach has the policy of $100.00 fine plus doubling the permit fees. Mr. Taylor said he felt that doubling the fees was adequate. Mr. Brownlow said that Morehead City fees are "steep".
Mr. Allen said that the problem with the draft the town attorney had before them listed the Town Board as "judge & jury" in an appeals process. They may be some legalities in that. Mr. Taylor is now checking with the League of Municipalities and Institute of Government where a person would go with an appeals process.
Mayor Pro-Tem, Emily Farmer, added that the board of commissioners was not comfortable to have people appear before them to "lash" them.
It did not seem like the appropriate place to go. She wonders if doubling the fees alone would solve the problem, particularly in clearing problems, going $50 to $100 (isn’t much).
Mr. Brownlow asked Mr. Taylor at what point a Dunes & Vegetation (grading) Permit is required. Mr. Taylor said 4 or more loads of fill; or grading and installing for septic system. Less than four loads of fill requires only authorization from the Inspector to go ahead. That is determined by how it will affect the adjacent property owner.
Ms. Saunders is concerned about the requirements that have to be met by the County Health Department. They sometimes require more than was originally intended.
Mr. Almeida asked how many jobs were found to be without permits. Mr. Taylor advised it is not usually in the residential homes construction, it is in additions, decks, mechanical changeouts, electrical changes, there are about seven a month.
Mr. Brownlow said the consensus seems to be to double the fees, plus a civil penalty added to that. He asked that it be considered at the review committee meeting on April 19 2000.
- Reviewing the necessity and practicality of retaining Residential/Motel/Hotel and Residential/Multi-Family Zoning.
- Review stormwater Ordinance, Chapter 16, especially in design for 1 ½" of runoff from single-family and duplex residences.
Mr. Brownlow referred this topic on to Review Committee on April 19, to pick up where the previous Planning Board had left this issue.
- Consider addition of "Fish Market" to Permitted/Special Use Table
Motion to adjourn made by Ceil Saunders, second by Phil Almeida with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.