MINUTES OF REGULAR SCHEDULED MEETING
OF THE EMERALD ISLE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2001 – 7:00 P.M. – TOWN HALL
Mayor Harris called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. Present were Mayor Harris, Commissioners Murphy, Farmer, Trainham, Wootten, McElraft, Town Clerk Carolyn Custy, Town Attorney Derek Taylor, Interim Town Manager Georgia (Mitsy) Overman, new Town Manager Frank Rush, Department Heads Alesia Sanderson from Parks & Recreation, Public Works Director Robert Conrad, Police Chief Mark Wilson, representing the Planning Board Frank Vance, Captain Jeff Strawser of the Fire Department
Mayor Harris asked for
Approval of Minutes of Workshop of March 26, 2001,
Approval of Minutes of Stormwater Workshop of April 23, 2001,
Approval of Minutes of Budget Workshop of April 23, 2001,
Approval of Minutes of Regular Meeting of May 8, 2001.
Motion was made by Commissioner Murphy, Seconded by Commissioner Wootten and the Board voted unanimously to approve all minutes listed above.
Mayor Harris commented that the town is very fortunate to have Mr. Mickey Sugg from the Corps of Engineers and Mr. Rick Shivar from the Water Quality Division to speak to us. A 10 minute break will be entertained at the end of their presentation for the public to meet with them personally if they have any questions they would like to ask Mr. Sugg and Mr. Shivar.
Mr. Mickey Sugg came forward and said he works with the Wilmington District of the Army Corps of Engineers in the Wilmington Regulatory Field Office. He has been with the Corps for about 9 ½ years. He has been wanting to talk with Emerald Isle and they like to set up little presentations with the municipalities within their work area so that the boards will understand the Corps regulatory functions as well as to meet face to face. This will be a crash course tonight because of limited time. He understands that most of the town’s concerns are with isolated wetlands so he will focus most of his presentation on that. The Corps has four field offices , one in Wilmington, one in Washington, one in Raleigh and one in Asheville. Their responsibilities are enforcement of Section 10-1899 Rivers and Harbors Act that include activities that take place in Section 10 navigable waters do require authorization from their office which includes piers, docks and that type of thing and also enforce Section 404 of the Clean Water Act which includes wetlands and waters of the Unites States. Other laws that are integrated with the Corps program which a lot of people are familiar with, CAMA, Coastal Area Management Act that is enforced by a State agency, Section 401 of the Clean Water Act that is enforced by the State Division of Water Quality. Other laws that are integrated into the Corps program of which some are The Endangered Species Act, The Essential Fish Habits, The Wildlife Coordination Act, and Coastal Resource Preservation Act. Mr. Sugg went on to say that a lot of other State laws are integrated into their program where they make permit decisions and evaluate permits.
The way the Corps of Engineers is set up in determining wetlands, there is a three parameter approach. When they are requested to go evaluate a piece of property, they are looking at wetland vegetations located within the project site of the property where the property owner wants to do some type of activity. They determine the dominate species on the property. More importantly, they are evaluating the soil, i.e., color, black, gray soils, sandy soils, drainage ability. An other parameter they look at the time they are looking at vegetation and soil and that is hydrology. There are indicators in the soil profile. In the upper 12 inches are indicators that tell the Corps if there is a water table within those 12 inches. They can go on a piece of property during draught time when there has been no rain for a month or a month and a half and those indicators will always be there. Examples are the color of the soil, the smell of the soil, the mud layer at the top.
Once a determination that there are wetlands on a piece of property, the next step is to make a decision as to whether those areas are adjacent or isolated. In making that determination and defining adjacency – adjacency is defined as waters or wetlands that are continual or have a hydrological connection with navigable waters or outside waters. That hydrological connection has to be a service connection whether is it natural connection through a stream or creek or it could be through a high ground ditch that connects that area to Bogue Sound or Newport River, etc. If any area has been determined to be isolated – and the finding isolated is wetland areas that has no connection to any outside waters – that connection cannot be through a ditch or any natural connection. In looking at an isolated wetlands, if you are looking at an atypical situation where you may have some disturbance, you may have some historic fill or you may have a road that severs that adjacent – you may have a finger in the road that is cut off at the mouth – natural berms, roads, dykes do not severe that area from being adjacent. Mr. Sugg said there are areas off Coast Guard Road where wetlands are isolated in its present condition but historically it was all connected to the main system that emptied out into Bogue Sound. In situations like that those areas would not be considered isolated. In addition, if you have a wetland area that is connected through a high ground ditch, there would be a good possibility that that area would not classified as isolated as well.
In looking at isolated wetlands and understanding the town’s position in wanting to protect some of these areas because of the stormwater problems the town is facing, he commends that. The Corps of Engineers regulatory authority in regulating these areas has become diminished in the last couple of years. The reason it has become diminished is because of a couple of court cases. One of the cases in Maryland, U.S. vs. Wilson, where a gentleman was filling in 20 or 30 acres of wetlands and through the court system, the judge ruled in his favor stating that that isolated wetlands did not have any interstate commerce to it. The entire law is tied into interstate commerce. If there is no interstate commerce available or present in an isolated area, the Corps of Engineers has no regulatory authority whatsoever of that isolated area. Interstate commerce can be defined as, at that time in 1998, hunting, timber operations, migratory birds, bird watching, recreational. A lot of these are considered state commerce.
With the courts decision in this case it limited the Corps position in regulating these areas a little but with a Supreme Court’s decision in another case where the Corps claimed jurisdiction on some isolated wetlands based on migratory birds (some 120 species), the Supreme Court ruled that the Corps of Engineers exceeded their regulatory authority in regulating isolated areas based on migratory birds and with the new Supreme Court’s decision that limited the Corps regulatory authority on these areas.
With this and a lot of the areas on Coast Guard, it has hampered the Corps position and authority on trying to regulate these areas.
One good thing is that in the State of North Carolina, the Division of Water Quality has stepped in with the Environmental Management Commissioner and voted for them to assert authority over these areas. Even if the Corps may not have the ability to regulate these areas, the State of North Carolina is working on the ability to regulate them. Mr. Sugg recommend that any ordinances being considered for amendments, to check with these folks so changes would not contradict their regulations.
Mr. Sugg commented if the town would like for him to do a little workshop, he would be glad to do it.
Mark Brennersholz of 9322 Ocean Drive asked if there were areas on Emerald Isle, specifically off Coast Guard Road, that are either specifically under the Corps or not under the Corps? Mr. Sugg said there are areas that are isolated and no interstate commerce connection can be found. Mr. Brennersholz asked if these are generally identified? Mr. Sugg answer was “No”. Mr. Sugg said there is nothing in writing yet, but the verbal guidance from Headquarters they have gotten is if they are approached by a property owner who wants an isolated call, that property owner has to show that he or she has put financial resources and is trying to get approval from the County to move on to develop the property and they cannot develop the property unless they have that isolated call. In situations of this nature, the Corps can go out and make this call. If someone in general wants to know if their wetlands are isolated or not, then the Corps are saying they are putting that off until they get guidance from Headquarters.
Commissioner Farmer asked Mr. Sugg to elaborate on the agreement that the Corps has with the EPA for mitigating inpact of wetlands. Mr. Sugg said the Corps and the EPA have developed a Memorandum of Agreement based on Section 404 B-1 guidelines. These guidelines are associated with wetland impacts under the Section 404 Clean Water Act not the Section 10. When the Corps are approached with a proposed wanting to fill wetlands, they have to go through a frequency process where the applicant has to prove to the Corps that they do not have high ground alternative. Whether that high ground alternative is used up by septic tank, set backs, property boundaries, is off the highway and the only place they can put the house is in a portion of wetlands. Once they have proven they do not have a high ground alternative, then they have to show where they have minimized the wetland impact as much as they can. The key word when doing minimization is using the word practicable. It has to be practicable alternatives, practicable minimization and practicable costs. Practicable is defined in terms of costs, logistics and technology which means the Corps would not let you do something that the cost is extremely high. In the question of looking at this road access - bridging can be an extreme cost to a property owner. In a situation where the bridge is going to cost more that the whole entire lot, then that is not practicable.
Minimization is looked at where the road is narrowed down, not having a 30 foot wide road, etc. Once you show that you do not have alternatives, once you have proven that you have minimized as much as you can, then you get into mitigation. Mitigation can be in forms of restore wetlands, you can create wetlands, preserve wetlands on site. Conservation easements or restrictive covenants can be required to be placed on additional wetlands that are on property. Mitigation is the last step.
Commissioner McElraft said she thinks Spinnakers Reach is considered adjacent wetlands and is one that mitigation is going on. She asked if they are adjacent, why is Lands End not adjacent? Where does the flow go to and why can Lands End clear out their wetlands and Spinnakers not? Mr. Sugg replied Lands End was developed in late 1980’s and at that time a lot of that stuff was not regulated and they were allowed to go in there and dig the ponds and deepen them. As to Spinnakers Reach and Spinnakers Landing, they just happen to develop at the wrong time when the Corps started regulating that excavation activity. A lot of those areas are considered adjacent.
Commissioner McElraft asked about the dead trees and debris in there that is not wetland vegetation. She asked if it were possible to get in there and get some of these things while it is dry and clear some of that out? Mr. Sugg answered “Sure”. Things that are not regulated you are allowed to mow, burn, tractor hoe with grappling hook on it to help pile it up, you can clean up. Things like dead trees have to be cut off and removed. You cannot remove any sediment.
Mr. Sugg said he would caution that this be done in the dry season and if the equipment starts to mar down and muck up areas, they need to pull back. If they have logging mats and put the equipment on the logging mats that is permissible.
Commissioner Wootten said we also have 404 Wetlands. Mr. Sugg said they are the same thing. Section 404 is part of the Stormwater Act that regulates water and wetlands. That could be isolated or adjacent, etc.
Mr. Rick Shivar who is with the Division of Water Quality and is based out of Wilmington, N.C. His principal job with the Water Quality Section is to regulate discharging systems, wastewater treatment systems that discharge in the surface waters and as well regulate wastewater treatment systems that do not discharge in the surface waters but apply their waste onto land. They also do the animal program, wetlands, and stormwater program. The importance of protecting wetlands is not to aggravate the land owners. The purpose is to protect the ecosystem that does several things. It cleans surface water. It is natures best wastewater treatment system. It also stores water. It is an important habitat for wildlife and migratory birds. What has happened since 1972 when the Clean Water Act was passed and the Corps was authorized to basically take the Corps front on wetland protection and water quality section each was delegated the task of assuring if any wetland filling was done that they would be assured that the activity did not impact water quality. The Section 404 part of the Clean Water Act which basically says to make sure if any work is done in wetlands, it would be done in a manner that would not adversely impact water quality. The Corps has taken the lead marking certain that wetlands are delineated appropriately and they go through the permitting process and the Water Quality Division would issue the 401 water quality certification to make sure that the activity that is impacting does not adversely impact water quality. Coastal wetlands (Bogue Sound on the mainland side) has historically has been the regulatory per view of CAMA and also with the Corps of Engineers and historically water quality emphasis has been on reviewing the project and making sure that whatever activity is being conducted in the coastland wetlands does not adversely impact water quality and they would go out and do a water quality certification once they were satisfied that the impact was being done in a way to minimize water quality impact.
In 1996 the Environment Management Commission approved rules which classified all wetlands in the State of North Carolina and said that you have to do some things for protection of the wetlands.
Mr. Shivar related to the same court case in Maryland that Mr. Sugg did. He said that after some adaptation, some regulatory authority was diminished on isolated wetlands. The State looked at the rules and found they did not need to do much in terms of the regulatory program and they realized that they had some regulatory obligations. He related that in Brunswick Co and New Hanover Co there were incidents of ditching that were very bad and the EPA and the Corps got in there and repaired the damage . The position Division of Water Quality is in now is that they have to decide how they are going to protect the isolated wetlands. Where they are at with this is they have a process you go through. Typically what happens is it requires some kind of permit and certification that says that you can do something in these wetlands and that you will do it in a way to minimize the impact on water quality. They are going through the rule making process on isolated wetlands and while going through that they are going to have to create a regulatory form, some form of authorization for impact, or basically the development in isolated wetlands in such a way the impacts are avoided or minimized. This is where Water Quality is at this time on this issue.
Mr. J. B. Cottle who lives down Coast Guard Road said he read an article in the paper that Commissioner Farmer has been working 2 ½ years on the 43 acres of wetlands on Emerald Isle and has got a proposal of a $2,500,000.00 grant provided the citizens get another 2,500,000.00 . He asked where the town stands in regard to wetland when we have a flooding and pump all of the water to those 43 acres. Question being, do we have a permit to do that? Commissioner Farmeranswered “No.” Mr. Cottle asked why we should purchase the land before we get a permit? Commissioner Farmer answered there have been calls from Division of Water Quality, Shell Fish Sanitation, Division of Coastal Management saying that they support the idea of it. We do not have definite permitting. Mr. Cottle asked if we have to have the $5,000,000.00 before we get the permit or can we acquire the permit and then go through the process of donating the money. He does not want to spend money we cannot use but the money is needed vitally on this island and other locations.
Town Attorney Derek Taylor asked Mr. Shivar if he foresees the regulatory scheme being so comprehensive to pre-empt any action at the local level? Mr. Shivar said at the local level you can always pass laws more restrictive than what the Water Quality has. If you want to make your rules stricter, we are in favor of it.
Commissioner Farmer replied she did talk to one member of the Environmental Management Commission and his feeling at this point is that the rules will probably be mimicking what the Corps already has in existence. Mr. Shivar says he cannot perceive they would do anything different. Commissioner Farmer commented that it does not mean you cannot fill wetlands, you have to get a permit for it. Mr. Shivar said they did not perceive they were going to end up in this. He thinks the Corps wants to get out of the regulatory business and if the Corps is going to get out of it, the Division of Water Quality will probably inherit it and left to deal with it. There are some wetland rules that have never been put in writing, particularly the mitigation ratio.
Commissioner McElraft said the Corps of Engineers was really thrown out of the wetland business by the United States Supreme Court. She asked Mr. Shivar how does the State of North Carolina feel that they will not be thrown out or a little town like Emerald Isle? Mr. Shivar answered that this raises a good question and he clarified that the Corps is in front for wetland protection. There are still thousand and thousands of acreage of jurisdictional wetland of which the Corps has the principal responsibility to protect. It just so happens that the Supreme Court has basically said they are not going to do business on isolated wetlands and so that falls to the Division of Water Quality. The question can be answered by telling the Board the fact that the State has basically come to take on some more regulatory responsibility to protect wetlands by preventing ditching. This protects isolated wetlands.
Mayor Harris thanked Mr. Shivar for his presentation.
A 10 minute break was taken from 7:55 P.M. to 8:05 P.M.
REED DRIVE COMMERCIAL PARK
Mayor Harris commented the Board, at their regular meeting in May, referred the Reed Drive Commercial Park back to the Planning Board and the Planning Board met on May 21st and rejected the Reed Drive Preliminary Plat. Another Plat has been presented to the Town Board and it shows the 3-lot subdivision and the Reed Drive cul-de-sac.
Commissioner Farmer asked what the Planning Board’s concerns were? Mr. Frank Vance, a member of the Planning Board, said the Planning Board was concerned about how the traffic was going to be entering and exiting from these three lots. They felt it being developed like that and although they are not causing the traffic there at the present time, it would add to it and it would be a dangerous situation. The Minutes show that the Planning Board suggested the entrance of that development be moved down 460 feet from the center of Highway 58. Mr. Vance said the Planning Board felt that would move it far enough and abandon that part of Reed Drive. Before it was coming out by the power station and the wetlands stopped that. This is felt to be the only alternative the Planning Board had, was to move it down and bring it up around some other wetlands and bring it back into the 3-lots and abandon that portion of Reed Drive.
Mayor Harris questioned Mr. Vance if he was saying it would be at approximately Pebble Beach. Mr. Vance said it would not be right at Pebble Beach, it would be back toward Highway 58.
Mrs. Holz came forward and said she would like to make several points to the Board. She would like to get input from the Planning Board as well. Her first point was that the Reed Drive Extension under discussion, forming the public road for that 3-lot subdivision, has been dedicated as a town street since 1971. It is dedicated and is recorded in the Court House, signed by the Town of Emerald Isle and it has been dedicated as a public street since it was done. She requested this be put in the record. The 3-lot subdivision meets all the subdivision ordinance requirements. She asked if this was correct? It meets all of the written subdivision requirements? The answer to this was “Yes”. Mrs. Holz continued, the Planning Board turned down her 3-lot subdivision preliminary plan because they wanted the entire tract developed and they want a second entrance off Coast Guard Road. She asked if this was correct? She clarified, an entrance other than the Reed Drive Entrance? Her preliminary subdivision plat was disapproved by the Planning Board even though it meets the town subdivision ordinance because she does not show another entrance there and the entire tract was not included. Mrs. Holz said her sole aim has been to subdivide, not develop at this property. All she has asked for from the beginning was the 3-lot subdivision. She explained that she has acceded to the wishes expressed by the town board and planning board showing subdivision of the whole tract in order to get things moving. She never intended to do that but has done it at the request of the boards. The new jurisdictional wetlands thing is still sort of gray. She does not want to fill any wetlands. She has said if the town wants wetlands filled so that she can go to Pebble Beach, she would do that, don’t want to but she will. She has come before the board once again asking them to please consider only a 3-lot subdivision using an existing, dedicated, accepted town street that has been cleared with permits with both the Corps and North Carolina for paving for a street.
Commissioner Wootten said this is the 5th time Mrs. Holz has come before the board. He asked that they once again go back over a little history. He believes the process started back late last year with a 3-lot subdivision. That went through a dialogue and traffic studies were done that led the town board to conclude that the traffic considerations would paramount more if there were further development of this piece of property and it was learned the entire piece of property had to be dealt with, the infrastructure of the entire piece of property, not necessarily how it was going to be developed, but infrastructure concerning the road and stormwater. Then the entrance to the piece of property, if at all possible, as far away from Highway 58 as possibly could and that meant bringing the entrance down by Pebble Beach. Commissioner Wootten said Mrs. Holz and John McLean has worked with the Planning Board to try to accomplish that and they have tried very diligently to accomplish that and he thought they were there when the entrance was down by Pebble Beach at which point difficulties arose that had to be addressed with wetlands. This brought the approach of development of the piece of property to a temporary halt. Mrs. Holz, has now, and Commissioner Wootten understands, gone with this approach of just the first preliminary subdivision of the 3-lots – She is right. Commissioner Wootten would personally be remiss in not continuing to try to solve the problem of the traffic and the infrastructure of the entire lot so both the town and Mrs. Holz can be satisfied with the results. Commissioner Wootten said, he personally, very reluctantly somewhat, he would not vote for this because as soon as the road structure is approved and something is paved, the board may find out, how many months down the road, that was not the ultimate solution that could have been made. He does not know that this will happen but he does not want to get locked in on one piece of ingress, egress, of that piece of property by Reed Drive when in fact it may be smarter not to do that. Commissioner Wootten stated he thinks the town board and planning board have made it clear that they are willing to trade or whatever, parts of Reed Drive need to be abandoned to make the whole road structure fixed. He said he would rather keep working the problem and not approve this piece of property. He does not think anyone on the board is trying to take away the property or limited the use of the property. They are just trying to find the right answer.
Mrs. Holz said she appreciates the concern. She has never been a quitter. She does not intend to quit now.
Commissioner Trainham said, “Mrs Holz you have not said anything about the other portion of the property. All the emphasis has been on the 3 sections there along the road. He asked if there was a reason for that because whatever the developer does in a sense of setting the stage inadvertently over a long period of time it is going to be developed. Mrs. Holz said “Yes Sir, but I have no plans.” She gave an example – “I don’t believe there has ever been a case in history of Emerald Isle that a developer has developed an entire block at once. In the old days, my father and George Spell would develop an ocean side block and they sometimes even bought ocean side portions of a block and developed those and in some cases, we don’t even develop our own blocks. In block 33, Surfside Realty, we had preliminary plans approved and we even roughed some roads to develop the sound side and we realized what an enormous amount of money it was going to take to put in the water system which we are required to put in and give to the water company which all developers do, fire hydrants, paving, and then we had this big inventory of lots and were all already a lot of lots on the market so at that time, we just put the road through on the sound side and with that one 1100-foot strip of road we developed two rows, sound front and 2nd row and we have not touched the remainder of the property since then. We don’t always jump in and do a whole chunk. It is whatever piece or pieces that are desirable to do at the time for whatever we need to do. I can remember some of my father’s friends telling me that he sold them a 2nd row Emerald Isle lot for $800.00 to send me to college. It is what we need at the time and what we do at the time. I have no hidden sinister, no desire -----.”
Commissioner Farmer said it is the location of the parcel that is the problem. She feels that the town board and planning board all have concerns about the traffic that would be generated. There are also some traffic studies that are concerned. She thinks it is wonderful that Mrs. Holz does not want to fill the wetlands. She and Mrs. Holz obviously agree on the importance of wetlands. Commissioner Farmer agrees with Commissioner Wootten that she would support abandonment of the section of Reed Drive Extension that would not be needed anymore. The board is not trying to prevent Mrs. Holz from developing, they are trying to see that the development that goes in there, the layout, the infrastructure, is as safe as possible for the rest of the town.
Commissioner McElraft asked “If we abandon Reed Road, that puts more square footage in the property to that side. With what you are planning to do there and subdividing that, does that infringe upon that, I mean adding that property and taking it away from the other piece. Can you tell me if that would affect you in anyway?”
Mrs. Holz answered, “My only intent was to subdivide of an existing town dedicated street. Since I have no customer ready to buy any of these lots and I have not invisioned a use, I cannot answer that question. I am not at that point yet. It may indeed impact the type and best use of the remainder of the property.
Commissioner McElraft said her only concern about abandoning Reed Road and making it part of that property, closer to Highway 58 means that we can put more square footage of building closer to Highway 58 rather than bringing it on around the corner. She thinks this might cause more of a traffic problem in the long run.
Commissioner McElraft said, “When you start adding square footage to those three lots and you can then build the shopping center, the Lowes or the bigger whatever there right off of Highway 58, that to me just makes sense that is going to cause more of a traffic jam up too. I am very frustrated because if we have no ordinances preventing – you have been back time and time again but I understand about the safety of that area too and I have to be concerned about that. But I think abandoning Reed Road and giving that property to that parcel of land creates more of a problem in my eye with traffic jam up on that corner.”
Mrs. Holz said, “I cannot answer that but if you will allow me to stay with this thing, I would believe more in the Towns concerns about traffic safety if you had done the first thing to improve the traffic conditions on Coast Guard Road. You have done nothing.”
Commissioner Farmer asked to comment on that and said, I think we have heard a number of residents who live down Coast Guard Road and I am one of them who feels that traffic on Coast Guard Road while congested in the summer if far from unbearable. I am well aware that in the summer when Emerald Isle has a lot of tourists all of our roads need relief and I recognize the fact that I have to slow down a little bit and allow for a little more time. That’s summer in a resort community.” Mrs. Holz asked, “Then you feel there are no traffic problems on Coast Guard Road?” Commissioner Farmer replied, “I don’t think there is an unbearable traffic problem in Coast Guard Road at this point.” Commissioner Wootten said. “The traffic study we are referring to has to do with the safety of the citizens and the value of traffic. Everyone one of those studies points out the need to widen and expand Coast Guard Road. You cannot have it both ways.” Commissioner Murphy did not have any comments.
Commissioner Wootten moved, Commissioner Murphy seconded that the Board not approve the three-lot subdivision as presented at this time.
Commissioner McElraft asked Town Attorney Derek Taylor if this could be tabled tonight until the Corps of Engineers is contacted to see if they are going to take jurisdiction over those wetlands and not make a decision on this until it is known what their decision is going to be? Mr. Taylor said, “If the Board should decide that is the path it wants to take, yes you could.”
Mayor Harris said she has a motion of denial and a second to the motion at this point.
Commissioner Farmer said her decision has nothing to do with wetlands. Her decision has to do with the ethics of Reed Drive Extension being too close to Highway 58. It does not have anything to do with wetlands. If they could do the road next to Pebble Beach going through the wetlands, which Mrs. Holz says she does not want to fill, or curve the road around the wetlands and not go through them. Commissioner Farmer said her problem is the entrance to the subdivision, Reed Drive Extension, being so close to Highway 58.
Commissioner Wootten said he thinks Commissioner McElraft’s suggestion is to table this issue and try to find another solution. He was not sure what Mrs. Holz would think of that. Instead of the Board saying no at this time, to keep working the problem. He did not think this was a bad idea.
Attorney Taylor said, “If you were to make determinations on wetlands and continue discussions in other areas, this plat would look different. What you have before you tonight, you would either accept or reject at some point in time when she would have to do another drawing and bring back to the Planning Board again a different plan for you to approve. Those things may or may not apply. If that is the reason you are tabling it, tabling it may not make a bit of sense. You are saying, wetland issues could move the road down and make this plan look a whole lot different and you might want to approve that but it would not look like this.”
Commissioner McElraft said her question also is to not totally put this out until it is found out if there is a possible way that the other road can be done without causing Mrs. Holz to lose her property rights there. Commissioner McElraftdoes not see where tabling it can hurt because they can always go back and untable it.
Commissioner Wootten withdrew the motion he made earlier.
Commissioner McElraft moved, Commissioner Wootten seconded that this issue be tabled tonight until the Board could work further with Mrs. Holz and the Corps of Engineers to establish if those are adjacent wetlands, if the Corps does have jurisdiction over those, and if the road can be built a little farther down without totally eliminating this plan if there is a need to come back to it.
Mayor Harris asked if there was any suggestions to guide Mrs. Holz on what to bring back? Commissioner McElraft said she feels a talk with Mickey Sugg soon and go out and establish what these wetlands are and see if the road can be built across there. The need to talk some more is evident.
Commissioner Farmer said “By tabling this, I believe we are taking away from the Planning Board their function as an advisory board for the Commissioners on issues like subdivisions. I will say frankly, point blank, I cannot support the road that close to Highway 58. We have been told by those studies that in fact that is not a good idea and I think the guys are foremost concerned. The process that we should be following is when some things are not approved by the Planning Board and there are questions by the Board of Commissioners part, the process is that it goes back to the Planning Board and it is the Board of Commissioners that decide if there is a different way that this should be worked. I don’t understand why we would go through a different procedure than the one that we have laid out.”
Commissioner McElraft said she is just trying to protect the interest of the taxpayers from a law suit and she does think this road situation can be worked out. To turn it down, absolutely, right now, these people have done everything they can, the Planning Board has done their part, the Board of Commissioners cannot keep Mrs. Holz from subdividing that land according to the Ordinances. Commissioner Farmer interjected, “And we don’t want to. What we can do is to make sure that the road is placed in a safe place for the town and we are not preventing her from developing her land.” Commissioner McElraft said all she would like to do is to hold a law suit off while they are doing it. She is just saying that the town is putting itself in jeopardy.
Mayor Harris said she has a motion and a second that it will go back to the Board again. Commissioner Wootten corrected Mayor Harris that it would not go back to the Planning Board but be tabled.
Mayor Harris asked for a vote. Voting yes for the motion to table this issue were Commissioner Wootten, Commissioner McElraft and Commissioner Murphy. Voting No were Commissioner Farmer and Commissioner Trainham.
Commissioner Trainham asked to make a comment. He too feels the Board can go around what the Planning Board no matter what they say but he regrets the Planning Board is now allowed to have a part in coming up with a solution. He feels that they should be in the picture and they should not be bypassed. Commissioner Wootten agreed that there is no intention to go against the Planning Board. If this works out, the developer will start a new package and bring it to the Planning Board for its approval or nonapproval. Commissioner McElraft said all the Town Board is doing is not saying no to this right now.
Commissioner Wootten commented that the Planning Board did not like saying no to this either but they did not have a choice. The Town Board has a choice.
AMENDMENT TO , CHAPTER 4, SECTIONS 4.23 (a) and (b) and Section 4-28 OF THE ANIMAL ORDINANCE.
Mayor Harris thanked the Committee who worked on this animal ordinance. They have submitted their final recommendation and report to the Board. The Committee has talked to the public. The public has talked to the Board. The Board has received many letters, e-mails and phone calls. The Committee contacted all of Carteret County towns. They went to other counties and got their history and how they operate regarding animals that they have submitted to the Board. There have been suggestions from just about everyone. The recommendations now come before the Town Board and it is hoped that the Board will make some type of decision on the changes in the Animal Ordinance.
ORDINANCE 01 - 6 - 12 - 02
An Ordinance Amending Chapter 4, Article I,
Entitled “In General”, Section 4-2 and Article II
Entitled “DOGS”, Sections 4-23 and 4-28
Each A Part of the Emerald Isle Town Code
WHEREAS, the Town of Emerald Isle proposes certain amendments to the animal control ordinances contained within Chapter 4, Articles I and II of the Emerald Isle Municipal Code in order have the code better reflect the current needs of the Town and to better promote the health, safety and welfare of the Town’s citizens; and
WHEREAS, the Town’s Board of Commissioners has considered the recommendations of a specially appointed Animal Control Committee and the comments made by the public on the changes which should be made; and
WHEREAS, the public was provided an opportunity at several regularly scheduled Town Meetings to express their views as to the Animal Control ordinance changes being considered;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Town Board of Commissioners of the Town of Emerald Isle that Chapter 4, Article I and II, Sections 4-2, 4-23, and 4-28 of the Code of Ordinances, Town of Emerald Isle, North Carolina, are hereby amended to read as follows:
Article I, Section 4-2 - shall have the words “except dogs” deleted from its content causing the amended ordinance to read:
No horse, goat, cattle or other animal or fowl shall be permitted to run at large within the town limits. All animals caught running at large shall be impounded by the police and unless claimed within four (4) days shall be disposed of as the town shall deem best.
Article II, Section 4-23, subsections (a) & (b) – shall be deleted entirely and replaced by the following
Section 4-23. Removal of Excrement Required
No owner, keeper, or person in charge of the possession and/or control of any dog shall cause or allow the dog to defecate or otherwise commit any nuisance on any street, sidewalk, park, beach strand, public right-of-way, or other publicly owned area, or upon any private property without permission of the owner or occupant of the property, unless the excrement is immediately removed by said owner, keeper, or person in charge of the dog and deposited in an appropriate waste container.
Article II, Section 4-28 entitled “Penalty” shall be amended to read as follows:
Any owner, keeper, or person in charge of the possession and/or control of any dog who shall violate any provision of this Chapter shall be require to pay a fifty dollar ($50.00) civil fine in accordance with Section 1-6 of the Town Code of Emerald Isle, except that no warning citation shall be required or issued for such violations.
This ordinance shall become effective immediately upon its adoption. If any section, sentence, clause or phrase of this ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance.
DULY ADOPTED THIS 12th day of June, 2001, by a vote of
Commissioner(s)___________________________________________ voting for, Commissioner(s) _______________________________ voting against and Commissioner(s)__________________________
Town of Emerald Isle
Barbara M. Harris, Mayor
Carolyn K. Custy, Town Clerk
Mayor Harris asked for comments from the public after she read the above Ordinance revision.
Mr. Joseph McCabe of 321 Cape Fear Loop came forward with several questions. His first question was about the dogs that are not claimed within 4 days. He asked what does the town mean about who decides who disposes of these dogs? Is there a certain person who will be responsible? How is that going to be decided? He continued that in the next section, his second question is regarding excrement disposal. He asked if there would be containers provided year round on the beach or near the beach where it could be disposed of. Mayor Harris replied “There are trash cans on the beach.” Mr. McCabe asked if they were there all year around? Mayor Harris answered “No”.
Commissioner Wootten said the individual would be responsible to take it. Mr. McCabe said on the animal control report, he has questions about some of the committees information they are presenting that the decision may have been made on. There is a comment about contamination of dog feces causing serious problems with children. He asked if any children been sick from any dog feces? Has there been an epidemic or is there any information that there has there been a big problem. He noted he is a family physician and he has never seen a case. He also knows that Dr. Hemmerline has had many children come through his office and has not seen any. Mayor Harris said she does know children step in “IT” a lot and she does know a child can fall into it.
Commissioner Wootten said he does not think this is a point. He asked how it related to the changes being proposed? Dr. McCabe said the point is to clean up after your dog which he thinks is fine but he thinks it was submitted rather strongly by the committee that it is a major health hazard which he does not necessarily agree with and he wonders where they got their data from tomake it as big a health hazard as they presented here.
Commissioner Murphy addressed the question as to who would be responsible for the disposal of the dogs after 4 days. He said he thinks the Hadnot Creek Kennel would hold them for 4 days, that they would transport them to the Carteret County Animal Shelter. If they were not at Hadnot Creek Kennel they would be at the animal shelter.
Commissioner Murphy said the only animals the shelter “puts down” are sick or maimed animals.
Dr Arthur Hemmerline of 205 Burlington Street commented said the information presented on excrement is not true. There are rare situations but not many. Obviously he does now want to slip on the sidewalks either. In 1986 eighty per-cent of cats taken to the pound were killed. Commissioner Wootten said “You mentioned cats but we are talking about dogs”.
Mr. Robert Gordon of 112 Azure said the town is getting very restrictive with horses, dogs, etc. and he is afraid that pretty soon they are going to put a leash on children. He calls himself a codger, his children calls him geezer and he is afraid that this community is getting senile, that is being senior and you are going to drive anyone with youngsters. He did not get to hear what kind of horses Mr. Cochran has or what intention he has, if he is going to give pony rides or what, but the town is becoming very aged and very restrictive. He thinks this reflects poorly on the community.
Commissioner Farmer said one of the things changed in the ordinance was the restriction that is currently in place is that you can only have two dogs. The likelihood of having to ask a Police Officer to go over to someone’s house and telling the owner which dog they want them to remove. The ordinance was not readily being enforced. There is another place that the current ordinance says that leashes are supposed to be 6 feet. It was agreed that this length was to be taken out. Commissioner Farmer continued she does not think it is unusual to have a “Pooper Scooper Law” in town. She does not think people really like to walk on the beach and step in something in the sand. She would like to see dispensers like they have in Ocean City, Maryland. They have a dispenser at the sign with the leash and Pooper Scooper Law. She thinks there should be receptacles.
Commissioner McElraft comments there are two or three groups on the island who are trapping, taking the strays in for neutering and spaying. They are marking the ears and then returning them to the island. These cats will not be reproducing. There is an effort to control the population of feral cats. The people who are in this process could probably use some financial help if anyone wants to help.
Debbie Lilly of 6002 McLean Street related she did have someone knock on her door and told her she did have too many dogs. She has tried to comply with the town ordinance after she was told that and in her efforts her 18 year old Cocker Spaniel died in a kennel at Hadnot Creek. She is not saying anything negative about those boys who run that kennel. They called her immediately when she went down. She just wanted to let people know that this ordinance has caused personal pain for her, her children and her family and she sincerely hopes counter activity will stop in our town. The gentleman who said the town is aging, said she was an old mother, she was 40+ years old when her first child was born and she does not intend to get old. She hopes that there will be support for the people here who are trying not to be old also.
Dr. Arthur Hemmerlien asked a question about feral cats. He asked Commissioner McElraft if she knows how many cases of human rabies are caused by cats each year? He said there is one case of human rabies in the United States every two years. Human rabies is a very very rare disease. In Carteret County 90 per-cent of the rabies is in Racoons. About 2 per-cent is in cats. He is unaware of any cat that has transferred rabies to a human being. If you have to get rid of the rabies, you don’t try to get the animal who has 2 per-cent, you go for the animal with the 90 per-cent. He is not advocating to go out and kill raccoons. He said research is being done on a bait that can be dropped from an airplane for the raccoons to eat thus getting rid of them and the rabies.
Mrs. Tonya Purcell of Archers Creek Drive said she is an animal lover. She is a dog trainer. She went to school and received certification in taking care of animals. There is a problem here with feces and stuff left on the island. To her, it seems like this is the biggest concern on the island. As far as people owning animals, it does not matter to her how many animals you have as long as you take care of the animals. You are responsible for your animal and she believes animals need to be taken care as you would your children. She agreed something needs to be done about the wild cats on the island.
Mayor Harris said the bottom line is people do not like for your dog to run up on their child and do not like for that dog to use their yard for their bathroom. This is the number one complaint on Emerald Isle. It has been. That is why the committee was put out there and that is why this Board will make the decision. The Board cannot please everyone. There is no way but the Board has to take control. You must be in control of your animal and if you feed a cat, the law says you are responsible for that cat, its health and vaccinations. That is what the law says.
Mr. J.B. Cottle of Wyndtree Drive said there was a lot of rental property on his street. He suggested that the Board, if this ordinance is adopted and of which he is in favor of, put out a formal letter. Be sure that every real estate company in this Town, the top sheet when the person picks up their rental keys is informed of that ordinance. One day a man came by with a great big black Lab. His wife, he and a neighbor were standing in the yard. His wife had some flowers planted around her mailbox. The dog started right for them. He asked the man “Sir, would you not let your dog urinate on my wife’s flowers?” The man just laughed and stood there and encouraged the dog.
Commissioner Farmer said the Board had agreed that on Section 4-21 that there would be no limit on the leash length. Her concern is that if there is only a 6 foot leash, then dogs would not run and would be taken off their leashes. On page 248.1 in the Codification in definitions “At Large” means off the premises of the owner and not restrained by leash or lead, such lead not to exceed six (6) feet in length, - she asked the part between the commas be deleted.
Attorney Taylor asked Commissioner Farmer if she was making a motion that the Board adopt this ordinance with that additional change? Commissioner Farmer answered “Yes.”
Motion was made by Commissioner Farmer that adoption of Ordinance 01-06-12-02 with an amendment to Section 4-21 removing the words “such lead not to exceed six (6) feet length.” Motion was seconded by Commissioner Wootten. The Board voted unanimously to approve the amendment.
Commissioner Farmer said one of the reasons for cutting down a lot of the restrictions that were recommended by the animal committee was that some sort of educational effort to be set up. She requested that the charge of that proposal be charged back to the animal committee to come up an educational plan for how we are going to encourage people to do things like shorten leashes when they are around other people. Encourage them to pick-up after so that we don’t have to cite people. How are we going to notify the real estate companies, the residents, etc? Mayor Harris said a workshop could be held and do it that way. Commissioner Farmer said she would prefer to have the committee do it. She understands there is some interest among committee members to do it.
Mayor Harris said they have given their final report. That is the end of the committee. Commissioner Farmer said she would like to reappoint the same people to work on an education program. She thinks it makes perfect sense. They are the ones who studies the issues. They can come back to the Board with what their education process is and if they are the ones typing up the material that is great.
Commissioner Wootten suggested letting the new Town Manager work with the people who were on the committee to achieve what you want achieved. They can do it in a very informal way without any special committees. Commissioner Farmersaid her concern is that she does not want this dropped. Commissioner Wootten said let the new Town Manager and Interim Town Manager sit there and go to it.
AMENDMENT TO SOLID WASTE ORDINANCE, CHAPTER 15, SECTIONS 15-3 AND 15-15.
Mayor Harris thanked the Solid Waste Committee who did a superb job. They started months ago. The bottom line is that there is garbage sitting on the ground, not in containers. The Board is trying to correct this situation and have people put garbage in containers, therefore, this new ordinance will require putting it in containers and not on the ground. Mayor Harris asked Commissioner McElraft to read the Ordinance that is as follows:
ORDINANCE 2001 –6 –12 –01
An Ordinance Amending Section 15-3 and 15-15 of
The Emerald Isle Solid Waste Management Ordinances
Codified in Chapter 15 of the Emerald Isle Town Code
WHEREAS, the Town has recognized the need for better control of solid waste disposal, particularly on sites of residential rental properties; and
WHEREAS, the report of a specially appointed solid waste committee made recommendations to the Town Board of Commissioners for more specific storage requirements on such properties; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board of Commissioners has considered the recommendations of the solid waste committee and has heard public comment on such matters during its regularly scheduled meeting held on this date;
NOW, Therefore, BE IT ORDAINED by the Board of Town Commissioners of the Town of Emerald Isle that Chapter 15, Section 15-3 and 15-15 of the Code of Ordinances, Town of Emerald Isle, North Carolina, is hereby amended to read as follows:
Section 15-3. Containers Required
(a) Every business location and owner or occupant of a house or residence in the residential area where garbage or refuse exists shall provide a sufficient number of containers for each business location and residential unit in which shall be deposited all garbage or refuse existing at such buildings or premises. Each residential rental unit must have a minimum of 30 gallons of solid waste containment per bedroom. For purposes of this ordinance, a bedroom will be any room which provides a facility for sleeping, including, but not limited to, day beds (or other convertibles), sleeper sofas or couches, hide-a-beds, cots, roll-away beds or cribs. Each business location shall have a minimum of two (2) plastic containers, and each container shall be made of heavy duty plastic with at least a thirty (30) gallon capacity. All containers shall have drain holes and shall be provided with handles and with a tight-fitting cover made of the same material as the container.
(b) Garbage, refuse and recycle containers must be placed at the street curb no earlier than dusk the day before collection is scheduled and must be returned to the residence within 24 hours after collection or be contained within an approved retaining rack which is located at the curb. Retaining racks approved for thirty (30) or (40) gallon containers and for storage of eighteen (18) gallon recycling containers shall be four sided and of sufficient size to fully secure each container housed therein. Retaining racks approved for roll-out ninety (90) gallon containers and/or forth (40) gallon roll-out recycling containers shall be three sided and designed such that the open side is facing the street from which collection shall take place. All three sided racks must have a means of securing the containers housed therein to prevent them from being turned or blown over. Any forty (40) gallon roll-out recycling containers which are not contained within an approved rack may be placed and kept at the curb if they are secured in such a way as to prevent them from being turned or blown over. All retaining racks must be anchored to the ground.
(c) All persons doing business in a business location within the town limits shall provide containers as outlined in this section unless and until the owner or lessor of the business location shall be directed by the town to provide bulk containers.
(d) No person shall throw, drop or deposit any leaves, shrubs or other debris on any curb, or into any catch basin or manhole in the town.
(e) All garbage containers and racks shall be inspected annually by the town for conformance with this chapter. If any container, rack or other equipment required by this Chapter are found to be deficient at the site, then the town manager shall notify the owner and/or occupant as to the deficiencies. Failure to correct the deficiencies within a period of thirty (30) days thereafter may result in the town suspending garbage collection services at the site until the deficiencies are corrected.
Section 15-15. Fines
Pursuant to Section 1-6 of the Town Code of Emerald Isle, any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a civil fine of $50.00 per day for each day the violation continues.
This ordinance shall become effective immediately upon its adoption. If any section, sentence, clause or phrase of this ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance.
DULY ADOPTED THIS 12th day of June, 2001, by a vote of
Voting for, Commissioner(s) _______________________________voting against and Commissioner(s) ____________________________________absent.
TOWN OF EMERALD ISLE
Barbara M. Harris, Mayor
Carolyn K. Custy, Town Clerk
Commissioner McElraft, in regard to (d) asked where do you deposit leaves, shrubs, etc., if not on the curb? Commissioner Wootten said in curbs and manholes it would stop water flow. The word “manhole” is deleted.
Mark Brennersholz of 9322 Ocean Drive said he didn’t hear what the decision on (d) was. He asked if he still calls the town and gets on a list for pickup every month? Commissioner McElraft said she can see what he is talking about. This is saying that you cannot put it on the curb. It is confusing. Commissioner Murphy said he thinks when you are talking about a curb, you are talking about a concrete curb that water flows down. Attorney Taylor said this is one of those standard clauses that comes in from the urban areas that have problems with stormwater drains getting clogged up with debris. Commissioner Wootten said from the way it is written it is obvious that is the point.
Mr. Ross, resident of 7018 Ocean Drive called the Board’s attention to page 2 “All three sided racks must have a means of securing the containers housed therein to prevent them from being blown over.” His comment is that the racks themselves need to be anchored to the ground because the containers in the racks are not going to stay there. During the storms his neighbors racks blew through his overhead garage doors because they are not anchored. Racks to be anchored should be included. Commissioner Murphy suggested to add a sentence “Containment racks must be secured to the ground.” On page 3 (b) a sentence “All containment racks must be anchored to the ground” was suggested.
Motion was made by Commissioner Murphy, Seconded by Commissioner Farmer and the Board voted unanimously for approval of the amendment and to add the sentence “All containment racks must be anchored to the ground.”
Commissioner McElraft asked that a little leeway be given to getting the racks built to the management companies, not fining them until they have time to get the racks out. Plenty of trash cans should be put out immediately as that does not take long.
Mayor Harris indicated that a letter would be mailed to each of the real estate companies.
DEBRIS REMOVAL CONTRACT.
Ms. Overman, Interim Manager , at the last Board meeting, asked for approval to advertise for bids on debris removal for the upcoming hurricane season. Advertisement for bids was done and a bid opening was held on Monday, June 4, 2001 at 1:00 P.M. There were four bids received and the results are attached at the end of these minutes.
DRC, Inc., Mobile, Alabama has been recommended for the awarding of the contract. DRC is a large company and has worked in places as far away as Saudi Arabia They have worked at Topsail Beach and the Raleigh/Durham area. The Government Website on computer was pulled up for information in areas of default or if a contract has been awarded and had not been fullfilled. DRC is highly recommended.
Motion was made by Commissioner Wootten moved, Commissioner Farmer seconded and the Board voted unanimously to award the removal debris contract for the upcoming hurricane season to DRC, Inc., of Mobile, Alabama.
BUDGET AMENDMENTS FOR FY 2000/2001
Ms. Overman said, Resolution 01-06-12-01, a General Fund Amendment, is moving money from Tipping Fees to Contribution to the Regional Access Fund of $8,000.00. The reason for this is that we have not received any grant money for the regional access because the project at the west end is not complete. General Fund is going to have to fund that expense until the grant money is received.
Resolution 01-06-12-02 goes to the Regional Access Fund which is taking the transfer from the General Fund Budget and putting it into the expense line items to cover the expenses of the regional access.
Resolution 01-06-12-03 is a Debt Service Budget Amendment. In going back and looking at the special appropriations of Debt Service, there was one lease – Lease #7 that got budgeted in the current budget for three quarterly payments of $12,985.00 instead of four. Money has to be moved from the General fund into the Debt Service Fund to take care of that other payment.
Resolution 01-06-12-04 is a General Fund Budget Amendment that is actually taking money from the General Fund and contributing it to the Debt Service Fund to cover that quarterly payment.
Motion was made by Commissioner Trainham and Seconded by Commissioner Murphy seconded and the Board voted unanimously to approved Budget Amendment Resolutions 01-06-12-01,01-06-12-02, 01-06-12-03, and 01-06-12-04.
APPOINTMENT TO BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
Mr. Kevin Viverette has created a vacancy on the Board of Adjustment and it is recommended that Mr. Joseph Quigley who is currently Alternate #1 be appointed to fill Mr. Viverette’s place as a regular member of the Board of Adjustment.
Motion was made by Commissioner Wootten, seconded by Commissioner Farmer.
Commissioner Farmer thanked Mr. Viverette for his years of service. She said he was wonderful on the Board of Adjustment and he will be missed in Emerald Isle. Mayor Harris said a letter would be going out to him thanking him for his service.
The Board voted unanimously to appoint Mr. Joseph Quigley to fill the vacancy as a regular board member on the Board of Adjustment.
COMMENTS FROM DEPARTMENT HEADS
Alesia Sanderson, Director of Parks and Recreation invited the public to join the town for the 4th of July fireworks in conjunction with Mike Stanley of Bogue Inlet Pier. This should be quite a show this year.
Captain Jeff Strauser from the Fire Department commented that the 2001 Beach Patrol completed their week of training last week and are now on the beach for the summer months.
Police Chief Mark Wilson said people parking at CVS and Food Lion should be advised that “No Parking” in the Fire Lane is being enforced. Tickets are being handed out.
Mr. Frank Vance of the Planning Board had no comment.
Mr. Robert Conrad, Public Works Director, had no comments.
Mayor Harris commented that Mr. Frank Rush will be coming on board 1 July and he is present tonight. She asked if he would like to bring the public up to date on anything that concerns Emerald Isle?
Mr. Rush said he is happy to be here tonight and is looking forward to getting here on July 2nd and trying to do what he can to learn as much as possible before that date.
Town Clerk Carolyn Custy had no comments.
COMMENTS FROM THE BOARD
Commissioner McElraft said the Occupancy Tax looks like it is going to the House and Senate and she wanted to thank Mayor Harris and all of those 16 people that she wrote. It did some good. It looked like it was not going to make it out of sub-committee will make it out of the sub-committee and looks like we may be getting that occupancy tax to help with beach renourishment.
There were no comments from Commissioner Murphy, Town Attorney Derek Taylor,
Commissioner Farmer interjected that no public comments have been made.
Mayor Harris apologized and back-tracked. She then took Public Comments.
Mr. Bill Reist of 8520 WoodCliffe Drive said about a month ago he sat in on a Beach Nourishment meeting and Commissioner McElraft suggested that an effort be made to get non-resident ocean front property owners to change their registration in order for them to vote in the next election in support of beach nourishment. Although the suggestion appeared to be sincere and supported by some of the committee members he did not take it seriously. However, he understands now that the idea is now being actively pursued. If this is true, as a resident, he would like to express his opposition to the effort. While he personally supports beach nourishment with first and second row sharing the major burden, he believes the decision should be made solely by those people who have invested not only their money but their lives in the town. Certainly non-ocean front investors should be able to express their opinions and ideas, but to encourage this select group to change their registration in order to off-set the votes of those who do not favor beach nourishment crosses the line of ethical fairness and respect for democracy.
Any Commissioner, group or person who engages in such to promote their own special interest and position is subverting the democratic process and ignoring the true interest of our residents. Mr. Reist went on to say that in addition special interest, non-resident voters will be one issue voters having little knowledge or interest in other issues facing the town. Yet they will also have the opportunity to help select town leadership for the next two years. He feels that each of the Board has their responsibility to preserve the integrity of the system, or citizens will begin to question their personal integrity.
Mr. Reist said he would be interested in knowing from each board member whether or not they support or are engaged in this effort and if this effort is being undertaken by the Beach Nourishment Committee or any of its members?
Commissioner Wootten answered that there is no effort. The only thing that was done was a letter encouraging people if they were going to be moving down here, they might want to consider doing it sooner but that is the only letter he knows of.
Mr. Reist said he must be misinformed because he has the impression that an effort to try to get the ocean front people to change was in force.
Commissioner Trainham said that Mr. Reist was quite right. That word has gotten around.
Mr. Reist said if he is misinformed, he could accept that but this is something that he has heard. This is kind of street talk – yes.
Mayor Harris said this board has not taken a position, sent out, or done anything to encourage anyone to vote any certain way. Mr. Reist asked, “To change their registration?” Mayor Harris answered “No Sir!!”
Mr. Reist said he guesses he is addressing this to Commissioner McElraft. Commissioner McElraft said she has never never asked anyone to change their registration down here. The comment she made in that meeting, and she would like for whomever said that to come forward, was that in Pine Knoll Shores, they found legal ways to ask people to change their registration. That was the only comment that was made. She went on to say that she has not encouraged, nor will she encourage someone to do that. All she said was that it was legal for someone to come down here and change their registration and not vote in two places, but to come here and change their registration if they live here for more than 6 months. She also said that they needed to check with the Board of Elections to find out what the rules were. She has never and she never intends to do anything illegal. Mr. Reist said he could accept that. It appears that that is something that should be clarified.
Commissioner Farmer thanked the Town Hall Staff for doing such a wonderful job of painting their offices. The walls in Town Hall look absolutely wonderful. She appreciates that. Ms. Overman replied, “We are not done yet!”
Commissioner Farmer said the town has been asked by the Department of Transportation to consider adopting the Crystal Coast Thoroughfare Plan. It’s unfortunate, she said, this wasn’t on the agenda for this board meeting and she is requested now that it be on the July agenda. The Thoroughfare Plan proposes an overpass at NC 24 and NC 58, widening the Emerald Isle Bridge to four lanes, and widening NC 58 to Town Hall to five lanes. James Upchurch of DOT came and spoke to the town about this last year.
The Emerald Isle Board already withdrew its support of moving the overpass up the county Transportation Improvement List. One reason was the impact the traffic would have at the first light the cars would encounter on their trip from Maysville – that just happens to be Coast Guard Road. And there was an article in the newspaper several days ago that Cape Carteret is now getting cold feet about the overpass. Why? Because, as Bill Holz said, it isn’t needed. Since the widening of Hwy 24 traffic has been moving smoothly. And we’ve all seen the impact the road construction is having on Swansboro. The overpass is the first domino in the line. When it’s built it will force the widening of the bridge, which will in turn force the 5-laning of Emerald Drive through town. The board needs to consider this carefully – the impact it will have on traffic, on our businesses, on access to the beach for people living North of Emerald Drive, on our quality of life. The board needs to take a position.
She went on to say “I would like to clarify a news article that indicated that this overpass was already on the State TIP List and that it was a done deal. I spoke with Frank Vick of the NC DOT. There is a feasibility study that is being done on the 24/58 overpass. He said it is not on the State TIP List at all and that it is not a done deal. In fact, he said DOT has some concerns that the traffic we have there now will not warrant that kind of overpass. Ron Hair, who is research manager for Kimley-Horn, and is doing the research for the feasibility study, sent out letters to all the towns asking for input. The letter said “The purpose of this letter is to get input from NC DOT Staff and local officials concerning issues related to a proposed study. This is the study for the overpass, on social, economical demographics, land use at the NC 24/ NC 58 intersection.” This letter was dated May 17th and this is the first time Commissioner Farmer has seen it. She said, “We need to respond. We are late.”
Mayor Harris responded she has talked to both of these gentlemen a long time ago. A Resolution was sent to them on the overpass. That Resolution said that the Town of Emerald Isle was in a negative position. Also in it was that the town was not for it. Before that, when they were talking about 5 lanes coming to town hall, we voted on and we denied that we were not going to 5 lanes. Commissioner Farmer said “I don’t believe so. When James Upchurch came to Emerald Isle, it was for making a presentation on a thoroughfare plan with the idea that we would eventually be voting on a Resolution wanting to adopt it. We need to vote on it.”
Ms. Overman said she would pull it and get back to the board.
Commissioner Wootten said concerning the overpass, the board’s position was that we were against the overpass. That should have been the answer to the letter. Commissioner Farmer said that was for moving it up the tip list. As for the (TIP) Thoroughfare Plan action has not been taken on it.
Commissioner Murphy said the board could go back and take a look at it but he was inclined to agree with Commissioner Farmer that if the board did not, action probably should be taken next month. He also agreed that the board’s position should be very clear.
Commissioner Wootten had no comments but said the next step for the Stormwater Ordinance is to take it to a workshop and bring in the businesses like was done with the signs. He asked for a date and time to be set for this now.
Commissioner Farmer asked if this means that the Stormwater is being pushed now back to August? Is that right? Commissioner Wootten said this is why he is asking for a workshop right away. Commissioner Farmer said it may make the July board meeting? Commissioner Wootten replied he does not have any problem with that.
Mrs. Overman said she has contacted several people regarding the Point and the environmental impact study. She already has something from Moffitt and Nichol. The Mayor met with Donna Moffit last week and she encouraged the town to go ahead with getting proposals. Commissioner McElraft questioned if this was to put sand at the Point or was that to move the channel? Commissioner Wootten said it is both, it could be either. Mayor Harris said it would be dredged to the east. Commissioner McElraft replied we have been told that is just throwing money in a hole. What we need to do is redirect that channel and she hopes that is what the environmental impact statement will do, is to say redirect that channel. Ms. Overman said the Corps is not going to do anything until the town gets an environmental impact statement. She doesn’t think they will take any action about moving the channel until the study is received because of the soil study. That is to see if the soil out there is compatible with what is on the beach already. Commissioner Farmer said Ms. Moffitt has told her that the consistency permit that the State gave the Corps was for a Hopper Dredge and they are using a side cast dredge and it is possible that she can put some pressure on them because they are violating the permit. She has promised that she would work on it.
Mayor Harris reminded the public that at 5:00 P.M. tomorrow, 13 June, a Public Hearing would be held on the Amendments to the Sign Ordinance. On June 22, 2001, there will be a Budget Workshop and on June 28th there will be the Public Hearing for the Budget for Fiscal Year 2001-2002.
Motion was made by Commissioner Murphy, seconded by Commissioner Wootten and the board voted unanimously to go into closed session to discuss the Town Manager’s Employment Agreement.
The board went into closed session at 10:05 P.M.
Commissioner Farmer moved, Commissioner Wootten seconded and the board voted unanimously to return to open session at 10:08 P.M.
Commissioner Wootten moved, Commissioner Farmer seconded and the board voted unanimously to adjourn at 10:10 P.M.