MINUTES OF THE REGULAR SCHEDULED MEETING
OF THE EMERALD ISLE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
JULY 10, 2001 – 7:00 P.M. – TOWN HALL
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Pro-Tem Farmer at 7:00 P.M. Present were Commissioners Trainham, Murphy, McElraft, Wootten and Mayor Pro-Tem Farmer, Town Attorney Derek Taylor, Town Manager Frank Rush, Town Clerk Carolyn Custy, Parks and Recreation Director Alesia Sanderson, Inspections Department Head Carol Angus, Public Works Director Robert N. Conrad, Fire Chief William Walker, Police Chief Mark Wilson and Planning Board Chairman Ceil Saunders. Absent was Mayor Harris due to illness
Mayor Pro-Tem Farmer stated that Mayor Harris was not present due to her not feeling well.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Commissioner Trainham moved, Commissioner McElraft seconded and the board voted unanimously to adopt the Agenda with no changes.
Commissioner Wootten Murphy moved, Commissioner Wootten seconded and the board voted unanimously to approve the consent agenda that included Minutes of Storm Water Workshop May 18, 2001; Minutes of Budget Workshop May 18, 2001, Minutes of Budget Workshop May 29, 2001, Minutes of Regular Meeting June 12, 2001, Minutes of Sign Ordinance Public Hearing June 13,2001 and Tax Refunds in the amount of $84.05.
DISCUSSION ABOUT BEACH DRIVING
Mr. Thomas Snee came forward and expressed his concern about the fact that he feels not being able to drive on the beach before October 1st has hurt a lot of businesses. He said he knows that his has been hurt because people who came to fish in September and who visited his store regularly, do not come anymore because of the time change for driving on the beach. Mr. Snee made a point that September is a good fishing month and fishermen should be allowed to drive on the beach for this purpose.
The current Ordinance, Chapter 5, Section 5-22 is as follows:
Driving on beach and sand dunes prohibited: Exceptions. It shall be unlawful for any vehicular traffic to travel upon the beach and sand dunes located within the town between sundown on March 31 or sundown on the Thursday before Easter weekend, whichever comes first, through sundown on September 30. This does not apply to commercial fishermen holding valid state licenses while engaged in commercial fishing activities.
Mr. Snee asked the board to consider revising the current Ordinance and go back to Memorial Day to Labor Day. He feels that many of the fishermen would come back especially in September. He contacted 8 other businesses and he put them on a list and presented it to the board. These businesses were also negatively impacted by the new policy that was enacted for driving on the beach. He understands that one of the reasons for the change was the joy-riding on the beach.
Mr. Snee went on to say that he has checked into it and there has only been one official complaint this year according to Police Chief Wilson. Mr. Snee feels that the charge change from $40.00 per permit to $80.00 per permit has worked and eliminated some of the problems. Joy-riders are not going to spend $80.00 just to ride up and down the beach.
He again asked the board to consider his thoughts and give some consideration as to maybe part of what was done was very good but maybe the board went a little overboard when the month of September was removed. He asked the board to go back to Memorial Day/Labor Day but he would appreciate it if they would put September back in.
Mr. Richard Eckhardt said that the decision to limit beach driving from April to October was based on the request of a majority of homeowners by a survey that was done. From this survey the majority of homeowners thought that beach driving should either be eliminated or restricted and the board acted on the homeowners response. They had the same issues that had little to do with fishermen. If you visit the beach in September, you would see that fishermen are few and far between. Mr. Eckhardt to say that relative to the economics – who knows? When this issue was originally addressed, Commissioner Wootten felt that if it was really dug down into the economics, we would probably find out that it was actually costing the town money to do this.
Mr. Eckhardt said he has lived in Emerald Isle for 8 years and has never heard a renter or visitor that had a positive comment about beach driving. Normally the response that you get is “We can’t believe they allow it.” He said that the beach is a family playground. In May through September it is very difficult to accept that you have to tell you family who lives here that when they run around on the beach playing, they have to look both ways. He asked that the Ordinance change be left the way it is.
Mrs. Connie Richardson, 401 Tern Terrace said she is coordinator for the turtle protection program. She said in the last two years Emerald Isle has had more turtle nests than they have ever had and the thanked Public Works and all who have helped with the program. Mrs. Richardson also asked that the current restrictions remain to protect the turtles.
Mr. Harry Wigmore, 105 Purdie Street was on the committee that worked on driving on the beach. He said he is in favor of absolutely no driving on the beach. He has a hard time walking but he manages to get on the beach and if he can he feels anyone else can. Mr. Wigmore said to change now and go back to what the rules and regulations were before will destroy the beach. Why renourish the beach if we allow driving on it. He said to remember that the beach is a place to visit, sit, run and play on not to drive on. People who come from other places are not interested in driving on our beaches. They want the beach to be an open place. He asked the board to please think about this and save the beaches.
Commissioner Wootten said he knows that Mr. Snee is very sincere in his request and he is sure the board does not want to do anything to hurt the business industry. He asked Mr. Snee to clarify where he was coming from about the $80.00 Vs. $40.00. Mr. Snee replied said he thinks the $80.00 fee did what it was supposed to do with drivers who are irresponsible. Commissioner Wootten asked “So you would keep that?” Mr. Snee’s answer was “Yes”.
Commissioner Wootten said he does not want to dismiss this without some data and he would like to have the Town Manager get data from the Real Estate Agencies, from vehicle owners and even some financial information if they want to share it and then the board can make a judgment as to what the impact is on businesses with information and not with opinions.
Commissioner Murphy said “What you are saying is to table it, study it and then come back to it.” Commissioner Wootten said “Yes”.
Commissioner Wootten said the key point is data. When the decision was made to set the record as it is now, the board had data from the survey. Better than 50% of the people who responded said they wanted to change the starting time of driving picked October 1st and as point. If there is now data that the present specific time might not be a good time, we will look at it.
Motion was made by Commissioner Wootten, seconded by Commissioner McElraft and the board voted unanimously to direct this to the Town Manager to gather data on the beach driving issue as quickly as he can and the board will assess it and see if a change is needed.
Commissioner McElraft commented she feels Commissioner Wootten’s suggestion about checking with the Real Estate Companies to see if the houses were rented at that time, what it was like last year as compared to what it is this year. She suggested looking at it and not totally dismissing it but not yet make a decision without some facts.
Mayor Pro-Tem Farmer said she thinks the board already has the data. She thinks that is why there was a committee to look at it. She does not support going back. A committee looked at it and did a great job. A survey was sent out and all types of responses were received. The board based its decision on those responses. She does not see why there is a need for change. Mixing children who tend to be on the beach in September visiting families at that time with cars is not a good mix. She also feels that is what the survey results told the board.
Commissioner McElraft feels there is additional information to gather and if is has had an economic effect on people that is important. She checked the beach in September because her personal rental had not rented as it had in the past. She also checked with a Real Estate Company to see how their business was and both she and the Real Estate Company were not sure if business was not hurricane related versus driving on the beach related. Commissioner McElraft would not object to going back and taking a look, check with Real Estate Companies to see if there was truly a hurricane impact or driving on the beach impact. She is certainly not for bringing the spring time back. She feels that absolutely, we need to keep the driving off the beach during that time. This is the time when the beach is most crowded. In September, she went out on the beach every weekend to see how many people were there and there were not many visitors there. Joy-riders have probably been cut down because of the $80.00. She suggested looking at this and evaluate it again.
Mr. Trainham said he had no problems with going back and looking at it again. It seems to him from what he has heard from people who are anxious about what the committee reported, they are in favor of it staying like it is. He is the first one to say that if some data is secured and if it is affecting business to an extent as the board had been led to believe, it would be worthwhile to take another look at it.
Commissioner Wootten moved, Commissioner McElraft seconded to table this item tonight and direct the Town Manager to solicit data that will substantiate or not substantiate the opinion of at least eight or nine business people in town that driving in September has hurt their business. The board voted 4 to 1 in favor of the motion. The dissenting vote was cast by Mayor Pro-Tem Farmer.
AMENDMENT TO EMERALD ISLE CODE OF ORDINANCES, CHAPTER 11 – MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, REGARDING FINES FOR PARKING VIOLATIONS
Town Manager Frank Rush explained that the purpose of this amendment is to designate parking violations as civil offenses and establishes a uniform penalty of $20.00 for these violations. It also increases the civil penalty to $50.00 if not paid within 8 days. The town’s only recourse for recovery of these fines would be through civil action.
Under current practice, parking violations are not classified as civil offenses and all parking fine revenues are remitted to the Carteret County Board of Education. The proposed ordinance will provide a more effective deterrent to parking violations and will increase revenues for the town.
The Amendment reads as follows:
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 11, ARTICLE IV
SECTIONS 11-97 ENTITLED “PENALTY”
WHEREAS, the Town of Emerald Isle proposes to amend the Parking Ordinance contained within Chapter 11, Article IV of the Emerald Isle Municipal Code;
WHEREAS, the Town Board, to be consistent with other town ordinances, recommends the code be changed to a civil penalty for violation of the Parking Ordinance;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Town Board of Commissioners of the Town of Emerald Isle that Chapter 11, Article IV, Section 11-97 (a,b) entitled “Penalty” shall be amended to read as follows:
(a) Any person violating the provisions of this article relating to the parking of motor vehicles, shall be required to pay a twenty ($20.00) dollar civil penalty 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.
(b) The charge for any violation is as specified above if paid to the police department within eight (8) days. In the event such payment is not made within eight (8) days, the civil penalty shall be increased to fifty dollars ($50.00) and may subject the violator to a civil action for collection of same.
This amendment shall become effective 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 or competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance.
Commissioner Wootten commented that the significance of this change is that the money instead of going to the Board of Education comes to the town.
Commissioner McElraft asked about parking in the Fire Lane at Food Lion.
Chief Wilson explained that he would like to see parking in the fire lane at Food Lion remain as it is now. They are writing them on a parking citation and if it is flagrant they are also writing them on a state citation which is $105.00 fine.
Commissioner Murphy asked that the Town Manager get in touch with the owner of the Shopping Center to get their permission for the town to make some signs. He said the biggest reason people park in the fire lane is laziness. The second reason is that we are not educating them as to what the penalty is for parking in a fire lane. We have a limited number of police and they cannot be there all the time.
A half dozen signs along that building saying this is a fire lane. No Parking. Strictly Enforced.
Commissioner Murphy clarified that to being a civil penalty; the town would have no other recourse but to take it to small claims court. Attorney Taylor clarified – “small claims or district court, depending on where they are living. “
Jim Brooker, 11105 Inlet Drive asked if the numbers take into consideration the cost of pursuing recovery of civil fines. Mr. Rush said the figures do not take into account the cost of recovery.
Commissioner Wootten moved, Commisisoner Trainham seconded and the board voted unanimously to approve Amendment to Chapter 11, Article IV, Sections 11-97 Entitled “Penalty” of the Emerald Isle Codification.
Mr. Robert Isenhour, 313 Channel Drive made a presentation. Mr. Isenhour is a member of the Beach Nourishment Committee that was formed by the town board. The other members of the Committee were Julia Wax, Chair, Jerry Huml, Vice Chair, Bob McInnis, Charles Stuber, Burnell Vance and Charles Vinson. Commissioners McElraft and Wootten assisted.
Mr. Isenhour said prior to the committee being born, the Board of Commissioners had received several indications from property owners, especially in the eastern part of town, they might be willing to bear the expense of a beach nourishment project. The committee was formed to determine the feasibility. The first order of business was to determine the cost of the effort to restore the beach in a manner consistent with Pine Knoll Shores and Indian Beach nourishment projects. While it was realized the property located in the first 30 blocks of Emerald Isle have the greatest need, it was also determined that additional nourishment was needed for the entire ocean front in order to project the beach. As was stated in the letter of April 29 to all property owners, the cost as presently envisioned is expected to be $15.8 million dollars. The debt service will bring the total cost to slightly over $19 million dollars over the projected life of the bond financing.
The town is a big player in this because it would ultimately be responsible to the bond holders. The town will also contribute $152,000.00 per year for the life of the bond for the town owned beach property. In order to take the pulse of the town for this project, a color coded survey was used. Green forms were sent to Emerald Isle residents and Yellow forms to non-Emerald Isle residents. The survey forms were received at town hall and were given a control number. The results were entered into a spread sheet for eventual tabulation. A cut-off date of Friday June 2nd was established. One important thing in the procedure was that each form was only counted once regardless of the number of properties that were owned by an individual or family. In studying the results the committee was conscious of the many comments of the survey participants, some of which were quite colorful. The majority of the comments were articulate and expressed a need to preserve the beaches and economics they represent.
Mr. Isenhour showed overheads that showed the results of the survey. Results were: Number of surveys mailed and returned – 5,795 mailed, 2989 were returned which is 44.68%. This was an excellent return. Survey Results – 73% of all participants in the survey voted “yes” to proceed with beach nourishment Vs. 27% “no”. Breaking the results down – Oceanfront owners by residents and non-residents – 76% said “yes”. Non-oceanfront owners – residents and non-residents – 73% said “yes” to proceed with beach nourishment. Residents and non-residents together – 73% have said “yes” to proceed with beach nourishment.
Mr. Isenhour continued there is overwhelming approval of the beach nourishment project. Whether they are oceanfront, non-oceanfront, resident or non-resident, there is a clear majority that Emerald Isle’s property owners wish Emerald Isle to proceed with the beach nourishment project funded through a bond referendum. The “Yes” vote outnumbered the “No” vote 3 to 1. Based on this mandate from the property owners, the committee recommended that a favorable vote be given to the following Resolution of Intent to Create Municipal Service Tax Districts for the purpose of partially funding, along with the anticipated increase in room occupancy tax, the proposed of Emerald Isle beach nourishment. Mr. Isenhour read the Resolutions (two) one for the Intent To Create A Municipal Service District For Beach Erosion Control – Primary Benefit (PB) District and the second one will be for a Secondary Benefit (SB) District. A copy of the two Resolutions have been incorporated at the end of these Minutes.
Mr. Isenhour continued that the committee further recommends to the Board of Commissioners that after these Resolutions are passed and the appropriate steps are taken, that a referendum for a bond issue be held in March 2002. This date is suggested because of the advisement of a bond attorney that a shorter time line would be difficult to achieve. The results of the pending occupancy room tax which it is hoped to achieve $540,000.00 annual for four years to help pay off the bonds. With a successful bond referendum in March, the beach nourishment project can be scheduled in November 2002 after the turtle season is over. If the town is fortunate and does not have a severe hurricane or northeastern in 2001-2002, this project will be in place to assure the town’s viability and tax base.
Comments from the public on the above subject came from the following:
Mr. George Kuhorn – 7223 Canal Drive – said he does not see a problem with the renourishment of Bogue Banks. He has been around a long time and done a lot of traveling in his life. He has seen Hatteras in 1950 and saw what they were trying to do at that time. After the beach was renourished, Hatteras had stones break loose, they had to move the lighthouse. The Town of Emerald Isle is going to see itself spending for this year $19 million, 3 years from now if another hurricanes comes another $19 million or more.
He lives away from the beach and he came home Saturday after working and wanted to stop at the Emerald Isle parking area. He could not. It was completely packed with non-residents. He paid for that place. He would like to see the people with passes that will let them back on the island be able to park on Ocean Drive. He knows a Commissioner’s wife that had a little problem and walked from her house to the beach. A lot of people have to walk a long way to get to the beach. He does not think that is fair. He also does not know why people can park on his street for 4 days, in the street but he cannot park on Ocean Drive for 45 minutes. He was told by the previous Town Manager it was because fire engines could not go down Ocean Drive. Mr. Kuhorn feels we should think about these things before we jump in and spend this kind of money.
Mr. Gus Farmakadis, 322 Loblolly Street, said he does not disagree with what Mr. Isenhour said. He addressed something a little different and that is what is causing beach erosion. He has heard a lot of excuses lately. He said when they built up Atlantic Beach they built a wall. He related to Mr. Kuhorn’s statements on the lighthouse. Mr. Farmakadis commented that in the name of self preservation, we have to do something again because if Indian Beach, Salter Path and Pine Knoll Shores build walls it is going to ruin us. Unless you cure the problem of dredging Bogue Inlet and putting all the sand at Atlantic Beach, we have no chance. He asked that people be active in the committee up there. He said we have to do what we have to do now.
Mr. Wayne Yelverton, Ocean Drive, spoke about seeing the beach for 18 years since he has been here for 18 year. He said he has more sand where he is than he had 18 years ago. The sand bars out there are the feeders and they feed regularly. Mr. Yelverton said we see our children grow and we see our beach grow. He even had a place where he had a third dune started, wasn’t very high, only about 4 feet, but it was there. The grass comes back and starts itself. It starts moving out the following year, it builds even more. The grass understands that something is starting. Nature takes care of its own. He said he has as much sand as he has ever had if not more. Mr. Yelverton related to Florida where they have renourished their beaches and their beaches are not worth a “tinkers damn” anymore. It used to be beautiful when he was young. Today, they have hard sorry beaches. The government helped them considerably with their renourishment. He does not see why we don’t get some of their funds. He suggested we look into that.
Gloria Jimenez, 1208 Timber Trail, said she had owned property here since the early 1970’s. During the Carter administration she was a federal insurance administrator. She was administering the Federal Insurance Program. As an Administrator and as an owner of property here, she was very concerned as she thought about how poorly the town was enforcing the flood insurance insurance ordinance. She does not believe that after the recent hurricanes that have affected our beach that the town has done what it should have done because we saw houses that were repaired that should have never been repaired. They should have been left to open space.
Now for the other side. As an insurance administration, she went around the country and saw beaches that were renourished. It was an exercise in futility. If you want to spend money forever and forever, well that is fine. If you are the property owners and are concerned that is fine too. She does not see why the non-ocean front owners should have to pay. She thinks the businesses who want the beaches renourished and they want people to come back then they can do that too. She said that what we are on is a course of no return. She lived in Florida for 13 years and they spent money and they spent money and they got government money that they should have not gotten and the State now realizes that this was more of a problem than a fix. We are about to do the same thing. She urged that with the injustice of charging all of other people who do not live on the beach is compounded instead of all of the business people who are making the money and renting the houses.
This is another issue she has. We have just adopted an ordinance change on garbage. She related that we have “rats” on the island. They are not two legged rats. She said they are all over. If you walk down Ocean Drive on Sunday or Monday and look at the rats.
She went back to the flood issue and said “You are making a mistake”.
Mark Brennersholz, 9322 Ocean Drive, asked if this proposal would be for 1st through 30th streets? Is this correct or is it for all the way down? It was confirmed that the $1.8 million was for the whole island. Mr. Brennersholz related that his family for many years had a cottage on the south shore of Long Island which is also an East/West island and a project was done on Fire Island Inlet there in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s. That project was extremely successful and to his knowledge no additional renourishment or dredging activity has taken place since then. Dredging and pumping up on the beach is not an unmitigated disaster but there are success stories as well. He was there for one hurricane and it took out the first three rows of dunes. Those since, which were Carol, Diane and Hazel, have not done significant damage to the work that was implemented at that time.
Mr. John McEnaney, 106 Tammy Street, who has been coming to the island since 1992 asked to make a couple of remarks. The first was that he was appalled at the lack of privacy on the letter. The fundary of the town to send something like this out and to have cases which explain what you are about to do and it was costed out and when one finished reading it, at least in his case, it looked as though
beach nourishment was complete. Now in fact that may be the case. He is very interested in maintaining the beach but when he read the survey it looks like the town will pay about $1.2 million per mile, it looks as though the town is going to start cheating itself out of occupancy tax money because it says you are going to provide $540,000. There is an implication, an assumption, that the federal government may want to help out. He said “Don’t kid yourselves”. Furthermore, it is known that George Bush and the Republicans
under Clinton, we do know that beach nourishment programs were opposed by the Clinton administration and currently the Bush administration were overthrown. We know that they are being funded. Maybe we will have some help on this thing. Mr. McEnaney said he would have been a little happier with the MEMO if it had indicated the pros and cons.
He asked about the fact that 45% of the people responded and what happened to the other 56%? Mr. Isenhour answered, “They did not respond”. Mr. McEnaney said “right” they did not respond. He submitted that the real estate interest in this town has taken this thing over and seem to be running it. The town has not in fact demonstrated that $19.2 million which we are going to pay for this bond will in fact benefit the businesses in this town. There is no solid economic information for going ahead. If demonstration can be done, if businesses in this town, rentals, gain $19.2 million, then we will have something to go for. Mr. McEnaney said from the numbers on the board everyone was for beach nourishment and asked if the 76% who agreed about nourishment did they all agree in reference to the $.48 and $.03? Commissioner Farmer replied that the people were agreeing to go to a bond referendum. There were a number of comments about the dollars and how that was divided. Mr. McEnaney said one of the things he has seen in his years in Emerald Isle is that, yes, the beach is eroding but some houses are in areas that are building sand. Whatever is done as far as renters are concerned and vacationers, everyone in the Town of Emerald Isle does profit and benefit. If it is made so costly for the ocean front owners what may happen will defeat the purpose because the initial cost will probably be passed on to renters. There is a possibility of diminishing the return.
Phil Almedia suggested getting details about all of the problems we have. A need to look at water, the need, traffic or beach renourishment.
Mr. Gregory Rudolph 7302 Canal Drive, who is a geologist spoke on the problems of Emerald Isle, traffic and the beach nourishment and offered any assistance needed.
Mr. Robert Gordon, Azure Drive, referred to an article in the Carolina Country magazine on sea oats. “Most of the ocean front properties here are held by absentee owners. Here on Emerald Isle, fewer than 1 out of 10 have planted sea oats or invested in sand fences. Both maintain the dunes but the property owners were quick to refill their dunes using bulldozers at the surf line. This action lower the beach and brought the surf to their dunes.” Mr. Gordon said while we can spend the owners money building renourishment plans, he doesn’t believe in winning the lottery, so if the talk is about having a renourishment program and you don’t have a risk follow-up, like when Floyd came and wipped away all the sand, the bond is going to be revoked? - because if they ain’t that is not a very good investment.
Mr. Phil Gagnon 606 Emerald Drive commented that his understanding is that not all beaches are created equal and some are suitable for renourishment and others are not. It is his understanding that Bogue Banks is suitable for renourishment. He wonders if someone has been studying if beach nourishment is viable for Bogue Banks? There have been a lot of questions tonight but no one is coming forward and presenting a study done by the city that says “yes” beach nourishment should work for Emerald Isle.
Mr. Charles Vinson of 3209 Ocean Drive. He pointed out that a lot of questions have been raised and the last one was about the feasibility of nourishing this beach. He pointed out that Atlantic Beach has been nourished twice. The last time in 1986. The Point or West End of our Island, was nourished back about 10 years ago. We have had 5 hurricanes, one twice, came through and Atlantic Beach is fine. They had no problems. Down at the west end of the beach, they had no problems. Nourishment on Bogue Banks have proved to work. The next question was about the bond. It is a federal program that if we set up nourishment and we nourish our beaches and something happens like an event causes them to wash away, FEMA will come back and replace the beach as we had previously. The bonds won’t disappear but the beach will not be here and if anything happens to it the federal government will replace it.
Mr. Vinson said Hatteras had been mentioned. It is a very unique situation. Every state on the east coast renourishes their beaches. They had political influence enough to get federal funds and get help. Some of them had to sue the government. We might have to but everybody renourishes its beaches. Only Carteret County says “I don’t think it works”. It works everywhere else. Someone mentioned compatibility of the sand. There have been places where shale and rock was put on the beach. Compatible sand has been waiting here to be put back on the beach. In fact the Corps of Engineers is dredging a million cubic yards of sand every year that belongs on these beaches. They take it out of the hole that they have dug to trap the sand and take it out into the ocean and dump it. Mr. Vinson said his solution is why not get the Corps of Engineers to do it. To get the federal government to do something with no more political pull that we have here in Carteret County, we are not going to get it done. Everyone who has done something with their beaches has started with themselves. We have to get this thing started and then get the Corps of Engineers to do the right thing, get the federal government to correct the errors that they have. The whole economy of this island is because of the beach. In past years before the big duplexes were built there was a $.60/100 tax base. Now it is down to less than $.20 which is about 1/3. It does affect us to have all those big houses on the beach paying a lot of tax. Mr. Vinson said “we have to do it.”
Mr. Tim Brooker of Inlet Drive commented that this whole issue is two major factors, one being environmental factor. The best study, including the letter that went out with the survey indicated that this fix would last about 8 years. He questioned “what then?” It is going to take about 10 years to pay the tab. If it lasts for 8 years do we start all over again? The other factor is basically our problem is not necessarily erosion but is hurricanes. Most of what has been lost has been from hurricanes much more so than erosion. He said he lives on the ocean and his beach is a whole lot bigger than it has been. He has about 125 feet more beach now that he had 7 or 8 years. That is the way sand moves in the ocean. From a financial standpoint he was concerned that he fails to see the fairness of applying a taxation on his property 16 times greater than his neighbor’s across the street.
His house is a home, his neighbors duplex, 8,000 square feet of it, is a rental. Who is going to benefit financially more from that? Mr. Brooker said he does not need any more sand. He said if someone could find a place to put some sand, they were welcome to some of his. He said the sand bar is building up so that they do not have waves any more. He contests that this is a totally unfair basis for paying the tab. The survey indicated this entire community lives and subsists by tourism; he submitted that every property owner should bear the cost equally. He said if everyone paid $.16 it would be the same amount of money. He believes politically that would be devastation. He does not feel that would fly and he thinks this is the reason the $.03 is there. One hurricane can wipe out all that is done as has been pointed out, if this bond issues goes on for whatever length of time it does, we pay forever. It starts all over again and we keep paying. He asked “who is going to determine who gets how much sand?” If he doesn’t need any, why is he paying for it and the person down the street needs twice as much as the average allotment, does he get all of it or what? He gets a whole lot more for his dollar.” Mr. Brooker said his concern is that this community relies on tourism as a whole and should be borne equally by all of those who benefit by it including everyone on the island and businesses.
Mr. Quinton Cook, 1113 Inlet Drive said he wants to second everything Mr. Brooker said. The fairness is the thing that is most important to him. If it is done, it needs to be fair. He also asked “Who owns the sand when it is pumped up?” Oak Island is going through a legal thing right now because they will not allow people to build walkways over the new dunes that have been created because according to them, that sand is owned by the State and does not belong to the people. This needs to be addressed also.
Mr. Charles Stuber, 1106 Timber Trail said he has heard a lot of comments tonight. He has been working hard on several committees. He is a member of the Bogue Banks Preservation Association and was on the Committee that Mr. Isenhour reported on. He said they have worked hard to try to come up with some plan that they thought was fair and that would take care of the economic situation of the town and etc. What Mr. Isenhour presented is the best they could come up with. He knows it is unfair but by the same token, Pete Allen told him that 53% of the budget for this town comes from income generated by tourism occupancy tax and sales tax. If two or three houses between 1st Street and 30th Street fall into the ocean, that is going to make national news and Emerald Isle is not going to be the place where people will want to come. What will happen to the tax base, the occupancy tax, etc., that comes to the city to pay for the town’s activities. Half of it would be gone. He agreed there is a risk but as has been pointed out, look at Carolina Beach, Atlantic Beach and Wrightsville Beach. They survived the hurricanes. Mr. Stuber said he does not feel that they could come up with anything else that everyone would be happy with. Everyone is going to have to share in the cost.
Mr. Pete Cochran, Coast Guard Road, commented that the long term investments should be looked at. That is what everyone has. They have either made investments 20 or 25 years ago. We have a problem and the only way that we are going to resolve that problem is that we have to look at what we need to do with our beach and do it now. If we need to add beach renourishment and it is going to save everyone’s investments, then we have to think ahead. Most of the investments are for children and grandchildren. Mr. Cochran pleaded for the board to look at beach renourishment.
Mr. Harry Wigmore, said Mother Nature is going to do what she is going to do no matter what we do with the sand. The beaches are building because of the hurricanes we have had. There was a lot of northeasterns before the hurricanes and that is what tore up the beaches, not the hurricanes. Hurricanes build the sand bars and nature is going to do what she wants. All the bulldozing that was done only ruined the turtles, the beach, the ghost crabs and all the environmental stuff. He said leave nature alone. Why waste the money? Put it into educational programs of our county and city. Give it to the libraries or something like that. Let the beach go. It will come and go no matter what we do.
Commissioner McElraft said Charles Vinson answered a few questions she had, especially on the FEMA issue. It was investigated when Pine Knoll Shores did their bond referendum that if you have a privately funded beach, privately engineered beach, then if you had any of that beach destroyed during a hurricane event, then FEMA would come in and replace that part of the beach that was destroyed and after seeing what happened with nourished beaches and hurricanes in the Wilmington area, she does not think FEMA will have to do much of anything. She feels that beach will be here to stay. She continued that the State of Florida is now thinking beach nourishment is a good idea. She attended the Florida Beach and Shore meeting last year. Not only does Florida think it is a good idea, they now have their own department for beach nourishment. They are funded by the State now. They have dedicated funding for beach nourishment. When you address the sand in Florida, yes, they have a lot of beach to nourish so they are looking for sand. We have compatible sand that is sitting off shore that came off our beaches that is ready to go back on. As far as environmental inpact, Pine Knoll Shores is being required, and that affects us, to do an environmental impact statement that goes beyond the State’s 100 page document. Environmentally, it is going to be a very sound program if we get nourishment here. Pine Knoll Shores and Indian Beach are already doing the environmental impact work for us. As far as who is going to be paying for this, talking about the business people paying their fair share, almost $900,000.00 of revenue for this town is created in sales tax from the business people taking the chance that they do. Some of them are small but they do collect $900,000.00 so they are contributing. We have heard let the tourist pay for it. The tourist will be paying with occupancy tax which will be increased by $.03 which will be given to Emerald Isle, $540,000.00. It was going to be $600,000.00 but now we are willing to share $60,000.00 with Atlantic Beach which is going to use it for beach access. We have been asked to have beach access for people. As far as Emerald Isle’s beach accesses are concerned, Commissioner McElraft said she is happy that the accesses are filled. We are giving free access so that the people know they can come to this beach. Emerald Isle was criticized in the County Referendum that we did not have access. Emerald Isle has opened up 600 parking places where people who come across the bridge know that they also own that beach. We are going to pay for beach nourishment this first time but at the end of the 8 years, if everything goes right, we have already going through the feasibility study, we will have the federal government picking up 65% and the State picking up part of our share and with occupancy tax we should have to pay no more for the continuation of beach nourishment.
Commissioner McElraft addressed what the Corps of Engineers are doing at the inlet. There is a Section 111 study that should be out in the next few weeks which has been going on since 1994. The draft part of that study stated that the inlet influence was creating a 2-foot
erosion on our beach per year. This is not a natural process. Thirty-five million cubic of yards are stuck off-shore where the Corps has been dumping it. If we could take that and put it back into the system, if we can convince them to do that, we will never have to nourish again. Commissioner McElraftcontinued that the Bogue Banks Preservation Association and Mr. Joe Exum has a group that is working to get the Corps to pay their fair share, to get them to remedy what they are doing to us. If they will just stop dumping the sand at sea and bring it back to our beaches, then we will not have to ever worry about nourishment again.
Commissioner Trainham said he thinks everyone knows his position. He has been trying to be open to see what other source can be used. He said the board is supposed to make a decision tonight about the referendum. He wants folks to know that he is in favor of the referendum mainly because he promised his constituency that he would be open to their wishes. It looks like the wishes have changed since the last referendum. He does have some very serious reservations about wasting our money. He also commented that depending on FEMA is wasting a lot of money. You are using tax money. What he does not understand is if we are concerned about the way tax money is used and expecting the government to pay us out if we get into trouble does not seem to be a very good way to deal with this. He is also concerned about issues dealing with the inlet and concerns about the Corps of Engineers and the work they should be doing and should have been doing for the last 10 to 15 years.
Commissioner Wootten indicated he has looked at just about every survey that came back and he has to congratulate this group because they have covered every comment that was included in that survey. He does not think he heard anything new on either side of this equations. He said what he is asked to vote on tonight is whether to take this thing to referendum or not and he agrees with Mr. Trainham, after looking at the surveys that indicate there is enough evidence to take it to a referendum. Therefore, he will support that. It seems that all of the issues addressed here have to be addressed in a public forum debating as best we can before getting into the March time frame where the people will decide as to whether they will go for it or not.
Commissioner Farmer agreed with Commissioner Wootten. The board will hear from the public to decide whether to go to referendum on this and the referendum is where the public gets to say “yes” we absolutely need to do this or “no” we should not be even considering it. She supports going to a referendum.
Town Attorney Derek Taylor suggested turning the meeting over to the Town Manager to reintroduce what is on the agenda for action.
Mr. Rush said there is a Resolution of Intent to Create A Municipal District for Beach Erosion Control – Primary Benefit (PB) District which is ocean front property within the town limits, and a Resolution of Intent To Create A Municipal District for Beach Erosion Control – Secondary Benefit (SB) which is all the other properties in the town. The Third item is approval of Bond Council to take us through the bond referendum process. Mr. Rush recommended the firm of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. in Charlotte who has considerable experience in bond issues and also beach nourishment bond referendums if the board wishes to continue with this process.
Mr. Rush went on to say that if the two resolutions establishing the special tax districts are passed, a public hearing will be held on September 11, 2001. Following that public hearing by the board, notices will be sent to all property owners in the town and advertise in the newspaper. Following that public hearing the board will take official action formally creating the districts. There will be no taxes levied until next fiscal year. In terms of the bond referendum process, after we get bond counsel on board, we will begin the bone referendum process. It is a three-step process that will begin sometime this fall.
Commissioner Farmer asked if there is ample time to get moving if the referendum passes? Mr. Rush indicated there was. The referendum will be held in March 2002.
Commissioner Farmer said if the referendum fails, the tax districts will be abolished as will the proposed tax assessment.
Commissioner Wootten moved, Commissioner Murphy seconded and the board voted unanimously to approve the Resolution of Intent to Create A Municipal Service District For Beach Erosion Control – Primary Benefit (PB) District and also approve A Resolution of Intent to Create A Municipal Service District For Beach Erosion Control – Secondary Benefit (SB) District and approved engagement of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. as bond counsel.
COMMERCIAL REVIEW – THE REEL OUTDOORS – EMERALD DRIVE/CEDAR STREET
Mrs. Ceil Saunders, Chairman of the Planning Board asked that the meeting be turned over to Mr. Rush because he wrote a Memo that totally does not agree with the Planning Board. She said the board has been over everything and has agreed that Section 19-74.1 Specifications for construction of outside wall facings of commercial structures,(5) appears to have a word missing and should read “A building face shall NOT have any wall component which exceeds forty (40) feet -----“ She said number (4) and (5) is questioned. She commented that the town is trying to get away from the warehouse look. Mrs. Saunders said the Planning Board also suggested not going with the off-sets on this building.
Commissioner Wootten said, for the public benefit, that the plan for this building is 80 some odd feet across the front and 46-feet or 48-feet down the side, the 80 feet being facing hwy 58. There is also on the books an ordinance that says we don’t want a warehouse look but yet we cannot have an exterior wall that is more than 40 feet long without having a recess in that wall to break up at least 8 feet to try to avoid the warehouse look appearance. The question is does these plans comply with that ordinance?
Mr. Rush said for clarification, in the ordinance that was discussed above, number (5) the omission of the word NOT was an error.
Commissioner McElraft asked if the face of the building is facing Highway 58, does it comply? Mrs. Saunders said “Yes it does comply.”
Commissioner Farmer said she does not think the board wants the warehouse look on highway 58 and neither on the side streets. She does not want to look at a back of a building as she drives down Reed Drive and see that it is essentially a warehouse.
She apologized that the Planning Board got caught.
Mrs. Saunders said the developer of The Reel Outdoors has said they will do what is in the ordinance but when the Planning Board looked at it, it was more attractive to have it with the vegetation than it was with a short wall with jetties in and out. That is why the Planning Board came to this conclusion and passed it on the town board.
Commissioner Wootten said the problem with that is that the Planning Board is now asking the board to grant some type of waiver or some kind of an exception to an ordinance on a specific case and that is not the role of the town board. There are one or two things in his mind. One is to go back and take another look at the ordinance and decide what the board really wants to do or if the board is really interested in keeping moving forward, as he feels they are, would be to request that the owner comply with the ordinance as it is written and in fact modify the side wall. This to him seems to be the two options.
Mrs. Mindy Dennis, owner of The Reel Outdoors, said “If you don’t want the warehouse look, I understand that completely. You get a warehouse look a lot of times with a much larger building and this is not a very large building. We are going to landscape it. It is going to be one of the prettiest little buildings in that area so if you are looking for something that is appealing to the eye, why not let a building that is going to be that way go up. You don’t want a building that is not going to be appealing to the eye. We are going to do everything in our power, and I am because I am that kind of person, to have, in my opinion, the best looking little buildings right there on that street. I don’t want to ride down Cedar Street every day going home and see the side of that building looking bad and I will make sure that it doesn’t but when you are working with something that small and it is not a large building and you start putting in insets, you look like you have a puzzle sitting on the side of the road. There is no way to do that. I can see having an ordinance like that, determining the size of the building maybe. We are not talking about having a long brick wall going down that road.”
Mrs. Saunders said in the ordinance it is 40-feet, this is only 46-feet.
Mrs. Dennis said the way the ordinance is written you have to go by it but read the words – the face of the building is what we have done and we have done what you wanted on the face. Don’t mean the side, don’t mean the back, it’s the face.
Commissioner Farmer asked if maybe there could be a compromise whereby the board interprets this side as facing highway 58 as the Planning Board intended and then also go back and look at this wording again. It would not hold up the project.
Attorney Derek Taylor said there is another body within the form of government called the Board of Adjustment. What you have before you is an application which you must apply the ordinance, the way you think it is written, to. If it was the intention of the board, which you have personally expressed an opinion now to the contrary, that the face of the facility was all the side, all out external walls, if the rest of the board feels, when they were talking about it, that wasn’t it because the Planning Board said it wasn’t yet, then you interpret the ordinance only to the extent of applying the facts of this application to the ordinance as you understand it. You can’t really interpret the ordinance, you have to change it as a legislative body.
Commissioner Farmer asked “Then I could be out-voted?” Attorney Taylor’s answer was “ That’s possible but is not necessarily the case. But this board’s responsibility by law is to apply this ordinance as written to the facts that are presented to you in the plat, otherwise you must change the law or turn it over to the Board of
Adjustment to make a determination as to whether a variance is justifiable to meet the intent of the ordinance and allow these folks to do what they want to.”
Mrs. Saunders said the Planning Board assumed and discussed this at length, that the face of the building was on Highway 58, and asked, “Then why can’t we proceed with it?”
Attorney Taylor said he was not saying you cannot proceed to apply the current ordinance, as written, to the facts of this case. If this board, in their passing of this ordinance when they said “face”, they meant what is on Highway 58 – Mrs. Saunders interjected, they did not say that – Attorney Taylor continued, but this board will apply what it thinks this ordinance means against that application.”
Commissioner McElraft asked, “How was that applied on the CVS building? Mrs. Carol Angus of the Inspections Office said the sides were not looked at. Commissioner McElraft said the board has already made an interpretation on another building prior to this that the sides do not matter. The face matters. This is the way she interpreted the ordinance to begin with.
Mr. Edmond Dowling, member of the Planning Board, answered that CVS put up one building in one mode and that is their design throughout the United States. So that might help. What we are asking for, that Mrs. Saunders pointed out, from everyone on the board, together with the builders, we are asking for a variance because we could not interpret what you passed.
Mrs. Saunders said we don’t need a variance because the front of the building is on Highway 58. Commissioner Murphy asked, and he has done with the face of the building what the ordinance says so let’s go ahead and approve it. Mrs. Saunders answered, “Exactly.”
Attorney Taylor said there are two issues, one is the issue of the face of the building. The other is the roof line. None of that has been discussed and probably should be.
Commissioner Wootten said there is a problem with the height of the roof line on the front of the building and it is his understanding that that can be adjusted relatively easily and the owner will do that.
That is a fixable thing. The owner said that either way it needs to go, it can be fixed. Mrs. Saunders said the lowest part of the roof would be the eaves and the 3-foot gables would be considered above the eaves.
Commissioner Wootten moved, Commissioner Murphy seconded and the board voted unanimously to approve the commercial review of The Reel Outdoors contingent upon the front of the building being brought into conformance with the ordinance as interpreted by Inspections Department and that approval be given with the side wall as it is right now and then the board take action separately and afterwards as to what the board wants to do about the side wall issue.
Commissioner Farmer said “Thank you for the storm water plan and the scenarios that went with it.” She doesn’t think the board has ever gotten one of these before. She really appreciates it.
Mr. Pete Cochran, Coast Guard Road, came forward and said earlier today he met with Carolyn (Town Clerk) and handed her additional petitions for the horse issue. He read a statement as follows: “Tonight I bring you the remaining list of registered voters who are supporting Suzanne and I on the horse issue. Now that we have 10 per-cent of the registered voters and many other people who are supporting our issue, I would like to see this issue move forward with the boards approval.”
Commissioner Wootten asked Mr. Cochran what it was that he wanted the board to do? He asked if Mr. Cochran wanted the board to make a decision of did he want to go referendum? Mr. Cochran answered that he would like for it to be sent to referendum.
Commissioner McElraft suggested sending this to referendum if Mr. Cochran has10 percent even though this is not a requirement for sending this to referendum. In one meeting Mr. Cochran was told that it was, legally, we did say that in public. We also had Commissioners say that if Mr. Cochran went out and got these registered voters on here then it would go to referendum.
Commissioner McElraft moved that pending verification of the registered voters, that this be sent to referendum during the November time frame because it will cost taxpayers just a minimal amount of money. Commissioner Murphy seconded the motion.
Commissioner Wootten said that it has been said that this should not go to referendum because in order to change, it shows weakness on the part of this board not to be able to make a decision. He said he does not buy into that theory. He thinks this is a little town and a little government and getting the voice of the people has become an emotional thing, not as a result of any action of the board, but on a part of an individual. It has become very public and a very emotional issue and he feels the higher ground and the true form of democracy is to referendum and let the people decide what they want and let Mr. Cochran and other people have voices.
Commissioner Trainham asked Attorney Taylor to speak on the question of the legality of a referendum on an ordinance at this point.
Attorney Taylor said, “It would be in an advisory mode. The Board would accept the referendum results but it would not be compelling for the board to take action in alliance with that vote. It would be much like your surveys except it would be done through referendum. The board would then make an independent decision one way or the other on what it wanted to do but you would not be compelled to act.”
Commissioner Murphy said Commissioner McElraft might want to amend her motion. He feels it should be with conditions. He has discussed certain conditions that would be beneficial not only to the animals but to their community at large as far it getting passed.
Attorney Taylor suggested that now would be a good time to discuss what Commissioner Murphy feels those conditions are and then ask the person who made the motion to see if they want to amend it.
Commissioner McElraft moved to take this issue to referendum in the fall to hear the voice of the people to allow no more than two horses on acreage of at least 5 acres with adjacent neighbor approval, with a veterinarian report yearly, stabling away from wetlands, and asked that the Town Manager put this into referendum form and put on the ballot.
Mr. Cochran stated that also discussed was the collecting the waste on a day-to-day basis.
Commissioner Farmer said the other thing stated was that the horses could not be ridden on town property. Mr. Cochran confirmed this was correct but asked if the window of September through May still open? Commissioner Murphy said that was not on town property, that is State property. Commissioner McElraft asked how would you get to the beach if you don’t ride them on town property? Commissioner Wootten said he would do it the same way people do the other horses.
Commissioner McElraft said that was her motion. Commissioner Murphy seconded. Attorney Taylor cautioned the board to be sure about the motion they are voting on.
Commissioner Farmer related she has a lot of problems, and she is not picking on Mr. Cochran, but she does have a lot of problems with ordinance going to referendum. She does not think it has anything to do with the board being perceived as weak. She also has concerns over the woman who called her and was very concerned that her porch was in the vicinity and is an adjacent and she was very concerned about the smell. Commissioner Farmer continued that the ordinance has been on the books since 1992 and she does not think a referendum is warranted.
Commissioner McElraft commented “ We have been the kind of board that has listened to the public. It is hard to hear all of the people and when you get this many people, registered voters, speaking for something that was voted down and it makes you take a pause and think maybe we should listen. I also agreed that maybe this is not a great way to do an ordinance change but this is probably the only way we are going to hear the real voice of the people.
Commissioner Farmer asked Mrs. Custy, Town Clerk, how many registered voters ended up being on the petitions? Mrs. Custy said 167 on the first batch that have been verified. The ones brought in today have not been verified.
Attorney Taylor asked how many other pieces of property would meet the criteria? Mrs. Angus said there were at least 3 and maybe 4 that would qualify. Attorney Taylor asked Mr. Cochran, “This ordinance would not be just for you alone?”
Commissioner Farmer said there was one other thing discussed by the board, about a conservation easement, it had to be a single residence.
Attorney Taylor said for clarification so that the board could move along, they are not trying to draft the ordinance. Just the basic conditions for what would qualify will be sufficient. You will have the opportunity to draft the ordinance for the restrictions and again the board is not compelled to whatever this vote is. You should inform the public generally of what you are asking for, allowing them to vote on it and when it comes back then deal with it.
Commissioner Murphy asked, ”So all we need to do is to vote on whether to take it to a referendum pending verification of 10 % of registered voters. Attorney Taylor said it would be good idea, at least for broad terms, to go ahead and include the things she mentioned. The motion, as it stands now, is fine. You can do the things you want to do later.
Mayor Pro-Tem Farmer asked for a vote. Voting in favor of the motion was Commissioner McElraft, Wootten and Murphy. Voting in opposition was Commissioner Trainham and Mayor Pro-Tem Farmer. Motion carried.
Mr. Ricky Farrington, 8802 Sound View Court, spoke on beach nourishment. He asked for confirmation of the number of taxable parcels of land in Emerald Isle. On the survey that was presented, there were 1350 tax payer residents and 4445 tax payer non-residents. If you compare it with $15 million 800 thousand, we are looking at $2,600 per parcel of land to get that amount of money. He suggests that the town start looking at a voluntary fund that each parcel owner would submit that amount to and forget a bond referendum. It almost seems too simple to think like this. The value of the property will probably go up a minimum of 10% on the day that fund was created it would show a huge positive effect on Emerald Isle. Based on the average lot now, the cheapest is probably $40,000 to $50,000. That is less than 10% of that. He wonders how the board would feel about trying that? If this was put into effect, the people would voluntarily start writing a check for each parcel of land, $2,600 to beach nourishment.
Again, on the storm water issue, he is tired of all the negative stuff in the newspaper on this issue. It is a money problem and it is something that we are all going to lose or gain on it if something is not worked out.
Mr. Farrington said he would like to know just what that number is so they can find out how to divide it and how they can start a fund and work with the town on collecting that money. You might be surprised on how many people would just write the check. He for one would be the first.
Commissioner McElraft commented it is probably going to be hard to get people to pay $60.00. She feels that we would never get beach nourishment doing it that way because she thinks people are objecting to paying even $60.00 to $120.00. She does not think it is legal. You cannot force anyone into doing that because it would be a volunteer situation. She does not think there would ever be enough collected for beach nourishment that way. She appreciates Mr. Farrington’s contribution to the town if he would like to make it.
Mr. Farrington said the fund would be refundable if it did not work. There might a slight chance that it would work.
Mr. Pete Cochran commented that a homeowners association assesses its members once a year for funds they will need for each property. He asked if a one time tax assessment to everyone’s property and that way there would be no long term bond referendum?
Commissioner Wootten said the committee looked up one side and down the other.
Commissioner Murphy suggested that Mr. Cochran and some of the other property owners and business people in the community to put together a committee, a citizens group, and solicit voluntary contributions and put it into an account that would reduce the debt if it was every gotten back. He clarified what he is saying is to go ahead and solicit the $2,800.00 and if that is put into an escrow account and when we get to the $19 or $20 million and you have collected $5 million we would have $5 million to pay against that and it is all voluntary money. Commissioner Murphy stated he feels there are not going to be too many volunteers. In January 2002, the town is going to start funding EMS. The EMS system has been a voluntary donation system ever since they have been in existence and their contributions keep going down year after year after year and the EMS person spends as much time soliciting money as they do going on EMS calls. Mr. Murphy thinks voluntary contributions because of the economy are starting to be non-existent.
COMMENTS FROM DEPARTMENT HEADS
Robert Conrad, Director of Public Works asked that everyone coming on the Island bring a bucket of sand and when leaving take a bucket of water.
Carol Angus, Department Head of Inspections, asked if anyone had any questions regarding the monthly report turned in. Rhonda Ferebee is doing a great job in keeping up with it.
Mrs. Angus, on a personal note, thanked everyone who had expressed concerns and offers of assistance to her and her husband over the last couple of months. It has really been appreciated and he is coming along pretty good right now.
Alesia Sanderson, Parks and Recreation Director, commented that construction has started on the bathhouse for the western regional access. Mr. Kuhorn was correct in that all of the regional accesses and other accesses have been very crowded over the past few days.
Commissioner Trainham said thanks for the wonderful fireworks. They were beautifully done this year. Probably the best he has ever seen.
There were no comments from Fire Chief Walker.
Police Chief Mark Wilson commented that he could not sit in his chair tonight because someone said the projector was going to shine on his head and blind everybody. He said the Police Department got a check today from the federal government for over $11,000 to be deposited to the drug fund.
COMMENTS FROM THE BOARD
There were no comments from the Town Clerk, Town Attorney, Commissioner McElraft, Commissioner Wootten and Mayor Pro-Tem Farmer.
Town Manager Frank Rush brought the board up to date on a couple of things. There were several injuries at the eastern regional access over the holiday weekend. The town is working with a contractor trying to get the remaining remnants of the pilings removed from the old Emerald Isle Fishing Pier. Alesia and he met with a contractor today hoping they will be able to get the pilings out of there and solve that problem. For the short term, there has been installed a buoys indicating a hazard out there and some additional signs have been ordered.
The room occupancy tax over in Carteret County is scheduled to be heard by the council and finance committee on July 17th at 8:30 A.M. The Mayor and he plan to attend as will Commissioner McElraft. He invited commissioners who would like to attend.
Mr. Rush thanked everyone on the board for making his first seven days of work very enjoyable. Everyone has been very helpful.
Commissioner Farmer commented it is wonderful to have Mr. Rush here.
Commissioner Murphy welcomed Mr. Rush, our new Town Manager and wished him “Good Luck”.
Commissioner Trainham thanked Mr. Rush for bringing the board up to ”snuff” about what is going on. There was the one accident on Lee Avenue and the new Manager called him on the phone to inform him. He thinks this is the first time this has happened and he thinks it is wonderful.
Commissioner McElraft moved, Commissioner Murphy seconded and the board voted unanimously to adjourn.
Adjournment took place at 9:50 P.M.