Town of Emerald Isle
Regular Planning Board Meeting
Monday July 17, 2000
Vice-chairman, Cary Harrison, called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.. The resignation of Chairman, Roy Brownlow, had been submitted several days prior to the meeting.
Vice-chairman Harrison asked that the vote be held for Chairman be held at the August 21, 2000 meeting to coincide with the appointment of the new member of the board. This met with affirmative response.
Approval of Minutes of May 15, 2000 Regular Meeting - Motion was made by Ceil Saunders to approve the minutes as written, second by David Schock with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.
Report from Town Manager - Pete Allen gave the members a brief summary of the decisions and issues before the Town Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting on May 11, 2000.
Report from Building Inspector - Jim Taylor, Inspections Director, advised the members that there was an estimated value $1,372,707 in building permits for the month of June. This total includes seven single-family dwellings.
Mr. Harrison asked Mr. Taylor if the drainage issue had been looked at in relation to the CITGO station; also, what was the status of the landscaping planting.
Mr. Taylor said the drainage should not be a problem because of the curbing and retention area provided. The landscaping has been done, but if more is going to be required, he can contact the developers. However, there is a 3-yr period that the shrubbery and vegetation has to reach some maturity. Mr. Taylor said he would contact the developers to see if they will add more plantings.
Mr. Harrison also asked that Mr. Taylor ask Carteret-Craven EMC substation to revegetate their area on Coast Guard Road that was destroyed during the past few hurricanes. There is an ordinance that specifies that all utilities must maintain a buffer and he would like to see this area buffered from the road.
Mr. Harrison asked that item A. Commercial Structures Aesthetic Proposals under Proposed Amendments and Committee Reports Update be brought forward to Old Business for discussion. This request was unanimously approved.
- Willis’ Fish Market - 7803 Emerald Drive, southeast corner of Loblolly and Emerald Drive. Mr. Ken Burnette, Burnette Architecture and Planning, represented Mr. and Mrs. Willis.
Mr. Almeida asked what the height of the plantings are to be on the proposed landscaping plan. It was discussed for a while that they will be approximately 2 feet tall. Mr. Schock asked the height of the fence behind the market, which it was responded to be six feet.
Mr. Harrison had a simple rendering of the elevation of the building and the color scheme used. It will be white walls with a red roof, which are the colors that the Willis’ now use.
Vice-chairman asked whether the stormwater plan had been submitted. There was a plan, done by John McLean who is a civil engineer.
Mr. Almeida was concerned about the washing of fish offal from the dumpster into the street. Ms. Willis said the offal would be put in plastic containers, held in the coolers until such time the dumpsters are to be emptied twice a week. At that time, the containers will be put in the dumpster. Fish will not be poured into the dumpster.
Vice-chairman Harrison asked if there would be any problem with asking Mr. Almeida look over the stormwater plan submitted by Mr. McLean allowing a recommendation from this board to the Town Board provisional on the stormwater plan approval. Ms. Angus replied that has been done in the past, since we do not, as a board, review the plan, Mr. Almeida could look at it and make his recommendation.
Mr. Schock asked about the shielding of the lighting for the project. Since this is adjacent to a residential neighborhood, they need to be sure there is adequate shielding. Carteret-Craven EMC will take care of shielding glare when the area lights are installed. Mr. Taylor said there was a note on the plat stating “lighting shall be shielded from adjacent property and roadway”.
Motion was made by David Schock to recommend Willis’ Fish Market to the Town Board for approval with the condition that Mr. Almeida and Mr. Harrison review and approve the stormwater plan submitted, Mr. Almeida seconded the motion with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.
- Watson Hotel - Tabled until August, 2000 - at the request of the owner and planner.
- Commercial Structures Aesthetic Proposals - Vice-chairman Harrison read the amendment Proposal to be sent to the Town Board. This amendment will be placed in the file in the Commissioners office for review prior to proceeding to the Town Attorney. There were no additions or corrections to the proposal, as read. Mr. Harrison asked for any questions from the audience.
(Mr. Gus Farmekeides made some references to requiring more square footage on lots. His concern that there is too much overbuilding and the Planning Board should work on that issue. Mr. Harrison said he agreed with Mr. Farmekeides; however, this proposal is for commercial structures, which is a different topic.)
Commissioner Wootten asked if there is a minimal size building that this proposal would apply to and Mr. Harrison replied there is not. It will apply to any commercial structure.
Commissioner Wootten then asked it would grandfather the existing shopping center; to which Mr. Harrison replied, it would grandfather the shopping center. This proposal is for commercial structures henceforth and all conditions will apply to all commercial projects, no matter the size of the building(s).
Commissioner Wootten asked about the allowed amount of window signage. Mr. Harrison said they would be limited to 12 square feet in the windows.
Motion was made by Frank Vance, second by Ceil Saunders, with unanimous approval to recommend this proposal to make recommendations to add Commercial Structures Aesthetic Proposals, to the Town Board of Commissioners for their approval. (The Town Attorney will receive this item after each of the commissioners has reviewed for their comments via the reading file.)
- Reed Drive Commercial Park - 3 lot subdivision - Block 42 at corner of Coast Guard Road and Reed Drive extension Mr. Alan Bell, surveyor, was in attendance to represent this project.
Mr. Harrison had a question about the wetlands delineation on lot 3; Mr. Bell responded there is wetlands noted on that lot.
Ms. Saunders reminded the developers and members that there is a DOT report done after a study of this area to advise of a highly congested area at this site. Mr. Pete Allen, Town Administrator agreed to Ms. Saunders recollection. Ms. Saunders asked that this study be available for the Review Committee.
Each lot is in excess of 25,000 square feet.
Mr. Harrison asked about an alternative exit route for the proposal further down Coast Guard Road. This will be a main topic for review at the Review Committee on July 19, 2000.
Motion was made by Phil Almeida, second by Frank Vance with unanimous approval to have this proposal proceed to Review Committee, July 19, 2000 at 3:30 P.M.
Proposed Amendments and Committee Reports Update:
Mr. Taylor, Building Inspector, asked to clarify the Stormwater Ordinance which is to collect the first 1-1/2” of stormwater is protect water quality, (ORW), protect wetlands, estaurine shoreline, and not to protect individual property owners. He did not want the board to think that we must get involved with drainage issues between property owners. The inspectors do try to oversee that drainage or runoff is not going to be a problem before a residence is given a Certificate of Compliance, but after that time, it becomes an issue between homeowners.
It was then announced that there will be a meeting regarding Stormwater July 18, 2000 at 7:00 P.M. at town hall.
Mr. Harrison then adjourned the meeting.
- Commercial Structures Aesthetic Proposals - Moved to Old Business on agenda.
- Sand fence and Outdoor Lighting Regulations - Frank Vance gave an update on his study for this topic. He had contacted Wildlife representative, Ruth Boettcher, people from southern New Jersey to Hilton Head Island on sandfencing. None of them have an ordinance in place, but some were working on them. Some of the towns had helpful hints. Mr. Vance asked that some tolerance be given on the recommendation for 7’ width and 10’ length of the sandfencing. He also took into consideration how a future beach renourishment plan might work into the recommendations.
Mr. Harrison advised that the sand fencing should be perpendicular to the prevailing southwesterly breeze, not the ocean. With the fencing placed in the correct position it still allows trapping the sand, as well as access to the turtles for nesting. He went on to say that the review committee feels that enforcing a sand fence and lighting ordinance on the oceanfront for as many tourists as we have would be nigh impossible. A better tactic would be working with local newspapers, creating an awareness program with the residents especially to minimize the lighting on the oceanfront. This study is to be finished this Fall so that people will fully understand the manner of installing sandfencing. The permit for the fencing would be at no cost, and he realizes that enforcement will be difficult.
Mr. Vance said many studies had been done on lighting, as related to sea turtle nesting. There is a book from Florida Marine Research Institute on the lighting colors, types, heights, and other considerations. He read a few notes from his study, among them being that an arti-ficial light source is likely cause problems for sea turtles if an observer standing anywhere on the beach can see light, from the source. A blue light effects the hatchlings, the yellow lights had different opinions. A dim yellow light is the best if a light is necessary. The man at the electric company said their yellow light is actually brighter than the standard white lights. If the yellow lights were determined to be best, the electric company would not charge the town to have them changed. But Mr. Vance is not sure the town would want to do that. A lighting ordinance had been received from Nags Head, Hilton Head, Oak Island and one from California.
Mr. Vance said that Kim Allen, formerly of Pine Knoll Shores, now at Nags Head said that an ordinance had to be written there, because nobody would cooperate with keeping the lighting down. The hatchlings have an instinct to go toward the moon over the water, if they see a light, they mistake that for the moon over water and head in the wrong direction..
Ms. Saunders said the realtors could put brochures in their rental packets to make visitors aware of helping the turtles. She believes that most visitors would want to participate.
Mr. Harrison said he thinks awareness is more effective than ordinances, for lighting, and probably for the sandfencing, as well.
Mr. Allen, Town Manager, commended Mr. Vance on his exhaustive research but he has reservations about infringing on the privacy of oceanfront property owners. They have been infringed on enough over the past several years. The current board wants us to enforce the ordinances on the books; however, we can’t enforce the current ordinances with what personnel we’ve got. This is an ordinance that is unenforceable even with funding and additional personnel. It would require personnel working nights and weekends. He also feels that the sandfencing at places like the Travel Park would encourage the kids to run through them and ruin the dune face.
Mr. Taylor, Inspector, said one thing he noticed that needs to be changed is that the study says the fencing should be placed behind the escarpment or the first line of natural vegeta-tion. This will be on the sand dune, that is not where you want to trap sand.
Mr. Taylor went on to say that if the sandfencing were to be made an ordinance, that it not be considered a priority. If his personnel has other inspections that need done, that these be done before sandfencing inspections are done.
Mr. Allen addressed the board to advise that realistically when a storm comes through, the department has to go through this whole sandfencing process again. Other permits being written are much more important than for sandfencing and when the department is tied up with reconstruction, sandfencing could be a nightmare. The state, or CAMA are not requiring that this be done, it is superceding CAMA regulations.
Mr. Harrison said Mr. Vance had written in a clause to be able to issue a blanket permit in the case of storms.
Mr. Harrison asked Mr. Taylor if it would be a nightmare for the department. Mr. Taylor responded that it will be quite time consuming, especially during a critical period of time. Mr. Taylor did all the oceanfront evaluations and inspections alone to be assured of uniformity and it tied up almost all of his time over several months each time after Bertha, Fran, Dennis and Floyd. It would require double evaluation and inspection for each fence as well as for each beach access being repaired.
Mr. Schock said he was not aware that lighting affected the turtles, but he feels that this should go to the property owners and real estate agents that they put a brochure in the packets on turtle nesting, sandfencing, and lighting. Then list angles and distances for the fencing, and turning off lights in turtle hatching periods. If the party does not respond, perhaps some-one could go to that residence and explain the rationale behind the request. He sees this a gigantic nightmare for the inspectors and cost a lot of money to enforce it as an ordinance.
Mr. Harrison said he would like to continue this discussion at Review Committee on Wednesday and commended Mr. Vance on his work on the study.
Commissioner McElraft said that perhaps strings could be placed between the fencing at the top of the fence. This might keep people from walking through and allow the turtles access along the fence below the string. Mr. Harrison agreed this might be a good idea.
- Cell Tower Ordinance (Communication Towers) - Chairman Harrison said he sent the cell tower ordinance to Ms. Raybold, at Metrosite Management which is a private firm that works with the League of Municipalities. It was sent in late May and she was kind enough to charge a very modest charge of three hours at $75.00 an hour. She actually spent fifteen hours on the plan. She responded very favorably to the plan, and made some comments. Mr. Harrison heard from Rich Ducker and David Owens from the Institute of Government. They have agreed to review the plan as well. Mr. Harrison will contact them soon to get their input so he can close it out on August 01, 2000. He then will compile a semi-final draft to be available to the commissioners in August, then possibly be on their September agenda. Mr. Harrison plans to do a presentation at the Town Board meeting in lay terms for the public so they will better understand the plan. Mr. Harrison then asked that the Board of Commissioner extend the moratorium that is now placed on cell towers for another 90 days. He does not think it will take that long, but better than extending 30, then possibly 30 again.
- Stormwater Regulations - Mr. James Taylor, Inspections director, said applicability is where we need to start (Sec. 16-4) to require all development, including one and two family dwellings to capture the first 1-1/2” or less of runoff from an impervious surface. The impervious surface will be the roof and driveway. The two options in the ordinance are a little vague, but can get the job done. One method is to require gutters and downspouts to terminate into rock envelope with porous drainage pipe, or into a french-drain application. The second method is to build a retention bed under the overhangs of the buildings. However there is no instruction on how big to make these beds (drywells) to be sure they capture the first inch and a half of runoff. How do you size an infiltration bed to X amount of roof and driveway? The department is enforcing this right now, but is it catching 1-1/2”?
It was decided that this item will be discussed at the Review Committee on July 19, 2000.
- Zoning Reclassification - Mr. Harrison felt that the best way to handle this issue to rezone Residential Motel/Hotel (RMH) zoning to Residential-2 (R-2) would be to handle a specific number at a time rather than to find hundreds of people show up for rezoning.
Ms. Angus advised that a Public Hearing would have to be held on each lot. Mr. Harrison asked if it could be done on a blanket basis? Ms. Angus stated she did not think it could be done as a blanket, because a similar situation came up some years ago and Mr. Ducker with the Institute of Government advised that each lot has to be handled on it’s own. Mr. Allen agreed with Ms. Angus. However, Ms. Angus will contact Mr. Ducker about the feasibility of such a request.
Commissioner Farmer stated that perhaps it could be done as an overlay as one individual request.
Chairman Harrison stated that the concern is that the threat is real that the manner this is dealt with could be outrageous if it is improperly handled.
Ms. Saunders asked about the wetlands in the Block 43 area, which is behind Osprey Ridge Subdivision. No immediate answer was available because plats have not been submitted for any development of this property.
Mr. Harrison advised there are five areas that the owners might be approached to request a rezoning on their own. All of the areas, except possibly block 33 (behind Town hall complex), are on the sound and would require CAMA Major Permits as they are within the 575’ Outstanding Resource Waters (ORW). Commissioner Farmer replied that Major CAMA Permits are a dime a dozen, you pay your money, wait 6 months and it’s issued.
Commissioner McElraft brought up the issue of the 3-story height limit regarding developing a hotel or motel. What would be the feasibility of such a project? She thinks this ordinance really limits the issue of hotels or motels. Mr. Harrison did agree, as to whether anyone would want to invest the dollar value of the land with only 3 stories.
Commissioner Farmer stated that hotels and motels are not the board’s only concern. They are also worried about condominiums and multi-family buildings.
Ms. Dorothy Marks said that her subdivision had been originally RMH and it was able to be changed to R-2 with owners cooperation.
Mr. Allen said he is afraid that if only one person were to oppose the rezoning in a specific area that you would not be able to carry it through without a lot by lot basis. A petition by 100% to agree would not be a problem to rezoning from RMH to R-2.
Mr. Harrison said this topic will take a lot more discussion and input from the Institute of Government.