Agendas and Minutes

June 19, 2000 

Planning Board



MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2000
7:00 P.M.


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 P.M. by Vice-Chairman, Cary Harrison. Chairman Brownlow had to attend to family business.

Members in attendance: Cary Harrison, Ceil Saunders, George McLaughlin, Frank Vance and Phil Almeida. David Schock was unable to attend. Also attending: Town Manager, Pete Allen; Building Inspector, Jim Taylor; and, Secretary, Carol Angus.

The minutes of the Regular Meeting of May 15, 2000 were approved with a number of typo-graphical errors corrected. Motion to approve the minutes with those change made by Ceil Saunders, second by Frank Vance with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Report from Town Manager – Mr. Allen gave the members a brief summary of the decisions and considerations of the June 13, 2000 Town Board meeting.

Report from Building Inspector – Mr. James Taylor, Inspections Director, gave the members a brief summary of the permits and projects under construction at this time. The total evaluation for the month of May was $1,279,050 including six single family dwelling permits.

There were several issues discussed regarding projects throughout town, one being the Kwik/Mart/Citgo station working on Sundays, which is not permitted. The foreman had been informed previously of this violation and Mr. McLaughlin advised they had been working again the previous Sunday. Mr. Taylor said he would see that the foreman was notified again.


  1. Willis Fish Market – Commercial Review Mr. Ken Burnett, Burnette Architecture & Planning at 7803 Emerald Drive at the southeast corner of Emerald Drive and Loblolly Street.

    Mr. Harrison advised that there is a second plan submitted for the elevation views of the building. The owners were considering the original plan, as well as the one before the board tonight.

    Ms. Saunders asked Mr. Burnette if the fish market portion of the building will be closer to the residences or to Emerald Drive. Mr. Burnette said it will be closer to the highway, the tenant will be closer to the residences.

    Mr. Harrison asked if the new plan would still be a metal roof; Mr. Burnette said it would be metal with lap siding walls.

    Mr. Harrison asked if each of the two businesses were permitted 32 square feet for their signs. Mr. Taylor replied that was correct, and an 80 square foot freestanding sign is also permitted, at a height of 16 feet.

    Ms. Angus wanted to advise that the owners had mentioned to her that they would like to have a red metal roof. That has been the color scheme they have used and would like to continue with it. She wanted there to be no misunderstanding about the color.

    Mr. Harrison wanted to see the height of the freestanding sign noted on the map with the type of lighting, if any. A colored elevation plan would be necessary so that the board could see the proposed color scheme for the building. Furthermore, the stormwater plan has not been finished. Mr. John McLean is working on it and it should be submitted within a few days. Mr. David Criser has been contracted about the approach that is being taken, so he is aware of it coming. The vegetative screen has not been noted next to the residential area. Mr. Burnette said he understood that it could be a wooden screen or vegetated and the Willis’ want to go with a wood screen.

    Ms. Saunders asked if the owners were not also going to have a well installed. Mr. Burnett said that is correct. It remains to be seen whether the Health Department will approve a well.

    Mr. Burnett said the project will probably use Carteret-Craven EMC lighting program which works with each project individually. They generally do not have to use shielding, but they will if needed. The roadway should be no problem at all, but will work with shielding for the surrounding residences. Probably a sodium type (yellow/orange) light at each end of the property. There would not be any glare on the residences, probably 250 watts.

    Ms. Saunders said this project bothers her being in a residential area. Her concern is the smell no matter what the owners may do to prevent it. It’s trash, fish heads, shells, any of it will smell. In her opinion it is in a bad location.

    Mr. Harrison replied there are two things to consider. One, the Board decided that fish markets be permitted in a B2 zone, with a Public Hearing that was advertised. So the neighbors did have a way to find out about the use. Two, there is a clause in the ordinance to protect the neighbors that says noxious odors are a nuisance and must be corrected.

    Mr. Vance said he would like to see the landscaping plan. Mr. Burnette said it is "in the works" and will be available.

    Mr. Harrison said he has a problem with sending this on to the Town Board with the number of items that are still outstanding (sign dimensions; lighting color, shielding, type and candlepower; architectural review with exterior colors, stormwater plan, and landscaping). He asked Ms. Angus for some guidance in how to handle this project. Ms. Angus agreed that it is more than simply waiting for approval of the stormwater plan and that it should be held until it is complete.

    Mr. Burnette asked if that meant it would return to the Planning Board in July, which is correct and proceed to the Town Board for their August meeting..

    Mr. Vance asked if there was an estimated time to have the building started. Mr. Willis said he would like to open in the Spring of next year. With a three month project construction period this 30 wait would not present any problems.

    Mr. Allen brought up about using Mr. David Criser from his Wilmington office for the approval of the stormwater plan. He would like to address this to the Town Board to see if we might be able to have other engineers, who would be given a copy of the town’s stormwater plan, review and approve the plans. Mr. Criser did the plan about 12 years ago and he has continued to do this review; however, he has become so busy with his own business and is so far away for our local projects. There is nothing in the plan that says he has to be the engineer to review the plans.

    Ms. Angus advised that she had contacted several engineers in this area and their costs per hour are comparable to Mr. Criser.

    Motion was made by George McLaughlin, second by Frank Vance to hold this project, for the items mentioned, until the July 17, 2000 regular meeting. Motion was unanimously approved.

  2. Citgo/Kwik-Mart – Wooten Oil Co. Revision of Stormwater Retention Basin.

    Mr. Harrison said in a brief summary that what he had discussed with the developers was that instead of the sloped sides that was projected in the parking lot; it was proposed to move it back to add four additional parking spaces. It will be a bulkeaded side approximately 4’ tall, fenced and vegetated. There is a copy of the proposed change with Ms. Angus. The new proposal does not diminish the effectiveness of the previous plan; actually, it increased the capacity somewhat. The board looked over the plan with Mr. Taylor, who had a letter from Carteret County Health Department that they did not have a problem with the change. Also, Mr. Brownlow had looked at the plan and signed off and dated it.

    Mr. Almeida and Mr. McLaughlin had a concern with some of the driveway slope. Mr. Taylor said he would go out the next morning to be sure that the slope was according to the previous plan to have the runoff go to this area. Mr. Vance said he knew this had been discussed during the review process, so the developers were aware of runoff.

    Mr. Harrison asked if he was correct that this item is a "Point of Information" and it is not necessary to forward it to the town board. Ms. Angus said that was correct, that if someone saw a change from what had been presented that it had been approved.

  3. Discussion and possible recommendation of Sec. 6-54 to amend ordinance to impose double fees/penalties for commencing work without permits.

    The purpose of this being before the board was also for their information of final draft. Mr. Allen said this had been discussed at the previous Town Board meeting and supported it. It is a critical issue and wanted to give the constituency an opportunity make comments. It does not require a Public Hearing, but will allow comment.

    Motion to recommend approval of the ordinance Sec. 6-54 was made by George McLaughlin, second by Frank Vance with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

  4. Discussion and possible recommendation of amending Sect. 19 Dimensional Requirements regarding installation of swimming pools on oceanfront property.

    Mr. Harrison advised this recommended change would prohibit the installation of any swimming pool within the ocean erodible setback area. There had been some discussion of prohibiting them in the Area of Environmental Concern (CAMA AEC), but the intent was not to prohibit pools entirely from oceanfront properties, only those oceanward of the ocean erodible setback area. Mr. Taylor advised that in most areas this would affect the first 60’ from the first natural stable line of vegetation, and in a small area on the west portion of the island it would be 90 feet. The Area of Environmental Concern is this area times two, plus an additional 50 feet, which would typically be 170’. This is not what was intended and he did not know how the copy had reverted to the original concept that was before the board.

    Mr. Harrison agreed this is a significant difference in area, and that you should not place your pool where it would likely be lost and the town has to deal with it for cleanup.

    Mr. Taylor asked that the change be made to the proposed copy to read "ocean erodible setback area" in each section.

    Ms. Farmer said she did not know why it was before the Planning Board again, it was to reappear before the Town Board in July. She asked Mr. Allen for clarification.

    Mr. Allen said in the recent past there have been so many amendment changes and resubmisions that we were only trying to cover all bases in having it reappear before the Planning Board. It will be put before the Town Board for their July meeting for Public Hearing. Ms. Farmer, Mayor Pro-Tem, said there has already been a public hearing held on this amendment and another public hearing is not necessary.

  5. Discussion of Wireless Communication Towers

    Mr. Harrison advised the board that he had distributed a draft of his and his committee’s proposed ordinance. He expects to have a professional review the draft. He had received three names law firms to help with the review, one in Miami, one in Ft. Lauderdale and one in Washington, D.C. They charge $5,000 to $15,000 for this review. He was able to contact Susan Raybold, at Metrosite, which has an alliance with the League of Municipalities. She has written a book about zoning for wireless communications as well as other model ordinances. She has agreed to look at it for her comments. Mr. Harrison wants to gather as many comments as the members may have, with Ms. Raybold’s comments, then take it to the Board of Commissioners. That might happen before the August meeting, but we may have to have a 30 day extension to what has been requested for this ordinance by the Board of Commissioners. That should not be a legal issue for an extension, if you are working on an ordinance a moratorium can be extended.

    Mr. Harrison said he had a number of people advise him that a public workshop is not a good idea for two reasons; 1) the general public does not have enough background to understand and logically discuss the components of the ordinance; 2) the industry pros that may want to show up and discuss it, are going to try to bend the ordinance in their favor. He asked for direction as to whether a Public Hearing would be required.

    Mayor Barbara Harris said if it falls under Chapter 19, it will require a Public Hearing by ordinance. Ms. Farmer said the Public Hearing may be directed as more of a presentation in layman’s terms for the public. Advise the public whether there could be a big cell tower in the middle of Emerald Isle; that the location of Bogue Field has some bearing on placement; that the town encourages co-location as opposed to new towers; and the areas where the new towers can be placed are very limited.

    Mr. Harrison agreed it should be presented to desensitize the issue.

    Mayor Harris asked what the budget line is for Ms. Raybold? Mr. Harrison said she is doing this basically out of pity for a small town that does not have those resources and she will probably charge a one-time fee of $75.00. Metrosite will help with site location and if the town itself would decide to put up a tower or antennae they will help with negotiations of the contract.

    Mayor Harris asked for an outline of the ordinance. She said she did not understand it and doubts the general public would understand. It is a very thorough ordinance.

    Commissioner Trainham added that he liked the approach of the ordinance as it is written to make it difficult to bring a tower to Emerald Isle.

    Mr. McLaughlin said that the Atlantic Ocean is a benefit, in that a tower is for 360 degrees, so almost 180 degrees is no good. Property is much more affordable on Hwy 24.


Commissioner Trainham brought up a possible ordinance to address commercial architecture. Mr. Harrison had a copy of a list of things to be considered in regard to future commercial construction. Mr. Harrison went over the items on the proposal then recommended that it proceed to the Review Committee on Wednesday, June 21, 2000 at 3:30 P.M.

Mr. Harrison said this had not appeared on the agenda because it had not yet been pre-sented to the Chairman in sufficient time to be added to the agenda. Mr. Harrison did not want to make it look as though the board had really shoved this through very quickly. Ms. Farmer advised that Mr. Brownlow had been aware of the discussion but could not attend.

Ms. Saunders said this topic had been discussed in 1998, in some respects; however, the board, at that time, was not interested in pursuing it.

Commissioner Trainham said he did not want to wait too long for this ordinance.

Mr. McLaughlin asked if other tourist towns might have something to help with this.

Mr. Allen advised that he has some information coming.

Mr. Harrison said he had not been able to have much luck in searching for this type of information.

Mayor Harris said Atlantic Beach was trying to word something to help their town through a nuisance ordinance. Mr. Allen said they had not been able to get too far.

Mr. Harrison asked if the Council members in attendance would like to see this reviewed at Review Committee on Wednesday? Commissioners Farmer and Trainham said they would.

Mr. McLaughlin made the motion to refer this item to Review Committee with second by Ceil Saunders and unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Mr. Harrison said he wanted to address the lighting and sand fencing for sea turtles. Most people feel public awareness is all we can do for the lighting aspect. There is no way to enforce a lighting ordinance, so having rental agencies and homeowners cooperation is the way to go. As far as fencing, it is a little easier to consider and enforce.

Mr. Vance said he had made some phone calls but wasn’t able to find much.

Mr. Harrison said Ms. Boettcher had sent him a good book on lighting that he would be glad to pass on to Mr. Vance.

Mr. Vance said he felt that it is a little late for this year’s turtles. He was appointed to head the committee for these two items.

The rezoning issue that had been presented previously by Mayor Harris to have it avail-able by June 30, had to be extended due to the complexity of the issue. This topic will be addressed at Review Committee June 21, 2000 at 3:30 P.M.

Motion to adjourn made by George McLaughlin, second by Ceil Saunders, with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 06/19/2000

June 13, 2000 

Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 06/13/2000

May 15, 2000 

Planning Board



May 15, 2000

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Roy Brownlow at 7:00 P.M. Members in attendance were: Chairman Brownlow, Ceil Saunders, Cary Harrison, Frank Vance, David Schock, and George McLaughlin. Mr. Phil Almeida was out of town.

Also in attendance were, Town Manager, Pete Allen; Building Inspector, Jim Taylor; and Secretary, Carol Angus.

Prior to beginning the meeting the Chairman asked that three items be added as New Business and one item to Committee Reports.

The items for New Business are from the Town Council, which are:

C. Proposed gate for Bridgeview Campground

D. Lighting and sandfencing on oceanfront regarding turtle nesting

E. Neon lighting ordinance review

The item for Committee Reports is:

D. Wireless Communications – Cary Harrison

Motion was made by George McLaughlin, second by Frank Vance to add these items to this agenda. The board unanimously approved the motion.

Approval of the Minutes of Regular Meeting of April 17, 2000 – Motion was made by George McLaughlin, second by Frank Vance with unanimous approval to approve the minutes as written.

Report from Town Manager – Mr. Allen gave the members a brief summary of the agenda items from the most recent of the Town Council meetings in May.

Report from Building Inspector – Mr. Taylor advised the Planning Board that there were:

5 Single-family dwellings $ 825,560.00
1 6-unit condominium (Sunset Harbor) 639,360.00
133 Miscellaneous 206,650.00
Total $1,671,570.00

Mr. Brownlow asked some questions relative to the Citco station now under construction.

Mr. Taylor answered his questions as well as those by Mr. McLaughlin.


  1. Fish Market Added to the Permitted/Special Use Table – Mr. Brownlow advised the members that the Review Committee felt the use should be permitted in both B-2 and B-3 zones. They felt that the Inspections Department and Town Council could make contingencies that would apply to this use. This request is for inside sales, not for the outside fish sales.

    Mr. Brownlow said the concerns that may be an issue is the disposal of the fish offal and scales with a residential neighborhood nearby. Perhaps that may be handled and enforced as a nuisance ordinance rather than a Special Use. He went on to say that a town such as Emerald Isle should have a retail fish market.

    Motion was made by Ceil Saunders, second by George McLaughlin, that "Fish Market" be noted as a Permitted Use ("P") in the Permitted/Special Use Table. The motion was unanimously approved.


  1. Willis Fish House & Retail – Commercial Review for Donald Willis/Burnette Architects. Mr. Ken Burnette advised the board that it will be 2,500 square feet with two portions; one for fish market and second for retail store. Also, some administrative or storage in the attic space of the building. The design is not complete as yet. There will be 12 parking spaces, which meets current ordinance.

    Mr. Harrison asked Mr. Burnette to explain the "stormwater retention under pavement" note on the plat. Mr. Burnette said there will be an engineer design the plan, but unless there is an outlet in the area it will have to be an infiltrator type unit. The water table will be a factor in this design.

    Mr. Harrison asked if fish waste as well as regular septic waste go into the field as it is shown? Mr. Burnette said he not certain, the regular waste, of course; but he did not know if there would be any other filtering system involved.

    Mr. Willis said they fish heads do not go into this field. Small particles will go through. Mr. Brownlow asked if there would be an indirect waste on this? Mr. Taylor replied that it would. It would be a 2" minimum air gap.

    Mr. Willis said, at his other site, he puts the heads and other particles in a big garbage can and puts that can back in the cooler. When the dumpster is emptied twice a week it will be hauled away. It will not be left outside the market.

    Mr. Brownlow asked if the Carteret County Environmental Health does inspections of this type facility. Mr. Willis said they are periodically inspected.

    Motion was made by Cary Harrison, second by George McLaughlin to refer this item to Review Committee on Wednesday, May 17, 2000 at 4:00 p.m. Motion was unanimously approved.

  2. Watson Hotel – Commercial Review for Ronnie O. Watson, represented by Mr. Will Riedel, Burnette Architects. Mr. Riedel gave a briefing on the project as a three-story hotel with service space on the first floor, such as a 50-seat restaurant, gift shoppe, pool, lobby, exercise area, etc. There will be 23 rooms each on the second and third floors. These will be large luxurious rooms. There is substantial parking provided with an adjoining property being provided. The entire hotel will be surrounded by a low brick wall for safety and image screening. Portions will be open, to be about 6’ tall. They do not want cars visible from the highway. There will be small patios off the rooms that they want to afford some privacy. There is not yet a plan of design for the new building, it is being developed.

Mr. Harrison asked about the impervious area. Mr. Riedel said they are utilizing the underpaving method of stormwater runoff.

A quick calculation was done for the entire project and all uses, found to be in compliance.

Motion was made by Cary Harrison to refer the Watson Hotel to Review Committee on Wednesday, May 17, 2000 at 4:00 p.m.; unanimously approved in favor of the motion.

  1. Proposed Gate for the Bridgeview Campground to temporarily close off Crew Drive Into the campground. Mr. Brownlow said he had never been asked to review the design of a gate before and therefore asked the owners of the campground to submit a drawing of what they intended for the gate. That drawing is before the members. The drawing shows a steel gate with a minimum of twelve feet wide for fire apparatus entry.

    Mr. McLaughlin asked if this will be a permanently closed gate with no access? Mr. Taylor said there is to be a Knox Box there to open it only by authorized personnel.

    Mr. Harrison said he felt there should be some reflection on the gate to aid anyone driving around at night.

    After further discussion, the motion was made by George McLaughlin to return this drawing to the owners to be more specific in their plan, indicate the 12’ span, width of street, how it will be embedded in the ground and show reflectors on both sides of the gate. Frank Vance seconded this motion and the board unanimously approved in favor of the motion.

  2. Lighting and Sandfencing on Oceanfront Properties for Turtle Nesting.

    Mr. Harrison said he thought there ought to be some information available concerning sandfencing and lighting. Ms. Angus advised there are handouts available in the Inspections Dept. of the recommended method of sandfencing. A copy was given to the members.

    Mr. Allen, Town Manager, advised the members to be very cautious about adopting such an ordinance and it’s enforcement. He went on to relate that Queens Court had put sandfencing along the top of their dune, not to be meant as sandfencing, but as a deterrent to children who love to run along the dune edge and down over the dune. The fencing does help in moving foot traffic to the pedestrian access. Keep in mind that you can adopt an ordinance that cannot be enforced. He would recommend not adopting an ordinance to fine someone when a weekly renter left a light on toward the ocean.

    Mr. Schock asked if there is any data to support the theory that lighting effects sea turtles. Mr. Brownlow said without some research being done, he couldn’t say. He went on to advise that Pine Knoll Shores is a Turtle Sanctuary and they do not have any sandfencing or lighting ordinance.

    Mr. Harrison said it would be good to hand out information regarding the sea turtles; they would get interested and become a part of an ongoing program.

    Mr. Allen advised he has the name of the woman who heads this program. Her name is Ruth Boettcher. She lives in Morehead City. Phone # is 729-1359. Her pager # is 247-8117.

    Mr. Brownlow said he realizes the turtle season is fast approaching, but there are more pressing issues before this board at this time. All of the members are already appointed to ad hoc committees, some on two committees. He felt this topic should be held as Old Business and brought up again when it can be better addressed. For the present, it will be referred to Review Committee for consideration.

  3. Neon Lighting Ordinance Review - Mr. Brownlow advised that the intent is to consider phasing out neon through amortization; also, to clarify the intent of "informational" sign.

    Mr. Taylor was asked the square footage allowed for the information sign. He responded that it is two square feet. It was never transcribed in the ordinance that OPEN was the only "informational" sign permitted, and a recent dispute over the interpretation of "informational" has brought this issue before this board.

    Mr. Brownlow read from some notes before him "the intent of the board when the ordinance was adopted was that informational meant "open" signs, period. It has been further suggested that we limit the grandfathering to whatever average number of years it takes to depreciate the sign or the useful life of the sign i.e. within a "x" number of years after adoption of the ordinance all non-informational neon signs would have to come down." Mr. Brownlow said that type of ordinance has been usually down with billboards, junkyards.

    Ms. Angus said she had spoken with the party who made the suggestion and that he said he did not mean that neon signs should be amortized; but that all signs should be amortized; so that in time all the signs throughout town would look alike. Ms. Farmer, Mayor Pro-tem, said that was not her understanding during this discussion, however, they did discuss signage in general. She said she thought that the average life span, i.e. 8 years, that in 8 years they would be gone, and replaced with conforming signs. All signs would be permitted to a specific date and must conform after that date.

    There was some discussion concerning a sign that had gone up on the same old sign face of a prior business. Some felt that should not be permitted if the old sign face is non-conforming. The ordinance allows sign ‘copy’ to be changed, even without a permit, until such time the sign is taken down or destroyed 50% or more. Then it must be removed and cannot be repainted.

    Commissioner Wootten said he felt that the wording should be "tightened up" and "how old do you let grandfather get" before conformance?

    Mr. Brownlow went on to advise amortization of the signs. He felt 8 years is a long time and usually it is 3 to 5 years. They need only recoup their economic investment.

    Mr. Harrison then made the motion to recommend that the word "informational" be removed from Section 19-72 and replaced with "Open", with no embellishment whatsoever, second by George McLaughlin with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

    Mr. Brownlow then stated that the issue of phasing out signs is to be forwarded to the Review Committee.


Committee Reports:

Two – is the party that cuts down trees and does grading without a permit. The committee recommended a $1,000.00 civil penalty, also at the discretion of the dunes & vegetation protection officer, and to double the permit fee (from $50.00 to $100.00). Mr. Taylor said he felt grading and tree cutting deserved this penalty.

It was discussed and decided that all citations will be issued to the property owner.

Ms. Angus asked where the board would like to see this amendment placed in the ordinance. Mr. Brownlow said it should be left to the discretion of the Town Attorney, probably in Chapter 6.

Motion to implement a two step civil penalty (1) for building without a permit by doubling the permit fee and a maximum of $100.00 civil penalty at the discretion of the Building Inspector. (2) Implement civil penalty at a maximum of $1,000.00 and doubling the permit fee for violations in any land disturbing activity without a permit from the Inspections Department was made by George McLaughlin, second by Frank Vance with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

(Residential Multi-family) zoning. Mr. Brownlow said this has been discussed at Review Committee and warrants further and serious consideration. He had what he hoped might be a simple way to address this issue.

"Lots and/or parcels previously platted prior to (date of effective ordinance) for one and two family dwellings or similar, shall not be developed hotel, motel, or condominium. There shall be no combination or recombination of previously platted one and two-family dwelling parcels, or similar, for increasing density, condominium, motel, and/or hotel development

Previously platted lots and/or parcels for multi-family development shall not be increased in intensity of use. Previously platted multi-family developments shall not be increased in density of the number of living units."

Ms. Saunders asked Town Manager, Pete Allen, how he felt about this consideration.

Mr. Allen replied that he felt it may infringe on people’s property rights. They bought their property in good faith, in the zone in which it was zoned at the time. The boards have taken care of height limitations, he doesn’t think there would have ever been a problem anyway. To him it is a no-nonsense change.

Mr. Brownlow advised the members that rezoning would be a massive under-taking which could have serious consequences on a lot of properties. He felt it would be highly contested by property owners. He hoped his draft would eliminate that in that one and two family dwellings are already there, let’s keep them that way. The zoning would not change only the wording to protect the property owners after it is developed. An area would stay one and two family dwellings despite what the zoning definition might be, with his amendment.

He went on to say that the fear of the Town Board is that an entire subdivision might be bought out by a hotel which would put a hotel in the area of surrounding residential neighborhoods.

Mr. Harrison said he felt Mr. Brownlow’s amendment, would probably still considered rezoning.

Mr. Brownlow said there will be hundreds of notifications to be sent, and public hearings. He said the Block 51 project which has not been recorded, may be used for hotel or motel as well as residential since it is RMH zoning.

Ms. Angus advised that she had given each member a copy of what is involved in a rezoning, and this would be multiplied by every lot to be affected as well as by all adjoining property owners.

Mr. Schock said he felt the best way to approach this would be to get a legal opinion from Mr. Taylor on Mr. Brownlow’s amendment.

Mayor Pro-tem, Emily Farmer, said she felt the majority of the owners in these areas want the rezoning and are concerned to discover that they were in an RMH zone.

Mr. Brownlow asked how we could get a feel from the owners, on how they would feel about rezoning? Ms. Farmer said there could be something put in the Emerald Tidings and on the web site. She felt that holding a public hearing is that you hear from the same people that you always hear from. This is not bad, but we need more input.

Mr. Harrison said the Public Hearings are limited to those residents that are likely to hear about it. The previous polls are wonderful, perhaps that would be done. Mr. Schock asked if there is capability of a mass mailing to the owners that there is a proposed effort review zoning in this area, and then get their feedback. If there were a low percentage that respond that they don’t want it, then we would proceed.

Mayor Harris said this had all begun last year when she had a conversation with John Yost, the former Building Inspector. He recommended that rezoning be done.

Ms. Saunders asked about the individual that paid the money for a piece of property to build something on it, are we going to tell him he can’t do that? Mayor Harris said they were not saying he couldn’t build on it, just that he can’t build a hotel in a residential area. Ms. Saunders asked, what if he purchased it to put a hotel on it at some time in the future? Mayor Harris said you can sit here all night a predict what "might" happen. She likes the idea of a survey.

Ms. Farmer went on to say that she would not want owners to think anyone was "trying to pull a fast one." She does want their input.

Mr. Brownlow disagreed, he is setting a limitation within an already zoned district. There is a list of permitted uses and special uses within each zone to tell you what you can and cannot do. That is not rezoning.

Mr. Brownlow added that the time frame that was given to review this topic by the Town Council is not enough, and they the Planning Board will need a lot more time to review this issue. He appointed Mr. Harrison to Chair the committee for this review.

Mr. Brownlow also said that with all due respect, the hoped the Town Board recognized the workload being placed on the Planning Board and to keep the Board in tact, they be allowed to take the most reasonable requests until some of these issues are weeded out.

Mr. McLaughlin said he felt that there might be a budget allotment if there is to be a rezoning effort. Mr. Allen advised that the current budget is now in it’s final stages.

Mr. Brownlow said perhaps Mr. Harrison could look into a survey, board agenda for input, or other manners to get feedback. Mr. Harrison asked that the next newsletter that goes out, to ask owners to respond with their e-mail addresses with their property address in Emerald Isle. That would reach a lot of owners quickly.

Ms. Saunders advised that her committee, Phil Almeida and Frank Vance had met. Ms Farmer had driven Mr. Almeida around town to see some of the sites. She went on to say that she sees no problem with the ordinance as it is written, it only needs to be enforced. There were a few areas to change minor wording.

Her committee could not come up with anything better than what is there.

Mr. Brownlow said he was impressed with Mr. Peterson’s presentation at the Town Board meeting and that maybe some of his suggestions might be implemented into the ordinance. For properties adjacent to substantial water bodies that we require a 30’ vegetative buffer. This will prevent sheet flow into the water body. Swells were not particularly well received, because they hold water and attract mosquitoes and vermin. The vegetation filters and slows the water runoff. Planting trees would be important, they drink lots of water to help with absorption.

Ms. Saunders said one of her points of contention was at Pier Pointe where all the fill was brought in. She asked if it was to get above a flood zone or for view and the developer said it was for both reasons. She felt that once it reaches the height it must be to build, don’t add any more. The water that runs off will go to the adjoining neighbor. The view of the ocean should not be a factor in filling a lot.

Mr. Taylor advised that Pier Pointe was not in a flood zone, so fill was not an issue. Today that is a V-zone and could not be permitted.

Mr. Harrison asked Mr. Taylor if there is not some mention in the ordinance about preventing driveways, rooflines, etc that would cause the flow of one parcel to the next. Mr. Taylor responded that it is only in special flood hazard areas. It does not apply in "X" or "A" zones.

Mr. Harrison said we need to have property owners dump on themselves, not an adjacent property owner.

Ms. Saunders asked for a plan to indicate the number of loads of work. Mr. Taylor said he is doing that now in conjunction with the Dunes and Vegetation ordinance and permitting. They have to show any filling or excavation whatsoever.

Mr. Brownlow said he is confused as to whether this board is looking out to pro-tect the neighbor or to protect the natural resources? The reply was for both.

He does not read the Stormwater Ordinance as protecting flooding on private properties, but as resources and water table, wetlands, wildlife, Bogue Sound.

Ms. Farmer asked about the stormwater that flows from roofs into dry wells or whatever method is taken. Is that being enforced, it was not when she had her house built? Such enforcement should be a priority.

Mr. Taylor said, in past, it was not enforced; however, with the consensus of the new board it is now being enforced. Prior to receiving a final (Certificate of Occupancy) some method of runoff collection must be in place. It can be rock envelopes under overhangs, or leaders off the gutter system.

Ms. Farmer asked if this is too vague? Mr. Taylor said there is good language in the way it is written, but nothing giving the specifics as far as how wide, or how deep to collect the inch and a half. Mr. Art Daniel, a local civil engineer, has worked on some scenarios with different rooflines and how to size a dry well to accommodate runoff from a specific site. Ms. Farmer asked if this is part of a checklist for contractors. Mr. Taylor replied that a copy of that portion of the ordinance has always been attached to the building permit information when it is picked up by the contractor.

Ms. Saunders said she is really upset by the way Pier Pointe had been able to fill and set the buildings so high. She feels that filling for a better view is not adequate, to fill only for rising above a flood zone.

Mr. Taylor said that elevation heights are considered at the time of the initial on site inspection with the grading contractor prior to any land disturbance. If some-one wants to elevate above an adjoining property, a retaining wall is required. It won’t necessarily catch all the flow, but will retain the fill from going on to the other property.

Mr. Harrison asked if we are interested in maintaining domestic stormwater, can that not be required on the same plat you received for the house? He went on to advise that most people had driveways and he was told in 1989 that it had to slope back toward the property, not to the street. Mr. Taylor said a steep driveway, even if it is sloped back to the property six feet, is still going to have water in the street during a heavy rain.

Mr. Brownlow said the consensus of the review committee was that the current ordinance is effective for the means that it is trying to achieve. The Intent of the ordinance is spelled out at the beginning of the chapter and that is to protect our natural resources. He felt we should be more in the business of community protection rather than individual property owners. He did not think the board should try to protect the property value of particular properties, it should be the community and to keep the roads accessible. We must keep our resources free from damage. The ordinance, as written, is a good ordinance. He had several engineers, developers and code officials look at it and they agreed it is a good ordinance. The only addition they would recommend is to "add the culpability to any new construction, repairs or improvements up to "x" %, based on the tax appraisal"; i.e. to add, say, 25% value to your home, you would have to bring the entire structure into compliance with the existing chapter. There is no sure cure for all situations. The town is 85% developed, there is no sense in changing the ordinance now. How would we bring 40-year-old residences into compliance?

There was no response to this observation.

This issue will require further review, with no recommendation at this time.

  1. Doubling of Permit Fees After Working Without Permits. Mr. Brownlow said this is a two-part issue as discussed at the April Review Committee. One - is someone building a deck or miscellaneous weekend jobs, considered a minor violation. A civil penalty of $100.00 and doubling of the permit fees was suggested at the committee. The $100. Civil penalty would be at the discretion of the dune and vegetation protection officer, depending on the intensity and cooperation of the individual.
  2. Review practicality of retaining RMH (Residential Motel-Hotel) and RMF
  3. Stormwater Retention for Residential Dwellings
  4. Wireless Communication – Cary Harrison gave a brief summary of the committee to date. He apologized for the length of time it is taking, but when you see the draft you will see it is quite large. He will be mailing second drafts of this ordinance proposal to each member. He would like to have the Town Board call, possibly a Saturday workshop, to have more input on this ordinance. At that time, there would be a draft three, possibly five drafts, to be considered. If there is no public input session, the town would be shorting itself. Industry representatives would be happy to be on hand to tell what they know about these towers.

    Mr. Davis Schock responded to Mr. Harrison that he was shortchanging himself on this ordinance, he does not feel there need to be four more drafts. He feels Mr. Harrison has done a great job, but does not feel anyone else in this room could do a better job than has already been done.

    Mr. Brownlow agreed with Mr. Schock with the committee’s work, but that he was sure there would be minor "tweaks" that may need attention. He does not see any major rewrite, i.e. withstanding 110 mph wind force.

    Ms. Farmer said it would be difficult for her to comment intelligently, perhaps questions could be posed to industry reps.

    Mr. Harrison said he had found a "pro" on this issue in New York state. He is going to ask that this person look at the ordinance and critique it.

    Mr. Schock wanted to clarify that the ordinance would not allow anyone wanting to build a communications tower to bypass us?

    Mr. Harrison replied that the ordinance would be able to say that the town wants to have towers in specific areas, not in residential areas, not big towers, maybe several short towers, etc. NEPA requires that towers not be put in certain flood zones without a major critical action for environmental assessment. The way the island is laid out is critical and one of the major concerns is the flight path of Bogue Field is over the majority of the commercial district. Co-location is going to be strongly encouraged. The antennae that are on the water towers don’t seem to be a problem for anyone. A large tower with support structures will be an issue for many people. Is it possible for the power company to allow "flower towers" that allow banding of antennae to their poles? We may never see a tower here.

    Ms. Farmer asked if there are any regulations in CAMA about setting towers in the 575’ ORW. Mr. Taylor said he knew of none. Mr. Harrison he saw nothing in CAMA regs, or AEC zones. Mr. Browlow said CAMA exempts public utilities.

    Mr. Taylor advised that if it were in an AEC zone (Area of Environmental Concern), the flood zone would have to be considered.

    Mr. Brownlow brought up that Mr. McLaughlin had mentioned that the flight pattern for low flying aircraft had to be considered. Mr. Harrison asked Mr. Schock to create a map of the town for the different flood zones, and the potential points for a co-location tower.

There being no further business before the board, the motion was made by Ceil Saunders to adjourn, second by David Schock, with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 05/15/2000

May 9, 2000 

Board of Commissioners
Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 05/09/2000

April 17, 2000 

Planning Board

Minutes of Regular Planning Board Meeting

Monday, April 17, 2000


The meeting was called to order by Chairman, Roy Brownlow at 7:00 P.M. Members present: Roy Brownlow, Ceil Saunders, George McLaughlin, Frank Vance, Phil Almeida, and David Schock. Cary Harrison was excused, being out of town.

Also, in attendance: Pete Allen, Town Manager; Carol Angus, Secretary; and Building Inspector, Jim Taylor.

Chairman Brownlow asked for a motion to remove Section 16-4 issues regard-ing wetlands from the agenda. This item is being further reviewed. Phil Almeida made the motion to remove this item from the agenda; Frank Vance seconded with unanimous board approval.

Approval of Minutes of March 20, 2000 – Mr. McLaughlin asked that NAS be changed to MCAS in regard to Cherry Point. Motion to approve the minutes as amended was made by Ceil Saunders, second by George McLaughlin, with unanimous board approval.

Report from Town Manager – Mr. Allen gave the members a brief summary of the agenda for the Town Board Meeting on April 12, 2000.

Report from Building Inspector – James W. Taylor

Type     Valuation
Single family dwellings 8   $1,143,760
Duplex 1   284,960
Miscellaneous 169   400,060
Total 178   $1,828,780

Chairman Brownlow asked how many lots are not yet developed. Mr. Allen said that if the Land Use Plan is correct there should be between 400 to 500 available. Mr. Brownlow then asked, on average, how many residential permits are written. Ms. Angus replied that it usually runs about 115 permits. Mr. Allen advised the board that for a number of years the Inspections Dept. had run in the black, when construction was heavy; now things are slowing down, the department is not generating the resources it did in the past. He felt that 7 to 10 years should see Emerald Isle about as built out as it will be.

COMMENTS: Mr. Bill Reist asked that the Chairman define the abbreviations as each item is addressed. (R1-R-2) Residential/1 and 2 family only; (RMF) Residential Multi-family; (RMH) Residential/Motel/Hotel


Motion to amend the motion to include Items B, C, and D, was made by George McLaughlin, second by David Schock with unanimous board approval to delete the two references to "mean roof height" in Sections 19-102 (RMH); 19-103 (Mobile Home) and 19-106 (Institutional).

  1. Section 19-101 (R2-R2-RMF) to limit building height to 40 feet.

    Mr. Brownlow said he felt that a correction be made to the proposal if he understood what the committee had recommended. The roof height not be 40’ from mean roof height, but 40’ from the highest roof ridge. The board agreed that this is the recommendation they had made, to the highest roof ridge.

    Motion was made by George McLaughlin, second to Phil Almeida and unanimous board approval that the recommendation to the Town Board is to remove the two references "mean roof height of" be deleted.

Discussion determined that the amendment was correctly worded as was discussed and recommended. Ms. Saunders asked if this request had not been handled in 1997. Ms. Angus replied that it was, but never was codified. The Inspections Department had been enforcing one access to the sound from that time.

Motion was made by Ceil Saunders, second by Dave Schock to recommend that each soundfront lot be limited to one access to Bogue Sound, the board unanimously approved the motion.

Chairman Brownlow asked that since Items F and H are similar that they be considered in that order.

  1. Section 6-82 – To limit each lot to one access per lot (to Bogue Sound).
  2. Section 6-83 – to delete entirely and refer to N.C. Building Code.

Mr. Brownlow asked Mr. Taylor if this amendment would make his job easier, or more teeth in the mechanism. Mr. Taylor said that the ordinance was not in conformance with N.C. State Building Code. When changes are made to the code, it conflicts with the ordinance.

Phil Almeida made motion, second by Ceil Sanders with unanimous approval in favor of the motion to delete the building specifications and refer to N.C. Building Code in sections 6-83 and 6-85.

  1. Section 6-85 – to delete entirely and refer to N.C. Building Code.

Motion to recommend the amendment to read "Maximum length of pier shall be one hundred (100) feet from the high-water mark, unless permitted by the Coastal Area Management Agency District office, however, not to exceed four hundred (400) feet, including any "T" or "L" additions and, the "T" or "L" platform not to exceed two hundred (200) square feet" made by David Schock, second by Ceil Saunders, with unanimous board approval in favor of the motion.

  1. Section 6-84 (c)– Fixed Piers definition.
  1. Section 6-102 and 103 to limit one access per lot to ocean and refer to N.C. Building Code.

    Mr. Brownlow advised that the State does not become involved with the specifications for accesses for single family or duplexes. Also, there is no reference in current codification as to where the references came from that are specified in the ordinance.

    Mr. Schock asked Mr. Taylor to explain about the stable line of vegetation. Mr. Taylor explained the procedure to advise that at this vegetation line is where the walkway must end then a landing and steps to the east or west.

    Ms. Saunders read from previous (1997) notes, that this request, too, had been recommended at that time and not codified.

    Mr. Schock said he is concerned about the damage done by the dune alteration to allow the platforms. Mr. Taylor said that CAMA considers the driving of pilings as "negligible" alteration to a dune. Also, that the area should be revegetated after putting down pilings and trampling.

    Mr. Vance said he felt going over the pushed up sand with an access made more sense than to allow the renters to trample all the new pushed sand. If there is a walkway, they might follow that.

    Mr. Taylor advised that to beach bulldoze it is to reinforce the dune face that you have. Typically, you have only a pile of pushed up sand, not a dune. If he allowed people to take structures out over that sand, when it washed away the access is out over the beach, freestanding. Mr. Vance said there should be some type of platform to put on the sand. Mr. Taylor said they can put in sand fencing and some ingenious ideas for a temporary type steps.

    Ms. Angus advised the board that at her CAMA workshop the week before one of the speakers commented on what a good job Mr. Taylor was doing in this regard at Emerald Isle.

    Having the Town or individuals put signs on the property saying "Keep off the dunes" was discussed.

    Mr. Allen asked if he understood correctly, that if beach access was lost, that we are telling them that they can have only one walkway back, and has anybody questioned that? Ms. Angus responded that only one party had challenged it. Mr. Allen was concerned that people who were able to build for each unit, now being told they cannot, could create a problem. Owners who do not get along are an inevitable problem. Mr. Taylor said he was involved in quite a number with Bertha, Fran, and Floyd. He asks each party how he wants to get to the beach. He does a site visit from that drawing prior to a permit. If there is a duplex that had two walkways and lost their steps only, they will be able to get back both sets of steps. For structures that lost back to the deck of the house, he is requiring only one access per lot. Any access that is not destroyed can be repaired to the first line of stable vegetation. The owners have accepted this, and the owners are tired of paying to replace two sets after each storm.

    Motion was made by Ceil Saunders, second by David Schock to recommend that Section 6-102 "Beach walkway structures shall be limited to one (1)per lot, with one two hundred (200) square foot or less sitting area, placed landward of the first line of natural stable vegetation. In some instances, a survey may be required by Dunes and Vegetation Protection (DVPO) to make setback determination. Walkway to terminate at first line of natural stable vegetation. Steps placement to beach, to be determined by Dunes and Vegetation Protection Officer (DVPO)."

    And, Section 6-103 to read "Construction must conform to all applicable State construction requirements." Members voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

  2. Section 19-134(11) to limit temporary signs (banners) only to non-profit organizations only for 30 days.

    Mr. Brownlow asked what had prompted this amendment from the Inspections Department. Ms. Angus said the biggest issue is the policing. They go up without permits, counting the 100 days, take them down and put them up again. The original 100 days was to give them from Memorial Day until Labor Day. "Open" is not a Special Event as most of them go up. A permit will not be required for a recognized non-profit organization. David Schock said he would like to see the banner be placed on a permanent structure not to be allowed on stakes along the right of way. A fence would qualify as a permanent structure.

    Mr. Almeida asked about a group of kids who want to have a jazz festival. Ms. Angus said they would have to prove they are a recognized organization and non-profit.

    Mr. Brownlow asked about someone who put up a banner for 30 days, took it down and put it up another 30 days. Ms. Angus said she didn’t think that would happen with a recognized organization such as Shriners, Mile of Hope, etc. It will come down to interpretation.

    Mr. Allen highly advised that this change and the sign ordinance be distri-buted to every business in Emerald Isle.

    Motion was made by David Schock recommending to the Town Board that Section 19-134(11) be amended to read: "Temporary signs as defined in Section 132 shall be permitted provided such signs are for the express purpose of a special event sponsored by a non-profit organization. Temporary signs shall not exceed 32 square feet in size and must be attached to a building or permanent structure. Temporary signs may be displayed for a period not exceeding thirty (30) continuous days". The second by Frank Vance with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

  3. Section 19-101,102,103 to prohibit swimming pools in CAMA Area of Environmental Concern

    Mr. Brownlow asked Mr. Taylor if the intent was to limit the pools from the entire CAMA area of environmental concern, as opposed to the CAMA setback line? Mr. Taylor said it was in the beginning; however, he had thought it through and the intent is not to prohibit the use of pools on oceanfront properties, just to limit them within the oceanfront setback. This is only to prevent the pools from erosion from the ocean and falling to the beachfront. Mr. Brownlow gave the members of the board a quick description of the difference between Area of Environmental Concern (i.e. 170’) and the Ocean Erodible Area (i.e. 60’).

    David Schock made motion, second by Frank Vance to have "Sections 19-101(9), 19-102(9), and 103(7) be amended to read:"Accessory Building/Swimming Pool Location –No accessory building shall be erected in any setback or required side yards. No swimming pool shall be placed or constructed within the Coastal Area Management Agency (CAMA, Coastal Resources Commission) setback area as established by the ocean erodible area." The motion carried unanimously.


Items to be reviewed for recommendation at later date (June 30, 2000)

Mr. Brownlow said this must be very carefully looked at, not something that is done in a week’s time. He wants to appoint an ad hoc committee on how it would impact property values, tax base.

Mr. Allen was concerned about all the amendments that had been recommended earlier in these specific zones, now a consideration to change some zoning. Mr. Brownlow said there is no plan, as yet, to make any zoning changes. He does not see doing away with any zoning in particular. He would hope there is no intention to do away with RMH.

Mr. Allen said that is not his understanding. The West End S/D Preliminary Plat is RMH. A motel could be placed on that property, possibly with a package treatment plant. He understands that could be changed to R2. Ms. Farmer added that there are some other RMH areas along the sound that are among residential areas that could be developed into motels or hotels development. Mr. Allen asked if the ultimate goal is to limit density? Ms. Farmer replied "to keep residential neighborhoods residential". You could still have hotels and motels, just not in residential neighborhoods.

Mr. Brownlow said he is not envisioning doing away with RMH zoning. There are some areas that RMH may be reduced, but leave other RMH districts. He sees both sides of the issue.

Mr. Vance said, from the letter he had before him from the Mayor, that the board is concerned about tearing down blocks of existing homes and being able to build a motel or hotel. He feels it should stay RMH.

Mr. Brownlow said he saw no problem with leaving the Point Emerald Villas block, or Sound of the Sea in RMH and a hotel be built. He feels it is vital to keep RMH. He also feels it would be catastrophic to try to redo the entire zoning.

Ms. Saunders said when people buy property, they are aware of zoning.

Ms. Farmer tried to clarify the board’s standing: "What the board is trying to do is take residential areas that are currently residential and maintain them as residential, protect them under zoning so they are zoned appro-priately for what is already there. No one wants to turn Sound of the Sea into single family." (There were then several mingled conversations that could not be discerned).

Mr. Brownlow then referred this topic to Review Committee on April 19, to appoint an ad hoc committee.

There was some discussion as to whether the use might be a Permitted Use or a Special Use in B2.

This issue was referred to Review Committee on April 19, 2000.

  1. Doubling of permit fees for work without permits.

    David Schock asked what "work without permits" meant. Mr. Brownlow responded it is those people who begin a project without first obtaining a building permit.

    Mr. McLaughlin said he felt there should be a fine as well as doubling the fees. It would make it worth their while to not begin without a permit. Mr. Brownlow said Atlantic Beach has the policy of $100.00 fine plus doubling the permit fees. Mr. Taylor said he felt that doubling the fees was adequate. Mr. Brownlow said that Morehead City fees are "steep".

    Mr. Allen said that the problem with the draft the town attorney had before them listed the Town Board as "judge & jury" in an appeals process. They may be some legalities in that. Mr. Taylor is now checking with the League of Municipalities and Institute of Government where a person would go with an appeals process.

    Mayor Pro-Tem, Emily Farmer, added that the board of commissioners was not comfortable to have people appear before them to "lash" them.

    It did not seem like the appropriate place to go. She wonders if doubling the fees alone would solve the problem, particularly in clearing problems, going $50 to $100 (isn’t much).

    Mr. Brownlow asked Mr. Taylor at what point a Dunes & Vegetation (grading) Permit is required. Mr. Taylor said 4 or more loads of fill; or grading and installing for septic system. Less than four loads of fill requires only authorization from the Inspector to go ahead. That is determined by how it will affect the adjacent property owner.

    Ms. Saunders is concerned about the requirements that have to be met by the County Health Department. They sometimes require more than was originally intended.

    Mr. Almeida asked how many jobs were found to be without permits. Mr. Taylor advised it is not usually in the residential homes construction, it is in additions, decks, mechanical changeouts, electrical changes, there are about seven a month.

    Mr. Brownlow said the consensus seems to be to double the fees, plus a civil penalty added to that. He asked that it be considered at the review committee meeting on April 19 2000.

  2. Reviewing the necessity and practicality of retaining Residential/Motel/Hotel and Residential/Multi-Family Zoning.
  3. Review stormwater Ordinance, Chapter 16, especially in design for 1 ½" of runoff from single-family and duplex residences.

    Mr. Brownlow referred this topic on to Review Committee on April 19, to pick up where the previous Planning Board had left this issue.

  4. Consider addition of "Fish Market" to Permitted/Special Use Table

Motion to adjourn made by Ceil Saunders, second by Phil Almeida with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 04/17/2000
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