January 10, 2017

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Comments from Town Manager - Monthly Statistical Report

Bogue Inlet Drive Improvements, Bicycle Path

I am currently working on bid packages for this project, and plan to release them to potential contractors during the week of January 9.  I hope to have competitive bids in hand by late January / early February, and present a construction contract recommendation to the Board at the February 14 meeting. 

Planning Board and Board of Commissioners to Review Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update

The Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update is essentially complete, and a draft plan has been provided to all Steering Committee members, Planning Board members, and the Mayor and Board of Commissioners.  A special joint meeting to review and discuss the draft plan is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18 at 3 pm in the Town Board Meeting Room.  Depending on the quantity and substance of any desired changes to the draft plan, the Board of Commissioners may wish to consider formal approval of the new plan at the February 14 meeting. 

2017 Street Resurfacing Contract

We will be soliciting bids for the 2017 street resurfacing contract this month, and I hope to present a contract recommendation to the Board at the February 14 meeting.  The preliminary street list includes Bogue Inlet Drive between NC 58 and the pier (as part of the other planned improvements), Fairview Drive, Mangrove / Old Ferry Road (from CVS to Sound Drive), Fredeen Street / Court, 9th Street, 10th Street, and perhaps a segment of Oceanview Drive.  These streets are considered to be among the poorest condition street segments in the Town.  Please let me know if you are aware of other street segments that may need resurfacing this year or in the next few years. 

Annual Budget Planning Workshop – Thursday, January 26

This meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 26, beginning at 8:30 am and likely lasting until early or mid-afternoon.  I have attached a draft meeting agenda for the Board’s review.  Please let me know if there are any other items you’d like the Board to discuss at this meeting, which marks the beginning of the FY 17-18 budget process. 

Fire Department Personnel Grant

I have scheduled Board discussion about a potential Fire Department personnel grant for the January 26 budget planning workshop meeting.  Depending on the Board’s direction at that meeting I may schedule a grant resolution for Board consideration at the February 14 meeting.  More details will be provided on January 26, but the Federal grant would essentially enable the Town to add additional firefighters for approximately $13,000 each for the each of the first two years.  The grant would begin to phase out in the third year, with the Town responsible for the full annual cost in the fourth year. 

Osprey Ridge Storm Water Pump Station

The Town’s contractor, SunLand Builders, has not yet reinitiated construction on the new storm water pump station.  I continue to encourage SunLand to begin work again, as some of the nearby residents are expressing frustration with the delay.  Most of the excavation work associated with the project is complete, however, an approximately 160 ft. long pipe segment must still be installed directly behind existing homes on Daisy Court and Stroud Street.  I am attempting to at least get that work completed sooner rather than later, which would only leave the actual pump station installation within Emerald Isle Woods Park, and would enable the nearby residents to “get back to normal”. 

Coyote Management Program

As of January 5, a total of 10 coyotes have been trapped and removed as a result of this program, which began on December 1.  A total of 4 coyotes were taken from private property, while 5 have been taken from the Emerald Isle Public Boating Access Area and 1 from the Town Government Complex.  Thus far, there have been no issues or concerns with the program, which will continue through February 28.

Controlled Deer Hunt

The Emerald Isle Police Department has initiated the 2017 controlled hunt, and will be seeking to remove 25 – 30 deer during January and February (if necessary).  The first night of hunting occurred on January 4, and resulted in the taking of 7 deer.  All hunting activities are occurring in the middle of the night on public right-of-ways and public property, and precautions are being taken to avoid contact with residents and visitors.  All harvested deer meat will be donated to feed the hungry at Hope Mission in Morehead City.   

CleanUp Work Completed Along NC 58 Between Coast Guard Road and Bridge

The Town’s contractor recently completed the removal of dead vegetation and unsightly scrub vegetation from the east side of the NC 58 right of way between Coast Guard Road and the NC 58 bridge.  This area looks much nicer than it had looked after Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative removed significant vegetation under the power lines last spring.  I have tasked Parks Maintenance staff with keeping this area neatly groomed in the future, and have asked them to consider other ideas to improve the appearance of this area.

New Park Gates

The Town’s contractor is expected to install new park gates (similar to those at the Eastern Ocean Regional Access and the beach vehicle ramps) at the Western Ocean Regional Access and Emerald Isle Woods Park later this month.  The new gates are more sturdy and attractive.

New Kayak Storage Rack at EI Woods Park

Parks Maintenance staff recently constructed and installed a new kayak storage rack near the water in Emerald Isle Woods Park.  The new rack is available for use by the public on a first-come, first-served basis, and will enable kayakers to store their vessels in the park in a convenient location at no charge (the individual must provide his / her own lock).  We hope to add similar racks at the Emerald Isle Public Boating Access Area and potentially at Cedar Street Park in the future.

Storm Water Improvement / New Sidewalk Stub Near Speedway Gas Station

I have tasked Public Works staff with installing new storm water pipes at the northeast corner of Coast Guard Road and NC 58 (near the Speedway gas station) in another attempt to more effectively drain storm water from the road in this area.  As you know, this area routinely floods during and after most rainfall events, and unfortunately (due to the topographical constraints at this location), previous efforts have not resolved the problem. 

We are not certain if this new approach will be successful, but it will essentially involve installing overflow pipes out of the existing infiltration basin in this area, with the water routed to the grassy swale between NC 58 and the existing sidewalk nearby.  We will also be reopening an older pipe underneath of NC 58 that connects the north and south shoulders of NC 58 in this area in an attempt to drain this area over to the south side of NC 58.  In conjunction with this work, we will also install a small sidewalk connector from the existing sidewalk to the Speedway gas station driveway entrance.   

Cape Emerald Discharge Pipe Replacement

I have submitted the necessary CAMA permit application for this project, and am awaiting formal issuance of the permit.  The NC Surface Water Quality section has approved the project, however, I am still awaiting the approval of the NC Shellfish Sanitation section, which is required before the CAMA permit can be issued.  I recently met again on site with State agency representatives, and hope to resolve any outstanding issues so that (hopefully) the CAMA permit will be issued in the coming weeks.  Upon issuance of the CAMA permit, I will solicit price quotes from area contractors for this work.  The FY 16-17 budget includes a total of $32,500 for this work, which I hope will be sufficient.   

NC 58 Intersection Improvements Not Included in New State Transportation Plan

Due to the large number of projects, limited State funding, and the inclusion of a few very expensive projects in our region, the Town’s requested NC 58 intersection improvements (potentially including roundabouts or other signal, lane improvements) were not included in the new State Transportation Improvement Plan released last month.  I will continue to work with NCDOT officials to identify alternative State or Federal funding sources for potential intersection improvements in Emerald Isle in the future.

CVS Entrance Re-definition / Old Ferry Road Sidewalk

Despite numerous attempts, I still have not received any return communications from the owner of the CVS building, and have scheduled Board discussion of this item on the January 26 budget planning workshop. 

26th Annual St. Patrick’s Festival – Saturday, March 11

Parks and Recreation staff are working hard on the 2017 festival, which will be held on Saturday, March 11 at Emerald Plantation Shopping Center.  Weather cooperating, we expect another big crowd in Emerald Isle that weekend.  Children’s amusement rides will again be offered on Friday night before the festival, and this early opportunity was popular with locals in 2016.

Emerald Isle Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K Races – Saturday, March 25

The Race Committee is hard at work on the 2017 races, which will be held on Saturday, March 25 at the Western Ocean Regional Access.  The Committee hopes to match or exceed the $62,000 profit generated by the 2016 races.  The Crystal Coast Autism Center is this year’s charity, with 50% of race profit going to this agency and 50% toward the Town’s bicycle path network.  As of January 5, a total of 270 runners have registered for the races, which is significantly more than this time last year.   

EI Woods Park Disc Golf Course

A local resident, Andy Johnson, has designed a new 9-hole disc golf course to be installed in Emerald Isle Woods Park (away from existing trails), and has secured several sponsors that will enable us to order the necessary equipment.  We expect to place the equipment order in the coming weeks, and have everything installed later this winter or early spring. 

New Small Storm Water Relay Pump - Bogue Court

Public Works is still waiting for the water table to subside on Bogue Court in order to proceed with the installation of the new small storm water relay pump in this location, but hopes to proceed with installation later this month.  The new system will discharge water into the dune field at The Point, and should effectively resolve standing water issues on Bogue Court. 

Condominium Deck Inspection Program

Town Planner Josh Edmonson will be meeting with condominium complex representatives and management companies on January 11 to begin to develop a new, voluntary condominium deck inspection program for the Town’s 9 condominium complexes.  The new program will likely incorporate the basic elements of the vacation rental deck inspection program, but will also likely have some key differences.  We hope to have this new program implemented by April 1.

Unified Development Ordinance Simplification

Upon Board approval of the new Comprehensive Land Use Plan, Josh Edmondson and I will be working on a significantly simplified UDO to present to the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners in the coming months.  My goal is to eliminate all unnecessary regulations and confusing language, and create a simple, reader-friendly ordinance that achieves the Town’s most important development policy goals.

Coastal Awnings Sign

This sign is in the process of being replaced with signage advertising an Emerald Isle-based business, and the transition should occur very soon.

Keller Williams Sign

This sign has been removed, and we expect it to be replaced with an Emerald Isle-based business in the near future.

New Island Harbor Marina Signs

Town Planner Josh Edmondson is working with the owner of the marina to replace the 3 existing signs located on the east side of NC 58 between the bridge and Coast Guard Road.  The replacement of these off-premises signs was made possible by a sign ordinance amendment approved this summer.  The preliminary design of the new signs is very attractive, and should result in a nicer appearance in that area.

Bogue Inlet Navigation Dredging

The US Army Corps of Engineers has not completed any recent dredging in Bogue Inlet, and based on recent conversations it now appears that the next dredging event may occur in April.  The Corps is also scheduled to perform additional dredging in the channel leading to the Coast Guard Station at that time, and it is likely the two projects will be done in the same mobilization.  I am hopeful that the next dredging event will result in a more central alignment of the Bogue Inlet connecting channel.  The April timeframe is desired, as it should result in a safe, well-defined navigation channel just in time for the warmer weather boating season. 

New NO WAKE ZONE Buoys in Boat Ramp Channel Near Archers Point

In response to concerns from nearby residents about the inadequacy of the existing NO WAKE ZONE buoys near Archers Point, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission will soon install larger, more visible, and better anchored buoys in this area.  It is hoped that this improvement will promote more compliance with the NO WAKE ZONE in this area.

Federal Shore Protection Project Authorized

After 17 years, the US Congress recently formally authorized the Bogue Banks Shore Protection Project.  The project would theoretically result in periodic beach nourishment in Emerald Isle by the US Army Corps of Engineers, with the Federal government funding approximately 50% of future costs, over a 50-year period.  This authorization is significant, however, it is unlikely that Federal appropriations will be provided for the project any time soon. 

As you know, the Town continues to partner with the County and the other towns on Bogue Banks on a locally funded, long-term beach nourishment program.  To all of our credit, we have established effective funding and permitting mechanisms to enable this work to occur in the future as needed, when needed, and where needed.  In addition to proceeding with the locally funded program, we will still continue efforts to secure Federal funding in the future, particularly any Federal funds that may become available as part of a Federal infrastructure program or in response to a Federally-declared disaster.