November 14, 2017

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

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

SUBJECT:           Resolution Defining Emerald Isle Central Business District - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the attached resolution formally defining the Emerald Isle central business district at the November 14 meeting. 

The attached resolution references the attached map and defines the central business district as the land area centered on NC 58, Islander Drive, and Bogue Inlet Drive in central Emerald Isle between the Emerald Isle bridge and the Town Government complex.  This area includes all properties currently developed or zoned for commercial uses and mixed-uses, and, with the exception of a very small area in eastern Emerald Isle, is the location of all commercial activity in Emerald Isle.  This land area includes approximately 200 acres, or 6% of the approximately 3,200 acres of land in Emerald Isle.   

As you know, the Town acquired property at 203 Islander Drive earlier this year in order to remove abandoned features and improve the aesthetic quality of this area, pursue economic development goals, and promote quality redevelopment in this area.  The abandoned features have been removed and the aesthetic quality of this area has already been improved, and work continues on economic development and quality redevelopment goals.  At its October 10 meeting, the Board directed the Town Manager to take steps to offer this 1.8-acre tract of land for sale to a private development group, and I have begun work on this effort.  There are several methods available in the North Carolina General Statutes by which the Town can proceed with the sale of this land, and I continue to evaluate different methods to determine the most strategic approach for the Town to achieve its goals.  One statute, NCGS 160A-458.3 – Downtown development projects, may ultimately be advantageous for the Town to use to facilitate the sale of 203 Islander Drive.  In an effort to provide as much flexibility for the Board as possible when a potential buyer and desired development project are identified, it is helpful for the Board to formally define the central business district, or the “downtown”, in Emerald Isle.  The attached resolution and map would meet the requirements of NCGS 160A-458.3, and I recommend the Board approve the attached resolution.  Ultimately, the Town may wind up utilizing an alternative method available in the NC General Statutes for the land sale, however, the attached resolution will provide additional flexibility to the Town.

I am currently working to finalize a formal Request for Proposals from interested development groups for the 1.8-acre tract of land at 203 Islander Drive, and hope to release this RFP in the coming weeks.  My intent is for development groups to submit proposals that outline the proposed land purchase price, the proposed private development, and any investment in public facilities as part of the project.  The Town would receive proposals from interested development groups in the coming months, evaluate the proposals, seek public input, and then determine the most advantageous proposal for Emerald Isle.  After identifying the best proposal, the Town would negotiate the finer details with the selected development group, and the Town would then proceed with the sale of the land using the selected method available under the NC General Statutes.  The end goal for this effort is to promote quality redevelopment in this area that is consistent with the Town’s family beach image and small-town atmosphere, that results in additional economic development in Emerald Isle, and that will ideally include additional public benefits for the people of Emerald Isle.

I look forward to discussing this issue with the Board at the November 14 meeting.