MINUTES OF REGULAR SCHEDULED MEETING
OF THE EMERALD ISLE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, AUGUST 14, 2001 – 7:00 P.M. – TOWN HALL
Mayor Barbara Harris called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. Answering Roll Call were Commissioners Wootten, McElraft, Trainham and Murphy and Mayor Harris. Absent was Commissioner Farmer.
Commissioner Trainham moved, Commissioner Murphy seconded and the Board voted unanimously, with a vote of 4-0 to excuse Commissioner Farmer due to business out of town.
Others present were Attorney Derek Taylor, Town Manager Frank Rush, Assistant Town Manager Georgia “Mitsy” Overman, Town Clerk Carolyn Custy, Police Chief Mark Wilson, Parks and Recreation Director Alesia Sanderson, Planning Board Chairman Ceil Saunders, Fire Chief William Walker, Public Works Director Robert Conrad and Inspections Department Head Carol Angus.
Mayor Harris welcomed everyone to the Town Meeting. She also welcomed Troop 446 Boy Scouts of America from the western Carteret Boy Scout Troop and Mr. Ken Lacy who is the Assistant Scout Master. The troop is working on their citizenship badge.
Mayor Harris also informed the audience that the town is in need of applications for an alternate number 2 on the Board of Adjustment. She asked that if anyone is interested on serving on the Board of Adjustment to please contact her with a resume’ that will be forwarded on to the Board.
Mayor Harris also announced that Commissioner John Wootten has been appointed to the representative for Emerald Isle on the Carteret County EMS Advisory Council.
Mayor Harris stated she is glad to be here. Last month she was rushed to the hospital and missed the last meeting. It turned out to be spasmal reflux and everything is fine. She thanked everyone for the phone calls and get well cards she received.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA.
Mayor Harris called for a motion to adopt the Agenda and asked if there were any changes or comments.
Commissioner Trainham moved to adopt the agenda although there are a few spoof-o-graphical errors. Commissioner Wootten seconded and the Board voted unanimously, with a vote of 4-0, for approval.
Commissioner Trainham said he would have to rephrase the motion for the Agenda. There are no spoof-o-graphical errors in the agenda but there are a few in the minutes. Commissioner Trainham moved for approval of the Consent Agenda that contained the Minutes of Budget Workshop of June 22, 2001, Minutes of Budget Public Hearing of June 28, 2001, Minutes of Storm Water Workshop of July 2, 2001, Minutes of Regular Meeting of July 10, 2001 and Minutes of Storm Water Workshop of July 11, 2001. Commissioner Wootten seconded and the Board voted unanimously for approval.
AWARD OF CONTRACT TO COASTAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING FOR SURVEY/GEOTECHNICAL SERVICES AND ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS FOR POINT EROSION.
Mr. Frank Rush, Town Manager, explained that Coastal Science and Engineering firm of Columbia, South Carolina has submitted a proposal for performing survey/geotechnical services and an analysis of four alternatives to address the erosion problems at the Point. The total amount of the contract is not to exceed $64,760 and invoices will be paid on actual time and materials.
Copies of the proposal and the list of tasks to be performed have been incorporated into these minutes and are attached at the end.
If the Town should choose to proceed with one of these alternatives as a solution to the erosion problems at the Point, the work completed in Tasks 1,2, and 3 in the list of tasks will be a necessary component of an environmental document and environmental permit applications.
Coastal Science and Engineering will complete this work by early November and present the findings to the Town Board at the November meeting. The expense of this
contract will be charged to the Town’s Beach Nourishment Fund that has a current balance of $319,000.
Commissioner McElraft asked if this would answer any of the questions the Corps of Engineers had before they get any further with the permitting? Mr. Rush answered it would get us started on the road to answering those questions. Any solution that is going to happen at the Point is going to involve an impact statement. This survey and geotechnical work will be the first step in developing the environmental assessment, taking an instrumental approach to solving this problem and taking the information and looking at the four different alternatives and have that report come back to the Commissioners to decide if and which one they want to do. At that time we will go into the environmental assessment and environmental statement to answer the remaining questions of the Corps concerns.
Mr. John Kilgore, 105 Bogue Court, which is on the Point, stated he has been living there 12 years and is very aware of the situation there. There has been a continuous ongoing problem there for approximately 5 years now. The Town has been aware of it and everyone around has been aware of it. His children were born here, it is his home, not a vacation home, and unfortunately it is not going to be the place where he can live. He will have to move. It is a dangerous area. He related to a drowning last week and emergency services could not get to the man because of the difficulty of getting down to the Point to get to him. There are no accesses there anymore. Mr. Kilgore related that the Corps of Engineers have not done the proper job to keep the inlet navigable. It should be 6½ foot but the Corps has just left and he bets it is not 4 feet there now. The citizens have put $50,000 putting sandbags out in front of the houses. Today CAMA will allow them to put sandbags 20 feet from the houses. If the bags were not placed, the houses will have been breached and the water would run down the town road.
Mr. Kilgore said if these studies are not done, do the steps the Corps is requiring from the town to protect the inlet, then we are taking a step backwards. If these things are not accomplished, the Corps is not going to do a thing. Mayor Harris replied that every time their requirements are met, they come up with new ones.
Mayor Harris thanked Mr. Kilgore for writing the letters and contacting the people he has taken time to contact. Mr. Kilgore said it is hard for people who live on the Pointe to understand why we are not doing it.
Commissioner Murphy asked Mr. Kilgore if he would say this would be a step in the right direction? Mr. Kilgore said they are saying there is no other way to relocate
the inlet. He went on to say that if this is not done, the only way to address the situation is to go to the next step.
There were no further comments from the public.
Commissioner Trainham said Mr. Kilgore’s point was well taken. The Board has been concerned about the situation at the Point and he agrees that it is a dangerous place to be. He cannot think of anything better to try to do at the present time than to proceed with this proposal. He does not think there is any problem, at least from his point of view, and he feels this board is going to do everything they can to get some action at the Point. He related that Mr. Kilgore has indicated the difficulty with the Corps of Engineers and he does not know if they will listen to a town board or not but the board is going to do all it can to try to correct the situation.
Commissioner McElraft commented about the dredge working down at the Point and said that Donna Moffatt had indicated that the side cast dredge was not supposed to be working there, that it should be a hopper dredge. She asked Mr. Rush if we checked on this and what were the results? Town Manger Rush said he has a letter out that he is waiting for answers on this question and several others. He has not received a reply yet. He is looking into it further.
Commissioner McElraft said it makes no sense to her that they are dredging down there, causing more erosion, when they are only dredging where boats can only get a 4 foot depth. She does not know if there is any action to make them stop dredging. Mayor Harris said they would not stop. We have already been through that. They have to keep it open. It will not be allowed to close because then the Sound would not flush.
Commissioner Wootten moved, Commissioner McElraft seconded and the board voted unanimously, 4-0, to approve the contract with Coastal Science and Engineering for Survey/Geotechnical Services and Alternatives Analysis for the Point erosion.
AWARD OF CONTRACT TO MOFFATT & NICHOL ENGINEERS FOR SURVEY/GEOTECHNICAL SERVICES AND COORDINATION WITH PERMITTING AGENCIES FOR COAST GUARD ROAD STORM WATER PROJECT.
Mayor Harris announced the next item is to authorize the Town Manager to enter into a contract with Moffatt & Nichol Engineers for Survey/Geotechnical Services and Coordination with Permitting Agencies for Coast Guard Road Storm Water Project.
Mr. Rush, Town Manager, reminded the board that on July 18, Moffatt & Nichol
presented an overview of the proposed storm water project to representatives from the Corps of Engineers and various other state agencies. The purpose of the meeting was to receive feedback from the agencies regarding the ability to receive the necessary federal and state permits for the Coast Guard storm water project. The reaction from the agencies was positive, however since the project is an innovative project, the regulations of the agencies do not necessarily provide the appropriate guidance for a project of this type. They did express a willingness to work with Moffatt & Nichol and the Town to permit the project but could not provide any assurances until an actual permit application has been submitted.
Several comments expressed by the agencies on July 18 was (1) the degree of disturbance to the existing wetlands on the 40.7 acre tract and (2) the discharge of treated storm water to adjacent ORW waters in Bogue Sound. This contract with Moffatt & Nichol is being presented to the Board at this time to develop responses to the agencies’ comments and seek additional comment from other federal agencies to determine if there are concerns from these agencies that could prevent the Town from receiving all necessary permits. This contract will provide a greater understanding of the geotechnical characteristics of the site and how these will affect the magnitude of discharge, if any, of treated storm water to Bogue Sound. The total amount of this contract is $62,440.00 that will come from the Storm Water Fund Account. That account has a balance of $467,000.00 at present.
A copy of the proposal has been incorporated into these Minutes at the end.
Commissioner Wootten said he attended the July 18th session and said we have to get “Yes from the world” in order to try to pin them down. This is a logical next step. He is pleased that the initial work here will allow the board to submit this to the Corps of Engineers so that they can coordinate with the Fish and Wildlife and all U.S. Agencies and that can be done fairly rapidly so that we should know by the end of the year. This will allow the town to get approval at that level for this project and this, in his mind, is probably the hardest level achievement of approval because of the environmental assessments, the environmental impact, etc. He would encourage the board to be in favor of this step.
Mr. Rush said the work that is being done here, if the board does move forward with the project and we do prepare for the environmental assessment and impact statement, this work will apply toward that and will help to get a permit at that time.
Commissioner McElraft asked “When should this work be completed?” Mr. Rush answered, “We think it will be completed at the end of November of this year.” Commissioner Wootten mentioned about the part that has to do with the Corps of Engineers and the delineation of wetlands. Mr. Rush said it takes a long time to review with the Corps of Engineers on wetlands delineation.
Commissioner Trainham moved, Commissioner Murphy seconded and the Board voted, 4-0, to authorize the Town Manager to enter into a contract with Moffatt & Nichol for survey/geotechnical services and coordination with permitting agencies for the Coast Guard road storm water project.
DISCUSSION – SWIMMING POOLS IN OCEAN SETBACK AREA.
Mayor Harris reminded the Board that approximately 3 months ago, this item was discussed. It is now being brought up again by the Inspections Department. They would like to see the Board take some action on it.
Commissioner Trainham commented that the Coastal Resources Commission has recently adopted a new rule that will prohibit swimming pools in the ocean setback area beginning in August 2002. This has been brought before the Board a number of times and as a result of the Board’s action the Town was forced to permit 10 swimming pools that are guaranteed to cause, sometime in the future, headaches. Commissioner Trainham continued, that is not saying oceanfront property owners cannot have swimming pools, it is saying pools are inappropriate in a hazardous area. He is in favor of the Board proceeding with some kind of ordinance that will supersede the 2002 date.
Mayor Harris said, “The Inspections Department needs to be informed as to what the intentions of the Board are.”
Commissioner McElraft asked Mrs. Angus about a “V” Zone lot and an “X” Zone lot. She asked if they put a swimming pool in, on a “V” Zone lot, if they could do any work around it? Mrs. Angus confirmed that they could only do landscaping. In an “X” Zone you could do work around it. Mrs. Angus said there was not many “X” Zone lots left on oceanfront except in Oceanview Subdivision where there are several. Mrs. Angus stated this was not going to disallow swimming pools on oceanfront lots at all, only in the 60-foot setback area in the first line of vegetation. Commissioner McElraft’s question was that they could actually dig out fill and damage the dunes if this is not stopped now? Mrs. Angusanswered “Yes”. Commissioner McElraft said she has been reluctant to do this before because CRC had not made a decision on it but now she is in favor of this since CRC has written regulations, it has been to Public Hearings and everything will not go into effect until August 2002. Her only question is that now that this is going to come to a Public Hearing by the Town, does Mrs. Angus think there will be more permitting done within the next month than there normally would be? Mrs.Angus said she does not think there will be a big flurry, maybe one-half dozen and she feels very strongly about this. Commissioner McElraft implied she is certainly for protecting the dunes as much as the town can and now that CRC has made the decision on it and the State is going to stand behind it in August 2002, she feels the board has legal standing here to adopt an ordinance.
Commissioner Wootten said he voted against this in the past for the same reason. He did not like the idea of getting out in front of CRC on property rights issues. They are the governing body of the domain, they are the experts and he did not feel this board, or himself, should try to supersede that. That situation has changed with the CRC ruling and he too would now be in favor of this. Commissioner Wootten suggested that the Board direct the staff to draft changes to the ordinance in order to allow sufficient coverage on this from the public, to have this as a discussion item in September and a vote in October.
Commissioner Murphy moved that the staff be directed to draft an ordinance, present it to the Planning Board in their August meeting, present it to the Town Board in their September meeting and after the Public Hearing the Board can adopt such amendment if so desired. Commissioner Wootten questioned going back through the Planning Board. Mrs. Angus said this has been visited in June of last year and there has already been an Amendment drawn up by the Attorney and she does not see that any change be made to anything he has already done. Town Attorney Taylor commented if the Board is going to take the ordinances that were had before without significant changes, there is no need to go back to the Planning Board. If there are going to be significant changes for which the Planning Board will need to give consideration to, it should go through the Planning Board again before it comes to the Town Board.
Commissioner Murphy moved, Commissioner McElraft seconded and the Board voted unanimously, 4-0, to direct the staff to call for a public hearing on the Swimming Pool ordinance amendment and to be voted on by the Board at the Regular Scheduled October meeting.
APPROVAL OF LANGUAGE FOR HORSE REFERENDUM FOR NOVEMBER BALLOT
Mr. Pete Cochran has previously asked the Board to make a change in the ordinances to allow horses within the town limits. The Board has been reluctant to make this change. Mr. Cochran has asked that this issue be placed on the ballot for the November election in order to get the public input. Mr. Cochran presented petitions to the Town and 335 signatures were verified by the Town Clerk. This represents an amount exceeding 10 percent of the registered voters that was needed to force a referendum. Following are two options, for the Board’s consideration and recommendation of one, to be used for the language on the November Ballot.
TOWN OF EMERALD ISLE
PROPOSED LANGUAGE FOR HORSE REFERENDUM QUESTION
November 6, 2001
Should the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Emerald Isle amend the town's ordinances to permit the permanent stabling of horses on private property, provided that any owner of such
horses obtains a permit from the town that is contingent upon the owner meeting the following
I . No owner shall be allowed to stable more than 2 horses;
2. The owner must have a minimum area of 5 acres of land;
3. The area designated for horses must not include wetlands;
4. The owner must secure and submit to the Town of Emerald Isle written approval from all
immediately adjacent property owners;
5. The owner must collect animal waste from the designated area on a daily basis;
6. The horses must be under the care of a licensed veterinarian; and
7. The owner acknowledges that horses are not permitted on town property or right-of-ways?
Should the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Emerald Isle amend the town's ordinances to permit the permanent stabling of horses on private property, provided that any owner of such horses obtains a permit from the town that is contingent upon the owner meeting certain conditions regarding the number of horses, land area, approval from neighbors, veterinary care, and environmental protection?
Commissioner McElraft said she liked Option 1 because it spells out what the public will be voting on. It is not as general as Option 2 where Board members could go back in after the voters thought they were voting for a certain thing and a Board could come in and lower the acreage or raise it or whatever. She likes spelling it all out so that the voters will know exactly what is going to be, how many acres of land, etc. Commissioner McElraft read the Options for the benefit of the public.
Commissioner Trainham asked to discuss the acreage. He said the board started out with 10, 8 and now 5. There is some concern on his part that out of the seven items listed, two things are being left out. (1) He wants to make sure this Board reserves the right to reset the conditions if it finds it necessary to do so after the referendum is completed. He asked if any adjustments may be made with the understanding of Board approval? Attorney Taylor said that what the Board is essentially doing is conducting a survey. This Board could reject all seven of those things and do something entirely different. One of the advantages of the general language is to just say “Do you want horses in Emerald Isle or not.” The advantage of specifics is to give the public who are going to vote a better idea of some of things you are now considering. Unlike California that works with the proposition concept, whatever the referendum turns back to this Board becomes law, is not how the State of North Carolina works. The Board is only going to get an answer back from the public “Yes or No”. It will then be required that an ordinance to be passed through the Planning Board and through the normal process before it comes to this Board for approval. Commissioner Trainham asked if his understanding is correct that the Board can make any adjustments to those items at that point in time? Attorney Taylor replied “That is right.”
Commissioner Murphy said he has one thing that these items do not cover. He would like to add a number 8 and say that the boarding of horses would be permitted on land with a single-family unit only. It would narrow it down to who can and cannot have horses on the land. Attorney Taylor said these are the kind of details that can be worked out when the final ordinance is completed. There are some issues that probably may want to tie 2 horses to 5 acres of property when there are 20 people living on 5 acres. There will be some creative and artful working when the initial ordinance is worked on. One of Attorney Taylor’s recommendations to the Board and his concern about a detailed listing is “Don’t bore the voter or you won’t get a vote.” If you have a large referendum, the people may or may not read it. If you get too detailed, you will loose the public. That is the job for the Board, Planning Board and probably a little help from him to come up with the actual final language of the ordinance. Don’t be too concerned about things that may not be in this referendum.
Commissioner Wootten said Attorney Taylor has just about convinced him to go with the other option. It is going to go through the Planning Board and to the Board of Commissioners anyway.
Commissioner McElraft said there might be a voter out there who says I absolutely do not want horses next door to me. Another may say I do not want horses next to me unless there is 5 acres of land. So Option 1 would help people make a decision if they don’t mind or do mind a horse being there. She feels that it will be doing a disservice to Mr. Cochran if it is not spelled out.
Commissioner Trainham clarified it is not just Mr. Cochran the board is talking about, it is anybody.
Attorney Taylor said what the Town Manager is looking for tonight is some sort of wording that has to be put on the Ballot for the Elections Board. They have to prepare the Ballots and get ready for the elections. Either of the options would work. He recommended that the Board not get too much more complicated than the two options before them. He suggested they choose one or the other and move forward.
Commissioner McElraft moved, Commissioner Murphy seconded to accept Option 1 to be printed on the Ballot for the November election.
Commissioner Trainham made note that there is nothing wrong with the motion but felt that some leeway should be left for the Town Attorney and Town Manager to formulate the wording.
Further discussion took place on this issue.
The Board voted unanimous by a vote of 4-0, to accept Option 1.
APPOINTMENT TO EASTERN CAROLINA COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS.
The Eastern Carolina Council of Governments has requested the Emerald Isle Board of Commissioners appoint a member to serve on the General Membership Board. This Board meets twice a year in Kinston.
Commissioner Wootten moved, Commissioner Trainham seconded and the Board voted unanimously to make a recommendation to the Eastern Carolina Council of Government that they appoint Commissioner Murphy to the General Membership Board.
Mayor Harris called for Public Comments. First she made a statement that several of the candidates that will be appearing on the November 6th election ballot are present. She will introduce them after the Public Comments.
Mr. Wayne Cunningham, 2001 Emerald Drive, commented on his concern regarding recyclables and their scheduled pick-up days. He lives in an area where there quite a lot of renters and by the time the recyclables are picked up on Thursday, there is a mess. He asked about the possibility of moving the pick-up day to Monday or even Saturday or Sunday. Mayor Harris said Saturdays and Sundays are not good days because the collection centers are not open on those days. She asked Town Manager Rush to contact Waste Industries and talk to them regarding some possible options. Commissioner McElraft informed Mr. Cunningham that he could contact the Real Estate Offices who manage those rentals so they could get sufficient containers to hold the recyclables.
INTRODUCTION OF CANDIDATES
Mayor Harris introduced the following candidates for the November election: Richard Eckhardt, Jerry Huml, Arthur Schools, Greg Searcy, Dorothy Marks, Jerry Stockdale and Sally Waters. Not present were Floyd Messer, Richard A. Farrington and Reid Harris.
Department Heads reported the following: Building Inspections Fees for the month of July $12,161; monthly construction value $1,223,420; Fire calls for July, 81 and Fire Chief Walker cautioned everyone to be careful as the ocean was very rough; Community Center visitors for July numbered 538; Police Chief Wilson commended the Fire Department EMT’s and Emerald Isle EMS for the hard work and efforts made to save the life of a person who drowned this past week. There was no report from Public Works.
Town Clerk Carolyn Custy noted this is the shortest meeting in a long time. With the approval of the 5 sets of Minutes tonight, it catches her up with this function. It will be a pleasure to do the Minutes for the present meeting.
No comments from the Planning Board Chairman, Public Works Director nor Assistant Town Manager/Financial Officer Georgia Overman.
No comments were forthcoming from Commissioner McElraft, and Town Attorney Derek Taylor.
Commissioner Murphy welcomed the Boy Scouts that were in attendance and told them this is how a Board does their work. They have good nights and bad ones. Tonight is one of the good ones.
Commissioner Trainham congratulated Mr. Rush on becoming a father. Commissioner Trainham is glad to see that he is able to take nourishment and be present tonight.
Commissioner Trainham said at a recent town meeting he had asked Commissioner McElraft what would happen if the beaches were nourished and we had obligated ourselves to one million dollars to put sand on our beach and another hurricane comes along and washes out the sand, how would we pay for it. Her answer was “That FEMA would replace it.” He said he has done some investigating and according to Steve Glenn, who is the Infrastructure Branch Chief of the response division of FEMA in Atlanta, the Emerald Isle project would not be eligible. To be eligible, the project has to be part of an ongoing nourishment program as demonstrated by documented maintenance costs over a period of time; therefore a one-shot nourishment would not qualify. Mr. Glenn did say we might be eligible for replacement of an emergency berm. It seems to Commissioner Trainham they did fund the replacement of a berm after one of the previous hurricanes. He is concerned that the board makes sure that people get the right information and sometimes the board has a hard time doing their homework. With all due respect to the statement that was made, we want to be cautious. The concern is what these agencies may or may not do about help with our projects.
Commissioner Wootten said he is sure this subject will be aired very thoroughly during the September meeting during the Public Hearing on beach renourishment.
In order to make the task of putting together more streamlined Agenda Packages for the Town Board Meetings and to give staff enough time to prepare them, Town Manager Rush presented the Board with a recommended list of general guidelines for the Agenda package for each meeting and asked for any changes to be made or if these were acceptable as stated. These recommendations are attached at the end of these Minutes.
There were no objections by Commissioner Trainham, McElraft, and Murphy. Commissioner Wootten thinks it could be handled through the Chron file and he will give his comments privately. He feels this is not an appropriate action at this stage of the game.
Commissioner Murphy moved, Commissioner Trainham seconded and the Board voted with a vote of 3-1 to accept the recommendations. Commissioner Wootten voted “No”.
Town Manager Rush also informed the public of a new feature on the Website, whereby meeting information will be posted under “AGENDA” for access by all and can be accessed by clicking on the Agenda Item.
CLOSED SESSION – ACQUISITION OF REAL PROPERTY AND LITIGATION
Commissioner Trainham moved, Commissioner McElraft seconded and the Board voted unanimously, 4-0, to enter into closed session, pursuant to MCGS 143-318.11(a)(5) for the purpose of discussing the acquisition of real property, AND pursuant to NCGS 143-318 (a)(3) for the purpose of discussing litigation – Holz vs. Town of Emerald Isle and Howe vs. Town of Emerald Isle.
The Board went into Closed Session at 8:10 P.M.
Commissioner Trainham moved, Commissioner Wootten seconded and the Board voted unanimously, 4-0, to return to open session.
The Board returned to open session at 8:48 P.M.
Commissioner Trainham moved, Commissioner McElraft seconded and the Board voted unanimously, 4-0, to adjourn.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 P.M.