Emerald Tidings

November 2012

  1. Hurricane Sandy Spares Emerald Isle
  2. Town Awarded Grant to Construct New Soundside Pier at Public Boating Access Area
  3. Update - Beach Nourishment Project
  4. Decision on Requested Coastal Insurance Rate Increase Delayed
  5. Planned Beach Access Walkway Replacements
  6. Pedestrian Bridge Planned for Live Oak Street
  7. Update - Bicycle Path Projects
  8. Update - Planned NC 58 Bridge Work
  9. Don't Miss the Emerald Isle Christmas Parade - November 24

Hurricane Sandy Spares Emerald Isle

Hurricane Sandy passed about 300 miles offshore from Emerald Isle on Sunday, October 28, bringing only ~45 mph wind gusts and 2-3 inches of rain to Emerald Isle.  There were no significant problems associated with the storm.    

The Town's ~12 miles of ocean beach generally fared well during Sandy, with the exception of minor dune erosion in areas centered on 14th Street and 21st Street in eastern Emerald Isle.  This area is scheduled for beach nourishment in early 2013.

Town Awarded Grant to Construct New Soundside Pier at Public Boating Access Area

The Town continues efforts to develop the new Emerald Isle Public Boating Access Area into a comprehensive soundside park facility.  The Town recently learned that the NC Division of Coastal Management has awarded the Town a $75,000 grant to construct a new soundside pier at the facility. 

The new pier will be constructed adjacent to the entry canal, and will lead from the boat ramp basin out to the open waters of Bogue Sound.  The new pier will offer finfishing and shellfishing opportunities, as well as beautiful views of Bogue Sound!  The Town is pleased to add the new pier, and hopes to have it constructed prior to summer 2013.

Update - Beach Nourishment Project

The Town's upcoming beach nourishment project is tentatively scheduled to begin in February and be complete by the end of March.  Due to budget constraints, the project has been scaled back slightly, and will likely involve the placement of approximately 630,000 cubic yards of sand (compared to 676,000 cubic yards in the original plan) placed along approximately 4.1 miles of beach. 

The geographic boundaries of the project have not changed, and plans call for the beach to be nourished between 5th Street and Pier Pointe in eastern Emerald Isle, and also between Myrtle Drive and Ocean Oaks Drive in western Emerald Isle.  These areas were selected after careful review by the Town's engineers, County officials, and Town officials, and are the areas most impacted by Hurricane Irene in August 2011 and that have the greatest overall need of the Town's 12 miles of beach.  The nearly $10 million project will be funded by a combination of FEMA funding, County funding, and Town funding.

Regular updates will be posted at www.emeraldisle-nc.org when the project is initiated.   

Decision on Requested Coastal Insurance Rate Increase Delayed

After receiving significant public input from coastal North Carolina property owners, the NC Commissioner of Insurance has ordered a formal public hearing on requested homeowners insurance rate increases, delaying a decision on this issue until June 2013.  The Commissioner will consider input from the NC Department of Insurance staff, the NC Rate Bureau (the organization representing the insurance companies that is requesting the increases), and the public to determine the amount of any rate increase.

Homeowners in Emerald Isle already pay the highest base rates for homeowners insurance in the entire State of North Carolina, with rates as much as 4 - 5 times higher than many other areas.  The current base rate (the rate before various adjustments, deductions, and credits are applied by your insurance company) for $75,000 worth of coverage is $1,522 per year, and the NC Rate Bureau requested an increase to $1,979 per year in October, a 30% increase.  (Note that these figures are the base rates used by all insurance providers, and include wind and hail coverage.) 

These rates result in homeowners insurance premiums of several thousand dollars per year, and place an undue and unfair financial burden on coastal North Carolina homeowners.  For comparison, homeowners in Wake County currently pay $406, and their proposed base rate would increase to $451 annually, an 11% increase.  Homeowners in the western part of North Carolina currently pay a base rate of $312, and their rate would increase by 14% to $355. 

The Town of Emerald Isle is very concerned about this issue and will remain engaged in the process.  The Town certainly expects coastal property owners to pay higher rates due to the higher risk of wind damage along the coast, however, rates 4 - 5 times higher than other areas of NC are excessive, and a 30% increase is much too dramatic.  The Town encourages all property owners concerned about this issue to remain engaged on this issue. 

Planned Beach Access Walkway Replacements

The Town maintains more than 60 wooden beach access walkways along our 12 miles of ocean beach, and attempts to replace 2 or 3 walkways each year.  The beach access walkway at the end of Edna Street is currently being replaced, and Town contractors will soon begin the replacement of walkways at the end of Tammy Street and Alex Court.  All walkway improvements will be complete prior to summer 2013.

The Parks and Recreation Department maintains a rating system of all  walkways in the Town, and this system is used to prioritize the replacement of those in the worst condition. 

Pedestrian Bridge Planned for Live Oak Street

Holly Street, Loblolly Street, and Live Oak Street are all divided by Archers Creek on the soundside of NC 58, and the Town previously installed pedestrian bridges over the creek on Holly Street and Loblolly Street to make it easier for walkers, runners, and bicyclists to access the ocean side and sound side.  A new bridge will soon be constructed over the creek to also connect both sides of Live Oak Street.  The Town's goal is to complete this project prior to summer 2013. 

Update - Bicycle Path Projects

The Town continues to work hard to extend the Town's bicycle path network.  Two new extensions are planned for the next year - a 0.4 mile extension along NC 58 and a 0.2 mile extension along Coast Guard Road.

The Town was fortunate to receive a $100,000 grant from the NC Department of Transportation to extend the NC 58 bicycle path from Hurst Drive to Fairfax Road.  Design work is complete, and Town staff will solicit bids for this project in the coming weeks.  Our goal is to complete the new segment prior to summer 2013. 

The Town's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee continues its active fundraising efforts, and the Town has committed to match the Committee's fundraising efforts dollar-for-dollar.  The Committee is fast approaching the amount needed to extend the Coast Guard Road path from Ocean Oaks Drive to Dolphin Ridge / Royall Oaks.  Depending on the pace of fundraising efforts and Town budget constraints, the next segment is expected to be open by summer 2013 or summer 2014.  Town staff have already begun planning and design work for the next segment.

The Town remains committed to the expansion of the bicycle path network, with a long-term goal to extend it to The Point and to the Indian Beach town line. 

Update - Planned NC 58 Bridge Work

The NC Department of Transportation is planning to complete major repair work on the NC 58 bridge to extend the life of the bridge for an additional 30 - 40 years or more.  The work involves the repair of all joints and concrete decking, and will require bridge lane closures to complete the work.

NCDOT has awarded a construction contract, and had originally planned to begin work in mid-October.  Construction has not yet begun, however, and is now expected to begin in December or January.  NCDOT's plans include the closure of one lane of traffic on the bridge on weekdays only (24 hours per day) from the start of construction until March 15, followed by weekday nighttime closures (12 hours per day) from March 16 through May 23.  No lane closures are expected during weekends or holidays, and all work is scheduled to be complete prior to Memorial Day weekend.  

The Town has worked closely with NCDOT, and will continue to do so, in an attempt to minimize inconvenience for our residents and visitors and also to communicate important information about the project.  Additional information will be posted on the Town's website at www.emeraldisle-nc.org as the project start date approaches.   

Don't Miss the Emerald Isle Christmas Parade! - November 24

The 9th annual Emerald Isle Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, November 24 at 3 pm on NC 58 between Mangrove Drive and the Town Hall complex.  A Christmas tree lighting, caroling, and visits with Santa Claus will follow at Merchants Park.  Please join us for this wonderful annual tradition in Emerald Isle! 

Frank A. Rush, Jr. Town Manager Town of Emerald Isle 7500 Emerald Drive Emerald Isle, NC 28594 252-354-3424 frush@emeraldisle-nc.org

Frank A. Rush, Jr.
Town Manager
Posted by Frank Rush Thursday, November 1, 2012 10:05:00 AM