- "Static Line Exception" Rule Change Possible in 2008
- New Police Station Completed
- Beach Access Walkway Improvements Planned
- Town Submits Bike Path Request to NCDOT
- Commissioners Messer, Hoover, and Hedreen Re-Elected
- Mayor Schools Appointed to NC League of Municipalities' Board
- Holiday Solid Waste Collection Schedule
- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Emerald Tidings, composed monthly by Town Manager Frank Rush, is the official newsletter of the Town of Emerald Isle.
Coastal Resources Commission Conducts Public Hearing on "Static Line Exception" Rule - Rule Change Possible in 2008
Town Supports Rule Change, Which Does NOT Allow Construction Closer to the Ocean Than Currently Exists
The North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) continues to consider a proposed rule change that could eliminate the use of the "static vegetation line" for building setbacks on the oceanfront in eastern Emerald Isle. A public hearing was held on November 29, and the CRC is likely to give thoughtful consideration to these comments before adopting a rule change sometime in 2008.
Under current rules, there are 171 oceanfront lots in eastern Emerald Isle that are "non-conforming" and subject to the "static vegetation line" - a line that was surveyed prior to beach nourishment in 2003 that is now perpetually fixed as the reference point for measuring oceanfront building setbacks. The result is that nearly all of these properties will remain "non-conforming" in perpetuity, and could not be reconstructed if a fire or storm destroys more than 50% of the structure. Additionally, no voluntary redevelopment to improve the aesthetics and/or durability of structures can occur on those lots. Of the 171 lots, a total of 160 have existing structures on them.
In 2003, the Town completed a successful beach nourishment project in this area of Town, and these homes and lots are now protected by a significant dune and wider beach. Many of the existing homes and lots can meet the required 60 ft. oceanfront setback from the "actual vegetation line", but the current CRC rules require the use of the "static vegetation line". The proposed rule change allows a town to petition the CRC to remove the "static vegetation line" and allows the use of the "actual vegetation line" (as is normal practice elsewhere) to measure building setbacks if the CRC approves a town's 30- year beach nourishment plan. If a town's request is approved by the CRC, the town can then begin using the "actual vegetation line" to measure building setbacks. It is important to note that there are two key restrictions in the proposed rule - 1) any new structures are required to be located no closer to the water than the existing structures in the area (thus construction will not move closer to the ocean than currently exists), and 2) any new structures would be limited to 2,000 sq. ft. of total floor area, including covered porches.
The Town of Emerald Isle went on record in support of the proposed rule change at the CRC meeting on November 29, but requested that the CRC consider increasing the size of new structures from 2,000 sq. ft. to 3,000 sq. ft. The Town recently completed an analysis that indicates that 143 of the 160 existing homes in this area are less than 3,000 sq. ft. The Town's main goal in supporting the proposed rule change is to allow property owners whose homes are destroyed by fire or storm to simply be allowed to rebuild in the same location - and NOT move any closer to the ocean. The Town's other key goal is to encourage voluntary redevelopment in this area with newer homes built to today's safer and more storm-resistant building codes.
Some recent media reports and statements from other organizations have suggested that the proposed rule change would allow construction closer to the ocean, and have implied that such construction would occur in areas with problem erosion. The Town of Emerald Isle does NOT support construction closer to the ocean than currently exists, and only supports it in cases where the proposed new structure can meet the 60 ft. setback from the actual vegetation line.
The CRC is likely to continue discussion about this issue at their January meetings in New Bern, and possible rule change could occur later in 2008.
New Police Station Completed
After nearly 6 months of work, the Emerald Isle Police Department's new station is complete. BJ & Associates, Morehead City, NC, completed work on the expansion and renovation of the Police Station in late November. The new station includes space formerly occupied by the Police Department and Town administrative staff in the Town Hall building. The new station is more than double the size of the old station, with approximately 5,000 sq. ft. of space for Police administration, patrol, investigative, and dispatch functions. The new facility relieves crowded and outdated working conditions for the Police Department, and is expected to meet the Town's needs for many years to come. The public entrance to the Police Department is now located at the entrance to the Town Meeting room and former administrative offices. An "Open House" will be held in January for the public to visit the new station.
Beach Access Walkway Improvements Planned
The Town is finalizing plans and specifications for the construction of new handicapped-accessible walkways and observation areas for the Eastern Ocean Regional Access and Western Ocean Regional Access. The Town expects to solicit bids in the coming weeks, and begin construction in early 2008. Our goal is to complete the improvements prior to the Memorial Day weekend. These improvements are funded primarily by a grant from the NC Division of Coastal Management. The Town will also solicit bids for the reconstruction of aging beach access walkways at Cedar Tree Drive and Santa Maria Drive early in 2008. The Town's older beach access walkways are beginning to deteriorate beyond repair, and the Town is embarking on a funding plan to reconstruct two walkways each year. Routine maintenance will continue on the other walkways as necessary.
Town Submits Bike Path Request to NCDOT for Remainder of NC 58 in Emerald Isle
The Town recently submitted a formal request to the NC Department of Transportation for the construction of a dedicated bicycle path along the south side of NC 58 between Black Skimmer Drive and the Indian Beach town line. The length of the requested bike path is 7 miles, and would connect with the Town's existing 2 miles of bike path in the center of Town to provide a continuous path along the entire length of NC 58 in Emerald Isle.
The Town is seeking to have the bike paths included in the State's Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which is NCDOT's work program for the next 7 years. Inclusion in the TIP is another strategy the Town is pursuing to expand the bike path system in Emerald Isle. The Town will continue to pursue all applicable bike path grants in the future, and will provide local funding as available for projects not likely to receive grant funds.
The Town continues to investigate options for the construction of a new bike path along Coast Guard Road. Because this road is a Town-owned street rather than a State-owned road, it can not be included in the State's TIP. The Town recognizes the high priority of this project, and is investigating both a potential grant application and/or Town funding in the next budget cycle.
Commissioners Messer, Hoover, and Hedreen Re-Elected
Incumbent Town Commissioners Floyd Messer, Jr., Tom Hoover, Jr., and Nita Hedreen were all re-elected in Town elections held on November 6. All three were unopposed in this year's election. Commissioners Messer and Hoover were elected for 4-year terms that expire in 2011, and Commissioner Hedreen was elected for a 2-year term that expires in 2009. Commissioner Messer has served the Town since 2001, and Commissioner Hedreen has served since 2003. Commissioner Hoover rejoined the Board in 2006, after having served previously from 1995 - 1999.
Mayor Schools Appointed to North Carolina League of Municipalities' Board of Directors
Mayor Arthur B. Schools, Jr. was recently appointed to represent area local governments on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM). NCLM is a trusted and valuable resource for NC cities and towns, and the Town is excited to have Mayor Schools on its Board of Directors. He replaces Jacksonville Mayor Jan Slagle, who did not seek re-election.
The North Carolina League of Municipalities is a nonpartisan association of municipalities in North Carolina. The mission of the League is to enhance the quality of life in municipalities through excellent municipal governance. The League carries out this mission by:
1. Providing member services that strengthen and support excellence in municipal government.
2. Engaging members, staff, and stakeholders in representing municipal issues and interests.
3. Developing municipal leaders who can address the needs and interests of their citizens.
4. Providing a unified, nonpartisan voice for municipal issues at the state and federal level. Area local governments are also fortunate to have Morehead City Mayor Jerry Jones serving NCLM as its next President. Mayor Jones is a long-time member of the NCLM Board of Directors, and the Town is also pleased to have him in a leadership role for this organization.
Holiday Solid Waste Collection Schedule
Residential trash will not be collected on Tuesday, December 25 (Christmas) or Tuesday, January 1 (New Year's Day).
Both days affect trash collection for areas located on the north (soundside) side of NC 58 and Coast Guard Road. Residential trash for these areas will be collected on Friday, December 28 and Friday, January 4, according to the normal schedule.
The holidays will not affect any other collection days or any other areas. Thanks for your understanding!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
All of us at the Town of Emerald Isle wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! The Town is thankful for a great year in 2007, and looks forward to serving our residents, property owners, businesses, and visitors in 2008! We continually strive to serve you better, and are committed to "making Emerald Isle a better place than it already is!" Happy Holidays!
Frank A. Rush, Jr. Town Manager Town of Emerald Isle 7500 Emerald Drive Emerald Isle, NC 28594 252-354-3424 firstname.lastname@example.org