Emerald Tidings

April 2017

  1. Town Pursues Development of Meeting and Events Center
  2. Town Working to Acquire 30-Acre Tract Behind Town Government Complex

  3. Town Continues to Monitor Sales Tax Bill

  4. Town Supports Current School Calendar

  5. Draft EIS Set to Be Released for Beach Nourishment Master Plan

  6. Bogue Inlet Dredging To Be Completed in April

  7. New Beach Swing Installed at Western Ocean Regional Access

  8. Disc Golf Course Added to Emerald Isle Woods Park

  9. Beach Parking Permits Available Now

  10. Beach Equipment Exception Permits Available Now

  11. Police Department Promotions Announced

  12. Download The Emerald Isle App Today!

  13. "Shred Day" Planned for May 6

  14. Paul Colman in Concert at Western Ocean Regional Access - Thursday, April 27 

  15. EIPD's RUOK? Program Offers Free Checks on Program Participants

  16. Did You Know?

Town Pursues Development of Meeting and Events Center

In an effort to generate more economic activity in the Town during the fall, winter, and spring months, and also to promote quality redevelopment in the Islander Drive area (known as Village West in the Town's land use plan and zoning regulations), the Town is pursuing the development of a new "meeting and events center" in this area of Emerald Isle. The "meeting and events center" is intended to host trade and professional associations and other large public events in Emerald Isle, and would be constructed and operated in partnership with a commercial partner. 

As the first step toward this goal, the Town has executed a contract for the purchase of a 1.8 acre parcel of land on Islander Drive that is the site of an abandoned go-kart track.  The parcel is located directly adjacent to the Town's Western Ocean Regional Access facility, and the Town intends to combine the parcels (and potentially others) for the future development of the "meeting and events center" at this location.  Specific plans will be developed by Town officials in the coming months, and the Town will ultimately solicit proposals from potential private partners for the construction of the project.  The Town envisions the new facility will include both public and private components, including an enhanced public beach access facility, the new "meeting and events center", and private commercial investment in an attractive and dynamic center of activity in this underutilized area of Emerald Isle.  The Town is seeking economic development funding from Carteret County for this land purchase, and, if funding is awarded, the Town expects to close on the land purchase in June.  The Town's first task will be to clean-up the property shortly after taking ownership in June.

For more information about the land purchase and the proposed "meeting and events center", please visit  https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/Memo-03-14-2017-Item-9 .

Town Working to Acquire 30-Acre Tract Behind Town Government Complex

The Town is currently working with MCAS Cherry Point on the acquisition of the largest remaining vacant parcel of land in Emerald Isle for future park development.  The 30-acre tract located directly behind the Town Government Complex includes a mature maritime forest and approximately 1100 linear feet of frontage on Archers Creek, and is located directly within the Bogue Field flight path.  

The Town has executed a contract to purchase the land, and is seeking more than $2.5 million of grant funding from MCAS Cherry Point, the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund, and the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund toward the $3 million purchase price.  The Town expects to learn the fate of all grant applications by September, and hopes to complete the purchase in October.  The Conservation Fund, a national preservation organization with an office in North Carolina, is assisting the Town on this significant project.  

Upon acquisition, the Town intends to preserve approximately 20 acres as a nature park, with public hiking trails and other passive recreation amenities.  The Town intends to reserve the remaining 10 acres for future active recreation facilities, potentially including a soccer field, baseball field, tennis courts, and/or other amenities desired by the community in the future.  The future park will be known as McLean-Spell Park, in honor of the original founders who first began development of Emerald Isle in the 1950s. 

Town Continues to Monitor Sales Tax Bill

Town officials met recently with NC Senator Harry Brown, NC Senator Norman Sanderson, and NC Representative Pat McElraft to discuss the impact of Senate Bill 126 (which would redistribute local sales tax revenues) on tourism-dependent communities like Emerald Isle and Carteret County, and presented two alternative proposals for consideration.  The two alternative proposals are aimed at achieving Senator Brown's goal to assist rural counties, but would not harm places like Emerald Isle and Carteret County.  

Under Senate Bill 126, Carteret County and its 11 municipalities could lose up to $1.3 million of sales tax revenue annually.  Emerald Isle would lose up approximately $80,000 annually.  Town officials continue to closely monitor this issue, and will continue efforts to preserve the Town's annual sales tax revenues. 

Town Supports Current School Calendar  

Since State legislation was enacted in 2004, North Carolina public schools have been required to wait until late August (generally on or near August 26) to begin the annual school year.  This school start date was established in order to preserve a more traditional summer schedule for students, parents, and teachers, and also to preserve most of the month of August for family vacations. Prior to 2004, many North Carolina school systems were beginning school in early August, with one system even beginning in late July.

Since that time, there have been numerous attempts to amend the 2004 school calendar law, but none have been successful.  There are several bills under consideration by the North Carolina General Assembly this year that would allow NC schools to begin earlier in August, and the Town has gone on record opposing these bills.  The current school calendar law is vital to the tourism industry in North Carolina, and the preservation of most of the month of August for family vacations is critical to the local tourism industry.  In fact, Carteret County room occupancy tax revenues during the month of August increased by 36% in the four years following the 2004 school calendar law.  

Draft EIS Set to Be Released for Beach Nourishment Master Plan

After several years of hard work by many (under the direction of the Carteret County Beach Commission), the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the "Master Plan" for future beach nourishment activities in our area is finally set to be released for public comment this month.  The Draft EIS outlines planned future beach nourishment activities for all of Bogue Banks, including Emerald Isle, and also outlines future management efforts in Bogue Inlet.  The Draft EIS covers a 50-year planning period, and will be followed by a Final EIS later this year or early next year.  The Final EIS should then enable the issuance of a 50-year Federal and State permit authorization for future beach nourishment and inlet management activities in Emerald Isle.

The Town remains committed to beach nourishment to address beach erosion, provide storm protection, and promote an attractive recreational beach along its 12 miles of oceanfront.  The Town also remains committed to the periodic realignment of the main ebb channel in Bogue Inlet to promote a stable position in the center of the Bogue Inlet complex (away from public and private development at The Point), preserve important environmental habitat, promote public access to the inlet, and promote safe navigation.  The release of the Draft EIS represents a key milestone for the Town's future efforts.   

Bogue Inlet Dredging To Be Completed in April

The US Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) will be completing navigation maintenance dredging in Bogue Inlet (the connector channel and across the ocean bar) in early April in an effort to promote a safe navigation channel for the spring and summer boating season. The Corps will be establishing a new, more central location for the connecting channel, and the US Coast Guard will be relocating the aids to navigation to follow the new route. Work is expected to be complete by mid or late April.  Although this work is completed by the Federal government, it is funded exclusively by a partnership between the State and area local governments.    

New Beach Swing Installed at Western Ocean Regional Access

Town staff recently installed a new "beach swing" prototype at the Western Ocean Regional Access. The new "beach swing" is made of high-quality composite material with stainless steel hardware and chains, and is located on the flat beach near the base of the dunes. Relax, and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smell of the ocean! 

The Town hopes to add more of these at other beach access locations in Emerald Isle, and is making them available for sponsorship similar to the popular bench program along the Town's bicycle path.  If you'd like to sponsor a "beach swing" to honor or memorialize a loved one or friend, please contact Alesia Sanderson, Parks and Recreation Director, at asanderson@emeraldisle-nc.org or 252-354-6350.  The cost is $1,000 per swing. 

Disc Golf Course Added to Emerald Isle Woods Park

Thanks to the efforts of US Coast Guard member and resident Andy Johnson, other volunteers, and sponsors, a new disc golf course has been installed in Emerald Isle Woods Park.  The 9-hole course weaves through the natural maritime forest, and ends near the Bogue Sound shoreline. A public dedication ceremony for the new course will be held on Friday, April 14 at 10 am at the park. Check out the new course!

Beach Parking Permits Available Now

The Town will begin charging for parking at the Eastern Ocean Regional Access and Western Ocean Regional Access on Friday, April 14, and will continue charging on weekends and holidays through mid-September.  Emerald Isle taxpayers are eligible for two free parking permits, and these can be obtained at the Emerald Isle Community Center during normal business hours. Please make sure you secure your permit before you visit the regional access facilities. To learn more, and to apply online, visit  https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/application-for-regional-access-parking-permit . 

Beach Equipment Exception Permits Available Now  

Town ordinances require all unattended beach equipment to be removed from the beach each night. Any unattended equipment left out between 8 pm and 8 am will be confiscated by Town staff.  Special exception permits are available for oceanfront property owners ONLY.  To secure your exception permit, please visit the Town Administration Building during normal business hours.  To learn more, please visit https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/unattended-beach-equipment-faqs . 

Police Department Promotions Announced

Police Chief Tony Reese recently announced several promotions in the Police Department.  Bill Bailey is now serving as Assistant Chief, David Ketchum is now serving as Police Lieutenant, and Tim Long is now serving as Police Sergeant. Additionally, Sandra DeLorme has been named Community Relations Officer, Tyler Biskup has been named Police Investigator, and officers Craig Shafer and Richard Sherin have been promoted from reserve status to full-time status.  The Town is proud of the excellent team of officers in the EIPD!

Download The Emerald Isle App Today!

The Emerald Isle App is yet another tool to enable the Town to communicate effectively with our residents, property owners, and visitors about the Town, and also showcases the many great businesses offering goods and services in Emerald Isle.  Visit The App Store or Google Play today, and search for "emerald isle nc"!  

If you are a local business with a brick and mortar presence in Emerald Isle, and you are not included on The Emerald Isle App, please contact Rhonda Ferebee, Town Clerk at rferebee@emeraldisle-nc.org or at 252-354-3424.  The Emerald Isle App is a great way to reach the hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoying Emerald Isle each year! 

"Shred Day" Planned for May 6

The Town of Cape Carteret has organized a local "Shred Day" for area residents and businesses, and the Town of Emerald Isle is a partner in this effort.  The "Shred Day" will be held on Saturday, May 6 at the Lowe's Foods parking lot in Cape Carteret.  Emerald Isle residents can dispose of sensitive documents between 9 am and 12 noon, followed by businesses from 12 noon - 1 pm.  

Paul Colman in Concert at Western Ocean Regional Access - Thursday, April 27 

Grammy-nominated singer / songwriter / entertainer Paul Colman will perform a special free concert on the beach stage at the Western Ocean Regional Access on Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 pm.  

Paul Colman has performed all over the world, garnered numerous awards, and has sold hundreds of thousands of records.  He still travels the world sharing his songs, thoughts, and faith, and will play 4 special concerts in our area in late April. He has released 15 recordings featuring his songs, and was also the guitarist for the Australian rockers The Newsboys from 2005 - 2008.  To learn more, please visit  http://www.paulcolman.com/ . 

EIPD's RUOK? Program Offers Free Checks on Program Participants

Emerald Isle Police Department offers a free, automated calling service to regularly check in on residents who sign up for the service.  Calls are scheduled for specific times, and if the individual does not respond, EIPD will send an officer to check on them. If you or a family member or friend can benefit from this service, please contact Police Chief Tony Reese at treese@emeraldisle-nc.org or 252-354-2021.

Did You Know?

The Town of Emerald Isle prides itself on providing the highest quality services at the lowest possible cost for our residents, property owners, and visitors.  The Town's General Fund property tax rate is 15.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, with 14 cents allocated for general services and 1.5 cents earmarked specifically for beach nourishment.  This rate has consistently ranked as the 2nd lowest general rate of the 21 oceanfront towns in North Carolina.  In fact, over the past 15 years, the Town's property tax rate has been decreased 4 times, remained the same 7 times, and increased 4 times.  

Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Thursday, April 6, 2017 9:55:00 AM