Emerald Tidings

January 2018

  1. Town Seeks Proposals for Purchase and Development of Islander Drive Land
  2. Town Submits Comments Opposing Homeowners Insurance Rate Increase Request
  3. Town Planning Next Beach Nourishment Project, Seeking State Funding
  4. New Sidewalk To Be Constructed on Old Ferry Road
  5. Contractor Making Good Progress on NC 58 Roundabout Construction
  6. Fire Department Coordinating "Host Family" Housing for Summer Lifeguards
  7. Make it Your New Year's Resolution! Sign up now for the 5th Annual Emerald Isle Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K Races - March 10, 2018!
  8. 27th Annual Emerald Isle St. Patrick's Festival - March 17, 2018!
  9. New "Welcome to Emerald Isle" Sign to Be Erected
  10. New Doctor Begins Work at MedFirst Office in Emerald Isle
  11. Did You Know?

Town Seeks Proposals for Purchase and Development of Islander Drive Land

The Town, with significant funding from Carteret County, purchased the abandoned go-kart track and bumper boat facility on Islander Drive in June 2017 with a goal to clean-up and promote quality development in this long-underutilized area of Emerald Isle.  The Town removed all debris, eliminated the nuisance conditions, and restored the 1.8+ acre tract to a vacant parcel in July 2018, and is now seeking proposals from private developers interested in purchasing the property for future quality development.  

Proposals are due by February 16, 2018, after which the Board of Commissioners will review the offered purchase price, specific development plans, and any associated public facilities that may be provided.  The Board will identify the most attractive proposal for the Town, and then negotiate the final sale with the selected developer.  Any new development on the site must comply with the Town's existing development regulations for this area, which allow residential, commercial, and/or mixed-use buildings, limit building heights to 40 ft. (by right) or 50 ft. (with a special use permit), and include significant storm water management requirements.  

The Town encourages proposals from all interested parties.  The complete Request for Proposals (RFP) document is available at  http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/Data/Sites/1/media/pdfs/islander-drive-redevelopment-rfp.pdf .  

Town Submits Comments Opposing Homeowners Insurance Rate Increase Request

The NC Rate Bureau, the agency representing insurance companies in North Carolina, has submitted another request for a significant increase in homeowners insurance rates that, if approved, will result in a significant increase in insurance premiums for Emerald Isle property owners.  The Rate Bureau has requested a 25% increase for homeowners policies, and a 40% increase for tenant and condominium policies in Emerald Isle, and this request would increase the base rate for homeowners insurance (for $200,000 of coverage) from $2,648 annually to $3,310 annually.  This requested increase of $662 annually is more than the entire, average-value, annual property tax bill in Emerald Isle!

The 2017 request follows several significant rate increases since 2005 that have resulted in Emerald Isle property owners (and owners in other NC barrier island communities) paying the highest homeowners insurance rates in the entire State of North Carolina.  Homeowners insurance rates in Emerald Isle are now as much as 4 and 5 times higher than many inland areas, and would approach nearly 6 times higher if the requested increase is approved by the NC Department of Insurance.  

The NC Department of Insurance will be reviewing the rate increase request (available at  https://ncdoi.com/PC/Default.aspx ) in the coming weeks, and may schedule a formal hearing by the Commissioner of Insurance for later in 2018. The Town has expressed its opposition to the rate increase request, and the letter from Mayor Barber is available at  http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/Data/Sites/1/media/pdfs/requested-insurance-rate-increase---2017-18---mayor-letter.pdf . 

The Town acknowledges the higher risk of structural damage from storms in our area, and understands the need for somewhat higher premiums. However, the current rate structure is extremely unfair and places a disproportionate burden on coastal property owners.  Historical experience suggests relatively modest structural damage in Emerald Isle and other NC coastal areas resulting from past hurricanes, with the vast majority of insurance claims in North Carolina resulting from significant flood events (which are covered by a completely separate insurance product). 

The Town continues to work with other coastal communities, Representative Pat McElraft, and Senator Norman Sanderson on this issue, and remains hopeful that the NC Department of Insurance will reject the requested rate increase.  

Town Planning Next Beach Nourishment Project, Seeking State Funding

The Town, in partnership with the other municipalities on Bogue Banks and Carteret County, has implemented a sophisticated beach monitoring program and beach management plan for many years, and is currently planning the next beach nourishment project.  Based on detailed annual survey data, the beach in eastern Emerald Isle is in greatest need of nourishment, and the Town hopes to complete this work in winter 2018-19 or winter 2019-20.  

Preliminary project plans include an approximately 2.5 mile stretch of beach between the Indian Beach town line and the Eastern Ocean Regional Access, with the placement of up to 500,000 cubic yards of sand in this area.  The total estimated cost of this project is $9 - $10 million, and the Town will be seeking 50% of this cost from the State's new Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund in the coming months.  The remaining project costs are expected to be funded by room occupancy tax and special district property taxes already held in reserve by the Town and the County. 

The Town remains firmly committed to beach nourishment and environmentally-friendly inlet management strategies, and recognizes that the beach is the Town's #1 asset and, ultimately, the reason we are all here!  The Town's long-term plans are carefully designed to track ever-changing conditions, enable the Town to nourish the beach when needed, where needed, and as needed in the future, and to accumulate sufficient reserve funds to avoid the need to issue new debt for future projects.

New Sidewalk To Be Constructed on Old Ferry Road

The Town has awarded a contract for the construction of a new concrete sidewalk along the east side of Old Ferry Road between Canal Drive and the CVS pharmacy.  This 750 ft. segment will result in a safer pedestrian route from soundside neighborhoods to the NC 58 bicycle path, commercial areas, and the ocean side, and will be constructed in the coming weeks.  This $15,000 project is funded 50% by fundraising proceeds and 50% by the Town's General Fund. The Town is pleased to continue the expansion of its significant bicycle and pedestrian facilities!

Contractor Making Good Progress on NC 58 Roundabout Construction 

The contractor funded by Publix (and approved by NCDOT and the Town) continues work on the construction of the new NC 58 roundabout located at the intersection of Mallard Drive.  Most of the significant sub-surface storm water management elements have been completed, and the roundabout is beginning to take shape.  Barring unforeseen problems and/or bad weather, the contractor remains on schedule for completion of the new roundabout no later than early March (and hopefully sooner!).  

Motor vehicles continue to be routed along the Reed Drive detour route, with large trucks routed down Crew Drive and through a temporary road across the Publix property.  The detour continues to function reasonably well, and the Town greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of all motorists and nearby residents.  When complete, the new roundabout is expected to allow traffic to flow much more efficiently than the new traffic signal that was also considered for this location, and will serve as a "pilot project" to enable the Town and NCDOT to evaluate the effectiveness of other roundabouts recommended by NCDOT for other locations along NC 58 in the future. 

The center of the new roundabout will be nicely landscaped, and will include a bronze waterbird statue donated by Publix.  

Fire Department Coordinating "Host Family" Housing for Summer Lifeguards

Town staff are already hard at work gearing up for the 2018 summer season, and will soon be recruiting seasonal lifeguards to serve at fixed lifeguard stands at the Town's regional beach access facilities and provide roving services on all-terrain vehicles along the Town's 12 miles of ocean beaches.  Ocean lifeguards are in high demand and short supply, and in an effort to enhance the Town's recruitment efforts, the Emerald Isle Fire Department (which manages the lifeguard program) will soon be soliciting "host families" interested in providing housing for the Town's lifeguards this summer.  If you are interested in hosting an Emerald Isle lifeguard in your residence this summer, please contact the Emerald Isle Fire Department at 252-354-2445, or email Chief Walker at  bwalker@emeraldisle-nc.org .  Also, if you or someone you know is interested in serving as an Emerald Isle lifeguard this summer, it's not too early to express your interest.  Please contact the Emerald Isle Fire Department at the same phone number and email address to learn more about the upcoming lifeguard application process. 

The Town continually strives to enhance our beach safety services, and the 2018 lifeguard service plan represents the Town's largest effort ever.  The Town's lifeguard program typically includes up to 6 lifeguards on the beach each day during the height of the summer season, and is largely funded by regional access parking fees collected at the Town's two regional beach access facilities.  The Town continues to explore other ways to expand beach safety services, and will be considering the potential "sponsorship" of fixed lifeguard stands at specific commercial and/or residential locations in the future.   

Make it Your New Year's Resolution!  Sign up now for the 5th Annual Emerald Isle Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K Races - March 10, 2018!

There's still plenty of time to train for these great annual races, and we hope to see you in Emerald Isle again on March 10!  This great annual event has attracted approximately 1,500 runners each year, and has raised more than $200,000 for bicycle path improvements and health-related charities over the past 4 years.  

This year's event will benefit the Emerald Isle bicycle path and Little Pink Houses of Hope, an organization devoted to providing assistance to breast cancer victims and their families.  To learn more, and to sign up for the marathon (26.2 miles), half-marathon (13.1 miles), and 5k (3.1 miles) races, please visit http://www.emeraldislerun.com/ .  There's no better place to achieve your running goals than in Emerald Isle - bring your friends and family and make it a great spring weekend at the beach!  

27th Annual Emerald Isle St. Patrick's Festival - March 17, 2018!

The Town's signature annual event is back for the 27th year, and will be held on the actual St. Patrick's Day this year!  The Emerald Isle St. Patrick's Festival is again proudly presented by Transportation Impact, and will again be held at the Emerald Plantation shopping center. Admission to the festival and parking is free.  This year's festival will feature over 75 arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, amusement rides, face painters, and many other fun, family-oriented activities.  Questions regarding the festival should be directed to Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation at 252-354-6350 or to Parks and Recreation Director Alesia Sanderson at asanderson@emeraldisle-nc.org .

New "Welcome to Emerald Isle" Sign to Be Erected

The Town will install a new "Welcome to Emerald Isle" sign near the base of the NC 58 bridge in the coming weeks.  The new sign replaces an existing sign that has been in place for more than 20 years, will include the new Emerald Isle logo and "Nice Matters" tagline, and will proudly welcome hundreds of thousands of annual visitors to this special place each year!  


New Doctor Begins Work at MedFirst Office in Emerald Isle

MedFirst, the private medical clinic in Emerald Isle (located in Veranda Square shopping center near the US Post Office) continues its efforts to improve patient care and recently welcomed a new physician, Dr. Patrick Daigle, MD, to the staff.  Dr. Daigle will operate with regular hours at the Emerald Isle location, and is an experienced general practitioner.  He is a veteran, having served as a physician for various US Air Force, Navy, and Marine units all over the world.  We are pleased to welcome Dr. Daigle to the Emerald Isle practice! 

Did You Know?

The Town works extremely hard to provide relevant, accurate, and timely information to our residents, property owners, businesses, and visitors, and offers multiple platforms to access information about the Town's initiatives and issues.  

The Town's website, https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/ , receives approximately 400,000 unique visits each year.  The Town's email newsletter has nearly 7,700 subscribers.  The Town's Facebook page (Town of Emerald Isle, NC) has more than 17,000 "likes", and there are more than 3,000 Twitter "followers" of @townemeraldisle.  There have been nearly 8,700 downloads of the Emerald Isle APP, and nearly 1,600 people have signed up for the Town's emergency text message alerts (text keyword EMERALD to 797979 to sign up today).  

All of us at the Town of Emerald Isle are committed to making Emerald Isle an even better place than it already is, and are equally committed to keeping you well-informed!  Of course, if you ever have a question about the Town, please feel free to contact Town Manager Frank Rush at 252-354-3424 or frush@emeraldisle-nc.org and we'll do our best to get you the correct information and/or the best possible assistance we can!  

Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Friday, December 29, 2017 5:55:00 PM