Emerald Tidings

October 2016

  1. Board of Commissioners to Consider Grocery Store Plans
  2. Proposed Carteret County 1/4% Sales Tax Increase Would Provide Navigation Dredging Funding
  3. Make Sure Your Deck is Safe - Deck Inspection Program Continues 
  4. Public Reception to Honor Retiring Chief Waters
  5. Learn More About New Flood Maps at Public Information Meeting 
  6. Osprey Ridge Storm Water Pump Station Contract Awarded
  7. Visit Town Website to Learn More About Nies v. Emerald Isle Public Beach Case 
  8. Comprehensive Plan / Land Use Plan Effort Continues  
  9. EI Beach Music Festival T-Shirts Still Available for Purchase
  10. Emerald Isle Keychains and Christmas Ornaments On Sale Now
  11. Water Tower Park Volunteers Needed
  12. Did You Know?

Board of Commissioners to Consider Grocery Store Plans

The Board of Commissioners will formally consider plans for a new grocery store in Emerald Isle at its October 11 meeting.  The approximately 31,000 sq. ft. new store is proposed for an approximately 6 acre tract of land on NC 58 between Emerald Landing Drive and Emerald Plantation Shopping Center.  

The proposed site is zoned Business (and has been for many years), and a grocery store (along with many other commercial uses) is a permitted use by right.  Under NC zoning law, if the applicant meets the Town's zoning requirements, the Board of Commissioners has limited discretion in its review of development plans.  This is in stark contrast to a rezoning or special use permit request, which provide the Board of Commissioners with significant discretion. Additionally, several questions have been raised regarding the perceived need / demand for a second grocery store in Emerald Isle.  These are legitimate questions, however, it is not the Town government's place to answer those questions.  The appropriate answer to those questions is dictated by the free market, and the Town does not have a role in deciding which particular business initiative is needed or should be afforded the opportunity to compete with existing businesses.  

The proposed plans include a request to formally close, redesignate, and improve a 510 linear ft. segment of Crew Drive on the proposed site.  The developer is requesting these actions in order to achieve a site layout that minimizes impacts on the neighboring Emerald Landing neighborhood and to preserve habitat for nesting egrets along the adjacent canal.  It is important to note that the existing road would be replaced in the same location with an improved road, with new pavement, new curb & gutter, sidewalks, storm water features, and landscaping.  The proposal includes adequate legal protections to insure that the improved road remains open for public use in perpetuity, and there is no ability for any private owner to restrict use of the roadway.  The road would continue to function in the same manner as it has historically, and perhaps better.  The Town would not even consider any proposal that does not include perpetual public use of the road in the future.  

The Board of Commissioners has significant discretion in reviewing the road request, and is thoughtfully considering the pros and cons associated with this request.  The developer has indicated that he intends to construct the new grocery store at this location regardless of the Town's decision regarding Crew Drive, and an alternate plan has been provided that maintains the current condition of Crew Drive.  For various regulatory reasons, the alternate plan would require the proposed new store to be located closer to the Emerald Landing neighborhood, with potentially undesirable features (loading docks, generators, trash facilities, rear access) located closer to existing homes, and would not preserve as much egret habitat.  The developer prefers the original plan (graphic below) over the alternate plan, and thus has requested the formal closing, redesignation, and improvement of the 510 linear ft. segment of Crew Drive. 

Proposed Carteret County 1/4% Sales Tax Increase Would Provide Navigation Dredging Funding

Carteret County is conducting a referendum on a proposed 1/4% sales tax increase on November 8.  The new sales tax would increase the total sales tax rate in Carteret County from 6 3/4% to 7%, and would result in an additional 25 cents of sales tax paid on a $100 purchase.  If approved by the voters, proceeds from the new sales tax are expected to be more than $2.5 million annually.  

It is anticipated that this additional funding will enable the County and the Town to better address navigation dredging needs in the future, and also remove this funding burden from property taxpayers.  Local dredging costs have historically been borne by property tax revenues, and, if approved, these costs would be covered with proceeds from the new 1/4% sales tax in the future. Near Emerald Isle, it is anticipated that Bogue Inlet and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway would receive funding from this revenue source, and that it may also be available to assist with other dredging needs in and around Emerald Isle.

The Board of Commissioners has formally endorsed the proposed 1/4% sales tax, and encourages our residents and property owners to learn more about the proposal.  Additional information is available at http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/Memo-09-13-2016-Item14 .  

Make Sure Your Deck is Safe - Deck Inspection Program Continues 

The 7 vacation rental management companies in Emerald Isle, with strong support from the Town, continue their efforts to promote deck safety in Emerald Isle. We are now entering the second year of the mandatory deck inspections program initiated by the vacation rental management companies in October 2015. 

Under this program, all single family and duplex vacation rental units managed by these 7 companies are required to be inspected at least once annually by EITHER a licensed North Carolina general contractor  OR  a licensed North Carolina professional engineer for identification of any safety / structural concerns.  Ideally, any necessary repairs will then be completed each offseason in preparation for the thousands of annual visitors to Emerald Isle each year.  Failure to correct any deficiencies will result in suspension from the vacation rental program.  

Angelfish Properties, Bluewater Real Estate, CENTURY 21 Coastland Realty, Emerald Isle Realty, Shorewood Real Estate, Spinnakers Reach Realty, and Sun-Surf Realty all place the highest priority on our visitors' safety, and the Town encourages all vacation rental property owners to have their decks inspected and necessary repairs completed in a timely manner.  

All 7 of the vacation rental management companies and the Town pride ourselves on our family beach image and small-town atmosphere, and remain committed to providing the highest quality, safest beach vacation experience for our visitors.  The 7 companies and the Town recognize the vital importance of deck safety for our visitors, and for our image as a premier vacation destination along the Atlantic Ocean.  Thank you for your cooperation! 

Public Reception to Honor Retiring Chief Waters

After a 32-year career in the Emerald Isle Police Department, Chief Jeffrey D. Waters has announced his retirement, effective October 31. Chief Waters has served the Emerald Isle community with dedication, professionalism, and a sincere desire to contribute to the well-being of our residents and visitors, and his leadership will be missed.  

The Town is hosting a special reception to honor Chief Waters, express our appreciation for his service, and wish him well in retirement. The reception will be held at the Emerald Isle Community Center on Thursday, October 27 from 6 pm - 8 pm.  The public is invited to drop in and say goodbye to Chief Waters.  

Learn More About New Flood Maps at Public Information Meeting 

The NC Floodplain Mapping Program is hosting a public information meeting about the new flood insurance rate maps recently released for Carteret County.  The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 11 from 4 pm - 7 pm at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City, and the public can simply drop in during that time.  State officials will be on hand to assist with identifying any map changes, understanding the impact on flood insurance rates, and understanding applicable building regulations.

Overall, the new maps are favorable for Emerald Isle property owners, however, some property owners may be negatively impacted.  The new maps can be viewed at http://fris.nc.gov/fris/ , and Town Planner Josh Edmondson is also available to assist our property owners with any questions (252-354-3338 or jedmondson@emeraldisle-nc.org).

The effective date for the new maps is somewhat uncertain, but is anticipated sometime in 2017.   

Osprey Ridge Storm Water Pump Station Contract Awarded

The Board of Commissioners recently awarded a construction contract for a new storm water pump station to serve the Osprey Ridge neighborhood.  The new pump station is expected to resolve nuisance flooding concerns in this area, and will discharge pumped storm water into the adjacent Emerald Isle Woods Park storm water facility.  SunLand Builders, a local company, is expected to begin work in the coming weeks.  The Town hopes to complete the project by late 2016 or early 2017. 

Visit Town Website to Learn More About Nies v. Emerald Isle Public Beach Case 

As reported earlier, the Nies v. Emerald Isle case has potentially significant ramifications for the public's future use of the flat, sandy beach area (between the base of the dunes and the water) everywhere in North Carolina.  The Town has established a comprehensive website about this case to better educate our residents and property owners, and this information can be viewed at  http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/nies . 

Comprehensive Plan / Land Use Plan Effort Continues  

The Steering Committee, Town staff, and the Town's consultant continue their hard work on the update to the Town's Comprehensive Plan / Land Use Plan.  Significant, helpful public input has been provided through several platforms, and the Steering Committee is now considering that input and working on draft policies for the future of Emerald Isle.  The draft plan is expected to be available in the coming weeks, and will then be presented for public review, Planning Board review, and ultimately for review and approval by the Board of Commissioners in early 2017. To learn more and follow the progress, please visit http://www.planei.org/ . 

EI Beach Music Festival T-Shirts Still Available for Purchase

Special t-shirts commemorating the return of the Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival are still available, and are on sale now for only $10 at the Town Administration Building and the Emerald Isle Community Center.  Stop by today to get your t-shirt, or contact Town staff at 252-354-3424 or 252-354-6350.  Mark your calendars for next year's event - Saturday, September 30, 2017!

Emerald Isle Keychains and Christmas Ornaments On Sale Now

The Emerald Isle Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K Race Committee is offering keychains and Christmas ornaments in the shape of the new Emerald Isle logo, and you can purchase yours for $7 each at the Town Administration Building (limited quantities, while supplies last).  All proceeds benefit the Sergeant Mark Odom Benefit Fund and the Officer Tom Duty Benefit Fund.  Both officers were seriously injured in a boating accident in early September.  

Water Tower Park Volunteers Needed

Water Tower Park is located in front of Bogue Banks Water Corporation's central water tank, and includes a collection of native plants.  Joyce Trafton, a dedicated Emerald Isle resident, leads efforts to maintain and improve the park.  If you are interested in helping, please email or call Joyce at studioryukyu@hotmail.com or 252-622-0401. No experience is needed, and it's a great chance for children to learn about gardening.

Did You Know?

The Town of Emerald Isle has nearly 6900 subscribers to our email newsletter (sign up in the top right corner of http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/ ), more than 14,000 "likes" on Facebook ("Town of Emerald Isle, NC"), more than 2600 Twitter followers ( @townemeraldisle ) , and nearly 4000 subscribers to the Emerald Isle App (download at the App Store or Google Play (search for "emerald isle nc").  

Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Friday, September 30, 2016 12:49:00 PM