Memo-10-13-2015- Item 9

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Formal Closing of Woodpecker Lane

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the formal closing of Woodpecker Lane at its October 13 meeting.

As you recall, the Board approved a Resolution of Intent at its September 8 meeting, and scheduled a public hearing for the October 13 meeting.  The street has also been posted accordingly, and a copy of the Resolution of Intent has been published for 4 consecutive weeks in the Carteret County News-Times.  Additionally, both adjacent property owners have received the required notice.  Following the required public hearing, the Board may take formal action to close Woodpecker Lane.  If the Board determines that the closing of Woodpecker Lane is not detrimental to the public interest and that no property owners will be denied reasonable ingress and egress to their property, the Board may formally close the street.  The land occupied by the street would then revert to the adjacent property owners.

Woodpecker Lane is an approximately 1100 ft. street segment that runs parallel to NC 58 (north side) between Emerald Isle Baptist Church and K&V Plaza.  Woodpecker Lane also includes an approximately 200 ft. long street segment that is perpendicular to NC 58 that connects to the 1100 ft. segment that runs parallel to NC 58.  A copy of the Town’s 2011 Powell Bill Map is attached and depicts the street segments proposed for closure.  The Board should note that these street segments are indicated as public, while the remainder of the Woodpecker Lane “loop” to the east, west, and north are indicated as private.  The Board should also note that the segments indicated as public do not connect with any public street other than NC 58.  The portion of Woodpecker Lane that connects with Old Ferry Road (along the boundary with K&V Plaza) is indicated as private.

Woodpecker Lane serves an established mobile home park owned by Manatee Investments Limited Partnership and Seaside Siblings (two separate tracts).  Approximately 30 mobile homes are included in the mobile home park, on the northern portion of the two tracts that is zoned Mobile Home.  Two large undeveloped areas are located between the parallel segment of Woodpecker Lane and NC 58, and these areas are zoned Business.  There are no other property owners served by Woodpecker Lane.

The Town was recently approached by Paxon Holz, Manatee Investments Limited Partnership, requesting that the Town take formal action to abandon the public segments of Woodpecker Lane.  The Board may recall that all segments of Woodpecker Lane have been considered by the Town to be private since April 2012 when a proposed boat storage area was approved (but has not been constructed) for a portion of the tract owned by Seaside Siblings.  This “private” determination by Town Attorney Richard Stanley was based on information included on the recorded subdivision plat for this area.  It was later learned that an easement was granted in 1985 for the public segments of Woodpecker Lane, thus the need for the Board to consider the formal closure of the public segments of Woodpecker Lane at this time.

I recommend that the Board proceed with the formal closure of the public segments of Woodpecker Lane for several reasons.  First, the Town has operated under the belief that all segments of Woodpecker Lane have been private since April 2012, and the owners have installed a gate across this segment that prevents through traffic.  (The mobile home park is now served by the entrance on Old Ferry Road.)  Second, I see no significant value to the Town by retaining the public segments of Woodpecker Lane, as these streets do not connect to other public streets or property owned by other private individuals.  Third, the historical ability of Emerald Isle residents to use Woodpecker Lane as a “cut-through” from the marina area to NC 58 was also occurring on the private segments of Woodpecker Lane, and even if the Town retained control of the public segments of Woodpecker Lane there would still be no ability for others to “cut-through” this area, as the segments connecting to Old Ferry Road remain private.  Finally, the closure of the public segments of Woodpecker Lane will enable the two property owners (Seaside Siblings and Manatee Investments) to remove this encumbrance from the overall land area, and may make it easier for future redevelopment of the two tracts.

I look forward to the Board’s consideration of the attached Order Closing Woodpecker Lane  at the October 13 meeting.