Lou’s Views

Town Meeting 04/06/18

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet
For more information
» click here


1. Public Comments on Agenda Items

Surprisingly there were no comments


2. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute §143-318.11(a)(3) – To Consult with the Town Attorney


3. Report and Discussion (No Action to be Taken) on Final Environmental Impact Statement and Related Terminal Groin Project Issues by Attorney Clark Wright, Legal Advisor to the Board with Respect to Beach Protection and other Environmental Issues  

.       a. Spencer Rodgers, NC Sea Grant
.       b. Fran Way, Applied Technology and Management
      c. Steve Dial, Dial Cordy
      d. Professor Andy Coburn, Western Carolina University
.       e Geoff Gisler, Southern Environmental Law Center
      f. Tracy Skrabal, North Carolina Coastal Federation
 
     g. Representative of Dunescape Property Owners Association
.       h. Representative of Holden Beach Property Owners Association

Clark Wright briefly described where we are at in the process
EIS is not a decision document, it is the basis for USACE permit decision
Record of Decision (ROD) is the USACE decision document
Permit Issuance is the federal authorization to implement the project

.     a. Spencer Rodgers, North Carolina Sea Grant
North Carolina Sea Grant provides unbiased, science-based information to enhance the sustainable use and conservation of ocean and coastal resources to benefit communities, the economy and the environment.
For more information » click here

Beachfill alone is not cost effective in high erosion areas, typical of unstabilized inlets. Downdrift erosion has serious significant negative impact. Simply stated, one side of the terminal groin benefits and the other side doesn’t. In general, he recommends terminal groins are a reasonable option.

 Position – PRO

 .     b. Fran Way, Applied Technology and Management (ATM)
*
Presentation in Agenda Packet
ATM is a coastal engineering and consulting firm hired by the town
For more information » click here

Almost half of the east coast inlets have some hard structure there. A terminal groin will increase beach nourishment longevity from two (2) to four (4) years. The project will save twelve (12) million dollars over thirty (30) years, compared to nourishment only alternative. The model projects no downdraft effects to the Central Reach Project shoreline. ATM recommends that we continue to move the process forward and get permit. We do not necessarily have to build the terminal groin now, but we would have the option to do so in the future.

Position – PRO

 .     c. Steve Dial, Dial Cordy & Associates
*
Presentation in Agenda Packet
Dial Cordy and Associates provides comprehensive ecological assessment, environmental planning, and regulatory compliance services.

Position – PRO

No Show. Frankly I was disappointed that they were not in attendance. We have already invested over six hundred and thirty-seven thousand dollars ($637,111) so far. The bulk of that money went to Dial Cordy. You’d think for the money we spent with them that they could have managed to send someone to make a presentation of the work we contracted them to do for us.

 .     d. Professor Andy Coburn, Western Carolina University
Associate Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS)
PSDS – Science. Policy. Education. Outreach. Coastal.
For more information » click here

Coburn was unable to be at the meeting but sent his written comments that Clark read
Terminal groin will not achieve stated objectives
The cost to build and maintain groin will exceed any benefits
It’s fiscally irresponsible to use public funds to build the groin
A terminal groin does not make fiscal sense

 Position – CON

  .     e. Geoff Gisler, Southern Environmental Law Center
A nonprofit organization that works to create, strengthen, and enforce the laws and policies that determine the beauty and health of our environment.
For more information » click here

National Environmental Policy Act is a environmental law that promotes the enhancement of the environment. Presentation was what’s to be gained or not gained by building the groin.

Considered three alternatives
.     1)
Alt#1 – do what we have been doing
    2) Alt#2 – do absolutely nothing
.     3) 
Alt#6 – do groin project

The groin as modeled saved just ten (10) more properties then the other alternatives. Very little to be gained at a huge financial and environmental cost. Debunked the alleged twelve (12) million-dollar savings by building the groin. Geoff demonstrated that it was a seriously flawed economic analysis. The modelling did not remotely reflect the reality of what we have experienced here. His recommendation is to withdraw the application request for a permit. A better path forward would be to continue to do what we have been doing.

Position – CON

  .     f. Mike Giles, North Carolina Coastal Federation
The North Carolina Coastal Federation is a member-supported 501(c)3 that is focused on protecting and restoring the North Carolina coast.
For more information » click here

NCCF objected to building the terminal groin
Mike reiterated that there were better ways to address the issue
He put us on notice – if CAMA permit is issued then they will legally challenge it in court
In other words, he all but guaranteed litigation

 Position – CON

 .     g. Jay Holden of Dunescape Property Owners Association
Dunescape is a private gated community on the east end of the island. They support continued nourishment at the east end of the island. But they oppose the construction of the groin. A terminal groin has limited and uncertain effectiveness and is a slippery slope. Jay stressed the importance of also keeping the inlet orientation south-southwest as a critical nourishment piece. Their position is for us to just continue to do what we have been since that’s working.

Position – CON

 .     h. John Witten of Holden Beach Property Owners Association
*
Presentation in Agenda Packet
The Holden Beach Property Owners Association is a voluntary organization whose mission is to represent the property owners of Holden Beach as a unified voice regarding issues that affect their common interests and concerns.
For more information » click here

USACE by working at a glacial pace did us a favor. We got to see what actually happened at the east end vs. what the modelling projected. The justification for the project is strictly about economics. The evidence provided appears to be just made up numbers that don’t reflect our actual experiences. The proposed terminal groin is a pilot project, an experiment if you will, that is too big a risk to take. This is a thirty-year commitment, with big fixed future costs. We cannot afford to take this risk with our limited resources. Instead we should continue doing what we have been doing and remain flexible keeping our options open. This is the moment of truth – there is no more information to be had and there is the threat of costly litigation. It’s time to move on!

HBPOA Resolution
RESOLVED, that the membership of the HBPOA urges the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach to: (i) continue with the same very successful and very cost-effective east end beach nourishment and Lockwood Folly Inlet strategies as have been in place for the past 15 years; (ii) stop spending the Town’s money and resources in pursuit of the Terminal Groin Project; and (iii) withdraw the Town’s pending Federal permit application and not apply for State permits (reserving the ability to reapply at a later date, subject to USACE consent).

Position – CON

Terminal Groins if properly designed and sited can work with minimum negative adverse conservational impact.  That said, the question then becomes does it make sense economically.  No doubt there are many and conflicting opinions (Pros vs. Cons) but a dearth of economic analysis with nothing even remotely resembling a cost-benefit analysis. Even assuming that it made sense to build the HB terminal groin, one must ask how will we pay for it? The state law says we can’t use special obligation bonds, non-voted general obligation bonds or financing contracts. We could use BPART funds except we have been spending most of the money that we take in annually. In addition, we have committed to take an additional $500,000 annually from BPART account fund to pay down the Central Reach Project debt, which will further deplete the BPART account funds. The BPART fund balance has less than two (2) million dollars in it. But wait, there’s more! The Board has established a goal of setting aside one (1) million dollars a year for beach nourishment in a Capital Reserve Fund that is to be taken from the BPART fund account too.  That leaves only tax increases. So, a tax increase will be required to pay for the initial construction and ongoing maintenance, monitoring and nourishment. Back of the envelope calculation, taxes the first year would have an additional cost of $1,898 for a $500,000 home. The costs averaged over the thirty (30) years would result in an increase of $.096 per year. In other words, given a property with an assessed value of $500,000 your property taxes will increase by $14,400 over the thirty (30) year time horizon. Just to be clear, these numbers are based on the most optimistic financial scenarios. That is expenses are in today’s dollars, the borrowing costs or loan rate is ridiculously low and with no projected cost overruns.

What does this mean to you?
The tax increase varies based on individual property assessment

                                                            BEFORE                    AFTER
Property assessed value                 $500,000                   $500,000
Rate per $100 value                         $.2200                       $.3160
Taxes                                                  $1,100                       $1,580
Difference                                                                          +$480.00


3. Submission of Written Questions on Terminal Groin Related Issues by Mayor, Commissioners and Public

The Mayor read the ten (10) submitted questions
The speakers responded accordingly


General Comments –

There were thirty-three (33) members of the community in attendance

Commissioner Freer – was not in attendance

A police officer was in attendance, ostensibly to control an unruly crowd
The good news is that the public was quite civil throughout the entire meeting


§30.19  RULES OF PROCEDURE.
The BOC shall adopt such rules of procedure not inconsistent with North Carolina General Statutes at their regular scheduled meeting each December, or at other such times deemed appropriate, and publish same in the office of the Town Clerk.

Previously reported – DECEMBER 8, 2015
They adopted the suggested rules with only one minor change. The Commissioners packet is currently distributed just two (2) business days before the meeting date; it will now be distributed five (5) business days before the meeting date.

Update –
Let me get this straight, the single, biggest and most important issue the Town has dealt with and we are not given the information in advance of the meeting. Not only was it not distributed five (5) business days in advance as required but only three (3) of the eight (8) speakers submitted something to be included in the agenda packet. This is unacceptable, if someone is going to speak at the meeting they should be required to submit a brief outline and  summary for inclusion in the packet.


 BOC’s SPECIAL MEETING / March 21, 2018               
.     1. Direct Attorney Clark Wright to Submit a Request for a 30-Day Extension to the Comment Period Related to the Terminal Groin Final Environmental Impact Study
.     2. Direct All Town Officials and Staff to Suspend All Efforts Towards Gaining the Federal and CAMA Permits Related to the Terminal Groin Project Until After a Board Decision is Made, No Sooner Than April 6th

BOC’s SPECIAL MEETING / April 6, 2018
.    1.
Discussion and Possible Action for Audit Committee
.    2.
Report and Discussion on Final Environmental Impact Statement and Related Terminal Groin Issues – Attorney Clark Wright, Legal Advisor to the Board with Respect to Beach Protection and Other Environmental Issues
.    3.
Budget Workshop
.       a) Revenues
.       b)
Follow-up on Solid Waste Report


Budget
Kickoff of our budget season
Local governments must balance their budget by a combination of the following:
. 1)
Raising taxes
. 2)
Cutting spending
. 3)
Operating more efficiently
The Town Manager’s proposed budget is due by June 1st
Commissioners must adopt budget no later than June 30th for the next fiscal year

Adopting the annual budget is a primary responsibility of the Board.

Budget Meeting Schedule / 2018
. 1) 16 January BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives / Capital Program
* Only eleven (11) members of the community were in attendance
. 2) 19 January BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives
*
Only two (2) members of the community were in attendance
. 3) 23 February Canal Dredging Working Group
. 4)
9 March Departments input to Manager
. 5) 6 April
BOC’s Workshop Revenues
* Only five (5) members of the community were in attendance
. 6)
13 April BOC’s Workshop Expenses
. 7)
31 May Budget Message
. 8)
13 June Public Hearing
. 9)
19 June Regular BOC’s Meeting
. 10)
30 June Budget adopted (No Later Than)


Public Water and Sewer System Development Fee Act
Audit Committee BOC’s Tasker Regarding House Bill 436

House Bill 436
Authority to impose fees has been modified
Necessitates us having to retool water and sewer fee rate schedule
Recommends it be prepared by licensed professional engineer
Town Manager plans to commission McGill and Associates to develop rate schedule

North Carolina General Assembly – House Bill 1730 / S.L. 2004-96
Enacted on 07/13/2004
Gives us the authority to charge the sewer treatment fee
For more information » click here

Holden Beach Sewer Treatment Fee
For more information » click here

A sewer capital fee of $497.30 per developable property within the corporate limits of the Town of Holden Beach is authorized for the payment of debt service to fulfill the Town’s sewer capital obligation. Said fee is to be billed concurrently with ad valorem property taxes and collected in accordance with applicable North Carolina General Statues.

The Town Budget Ordinance is where the actual assessment is made
That levy is contained in language on page 7 of Ordinance 17-08
For more information » click here

House Bill 436 / Public Water and Sewer System Development Fee Act
Enacted on 07/20/2017
Eliminates the authority to charge the fee
Town must comply not later than July 1,2018
For more information » click here

Renter Alert – currently sewer fee of $497 is paid by the landlord with their property taxes, the change that eliminates our authority to charge fee will cause us to roll fee into monthly water bill which is usually paid by the tenant

System Development Fees Report
Click here to view the System Development Fees Report prepared by McGill and Associates in accordance with HB 436. Written comments on the report may be sent to heather@hbtownhall.com. Comments will also be accepted by mail at Town of Holden Beach, Attn: Heather Finnell, 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach, NC 28462. The Board will schedule a public hearing prior to considering the adoption of the analysis. Information on the public hearing date will be provided when available.

 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY and PURPOSE STATEMENT

Executive Summary:

The North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 436 in July 2017, amending Chapter 162A

of the General Statutes by adding “Article 8, System Development Fees.” This amendment was enacted as “An Act to Provide for Uniform Authority to Implement System Development Fees for Public Water and Sewer Systems in North Carolina and to Clarify the Applicable Statute of Limitations.” in HB436, which requires compliance with designated calculation methodology by July 1, 2018.

In response to the House Bill 436, the Town of Holden Beach retained McGill Associates to complete a system development fee analysis. Based on the Town of Holden Beach’s combination of existing system capacity and planned capital improvements to expand capacity, the development fee, in accordance with HB 436 rules for an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) for water and sewer was calculated to be $20,577. ERU is defined as the water and sewer capacities required to serve the most typical user type, which is a three-bedroom single-family dwelling.

The fee for other types of development can be calculated by applying the calculated cost of capacity per gallon of flow per day to the water and wastewater demands for various uses as defined by NC Administrative Code 15A NCAC 18C .0409 and 15A NCAC 02T .0114 using the following table:

Holden Beach System Development Fees: Cost per Gallon per Day Calculation
Item     Cost-Justified System Fee             Cost of Capacity ($ / gpd)
1           Water System                                  $14.48 ($ / gpd)
2           Sewer System                                  $41.07 ($ / gpd)


Hurricane Season –

Hurricane #1 - CR

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a hurricane as “an intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher.”

Be prepared – have a plan!

For assistance with making an emergency plan read more here »
. 1) FEMA Ready
. 2) American Red Cross Disaster and Safety Library
. 3) ReadyNC
. 4) Town Emergency Information
. 5) HBPOIN Hurricane Emergency Plan

THB – EVACUATION, CURFEW & VEHICLE DECALS
For more information » click here

A repeat of 2017′: Experts predict another destructive hurricane season
A scientist with Global Weather Oscillations is predicting the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season to be “somewhat of a repeat of 2017,” claiming this year will bring more devastating storms. According to GWO, a storm prediction company, this year’s Atlantic hurricane season may be just as destructive — or even more destructive — than the 2017 season, which ended with 17 named storms and 6 major hurricanes. In 2017, GWO predicted 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. Professor David Dilley, senior research and prediction scientist for GWO, predicts that 2018 will be “somewhat of a repeat of 2017,” but some hurricane landfalls will occur in different locations this year. Dilley anticipates 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. He also predicts four of the hurricanes have potential for U.S. landfall — with two likely being “major impact storms.” “Some United States zones and the Caribbean Islands are currently in their strongest hurricane landfall cycle in 40 to 70-years,” Dilley said in a statement. Dilley says the reason for another disastrous hurricane season has to do with ocean water temperatures. He explains how the temperatures continue to run warmer than normal across most of the Atlantic, especially in the Caribbean region and the Atlantic near the U.S. “This is very similar to the ocean temperatures of last year, and this will again be conducive for tropical storms and/or hurricanes forming and/or strengthening near the Lesser Antilles and close to the United States,” he added.
Read more » click here


Terminal Groin –Terminal Groin #6 - CR

Terminal Groin Presentation
For more information
» click here

Update – November 2017

HBPOA Meet the Candidates Night – Candidate Responses

Terminal Groin
Since 2011, the Town has pursued permits for a long-term East End beach nourishment Project that includes a Terminal Groin intended to slow downshore erosion along a portion of that beach. The Town’s draft Environmental Impact Statement necessary for the permits was first released in August 2015 and has been pending with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. According to the Town’s draft EIS, the Town’s long-term funding commitment for the project would be $30+ million. Please indicate which best describes your position on the Project.

Joe Butler
FAVOR CONTINUATION OF BEACH NOURISHMENT USING SAND FROM DREDGING LOCKWOOD FOLLY INLET, AND OPPOSE BUILDING TERMINAL GROIN

John Fletcher –
FAVOR CONTINUATION OF BEACH NOURISHMENT USING SAND FROM DREDGING LOCKWOOD FOLLY INLET, AND OPPOSE BUILDING TERMINAL GROIN

Peter Freer
FAVOR CONTINUATION OF BEACH NOURISHMENT USING SAND FROM DREDGING LOCKWOOD FOLLY INLET, AND OPPOSE BUILDING TERMINAL GROIN

Pat Kwiatkowski –
FAVOR CONTINUATION OF BEACH NOURISHMENT USING SAND FROM DREDGING LOCKWOOD FOLLY INLET, AND OPPOSE BUILDING TERMINAL GROIN

Mike Sullivan –
FAVOR CONTINUATION OF BEACH NOURISHMENT USING SAND FROM DREDGING LOCKWOOD FOLLY INLET, AND OPPOSE BUILDING TERMINAL GROIN

HBPOA Survey Results
Question #11
What should the Town do to combat chronic erosion on the East End of the island?
Regularly renourish the East End by dredging the inlet. / 185
Construct and maintain a terminal groin. / 95
Do nothing. / 54

There does not appear to be a lot of support for a terminal groin. With 239 out of 334 that chose an action, @72% of those responding DO NOT support building a terminal groin.

My Two Cents - CR II

I have been cogitating on the question of where we’re heading vis a vis building a terminal groin here. The combination of the HBPOA survey and the recent election results appear to point to us not moving forward with this project.

Update – January 2018
Presentation by Clark Wright of Davis Hartman Wright,
Legal Advisor to the Board with Respect to Beach Protection and Other Environmental Issues

Holden Beach Terminal Groin – Fact / Status Sheet
January 16, 2018

  • Town involved in various evaluation, legislation and permitting efforts for 10+ years
  • 2009 CAMA LUP contains language supporting investigating feasibility of HBTG
  • Town provided lobbying funds, political and staff support for State enabling legislation (SB110)
  • BOC enacted Resolution to seek CAMA permit in 2011 (Resolution 11-12, dated 09-13-11
  • BOC effectively reaffirmed support in 2016 (see Minutes of January 2016 BOC Meeting)
  • Town expenditures to-date total to at least $637,161.00 (source: David Hewett)
    • $ 20,000 “Save our Sand” Lobbyist
    • $401,332 Dial Cordy – EIS drafting task – USACE 3rd Party Contractor
    • $ 16,889 Surveying
    • $103,334 Outside Legal Counsel Services Supporting Process
    • $ 93,305 ATM – Engineer of Record
    • $ 2,301 – (data collection; advertising; transcripts)
  • Actions to-date:
    • USACE – lead federal agency – Section 10/404 Federal Permits – Responsible for EIS process, working with 3rd Party Contractor, Town and other stakeholders; process has covered 6+ years
    • USACE Scoping Meeting – Public Notice issued 02-28-12
    • USACE Public Notice of issuance of Draft EIS was issued on 08-28-15 (in connection with the Town’s Application for Section 10/404 Federal Permits authorizing TG)
    • “Inlet Management Plan” is included as part of Draft EIS
    • “Economic Analysis” addressing various alternatives included in the Draft EIS
    • USACE has provided final comments to Dial Cordy; issuance of the Final EIS is expected within 30 days; FEIS is expected to support preferred alternative for TG
  • Anticipated Future Actions (assumes process continues to move forward):
    • Issuance of the Final EIS within 30 days; FEIS will be published in Federal Register with a notice asking for final comments before USACE writes and publishes final “Record of Decision (“ROD”).”
    • The USACE ROD may be to adopt any of the alternatives described in the FEIS, including the “no action” alternative. It is anticipated that the USACE ROD will endorse the “preferred alternative” described in the DEIS/FEIS (i.e., recommend issuance of Federal Section 10 and Section 404 Permits authorizing construction and operation of a terminal groin at Lockwood Folly Inlet.)
    • Once the FEIS and ROD are published, the Town then can formally submit a Major Development CAMA Permit Application to the NC Division of Coastal Management (DCM). In addition to compliance with all CAMA rules and provisions, the CAMA Permit Application Package must comply with any mitigation measures described in the FEIS, as well as requirements as set forth in SB110, as amended – including financial assurances package that must receive review/approval from the NC Local Government Commission. [NOTE: The Town and its contractors have worked on a draft CAMA Permit Application Package; additional work remains to be done to address FEIS requirements; the “financial assurances” package has not been prepared, even in draft form; the Town Manager has obtained copies of packages submitted by several other TG applicants.]
    • Real Property Easements will have to be obtained by the Town from oceanfront property owners owning land where the proposed terminal groin comes ashore, as well as all areas where any physical portions of the structure would be located above mean high water. (Note that terminal groin structures run several hundred feet landward of the mean high-water mark.)
    • In addition to real property easements for the location of TG structures, it is likely that DCM will require the Town to identify and obtain easements from ocean front property owners located within the “service area” of the TG where beach nourishment activities are an integral part of the anticipated “beneficial” functioning of the TG. No easement legal work specific to the TG project has been undertaken by the Town Attorney to-date; parcel information regarding those ocean front property owners recently was provided to the Town Attorney by the Town Manager. There appears to be overlap of these parcels with those tied to the TG project. Potentially affected landowners have not received any formal notices or communications from the Town regarding these matters.
  • Related potentially relevant activities include:
    • Ongoing federal litigation filed by NC Audubon and SELC against USACE and OIB
    • Status of Figure Eight Island TG process, currently on hold
    • Status of Federal reauthorization of the NFIP
    • Existing SDI5 Permit, and potential modifications/renewal
    • Town Eastern Reach nourishment project(s)
    • Future repeats of Central Reach Project
    • Potential actions by Brunswick County (Jetty? Purchase of dredge? Other?)
    • Relationship with Oak Island?
    • Relationship with General Assembly?
    • Relationship with NC State Government?
    • Status of endangered species, including sea turtles and sea bird species?
    • Relationships with commercial/recreational fishing interests?
    • Relationships with oceanfront property owners?
    • Potential legal challenges naming Town as a party
    • Potential to cooperate with various NGO’s
    • Establishment of permanent beach and inlet management standing committee or board

My Two Cents - CR IIWe already invested over six hundred and thirty-seven thousand dollars ($637,111) so far. We either continue to support moving forward or cut our losses and pull the plug. We should have already gotten the permit. Once we have the permit in hand, we will have to decide whether to fund it or not. I anticipate an unexpected denouement.

Update – February 2018

What’s next?

The next steps include the following:
.
1) USACE final EIS published by February 23rd
. 2 ) Public comment period begins – 30 days
. 3) USACE Record of Decision (ROD)
. 4) CAMA application completed
. 5) Federal and State permit issuance / Permits expire in five (5) years

Update – March 2018

Holden Beach awaits permits for terminal groin project
Holden Beach’s proposed terminal groin remains mired in the permitting process, six years after town officials approved moving forward with the project. Though the terminal groin project has been going through the permitting process for the past several years, Hewett said the environmental-impact statement (EIS) for the project has nearly been completed and should be posted to the federal register in the coming days. After the project is posted, there will be a 30-day comment period followed by a “record of decision” by the Army Corps of Engineers. If the corps’ decision is favorable, Hewett said the town still has to obtain a Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) permit for the project from the N.C. Division of Coastal Management (DCM). If the town obtains all the permits necessary, Hewett said it will be up to the town’s commissioners on whether to fund construction.
Read more » click here

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Wilmington District Commander -Colonel Clark- has signed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). Dial Cordy and the Corps program manager are finalizing the digitization of the document for Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) publishing. The USACE on March 15th released the FEIS for the Holden Beach East End Shore Protection Project.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement can be found on the USACE website

Holden Beach Terminal Groin – Corps ID # SAW-2011-01914

This request is from the Town of Holden Beach for a terminal groin and beach fill project in waters of the US. The proposed terminal groin is one component of the Town of Holden Beach’s ongoing comprehensive beach management program, described in the Holden Beach 2009 Beach Management Plan. A terminal groin structure on the eastern end of Holden Beach is an alternative that is being considered as the preferred method to reduce the high erosion losses that have historically occurred at the east end of Holden Beach, in addition to proactive sand management of Lockwoods Folly Inlet.
For more information » click here

The Public Notice can be found on the USACE website

SAW-2011-019143/15/2018: The Wilmington District, Corps of Engineers (Corps) received an application from the Town of Holden Beach (Town) seeking Department of the Army authorization to discharge fill material into waters of the United States, associated with the construction of a 700-ft-long terminal groin with a 300-ft shore anchorage system and associated long-term beach nourishment component, in order to address erosion and protect infrastructure, roads, homes, beaches, dunes and wildlife habitat in Holden Beach, Brunswick County, North Carolina. Specific plans and location information are described below and shown on the attached plans. This notice serves to announce the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Holden Beach East End Shore Protection Project in accordance with 33 CFR 325 Appendix B, and 40 CFR 1502.19 – 1506.10. Comments will be received for 30 days, with an end comment period date of April 16, 2018. Comments received from the FEIS will be used in the development of a Record of Decision (ROD) for this project.
Expiration date: 4/16/2018
For more information » click here

The Town, prior to the report, indicated it Preferred Alternative 6: Intermediate Terminal Groin with Beach Nourishment. Any form of engagement with those preparing the report influences the independence, objectivity, integrity and credibility of the research. It appears that the report is designed to provide a justification for the applicant’s preferred alternative.

A Fiscal Analysis of Shifting Inlets and Terminal Groins in NC
By Andrew Coburn Associate Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University
Based on this study, PSDS has determined that:
. 1)
Assessed value does not reflect the potential fiscal impacts of shifting inlets to the state or local governments from erosion due to shifting inlets,
. 2) The fiscal benefits of protecting property at-risk to shifting inlets are small compared to the costs of protection,
. 3) The use of terminal groins would provide limited fiscal and economic benefits to state taxpayers and local communities an
.
4) Long-term costs of a terminal groin exceed potential long-term benefits at every developed NC inlet. This analysis indicates that, even ignoring environmental concerns, terminal groins are not a fiscally-sound strategy for dealing with coastal property at-risk to shifting inlets and, due to their limited fiscal benefits, the expenditure of state funds for groin construction/maintenance is bad public policy.
For more information » click here

Although the report is dated Coburn’s position is that terminal groins simply do not make financial sense for municipalities.


BOC’s SPECIAL MEETING / March 21, 2018                
.     1)
Direct Attorney Clark Wright to Submit a Request for a 30-Day Extension to the Comment Period Related to the Terminal Groin Final Environmental Impact Study
    2)
Direct All Town Officials and Staff to Suspend All Efforts Towards Gaining the Federal and CAMA Permits Related to the Terminal Groin Project Until After a Board Decision is Made, No Sooner Than April 6th

Holden Beach Calls ‘Time Out’ on Groin Plan
The town board of commissioners has voted to put on hold all work toward getting a permit to build terminal groin and to seek more time for public comment on the proposed structure. The action comes just days after the Army Corps of Engineers released the final environmental study for the project that’s been in the works for the past two and a half years.

The board voted Wednesday during a special meeting to direct attorney Clark Wright to submit a request for a 30-day extension to the comment period related to the final environmental impact study, or FEIS, for the town’s proposed terminal groin. The Corps released the study March 15. Public comments were to be received for 30 days, or until April 16.

The board also approved in a unanimous vote a motion that no town employee, agent, contractor, subcontractor or person representing the town before any federal or state agency shall take action that advances or terminates the current application process related to the terminal groin prior to a vote of the board of commissioners that restores such authority. The motion excludes work by Wright, the attorney who is working as a consultant to the town on the project.

The project was proposed to address chronic erosion at the eastern end of the 8.1-mile-long barrier island. Erosion has led to dune breaching and flooding along the east end of town and has resulted in the loss of about 27 oceanfront properties since 1993. Average long-term erosion rates along the most affected area ranges from a loss of 3 to 8 feet per year, among the highest in the state, according to the study.

The town had sought a permit to build a 700-foot-long terminal groin with a 300-foot shore anchorage system to be supplemented with a long-term plan for beach re-nourishment. The structure would also include a 120-foot-long “T-head” segment centered on the seaward end of the main stem to help minimize potential rip currents and sand losses during extreme wave conditions.

Critics have said the $34.4 million project would benefit only a handful of homes, protect less than $1.2 million in tax revenue over 30 years and push chronic erosion at the east end of Holden Beach to spots farther down the beach.

Town Manager David Hewett said the board’s action was a reflection of public concerns with the project. Three of the five town commissioners, Sullivan, Kwiatkowski and Commissioner Joseph Butler, were elected to their first terms in November in a race in which the terminal groin plan was at issue. “It’s a matter of record that a number of folks ran on that platform,” Hewett told Coastal Review Online Thursday. “The fact that they’re providing an extended period to gather more information is part of a larger desire to serve the public will. Calling a time out in the middle of a game is evidence that something is important.”
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NC Department of Environmental Quality Division of Coastal Management
Terminal groins do have an impact on the natural ocean and inlet shoreline position; they may be successful in slowing erosion or may cause adverse impacts on the downdrift shoreline due to interruption of the natural sediment transport system.  

Terminal groin expansion worries environmental groups
The town of Holden Beach and other coastal towns continue to explore the option of putting a terminal groin along their shore, which has environmental groups like the North Carolina Coastal Federation upset. The Army Corps of Engineers released their final environmental impact statement for the Holden Beach project on March 15 and outlines the specifics of the proposed plan. 

Tracy Skrabal, with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, said Bald Head Island is the only beach to currently have terminal groins in the area, but Ocean Isle Beach, Figure 8 Island, and Holden beach all have permits in for consideration after a ban was overturned in 2011. “When you start to see larger storms of intensity and duration, as we already see, then we will see people get fairly desperate for ways to protect their properties,” said Skrabal. “Harden structures are often looked at as a potential solution, which we do not agree with.”

Skrabal said terminal groins are often made of stone and rock and placed at the end of beaches in an effort to stop erosion, which she said could be harmful to the ecosystem. “These really have the potential because of their size and location to damage really critical habitats,” she said. “What we also see is that they don’t really function for their purpose. They may protect 10, 12, maybe 20 properties, but they can also cause erosion downstream.”

The Coastal Federation hopes towns will look into more environmentally friendly methods of conservation. “Beach nourishment, which is happening right now at Wrightsville Beach is a tried and true method of basically buying time on these dynamic systems,” said Skrabal. It functions as intended, which is to move the shoreline out and allow the storms to buffer if you will.”

The public can comment in writing on the project through April 16. Skrabal said she hopes the community educates themselves whatever side of the issue they fall. “At Holden Beach, maybe you get protection for 10 to 20 properties on the east side of the island at an expense of 30 to 40 million dollars over the next 30 years with no guarantees,” she said. “There is potential for harm to the natural ecosystem, to our natural beach access as property owners and visitors, and for erosion on the other side of the inlet.”
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Holden Beach extends comment period for terminal groin project
Those who want to provide public comment on Holden Beach’s proposed terminal groin project received a 30-day extension to do so following a unanimous decision by Commissioners March 21.

Commissioners directed Clark Wright, environmental lawyer with Davis Hartman Wright in New Bern and a consultant for the town, to submit a request to the Army Corps of Engineers for the extension to the comment period on the Terminal Groin Final Environmental Impact Study (FEIS). The corps released its final environmental impact statement for the project March 15, with public comments originally accepted until April 16.

“This is a very detail-oriented FEIS. We need multiple scheduled meetings in order to inform everyone, answer questions, get public comment,” commissioner Pat Kwiatkowski said during the meeting. “So, a 30-day extension actually gives us three previously scheduled town meetings in order to thoroughly vet and get comments.”

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Sullivan made a motion that no employee, agent, contractor, subcontractor or person representing the town before any federal or state agency shall take any action or file any motion which advances or terminates the current application process related to the terminal groin before a vote by the board of commissioners. Commissioner John Fletcher seconded. Sullivan said they needed to add that this excludes any of Wright’s work, and Fletcher agreed with the amendment.

Holden Beach intends to build a 700-foot-long terminal groin with a 300-foot shore anchorage system and associated long-term beach nourishment component on the east end of the island, according to a public notice released by the corps. The purpose is to establish a shoreline protection program under Holden Beach’s authority, which will help to restore and maintain the east end of the island. The groin will help with short- and long-term protection of residential and town infrastructures and recreational areas, helping to stabilize the beach as well as preventing erosion.  

Following the end of the comment period, there will be a record of decision by the corps. If the corps favors the groin, the town still has to get a Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) permit for the project from the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management. Once all permits are in hand, commissioners will vote on whether to fund the groin’s construction.
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For more information, go to the Terminal Groin post


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