04 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / April Edition

Calendar of Events –



Days at the Docks Festival

April 27th – 28th
Holden Beach

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The annual festival occurs in April or May and is sponsored by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. It’s the Holden Beach way to kick-off the Spring and start the vacation season. In addition to the food and arts & crafts, enjoy live music & entertainment, a horseshoe tournament and the world famous “Bopple Race”. Lots of activities for the entire family!
For more information » click here



Blue Crab Festival

May 18th – 19th
Little River SC

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This will be the 38th annual world famous Blue Crab Festival. It is held on the waterfront in Little River and is one of the largest festivals in the Southeast. The purpose of this festival is one that supports and showcases the fabulous atmosphere of the local communities.
For more information » click here


Events
TDA - logo
Discover a wide range of things to do in the Brunswick Islands for an experience that goes beyond the beach.
For more information » click here


Calendar of Events – Island


HBBC

Holden Beach Beautification Club Plant Sale
The HBBC is holding their 8th Annual Plant Sale on Friday, April 26th and Saturday, April 27th at the Emergency Operations Center, which is beside Food Lion located at 1044 Sabbath Home Road. Landscaping plants, perennials, annuals, herbs and gardening gloves will be available for purchase. All funds generated from the plant sale are earmarked for beautification projects on the island. Visit the Beautification Club’s website at http://holdenbeachbc.org/ if you are unable to attend the plant sale but would like to contribute.



Days at the Docks Festival

This is either a one or two-day event. The festival occurs in April or May of each year and is sponsored by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. This year it is April 27th & 28th. It’s the Holden Beach way to kick-off the Spring and start the vacation season.

 



Pickleball Tournament
Holden Beach is hosting their third annual Pickleball Tournament. This year the Battle at the Beach tournament is May 3rd to May 5th.

 

What is Pickleball you ask?

Pickleball: growing sport for seniors
Pickleball originated in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The ball used is a perforated plastic ball similar to a Whiffle ball. The game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. The net is a couple inches lower than a tennis court net and the court is smaller too (20 feet by 44 feet vs. 36 by 78), and the paddles are oversized ping pong paddles made of plywood, aluminum or graphite. The game can be played with two or four players. Experience in tennis, badminton and ping pong is helpful, as there are similarities with those sports. There already are over 100,000 players in the United States alone. When tennis and badminton players find it difficult to navigate the larger courts, the next step is Pickleball, where there is not as much running required.
Read more » click here

Pickleball: The fastest growing sport you’ve never heard of
Looking for a new warm-weather sport? Try pickleball. And, no, it’s not just for seniors.
Read more » click here
 


The Town will sponsor a Paint it Purple Cancer Survivors’ Dessert and Ice Cream Social on Friday, May 17th at 1:00 p.m. Survivors, their guests and citizens who would like to show support should call (910) 842-6488 by Monday, May 13th to register. To help support the cause, we ask that you please wear purple to the event if possible.


Concerts on the Coast Series / 2019
The Town’s summer concert series calendar has been released! Live performances featuring local musical groups are held at the pavilion on Sunday evenings from late May to early September. The concerts are free of charge.
For more information » click here


 

Summer Day Camp Program  

 

Day Camp is on Thursday during the summer beginning June 13th and is open to children ages 6 – 12. Kids can join us this summer for a variety of fun activities. Click here to view our Camp Schedule with each week’s activity and cost. Space is limited, you must pre-register. Completed registration forms must be mailed in with payment or dropped off with payment to Town Hall. Payment is non-refundable. 


Parks & Recreation / Programs & Events
For more information » click here


Reminders –


Bridge Work / Boat Ramp Closed
Based on guidance from DOT this morning, there are plans to make repairs to the caps and columns of the bridge at the boat ramp location beginning Monday, April 8th. During this time the boat ramp will be closed Monday – Friday. DOT expects the ramp to be open on the weekends.


Brunswick County Shred Event
On April 26th, bring your files that need to be shredded to the Brunswick County Complex between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. The County will have shred trucks parked in the parking lot between buildings B & G (look for the signs). This event is free and open to all businesses, property owners and residents of Brunswick County. For more information call (910) 253-2520.

Brunswick County Governmental Center
3325 Old Ocean Hwy.
Bolivia, NC 28422


 

Trash Collection
An extra trash collection is scheduled for the Saturday following Easter (April 27th).

 


Speed Limit
Please take notice – Speed limit seasonal limitations, in accordance with Town Ordinances.Speed limit will change on OBW from 45mph to 35mph west of the general store. This change will take place on April 1st and be in effect through September 30th .



Yard Waste Service
Yard debris pick-up will be provided twice a month on the 2ndand 4th Fridays during the months of March, April and May. Please have yard waste placed at the street for pick-up on Thursday night.

 

Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length of five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. A total of ten (10) items (bundles of brush/ limbs, bags) will be picked up by Waste Industries. Yard waste must be placed at the street for pick-up. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2019 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills. Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals.Please avoid misplacing the decals, as a $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain replacement decals.

.Decals are your passes to get onto the island to check your property only in the case of a storm the would necessitate restricting access to the island. These are to be used only for your primary vehicles and should be placed on the interior of the lower driver side windshield.

If you own rental property with full-time tenants, two free decals may be obtained by the property owner to distribute to the tenants.

Please make sure to place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. Property owners without a valid decal will not be allowed on the island during restricted access. No other method of identification is accepted in an emergency situation. Click here to visit our website to find out more information regarding decals and emergency situations.


Smoke Detectors
Time change means time to check smoke detectors, too. The fire department is encouraging people to test their smoke alarms and change the battery. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, whether they are battery-operated or hard-wired.



Bird Nesting Area

NC Wildlife Commission has posted signs that say – Bird Nesting Area / Please don’t disturb. The signs are posted on the west end beach strand around 1339 OBW.


People and dogs are supposed to stay out of the area from April through November

. 1) It’s a Plover nesting area
. 2) Allows migrating birds a place to land and rest without being disturbed



Mosquito Control
Current EPA protocol is that spraying is complaint driven
The Town is unable to just spray as they had in the past
. 1)
Complaint based
. 2)
Citizen request
. 3)
Proactively monitor hot spots

They recommend that you get rid of any standing water on your property that you can
Urged everyone to call Town Hall if they have mosquito issues so that they can spray

Spraying is complaint based, so keep the calls coming!


Dog Park Closed
The dog park will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Town needed to use the land at the dog park to place material from the canal dredging project as the dredge spoils area. It is unknown when it will be returned to a useable state as a dog park again. They are currently looking at other options for a dog park.

The dredge spoils area has turned the dog park into a pond for the time being.



BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ May Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, May 21st

 



News from Town of Holden Beach

The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here



Canal Dredging

The Town is planning to perform a complete dredge of all of the canals this coming fall/winter (November 2018 – Mar 2019). 


Dredging Project –
April
Dredging projects were completed before the dredging permit expired. 


Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to heather@hbtownhall.com.


Recycling-Bin
Curbside Recycling

Waste Industries is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $82.48 annually paid in advance to the Town of Holden Beach and consists of a ninety-six (96) gallon cart that is emptied every other week.
Curbside Recycling Application » click here
Curbside Recycling Calendar » click here


Elevator - CRElevators
Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system.

Safety Notice –
Waupaca Elevator Company has issued an important safety notice. The potential hazard is associated with normal wear in your elevator. If your elevator develops the problem and it is not repaired, the elevator may drop unexpectedly with you in it and you may be injured. They recommend you contact your elevator service company.


Library
If you need something to keep you busy in this colder weather, make sure to visit the island library. The library is in the upstairs of Holden Beach Town Hall. All the books were donated. Patrons of the library don’t have to check out a book; they are on the honor system to return it.



Neighborhood Watch –

Need to look out for each other
Call 911 if you see or hear anything suspicious
Fill out Keep Check Request Form if you will be out of town
• Submit completed Property Registration Form
• Pickup copy of Protecting Your Home


Upon Further Review –


Insurance Policy
Previously reported – September 2018
Insurance Commissioner Causey settles homeowners’ insurance rate dispute
Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced today the N.C. Department of Insurance has ended the legal dispute with the North Carolina Rate Bureau on its proposal for an 18.7 percent homeowners’ insurance rate increase. Commissioner Causey has negotiated an almost 14 percent lower rate for an average 4.8 percent increase statewide. “I have negotiated a rate that will have minimal impact on the coast yet keep the state’s insurance companies financially sound,” said Commissioner Causey. The 4.8 percent increase will vary according to territory with a cap of 5.5 percent statewide instead of the 25 percent bump on the coast initially proposed by the NCRB. The agreement also covers insurance for tenants and condominiums, which is capped at 12 percent. This rate settlement will save consumers approximately $293 million in the first year alone, compared to the NCRB’s proposed increase.

The NCRB is separate from the NCDOI and is made up of insurance industry representatives. The Rate Bureau filed for the proposed 18.7 percent rate increase November 17, 2017, claiming the increase was necessary because of the increased costs stemming from tornado, severe thunderstorm, and windstorm/hail damage. Commissioner Causey had concerns over the initial filing and set a July 23, 2018, hearing date for the case to be decided if an agreement couldn’t be reached. Over the last several months, the Department and the NCRB have been in litigation while trying to settle the case without the necessity of a long, expensive hearing. The last time homeowners saw an insurance rate increase was in 2012. At that time, the NCRB case was settled for an average statewide increase of 7 percent. The increase will take effect October 1, 2018.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – February 2019
NC Rate Bureau seeks rate hike
Read more » click here

N.C. Rate Bureau asks for 17.4 percent rate increase for homeowners’ insurance
The North Carolina Rate Bureau has requested the N.C. Department of Insurance increase homeowners’ insurance rates 17.4 percent effective Oct. 1, 2019. The N.C. Rate Bureau represents the state’s insurance companies and is a separate entity from the N.C. Department of Insurance. The Rate Bureau attests the increase is needed to cover increased losses, hurricane losses and the net cost of reinsurance. Last year, the Rate Bureau requested an 18.9 percent increase in homeowners’ insurance rates, but Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey settled, instead, on an average 4.8 percent rate increase.
Read more » click here

Update –
NA


Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling

Previously reported – September 2015
Resolution 15-09 is in opposition to offshore exploration and drilling. Why? Because we have a tourism based economy, along with the local fishing industry and quality of life depends on the health and welfare of our natural resources. We believe that the inherent risks to our region from offshore exploration and drilling have the potential to irrevocably harm our natural environment, our economic well-being and our overall quality of life. Including us there are now 79 municipalities that have passed resolutions opposing offshore exploration and drilling.

Previously reported – December 2018
Trump admin. approves seismic tests for Atlantic offshore oil drilling
The approval moves forward a policy that many affected states don’t want.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – February 2019
Bill introduced to prevent seismic air gun testing in Atlantic Ocean
Read more » click here

Previously reported – March 2019
Bipartisan opposition is clear against Trump’s offshore drilling
Read more » click here

U.S. Interior official suggests Trump drilling proposal will include Atlantic: recording
Read more » click here

The objections to offshore drilling are economic, environmental and bipartisan
Offshore drilling in the Atlantic and the related seismic airgun blasting used to identify oil and gas deposits pose unacceptable risks to East Coast economies, marine life and our environment.

But the Trump administration, with a “drill baby, drill” mind-set, has awarded permits allowing five companies to “incidentally” harass whales, dolphins and other marine life by performing deafening seismic blasting — the precursor to oil and gas drilling — from Cape May, N.J., to Cape Canaveral, Fla.

While federal lawsuits aim to stop the rush to blast and drill, the Trump administration should abandon this precipitous course. Every state governor up and down the coast from both sides of the aisle is opposed to this terrible move, and coastal communities are united against it. President Trump has the opportunity to do the right, bipartisan thing by stopping these permits from moving forward — or the courts may decide for him.

The Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina coasts, which boast some of the best beaches, magnificent natural habitats and robust coastal economies on the Eastern Seaboard, are firmly in the oil industry’s crosshairs.

For Virginia, offshore drilling would put 86,000 jobs and $4.8 billion in GDP from coastal tourism and fishing at risk, according to the environmental and conservation group Oceana. For Maryland, 96,000 jobs and $6 billion would be imperiled, while in North Carolina, offshore drilling would threaten 51,000 jobs and $2.2 billion in GDP. This when there is little demand for more oil.

But let’s not forget about the impact on marine life.

In Virginia and Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab, the protagonist in William W. Warner’s Pulitzer-winning Beautiful Swimmers, have survived just about every attack thrown its way — overharvesting, pollution and habitat destruction among others. Now, one threat looms that may be their death knell.

Maryland often takes credit for the blue crab, but every bay crab is born a Virginian. Pregnant females spend the winter at the mouth of the bay, then release their larvae to float as far as 50 miles out into the ocean, directly where energy companies are proposing to test and drill.

When they grow fins, they dive to the bottom and ride underwater currents back to the bay. Until then, they are vulnerable, and an oil spill could be their undoing, potentially killing an entire year of juvenile crabs. That’s to say nothing of the impact on other finfish and shellfish.

If implemented, seismic airgun blasts — which are used to identify offshore deposits and can be heard up to 2,500 miles away — would occur five million times, or every 10 seconds for weeks on end, disrupting turtle mating, whale migrating, fish feeding and other marine activities along the entire East Coast.

Among the louder noises in oceans, the blasts would endanger communities of beaked whales, which are particularly sensitive to underwater noise, off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and could irreparably harm North Atlantic right whales, which are on the verge of extinction, with only 400 remaining in the Atlantic.

When the blasting is over, it’s time for the drilling. With oil spills, it’s not a question of if, but when, and the results can be catastrophic. The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, killed 11 workers and caused fisheries to lose $8.7 billion and 22,000 jobs by 2020. But leaving Deepwater aside, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says that another 2,440 oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico between 1964 and 2015 discharged more than 12 million gallons of oil into the Gulf. A 2016 survey of the oil industry found an average 23 spills a day across the United States.

Offshore wells also pollute the air. An typical oil and gas exploration well releases roughly 50 tons of nitrogen oxides, 13 tons of carbon monoxide and six tons of sulfur oxides a year. And what goes up does come down. Almost 30 percent of the Bay’s nitrogen pollution, the chemical responsible for underwater dead zones, arrives on the wind, and introducing a new pollution source would put the bay’s fragile recovery at risk.

Communities up and down the east coast have voted to oppose offshore drilling. They all recognize the risk is simply not worth the meager rewards, if any, of more oil produced in an oil-glutted market on a planet with a rapidly changing climate threatening our very existence.

Now is the time to move away from expensive and inefficient fossil fuels toward a 21st-century regime of innovative, job-creating alternative energies that will promise a brighter future for all. And, at the same time, save precious marine life and coastal economies alike.
Read more » click here

Update –
Bill would ban offshore drilling on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts
In late March, Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., introduced the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, bipartisan legislation that would permanently ban oil and gas leasing off the coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic. The bill would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit the secretary of the Interior from including in any leasing program certain planning areas.
Read more » click here

Report finds ‘alarming unaddressed deficiencies’ in US offshore oil drilling
Even as the Trump administration has taken steps to expand offshore oil drilling, a new report shows that thousands of oil spills are still happening and that workers in the oil and gas industry are still dying on the job. The report comes from Oceana, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the oceans, which has sued the federal government to stop seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean. The blasting is the first step needed to allow offshore drilling, when seismic airguns are used to find oil and gas deep under the ocean. Every state along the Atlantic coast has opposed the blasting, worried that spills could hurt tourism and local fisheries. Some scientists say the testing could also hurt marine life, including the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale. The group tied its report, released Thursday, to the ninth anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to show what has been happening since the government promised to hold the industry accountable to higher safety standards.
Read more » click here


Previously reported –

Holden Beach Newsletter

 


Chemours has issued a press release announcing that the company will take measures to eliminate byproduct GenX wastewater emissions from its Fayetteville site.
Click here to view the release.

In order to keep citizens informed, Brunswick County has established a website to share information about GenX as they learn it. You can find this page at www.brunswickcountync.gov/genx. The website contains a FAQ section that they update as they learn additional information (or receive additional questions), links to all their press releases and links to other resources like information from NCDEQ. There is also a link where citizens can go to sign up to receive email updates on the topic.


The Public Information Officer for Brunswick County announced that the County has taken legal action against DuPont and Chemours for contaminating the Cape Fear River.

10.31.2017
Statement from Brunswick County
The filing of formal legal action against Chemours and DuPont represents another crucial step in protecting our public drinking water supply. It sends a clear message that Brunswick County will simply not stand for the discharge of emerging or unregulated chemicals into our public drinking water supply. Let us be clear…we will ensure that any company that threatens this vital resource is held responsible. Furthermore, our litigation team is consulting the nation’s leading experts to determine the best long-term water testing and treatment methods for the entire county. As part of that, we will ensure that the costs for doing so do not fall upon the rate payers, but upon those dumping the unregulated chemicals in the water.
For more information » click here

Previously reported – February 2019
Updated consent order requires Chemours to consider GenX in river
Read more » click here

Previously reported – March 2019
Judge signs GenX consent order
Read more » click here

Update –
Proposed Gen X-related bill would target Chemours, form task force
Ambitious new legislation would set new standards for Gen X and other similar compounds in the state’s water supply. If passed, the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) would be required to form a task force to analyze and identify pollutants found in ground and surface waters, air, soil, dust, and food within the Lower Cape Fear River Basin. Cumberland, Bladen, Columbus, Brunswick, and New Hanover Counties all fall within that area. The measure would require Chemours and other polluting companies to be named and held financially responsible for replacing the tainted water supply with a permanent replacement water source. Additionally, polluting companies would be required to fund periodic maintenance for the filtration system used for the clean water supply. A chief sponsor of the bill, Sen. Harper Peterson believes that Gen-X is responsible for an elevated rate of thyroid cancer, liver cancer, and other illnesses in the Cape Fear region than in the rest of the state. The bill would require $270 million for funding.
Read more » click here


Lockwood Folly Inlet Dredging


Previously reported – February 2019
USACE dredge boat Murden replaced the Merritt and will be here until February 25th as long as conditions remain favorable. Murden deposits sand nearshore which is more beneficial than the side-caster Merritt, but not as good as putting it on the beach with a pipeline project.  The good news is it is placing the sand off our beach, not Oak Island’s.  That sand is then in “the system” and will eventually append to our beach – not just fall back in the inlet.

USACE Merritt
The Merritt is a side-cast dredge that has two drag arms on each side of the vessel that operators lower into the water. The dredge removes sediment from the bottom and pumps it through a discharge pipe outside of the channel and into the direction of the current. It can dredge to a depth of up to 20 feet. The Merritt is especially suited for maintenance of shallow, un-stabilized inlets where larger hopper dredges cannot operate due to strong currents and ocean environment.

USACE Murden
This vessel will work in the shallow-draft ocean bar channels along the Atlantic Coast.  In addition to removing dredged material from the channel it can transport the material to the downdrift beach and deposit it in the surf zone to nourish sand-starved beaches.

Update –
Lockwood Folly Inlet Hydrographic Survey After Dredging / March 2019


Corrections & Amplifications –


The National Flood Insurance Program
The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures. Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – December 2018
National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On July 31, 2018, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to November 30, 2018. Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP by no later than 11:59 pm on May 31, 2019.

FEMA and Congress have never failed to honor the flood insurance contracts in place with NFIP policyholders. Should the NFIP’s authorization lapse, FEMA would still have authority to ensure the payment of valid claims with available funds. However, FEMA would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 40,000 home sale closings per month.

NFIP reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to take bold steps to reduce the complexity of the program and strengthen the NFIP’s financial framework so that the program can continue helping individuals and communities take the critical step of securing flood insurance. The level of damage from the 2017 hurricanes makes it abundantly clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – February 2019
Private Flood Insurance Gets Boost from Regulators
Flood insurance policies not backed by the government currently represent less than 5% of the residential market
The number of flood insurance policies underwritten by private companies could triple under a new federal rule that would require mortgage lenders to accept both private and government-backed policies.

The rule, approved by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency late last week, is aimed at boosting the availability of private flood insurance in flood zones, a market dominated by a multibillion-dollar government program. It could usher in private flood insurance for hundreds of thousands of residential properties in those areas, according to government estimates. “This ruling has the potential to open up the private insurance market,” said Michael Barry, a spokesman at the industry-funded Insurance Information Institute. He said the effect was likely to be concentrated in Florida, Louisiana and Texas, where most of the nation’s flood insurance policies are held.

The private-sector insurance industry historically has been reluctant to write flood insurance because of the potential for large losses, but interest has grown in recent years with the improvement of mapping and modeling technologies. Private flood insurance policies currently represent less than 5% of the residential market, according to government and academic research. Most private flood insurance is for commercial and more expensive residential properties that need coverage above the federal program’s $250,000 limit.

The public program had more than five million policies outstanding and $1.3 trillion in potential claims as of July 2018. It is operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “If the private market can take care of it, that’s just more sustainable for taxpayers and for society in general,” said R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a libertarian policy organization that has argued for shrinking the government flood insurance program.

The regulation is set to go into effect in July, as the next hurricane season gets under way. It stems from a provision in a 2012 flood insurance law that sought to partially address financial pressures on the government’s flood insurance program, which is deeply in debt from record disaster payouts in recent years and limitations on its ability to increase premiums.

Congress has for years debated how to fix the National Flood Insurance Program, created about 50 years ago because private insurers were unwilling to risk catastrophic flood losses. Lawmakers, divided based on the prevalence of floods in their districts, have approved only partial solutions such as premium increases or debt forgiveness for the government program. The government, for instance, wrote off $16 billion in debt for the federal program in 2017 following claims made in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Congress must reauthorize the federal insurance program this year. It is expected to discuss additional ways to overhaul the federal program, such as redrawing the maps that dictate where coverage is required and making it financially stable.

Opponents of opening up the flood insurance market argue private insurers could cherry-pick safer properties that could be cheaper to insure, saddling the public program with riskier ones. And some lawmakers, including Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), have called for increasing controls over the private flood insurance sector.

The rule would require lenders to accept private flood insurance policies that have coverage at least as comprehensive as what is offered by the federal program. Banks also could allow policies that aren’t as comprehensive as government flood insurance, a move backed by the insurance industry but opposed by some consumer advocates because it could concentrate riskier insurance policies in the federal plan.

Narrower coverage will “appeal more to lower risk people and then leave the National Flood Insurance Program principally with higher risk people,” said Daniel Schwarz, a professor at University of Minnesota Law School. Three other regulators, including the Federal Reserve, must still approve the rule.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – March 2019
National Flood Insurance Program needs long-term reauthorization to address key challenges
As the House Financial Services Committee meets this week to discuss reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), there is a lot at stake. The NFIP, on which 5 million Americans depend for protection from flooding, began with the best of intentions — reducing the burden on federal taxpayers stemming from flood relief while providing resources to help devastated communities rebuild. But as the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman was fond of saying, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” Judged by its results, the NFIP is badly in need of serious changes to address its massive debt, persistent operating deficits, and many structural flaws — all of which expose taxpayers to financial risk. With the NFIP’s authorization set to expire in May, Congress has an opportunity to enact real reforms that will put the NFIP on a sustainable, fiscally-responsible footing. Lawmakers should begin to chart a future for the NFIP that addresses its key challenges.

One of the NFIP’s biggest flaws is that it masks the true flood risk of properties by offering a significant portion of its policyholders heavily subsidized rates. One in five homeowners with NFIP protection pay less than half the full cost of their policy. No one begrudges low-income homeowners who need financial assistance to purchase coverage, but most of the NFIP’s subsidies actually go to homes with the highest values. A study by the Congressional Budget Office found that the median value of homes with NFIP coverage is about double that of all American homes. Not only that, but wealthier households tend to get much larger subsidies than middle-income homeowners. Ending these handouts to the wealthy and refocusing resources on the truly needy is essential. Limiting NFIP subsidies would have another positive effect. Currently, by shielding policyholders from the full cost of building in a flood zone, the government encourages more houses to be constructed in disaster-prone areas than if homeowners bore the costs of flooding themselves. Transferring more of the flood risk from federal taxpayers to individual homeowners would cause them to think twice about where to build their home.

But setting risk-based premiums is impossible without accurate flood maps. Many of the 22,000 communities that participate in the NFIP currently rely on outdated and inaccurate flood maps. A recent audit found that only 42 percent of the NFIP’s maps “adequately identified the level of flood risk.” Without better mapping that incorporates improvements in engineering methods and technology, full-risk insurance rates cannot be accurately determined, and homeowners and local policymakers may be misled about the true flood vulnerability of their communities.

Another issue that merits more attention is mitigation. The best way to reduce insurance premiums for homeowners is to lessen the risk of flood loss. Making communities more resilient to flooding before disasters strike by adopting better zoning and building codes and other measures can significantly reduce the cost of cleaning up after floods. Studies have shown that for every $1 invested in mitigation, society saves $6 in rebuilding costs. Overall, so-called “repetitive loss properties,” structures that are damaged and repaired over and over again, account for about 1-2 percent of the NFIP’s total policies but have been responsible for 30 percent of claims since the program began in 1968. One Mississippi home worth $70,000 filed 34 claims with the NFIP from 1978 to 2010 totaling $663,000 — more than 9 times the value of the house. Through more aggressive mitigation incentives, policymakers could reduce this massive drain on the NFIP’s finances.

Congress should also resolve ambiguities in federal law that have limited the growth of private flood insurance; currently, private insurance only makes up 4 percent of the residential market. Greater private-sector involvement in flood insurance would benefit both consumers — many of whom could find lower rates and more flexible options through private carriers — and taxpayers by reducing the NFIP’s financial exposure.

Rather than continue postponing meaningful reforms to the NFIP with short-term stop-gaps, Congress should work over the next several months to craft a long-term solution to the NFIP’s challenges. Without reform, the NFIP’s precarious financial position will only grow worse, to the detriment of taxpayers and homeowners alike.
Read more » click here

House Financial Services Committee Issues Hearing Memo on National Flood Insurance Program
Subject: March 13, 2019, Full Committee Hearing Entitled: “Preparing for the Storm: Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program”

Background
Prior to 1950, flood insurance was a peril often included in standard homeowners’ insurance policies. However, in response to an increasing frequency and severity in flood- related losses in the 1950s, insurance companies began excluding flood insurance coverage and selling it separately. By the 1960s, widespread flooding along the Mississippi River caused most private insurers to flee the business of flood insurance altogether, leaving many consumers with virtually no access to private flood insurance.1 The lack of availability of flood insurance for consumers left them vulnerable in the event of a flood, and also left taxpayers vulnerable to bearing the costs of flood damage through post-disaster relief in the case of a flood event.

In direct response to this private market failure, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created in 1968 with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA). In doing so, Congress determined that “as a matter of national policy, a reasonable method of sharing the risk of flood losses is through a program of flood insurance which can complement and encourage preventive and protective measures” and that transferring the costs of private property flood losses from the general taxpayer to individuals in the floodplains through premiums would ease the strain on the nation’s limited disaster resources. Congress also passed the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (FDPA) that requires most property owners in a designated Special Flood Hazard Area to purchase flood insurance.

The last long-term reauthorization of the NFIP occurred when Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12), which was subsequently amended by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA). Since the end of fiscal year (FY) 2017, the NFIP has been reauthorized ten times and has experienced brief lapses. According to the National Association of Realtors, an estimated 40,000 home sales are lost or interrupted every month that the NFIP’s authority lapses. The NFIP’s authorization is currently set to expire on May 31, 2019. In the event of a lapse, NFIP will be unable to enter into new flood insurance contracts, which will lead to widespread market instability due to the stalling of mortgage processing for homes that are statutorily required to have flood insurance.

Several Members of Congress have put forward legislative proposals to reauthorize the NFIP and make programmatic reforms to promote affordability, protect policyholders, and improve flood mapping and floodplain management.

Overview of the NFIP
The NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through its Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration (FIMA). The NFIP was designed to serve two interrelated goals: (1) provide access to primary flood insurance and (2) reduce flood risk through the adoption of floodplain management standards. The NFIP advances these goals by offering primary flood insurance exclusively for properties in communities that adopt minimum floodplain management standards under FEMA regulations. The NFIP also administers the Community Rating System (CRS), which is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes communities for implementing floodplain management practices that exceed the NFIP’s minimum requirements and, in exchange, FIMA offers reduced flood insurance premiums to policyholders.

Today, the NFIP is the principal provider of primary flood insurance in the U.S., covering over 5 million households and businesses across the country for a total of over $1.3 trillion in flood insurance coverage. As of the end of FY 2018, approximately 22,324 communities participate in the NFIP, covering an estimated 93 percent of the U.S. population. According to FEMA, the NFIP saves the nation an estimated $1.87 billion annually in flood losses avoided because of the NFIP’s building and floodplain management regulations.

In 1983, FEMA created the Write Your Own (WYO) Program in an effort to: increase the NFIP’s policy base and geographic distribution of policies; improve service to NFIP policyholders through infusion of insurance industry knowledge and capacity; and, provide the insurance industry with direct operating experience with flood insurance. This WYO Program operates as a partnership between FEMA and participating property and casualty insurance companies that are compensated to write and service NFIP policies. The WYOs assume none of the risk by participating in this program. FEMA retains all of the insurance risk and underwrites any losses. Currently, approximately 60 different companies administer about 87 percent of NFIP policies through the WYO Program. The remainder of NFIP’s policies are provided through the Direct Program, which is operated by a government contractor and performs the same basic functions as a WYO company.

The NFIP offers a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) for properties in participating communities within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). By virtue of the mandatory purchase required by law, most property owners within the SFHA are required to purchase flood insurance. Many of the SFIP’s policy terms are set in statute. The maximum coverage amount for building coverage is $250,000 for single-family homes, and $500,000 for multi-family residential properties, and non-residential properties including commercial properties. The maximum coverage amount for contents only is $100,000.9 If the SFIP’s maximum coverage amounts are insufficient to cover the full value of the property, policyholders may have the option of obtaining excess flood insurance in the private market.

The NFIP also offers coverage for properties that are not within a SFHA, usually as a Preferred Risk Policy (PRP). PRPs include similar coverage but at discounted rates in accordance with their lower risk profile. If a property has a significant loss history, that policyholder may become ineligible for a PRP and would need to purchase a SFIP that is commensurate with the flood risk.

The NFIP’s Financial Status
The NFIP is largely self-funded through insurance premiums collected from policy holders. Policyholders are also assessed a number of surcharges and other fees. In FY 2018, policyholders paid $382 million in surcharges, $188.162 million in federal policy fees, and $496.82 million in reserve fund assessments. A portion of these premiums, fees, surcharges, and assessments goes towards the cost of flood mapping and floodplain management. A large portion also goes to paying interest on debt of the NFIP.

Congress designed the NFIP as a program that would operate on a cash flow basis, borrowing from the Treasury in bad years and returning funds to the Treasury in good years. The NFIP was largely self-supporting in this way from 1986 until 2005, but due to extraordinary losses incurred as a result of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005, and then Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the program currently carries a debt of $20.5 billion.11 It is also important to note that a significant portion of the NFIP’s debt accrued as a result of Hurricane Katrina ($19 billion) could not possibly have been properly accounted for in NFIP’s risk modeling; specifically, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers took responsibility for engineering and design failures in the levees that should have been able to provide far better protection for New Orleans in the face of Katrina.

Taxpayers are not on the hook for this debt and receive millions of dollars in interest payments every year (currently approximately $400 million annually or a total of $4.2 billion since 2005) at the expense of policyholders. In 2017, following a proposal submitted by OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, Congress passed legislation to partially forgive $16 billion of the NFIP’s debt of $30.4 billion, after the NFIP’s debt ballooned following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and other historic flooding that year.

Affordability Challenges
In 2018, FEMA submitted its congressionally mandated Affordability Framework demonstrating, among other things, that low-income homeowners and renters face significant affordability challenges. The report documents that those that are least able to afford higher premiums tend to live in the highest flood hazard areas writing, “generally, incomes are higher outside the SFHA than they are inside the SFHA. The median household income for residential policyholders is $82,000, although it is substantially lower in the SFHA than outside the SFHA.” Further, FEMA found that “the combination of higher premiums and lower incomes in the SFHA creates affordability pressure on households.”

Draft Legislation
* Waters_009 is a discussion draft that would reauthorize the NFIP through September 30, 2024 and address a number of affordability issues such as: 1) forgiving the NFIP’s debt; 2) creating a 5-year demonstration for means-tested assistance to low-income policyholders; 3) reducing fees and surcharges; 4) revising the NFIP’s coverage limits; 5) enabling policyholders to pay premiums in monthly installments; and 6) creating a state revolving loan fund modeled after legislation previously introduced by Rep. Crist.

* Maj_Mitigation is a discussion draft that would make several improvements to floodplain management and mitigation such as: 1) raising the amount of funds available under Increased Cost of Compliance program and expanding the eligible mitigation activities to include the cost of acquisitions, among others; 2) granting the Administrator discretion to consider the extent to which communities are working to remedy problems with repeatedly flooded areas when administering mitigation assistance; 3) granting credits for alternative forms of mitigation, allowing coverage for coops and community-based policies; and 5) authorizing and flood plain management activities.

* Maj_Mapping is a discussion draft that would reauthorize the flood mapping program and provide funding to support flood mapping. It would also make several improvements to the mapping program such as: 1) requiring the most up-to-date technology, and more advanced and granular flood maps; 2) improving the process for policyholders and communities to appeal FEMA’s mapping decisions; and 3) creating new flood map zones for levee-impacted and for agricultural areas.

* Velazq_035 is a bill that would make numerous improvements to the claims process drawing on the lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy. The bill would ensure that policyholders better understand the terms of their flood insurance policies and improve the appeals and litigation process for consumers
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Climate Advocates Cheer Trump Policy Shift on Flood Insurance

  • Premiums to be based on full flood risk starting in late 2020
  • Change expected to raise costs for the most deluge-prone homes

Climate advocates say an overhaul of the nation’s flood insurance program being unveiled by the Trump administration will spur communities around the country to better plan for extreme weather, but could drive up costs for some homeowners.

The changes being announced Monday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency represent one of the most significant reforms in the history of the National Flood Insurance Program. It will tie premiums to the actual flood risk facing individual homes nationwide starting in October 2020. The current system sets prices based largely on whether a home is inside or outside of the 100-year flood plain.
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Trump Administration Plans Flood Insurance Overhaul
Expensive properties could see rate increases under new FEMA plan
The Trump administration said Monday it plans to overhaul government-subsidized flood insurance, in a sweeping proposal that could raise rates on more expensive properties and those in higher-risk areas. The new system would affect policies for most homeowners who own property in flood-prone areas, where such coverage is required because few private companies offer flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which runs the National Flood Insurance Program, said the plan would start assessing properties individually according to several variables—including hurricane rainfall, coastal surges and the distance to a body of water—rather than applying one formula across an entire flood zone when assessing flood risk and contract cost. The government also would factor in the replacement cost of the home, which could push up premiums for homeowners with higher-valued properties and decrease those with lower-cost homes. FEMA plans to announce the new rates on April 1, 2020 and implement them starting Oct. 1 that year. They could affect more than 5 million single-family policyholders of public flood insurance. The NFIP covers both coastal flood zones and inland river flood plains, though the policy change may have a greater impact in coastal states including Florida, Louisiana and Texas, where most of the policies are held.

The changes are likely to stoke a longstanding debate over flood insurance, with policy makers divided over how much the public should subsidize the program. While those in coastal areas have advocated for more federal funding, both environmentalists and fiscal conservatives have argued the program encourages building in risky flood-prone zones. FEMA has increasingly struggled to pay off claims after a series of natural disasters in recent years. The government wrote off $16 billion in debt for the federal program in 2017 following claims made in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Scientists say the frequency of such events is influenced by climate change. FEMA’s current system calculates rates based on whether a home falls in a designated flood zone. Since higher-valued properties are more likely to hit the $250,000 insurance cap because they face costlier damages, “there’s an inequity,” said David Maurstad, FEMA’s deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation. “Lower-value homes are paying proportionately more than higher-value homes.” “What we’re going to do is change an insurance-rating structure that hasn’t fundamentally been changed since the 1970s,” Mr. Maurstad added. “We’re going to consider more flood risk than we currently do now.” The changes would also leverage new loss-estimation technology, said Mr. Maurstad. In recent years, private insurers have developed increasingly sophisticated models that account for variables including climate change. The agency hopes that a more risk-sensitive pricing could attract more homeowners to purchase flood insurance, even if they aren’t required to. “People even outside the high-risk area will have a better understanding of what the specific risk is,” said Mr. Maurstad. “They will take the responsible action and insure for flood just like they insure for windstorms, hail and fire.”

FEMA faces Congressional restrictions on how much it can increase rates, so the agency could phase in the rate changes, said Mr. Maurstad. It plans to make more details of the plan public in the coming weeks, he added. For years, Congress has debated how to modernize the financially beleaguered flood-insurance program, created about 50 years ago because private insurers were unwilling to risk catastrophic flood losses. Lawmakers are set to reauthorize the federal insurance program this year, after granting a short-term extension in December.
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Update –
NA


Inlet Hazard Areas

Previously reported – January 2019
New proposed rules could significantly impact real estate property values
Significantly expands area covered on the island
.
by .4 miles on the east end
.
by 1.7 miles on the west end
Coastal Resource Commission report to be presented at their February meeting

Panel Proposes Redrawn Inlet Hazard Areas
Read more » click here

Coastal Resources Commission
CRC Science Panel / Inlet Hazard Area (IHA) Delineation Update
Read more » click here

Previously reported – March 2019
CRC Advances New Inlet Hazard Maps, Rules
The North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission has approved preliminary boundaries and building rules at inlets. Though official adoption of the redrawn inlet hazard area, or IHA, maps and guidelines for development within those areas is still months away, the CRC’s decision last week puts the state one step closer to amending the current outdated maps.

North Carolina Division of Coastal Management Director Braxton Davis told members of the commission at the quarterly meeting Thursday that the regulatory agency understands the revised maps are going to be a topic of controversy in the coastal towns at inlets. “These maps were done in 1981,” he said. “We have IHAs that don’t even capture some of these areas.” A little more than 2,900 acres of land is designated as IHA at 10 of the 19 active inlets in the state. The 10 are: Tubbs, Shallotte and Lockwood Folly inlets in Brunswick County; Carolina Beach, Masonboro, Mason and Rich inlets in New Hanover County; New Topsail Inlet in Pender County; New River Inlet in Onslow County; and Bogue Inlet in Carteret County. The CRC approved removing IHA designations at inlets where the adjacent land is undeveloped and owned either by the state or federal government.

IHAs are defined as shorelines especially vulnerable to erosion and flooding where inlets can shift suddenly and dramatically. Inlets typically move over time in one of two ways. An inlet migrates, meaning it moves in one general direction, or it oscillates, wagging back and forth. A majority of the state’s inlets oscillate. Long-term erosion rates are about five times greater at oceanfront shorelines near inlets. The proposed maps expand current IHAs collectively by a little more than 1,359 acres while removing about 470 acres from existing boundaries at the 10 developed inlets. A majority of IHAs are being expanded under the proposed boundaries. The preliminary maps place an additional 152 acres and 243 structures within an ocean hazard area of environmental concern, or AECs. Ocean hazard AECs are defined as those that may be easily destroyed by erosion or flooding or may have environmental, social, economic or aesthetic values that make it valuable to the state.

Rules governing development within IHAs were established to control density and structure size along the shorelines affected by the dynamic waterways. The proposed setbacks have been established through years of work by the science panel that advises the CRC. The science panel studied historical shoreline data at each inlet, then used that information to predict erosion and accretion rates at those inlets. DCM has established building setbacks in the new boundaries based on the annual inlet erosion rates rather than the oceanfront erosion rates now. For some of the inlets, this method of calculation equates to no change in the current building setbacks. For others, the setbacks vary. Current rules do not allow lots about one-third of an acre in size to be subdivided. Residential structures of four units or fewer or nonresidential structures of less than 5,000 square feet are only allowed on lots within an IHA. The updated rules maintain the size limitation to no more than 5,000 square feet of heated space and remove restrictions on the number of units allowed in a structure. Larger structures that would be included in the new boundaries would be grandfathered under the rules.

North Topsail Beach Alderman Mike Benson expressed his concerns about condominiums at the north end of town that would be grandfathered in under the new maps. Benson told the commission during a public hearing on the proposed IHA map changes that the revised boundary at New River Inlet would include 11 buildings that are all larger than 5,000 square feet. If any of those buildings were to be destroyed in a hurricane or fire, Benson wanted to know if they could be rebuilt. DCM shoreline management specialist Ken Richardson clarified that structures between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet could be rebuilt to the same footprint. The owners of a structure greater than 10,000 square feet, such as Shell Island Resort in Wrightsville Beach, could request a variance from the CRC to rebuild. Richardson said he will turn over DCM’s recommended changes to the state Office of State Budget and Management for review. Once that office confirms its findings, a series of public meetings will be held where the public will get an opportunity to comment on the maps and rules. Richardson said he hopes those meetings will kick off some time in the spring and that revised maps are adopted by year’s end. If adopted, the new IHA boundaries would be updated every five years.
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Update –
Development rules near inlets have been basically the same since 1981.
This year that could change
Over 1,000 inlet-adjacent acres in the Cape Fear region could soon be subject to an additional set of state development regulations. At the same time, 500 acres could be removed from the same regulatory designation designed to limit risky development near dynamic inlet shorelines.
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Holden Beach Property Owners Association / Inlet Hazard Areas
The Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) has established new boundaries for Inlet Hazard Areas on each end of the island, greatly increasing the number of properties that fall within this designation.  The CRC determined the new IHA boundaries based on historic vegetation line data.  The CRC sent the rules to the State for review.  After review there will be public comment before the rule are put in place.

Inlet Hazard Areas (IHAs) are sections of islands that are more vulnerable to erosion due to the impact of the inlets.  The new maps show Holden Beach will be hit hard, especially on the West End. 

The West End currently has 15 lots in the IHA, which will go up to 173 lots, and includes all the oceanfront properties from roughly Sailfish to the end of the island.  The area will increase from 290.5 acres to 569.3 acres, almost double in size.  This will be the largest IHA in the state. 

The East End will also see changes.  The IHA there is 64 acres and will jump to 189.5 acres – an almost 200% increase in size.  Currently, there are 52 lots in the IHA, which will increase to 156.

Visit our website to see the maps and determine if your property is impacted by the new IHA boundaries.

What Does It Mean?

1) Structures (residential or commercial) will be limited to 5000sf of heated space.  Existing larger structures would be grandfathered and could be rebuilt if destroyed.

2) Insurance is impacted for homes in an IHA.

3) New development would require lots with a minimum of around one-third acre.

4) The ability to have a concrete slab under a home might be restricted in some cases, as impervious surfaces at ground level may not be allowed

It is not clear what impact the changes will have on property values and the Town’s tax base – if any.


Odds & Ends


HOLDEN BEACH LAND USE PLAN / PUBLIC INPUT MEETING
A public input meeting will be held on Thursday, February 7th at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Public Assembly. This meeting is held as part of the land use planning process for the Town of Holden Beach. Holden Beach’s Land Use Plan provides guidance to local decision-makers to achieve the long-term vision for the community. This allows local decision makers to be proactive rather than reactive and helps maintain Holden Beach as one of the finest family-oriented beaches on the East Coast of the United States. The meeting is structured to be engaging and informative.

Town’s Land Use Plan

Holden Beach residents give input for updated land use plan
Holden Beach residents at a Feb. 7 meeting with the Cape Fear Council of Governments (CFCOG) were able to give input on the town’s developing land use plan. Town commissioners voted in July to approve an agreement between the town and the CFCOG for a Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) land use plan update. A land use plan is an official document containing goals, policies, analyses and maps that serves as a community’s blueprint for growth, Wes MacLeod, senior regional planner with CFCOG, told attendees at the special meeting, providing them with some of the data about the town already collected for the land use plan.

MacLeod provided history on the town’s population growth, which shows a decrease of more than 200 residents from the year 2000, with 787 permanent town residents, to 575 permanent residents in 2010. As of 2016 the number of permanent Holden Beach residents was 633. It’s estimated that the population will grow to 708 in 2020, 783 in 2025, 859 in 2030, 935 in 2035, 1,016 in 2040 and 1,095 by 2046. The median age for the town is 61.4, compared to the county’s median age of 50.9, and the state’s median age of 38.3. The majority of those living in Holden Beach are considered Baby Boomers (ages 55 to 74), making up 56.35 percent of the town. For the seasonal population, the most recent data from 2016 showed the peak seasonal overnight population estimate for Holden Beach at 16,811 people. The median value of owner-occupied housing in Holden Beach as of 2016 was $406,000.

MacLeod also showed information from the community survey update. He said CFCOG received 891 responses, including 810 property owner responses and 81 non-resident responses, including visitors and off-island residents. The survey showed Holden Beach residents when it comes to new private development desires, would most like to see more entertainment on the island like restaurants and theaters, low-density single-family residences and small businesses that serve the needs of residents. Survey takers said they consider the most important roles for the town to play in influencing the character of development on Holden Beach to be managing the density and intensity of new development by regulating the size and layout of buildings, protecting the beach and encouraging continued coastal storm damage reduction and beach protection and retaining and enhancing the community’s appearance through landscaping, signs, lighting and architectural standards. They also said coastal storm damage reduction, density development and environmental protections are the most important growth and development issues facing Holden Beach. When it comes to transportation issues, survey takers said the most important ones are maintenance of the town’s existing roadways, parking availability/public access congestion and roadway drainage. When asked to share their favorite things about Holden Beach, the most common responses from survey takers were its lack of commercial development, its uncrowded and clean beaches, its family-friendly atmosphere, its natural resources including the beaches and marshes, it’s quiet, off-season “solitude’ and the fact that the town is mostly made up of single-family houses.

Attendees were then given a brainstorming exercise. MacLeod wrote down on large pieces of paper what those at the meeting thought were the town’s most important assets, important issues and their desires for the future in Holden Beach. Attendees were then given dots to place next to the two of those they considered the most important. Preliminary results showed attendees saw the most important assets as the beach, the lack of commercial development, Lockwood Folly and the marshes and wetlands. The most important issues appeared to be rising sea levels, offshore drilling and stormwater. As for desires for the town, the most popular answers were sustainable growth, improving the causeway’s appearance and a fully maintained and marked inlet. MacLeod said the answers would be tallied by CFCOG to be used in the land use plan.
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Update –
NA


This & That
Lockwood Folly Off Limits for Shellfishing
Shellfish waters in a Brunswick County river popular for oystering and clamming have been closed indefinitely. The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, or DMF, recently announced the closure of 255 shellfish acres in Lockwood Folly River after water sample tests show fecal coliform bacteria levels exceed the national standards for safe shellfish harvest. This latest closure, following one in 2017, covers about 3,759 acres of the river’s 4,417-acre growing area, which includes portions of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and inlet. “Most of the river proper is closed in the Lockwood Folly River,” said Shannon Jenkins, DMF’s Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section chief. “We continue to sample and will continue to sample in the hopes that conditions will change.” A majority of shellfish waters in the nearly 14-mile tidal river are classified as conditionally approved closed, which means growing areas cannot be harvested throughout the year.
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Factoid That May Interest Only Me –

‘Extreme Pollen’ Blankets North Carolina in a Sneeze-Inducing Yellow Haze
Spring can feel like the end of the world for allergy sufferers, but in North Carolina this week, it looked that way, too. And it has a name to match: “Pollenpocalypse”. Massive clouds of sneeze-inducing pollen overtook North Carolina this week, tinting the skies yellow and covering cars, streets and ponds in a fine powder that left footprints on the carpets of unsuspecting residents and made allergy sufferers want to hibernate in a panic room until summer.
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Things I Think I Think –

Dining #2Eating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
///// February 2019
Name:             Flying Fish Public Market & Grill
Cuisine:          Seafood
Location:       4744 Highway 17 S,
Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach, SC
Contact:         843.663.3474 /
www.flyingfishmarket.com
Food:               Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:          Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:     Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:                Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:            Two Stars
Flying Fish is one of ten restaurants in the Homegrown Hospitality Group, this one is primarily a seafood restaurant and a fish market. They are located in Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach next to the Alabama Theatre, overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway they have indoor and outdoor dining options. It is a unique casual waterfront dining experience, featuring local seafood and a raw bar with a variety of shellfish and sushi. Would recommend a visit to the bar to take advantage of the great deals at Happy Hour. We were pleasantly surprised, a great value. 


Dining Guide – Local

Name:            Mermaid’s Island Grill
Cuisine:         American
Location:      102 Jordan Boulevard, Holden Beach
Contact:        910.842.4999 / https://mermaidsislandgrill.com/
Mermaid’s is a low-key waterfront restaurant with a menu that offers something for everyone at an affordable price. Nothing fancy here. The atmosphere is casual, easy-going and comfortable, now with indoor or outdoor dining options. They just completed a major renovation adding two levels of outside dining areas including a bar on the upper deck.

Mermaid’s has created the largest outdoor waterfront dining areas in the world
You find that hard to believe

Would you believe the largest in the state?
You don’t believe me

How about the largest in Brunswick County?
No

OK then, but it is pretty big
Seriously folks, you should try them, I think you’ll like them!

Advertisement – not paid for
Pete the owner of this local establishment is a friend of mine.
That said this is a shameless plug for his restaurant.

Dining Guide – Local » click here 


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
/////
AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING by Hank Green
Amusing book from author Hank Green in his debut comic sci-fi novel. April May encounters a large armored humanoid sculpture. She and her friend Andy post a video of the object, which they name Carl. The next day April’s life is turned upside down when the video goes viral and Carl’s appear in dozens of cities around the world. April and her friends are on the front lines of the quest to try and figure out what the Carl’s are doing here. She thought that she had accidentally made first contact with a space alien, but it turns out Carl specifically picked April.


HBPOIN / Lou’s Views

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