05 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / May Edition

Calendar of Events –

Riverfest Celebration Conway Riverfest - CR
June 29th
Conway, SC

Held along the Waccamaw River in downtown Conway the festival
celebrates Independence Day with music and events for the entire family.
For more information » click here

4th of July Southport - CR 190
N.C. 4th of July Festival
July 4th

The patriotic spirit of America is alive and well in the City of Southport. For over 200 years this small maritime community has celebrated our nation’s independence in a big way. Incorporated as the N.C. 4th of July Festival in 1972 the festival committee strives to keep the focus of the festival on honoring our nation’s birthday with a little fun thrown in.

For more information » click here

Battleship Blast 4th of July Celebration
July 4th


Annual 4th of July celebration at Riverfront Park in downtown Wilmington. Featured entertainment will perform from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, followed by fireworks at 9:05 PM launched from a barge in the Cape Fear River adjacent to the USS North Carolina Battleship. The only place you need to be this holiday is downtown Wilmington for the best view of fireworks.
For more information » click here

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

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.

Tide Dyed Program
This event is located at the Holden Beach Pavilion. Tie dye your own shirts; the cost is just $5 per shirt. It takes place at 2:00 p.m. every Tuesday during the summer.

Turtle Talk
Two programs both are held every Wednesday during the summer at Town Hall. Children’s Turtle Time is at 4:00 p.m. with crafts, stories and activities for children ages 3 – 6. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Turtle Talk is an educational program at 7:00 p.m. for everyone else. 

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.

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.

The last yard debris collection for the season is scheduled for Friday, May 24th.

Trash Can Requirements – Rental Properties

Waste Industries – trash can requirements
Ordinance 07-13, Section 50.10

Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.
     a) One extra trash can per every two bedrooms


   (A)   Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in abnormally large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like).

Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule
Waste Industries change in service, trash pickup will be twice a week. Starting the Saturday before Memorial Day through the Saturday after Labor Day: Pick-up is every Tuesday and Saturday from May 25th through September 7th  


Please note:
       • Trash carts must be at the street by 6:00 a.m. on the pickup day
.         • BAG the trash before putting it in the cart
.         • Carts will be rolled back to the front of the house

  • Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting May 25th twice a week
  • Recycling – starting May 28th weekly pick-up
  • Rollback – starting May 21st island wide service

Golf Carts
Golf carts are treated the same as other automotive vehicles.
Town ordinances state no parking anytime on OBW.
Therefore, golf carts are illegally parked when left by any beach access point.

Pets on the Beach Strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / 90.20
From May 20th through September 9th
It is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand during the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm.


A Second Helping
Program to collect food Saturday mornings (7:00am to 12:00pm) during the summer at the Beach Mart on the Causeway.



    1) Fifteenth year of the program
    2) Food collections have now exceeded 229,000 pounds
Collections will begin on June 8th 
.     4) Food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County
For more information » click here

Hunger exists everywhere in this country; join them in the fight to help end hunger in Brunswick County. Cash donations are gratefully accepted. One hundred percent (100%) of these cash donations are used to buy more food. You can be assured that the money will be very well spent.

Mail Donations to:
A Second Helping % Douglas Cottrell
2939 Alan Trail
Supply, NC 28462


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’ June Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, June 18th


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

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.

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.

Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard

The elevator cab can fall unexpectedly to the bottom of the elevator shaft and abruptly stop, posing an injury hazard to consumers in the elevator cab.

Consumer Contact:
Waupaca Elevator toll-free at 833-850-7981 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, e-mail at info@WaupacaElevator.com or online at www.WaupacaElevator.com and click on Recall Information for more information.

Recall Details

This recall involves residential elevator models Custom Lift 450# and Custom Lift 500#, shipped and installed between 1979 and 2008. The recalled elevators are used in consumers’ homes.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled elevators and contact Waupaca Elevator to schedule a free gearbox inspection and the installation of a free overspeed braking device. Waupaca Elevator also will provide the installation of a free gearbox if the gearbox inspection reveals that the gears in the gearbox have worn down.

For more information » click here

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 –

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

The objections to offshore drilling are economic, environmental and bipartisan
Read more » click here

Previously reported – April 2019
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

Update –
Interior Dept. Delays Its Plan to Open U.S. Coastline to Drilling
The Trump administration on Thursday confirmed that it will likely delay the release of a long-awaited plan that had been expected to open most of the nation’s coastline for offshore oil drilling, pending the final outcome of a recent court decision that blocks drilling off the Alaskan coast. The delay appears to be an acknowledgment that the court decision is a significant setback for what President Trump has called his policy of “energy dominance” — an effort to rapidly expand oil and gas drilling across the country. The reason given for the delay was a March decision by a federal judge in Alaska to reinstate an Obama-era ban on Arctic drilling. “Given the recent court decision, the Department is simply evaluating all of its options to determine the best pathway to accomplish the mission entrusted to it by the President,” a spokeswoman for the Interior Department, Molly Block, wrote in an email. The delay was reported by The Wall Street Journal, quoting the Interior Department’s new secretary, David Bernhardt, as saying, “By the time the court rules, that may be discombobulating to our plan,” adding, “What if you guess wrong?” in reference to the uncertain outcome of the legal appeals process. The delay is the latest legal stumble in Mr. Trump’s effort to roll back environmental protections and increase fossil fuel production. Experts in environmental law estimate that, in its quest to quickly undo existing environmental protections, the administration has now lost about 40 cases in federal courts. In following Mr. Trump’s directive to expand offshore oil and gas drilling to almost the entire United States coastline, the Interior Department released a draft plan last year and was expected to release a final version this year. Oil industry lobbyists and Republicans on Capitol Hill who have worked closely with the administration on crafting the plan said earlier this year that they expected the final plan to be released this spring. The draft plan called for drilling off nearly the entire United States coastline. But the March 30 decision by Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the United States District Court for the District of Alaska concluded that a ban by President Obama on about 120 million acres of the Arctic Ocean and about 3.8 million acres in the Atlantic “will remain in full force and effect unless and until revoked by Congress.” She wrote that an April 2017 executive order by Mr. Trump revoking the drilling ban “is unlawful, as it exceeded the president’s authority.” Environmental groups cheered Thursday’s delay. “Every single governor from Maine to Florida and from Washington to California oppose offshore drilling off their coast,” said Collin O’Mara, president of National Wildlife Federation. “Republican and Democrat alike.” The oil industry expressed optimism that the legal case would be resolved quickly and that the plan could then be finalized. “We are hopeful that an appeal of this case will move quickly and that we can proceed with the important work of exploring for America’s offshore resources without unnecessary delay,” said Erik Milito, a vice president of the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for oil companies.
Read more » click here

Trump’s Offshore Oil-Drilling Plan Sidelined Indefinitely
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt cites recent court decision blocking Arctic drilling
The Trump administration’s proposal to vastly expand offshore oil and gas drilling has been sidelined indefinitely as the Interior Department grapples with a recent court decision that blocks Arctic drilling, according to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. The ruling by a federal judge last month may force Interior officials to wait until the case goes through potentially lengthy appeals before they can make a final decision on what offshore areas to open up for the oil-and-gas industry, Mr. Bernhardt said.
Read more » click here

For now, plans are on hold for oil drilling off the North Carolina coast. This comes after an announcement by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. In late April, he announced the Department was waiting for a decision on appeals of a court order blocking offshore drilling in the Arctic and within specific canyons in the North and Mid-Atlantic before continuing expansions on the East Coast.

While the news is good, it is being met with cautious optimism and opponents to drilling are not letting their guard down.

“This ruling may have temporarily stopped the clock but it does not diminish the threat of drilling along the North Carolina coast,” said Todd Miller, executive director of the North Carolina Coastal Federation.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management still has scheduled open houses in Kill Devil Hills and Morehead City later this year, indicating the East Coast could still be considered in long-term drilling plans.

Federation members are encouraged to call their state and federal representatives to express concerns about the detrimental impacts offshore oil and gas exploration and seismic surveying would have on our coast. We support and are encouraging state legislation that would prevent offshore drilling.  

The federation and Don’t Drill NC Coalition partners continue to track activity and are providing updates at nccoast.org/oil.

Brunswick commissioners pressured on offshore drilling
Board is one of the few NC coastal governments that hasn’t come out against offshore drilling and seismic testing
“Save our Coast.” Those words echoed across the parking lot of the Brunswick County Government Center Monday night as citizens held a rally to oppose offshore drilling and seismic testing along North Carolina’s coast. The rally was one of many that have taken place in recent years, and it comes on the heels of Saturday’s “Hands Across the Sand,” where hundreds of citizens gathered on Brunswick County’s beaches and joined hands to show their opposition to the opening of the Tar Heel coast to drilling. For years, citizens across the county have urged commissioners to take a stance against offshore drilling. But despite the pleas, the board has taken no action, opting to take a neutral stance. In 2015 Brunswick County became one of the only local coastal N.C. governments to come out in favor of offshore drilling. The commissioners rescinded that resolution in March 2018 after a narrow 3-2 vote, but have yet to take any further action for or against drilling off the N.C. coast. So far, 13 of the county’s 19 municipalities have adopted resolutions against offshore drilling. The New Hanover County Commissioners, Wilmington City Council and beach towns in New Hanover and Pender counties also have passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling. Residents Monday night said they will continue to attend the meetings and speaking out against drilling and seismic testing until the Brunswick commissioners “takes a stand, one way or the other.”
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.

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

Previously reported – April 2019
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

Update –

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.

Lockwood Folly Inlet Hydrographic Survey After Dredging / March 2019

Update –

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”

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 –
Vote set on flood insurance extension
Nick Sobczyk, E&E News, May 13, 2019
The House will vote this week to extend the National Flood Insurance Program until the end of the fiscal year, another sign lawmakers have again punted on reform talks.  The NFIP expires at the end of the month, and despite months of extra time to reach a deal on a reform package, the measure up for a vote under fast-track procedure this week would be the 11th short-term reauthorization in two years. The measure would extend the program until Sept. 30.  There are talks underway on both sides of Capitol Hill, but few signs lawmakers are close to striking a long-term reauthorization deal for a program that advocates say is badly in need of reform.  Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said last week he’s working with Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and John Kennedy (R-La.) on a reform bill. And House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has drafted reform proposals and held a hearing on the NFIP to jump-start efforts on the other side of Capitol Hill.  Meanwhile, four bipartisan former Federal Emergency Management Agency administrators penned a letter to congressional leaders last week imploring lawmakers to make long-term changes to the program.  The group includes Obama-era FEMA chief Craig Fugate and Brock Long, who resigned the post earlier this year.  Among other things, they suggest a requirement that sellers disclose flood risk to potential homebuyers and a low-interest loan program to help buy out owners of properties that are repeatedly flooded.  Especially in a time when losses from natural disasters and flood events are ballooning, it doesn’t make sense for the federal government to keep paying to rebuild in flood zones, they wrote.  “By incentivizing Americans to live in vulnerable areas without taking steps to mitigate the risk, the NFIP gives property owners a false sense of security,” they wrote. “In the absence of reforms, costs in taxpayer dollars and lives lost will only get worse.”

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
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Coastal Resources Commission
CRC Science Panel / Inlet Hazard Area (IHA) Delineation Update
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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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Previously reported – April 2019
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.

Update –

Odds & Ends

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 –

This & That

Water upgrades mean a few dollars more on bills in Brunswick County, wholesale costs could also rise
In two years, water customers in Brunswick County should expect to pay a few dollars more on their water bill to finance a planned plant $47 million expansion, $90 to $100 million treatment upgrade, and $42 million regional water supply project.

Average water customers in Brunswick County could pay about 14 percent more on their water bill in fiscal year 2022, according to the county’s water rate recommendation presented Monday. For an average residential water user, whose bill is paid straight to the county, the cost will increase by about $3.22 in two years. Wholesale customers will bear a larger cost burden, which could mean a larger increase for their residential customers compared to customers paying directly to the county. If the county’s 10 wholesale customers — like Leland, Southport, or H2GO — choose to pass on their increase, their average customers will see an approximately $4.60 increase on their 2022 bills, according to the county’s recommendation. The rate increase is needed to cover increased expenses for Brunswick County’s planned $137 million Northwest Water Treatment plant expansion and upgrade to outfit the system with low-pressure reverse osmosis technology. The county is also obliged to chip in $42 million to cover its portion of Lower Cape Fear Water Sewer Authority’s planned construction of a 54-inch parallel water supply main.

Water rate study

Brunswick County commissioned a water rates study from the firm Raftelis Financial Consultants in December 2018, which was presented to the board Monday during a workshop. The study was needed to show the Local Government Commission the county’s ability to take on debt, which could approach $216 million between four water and sewer projects. Raftelis’ study showed that by the time the plant is complete in fiscal year 2022, the county’s debt service based on the planned $179 million water projects will increase by $7 million. Operating and maintaining the new systems — expected to reach “final completion” in September 2022 — will cost an added $2.9 million annually. To cover the anticipated costs, Raftelis projected the county needs to increase overall revenues by about 31% between fiscal year 2020 and fiscal year 2024. To do this, the county must increase water rates.

Manager-recommended changes

Water rates are likely to increase for all county customers. But, for an average residential county customer, the change won’t hurt too badly. About 84% of the county’s residential customers use 5,000 gallons of water a day or less. Residentially-sized meters’ base fee will increase by $3 in 2022; for the smallest meter, customers will pay a base of $15; for the largest, customers will pay $27. Accounting for the average 4,500 gallons-per-day customer, using the smallest-sized three-quarter inch meter, an average county water bill will increase from $25.73 — the current average bill — to $28.95 in two years. The transition will take place in a tiered structure, with the first changes taking place next fiscal year. Before the increase, bills will actually decrease next year, by about $0.90 for an average residential customer.

Brunswick County’s wholesale customers include:

  • Bald Head Island
  • Holden Beach
  • Leland
  • Navassa
  • Oak Island
  • Ocean Isle Beach
  • Shallotte
  • Southport
  • H2GO Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer
  • Northwest

View Brunswick County’s water rates recommendations reviewed by the Board of Commissioners Monday.
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Turtle Watch Program – 2019

. 1) Current nest count – sixteen (16) as of 05/25/19
Average annual number of nests is 39.5
. 2)
First nest of the season was on May 9th


Members of the patrol started riding the beach every morning on May 1 and will do so through October looking for signs of turtle nests.
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Almost Turtle Time at Holden Beach
It’s official…. the turtle season has started!
Turtles usually start laying their eggs on our beach mid to late May.
Turtle Watch ATV riders are out looking for tracks of the mother turtle each morning.
Last year the first nest was laid on our beach on May 16th.

The first nest of 2019 on Holden Beach was found by our ATV rider yesterday morning (May 9). Yeah! It was behind the first dune in the 1300 block of Ocean Boulevard West. A volunteer team was called out and the nest was moved because it was so far back behind the dune the hatchlings would have a difficult time getting to the ocean. There were 126 eggs. A team will begin watching this nest in late June. Incubation usually takes 50-60 days—but the first nest of the season frequently takes longer. The season has started!

 May 9 is the earliest nest in the past 14 years.

Despite Hurricane Florence, Holden Beach sea turtles beat the odds
The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol is hosting a series of summer classes to help educate residents and visitors on sea turtles in the area.
The destruction of Hurricane Florence affected thousands of people across the region, but the storm impacted more than just people. In Holden Beach, an unlikely story of survival came from two little turtles. The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol was keeping a close eye on turtle nests on the beaches when Hurricane Florence made its way to the coast. Generally, a storm like Florence brings an end to the turtle season and with two unhatched nests found before the evacuation, there was some doubt to the survival of the hatchlings. “After the storm, a team went out to check these remaining nests. To their surprise, one of the nests had two hatchlings trying to get out. Both baby turtles were energetic and went right into the water, so a happy ending. Both nests had hatched and were relatively dry, so [it was] considered a success. They did it on their own despite Mother Nature’s fury, according to a Holden Beach Turtle Patrol press release. “Leatherbacks are the largest of all sea turtles and can be 4-8 feet long and weigh between 500-2,000 pounds.  Although they don’t frequently come to Holden Beach, Leatherbacks are one of the types of sea turtles that lay eggs on North Carolina beaches,” according to the Turtle Patrol. For those interested in learning more about sea turtles, the group is hosting a series of ‘Turtle Talks’ this summer. The talks will be held every Wednesday in June, July, and August and are free to attend; there will also be an additional program for kids interested in learning more about the sea turtle population. “Holden Beach is a Turtle Sanctuary and every year sea turtles are welcomed and protected on the beach. Founded in 1989, the HBTP protects sea turtles through education, nest protection, and sea turtle rescue. The Turtle Patrol operates under the authority of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. In its 31st year, this all-volunteer program is supported by the sale of an annual T-shirt and donations,” according to the release.
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Turtle Talk will be held in Holden Beach
The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol announces the first Turtle Talk of the summer will be June 5. Turtle Talk will begin at 7 p.m. at the Holden Beach Town Hall, 110 Rothschild Street on Holden Beach. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and seating is limited. This free weekly educational program will conduct each Wednesday evening in June, July and August. The program shares information about the Turtle Patrol, the sea turtles and how vacationers and residents can help the sea turtles that nest on Holden Beach. Several turtle artifacts will be on display and educational materials available. The 45 minutes presentation includes a short video about the life cycle of the sea turtle. Members of the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol will be available to answer questions about the turtles and the program. Turtle Talk is open to all family members and enjoyed by people of all ages with no admission charge. The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol also offers an additional program for younger turtle enthusiasts. This program is called “Children’s Turtle Time” and will be held Wednesdays June 26, July 3, July 10, 17, 24 and August 1 from 4-5 p.m. at the Holden Beach Town Hall. This class will feature crafts, stories and activities for children ages 3-6. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Holden Beach is a Turtle Sanctuary and every year sea turtles are welcomed and protected on the beach. Founded in 1989, the HBTP protects sea turtles through education, nest protection and sea turtle rescue. The Turtle Patrol operates under the authority of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. In its 31st year this all-volunteer program is supported by sale of an annual T-shirt and donations. This year’s shirt is blue with the theme “The Ocean is Calling.” It features a turtle hatchling coming out of an egg on the back and the HBPT logo on the front. The shirts are $15 for the youth sizes and $17 for the adults, 2X & 3X are $20. Long sleeve shirts are $22 for S-XL and $25 for @ XL and 3XL. T-shirts will be available for sale at Turtle Talk programs and at the Lighthouse Gifts on the causeway in Holden Beach. Shirts are also available by mail, see the website for details.

For more information on Turtle Talk, the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol or how to volunteer or support visit the website at http://www.hbturtlewatch.org/.
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Factoid That May Interest Only Me –

Brunswick County among fastest growing areas in the country
The latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed Brunswick County experienced the largest population growth of all North Carolina’s 100 counties, with an increase of 4.6 percent from 2017 to 2018. It also ranked fourth in the nation for percentage growth for counties with populations of 20,000 or more. According to Census estimates, Brunswick County had a population of 107,429 in 2010 that number has grown to 136,744 in 2018.
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Fastest Growing Counties / Brunswick Ranked

2006    14th2013    47th
2007    17th2014    47th
2008    28th2015    53rd
2009    65th2016    19th
2010   Census Year2017    1st
2011    30th2018    1st
2012    93rd 

Staying safe at the beach: Rip currents, jellyfish, sharks, and other hazards
A trip to the beach can turn deadly (or painful) due to natural hazards but being aware of risks and mitigating hazards is a good way to prevent problems.
Picture this: warm weather, blue skies, and your toes in the sand — it sounds like a perfect lazy summer day at the beach. Maybe you decide to cool down in the ocean and find yourself bobbing around when suddenly you realize you are a little too far out. As panic sinks in and you start to swim towards dry land you realize your efforts are in vain and your whole body is getting tired, all the while you are drifting further into the Atlantic — you have gotten stuck in a rip current. It’s not the only potential danger in the ocean, though. There are also sharks. And, of course, there are some things on shore that ruin your day at the beach, too, including stepping on jellyfish and, of course, good old-fashioned sunburn.

Rip currents
According to the U.S. Lifesaving Association (USLA), 80 percent of all ocean rescues are related to rip currents and annually more than 100 fatalities across the country are due to rip currents. While it is obvious that swimming at a beach with lifeguards is one of the safer options, there are plenty of area beaches that lack lifeguards or maybe ocean rescue season has not started just yet. So, what is the best course of action for surviving a rip current?  According to the National Weather Service, there are several things swimmers should keep in mind when dealing with these often-unseen dangers.

  • Relax. Rip currents don’t pull you under.
  • A rip current is a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second — faster than an Olympic swimmer. Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; energy you need to survive and escape the rip current.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: If in doubt, don’t go out!
  • If at all possible, only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
  •  If you choose to swim on beaches without a lifeguard, never swim alone.  Take a friend and have that person take a cell phone so he or she can call 911 for help.Sharks
    Sharks are a fear on most every swimmer’s mind, regardless of the actual dangers posed by the large predatory fish. “NOAA states that while shark attacks are rare, they are most likely to occur near shore, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars where sharks can be trapped by low tide, and near steep drop-offs where sharks’ prey gather. While the risks are small, it’s important to be aware of how to avoid an attack,” according to previous reporting.

Suggestions from NOAA for reducing the risk of a shark attack include:

  •  Don’t swim too far from shore.
  •  Stay in groups – sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.
  •  Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight when sharks are most active.
  •  Don’t go in the water if bleeding from a wound – sharks have a very acute sense of smell.
  •  Leave the shiny jewelry at home – the reflected light resembles fish scales.
  •  Avoid brightly-colored swimwear – sharks see contrast particularly well.Sunburns
    Most everyone has experienced a sunburn at one point in their life and while not often thought as a major concern for many, overexposure to UV light can cause serious long-term problems including skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using at least S.P.F. 15 sunscreen at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Wearing a hat, long sleeves, and other protective clothing is also recommended to keep skin protected.

Jellyfish and Portuguese Man of War have been spotted along the beaches of New Hanover County and surrounding area beaches already this season and the little floating creatures can pack a punch. Often times beachgoers will spot them washed up on shore and other times they can be spotted in the water, but it is best to avoid them when you can. “While all jellyfish sting, not all contain poison that hurts humans. Be careful of jellies that wash up on shore, as some can still sting if tentacles are wet. NOAA recommends that if you are stung by a jellyfish to first seek a lifeguard to give first aid. If no lifeguards are present, wash the wound with vinegar or rubbing alcohol,” NOAA suggests. And what about that … other method of treating stings? Turns out, it’s a myth. In fact, urine can actually aggravate the stinging cells of jellyfish, making things worse. These cells, which detach and stick into the skin of prey, can continue to inject venom. Urine, as well as fresh water, can cause an imbalance to the salt solution surrounding the stinging cells, causing them to continue to fire. According to Scientific American, if you don’t have vinegar or rubbing alcohol, rinsing with salt water may be your best bet.
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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.
///// March 2019
Name:                Chianti South
Location:          2109 Highway 17 South, Little River SC
Contact:            843.249.7888 / http://chiantisouth.us/
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
A great local classic authentic family professionally run Italian restaurant, serving traditional Italian cuisine since 1997. Broad based menu offers something for everyone. They also have an extensive wine list, which earned Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence” every year since 1988. We have always enjoyed the dining experience there. I’ve never heard anything but good reviews about this restaurant. Serving some of the best Italian cuisine in the area, it’s as good as it gets 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
This is the fourteenth entry in the series of crime fiction novels featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.  The investigation into the events that led to his suspension has dragged on, and Armand is taking increasingly desperate measures to rectify previous actions. While on suspension, Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache becomes embroiled in a murder case when he is enlisted to be executors for a stranger’s will. A secondary plot involving a rogue shipment of opioids, that he allowed to slip through his hands in the previous book, that he
tries to keep the deadly narcotics off Montreal’s streets. The two stories wind back and forth, both come to a satisfactory close.

Chief Inspector Gamache tells new agents the four (4) sayings that can lead to wisdom – I was wrong, I’m sorry, I don’t know, I need help

HBPOIN / Lou’s Views

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