11 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / November Edition

Calendar of Events –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled

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 –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled

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

Reminders –

Speed Limit
Please take notice – Speed limit seasonal limitations, in accordance with Town Ordinances. Speed limit will change on OBW from 35mph to 45mph west of the general store. This change will take place on October 1st and be effective through March 31st.


Golf carts are not allowed to be operated on streets with speed limits greater than 35 MPH.


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.
* 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 once a week. This year September 26th will be the the last Saturday trash pick-up until June. Trash collection will go back to Tuesdays only.


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 October once a week

Recyclingstarting October every other week

Yard Waste Service – Yard debris pick-up is provided twice a month on the 2ndand 4th Fridays during the months of October, November, and December. Additional dates will be announced for yard waste service in November and December. 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 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.

Building Numbers
Ocean front homes are required to have house numbers visible from the beach strand.
Please call Planning and Inspections Department at 910.842.6080 with any questions.


(A) The correct street number shall be clearly visible from the street on all buildings. Numbers shall be block letters, not script, and of a color clearly in contrast with that of the building and shall be a minimum of six inches in height.

(B) Beach front buildings will also have clearly visible house numbers from the strand side meeting the above criteria on size, contrast, etc. Placement shall be on vertical column supporting deck(s) or deck roof on the primary structure. For buildings with a setback of over 300 feet from the first dune line, a vertical post shall be erected aside the walkway with house numbers affixed. In all cases the numbers must be clearly visible from the strand. Other placements may be acceptable with approval of the Building Inspector.

BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, December 15th

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 $93.29 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


Recycling renewal form was sent, you should have gotten e-mail letter already

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.

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

Coronavirus –

Brunswick County COVID-19 Snapshot: as of November 6th

COVID/State of Emergency – Timeline

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 176 which lowers the indoor gathering limit from 25 to 10 people. The state will remain paused in Phase 3 of its reopening plan.  Click here to view the Executive Order details.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 171 which assists all residential tenants in North Carolina who qualify for protection from eviction under the terms of the CDC Order. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 170 which is an extension of the Phase 3 order. We will remain paused for another three weeks in Phase 3 of the pandemic recovery. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 169 which lifted certain restrictions and will allow additional openings and capacity for certain businesses. The state’s phased reopening process continues our state’s dimmer switch approach to easing restrictions and is moving from Phase 2.5 to Phase 3 of the pandemic recovery. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 163 which revised some prohibitions and restrictions to the state’s “Safer At Home” measures and will move into Phase 2.5 of the pandemic recovery. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 155 which extends the state’s “Safer At Home” Phase 2 measures for five (5) additional weeks until at least September 11, 2020. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 153 which restricts late-night service of alcoholic beverages. The governor also said that bars will remain closed as North Carolina continues efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 151 which extends the state’s Safer At Home Phase 2 measures for three additional weeks until at least August 7, 2020. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 147 which pauses the state’s Phase 2 economic reopening’s for three additional weeks went into effect at 5:00 p.m. Friday, June 26. The Governor announced that the new face covering requirement in public places statewide is to slow the spread of the virus during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

With the exception of the playground and splash pad, Bridgeview Park is now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 10 of the Town’s State of Emergency.

This amended declaration shall remain in force until rescinded or amended.

With the exception of Bridgeview Park (across from Town Hall), Town recreational areas are now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 9 of the Town’s State of Emergency.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 141 which is a transition to Phase 2 of a three-part plan to reopen North Carolina amid the coronavirus pandemic went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, May 22. The Governor announced that they are lifting the Stay at Home order and shifting to a Safer at Home recommendation. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

Public restroom facilities are now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 8.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 138 to modify North Carolina’s stay-at-home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions. Phase 1of Governor Cooper’s three-part plan to reopen North Carolina amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, May 8. It’s the first step in the state’s gradual return to normalcy. Phase two is expected to begin two to three weeks after phase one, given that certain conditions are met. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

Having consulted in an emergency meeting with the Board of Commissioners, the terms of the State of Emergency have been amended. Highlights include the following: rentals may resume as of May 8th; and public parking and public accesses are open immediately. All other restrictions remain in full force. Click here to view Amendment No.7.

Item #9 of the existing Town of Holden Beach State of Emergency, which was made effective on April 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., shall hereby be rescinded at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. This action will thus allow the beach strand to be open for the purpose of exercise and relaxation. No congregating shall be allowed. All other parts of the current declaration of emergency shall remain in effect. Click here to view Amendment No. 6.

Emergency Management Director, in consultation with the Commissioners, have decided to close the beach strand effective Wednesday, April 8 at 11:59pm. Today’s Amendment No. 5 is being added to the existing Declaration of the State of Emergency. Any person who violates any provision of this declaration or any provision of any Executive Order issued by the Governor shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of sixty days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine per offense.
Click here to view Amendment No. 5.

Town of Holden Beach has declared a State of Emergency, Amendment No. 4 is an attempt to define the purpose of the original declaration more clearly (no new tenancy).
Click here to view Amendment No. 4.

The State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach has been amended to coincide with Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Order. Click here to view the Amendment No. 3.

Governor Cooper announces Executive Order No. 121, state-wide Stay at Home Order. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

The State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach has been amended regarding short-term rentals. Click here to view the Amendment No. 2.

The State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach has been amended regarding prohibitions and restrictions to be implemented within the Town of Holden Beach.
Click here to view the Amendment No. 1.

Mayor Holden, with the consensus of all five commissioners, has declared a State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach. Click here to view the Declaration.

Coronavirus Information
The Town Hall is currently open during normal business hours. All activities, with the exception of Board of Commissioners’ meetings, scheduled in the Town Hall Public Assembly and conference rooms and the Emergency Operations Center conference rooms are canceled until further notice. The Town encourages residents to follow social distancing protocols and to seek communication options like phone, email and other online resources to limit exposure to others.

Brunswick County has developed a dedicated webpage for community assistance. Click here to view their website. Remember to seek the most verified information from sources likes the CDC, NC DHHS and the county regarding the coronavirus. You can contact the Brunswick County Public Health Call Line at (910) 253-2339 Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You can also email them at coronavirus@brunswickcountync.gov. The NC Public Health Call Line can be reached at 866-462-3821 (open 24/7).

The situation is serious; take it seriously!

You may not be interested in the coronavirus, but it is interested in you.

Upon Further Review –

  • Dog Park
    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 on the island.

    Previously reported – January 2020
    Dog park was utilized for canal dredging spoil site. We did some site ditching prior to Hurricane Dorian storm event to facilitate draining of the pond.

    Intent is to reestablish pre-dredge capabilities which in order of priority are as follows:
    . 1.
    Permitted primary disaster debris management area
    . 2.
    Public Works lay down yard
    . 3.
    Dog Park

    Must maintain compliance with environmental permit and monitoring
    Safety is the priority for this site, at present it is not ready for use

    Four people spoke during the Public Comments session at the January BOC’s meeting, all in favor of creating a new Dog Park area. The park was utilized by people daily. We no longer have anywhere on the island to walk a dog safely. The nearest dog park for off leash activity is in Shallotte. I think we should make every effort to provide an area for dogs on the island. My recommendation is to utilize existing town property. The Town actually owns quite a bit of property. For instance, we have two parcels between BAW and OBW, across from Marker Fifty-Five, that were platted as streets but never put in; between High Point Street and Neptune Drive. We had previously discussed the possibility of creating parking areas out of them, one of them could be made into a dog park. Parking should be on the BAW side of the park, so it doesn’t get taken over by guests going to the beach. The designated area would be an additional recreational opportunity as well as an option for having dogs off their leashes instead of in unauthorized areas like the beach strand. As for allocating funds the cost should be paid for by the canal POA’s. You ask: Why? In April of 2014 we established the Dog Park on Town owned property at Scotch Bonnet Drive, at a cost of $19,000 sourced from BPART account. The Canal Dredging Project was mostly paid for from the Water Resources Development Grant of $1,439,922 which we secured in December 2017. According to Town Manager Hewett, “the Canal Dredging Project is paying all costs for the reconstitution of the Scotch Bonnet site to include installation of dog park facilities at that location.” That’s all well and good but meanwhile we do not have a dog park. It is my humble opinion that the right thing to do is for them to pay to create a temporary replacement dog park too.

    NRPA Park Pulse: Americans Agree Dog Parks Benefit Local Communities
    Local parks and recreation agencies provide dog parks for the areas they serve
    Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted. With this month’s poll, we look at the possible benefits dog parks bring to their communities.

    91% of Americans believe dog parks provide benefits to their communities

    Availability of dog parks is especially popular among millennials (94 percent) and Gen Xers (92 percent) followed by baby boomers (89 percent) who agree dog parks provide benefits to communities.

    Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

        • 60% Gives dogs a safe space to exercise and roam around freely
        • 48% Allows dogs to socialize with other dogs
        • 36% Allows owners a chance to be physically active with their pet

    For more information » click here

  • Previously reported – July 2020
    BOC’s are cognizant that the residents want a dog park. The Board went with Option #2 – Request the Parks and Recreation Committee to include a new dog park in their upcoming Master Plan development efforts and recommend a possible site.

    Corrections & Amplifications –

What’s your vision for our county?
Brunswick County launches new Blueprint Brunswick 2040 project to find out.

County encourages residents to share their ideas online or at in-person and virtual meetings this fall as it develops new comprehensive plans

Brunswick County’s Planning and Parks and Recreation departments have teamed up for a 12-month initiative called Blueprint Brunswick 2040 to craft two new plans: a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and a Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Together, these two new plans will guide future growth, decisions and investments in infrastructure and serves withing the county.
For more information » click here

Take the Online Survey
The Blueprint Brunswick 2040 Public Input Survey is now online and open for submissions. The survey consists of 28 questions and takes about 20 minutes to complete. Access the survey at BlueprintBrunswick2040.com

Participants are asked to complete their online surveys no later than January 1st, 2021.

Ocean Isle Beach’s terminal groin lawsuit will be heard by Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals next month
It’s a lawsuit four years in the making, and one the Town of Ocean Isle Beach hopes is resolved soon so constriction of a terminal groin (a type of jetty) can move forward, conservationists hope that does not happen. The town hopes to protect its beaches and properties along the ocean while conservation groups have argued plans for a terminal groin would be detrimental to the environment and filed suit to stop the project. In August of 2017, the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Audubon North Carolina bringing a halt to a proposed terminal groin project. Now, after being dismissed by a federal judge in September of 2019, the lawsuit is ready to be heard by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

So what exactly is a terminal groin, and what is the concern? In the most basic sense, a terminal groin is a type of rock wall built on the shoreline, extending into the water that are used to help grow beaches and slow erosion. “A groin is built perpendicular to the coast and works similar to the way a jetty works. But groins are usually smaller than jetties and built on straight stretches of beach, not near inlets or channels. They are often built in a series of parallel structures on one section of beach and can be made of wood, concrete, steel or stone. Terminal groins are relatively new concoctions. They are the name proponents have given to small jetties built at inlets — the terminus of islands,” according to the N.C. Coastal Federation.

Proponents of these projects say groins help stem erosion from the beaches and help project properties, however, there are environmental concerns when it comes to installing hard structures. “While they can protect roads, beach homes and other buildings threatened by erosion, hard structures usually cause increased erosion further down the beach. Both jetties and groins, for example, act like dams to physically stop the movement of sand. They work by preventing longshore drift from washing sediment down the coast. As a result, they cause a buildup of sand on the side protected by the structure — which is precisely what they’re intended to do,” according to the N.C. Coastal Federation.

However, the buildup of sand comes at a cost for other properties. “…Areas further “downstream” on the coast are cut off from natural longshore drift by these barrier-like structures. No longer replenished by the sand that usually feeds them, these areas experience worsened erosion,” according to the group.

North Carolina has a history of avoiding the problems brought to other communities through the use of hardened structures and a ban on them was in place for years, since 1985 — until it was repealed in 2011. Senate Bill 110 authorized the construction of terminal groins and repealed the efforts of conservationists.

When the Town of Ocean Isle Beach decided it wanted its own terminal groin in 2017, the lawsuit was filed. The conservationist group claimed that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the town’s plan for a terminal groin would be detrimental to the environment. “We’re in court because the Corps failed to fairly consider alternatives that would cost Ocean Isle less, manage erosion, and protect the natural beach on the east end of the island when it approved this destructive project,” said Geoff Gisler, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center at the time the lawsuit was filed.  “Federal law requires the Corps to choose the least destructive alternative; with the terminal groin, it approved the most destructive.”

Even U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed that the project would be detrimental to the ecosystem. “A project of this nature will destroy the ecological functioning of this inlet and the surrounding areas. The science is unequivocal. I see no unique issues or areas of significant uncertainty in need of further evaluation. We oppose this project. There is nothing more to discuss,” Pete Benjamin, an employee of the federal agency wrote about the project in 2011, according to emails obtained by Coastal Review Online.

However, proponents of the groin want to move forward. After the decision was entered by the federal judge to dismiss the case, the National Audubon Society filed an appeal with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. According to the town, they are scheduled to have their arguments heard next month. “The Town has been informed by our attorney that the oral argument before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has been scheduled for December 8, 2020.  We are hopeful that a final decision on this matter will be rendered by the judge shortly after the oral argument is completed. We will post additional updates as they are made available to the Town,” according to a Facebook Post from the town.
Read more » click here

Odds & Ends –

Seasonal Police Officers


  • .
    Previously reported – June 2020
    Commissioner Sullivan requested a committee investigate the feasibility of hiring seasonal part-time police officers for the next budget year. The motion tasked the committee with looking into this option. Both Pat and Mike volunteered to be on the committee.

Editor’s note –
The Town of Holden Beach has 575 permanent residents and this year we have budgeted for ten (10) full-time officers and zero (0) part-time officers. By contrast, The Town of Ocean Isle Beach has 554 permanent residents and
employs thirteen (13) full-time officers and ten (10) part-time seasonal officers.

Previously reported – July 2020
Holden Beach ponders seasonal police help for 2021
Holden Beach commissioners are looking into the possibility of hiring summer law enforcement officers for the 2021 season. At a meeting last Thursday, July 2, the board started evaluating and discussing what is needed for that to happen.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – September 2020
Holden Beach officials contemplate efforts to extend police force on island
The Town of Holden Beach held a special meeting Thursday, Sept. 3, to continue discussion on the feasibility of hiring seasonal law enforcement officers for the 2021 season. Following their last meeting on July 2, Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon contacted other police chiefs in similarly situated municipalities to discuss their handlings of the beach strand. Dixon reported diverse policing across the towns but found a common problem is retention. In the future he wanted to hold a conference call with Ocean Isle Beach Police Chief Ken Bellamy because their town is similar.
The group decided to hold one more meeting before contacting Bellamy so they could clarify the roles of the part-time officer and ask more specific questions. Kwiatkowski said for the next meeting they needed to be clear about what is getting investigated for the blended program of the land and seaside. She also requested Dixon look into the frequency of parking and speeding violations. The next meeting is on Oct. 1.
Read more » click here

Previously reported October 2020
Holden Beach chief opts for hiring clerk over more police officers
“That is going to help serve this community 10 times better than trying to figure out how to hire four, six part-time officers,” Dixon said during a town seasonal law enforcement officers committee meeting Oct. 1. Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon believes hiring a new office clerk would be more beneficial for his department rather than hiring seasonal officers. Though the meeting was set to discuss hiring seasonal law enforcement, Dixon felt an office clerk would be more helpful for the department in addressing the high volume of phone calls and better serving the community.
Read more » click here

Update –
Holden Beach committee talks with Ocean Isle Beach Chief
The town of Holden Beach Seasonal Law Enforcement Committee held a meeting om Ocean Isle Beach Police Chief Ken Bellamy. “After our discussion at the last meeting, we were hoping to be able to discuss how Ocean Isle Beach utilizes their seasonal police officers and to have the chief of police present here to discuss the issues he found in utilizing seasonal police officers,” commissioner Mike Sullivan said. During the gathering Sullivan asked Bellamy how many seasonal police officers Ocean Isle Beach currently has. “At Ocean Isle we actually have two classifications of folks that work what we call beach patrol and beach patrol consists of officers or personnel on an ATV on the beach strand,” Bellamy said. “The two classifications as far as beach control, we have non-sworn and we have sworn.” Non-sworn officers tend to be retired police officers. Their main task is to look for ordinance violations on the beach strand and inform the public what the ordinances are, but when it comes to enforcement actions, they notify a sworn officer or call a uniformed officer off the road. Typically, Ocean Isle Beach hires ten (10) non-sworn officers and eight (8) sworn officers for the summer season, Bellamy reported. He said training can be between eight to 12 hours for non-sworn officers, showing the lay of the land and covering administrative issues. Sworn officers go through a training program, depending on their experience level and training can be completed 24 hours. In an average week, Bellamy said Ocean Isle Beach part-time officers work a total of 120 hours a week all together. They try to use two officers at a minimum, with each working an eight-hour shift. On holidays and weekends, they have more officers working. When asked about the retention rate, Bellamy said it is pretty good. Since the non-sworn side is mostly retired folks, they tend to stick around but sworn officers can be a little harder to keep around if they find a full-time position elsewhere. Bellamy said the seasonal officers are only used for the beach strand and not as supplement patrol. Ocean Isle’s beach patrol program has been in existence since the early 1990s. Contrary to Ocean Isle’s operations, Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon expressed interest in using the seasonal officers for patrol use, rather than limiting them to the beach strand. “As far as how we would utilize them, if we had seasonal officers, they would be to assist call volume and to assist with parking and other traffic issues,” Dixon said. Dixon said he felt it would be difficult to have the part-time officers play double duty working on law enforcement and beach patrol. Despite needing a little extra help, Dixon was happy with the department. “We’re very fortunate here,” Dixon said. “Our officers do an excellent job at preventing crime, and the fact that we don’t have a lot of reports and a lot of crime to me speaks volumes about the job that they do preventively.” Due to the town of Holden Beach’s State of Emergency restrictions, in-person public attendance was prohibited at the meeting. The meeting was livestreamed on the town’s Facebook page. The next seasonal law enforcement officers committee meeting is scheduled for Dec. 3. 
Read more » click here 

This and That –

Old places, New faces
Name:            Aunt Irene’s Sweets-n-Treats 
Location:        3331 Holden Beach Road, Supply NC
Cappuccino By the Sea  has moved to 2852 Old Ferry Road and is Vincent Van-Go Pottery. Aunt Irene’s is a bakery that makes old world pastries and confections and is scheduled to open at this location sometime in November.

North Carolina/South Carolina (NC/SC) Adult Baseball is open for registration for the 2021 season.  The NC/SC Adult baseball league was formed in 2012.  It is an all wood bat league with 3 age divisions for the upcoming 2021 calendar year.  The age divisions are  35+, 45+, and 55+.  The league is affiliated with the Roy Hobbs Baseball Organization which provides both liability and medical insurance to our players.  Teams are generally from the Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC areas.  However, players come from both states and several beaches, including Holden Beach.  The league accepts individual players, groups of players, or entire teams.

This is an age-specific league.  There are players at a variety of skills and experience levels.  Most players had some high school experience and maybe college.  This league may not be for you if you have never played at a competitive level.  But many players have not played in 10, 20 or 30 years.  After a few practice sessions and a few games most, players find the game comes back to them and they can compete at their age level.  It’s a great opportunity to get regular exercise and make new friends in the area.

To register go to: 

The best fall we’ve ever had’: Coastal vacation rentals in high demand
This year has been a rollercoaster for many of those who manage rental properties in the beach towns that dot the coastline of Southeastern North Carolina. COVID-19 hit the United States in mid-March, just when rental properties tend to see an uptick in spring break bookings. Instead, many saw cancellation after cancellation. Temporary state and local bans on short-term rentals appeared to doom the rental season before it began. But when bans lifted, people rushed to reserve vacation rentals. Reservations have remained steady for local rental companies throughout the summer and into the fall. 

Watching the vacation rental season ‘fall apart’
For Ian Kraus, a property and reservations manager at Intracoastal Vacation Rentals in Wrightsville Beach, the cancellations began streaming in mid-March. Kraus estimates he handled 450 cancellations this spring. That’s unheard of. “I’ve never been anywhere close to that,” Kraus said. The initial uncertainty surrounding the pandemic led to the flood of cancellations that seemed to threaten the rental season. “People were cancelling, not coming, trying to reschedule,” said Jessica Elliott, the marketing director at Sea Scape Properties in Wrightsville Beach. “This whole time, we’re just seeing our whole season fall apart.” Early in the pandemic, short-term rentals were banned by state and local restrictions. For more than a month, vacationers could not rent apartments or houses in several coastal towns near Wilmington. But when those restrictions lifted in mid-May on Topsail Island, bookings flooded in, said Chris Rackley, the president and broker-in-charge at Lewis Realty Associates. “We ran around 100% occupied from late May on into mid-September,” Rackley said. In a typical year, rentals run 100% occupied during peak summer months. This is the first time that the company has been 100% occupied that far into the fall, Rackley said. 

‘We’re working at home anyway, why not come to the beach?’
The demand for rental properties was not unique to Topsail Island. In coastal towns throughout Southeastern North Carolina, short-term rentals have been booming this year despite the pandemic. Demand, which typically begins to fall off when school begins in mid-August or early September, has continued through October at some rental agencies. Why? Some property managers believe the shift to working from home and virtual learning have something to do with it. Kraus said visitors are looking to rent larger spaces, which means they might be vacationing with their families. “The two and three bedrooms are always going to be a lock-in. That’s the perfect size for a smaller group,” he said. “But this year we’re getting a lot more looking for three, four, five bedrooms.” Many renters have told the property managers that at-home work and school played a role in their decision to come to the coast. An internet connection has also become increasingly important for this year’s renters. “If the Internet went out in the home, it was a dire emergency,” Rackley said. “That kind of tells the story.” The first question prospective clients often ask Kraus when calling to book a rental is how fast the internet is. “I would say close to half of our off-season rentals this time around are just like: we’re working at home anyway, why not come to the beach?” he said.

The ‘best’ rental season ever
This might be the best fall rental season Alan Holden has ever seen. Holden, a veteran of the real estate and vacation rental industry, owns Alan Holden Vacations and is the Mayor of Holden Beach. “This is probably going to be the best fall we’ve ever had, and I’ve been doing this for 40-some years,” he said. Holden credits virtual work and schooling along with this fall’s warm and mild weather for drawing visitors. When Bethany Guthrie, the owner of TI Rentals in Surf City, compares this year with 2019, she has seen a 35% increase in rentals between June 1 and Oct. 31. Rental agencies have received a mix of bookings from both North Carolinians and those coming from outside of the state. This summer when COVID-19 restrictions shut down some cities and suburban areas in the Northeast, some families booked a vacation rental and drove down to coastal North Carolina. “This summer there was an eagerness … to get out of the city and get here to the coast,” said Chris Spellman, the broker-in-charge and property manager at Sea Scape Properties. Rental properties allow families to social distance and keep to themselves, making them ideal places for families to stay during the pandemic, said Rackley. “They stay within their own family environment in a vacation rental,” he said.

Rentals fuel the occupancy tax
For many coastal towns in Southeastern North Carolina, tourism drives the economy. Beachgoers buy souvenirs at local shops, eat in local restaurants, and stay in local hotels and rental properties. “In a coastal town, this is an extremely important industry,” Spellman said. When visitors book a rental or hotel, they pay into the town’s occupancy taxes. These taxes are reinvested into the community in ways that aim to attract tourists, like nourishing area beaches. Because tourism is a significant economic driver in beach towns, Spellman said local government leaders should give property and hotel managers a seat at the table when it comes to economic discussions. The occupancy tax has rebounded this year in Wrightsville Beach, said the town’s mayor, Darryl Mills. “The occupancy tax was way down for several months but it is coming back,” he said.

Mills said that rental property and hotel managers in the area have told him that demand from visitors is steady. He said that coastal towns in the Wilmington area will continue to draw in tourists as long as rentals, hotels and other businesses can remain open. “If we can stay open and the weather holds, we’ll survive,” he said.

Will COVID-19 have a lasting impact on the vacation rental season?
The success of vacation rentals this summer and fall has left property managers wondering what next season will look like. Will things be back to normal by next summer? Elliott said she believes changes caused by COVID-19 might have a lasting impact on vacationers and rental companies alike. “I honestly think that it’s going to change the way our rental season runs,” she said. As more companies adapt to working from home, people may have more freedom in deciding where they work from, she said. A shift in demand could affect rental prices. Traditionally, the summer months are peak rental season. Demand for vacation rentals and the rates for renting them are highest during this time. Higher demand in the fall could mean a rate increase, said Spellman. “Any time we’re looking at pricing, we’re looking at supply and demand,” he said. Having the option of virtual work or school could give families the flexibility they need take a vacation later into the fall than they could in a more traditional work environment. “I’m interested to see what happens as we move into winter and next season,” she said. Regardless of the changes ahead, this summer and fall has turned out much better than many property managers expected. “We figured that this summer was not going to be that great,” Rackley said. “But it turned out to be a tremendously successful year.”
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Factoid That May Interest Only Me –

Watch out for deer
NCDOT warns motorists
across North Carolina to stay alert for deer now that fall has arrived. Every year during late autumn, auto and body shops across the region brace for a bumper crop of business, comprised of an influx of cars with damage from collisions with deer. Beginning in October, roads across the state become hazardous as North Carolina’s deer population fans out, lurking on highway shoulders in search of food and potential mates. It’s the deadliest time of the year for deer, which also pose a particular danger to motorists. Nearly half of vehicle accidents involving white-tail deer occur from October to December. Deer accidents typically begin rising in October, peak in November and begin dropping off after December, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Deer are crepuscular mammals, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk – which, following the onset of daylight savings time, places them near roads and byways precisely when large numbers of residents are commuting to and from work.

Report: Animal-related crashes on the rise in North Carolina
The frequency of animal-vehicle crashes has increased considerably from the year before, according to a report. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) said there was a total of 20,331 animal-involved crashes in 2019, an increase of more than 2,300 from 2018. Officials said deer account for about 90% of all animal-related crashes. The increase in incidents could be attributed to growth in the state, with more drivers on the road and more development. State officials warn that North Carolina is entering the three worst months of the year for animal-related crashes, with October, November, and December accounting for half of the annual total over the past three years. The NCDOT Transportation Mobility and Safety Division study shows animal-related crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800 others, and caused nearly $156.9 million in property damage over those three years. For the 17th year in a row, Wake County leads the rest of the state for animal collisions with 1,023 in 2019. The NCDOT says far western counties have the lowest numbers because they have the fewest drivers and roads. Graham County recorded just five animal collisions and has the bottom spot for the fifth year in a row.

NCDOT has some helpful tips for motorists in regard to deer-vehicle crashes:

  • Although it does not decrease the risk of being in a crash, wearing a seat belt gives you a better chance of avoiding or minimizing injuries if you hit a deer or other animal.
  • Always maintain a safe amount of distance between your vehicle and others, especially at night. If the vehicle ahead of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash.
  • Slowdown in areas posted with deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.
  • Most deer-vehicle crashes occur where deer are more likely to travel, near bridges or overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches. Be vigilant when passing through potentially risky landscapes.
  • Drive with high beams on when possible and watch for eyes reflecting in the headlights.
  • Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one deer near a road, be alert that others may be around.
  • If you see deer near a road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast.
  • Do not swerve to avoid a collision with deer. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, increasing the risk of it flipping over, veering into oncoming traffic, or overcorrecting and running off the road and causing a more serious crash.

Officials say the most crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight, accounting for about 45% of the overall total. With the end of daylight savings time at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, the time shift increases the chance of deer being by roadways when drivers are traveling in the dark, especially for their evening commute. If your vehicle does strike a deer, officials say do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can be dangerous or further injure itself. Get your vehicle off the road if possible and call 911.
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NCDOT: Vehicle-animal crashes on the rise statewide, Brunswick in top 10
Animal-vehicle collisions have increased across North Carolina, according to a new report released by the N.C. Department of Transportation Monday. Brunswick County is ranked sixth out of the state’s 100 counties for animal-vehicle collisions between 2017 and 2019. These types of collisions have increased in the county by 27% since 2012, with 480 crashes last year, according to the report.

Animal collisions are up statewide due to increased development, which pushes animals out of their habitats, according to NCDOT. Deer make up the majority (90%) of animal-vehicle collisions. Statewide, these crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800, and caused more than $156 million in property damage between 2017 and 2019. Collisions are known to increase during the last three months of the year, according to NCDOT, because crashes in this timeframe tend to make up half the annual total. Pender County ranks 16th with 331 animal crashes last year, and New Hanover County ranks 69th with 85 crashes on the state’s list. The state’s westernmost counties tend to have the least amount of animal crashes due to sparser populations and roads. Almost a majority of crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight. The end of Daylight Savings on Nov. 1 increases the chance of deer being hit on the roadways as more drivers travel in the dark, according to NCDOT.

Below are tips NCDOT provided drivers to protect themselves from animal collisions:

  • Wear a seatbelt
  • Keep a safe distance between vehicles
  • Drive slow in areas with posted deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas near dusk and night.
  • Be mindful while driving near areas where deer are more likely to travel, including near bridges, overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches.
  • When possible, drive with high beams on and look out for eyes reflected in the headlights
  • Look out for other deer when one is spotted; deer often travel in groups
  • Blow the horn with a long blast if you spot a deer near the road.
  • Do not swerve your vehicle to avoid colliding with a deer.
  • If you do strike a deer with your vehicle, try to get your vehicle off the road, call 911, and don’t touch the animal. Injured or wounded deer can further injure itself or others.
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Hot Button Issues
Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions

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There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear


Development Fees
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Flood Insurance Program
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National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On October 1, 2020, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to September 30, 2021.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2021.

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 recent catastrophic storms makes it clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP.

Flood insurance – whether purchased from the NFIP or through private carriers – is the best way for homeowners, renters, business, and communities to financially protect themselves from losses caused by floods.
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White House approves National Flood Insurance Program for another year
The National Flood Insurance Program, which was set to expire Sept. 30, was signed into law Thursday, Oct. 1. Earlier last week, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives voted in favor of continuing NFIP. President Donald Trump signed approval on Thursday. “Since it was reauthorized it’s good news for homeowners,” said Holden Beach resident Louis Cutajar. NFIP provides insurance to help reduce the socioeconomic impact of floods. The flood insurance program is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and delivered to the public by a network of approximately 60 insurance companies. “Flood insurance is available to anyone living in one of the 23,000 participating NFIP communities,” FEMA posted on its website. “Homes and businesses in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from government-backed lenders are required to have flood insurance.” According to St. George News, “Floods are the most common and expensive natural disaster in the U.S. Just an inch of water in an average-sized home can cause $25,000 in damage. However, unlike many causes of damage, flooding and mudflows are generally not covered by a homeowners’ policy. An uninsured flood loss can eat into your life’s savings.” In June, federal agencies collaborated to clarify rules related to flood insurance requirements. Comments were received regarding more guidance on renewal notices for forced-paned insurance policies, flood insurance amount requirements and requirements for tenant-owned buildings or detached structures. According to a DS News report, changes to the interagency document make it easier for lenders, servicers, regulators, and policyholders to find sections pertinent to them.
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Community Rating System (CRS)
The Town’s CRS rating is being lowered from eight (8) to seven (7) which will result in an additional downward adjustment to all property owners flood insurance premiums. That would be the third favorable adjustment, each with a 5% reduction of your flood insurance premiums. To be clear, we will now enjoy a 15% reduction in flood insurance premiums due to the new lower CRS rating. Timbo has been the driving force in getting us to qualify for the lower rating allowing us to enjoy significant savings and is very much appreciated. KUDOS!


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    Homeowners Insurance
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    Insurance companies request rate increase for homeowners
    The North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) has requested a 24.5 percent statewide average increase in homeowners’ insurance rates to take effect August 2021, according to a news release issued Nov. 10 by state insurance commissioner Mike Causey. The NCRB is not part of the N.C. Department of Insurance but represents companies that write insurance policies in the state. The department can either agree with the rates as filed or negotiate a settlement with the NCRB on a lower rate. If a settlement cannot be reached within 50 days, Causey will call for a hearing. Two years ago, in December 2018, the NCRB requested a statewide average increase of 17.4 percent. Causey negotiated a rate 13.4 percentage points lower and settled with a statewide aver-age rate increase of 4 percent. One of the drivers behind this requested increase is that North Carolina has experienced increased wind and hail losses stemming from damaging storms. A public comment period is required by law to give the public time to address the NCRB’s proposed rate increase.
    There are four ways to provide comments:

    A public comment forum will be held to listen to public input on the NC Rate Bureau’s rate increase request at the N.C. Department of Insurance’s second floor hearing room on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Department of Insurance is located in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh. Proper CO-VID-19 safety protocols will be enforced.

    A virtual public comment forum will be held simultaneously with the in-person forum on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The link to this virtual forum will be:

    Emailed public comments should be sent by Dec. 10 to:  2020Homeowners@ncdoi.gov

    Written public comments should be received by Dec. 10 and mailed to:
     Abby Spann, Paralegal III
    1201 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1201

    All public comments will be shared with the N.C. Rate Bureau.

    To see a table of proposed homeowners’ rate increases go to: click here
    Territory 120 / Beach areas in Brunswick County / NCRB proposed increase 25%

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    Hurricane Season

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  • Subtropical Storm Theta Makes 2020 Busiest Hurricane Season On Record
    A history-making storm is gaining momentum over the middle of the Atlantic. Monday, Subtropical Storm Theta became the 29th named storm of the year, surpassing the 28 storms of 2005 and making the 2020 hurricane season the busiest on record. The system is not expected to make landfall in the U.S.
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    Theta Forms as Season’s 29th Named Storm, Breaking a Record
    The arrival of Theta broke the annual record for the number of storms strong enough to be given names. That benchmark was set in 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
    Subtropical Storm Theta became the 29th named storm of the tumultuous 2020 hurricane season on Monday night, breaking a record set in 2005. Government scientists had predicted an unusually busy hurricane season this year. But the number of named storms exceeded even the initial forecasts issued by the National Hurricane Center and forced the National Weather Service to resort to using the Greek alphabet after Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean in September. The Weather Service had not done that since 2005, when 28 storms grew strong enough to have names. (The National Hurricane Center named 27 storms that year and later identified a 28th qualifying storm: a subtropical storm that formed briefly in October 2005 near the Azores, a remote archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.)
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  • Tropical Storm Iota forms in Caribbean and will likely become a major hurricane
    Iota is the 30th named storm of 2020, a new record
    Tropical Storm Iota formed in the eastern Caribbean on Friday afternoon, set to become a powerful major hurricane and threaten areas of the western Caribbean still reeling from Hurricane Eta that hit just last week. Iota is the season’s 30th named storm, an unprecedented milestone that brings us deeper into uncharted territory. It comes days after Tropical Storm Theta formed and broke the record for the most named storms ever observed in a single Atlantic hurricane season.
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A hurricane season for the record books
Starting with the first storm, which struck two weeks before the official start of the Atlantic season on June 1, this year has now seen 30 named storms — 13 of them hurricanes — breaking a record set in 2005, when 28 storms grew strong enough to be named. This is only the second time — after 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast — that meteorologists have exhausted the list of storm names in alphabetical order and moved on to the 24-letter Greek alphabet.


    Inlet Hazard Areas
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    AgendaNC DEQ: November 2020 Meeting Agenda
    Science Panel’s Comments

    Shallotte Inlet Animation: 
     ShallotteInlet_1938-2019_v3.mp4 – Google Drive

    Public Comments:


    Lockwood Folly Inlet
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    Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
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  • .
    Solid Waste Program

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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.
    ///// Outdoor dining at area restaurants
    Name:            Brasserie du Soleil / Urban Food Group
    Cuisine:         French
    Location:      1908 Eastwood Road, Wilmington NC
    Contact:        910.256.2226 /

    Food:              Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
    Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
    Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
    Cost:               Inexpensive <=$18 / Moderate <=$24 / Expensive <=$30 / Exorbitant <=$40
    Rating:          Three Stars
    Brasserie du Soleil is one of six restaurants in the Urban Food Group. This one is primarily a French bistro, an informal café. They seem to have an extremely popular build your own salad option, on the Lunch menu only, that was voted Best Salads, in the Best of Wilmington done by Encore Magazine. Outside seating is a good choice, not as noisy and it’s a beautiful setting. Overall it was a very pleasant dining experience.

    Cloud 9
    9 Estell Lee Pl
    Wilmington, North Carolina 28401

    Enjoy panoramic views from the Cloud 9 rooftop bar which overlooks picturesque downtown Wilmington. This premier open-air rooftop venue is located on the Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington on the ninth floor of the Embassy Suites. The bar is open seven (7) days a week at 4:00 PM and is currently serving almost fifty (50) different brews on tap and in cans and more than 20 wine selections. They also offer live music Thursday through Saturday evenings throughout the summer months. This is a must visit the next time you are in Wilmington.

    Book Review:
    Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
    Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter

    ONE BY ONE by Ruth Ware
    Written in the classic mystery tradition, this is Ware’s contemporary version of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None suspense novel. An off-site company retreat in the French Alps goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, eleven (11) people are stranded in a ritzy ski chalet and begin dying one by one. A familiar locked-door mystery setup, the story is told in alternating chapters from different members of the groups point of view.

  • .That’s it for this newsletter

    See you next month

    Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

    .          • Gather and disseminate information
    .         • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

    .         • Act as a watchdog
    .         • Grass roots monthly newsletter since 2008