03 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 02/23/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording #1 » click here
Audio Recording #2 » click here
Audio Recording #3 » click here


1. Interviews of Firms Interested in Providing Legal Services to the Town
.         1:00 p.m. – Law Firm of Richard F. Green
.         2:00 p.m. – Moore Law
.         3:00 p.m. – Coble Law Form


Parking Committee Meeting 03/05/21

Committee Agenda Packet » click here  

Audio Recording #1 » click here  
Audio Recording #2 » click here  


1. Paid Parking Solutions Presentations
.      a. Otto Connect – Jim Varner
     b. Premium Parking – Timothy Hoppenrath

Previously reported – February 2021
Discussion and Possible Action on Parking Recommendations – Commissioners Tyner and Murdock

Agenda Packet –
The Parking Committee established by the Board of Commissioners met on Friday, February 5, 2021. Planning Director Tim Evans reviewed his findings for the four assignments planned for completion at the January 8, 2021 meeting:

      1. Develop the cost and work estimates and estimate the number of potential parking spaces that would result from building a knee-high bulkhead across the Town-owned properties in the 800 block of Ocean Boulevard West (OBW) to create new parking lots.
      2. Develop the cost and work estimates and estimate the number of potential parking spaces possible by utilizing the two cross-through rights-of-ways between OBW and Brunswick Avenue
      3. Develop the cost and work estimates and estimate the number of potential parking spaces by creating angled parking spots on Avenue
      4. Investigate the potential of using the space previously known as Hillside Drive where Ocean Boulevard East ends and McCray Street begins on the ocean side for potential parking If the use of the space is feasible, develop the cost and work estimates and estimate the number of potential parking spaces.

Commissioners Murdock and Tyner are recommending to the BOC that the Town appropriate funding to build parking lots on Town-owned properties in the 800 block and 764 0BW.

      • Lots 810-822 OBW Cost Estimates: Bulkhead $30,780, Commercial Base of Slate $32,000. Total cost: $62,780 . 31 parking spaces.
      • 764 OBW Cost Estimates: Bulkhead $15,300, Commercial Base of Slate $10,000.Total Cost: $25,300. 12 parking
      • Landscaping $10,000 and contingency (10%) $9808
      • Total Cost of $107,888, 43 parking

These properties were originally purchased many years ago for the purpose of providing parking to access the beach.

Editor’s Note –
The Town owns ten (10) parcels in the 800 block which we obtained on 04/21/13 ostensibly to be used for parking. They are as follows: 46BC001, 246BC010, 246BC011, 246BC012, 246BC013, 246BC014, 246BC015, 246BC016, 246BC01604, and 246BC01609.

They received over two hundred (200) comments which were mostly about parking
All of them are posted online at the Town’s website
Read more » click here

Update –
Almost all the public comments were against public parking in residential areas. Although there was a consensus that paid parking in commercial zones is an acceptable option. The committee met with two vendors that offer paid parking options. Both vendors offer one stop shopping, like a smorgasbord we can pick and choose what we want them to do including having them manage all elements of the program. The billing is based on a unique identifier, the vehicle license plate number. Payment can be made by text, their app or by calling them. Fees can be adjusted based on things like activity, date, or location. Incredibly paid parking could be implemented everywhere on the island including in right-of-waysAt first blush, this appears to potentially be a significant revenue stream for the Town.


Hot Topic: Parking
After the HBPOA notified property owners about the Town’s plans to build new public parking lots, over 200 letters and emails were submitted.  These comments provide a very comprehensive view of what property owners want and don’t want with regards to public parking.  After reviewing this feedback, here is our summary:

Overall:

      1. Protect the unique character and beauty of the island (don’t ruin paradise to create parking).
      2. Don’t overly burden property owners in an effort to accommodate day-visitors.
      3. Recognize we won’t always be able to provide a sufficient number of parking spaces to meet future demand.

Specifically:

    1. No new small “pocket” parking lots in residential neighborhoods next to or across from homes and spread out such that visitors have to drive all over the island looking for a spot.
    2. No right-of-way parking in property owner yards or adjacent to residential property.
    3. Any new public parking should be:
      –   Close to public beach accessways
      –   Close to permanent public restrooms (not porta-potties)
      –   On land zoned for commercial businesses who could benefit from the visitors (and vice versa)
      –   Centralized as much as possible to minimize traffic congestion and improve safety.
    4. Public parking should pay for itself and not be a financial burden on the property owners:
      –   Paid parking should be implemented to help cover the cost of the additional services needed as the result of day-visitors (e.g., police, garbage collection, bathroom cleaning, etc.)
      –   Any land purchased for new parking lots should be cost neutral (i.e., the parking revenues should pay for the purchase cost within a reasonable period of time).
    5. Start planning now for what we will do when the public parking spaces on the island are all full:
      –   Determine how many spaces we plan to have on the island for public parking (i.e. what is our total capacity goal)
      –   Determine how we will know when all these spaces are full so we can notify day-visitors before they come on the island that there is no place for them to park
      –   Engage the County regarding off-island parking/shuttle service solutions, since it is predominantly County residents who are the day-visitors coming to the island.

The HBPOA, as a representative of the property owners, will support plans that achieve these objectives.
For more information » click here

2. Report on US Wildlife Boat Ramp – Chief Dixon

Jeremy reported that  when he reached out to them, he was informed that their goal is to provide access to the waterway. That is strictly providing access for launching vessels. The takeaway here is that parking is  neither their concern nor is it their problem. He reported that they said that they currently have fifteen (15) parking spots there.

Editor’s Note –
Fifteen (15) parking spots, I don’t think so.
I checked; they have a lot of signage restricting where you can park.

My count is more like ten (10) legitimate parking spots based on the signage.

      • Vehicles with attached trailers      7 max
      • Single vehicle                                    2 spots
      • Handicap                                           1 spot

Just don’t see how they can claim that they have fifteen (15) parking spots there.


BOC’s Regular Meeting 03/16/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Public Comments on Agenda/General Items

They received over fifty (50) comments which were mostly about revisions to the trash ordinance. All of the comments are posted online at the Town’s website.
For more information » click here


2. Discussion and Possible Action on Brunswick County Proposed Wholesale Water Rates – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Previously reported – February 2021
Agenda Packet –

Brunswick County has been supplying potable water to you and this letter is intended to provide you information to assist in in 2021/2022 budget process.

The County is under construction expanding its potable water capacity and adding advanced treatment to its Northwest Water Treatment Plant. The new facilities will add Low Pressure Reverse Osmosis (LPRO) advanced water treatment and increase capacity from 24 million gallons per day to 48 mgd conventionally treated and minimum 36 mgd LPRO treated water. Brunswick County issued revenue bonds to cover the costs of construction and the debt service is to begin in the next fiscal year.

A water rate study had been performed by financial consultant Raftelis (May 2019) based on the cost-of-service methods out lined in the American Water Works Association M-1 Manual “Water Rates. Fees. and Charges”. This method is now the industry standard for water rate setting. Brunswick County has been using the Producer Price Index (PPI) for wholesale and industrial rate-setting for many years. The Water Rate Study was updated using actual project costs. timing and the projected customer base. and recommends wholesale and industrial rate adjustments.

Staff is recommending that the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners set the wholesale and industrial rate beginning January 1, 2022 using the industry standard for rate setting as follow:

Wholesale – per 1,000 gallons $5.25

Industrial – per 1 ,000 gallons $4.35

Town was advised by the County that they are considering an increase to the water rate. The proposed rate increase would change your monthly bill making it significantly higher. When the wholesale water rate cost goes up it needs to be spread across all users. In addition, we can’t run a deficit so the water system must pay for itself.


Brunswick County ponders water hike next year
Brunswick County commissioners are looking into significant water rate hikes to take effect next Jan. 1. Recommended changes allocate for anticipated debt service repayments that begin in 2022 for $156.8 million in capital improvements at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, loss in revenue attributed to pending closure of an industrial customer and expected revenue reductions from wholesale customers as well as rate increases for raw water the county buys. Wholesale customers will see rates go up from $2.89 per 1,000 gallons to $5.25, with a monthly base service charge rising $4 for all meters. County rates would still remain lower or comparable with other retail water rates in coastal North Carolina counties, Brunswick County Manager Randell Woodruff said during the regular Brunswick County Board of Commissioners meeting Jan. 19. “It’s key to compare us with other coastal communities,” Woodruff said. “When you look at other coastal communities that have similar issues that we do, under the new rates we are proposing we would still be below the mid-point. That demonstrates that while the rates will be increasing, the customers here will be receiving a much higher quality water system than any in our region.” In 2018, commissioners took action to finance installation of a low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the county’s Northwest Water Treatment Plant to remove chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances(PFAS), like GenX, from water coming from the Cape Fear River. The following year, a Raftelis financial consultant water rate study was completed, with financial forecasts developed in 2020, which was reviewed during the board meeting. According to a Brunswick County newsletter, county retail water rates have seen minimal adjustments over the past 17 years. Commissioners will review and take action on recommended changes as part of the fiscal 2022 budget process, with approved changes going into effect Jan. 1, 2022.
Read more » click here


Water Rate Methodology and Rate Increase

This is what they said in 2019:
About 84% of the county’s residential customers use 5,000 gallons of water a day or less. Accounting for the average 4,500 gallons-per-day customer, using the smallest-sized three-quarter inch meter, an average county water bill increases $3.22 from $25.73 to $28.95

This is what they are proposing in 2021:
Average retail customer billed at 4,500 gallons increases $9.85 from $24.83 to $34.68

The rate increase amount predicted of $3.22 is much less than the current proposed rate increase of $9.85. The average retail customer bill will go from $24.83 to $34.68 which is a 140% increase.


Water Rate Changes
The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners received information on recommended changes to the county’s water rates during its regular meeting this Tuesday, Jan. 19. The Board of Commissioners will review and take action on the recommended changes as part of its Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) budget process. Approved changes would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. Brunswick County retail water rates have seen minimal adjustments over the past 17 years. The only increase occurred in FY 2015 when the monthly retail base rate was increased by $1. Meanwhile, volumetric rates for retail customers were decreased by $0.90 in both FY 2004 and FY 2020. With the proposed changes, the County’s FY 2022 recommended rates would still remain lower or comparable with other retail water rates in other coastal North Carolina counties. The recommended changes address the anticipated debt service repayments that will begin in 2022 for capital improvements at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, loss in revenues due to the recent closure of an industrial customer, expected reductions in revenue from wholesale customers, and expected rate increases for raw water the County purchases. The proposed rate changes considered recommendations from the Raftelis water rate study completed in 2019 and subsequent financial forecasts developed in 2020 and reviewed this month. The rate methodology used in the water rate study is in accordance with procedures outlined in the American Water Works Association M-1 Manual, which is the industry standard. In 2018, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners took action to finance the installation of a low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the County’s Northwest Water Treatment Plant to remove PFAS contaminants like GenX from water from the Cape Fear River. All Brunswick County water customers receive all or part of their water from this facility. The project at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant broke ground in Summer 2020. The facility will increase its conventional treatment capacity from 24 million gallons per day to 45 million gallons per day by Spring 2022. The first five units of the low-pressure reverse osmosis system are expected to begin treating water in Summer 2023 with the final three units anticipated to go online by Fall 2023. Brunswick County has joined other utilities in the region to sue DuPont and Chemours. The County is seeking monetary damages from Chemours to hold it responsible for the millions of dollars it is spending to install a new treatment system necessary to remove PFAS contaminants. The lawsuit remains active and ongoing.
Read more » click here

Update –
It does not appear that the County plans to do anything at this time to mitigate the significant water rate increase. Working with David they did an assessment of probably what will happen. They laid out what the rate increase implications are for us here at Holden Beach. Bottomline is that we are looking at a significant increase which is much higher than a County residence with the same water usage. We probably need to do a rate study to make sure that revenue and expenditures will stay in balance.  Patty read a list of recommended actions and requested authorization to draft a letter to the County stating our issues, concerns, and recommendations regarding the proposed water rate increase. The plan is for her to present a resolution at next month’s BOC’s Regular Meeting agenda for approval.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

County should lessen impact of proposed water rate increase
In January 2021, the Alliance of Brunswick County Property Owners Associations (ABCPOA), which has a membership of 24 residential communities in Brunswick County, became aware of the proposal for a significant increase in retail and wholesale water rates proposed by Brunswick County. Our concerns extend to every individual, business and industry that relies on water from the county system. If you turn on your tap for a glass of water, you are affected! Since January, the ABCPOA has been in communication with county officials to gather information, understand the issues, and share ideas for lessening the impact of a proposed 81% increase of wholesale water rates that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, if approved by the commissioners as proposed. The circumstances that the county cites for increasing the water rates demonstrate the need for meeting the costs for upgrading the water treatment plant, providing low pressure reverse osmosis for secondary filtration, and the loss of two large customers. However, with a range of available options for “lessening the sting,” the initial proposed rates seem to indicate a preference for only one option; pass it along to the consumer in one fell swoop. We find this to be short-sighted due to the risk of long-term damaging consequences for individuals, existing business, and future economic development. Two defenses for the cur-rent proposal that have been presented include: “Our rates are now comparable with other water systems providing secondary level purification,” and “It’s only a $9 increase.” With regard to the first defense, while it is true water rates were below the median for similar coastal counties providing secondary purification, it is also true that they did not get to their current rate levels in one billing cycle. As an enterprise fund with large capital investments, depreciation, and the need to upgrade should have been a part of long-range planning and, the Northwest Treatment Plant didn’t turn 40 years old in one year. The Chemours dumping into the Cape Fear River did create an immediate unforeseen need but with aggressive legal action by the county, what recompense might our residents and businesses expect in the future? As far as the “It’s only $9” argument goes, it’s important to remember that water billing is structured on a tiered system that starts with a set base rate (increasing with this proposal) plus usage that bills based on usage per 1,000 gallons with the price per 1,000 gallons increasing when usage exceeds the prior tier limits. Perhaps a residential user of 1,000 gallons per month might only see a $9 monthly ($108 annual) increase but we suspect there are few customers that meet this description. We urge you to check your own personal usage to gauge the impact. Irrigation and industrial fees are similarly structured. We are particularly fearful of the impact of these rate increases on small businesses, particularly those struggling to recover from the pandemic induced recession. During our meetings and exchanged communications with the Brunswick County Commissioners, the ABCPOA has offered a range of suggestions for lessening the impact of these proposed rate increases. We encourage commissioners to reject the initial proposal and determine a course of action that meets their financial needs while not unduly burdening their customers, the residents, industries, and businesses who rely on them for this service. A meeting between county, impacted municipal leadership and staff to brainstorm viable solutions would seem to be a useful first step. The ABCPOA is willing to participate in such a process
Brunswick Beacon

Calabash OKs letter addressing 81% water hike
Town commissioners last week approved drafting a letter expressing concern about a proposed countywide 81% water-rate hike poised to take effect next January. Akin to concerns recently expressed in Shallotte, commissioners informally agreed at their monthly March 9 meeting that the increase will have impact on Calabash and its renowned restaurants and other businesses, which have already been struggling during the pandemic. Town commissioner Forrest King cited a recent letter penned by the town of Shallotte outlining the effect the hike will have on its own restaurants and businesses. “We can assume it’s going to have exactly the same effect here … significant increases on everybody,” he said. Mayor Pro Tem Jody Nance suggested they “piggy-back on the Shallotte letter.” “We need to adopt something pretty close,” King said, favoring a suggested alternative that the county impose the increase in steps “rather than hitting us all at one time with it.” He noted Shallotte suggested spreading the increase over a two-year period, which he deemed “bearable.” “But all at one time, especially with the environment we’re in right now, I think is a little bit crazy,” King said. A study presented to the county board in January proposed the hike to help pay off $156.8 million in capital improvements for the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, with wholesale water rates increasing from $2.89 to $5.25 per 1,000 gallons and a monthly base service charge rising $4 for all meters. It also proposes a 40% hike to $34.68 per 4,500 gallons for retail and irrigation customers from the current rate of $24.83.Commissioners estimated the climb could amount to thousands of dollars for a restaurant and several hundred dollars for a single-family home. They also wondered how sewer rates will be affected. Town Administrator Chuck Nance said he’s not sure about that but speculated the water hike should not have an effect on sewer unless the county votes on it. “I know what (county officials) have said and why they’re saying they have to do it, but it is a very steep increase,” he said, referring to the water rate rise. “It’s not so much the increase as the design going about it,” said town commissioner Michael Herring, also favoring spreading the increase over a greater period of time. Commissioners approved having Chuck Nance draft a letter to be sent to county commissioners. “A two-year span is something we could live with,” Jody Nance said.
Read more » click here


3. Discussion and Possible Award of Contract on Roadway Work –Shane Lippard, Right Angle Engineering (Town Manager Hewett)

Agenda Packet –
Right Angle Engineering is currently soliciting bids for Phase 2 of the Brunswick Avenue Paving Project. Bids are due on March 11th . Once Shane Lippard, the engineer, reviews the bids that are submitted he will provide his recommendation to the Town. We will send out a supplement with his information.

Mr. Lippard will be in attendance at the meeting to present the information.

Supplemental Information » click here  

Three bids were submitted to the Town. The apparent low bid from Highland Paving at $123,000 exceeds the programmed construction cost by $10,656. Award of the work by the Board will require a budget adjustment. It is anticipated  that work will occur after Easter and should be completed before Memorial Day. 

Suggested motion:
Approve award of Brunswick Avenue Phase 2 paving contract subject to realignment of funds.

Previously reported – November 2015
Streets Condition Survey Report is a planning document. We have a total of 12.8 paved asphalt roadways with @40% of the roads in need of maintenance. Subject streets are Class A (low volume) roads the cost estimate is for pavement repair only, with the costs being variable. The total estimated costs are a whopping $1,200,000. Surface evaluation was done rating each street and prioritizing the work that needs to be done. Recommended we address it with a ten-year game plan, budgeting accordingly, tackling it on a yearly basis. Understandably we can expect our streets to continue to degrade while costs will continue to go up.

Previously reported – October 2018
Project is for Brunswick Avenue West only. You read that right, from Rothschild to High Point is all we are talking about. If you have ever driven down the street, you know that settlement has occurred, and the pavement is wavy making for a roller coaster type ride. The game plan is to utilize wedging for the low areas and then a layer of asphalt over the top of the entire road. Discussion was whether to go all in or do a test segment. The approach they agreed to is to do the worst areas only in the first year. Engineers Preliminary Construction Cost Estimate $255,194. In 2015 the Board implemented a tax increase of
$.010 that would generate approximately $115,000 annually for infrastructure, specifically street paving, and maintenance. With no additional funds being allocated they could do a little less than half of the project in 2020.

Previously reported – January 2020
Brunswick Avenue West
Paving work will be started after Easter and should be completed before Memorial Day. 

Update –
In 2015 the Board implemented a tax increase of $.010 specifically for street paving and maintenance. The penny worth of tax revenue earmarked for paving is money that is already in the budget. Last year, Right Angle Engineering reviewed the bids and recommended Highland Paving. Highland did the work on Brunswick Avenue Phase 1 project last year  and has done satisfactory work for the Town before. The motion was made to award the contract to Highland Paving and make the necessary budget adjustment as requested.

Moved funds of $10,656
From Revenue account #10.0410.9200 to Expense account#10.0570.5200

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Request by the Majority of Property Owners of Seagull Drive for Improvement of Seagull Drive–Town Clerk Finnell
    a.
Scheduling of a Date to Hold a Public Hearing
    b.
Resolution 21-04, Preliminary Assessment Resolution to Improve the Existing Soil Roadway of Seagull Drive

Agenda Packet –
The Town has received signatures from the majority of property owners on Seagull Drive, requesting the improvement of the existing soil roadway of Seagull Drive. A copy of the certificate as to the sufficiency of the petition is in your packets (Attachment 1).

The next step of the assessment process is for the Board to adopt a preliminary resolution (Attachment 2). The Board is required to schedule a public hearing on the preliminary resolution. Staff is recommending the hearing be scheduled for April 20th  at 5:00 p.m. Once the public hearing is scheduled, notice will be sent to the property owners in the project area and will be published in the newspaper.

If the Board desires to proceed with the improvement project, the suggested motion is to set a public hearing on the preliminary resolution for April 20, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. and adopt Resolution 21-04.

RESOLUTION 21-04

    1. That the above-mentioned petition is said to be sufficient in all respects.
    2. That it is intended that the existing soil roadway of Seagull Drive be improved by paving it, under and by virtue of Chapter 160A, Article 10, of the General Statutes of North Carolina and the procedure therein established.
    3. That fifty percent (50%) of the total cost of said improvement be hereafter assessed upon the properties receiving the improvement , using the frontage basis assessment in accordance with Chapter 160A, Section 217.

Update –
Motion was made to adopt Resolution 21-04 and to have a Public Hearing at next month’s BOC’s Regular Meeting.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


5. Discussion and Possible Action on Bike Lanes on Ocean Boulevard -Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
The possibility of adding bike lanes on Ocean Boulevard was presented by the NC Department of Transportation at the February Board of Commissioners’ meeting. I am in the process of gathering information and will hopefully have something worthwhile for discussion to present at the upcoming meeting.

Previously reported – February 2021
Engineer’s estimate for bike lanes are as follows:
Ocean Boulevard West / 5.00 miles / @$1,208,941
Ocean Boulevard East / 1.15 miles / @$403,972

NCDOT now has adequately funding so the resurfacing program for OBW which is scheduled for the spring of 2022. Bike lanes are being proposed on both sides of the road, that will add five feet on each side. This should be coordinated with resurfacing project that is tentatively scheduled already. Our cost would be $1,612,913 which hopefully at least a portion of would be offset by grants. DOT requested verbal feedback in the next 60 days, indicating whether we want to participate in adding bike lanes to the project.

Update –
David provided the Board with a memo summarizing the information that he gathered since the last meeting. That memo was not included in the agenda packet. He reviewed the process, timeline, and financing. DOT informed him that if we are interested then we need to stay engaged with them. The public has said that they are in favor of having bike lanes. The project is an improvement worth the expenditure especially if we can get help with the funding through grants. They decided to give the  project a green light and have David work to keep moving the project forward.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


6. Report and Possible Action on Speed Limit on Ocean Boulevard–Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet –
Holden Beach Code of Ordinances / SCHEDULE I. SPEED LIMITS.
(A) The streets or parts of streets described in this traffic schedule shall have the speed limits designated in the following table.
(B) In accordance with division (A) of this traffic schedule, the following speed limits shall be established for the following streets or parts of streets:

Name of StreetSpeed Limit (mph)

Seasonal

Limitations

S.R. 1116 (Ocean Boulevard, East and West), from its western terminus to its eastern terminus35

April 1 –
September 30

(inclusive)

S.R. 1116 from a point 1.76 miles west of NC 130 (Greensboro Street) to a point 5.01 miles west of NC 130 (west end of road).45

October 1 –
March 31

(inclusive each year)

Delanne Street15
Dunescape Drive15
Serenity Lane15
Windswept Way15
All other streets25
And all other streets within the Holden Beach West Subdivision25No seasonal

limitations

Proposal is to reduce speed limit on OBW to 35 miles per hour year-round

Previously reported – January 2020

Police Chief Dixon had four (4) talking points
. 1.
Accident death rate goes from 45% to 85% when speed is increased by 10mph
. 2.
Stopping distance increases by 79 feet when speed is increased by 10mph
. 3.
Time difference from general store to west end gate is just over 1 minute with change
. 4.
Lower speed limit allows golf carts and installation of crosswalks

Timbo said that the town currently has identified four (4) authorized areas that meet the established criteria for crosswalks if we maintain the lower speed limit year-round. Jeremy was a little sheepish when asked if we had any issues with the higher speed limit because the answer was, we have not. That said, the four talking points are fairly persuasive. It was just the first round of discussion and the Board agreed they need to get more community input. Interestingly the HBPOA 2019 survey question on this had a very strong response of almost 80% for keeping the 45mph speed limit in the off season.

Previously reported – February 2021
Agenda Packet –
Over the last several months the Board of Commissioners has considered the option of amending the seasonal speed limit change on Ocean Blvd West from Greensboro St to its western terminus. This change would mean the speed limit on SR1116 (Ocean Blvd West) from a point 1.76 miles west from NC130 (Greensboro Street) to a point 5.01 miles west of NC130 (western terminus) would remain 35 MPH year-round instead of increasing to 45 MPH from October 1 to March  31 as stated in current ordinance. This detailed report is a collection of data from numerous sources to assist the Board of Commissioners in reach an educated and well-informed decision.

Section I – Minutes from January, February, July, and September BOC meetings. These minutes summarize the discussions had pertaining to this topic.

Section 2 – During the January 2020 BOC meeting, Chief Dixon made a detailed presentation with statistical data on vehicle speeds, travel times and braking distances. An 18-page report of Chief Dixon’s presentation is included herein for you review .

Section 3 – NC General Statute 20- 141 Speed Restrictions. Subsections (B)(1) and (F) are most applicable to this conversation . In summary, speed limits within municipal corporate limits are not to exceed 35 MPH, unless supported by an engineering and traffic  investigation  (4 pages  included). Upon researching this topic, no such study was found on record by the Town of Holden Beach or the NC Department of Transportation. Based upon this information, a study was recently completed by the Department of Transportation. This 17-page report and its conclusion is included herein for you review.

NC DEPARTMENT  OF TRANSPORTATION
This is regarding your request for a speed limit evaluation on SR 1116 (Ocean Blvd .) in Holden Beach, Brunswick County. We share your concern for highway safety and appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention.The Department has completed an engineering investigation to determine if the technical warrants are met to recommend changing the speed l imit. A speed study was conducted that includes evaluating the 85th percentile speed, road characteristics, existing conditions, and surrounding environment. The 85th percentile speed is the speed at or below which 85 percent of the sampled vehicles travel. Typically, the 85th percentile speed is used to determine the speed limit. This helps to avoid posting speed limits that are artificially low, which can become difficult to enforce. The 85th percentile speeds om SR 1116 (Ocean Blvd.) were 40mph, 50mph, 50mph, and 45mph in four different locations with the seasonal 45mph (off-seasonal) zone, and 43mph within the 35mph zone.Based on the findings, these roads are posted appropriately for the data we collected (for Off-Peak Season Traffic). I have included the raw data for this study for your review. A pamphlet is included on speed limits  produced by the NC Department of Transportation, which explains how speed limits are determined throughout the state.

Jeremy briefly explained that the  traffic and engineering investigation has been completed. NCDOT said that they support the current posted speed limits, and we can leave the ordinance as it is written. The Board discussed this and were unable to settle on whether they want to change it or not. It will be put on next month’s meeting agenda for discussion and to decide whether to leave the ordinance as it is or reduce speed limit on OBW to 35 miles per hour year-round.

Update –
Mike stated that this issue has been on our radar for over a year, and they need to bring it to a close. The motion he made was to leave the ordinance as it is written. There was a brief discussion about crosswalks and golf carts affecting their decision process. They decided to leave things as they are.

A decision was made – Approved (3-1)


7. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police PatchSpeed limit will change on OBW west of the general store from 45mph to 35mph on April 1st.

Golf carts are treated the same as any other automotive vehicle.


In the State of North Carolina, if a golf cart is to be operated on the streets, highways, or public vehicular areas, it is considered a motor vehicle and subject to all laws, rules and regulations that govern motor vehicles.

In short, the golf cart must have all of the following:  

      • The driver MUST have a current, valid Driver’s License
      • Child Restraint Laws must be followed
      • Headlights
      • Tail lights
      • Turn signals
      • Rear view mirrors
      • State Inspection Sticker
      • License Plate Issued by NCDMV
      • Liability Insurance

All of the streets in the Town (including the side streets) are considered streets or public vehicular areas according to the State Law. This means that to operate a golf cart anywhere on the island, you must meet the standards above.


Crime Prevention 101 – Don’t make it easy for them
Don’t leave vehicles unlocked
Don’t leave valuables in your vehicles


Neighborhood Watch

      • Need to look out for each other and report any suspicious activity
      • 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

Crime prevention 101 – Don’t make it easy for them
. a) Don’t leave vehicles unlocked
. b)
Don’t leave valuables in your vehicles
. c)
Lock your doors & windows – house, garage, storage areas and sheds

Keep Check Request Form
. a) Complete the form and return it to the Police Department
. b)
Officers check your property in your absence

Property Registration Form.
. a)
Record of items in your home that have a value of over $100
. b)
Complete the form and return it to the Police Department


A reminder of the Town’s beach strand ordinances:
…..1)
Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20 / Responsibilities of owners
…….a)
pets are not allowed on the beach strand except between 5p.m. and 9a.m. daily
…….b)
dog’s must be on a leash at all times
…….c)
owner’s need to clean up after their animals
…..2)
Chapter 94 / Beach regulations / §94.05 / Digging of holes on beach strand
…….a)
digging holes greater than 12 inches deep without responsible person there
…….b)
holes shall be filled in prior to leaving
…..3)
Chapter 94 / Beach regulations / §94.06 / Placing obstructions on the beach strand
…….a)
all unattended beach equipment must be removed daily by 6:00pm


8. Seasonal Law Enforcement Committee Report to the Board of Commissioners –Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet –
Report to the Holden Beach Board Commissioners / Seasonal Police Officer

Issue –
Can Seasonal Police Officers Efficiently and Economically Provide Adequate Patrol Services to Protect the Persons and Property of the Residents, Property Owners and Visitors to Holden Beach.

Discussion –
Holden Beach is a low crime coastal community of approximately 650 full time residents. However, during the summer months the population can grow to 17,000 (see attachment  1,Town of Holden Beach 2019  and Use Plan, pages 2-2, 2-5, 2-6). The budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-2020 provided for eight (8) police officers with an expense of $729,219. During budget planning workshops for FY 2020- 2021,it was proposed that three (3) police officers be added to the town department and a budget of 1,297,705 be appropriated (see attachment #2, Budget Workshop, May 28, 2020, Police Expenses), approximately $200,000 of which was attributable to procurement of additional vehicles and replacement of existing vehicles. During the budget discussion, it was suggested, that based on the tremendous differences of population and calls for police services between the seasons, the use of seasonal police officers rather than hiring full- time police officers may be a more efficient and economical way to provide the necessary police services to Holden Beach.

A committee to explore the feasibility of employing seasonal rather than full time police officers was authorized by the Board of Commissioners (BOC) at the June 2020 BOC meeting. Commissioners, Kwiatkowski, and Sullivan along with Town Manager Hewett and Police Chief Dixon, comprised the committee. Assistant Town Manager Christy Ferguson and Inspections Director Evans were present at all meetings and provided support and issue specific data.

The Committee met monthly to discuss the multiple issues associated with the hiring of seasonal police officers and how each needed to be addressed by the town.

These following issues were identified by the committee:
Recruitment and retention of seasonal officers.

Duties of the seasonal officer, regular patrol v. beach patrol.

Cost of a seasonal officer vs. a full-time officer, salary, fringe benefits, medical benefits, uniform, and equipment

Training, what type of training is required, cost, duration. Transportation.

In addition to the experience and knowledge of the committee members and support staff related to these issues, the committee sought input from the Police Chiefs of nearby communities that currently employ seasonal officers to take advantage of their knowledge and experiences. Chief Ken Bellamy, Ocean Isle Beach, attended the November 2020 committee meeting and Chiefs Ken Klamar, Sunset Beach and Tony Reese, Emerald Isle, spoke with Commissioner Sullivan via telephone. Their input was a valuable asset in evaluating the overall benefits and drawbacks in the use of seasonal officers. The committee is extremely grateful for their assistance.

Analysis –

Recruitment and Retention:
Seasonal officers can be recruited in various ways. Most common among them are, newly graduated officers from the Basic Law Enforcement Training class (BLET), current active officers looking for part time employment and retired officers. The BLET graduate can and does frequently accept part time employment in order to maintain his/her certification. However, it is common for a recent BELT graduate to leave a part time position as soon as they are offered a full-time position with another department. Retention is, therefore, a concern. Chiefs’ Bellamy, Klamar and Reese all spoke of some difficulty in retention and yearly turnover of their seasonal officer group.

Duties of the Seasonal Officer, Regular Patrol versus Beach Patrol:
The impetus for considering the utilization of seasonal officers instead of full-time officers was the disparity in population and calls for service volume between the seasons. It was suggested that seasonal officers could provide the necessary level of service at a lower cost to taxpayers. In order to do that, a seasonal officer would have to perform the same duties as a full-time officer, that is perform regular patrol duties on the island proper as well as the occasional call for service on the strand, rather than exclusively performing beach patrol on the strand in lieu of the current Beach Ranger program. The use of police officers in place of beach rangers was discussed thoroughly. The perceived benefits are the expected heightened compliance with beach related ordinances, i.e., unleashed dogs, deep holes dug and left in the strand, litter and trespassing in the dunes, etc. The negatives are the same as those related to hiring for patrol duties absent additional transportation cost.

The committee was unable to find a local municipality that utilized seasonal officers in a patrol function. Emerald Isle, Ocean Isle, and Sunset Beach each utilize officers solely on their beachfront/strand. A seasonal officer may be called upon to fill an unexpected open shift on rare occasions, but they do not perform routine patrol on a regular basis or as their primary duty. Because no local municipality chooses to utilize seasonal police officers in a patrol function shouldn’t, in and of itself, prevent Holden Beach from doing so.

Another item touched upon during committee discussions is the question of the Holden Beach Police Department’s at times unstaffed telephones and the resulting delay in response to nonemergency calls for service. At all times the Brunswick County Communications Center, 911,is available to receive calls and dispatch required emergency police, fire, and Ems services. At times, however, nonemergency calls are made directly to the Holden Beach Police Department, when the telephone is unstaffed these calls can go unanswered for an appreciable time. Chief Dixon and Commissioner Kwiatkowski are in favor of increased clerical staffing to address this concern.

Cost of a Seasonal Officer vs. a Fulltime Officer:
Police Chief Dixon provided a chart containing his estimation of the  annual cost for  1 additional fulltime police officer, $131,317, 1 seasonal  police officer, $85,220 and 3 seasonal  police officers, $128,370 (see attachment  3, Holden Beach Police Department-Comparison  (Rough Estimate)). The difference  in annual cost between a full-time and seasonal  police officer  is $46,097. It would be $110,097 if the town could provide a vehicle from current  inventory, but it cannot as the town has no extra or spare police vehicles at its disposal. The difference in cost is obvious and should be considered whenever  the question of   hiring additional  police  personnel  arises.

Training, Equipment, Fair Labor Standards Act  (FLSA):
All police officers, either fulltime or seasonal require, at a minimum, BLET certification. Chief Dixon requires an additional 36 hours of in-service training. The cost of BLET training is approximately $1,600 and is either paid by the candidate or the municipality that sponsors or hires the candidate. Similarly, all police officers require equipment, and their work schedules must adhere to FLSA guidelines. Equipping seasonal officers was mentioned by the Chiefs we spoke with. In their experience, it occasionally became necessary to purchase multiple pieces of equipment or uniforms because of turnover and retention difficulties.

Transportation:
The largest initial cost associated with the hiring of a police officer, fulltime or seasonal, is the cost of a vehicle. The town, as noted earlier, has a vehicle for each fulltime officer currently on the payroll, but no police vehicles for use by seasonal officers. The cost of a police vehicles currently approximately $64,000.The committee discussed other means of transportation, bicycles, golf carts, foot patrol, and found them insufficient to the task. If the seasonal officer was utilized exclusively for beach patrol, the cost of transportation would be reduced to approximately $8000, and that cost would not arise until the replacement of the current vehicles used by the beach patrol becomes necessary . However, utilization in this manner will not provide the, initially sought, increased patrol function.

Conclusion –

Most items to be evaluated when hiring either a fulltime or seasonal police officer are similar in both cases. Retention and initial transportation costs are two items with the largest differences and can be the determining factors.

During the 2020-2021 budget planning process, the BOC authorized the hiring of two (2) additional permanent fulltime police officers. The addition of two (2) police vehicles is necessarily a component of these additional hires. Each fulltime officer increases the police budget by approximately $131,000 for the first year and $67,000 every year thereafter (see attachment 3}. The seasonal officer would increase the police budget by $85,000 the first year and $21,000 every year thereafter. The difference in costs is approximately $46,000 per year per officer (see attachment 3). I believe this potential cost savings outweighs any minor logistical difficulties the hiring of seasonal police officers may present.

Since Holden Beach hired two full-time police officers over the last year, the department is fully staffed and in no need of seasonal police officers unless they are used exclusively for beach patrol. This option increases the cost of services rather than achieving the stated goal of finding an economic and efficient alternative to fulltime patrol officers, but merits consideration.

Although there is no current vacancy, making the question of fulltime or seasonal officers moot at this time, should a current police officer decide to leave the department, the economics dictate considering replacing that officer with a seasonal officer.

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
Read more » click here

Previously reported – September 2020
Holden Beach officials contemplate efforts to extend police force on island
Read more » click here

Previously reported – October 2020
Holden Beach chief opts for hiring clerk over more police officers
Read more » click here

Previously reported – December 2020
Holden Beach committee talks with Ocean Isle Beach Chief
Read more » click here

Previously reported – January 2021
Holden Beach committee opts against hiring seasonal officers
Read more » click here

Update –
Mike reviewed the work that the committee did to get to this point.  In a nutshell, the issue comes down to the vehicle cost as to whether we consider part-time officers or full-time officers the next time we need to fill a vacancy. The committee has completed their task, and this was simply a report to the Board.

No decision was made – No action taken

 

 

There is a saying in Japan: “When rules exist, they have to be obeyed.”

Rules obeyed on Holden Beach – not so much!


Beach Ranger Program

The three stated goals were –
.     1)
Put a friendly face out there to interact with guests
.     2)
Educate guests about targeted ordinances to get compliance
.     3)
Explain the purpose of the ordinance and consequences for non-compliance

Target Ordinances –
The town will be actively enforcing beach strand ordinances this season:
.   1)
Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20 / Responsibilities of owners
.     a.
pets are not allowed on the beach strand except between 5p.m. and 9a.m. daily
.     b. dog’s must be on a leash at all times
    c.
owner’s need to clean up after their animals
  2)
Chapter 94 / Beach regulations / §94.05 / Digging of holes on beach strand
    a.
digging holes greater than 12 inches deep without responsible person there
.     b.
holes shall be filled in prior to leaving
.   3.
Chapter 94 / Beach regulations / §94.06 / Placing obstructions on the beach strand
    a.
all unattended beach equipment must be removed daily by 6:00pm

Beach strand ordinance compliance is a real quality-of-life issue. I am disappointed that we still do not have seasonal code-enforcement team / beach patrol on the beach strand. The Board of Commissioners has previously discussed safety issues posed by various activities on the beach strand. In past years motions were made to increase education, issue written warnings, and increase enforcement. I am not aware that we measured or monitored those activities. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there has not been any change in the behavior of people on the beach strand. The real solution is an increase in the number of officers patrolling the beach strand. The Police in order to be effective need to have high visibility with an increased presence on the beach strand to enforce ordinances and to ensure the public safety. With more meaningful enforcement you‘ll have greater compliance. HB Police force do not have adequate resources for patrolling the beach strand. The Town should consider adjusting staffing to respond to seasonal increase in work load. Recommendation was and is to hire part-time officers during the high season to be on beach patrol.


9. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-02 (Formerly Ordinance 20-18), An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section157.006: Definitions (Height Measuring Point)–Inspections Director Evans

Agenda Packet –
The above-mentioned amendment was presented at the last meeting for consideration. The Board of Commissioners will need to consider the consistency statement during its the is regular meeting and vote on the amendment.

Previously reported – December 2020
All proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance must go through Planning & Zoning Board for review, comments, and a consistency statement. In other words, this is not kosher. Town Manager said this issue needs to be addressed, his recommendation is that it be sent to P&Z Board. Commissioner Sullivan requested that the previous agenda item also be sent to P&Z too since it is also is a zoning change that would require a consistency statement. Directive will be sent to P&Z with required thirty-day response, turnaround. This is contingent upon Mayor Holden amending the State of Emergency order to allow the meeting.

Previously reported – January 2021
Agenda Packet –
The above-mentioned amendment was presented at the last meeting for consideration, the Board of Commissioners sent the request to the Planning Board for consideration of the consistency statement, the planning board was granted a waiver from the COVID-19 rules to take up the action for consistency with the Land Use Plan. The Planning Board could not make a quorum, as allowed by statute the Planning Director with assistance from staff and the Planning Board provides a consistency statement to address the current Land Use Plan.

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH ORDINANCE 21-02
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH CODE OF ORDINANCES,
SECTION 157.006: DEFINITIONS (HEIGHT MEASURING POINT)

Proposed Change »
Exception: structure located in X zones may be measured as written in (1) (a) with a maximum height of 31feet from the established Height Measuring Point.

Timbo explained we have consistency statement and now need to schedule a Public Hearing. The proposed change is an exception for properties in X zones. He briefly explained the rationale and its implications. Public Hearing will be put on next month’s meeting agenda.

Previously reported February 2021
Agenda Packet –
The above-mentioned amendment was presented at the last meeting for consideration. The Board of Commissioners scheduled a public hearing for February 15th, prior to the Regular Meeting.

The Board may consider the ordinance during the February meeting, but cannot approve the ordinance until the 24-hour statutory waiting period has been satisfied. The Board should review the provided consistency statement while considering adoption of the ordinance.

Recommended ActionAdd Ordinance 21-02 to the March Board of Commissioners’ Regular Meeting agenda for possible adoption.

Consistency Statement

The Town of Holden Beach Planning Staff has reviewed and recommends approval of Ordinance 21-02 regarding structure height for structures located in a X Zones.

After review, the Planning Staff has found that the amendment is consistent with the current 2009 CAMA Land Use Plan and is considered reasonable and in the public interest for the following reasons.

The amendment provides for the fair use of property across flood zones while conforming to the goal of maintaining height control of structures. See Policy 9.1.A.2 and Tables 2.1 Existing and Emerging Conditions and 2.2 Planning Issues, 9.4, 9.4.A6 Water Quality.

Staff finds the amendment is reasonable and in the public interest for it brings about consistency within the ordinance for maximum use of properties. Promote public health, safety, and general welfare within our community by potentially providing increased aesthetic values and better marketability resulting in an increased tax base and by increasing the maximum use of an individual'(s) property.

Timbo explained that we have met all the requirements, it’s been on the agenda twice and the public hearing was held tonight. The Board is required to review the Consistency statement and approve the Ordinance. Approval must be delayed a minimum of 24 hours. It will be put on next month’s meeting agenda for approval.

Update –
Timbo asked for a vote of approval.
The motion made was to accept the ordinance as submitted.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


10. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-05, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 50: Solid Waste–Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
At the January 2021 BOCM, we were asked to bring our ordinance proposal to the February BOCM. Attached is a revised version of the December 2018 approved ordinance done with track changes.

§50.02 CONTAINER SPECIFICATIONS.
(A) Residential requirements

.     (2) Recyclable refuse can be disposed of in standard garbage containers.
Alternatively , 90-gallon capacity containers for recyclable materials only are available by contract through the town for a set annual fee.
They will be provided to a property in addition to. not in replacement of, the required number of garbage containers.

.   (3) Property owners are responsible to assure they have sufficient 90-gallon containers to properly contain refuse prior to collection. Garbage placed on top of or beside the container(s) will not be picked up by the contractor, nor will garbage placed in non-standard containers.
Property owners who are found in violation may receive written notice from the town that they are in violation of town ordinance in that regard. Those so affected will be asked to correct the situation, so they come into compliance with the code or receive a civil fine of $50 per day per offense.

§50.04 ACCUMULATION AND COLLECTION.
All garbage and household refuse shall be kept in proper containers as required by this chapter and it shall be unlawful for any person to permit garbage to accumulate or remain on any premises longer than is reasonably necessary for its removal. It is the intent of the town that all containers be secured in such a manner either next to non-elevated or underneath elevated houses or in solid waste racks located at least 30 feet from the public right-of-way, except on collect ion days when they are to be placed at street side so that the town street right-of-way remains clear of empty containers and so that the containers are not damaged or overturned by high winds or other occurrences. Containers will be located at street side no earlier than 6:00 p.m. the evening before designated collection days during the summer rental season. For the rest of the year containers will be located street side no more than 48 hours before the designated collection . All containers should be returned to the normal storage location by 3:00 p.m. the day of collection during the summer rental season and 6:00 p.m. the day of collection for the rest of the year.

§50.08 RENTAL HOMES.
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 large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In the 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). In instances where three trash cans or more are required, one can may be substituted with a contractor approved recycling bin.


Previously reported – March 2019
Solid Waste Report

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH ORDINANCE 19-03
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH CODE OF ORDINANCES,
CHAPTER 50: SOLID WASTE

Sections
50.01 Definitions
50.02 Container specifications
50.03 Burning or burying of garbage regulated
50.04 Accumulation and collection
50.05 Collections prohibited
50.06 Yard waste
50.07 Transporting waste materials; covering during transport
50.08 Rental homes
50.99 Penalty


Previously reported – January 2021
Commissioner Sullivan gave a brief timeline overview of the work that had been done to develop a comprehensive plan to address the issues. His position is that it is a reasonable expectation to establish rules and for people to comply. Commissioner Kwiatkowski also felt that the ordinance needs to be revisited and the first step would be to get the trash cans off the street, particularly OBW. Patty said that we could benchmark Emerald Isle since it seems that they are already doing what we are talking about doing. Although they plan to revisit a number of issues, at this time they are proposing changing our policy of leaving full containers roadside and would like to see them be included in rollback just like we do for all empty containers. They asked the public for comments prior to changing the ordinance. This is all for naught if requirements do not include a clear enforcement mechanism. The plan is to bring the proposed ordinance to the next meeting.

Previously reported – February 2021

Proposed Solid Waste Changes

Agenda Packet –
At the January 2021 BOCM, we were asked to bring our ordinance proposal to the February BOCM. Attached is a revised version of the December 2018 approved ordinance done with track changes.

During the discussion, there are several items that should be discussed, listed below.

Proposed for Discussion:

          • penalties will not be imposed for a reasonable period of time after a revised ordinance
          • goes into effect {recommended to be 6 months as was proposed in 2018)
          • rollback practice needs to be changed so that ALL bins, empty or full, are rolled back
          • a reasonable period of time for trash racks/corrals within 30 feet of the public right of way to be relocated (30 feet proposed in line with Emerald Isle information included in January 2021 packet)
          • rollout will be the responsibility of the resident, property owner or vacation rental company (see Emerald Isle information included in January 2021 packet)
          • what is needed for a valid report/complaint of violation?
          • can the Town establish the right to require that a property owner increase their container capacity for any property receiving repeated reports or complaints of garbage placed at curbside outside authorized containers?
          • what can be done to encourage compliance and/or discourage non-compliance in particular as relates to number of cans and adhering to a defined time window for cans at the street?

§50.02 CONTAINER SPECIFICATIONS.
Property owners who are found in violation may receive written notice from the town that they are in violation of town ordinance in that regard. Those so affected will be asked to correct the situation, so they come into compliance with the code or receive a civil fine of $50 per day per offense.

§50.04 ACCUMULATION AND COLLECTION.
All garbage and household refuse shall be kept in proper containers as required by this chapter and it shall be unlawful for any person to permit garbage to accumulate or remain on any premises longer than is reasonably necessary for its removal. It is the intent of the town that all containers be secured in such a manner either next to non-elevated or underneath elevated houses or in solid waste racks located at least 30 feet from the public right-of-way, except on collection days when they are to be placed at street side, so that the town street right-of-way remains clear of empty containers, and so that containers are not damaged or overturned by high winds or other occurrences. Containers will be located at street side no earlier than 6:00 p.m. the evening before designated collection days during the summer rental season. For the rest of the year containers will be located at street side no more than 48 hours before the designated collection. All containers should be returned to the normal house-side storage location by 6:00 3:00 p.m. the day after of collection during the summer rental season and 6:00 pm the day of collection for the rest of the year.

§50.08 RENTAL HOMES.
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 large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In the 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). In instances where three trash cans or more are required, one can may be substituted with a contractor approved recycling bin.

Patty took the point on this issue; she reviewed the game plan and submitted the proposed ordinance changes.

At this time they are proposing changing our policy of leaving full containers roadside and would like to see them be included in rollback just like we do for all empty containers. She said that this is just a good starting place and they want to give the public time to review the changes and make comments. It will be put on next month’s meeting agenda.

Mike pointed out the idea of the ordinance is to make life better for everybody. The same objections to public parking could be used to support the proposed trash ordinance. That is to reduce trash, increase public safety, and increase property value.

Update –
Mike said that they had asked the public for comments/input at the last meeting prior to changing the ordinance. They did receive approximately fifty (50) emails, the vast majority said that they would prefer them not to impose a strict rollout period of time and that they are not in favor of fines for noncompliance. He recommended that we still move forward with the other changes that they had proposed. The Board briefly discussed this issue and agreed to some of the proposed changes. They decided to bring a clean version of the ordinance to next month’s BOC’s Regular Meeting agenda for approval.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

This is all for naught if requirements do not include a clear enforcement mechanism.



 

 

 

 

Hot Topic: Trash
Commissioners Pat Kwiatkowski and Mike Sullivan have noted that trash cans sitting on the sides of the road are unsightly, present a safety hazard by blocking drivers’ line of sight, and the cans/corrals near the roadways are smelly for bikers and walkers. The Commissioners are proposing to re-adopt the 2018 ordinance which was passed and then substantially modified after significant concerns were received about the implementation.

The concerns about the ordinance remain the same:

    • Removal/moving of trash corrals;
    • Timing (with $50/day penalties) for rolling your trash cans out and back;
    • Rolling back full trash cans that missed the pickup;
    • No viable solutions to help property owners comply.

We have updated our Hot Topic page to include these latest developments along with the background information from 2018 and 2019.  Click here: https://holdenbeachpoa.com/hot-topics/trash-and-solid-waste/

The proposed ordinance has been discussed at the last two monthly Commissioners meetings and is expected to be on the March 16 meeting agenda for discussion and possible approval.

Trash Ordinance Changes
The proposed trash ordinance includes many of the same concerns that were raised in 2018 and resulted in that ordinance being changed after implementation:

    • Removal of trash corrals near the street – they must be 30’ from the right-of-way (i.e., under your house, building setback is only 25′)
    • During summer rental season the trash cans can’t be rolled to the curb any earlier than 6:00 PM the night before collection – with a $50 / day penalty.
    • Full trash cans that miss the pickup will be rolled back under the house.
    • No viable solutions to help absentee property owners comply with these new requirements.
    • Number of bins per rental home stayed the same, except recycle bin no longer counts.

11. Discussion and Action on Proceeding with Hiring a Town Attorney –Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet –
Resumes are posted that were submitted by the four (4) law firms in response to the Town of Holden Beach’s request for proposals for legal services.

Previously reported – October 2020
One-year anniversary of our relationship with the Law Office of G. Grady Richardson firm that was selected by the previous Board. Apparently, they have some concerns about the amount of money we are spending for legal services. Woody suggested that now would be a good time to decide whether to stay the course or make a change. Surprisingly, he then proposed terminating our relationship with them. The Board tasked the Town Manager with doing a
Request for Proposals (RFP) for Legal Services.

Previously reported – November 2020
Agenda Packet –
A Request for Proposals (RFP) for Legal Services was advertised in the local paper and was placed on the North Carolina League of Municipalities’ website. In response to the RFP, the Town received two proposals.
The firms who are interested in providing legal services to the Town are the Law Firm of Richard F. Green and the Brough Law Firm.Mayor Holden and Commissioner Kwiatkowski both stated that they were disappointed that we did not get a better response to the RFP. The Board has the responsibility to make sure that they have the appropriate person in this position. Mayor Holden asked them to consider approaching Noel Fox to represent us on an interim basis as needed. Noel Fox of Craige & Fox was our new town attorney, has municipal law experience, currently is working on beach nourishment easements and is familiar with the issues. Two motions were made.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

The second motion was to offer the interim town attorney position to Noel Fox.
A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

Commissioner Brown objected. Gerald felt that the position should be offered to Richard Green since his firm responded to the RFP and that he had previously served as the attorney for the Town, albeit not recently.

Previously reported – January 2021
Agenda Packet –
As directed at the November 17, 2020, staff readvertised the Town’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for Legal services. In response to the Request for Proposals (RFP), the Town received four proposals.
The firms who are interested in providing legal services to the Town are The Law Firm of Richard F. Green, The Brough Law Firm, Coble Law Firm, and Moore Law. The Board will need to decide how you wish to proceed in selecting an attorney.The proposals are included in the Board’s meeting information for review.

Legal Services Proposals
Green proposal » click here
Brough proposal » click here
Coble proposal » click here
Moore proposal » click here

Replacement of Town Attorney
As provided for at North Carolina General Statute §160A-173.
§160A-173.  City attorney; appointment and duties.
The council shall appoint a city attorney to serve at its pleasure and to be its legal adviser.

Commissioner Kwiatkowski recommended we use the same process that they used last time. That is for the entire Board interviews the potential candidates. Heather will handle scheduling interviews and coordinate their schedules to set meeting date.

Previously reported – August 2019
Commissioner Sullivan indicated that it was not prudent to hire an attorney without conducting interviews. His recommendation was to interview the firms at a Special Meeting.

Update –
Mike walked us through the process and that it is time to make a choice. After some discussion, the motion was made to hire the law firm of Richard F. Green.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


12. Discussion and Action on Proceeding with the Process of Appointing a Commissioner to Replace Woody Tyner, Appointment to Serve Until Duly Elected Commissioners are Sworn in Following the 2021 Election –Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet –
§30.11 TERMS OF OFFICE; FILLING OF VACANCIES.

     (A)     Commissioner shall be two years, both of which begin on the day of first regular meeting in December following their election, except in case either is elected to serve an unexpired term, in which case the newly elected officers shall qualify and commence serving immediately upon the declaration of the result of the election by the Town BOC.

     (B)     Vacancies shall be filled as provided for in North Carolina General Statute § 160A-63

§160A63. Vacancies.

A vacancy that occurs in an elective office of a city shall be filled by appointment of the city council. If the term of the office expires immediately following the next regular city election, or if the next regular city election will be held within 90 days after the vacancy occurs, the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Otherwise, a successor shall be elected at the next regularly scheduled city election that is held more than 90 days after the vacancy occurs, and the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve only until the elected successor takes office. The elected successor shall then serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

Filling a Vacancy on the Town Council

Update –
Commissioner Woody Tyner has resigned, he no longer lives on the island. The Board needs to fill the vacant seat sooner rather than later since we are about to begin the budget process. Mike suggested  that although the statute  states that the position is to be filled by appointment by the Board, he asked that instead they consider anybody in the Town that wants to be a Commissioner. The Board agreed to request that anybody interested should submit their qualifications in the next two (2) weeks. Applications will be accepted, and candidates will be interviewed by the Board.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Board of Commissioners’ Vacancy
There is currently a vacancy on the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners.

If you are interested in filling the vacancy, please send your name and qualifications/background to Heather Finnell at  heather@hbtownhall.com or to 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach, NC 28462 by April 1st. The Board of Commissioners will review the submissions and schedule a special meeting to interview the interested candidates.

I’d personally like to thank Woody for his dedicated service to the community.


13. Town Manager’s Report

Sewer Lift Station #3
Has everything he needs in hand, about to proceed to make final payments

Previously reported – January 2021
Station has been in service for over a month
Final inspection has been performed; we are just about wrapped up


Sewer Lift Station #2
Ready to start the upgrade process, will begin with a request for quotation (RFQ)


Vactor Truck
Truck has been delivered, they are waiting on the tags

Previously reported – February 2021
Approval of Resolution 21-03, the purchase of the vacuum truck for $332,687.

Previously reported – June 2020
Public Works budget request – acquisition of Sewer Vactor Truck @$366,405

The famous brand, Vactor, has become synonymous with vacuum trucks ever since its early conception. Vacuum trucks, as the name might imply, pneumatically load slurries, sludge, liquids, and solids with the use of suction lines. Vacuum trucks are often used by cities to handle large-scale liquid and sludge clean up, most commonly in sewer and septic system maintenance. They can also be used in industrial and municipal settings to suction water and debris left from hydro-excavation or drilling jobs.


American Rescue Plan
Legislation provides funds of almost $200,000 to the Town which he anticipates can be used for infrastructure projects


Federal Work Plan
No change,  we are still in standby mode

Previously reported – February 2021
Last month reported $500,000 for investigation/feasibility study, we have been advised too standby

Previously reported – January 2021
Last week they held a “what’s next” call with Ward & Smith regarding Federal Coastal Storm Damage Study.

Holden Beach is competing for a new study as part of USACE 2021Work Plan authorized by the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. Wilmington District USACE has affirmed Holden Beach is at the top of their priority list. Town staff is working with Ward & Smith to maintain formal contact with Office of Management and Budget and Corps to ensure that the continuity of the Town’s position is maintained through changes in the federal administration. Ward & Smith has reiterated that if included in the work plan, the Town would need to sign an agreement with the Corps committing the Town to participate in a study effort at a cost of $1.5mm spread over course of three years; $500k of which would need to be included in fiscal year 21/22. David received a call today informing him that Holden Beach has been selected, which means we have been made a priority.

It appears that we have also been funded.

ARMY CIVIL WORKS PROGRAM / FY 2021 WORK PLAN – INVESTIGATIONS
Study: BRUNSWICK COUNTY BEACHES (HOLDEN BEACH), NC
Allocation: $500,000
Summary of Work: Initiate a General Reevaluation Report for Holden Beach

Previously reported – July 2020
Congressman Mike McIntyre of Poyner Spruill made presentation to the Board with an update on Poyner Spruill and The Ferguson Group’s most recent advocacy efforts.

Board was presented with four options for moving forward and recommended pursuing the following two options:

        • Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Study Authorization Section 7001 program – three / three / three. Three years / three million dollars / reviewed at all three levels – District / Division/ Washington. Deadline to file a Letter of Intent application, is the end of next month, this just gets us in line to be included for consideration. If we are selected and we have made the cut, we would then have to sign a contract probably sometime around 2024 making a commitment to pay our share. That would be half the cost, so our portion would be $1.5 million. At best this is a long shot and years down the road. That said, we would still be committing to pay $1.5 million for the study with no assurances that we will actually have the project constructed.
        • Congressional authority to do study was approved in 1966 but was never completed. We could pursue this option simultaneously with the 7001 process. However, as it stands now, we would be obligated to pay the costs that were incurred during the original study request. This is like a Hail Mary pass. We would attempt to run the 1966 Brunswick County Beaches Project up the flag pole. USACE spent $8.5 million and the beaches are obligated to pay half of that. We could ask for forgiveness, where we would not agree to pay for our share which is $1.1 million and do a new study. Uncertain whether USACE would go for this.

The whole purpose of the study is to identify a plan of improvement that is in the public’s best interest which comprises of three prongs that includes being technically feasible, environmentally acceptable, and cost justified.

Board agreed to give authority to proceed with both options, with no financial obligation at this point.


Editor’s Note
Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (S. 1811)
Backlog of Authorized Projects
S. 1811 (§301) addresses the authorization of various types of projects in the backlog.
deauthorize projects authorized prior to November 17, 1986, that had not been started or were unfunded for 10 years;


Just to be clear I’m for beach nourishment, but I am generally opposed to moving forward with the federal project due to the uncertainty of the funding. We will be paying a huge amount of money for something that doesn’t make any sense to do. Our portion of $1.5 million for a study seems ridiculous to me; the output is a project that we probably won’t want to pay for anyway. Currently we are paying for a lobbyist to pursue this without even being able to crunch the numbers. The expression don’t buy a pig in a poke comes to mind. A number of towns have already decided to pass and stay with FEMA; so I question, Why are we still even considering this? More importantly if we are selected, How do we plan to pay for it? I really think we need to have some serious discussions prior to spending that kind of money.


FEMA
David indicated that the potential for us to combine all four storms in one large project appears to be increasing.

Previously reported – February 2021
We are in the public notification phase for hurricane Isaias that is required by FEMA before they issue Project Worksheets(PW). David indicated that there is a potential for us to combine all four storms in one large project. Any inquiries specific to the public notice need to be directed to FEMA.

Previously reported – January 2021
We are in the public notification phase for hurricane Dorian that is required by FEMA before they issue Project Worksheets(PW). If and when Dorian PW is approved, they would like to include it with FloMike efforts. David questioned whether if it is possible that we might have a three-storm beach project.

Town of Holden Beach receives FEMA grant for damages from Hurricane Dorian
The Town of Holden Beach was awarded a grant of $11,622,601 from FEMA Wednesday to renourish beaches damaged by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Together with the state’s share of $3,874,201, the Town of Holden Beach will have received a total of $15.49 million to restore 555,000 cubic yards of beach sand and stabilize 80,000 square yards of dune vegetation. Senator Thom Tillis released a statement about the grant that will reimburse the costs involved in restoring Holden Beach’s Central Reach shoreline. “Helping North Carolina communities affected by hurricanes is one of my top priorities in the Senate,” said Tillis. “That’s why I’m pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency is awarding Holden Beach $11.6 million for repairs as a result of Hurricane Dorian. The impact of Hurricane Dorian on Eastern North Carolina and Holden Beach specifically was extensive, and this funding will be crucial for Holden Beach’s recovery.”
Read more » click here


Sand Fence Project Installation
The project is currently in the 800 block. They will continue working west as far as they are permitted to by CAMA.

Previously reported – February 2021
Vegetation
Planting will follow sand fence project completion
In contract to replace over a half a million plants
Inspected vendor greenhouse site in Bolivia
Planting tentatively scheduled after Easter weather permitting

Commissioner Kwiatkowski referencing the January UNCW presentation on dune vegetation questioned whether the soil was checked which was one of the recommendations that was made. Christy responded that they had not been included because the recommendations came after bids/contracts were already executed. In addition, we do not have any money in the budget for doing that at this time. However, they plan to include the recommendations the next time we plan on doing another dune vegetation project.


Parks & Recreation Master Plan Update
Process is well underway, six (6) focus groups have participated in developing the plan

The Town is conducting a Parks & Recreation Master Plan Update. We value your input regarding future parks, facility, and program needs. McGill and Associates has prepared a survey that can be taken in person or online. If you would like to complete your survey in person, please stop by the picnic shelter at Bridgeview Park from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 2nd. COVID precautions will be followed and everyone who wishes to participate should wear a mask. Click here to access the survey.

Previously reported – February 2021
Kickoff meeting between McGill and staff, they met last week

Previously reported – January 2021
The current Parks and Recreation Master Plan for the Town of Holden Beach was completed in May of 2012. Christy stated that we should be updating the plan every five years. She then reviewed the process and made the recommendation to award the contract to McGill with an explanation of why they were selected. The Board awarded the contract to McGill as recommended.

In Case You Missed It –

Vehicle Decals
The 2021 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills.

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

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

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

Brunswick County Transportation Survey
An update of the Brunswick County Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) is now underway. In an effort to gain public input on transportation issues in the county, a survey has been developed to gather feedback. The county is inviting you to participate in the process.
Visit: https://brunswickcountyctp.metroquest.com/
to access the survey.


14. Mayor’s Comments

Alan has noticed an increasing number of dogs off leash on the beach.
Reminder that everyone needs to comply with dog ordinance

Chapter 90 / Animals / § 90.20 / Responsibilities of owners

      • dog’s must be on a leash at all times
      • owner’s need to clean up after their animals

 He is seeing move activity on the beach strand and summer rental reservations have been very strong so far

 Alan was delighted that a whale recently paid us a visit
Whale caught on camera off of Holden Beach


15. Board of Commissioners’ Comments

They appreciate all the comments that have been made, they are listening to what you are saying. They heard what you don’t want, they would also like your input on how to address these issues too.

Request that the public participate more in the process, they can’t represent you without your input. Make sure to include your name, address, and whether this is your primary residence. Please send comments to Heather at heather@hbtownhall.com

Folks speaking up would be helpful!


16. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(6), To Discuss Qualifications, Competence, Performance of a Public Employee(Commissioner Kwiatkowski), North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(3), To Consult with the Town Attorney and North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(1), To Approve Minutes (Town Clerk Finnell)

 They conducted the Town Manager performance appraisal process in a closed session.

No decision was made – No action taken


Loose Ends (3)

              • Commercial District / Zoning           February 2019
              • Dog Park                                               January 2020
              • 796 OBW                                              February 2020

General Comments –

Due to the Town of Holden Beach’s State of Emergency Restrictions and Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Order, in person public attendance is prohibited. The meeting will be livestreamed on the Town’s Facebook page. Visit https://www.facebook.com/holdenbeachtownhall/ to watch the livestream..


Disappointed that we do not even have a budget meeting schedule yet, let alone an actual meeting

I’m shocked, shocked I tell you that public parking was not on the agenda.


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BOC’s Meeting

The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, April 20th
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