07 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments

BOC’s Special Meeting 06/28/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here  NA

Audio Recording » click here

1. Discussion and Possible Award of Bid to the Apparent Low Bidder for the Central Reach Nourishment Project – Town Manager Hewett 

Agenda Packet –
Applied Technology & Management (ATM) provided bid results and their recommendation. The Weeks Marine base bid is the lowest and ATM recommends the Weeks Marine base bid as the preferred nourishment option.

Update –
We still do not have the required permit from USACE . Weeks Marine satisfactorily did the last project for us. They awarded the contract to Weeks Marine contingent upon LGC approval for a Special Obligation Bond.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Applied Technology Management
ATM is a coastal engineering firm hired by the town to do the following:

      • Annual monitoring, data collection and reporting
      • Assess sand erosion
      • Evaluate nourishment
      • FEMA projects cost reimbursement support
      • Meet government regulatory permitting conditions

Public Comments –
There were no comments

BOC’s Special Meeting 06/30/21

There was not a quorum present

Editor’s Note –
Only Mayor Holden and Commissioner Kwiatkowski were in attendance
They were unable to transact any business since they did not have a quorum
The meeting was cancelled

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here NA

1. Discussion and Decision on Information and Details, of the Proposed Purchase of the Real Property Located at 441 Ocean Boulevard, Holden Beach, NC 28462, Parcel Numbers 246DB001 and 246DB002, to be Published Prior to the Already Scheduled Special Meeting of July 8, 2021 – Commissioners Kwiatkowski & Smith                                        

Agenda Packet –
Summary Proposal from Commissioners Sullivan & Kwiatkowski
The Town of Holden Beach is in the process of negotiating for the purchase of a portion of the property adjacent to the pier. Background to why discussions began and what has transpired as well as current status and state of knowledge are summarized below .

For the past few years, the Town has been granted a license by the owners to use the western most twenty (20) feet of the overall property (west of the RV park) as an emergency vehicle access point to the beach strand. The need for this type of access is important for the health and safety of everyone who uses the beach. The pier property has been listed for sale and of course the sale would include the currently licensed property. Not wanting to lose the vital access to the strand, the Board first focused on purchasing the licensed property; the eventual offer was not accepted by the seller. As a result of additional executive session discussions, a majority decision was taken by the Board to also explore purchasing the property containing the pier and building, specifically parcel 24608001. After a period of negotiation, during which the owner did not accept the Town’s offer for the licensed access, the owner offered to sell the Town the parcel on which the pier and building are situated as well as a parcel adjacent to the building and extending fifty (50) feet west (parcel 24608002). A verbal agreement on an acceptable price and due diligence and escrow amounts has been reached .

The desired outcome is for the pier, cafe, and land they are situated on to be preserved and used much as they currently are after any necessary improvements to meet code. The Board’s objective is that the purchase be financed by revenues generated by the property coupled with available grant money, resulting in no property tax implications, but of course there is no guarantee.

Some key considerations and assumptions made during the negotiation process follow.

  1. The purchase of parcel numbers 246DB001 and 246DB002 encompasses approximately 350 feet of ocean front property, containing the pier, building and an estimated 70 parking spaces.

  2. There is ample space for an emergency access and ADA compliant walkway.

.   3. The debt service is approximated to be $250,000 per year, for 15 years

.   4. It is assumed that the purchase can be financed by a combination of paid parking revenue and leasing the pier and cafe If available grant monies can be obtained, the debt service will be less than the estimated $250,000 a year. However, each potential revenue stream is merely an assumption and in no way assured.

a) There is a question, based on North Carolina statute, whether paid parking can be used for debt service The Town will, as necessary, seek an exception to the statute, but an exception is not guaranteed.
b) The proposed conditions of a paid parking program on Holden Beach in 2022 are not yet settled, so currently there is not a reliable revenue estimate for the pier property parking
c) The fair market value for leasing the pier and cafe is
d) The grants, which can account for from 0% to 30% of the sale price, can only be applied for after the property is purchased, and of course there is no guarantee any grant money will be received.

  5. Prior to taking ownership of the property, both the pier and cafe building need to be inspected to determine if they are reasonably safe for public use and are Americans with Disabilities Act The cost of any repairs, upgrades or alterations is unknown. Whatever the costs, they will need to be funded, and there will need to be adjustments made to the just completed 2021-2022 budget ordinance. Any necessary work will need to be contracted and accomplished in the off season if the intent is to be up and running in Spring 2022.

There is a Special Meeting of the Board of Commissioners scheduled for July 8, 2021 at 7pm. at Town Hall to inform the public of the details. We encourage your attendance and participation ; for those who cannot attend, you can send comments and questions in advance to the Town Clerk Heather Finnell heather@hbtownhall.com for the BOC to consider.

Update –

Editor’s Note –
The following questions are what was submitted by Lou’s Views for Public Comments. From my perspective they are basic questions that the Board should have addressed before even making any offer. Just to be clear, I’m not taking a position either way. Whatever the community wants is fine by me. Lou’s Views posted a survey to help determine what the community wants, again we attempted not to steer responses one way or the other. That said, I think it’s important that the questions are addressed. If the Board has addressed them then they should be communicating that to the public. This Board was elected to do the right thing to protect the property owners on the island. It seems to me that whether we purchase property or pass on the opportunity the Board needs to communicate to the public how they arrived at that decision.


Town Properties
Sell town owned properties that we are not utilizing

      • Ten (10) properties in the 800 block of OBW
      • One (1) property at 764 OBW
      • One (1) Delanne Street
      • Two (2) cross-through rights-of-ways between OBW and BAW near Marker 55
      • One (1) house at 796 OBW

Can we sell them?

Are all the lots large enough to build on?

How much could we expect to get?

What is the revenue generated by user fee?

 Pier building
What is the potential rental income?

Pier paid parking
How many parking spots are there?
     * Answer – approximately 70

What kind of revenue would they generate?

Other revenue streams
How much revenue do we expect from occupancy tax this year?

What percentage of occupancy tax revenue would we need to use to pay land purchase loan?

How much revenue do we expect from island wide paid parking?

What percentage of paid parking revenue would we need to use to pay land purchase loan?


Asking price?
Answer – $3.25 million

Cost of loan annually?
Answer – $250,000 per year for 15 years

Pier building
Is the building up to code?

What is the cost to have inspection made prior to purchase?

Does it meet standards required for a public building?

What is the cost to bring it up to speed?

What is the cost of insurance?


What is the cost to have inspection made prior to purchase to determine structural integrity?

What is the cost to have it meet standards required for public facilities?

What is the expected annual maintenance costs?

What is the cost of insurance?

Additional Questions –

Are we planning to do a cost-benefit analysis?

 Is this the best use of our limited financial resources?

 Is parking the highest and best use of ocean front property?                       

 Are other commercial properties like Block Q a better option for parking?

 HB Pier takes advantage of the state’s working waterfront tax break

If developed what would be the additional tax revenue?
.   a)
Fourteen (14) residential properties (2+4+6+2)
.      *
2 X 50’ lots (campground)                                          (2)
.      *
4 X 60’ lots (campground)                                          (4)
Make lots 50’ and you have a 20’ right-of-way
.      *
1 X 300’ lot (center pier property)                             (6)
.      *
1 X 115’ lot (hotel property)                                       (2)
.   b)
Each assessed at one million dollars each
.   c) HB tax rate 0.20 or $200 per $100,000 of assessed value so $2,000 each
.   d)
Fourteen properties X $2,000 each = $24,000

Do we know who actually uses this facility?
.   a)
.   b)
.   d)
Day trippers

More details emerge in Holden Beach pier purchase, special meeting called
More details have come out about how the Town of Holden Beach plans to pay for and operate its potential fishing pier purchase – which is being brokered by the mayor’s real estate company. The town will hold a special meeting on its potential purchase of the Holden Beach Fishing Pier Wednesday, June 30 at 4 p.m. in the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly. While officials previously said they weren’t sure what they’d do with the property if bought, the meeting’s agenda packet outlines plans to lease the pier and café building while using the 70-space parking lot for paid parking. “The desired outcome is for the pier, café and land they are situated on to be preserved and used much as they currently are after any necessary improvements to meet code,” the agenda read. According to the pier’s owner, Guilford Bass, the agreed upon price is around $3.25 million. The debt service for the purchase is estimated at $250,000 per year for 15 years. The town hopes to finance the purchase with the revenue generated from those operations, along with grant funding. However the plan comes with several caveats. The town will need to secure an exemption from state statues that prohibit paid parking to cover debt service payments. The grant funding – if secured – would only pay for up to 30% of the purchase and could only be applied for after the purchase has already been made. Prior to taking over ownership the pier and building would need to go through an inspection to bring the structures up to code, the cost of which is still unknown. While Mayor Alan Holden previously ruled out using property taxes to pay for the purchase, the packet states “of course there is no guarantee.” Holden has maintained there is no conflict of interest in his real estate company brokering the deal, despite admitting he is representing both parties to the sale. “Somebody has to be in this position and having been familiar with pier since it was built – the major stock holder is a friend of mine for 30-plus years – and serving on town boards and committees for 30-plus years, I pretty well understand both sides,” Holden previously told the StarNews. According to the agenda packet, the town was originally interested in buying a piece of property near the pier that it had licensed for 20 years as an emergency vehicle access point. When that was unsuccessful, negotiations shifted to the two parcels now under consideration. The town previously announced they would hold a public hearing to receive feedback on the potential purchase Thursday, July 8 at 7 p.m. at the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly, 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach.
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2. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-18, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 2021,  Amendment No.18 (Isaias Cat  Z) –  Commissioners Kwiatkowski & Smith

Agenda Packet –
The attached budget amendment (Attachment l ) in the amount of $198,368.73, recognizes FEMA Cat Z (Administrative) grant funds as related to Isaias. The funds will be housed in Fund 70, the special project fund for FEMA events.

Suggested MotionApproval of Budget Amendment.

Ordinance 21-18, Isaias Cat Z
Moved funds of $198,386.73
From Revenue account #70.0323.0100
To Expense account#70.0460.2701

Update –

Public Comments –
There were no comments

Editor’s Note –
The comments Lou’s Views submitted will be included at the  Public Hearing

BOC’s Public Hearing 07/08/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here

Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
Take notice that the Town of Holden Beach intends to enter into a contract to purchase real property located at 441 Ocean Boulevard, Holden Beach, NC 28462, parcel numbers 246DB001 and 246DB002. There will be a public hearing on Thursday, July 8, 2021, beginning at 7:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter, in the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly, 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach, NC 28462 to hear public comments on the contract. All interested persons are invited to attend.

1. Public Hearing–Contract to Purchase Real Property Located at 441 Ocean Boulevard (Parcels 246DB001 & 246DB002)

Alan stated that nothing has been determined yet. The discussion at the Public Hearing is to determine whether we should move forward or not. The Board gave everyone there a fair opportunity to speak. THB policy is that each speaker is allocated three (3) minutes.

 It seems that the majority of the public want to purchase the pier. The caveat being that a business plan, be fiscally responsible,  and due diligence needs to be done before rendering a decision. Clearly a significant number of people had  an emotional response as their  justification to purchase the property. Many people took a more practical approach, that the decision should be a fiscal one not an emotional one. I didn’t get  the feeling that there is that there are many people out there that are flat out against purchasing it.

 2. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(5),To Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price and Terms of a Contract Concerning the Acquisition of Real Property

3. Discussion and Possible Consideration of Contract to Purchase Real Property Located at 441 Ocean Boulevard (Parcels 246DB001 & 246DB002)

Motion was to present offer. Commissioner Sullivan stated that moving forward with the contract does not bind us to purchase the property. He also made it clear that he believes, as many people stated, that we should only purchase the pier if it makes fiscal sense, not based on emotions.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Public Comments –
Between Lou’s Views survey, HBPOA responses, online comments, and people that spoke at the meeting there were over two hundred (200) people that participated in the process.

They received comments from the public which are posted online at the Town’s website
For more information / Part 1 » click here
For more information / Part 2 » click here

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Well, you just can’t please all the people all the time!

Let’s put this in perspective …

The  cost for the Town Hall, which was completed in  2009, was three million two hundred thousand dollars ($3,200,000) .

The cost for Bridgeview Park, which was completed in 2016, was almost two million one hundred thousand dollars ($2,100,000) .

The  cost for the pier property, signed contract in  2021, is three million two hundred and fifty-nine thousand dollars ($3,250,000).

Holden Beach Mayor:
No conflict in town buying pier brokered by his real estate firm
After turning down the opportunity five years ago, the Town of Holden Beach is now looking to buy the Holden Beach Fishing Pier, listed by the mayor’s real estate company. The town will hold a public hearing to hear feedback on the potential purchase Thursday, July 8 at 7 p.m. at the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly, 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach. The pier’s owner, Guilford Bass, offered to sell the property to the town in 2016 when the property was being brokered by Cape Fear Commercial for an undisclosed amount. The 4.1-acre property is now listed under RE/MAX at the Beach, owned by Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden, at an asking price of $6,890,000. While that listing includes 8 parcels made up of the pier, RV park and campground, according to its public notice the town is only seeking to purchase the two parcels that include the pier, parking lot and adjacent building. Those two parcels total 1.9 acres and in 2018 were appraised for a combined $2.82 million, according to Brunswick County parcel records. The Town has not responded to requests for the purchase contract or the terms of the deal. While the terms are not final until the contract is approved, Bass said as of now, the agreed upon price is around $3.25 million. “I don’t think there’s any more commercial land on the beach front that they could buy,” Bass said. “Not unless they buy a couple houses and tear them down, so it’s a pretty good deal for everybody.” According to Mayor Holden, the town is pursuing the purchase now due to demand from residents and tourists for more public access to the ocean and parking. Adding the public access and parking would aid the town in applying for federal grants that take into account those factors in their allocation formulas. Holden said the contract terms and what the city may do with the pier if the purchase goes through would be discussed at the public hearing. “The primary consideration right now is just on the acquisition of the property,” Holden said. “The development use of it will be determined after studies and reviews and considering the outcry of the community and visitors to lead to a good decision on what the use would be.”

Resident concerns

According to Holden, the town is committed to using occupancy tax funds and government grants to pull off the purchase without touching property taxes. “The commissioners have no intention of adjusting the property tax rate,” he said. While town officials are confident in their ability to purchase the pier in a fiscally sound way, some residents are concerned the buy could lead to ongoing expenses or upgrade costs they’d have to finance later. Holden Beach Property Owners Association President Tom Myers said he’s frustrated residents didn’t have more notice about the purchase while commissioners were negotiating the contract terms in executive sessions. Myers is now seeking input from association members for their concerns, which include the price, future use, the pier’s overall condition and the potential conflict of interest in the mayor representing both parties in the sale. “I don’t know if it’s a conflict of interest, but the optics look weird,” Myers said. “It just doesn’t look right from my perspective. I mean who are you representing – are you trying to get the best price for the seller or the lowest price for the buyer?” Holden maintains that no conflict of interest exists in him not recusing himself and being at the table while the deal is being negotiated for his real estate client. “I’m at the table, yes, that’s where public trust comes in,” Holden said. “My job is not to do anything but to represent both parties because that’s what’s the best deal for both parties. The town wants to get the cheapest price, the owner wants to get as much as reasonably can be done and I don’t see it as a conflict at all.” According to Holden, the town is following all statues and legal guidance per the town attorney. “Somebody has to be in this position and having been familiar with pier since it was built – the major stock holder is a friend of mine for 30-plus years – and serving on town boards and committees for 30-plus years, I pretty well understand both sides,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 47 years now and I’m certainly not going to do anything in violation of any laws or anything like that.”
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Holden Beach looks into possible pier purchase with mayor as dual agent
Holden Beach commissioners will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. this Thursday to listen to the public and decide whether it’s of benefit for the town buy the Holden Beach Pier. The pier has gone on and off the market for the past few years. “Over the years the public has been asking if the town was ever going to buy it,” said Mayor Alan Holden, whose real estate company, Re/Max at the Beach, acquired the listing and he will be serving as dual agent. He said this wouldn’t be a conflict of interest to his knowledge. Dual agents, according to RaleighRealtyhomes.com, means the buyer and seller will work with one realty agent, entailing pros and cons. The pros are this could streamline the process and the agent may have more information on the property. The cons are conflict of interest, a chance to overlook important details and inability to negotiate list price or home inspections. As for commissions, the website states agents involved in the deal usually split the 5-6% of the sale price, but the dual agent wouldn’t have to. Holden said he has been here all his life. “And ever since the pier’s been here, I’ve been here,” he said. The mayor said the main stockholder, whom he has known for about 40 years and is a former town commissioner, wants to make sure the town has a chance to buy it. “There’s a lot of historical interest from the citizens of Holden Beach and visitors,” he said. “A lot of people don’t want to see it disappear.” He said that is why everything is being looked at whether to keep it or tear it down. He said when the pier was built 1959 was 1,000 feet long, but it currently isn’t due to previous storm damage and is still in operation. Holden said a lot of the public was in favor of the purchase while others were wondering what the town would do with it. Holden said the real estate market is aggressive right now. “It’s a record-setting year of sales activity here,” he said. He said there isn’t another similar kind of property on the island that can be purchased in the future if another group purchases the pier. “So it’s time for the town to make a decision,” he said. The property the pier sits on is commercially zoned, which could open up the area to businesses or condominiums. There are no plans on how the town will use the pier at the moment. Holden said there will be a study to decide the best use and how to pay for it. “We’re just in the beginning stages of the analyzing the pros and the cons of ownership,” Holden said. Holden said commissioners are not planning to raise the property tax rate to pay for the pier.  He said the plan is to look for financing elsewhere, such as grants or renting spaces or parking spaces. “Nothing is predetermined at this point,” Holden said. He said the main reason commissioners don’t want to raise taxes is because the public doesn’t want it. He said he hopes to hear the public’s opinion whether by email or in person Thursday.
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Holden Beach begins contract for pier
The Holden Beach Board of Commissioners listened to the residents Thursday evening about whether they should buy the Holden Beach Pier and later approved initiating a contract for the site at 4441 W. Ocean Blvd. That does not mean they will buy it yet. Mayor Alan Holden and his real estate company have obtained the listing from Gill Bass, whose family is the majority holder of the pier. Holden plans to be the dual agent and sell the pier to the town if the town decides to buy it. They are in the early stages of deciding and planning. All that has been said for certain is that property taxes will not go up. According to a verbal agreement, the town could purchase two lots. The first lot is about 2.25 acres and about 300 feet of ocean frontage between Ocean Boulevard and the Atlantic Ocean. The second lot is .30 of an acre, which also has 50 feet of ocean frontage. The proposed purchase price is $3.25 million with a proposed due diligence fee of $25,000. The proposed initial earnest money deposit is $25,000. The proposed due diligence is due Oct. 1, and the closing date is Oct. 29. When the mayor opened the July 8 meeting, most of the seats in the town meeting room were taken and people were still walking in. He told residents they were each going to get three minutes to speak, but this wasn’t a debate or question-and-answer session. A representative for Tom Myers, president of the Holden Beach Property Owners Association, was the first to speak. Myers had compiled numerous responses about the pier that were provided to the board and then summarized. The representative said the pier building is now being used as the office for the campground and to collect fees or people going onto to the pier. He said the café has been closed for more than a year. There are arcade games, drinks, ice, and vending machines. “If your desired outcome is to preserve everything as is, that simply means staffing someone behind the counter, collect money and oversee the vending machines,” he said. He cited the building, which was built in 1960 and is not up to date on current building code. He said there are also potential environmental issues with a grease pit and septic tanks in the front yard. He said the tax value of the building is less than $100,000 and if limited to have of that for improvement, then town won’t be able to do much, including the inability to install bathrooms. But if the plan is to have an attraction like a restaurant or a wedding venue, the building will have to be torn down. He said this would put the town into a property development and property management business. He said if the plan is to save the pier, there are other moves the town can make without buying it. He suggested incentives to private developers, tax breaks or more. “Just give them money,” he said. “Cities in North Carolina do this all the time to collect the business they want to come to their town.”
He said if the plan was to add parking, there are other properties more suited because commercial ocean front lots are the most expensive. For beach access, he suggested buying the necessary land for the access. He said if the seller won’t negotiate in good faith, the town should use its power in eminent domain, condemn it, take it, and give the seller a fair market price. He said this is the same tactic Holden Beach used on oceanfront properties that refused to sign an easement for Central Reach. “I think it’s fair to say everyone would like to keep the pier,” he said. “The question is at what cost.” He asked the town to not rush into this without knowing the future costs, such as insurance. Steve McManimen said he may never have another opportunity like this and thinks it would be in the town’s best interest to purchase the property. Another man said that the town needs the pier. He said vacationers are the island’s lifeblood. He said it would be shameful to pass on this opportunity to provide permanent town owned access to the ocean. He said the island is about 6.5 miles long and losing this means they will lose almost a mile of beach access. Lynn Holden said he used to work on the pier at 50 cents an hour. He was looking at the numbers he worked out and said to buy and maintain these properties was going to be a lot of money. “You might think also, if somebody could buy it and make money, they would have already bought it,” Holden said, adding a private enterprise could do a better job. Holden later suggested at the second time up suggested the county should pay for it. He said they are paying for taxes to the county, including for schools, but the residents don’t see anything in return. Keith Smith, who lives across from the pier, talked about his three daughters. He moved here so they can experience sand between their toes. He told his audience how they made 20 friends already this summer. Smith said his three girls deserve the pier.  He added buying the pier doesn’t make much financial sense. It will be a money pit. But so is his house.  He said he purchased it for the beach access. “It’s not always about money,” Smith said. John Pierce was in support, saying people make memories on the pier and memories are more than money. He said it was worth it. Another former pier employee, Johnny Craig, said it was incredible opportunity, but the town should also work on their existing accesses. Anita Hegarty said it gives landlocked property owners access to the beach again. Larry Blume suggested money-raising ideas such as yearly fishing licenses. Elaine Jordan said she appreciates the history but believes the town should operate within its means. She suggested the town looks at alternatives. She said she is a firm believer that private enterprises should be private. Tony Marwitz said he trusts the board, but asked, “What will it be worth in the future?” He said the worst possibility is selling the pier later. “If the town doesn’t buy it, who does?” he asked. Mike Oats said he understood both sides but couldn’t see how the town could pass on the opportunity because it is a good investment and a no-brainer. Ken Rogers said they should respect the past and plan for the future. There aren’t any more beaches being made, and they should be protected. He said buying this property is a good move, but only the first step. “Let’s do it,” he said, saying they should buy the whole strip and involve property owners. A real estate agent, Shannon Itzaina, said she loves this beach. “It’s where my soul is,” she said. But the commercial contracts worry her. She suggested the town not rush into this. Another former real estate agent, Sylvia Pate also asked for more investigation. She added she would like to see the pier stay. Bev Compton suggested a commercial investment group should buy it, but the town should still control it. Karen Dodd asked how will this benefit property owners. She asked what the debt plan is. She pointed out there is a problem with her tap water, so she doesn’t drink it. The roads have not been maintained, she said. Dodd said she just wanted more information. Brad Chaney said there needed to be a plan in place before they purchased the pier, because that’s what a good business owner does. John McEntire said it’s interesting how all the speakers gave an opinion on how to spend tax payer money when they could have all dropped a little cash and purchased the pier themselves. “If you’re not convinced it’s a good enough deal to invest your own money, then it’s kind of odd that you want to invest mine,” McEntire said. Brian Derrico pointed out the town will lose taxpayer money if they don’t buy the pier. He said they will go backwards if the town has limited beach access. The sides went back and forth. Those who were against it warned rushing into the sale. They were worried that three months to do the due diligence was too short. They were worried how the town will pay for this and if taxes will go up. The ones for it cited their memories and how beaches aren’t still being made. After the last person spoke, the public meeting was closed, and the board went into an executive session. When they came back, Commissioner Brian Murdock made a motion to purchase and contract 441 W. Ocean Blvd. Commissioner Mike Sullivan said he wanted to make it clear that this is the first step in negotiating the property, but they are not bound to it yet. He said the commissioners should only do it if it’s base on fiscal sense, not emotion. They approved the motion.
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Editor’s Note –
Lou’s Views conducted a survey on the proposed  pier property purchase
The following are the survey results without any analysis on our part
You may draw your own conclusions from the data

Survey – Pier Property Purchase
The Board of Commissioners are actively negotiating to purchase a portion of the pier/campground property that includes the pier building and the pier structure. We will need to borrow funds to pay for it. The obvious question to be asked is whether you, the public, think we should purchase the pier.

The justification expressed for purchasing the pier property are:

      • Some of the community consider it to be an important asset of the Town
      • Continue to provide emergency vehicle beach access
      • Continue to provide beach access for homes on several canal streets
      • Continue to provide off-street parking in the central part of the island
      • Potential to provide dining and recreational opportunities to the public
      • Potential for approximately seventy (70) paid off-street parking spots to partially offset expenses

Survey responses = 126

.   1) Do you consider the pier an important asset of the island?
.     a)
Essential to retain it                                                                   62/49%
.     b)
Non-essential but nice to have                                                  45/36%
.    c) Not important to me                                                                    19/15%
Comments = 15
I believe the pier is an asset to the island but to the extent it is not penalizing property owners.
This is a difficult question for me as I do not ever tend to use the pier. However, I do realize that the pier is likely a treasured asset to many others.
Great indoor space Fr rec classes when weather isn’t cooperative. Central location is great.
Please do not let some corporate hotel or some nonsense come in and ruin the pier! I know you guys are all about the bottom dollar, but for once can you think about the impact on the locals, and the people who love Holden Beach instead of the impact on your wallets!!
Certainly, an icon and will add to the availability of parking spaces
This opportunity may not come again. We should find a way to purchase the property and even consider the entire piece. Once a plan is developed, the town can sell any portions deemed to not be needed most likely at a profit or as a long-term lease.
The Pier is a great land mark for judging distance on the beach or off. It gives a great perspective to the Island, sunrises, and sunsets, when viewed from the Pier, and is a really good fishing access point. It would be sorely missed by residents and day trippers alike.
Taxes are high enough no
While I am not sure how I feel about the Town being in the retail or entertainment business, I VERY much hope the Town can find in its’ budget, funds to purchase the pier and adjoining properties to include updating all of the facilities. I do not see many other potential buyers out there due to risk factors such as storm damage.
What I would really like to see is the pier building updated, the pier itself strengthened, lengthened, and enlarged. (think Johnny Mercer’s pier at Wrightsville Beach – concrete) I would like to see the pier grill brought back into service, again, updated, and modernized. I am not sure how the ongoing running of such an entity should be handled – again, the Town is really not into the retail business – but I can envision some scenario where the pier is a viable business opportunity for the town, or for the town to least out for someone else to run. It would not necessarily have to be a cash cow, but at the very least break even for the town. I do understand there are significant risks to whomever buys the pier and adjoining properties, most importantly is severe storms. I am not sure the campground/RV lots makes sense to continue as they currently are based on the economics of lot price the Town would have to pay, but it is worth investigating. My understanding is all of the land in question was zoned for condos years ago. I don’t know anyone who really wants condos there, but fiscally, there needs to be an assessment of best use versus cost of the RV, parking, and adjoining lots.Growing up in North Carolina, I fished many of the coastal piers in the State and know the cultural and historical benefits of pier life and the associated center of the community they can be, especially for a small community such as Holden Beach.
Please consider this as support for purchasing the pier and adjoining properties, subject to due diligence by the BOC and Town staff. I believe most HB residents and visitors would really like to see the pier and facilities remain and be updated. Purchasing them and NOT renovating and updating the facilities is not something I would want to support. Additional tax increases are never great, however addressed in the correct manner, it is possible to make the pier a self -sustaining financial entity I suspect. (All subject to price of the lots and facilities.)
If the Town Commissioners plan for the taxpayers to pay for this, they better show how it is going to benefit property owners. Another response should have been
d) No. Do not use my tax dollars to purchase something that should be private property.
What is the estimated life cycle costs to restore, operate, maintain, and / or demolish the facility?
Has the town performed a SWOT analysis of the potential purchase?
Has the town done a benefit cost / trade off analysis?
Has the town done a marketing/business plan for the proposed purchase?
Has the town performed a risk and uncertainty analysis on the potential purchase?
It is a valuable asset to Holden Beach.
The pier is not an asset, it is an eyesore. It is in bad shape, both the building and the pier.
For much needed paid parking
It’s just out there waiting for the next big storm. A fiscal burden the town doesn’t need. They need to concentrate any “extra” monies into resolving any sewer related problems.

.   2) Do you feel that we, the property owners on Holden Beach, have a responsibility to provide the residents and/or the general public with a  pier facility potentially offering multiple use options?
Yes                                                                                                  47/37%
.     b)
Maybe / Not sure                                                                          34/27%
.     c)
No                                                                                                   45/36%

.   3) If improvements were made to the pier property, What would you use the most?
Beach Access                                                                                12/10%
.     b) Parking                                                                                          3/2%
Pier                                                                                                 27/22%
Restaurant                                                                                    83/66%

  4) How often do you use the pier facility?
    a) Never/rarely                                                                                 67/53%
.     b)
Occasionally                                                                                 49/39%
.     c)
Regularly                                                                                       10/8%

.   5) How often does someone staying at your property use the pier facility?
Never/rarely                                                                                 52/41%
.     b)
Occasionally                                                                                 40/32%
.     c)
Regularly                                                                                       19/15%
.     d)
Don’t know                                                                                   15/12%

.   6) Who do you think uses the pier the most?
.     a)
Holden Beach – Residents/Property Owners                          3/2%
.     b)
Tourists/Renters                                                                          59/47%
Day Trippers                                                                                 63/50%

.   7) Do you feel this is a good use of our financial resources?
.     a)
Absolutely                                                                                     32/25%
Probably                                                                                        34/27%
.     c)
Not sure                                                                                         23/18%
.     d)
No the funds are better spent elsewhere                                 37/29%
.         *
Comments = 17
This property can be so much more! In walking distance for a majority of the island.
See comment above. Some of the property needs to be repurposed. This will change the survey responses.
If this keeps other big money interests from building large multi-story apartments/condos/hotels. Who else is interested? Off Islanders who only want to make money from this SEMI-Private Beach? This is not a Public beach!
We know parking is an issue for Holden. The pier area could help. The pier buildings are becoming an eyesore. If the town owns the area improvements can be made and revenue can be generated.
Would need to see the numbers.
Beach access and more parking
See previous comments regarding the Town being in the retail business or leasing the pier and adjoining properties. I see the RV lots as the least desirable to keep as is. The pier parking lots need to be paid public parking.
Why should property owners provide or subsidize day trippers? Even with paid parking and a fee to access the pier it will be years before the town outright owns the property and then there is the upkeep. Will the town replace the pier after then next hurricane destroys it? Parking on beachfront property. Make a vehicle public access for EMS and Law Enforcement and sell the lots for millions. Reduce the town debt and give property owners a tax break.
If the pier & camp ground are not improved & maintained, they will become an eyesore & a liability.
Obviously depends on the purchase price
There are other less expensive tracts we could buy for parking if that is the reason for purchase. This would be an ongoing expense to tax payers. The Town has no business being in the pier business
I believe it should be paid for by funds received from those who use it.
It will require a significant investment to bring into compliance, ongoing operational and maintenance costs, and resources to manage it.

.   8) Do you think the Town should purchase the pier?
.     a)
Yes, whatever it takes                                                                 28/23%
.     b)
Only if all the costs are covered from paid parking revenue and whatever revenue is generated from the pier property                                                   32/26%
.    c)
Only if the all the costs are covered from paid parking revenue, whatever revenue is generated from the pier property, and any shortages are covered from occupancy tax revenue                                                                                                    30/24%
.     d)
No, if it means an increase in my property taxes                  17/14%
.     e)
No, it’s an unnecessary expense                                                17/14%

  9) Who are you?
Island Resident/Property Owner                                              112/90%
Brunswick County Property Owner                                         10/8%
.     c)
Tourist/Renter/Day Tripper                                                        2/2%

.    10) Any other comments that you would like to share about the potential purchase of the pier
.         * Comments = 23

I am not a property owner on the island, but Holden is our beach. I feel the property owners would not appreciate a property tax increase. If the pier can generate revenue with no additional tax or assessment to property owners, I think the pier is a good idea.
We have to look to the future. The pier is an asset to all of us and helps keep our property values up. Thanks to Gill and others for making this available to us all these years. Remember, you don’t miss the water until the well is dry!
I am hoping that the pier parking lot, which is filled with day trippers on the weekend, can become paid parking (at least on the weekend), and generate enough revenue to assist with costs. Your question about who uses the pier the most has two answers. The pier is most likely used by residents and renters/tourists, but the parking lot is used by weekend day trippers out on the beach. They look for free parking, sometimes parking at oceanfront homes that appear vacant. If they are going to use the pier parking lot and beach consistently, they should bear some of the cost of maintaining the area/facilities. It’s awfully hard for anyone else to use the parking lot on the weekend…like renters arriving before their rental is ready, who would love to pass their wait time on the pier…thus making it appear less people are using the pier.
All recreation events are by the bridge. That isn’t centrally located. The rec events have expanded, and this would provide a facility. Takeout options of healthy foods would be a plus, like at our Fitness Center at home. Cups of fruit, salads, sandwiches, etc.
We find the money for everything else that comes up….so why not this property. I hate that the town is not purchasing all of it.
Needs to be maintained for the recreation area.
This opportunity most likely will not present itself again. The town could make this a huge asset for the community while maintaining the current family beach status. I believe this investment will be a huge asset and generate revenue for the town if done correctly for years to come. Thanks for asking
A pier is a great asset for any beach. It’s an invitation to the sea. It’s also an historical marker and could well be the place where the history of Holden Beach and the Brunswick coast is preserved and told. Like a lighthouse it’s a landmark which has withstood the test of time. On a practical note it’s an attraction for fishermen and tourists.
Purchase camping property also for parking, restrooms, and to prevent more large housing from going in there on the entire property. A store for groceries as a part of the pier also. A breakfast restaurant and snack bar would be great.
That Allen Holden, if he or his companies are involved in this sale, return any and all moneys made to the Town of Holden Beach! We need to know who else may be looking at this property as I have heard comments from visitors that a high rise would look great on this site! Money talks, yet there is a time to adhere to our basic principles of this being a Family Beach, not another massive commercial development.
Buy the Pier!!
selling the hotel property would help in the purchase. using the parking for paid parking would help. Renting the pier restaurant but be sure it’s updated would help. and the camp ground could be a park for kids or maybe more parking till something comes along that would be more profitable.
Should never use the BPART funds, better known as the “Sand” money”, which is needed in case of a storm and the beach is badly damaged. It’s being abused enough as it is.
The town can’t manage to build a playground for under a million. Let the private sector buy it.
Regarding Question #2, we, the residents, and property owners, DO NOT have a RESPONSIBILITY to provide the general public, and or non-property owners anything. It *may* be a good thing to do, but we should have and feel NO responsibility to provide for non-property owners or residents. This is also in regard to public parking as well. While it may be a good thing to do, TMK there is NO requirement to provide public parking on the island.
Originally, I was told it WAS a requirement to get certain public funds. I have since been told from second hand from David Hewitt – Town Manager – there was NO such requirement. I would like to see this verified one way or the other.
The town should purchase the pier property
One of the greatest reasons for the Town buying the pier is to keep it from being developed as a large condo type project
Purchase only if it presents a viable business opportunity and all operational/maintenance costs are covered by revenue from the pier property & facilities. Sale/Purchase should be contingent on this requirement with the current owner taking back the property and canceling town loan obligations if revenue/costs do not meet expectations
The pier purchase for a public park/beach access/restaurant would be wonderful!!!!!!
The sooner the better!
The cost to tax payers would be on going. This would a very expensive project with limited return!
We are a vacation beach. That means fun, fishing, and things to do. The pier says “BEACH!” If I was a vacationer, I would not go to a beach without a pier.
Idiotic waste of money. If it has value let private investors try to make money with it.
It is a very special landmark!
If it were possible to buy the entire property, we could use the parking lots as paid spots with good beach access and bathroom facilities. This would help equalize the use of the beach between the east and west ends and hopefully garner revenue to cover the costs of owning and operating the pier.
The Town needs to start selling property and stop being the buyer of last resort for derelict buildings and houses

BOC’s Special Meeting 07/20/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here NA

Volunteers Needed
The Town has vacancies on the Board of Adjustment, Planning & Zoning Board, and the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. Interviews for the vacancies will be held on Tuesday, July 20th at 4:45 p.m.

1. Interviews for Vacancies on Town Boards

BOC’s Regular Meeting 07/20/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here

1. Presentation of Municipal Administration Certificate to Assistant Town Manager Ferguson – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Update –
David made presentation of certificate of completion from the school of government graduate level course of study  followed by photo-op.

Editor’s Note –
The primary purpose of this certification is to strengthen the professional management skills of personnel in responsible local government administrative positions.

2. Discussion and Possible Action on Water Agreement with Brunswick County – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
Attached is the Wholesale Bulk Water Service Agreement between the Town and Brunswick County. The proposed effective date is September 1, 2021, in order to allow time for both boards to consider the agreement.

Staff recommends approval of the agreement.

Update –
John Nichols from Brunswick County joined them. The current agreement has expired, we need to ensure continued provision of water to the citizenry. David coordinated with other communities with expired agreements to develop the proposed agreement. It’s not like we have any other option, there are no other wholesale providers. Commissioner Kwiatkowski questioned what they are doing about our water quality issues. John explained they are working very hard. He went into what they are doing to prevent both the introduction and removal of pollutants into the water source.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

3. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police Patch
Jeremy started by reviewing the actions that were taken since May, he was responding to the BOC’s request for more information at the last meeting.


In an effort to keep weekend traffic flowing smoothly, the Police Department shut down the left turn lane at the foot of the Holden Beach Bridge from NC130 onto Ocean Boulevard. They got a lot of positive feedback. It looks like it works, and they plan to do this every weekend through Labor Day. Brilliant!

Defensive Driving
Be mindful on the road, tourists are out there and frankly many of them are not paying attention. Defensive driving is driving characterized by prudence, diligence, and reasonable cautiousness. Its aim is to reduce the risk of collision by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the actions of others.

Public Safety Announcement
The Police Department would like to remind everyone that it is important to protect your personal property. Remove all items of value from your vehicle when you are not driving it. Always lock your vehicle doors when you are not in it. Leaving items on display, whether on the dashboard or sitting on a passenger seat, is an invitation to opportunist individuals. Make sure to follow these important tips!

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

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

Pets on the beach strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20
Pets must be on a leash at all times on the island.
From May 20th through September 10th
It is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand
. * During the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm

Unattended Gear
Ordinance §94.06 was passed on September 14, 2010. All unattended beach equipment must be removed from the beach by its owner or permitted user daily. All unattended personal equipment remaining on the beach between the hours of 6PM and 7AM will be classified as abandoned property and will be disposed of by the Town.

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

(1) All vehicles must be as far off the public street rights-of-way as possible; and
(2) No vehicle may be left parked on any portion of any roadway; and
(3) No vehicle may be parked on portion of the sidewalk.

4. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-18, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 –2021 (Amendment No. 18, Isaias Cat Z) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
The attached budget amendment (Attachment l ) in the amount of $198,368.73, recognizes FEMA Cat Z (Administrative) grant funds as related to Isaias. The funds will be housed in Fund 70, the special project fund for FEMA events.

Suggested MotionApproval of Budget Amendment.

Moved funds of $198,386.73
From Revenue account #70.0323.0100
To Expense account #70.0460.2701

Update –
This is the last FEMA project; this action makes us whole on all storms that we plan to bundle together for our fall nourishment project.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

5. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-19, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 –2021 (Amendment No. 19) – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
This amendment is retroactive to June 30th to bring the fiscal year 2021 budget for accommodations tax up to the collected amount. The resulting amount represents a 35% increase over last year’s collections due to an influx of renters in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and re-opening of the state.

 Staff recommends: Approving Ordinance 21-19

Moved funds of $362,648
From Revenue account #50.0302.0000
To Expense account #50.0401.0000
To Expense account #50.0710.1700
To Expense account #50.0710.4700

An end of year housekeeping amendment which reflects our actual accommodations tax collection. The year-end closing entry simply balances revenues with expenses, which is necessary if we want a clean audit.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

6. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-20, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 –2021 (Amendment No. 20) – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
This amendment is to assure the accordance with GASB 87. GASB 87 has recently been implemented and requires accounting for ownership transferring lease purchases to be accounted for essentially as a financing purchase.

Staff recommends: Approving Ordinance 21-20

Moved funds of $323,851.95
From Revenue account #30.0380.0000
To Expense account#30.0810.7403

Update –
Another housekeeping amendment. This is required for the recent Vactor truck lease purchase. It allows us to book it to capital listing which is necessary if we want a clean audit.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

7. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-21, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21-13, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 –2022 (Amendment No. 1) – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
The attached budget amendment is prepared to provide funding for the purchase of the Pier properties currently under consideration by the Board. It proposes to fund the acquisition via a combination of loan funds in the amount of $3,000,000 and cash from BPART fund balance in the amount of $259,000.

$50,000 of the cash amount will satisfy the due diligence and earnest money requirements contained in the offer approved by the BOC last Thursday 8 July. The remaining $9,000 is to obtain a commercial appraisal for the properties which is a requirement for Joan approval by the NC Local Government Commission.

Moved funds of $3,259,000
From Revenue account #50.0348.0000
From Revenue account #50.0399.0000
To Expense account#50.0710.0903
To Expense account#50.0710.7403

Update –
Amendment is required if the pier property purchase offer is accepted. Commissioner Sullivan & Kwiatkowski broached funding for pier inspection which they stated is integral to our decision whether to purchase. Commissioner Murdock  stated that until we have a signed contract this is a futile exercise, once the contract is signed, we can allocate funds to do whatever we need to do during due diligence period.

A decision was made – Approved (3-2)
Commissioners Kwiatkowski and Sullivan opposed the motion

8. Discussion and Possible Action to Select the Priority Board of Commissioners’ Objectives for the Upcoming Fiscal Year – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –

18        Ensure funding for hurricane related FEMA projects and proceed with necessary steps for target commencement of sand on beach in Fall 2021

17        Ensure contracting, budgeting and funding for sewer lift station 2 to allow completion in 2022

17        Make decision on and implement new THB development fees

17        Ensure funding for 2022 DOT bike lane project, including any grant money

17       Address increasing stormwater issues with a study followed by appropriate actions for recurring problem areas along Ocean Boulevard (in advance of bike lane project)

17      Request help from Brunswick County for a second water tower (after completing a needs assessment)

17        Ensure advocacy resources are given to limit expansion of the IHA

16       Support and participate in beach and inlet related advocacy efforts at local, state, and federal level

      • Become more involved in and lead where possible regional advocacy groups and committees
      • Develop advocacy strategy, plan and material for county and state efforts and implement the plan
      • Review and as appropriate amend directions to Poyner Spruill for federal advocacy; ensure funds are designated for the three-year Corps study (1.5 million total)
      • Support and participate in advocacy efforts at any level as appropriate
      • Greater involvement in coastal community advocacy

16        Ensure definition and implementation of new water rates for January 2022

16        Determine if paid parking is economically viable; if so, implement paid parking

15        Oversee progress on internal control plan for fiscal year 2021/2022 completion

14        Ensure adequate resources to undertake enforcement/compliance objectives decided by the Board (Increase enforcement of ordinances)

14        Request help from Brunswick County to establish an off-island parking and trolly/bus service to the beach 100 days or more a year

14        Purchase all or a portion of Holden Beach Pier

14        Maintain an up-to-date strategy to protect the beach and dune system and ensure adequate budget for implementation of plans, including soil sampling and plant modification where appropriate

Evergreens (mostly financial)

18        Balance the budget while preserving the minimum fund balance as defined by the Board; Balance the budget without raising taxes

18        Ensure the Town meets or exceeds annual financial budget goals

18        Work together for the good of Holden Beach

17        Raise revenues

17        Continue to support LWI access to ocean

16        Ensure the Town achieves an unmodified opinion rating on annual fiscal audit and addresses noted deficiencies

16        Ensure qualified resources are available to perform audit and accounting procedures to ensure there are no material deficiencies noted in the annual fiscal audit

14        Ensure an updated capital project budget sheet is included in final budget documents

Previously reported – June 2021
BOC Objectives for Fiscal Year 2021/2022
They have created, scored, and ranked their objectives. They now need to establish their priorities and begin to work to accomplish them in the fiscal year. Pat was asked what she recommends, and she proposed the top twenty-five (25) objectives. David said that we need to be strategic in our thinking, he recommended that they use items with a score of seventeen (17) or above which gives them twelve (12) item that are general in nature and staff can focus on accomplishing them. Pat agreed to review the list and present David with a streamlined version at next month’s meeting.

Update –
Pat stated that she is just the bookkeeper, and the Board needs to determine what their priorities will be. Most of the discussion was between Pat and David. There was no input or discussion from the other Board members. It doesn’t seem like the list was whittled down very much to me.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

9. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-22, An Ordinance Amending Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 35: Inlet & Beach Protection Board – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Delete Chapter 35: Inlet & Beach Protection Board in its entirety from the Holden Beach Code of Ordinance.

Previously reported – June 2021
Agenda Packet –
The BOC decision to authorize the 3-year Corps study led me to re-examine the remit and activities of the IBPB. A fuller evaluation of the IBPB’s purpose and benefit appears appropriate given two important BOC decisions since the formation of the IBPB that have brought significant change to the Town’s beach and inlet management approach.

The decision by the BOC to employ a lobbying firm to help us more efficiently interact with and make requests to local and federal officials has raised officials’ awareness of and responsiveness to Holden Beach needs and positions. The decision to seek an Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Storm Risk Management study was recently made with the aspiration of obtaining ACE endorsement of an optimum construction and long-term maintenance plan for the island.

Looking back at the tasks requested to the Inlet and Beach Protection Board and their outputs, which include the 2019 Oceanfront and Inlets Management Plan, the IBPB has met the main objectives initially set by the BOC . However, taking into consideration that in the near term (next 2 years) the Town’s primary beach protection activity is defined (seeing to renourishment of sands lost during hurricanes with FEMA and state funds reimbursing the Town), longer term planning will be dependent on the results of the ACE 3 year study ( tentative due date 2024), and the Town’s selected lobbying firm will continue to provide insight and assistance in managing changing federal laws, regulations and agency practices, at this time further IBPB activities do not appear to be critical to the Town meeting its beach and inlet management goals. Given that any advisory board takes Staff time and Town resource, which are currently fully focused on fulfilling FEMA renourishment and ACE projects, I consider the current relative benefit of continuing IBPB activities is low compared to using available resources to achieve the defined beach and inlet objectives.

I ask Board to consider releasing the current IBPB from further duties with thanks for their valuable contribution and that the current ordinance be suspended until such time as a future BOC determines the need for an advisory board. At the same time, I propose the Parks and Rec committee takes responsibility for “modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to public and private beach access walkways which promote protection and growth of the town’s protective dune systems” ( a responsibility in the current IBPB ordinance) and dune health and protection in general.

Previously reported – April 2018

The Inlet and Beach Protection Board shall:

(A) Serve as an advisory board for the town;

(B) Prepare and recommend to the Board of Commissioners, a comprehensive long-term plan for the town’s role, if any, in the management, dredging and protection of the Lockwood Folly and Shallotte Inlets, including their respective navigational channels, and the management, protection and nourishment of the town’s ocean beaches and protective dune systems;

(C) Evaluate the feasibility and cost and benefits of proposed dredging projects (excluding canal dredging), beach and/or dune nourishment projects and protective structure projects (excluding canal dredging) to the town and to property owners within the town as a whole, and make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners with respect to such projects;

(D) With the assistance of the attorney assigned to support the Inlet and Beach Protection Board, make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for amendments or modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to the “frontal dune” and “protective dune system”;

(E) With the assistance of the attorney assigned to support the Inlet and Beach Protection Board, make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to public and private beach access walkways which promote protection and growth of the town’s protective dune systems;

(F) Serve as a link between the Board of Commissioners, Town Manager, and the community on the above-described areas; and

(G) Perform such other duties within or related to the general purview of the Inlet and Beach Protection Board which may assigned to it from time-to-time by the Board of Commissioners.

The Board decided to remove the ordinance, at least for the time being.
It was part of Parks & Rec committee and that is where it is going back to now.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

From my perspective the most important objective of the IBPB was to serve as a liaison to the Community. The Board divvied up the different shore protection groups with each person taking responsibility to cover their group’s meetings. Without this Board we only have the Town Manager’s filtered communications regarding these coastal issues. I really can’t imagine why we wouldn’t want additional eyes and ears looking at these critical issues to the island.

Update –
Delete Chapter 35 in its entirety from Code of Ordinances per the Board’s direction at the last meeting

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

10. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-23, An Ordinance Amending Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 34: Parks & Recreation Advisory Board – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
6) Make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to public and private beach access walkways which promote protection and growth of the town’s protective dune systems.

7) Make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners regarding dune health and protection.

Update –
Per the Board’s direction at the last meeting, this ordinance takes parts from IBPB and brings it over to Parks and Recreation.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

  • 11. Discussion and Possible Selection of Members to Serve on Town Boards – Town Clerk Finnell
    Agenda Packet –
    Interviews for people interested  in serving on various Town boards are scheduled  for July  201h  at 4:45p.m. Below is a breakdown of the vacancies on each board .
    Parks & Recreation Advisory Board: There are three vacancies. Also, Suzannah Tucker’s term  1s expiring, however she is eligible and willing to serve another term.
    Planning & Zoning Board: There are three regular member terms and one alternate member term expiring. Regular member Tracey Thomas is eligible and willing to serve another term. Alternate member Pete Pallas is also eligible and willing to serve another term. He can be moved to a regular member position if the Board desires. The other two members are not eligible to serve another term. There is also a vacant alternate position that needs to be filled.
    Board of Adjustment: One regular member term is expiring. They are not eligible to serve another term. There are also two alternate member vacancies.As of agenda time, I do not have enough applications to fill all of the vacant positions. The Board may need to revisit the remaining vacancies at a future meeting. Ballots will be supplied at the meeting if the Board desires to vote by ballot.

No regular member shall serve for more than two consecutive terms, and a member having served two consecutive terms shall not be eligible for reappointment until after remaining off the Board for one year.

Update –
The Board voted by ballot and selected the following candidates to fill the vacancies.

Parks & Recreation
Grace Bannerman
Melanie Champion
Mike Pearson
Suzannah Tucker

Planning & Zoning
John Cain
Wade Coleman
Mark Francis
Pete Pallas
Sylvia Pate

Board of Adjustment
Jack Lohman
Richard Roberts

I’m of the opinion that our Board term policy unnecessarily creates vacancies.

Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various Boards and Committees. If you are interested, submit application to heather@hbtownhall.com.

12. Audit Committee Debrief to Board – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Previously reported – June 2021
Appointment , The Chairman of the BOC Audit Committee shall be elected by the BOC at the first regular meeting in January. The Chairman of the Audit Committee shall make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners on who shall serve as Public Members. The Chairman of the BOC Audit Committee, an elected Commissioner, and each of the Public Members shall have a normal term of one year and shall serve at the pleasure of the BOC.

Commissioner Tyner was the Chairman, but he resigned in March. We are required to have a Chairman of the Audit Committee and it is time to fill the vacant spot. Mike nominated Commissioner Kwiatkowski, she accepted and will replace Woody as Chairman of this Committee.

Update –
Pat started to have audit committee meetings again. They will  pick-up with business that was already in progress. They are also reviewing the audit committee ordinance with an eye towards making some changes. No action requested, since this was simply a report from the new Chair of the committee.

13. Discussion and Possible Action on Parking Management Services Proposals – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Parking  Management  Services Proposals  were  due to the Town on July 5th. Four companies submitted proposals: Premium Parking, Pivot Parking, Lanier Parking and Otto Connect.

Staff is requesting direction on how the Board would like to proceed.

Pivot Parking Proposal

Otto Connect Proposal

Lanier Parking Proposal

Premium Parking Services Proposal

Paid Parking –
Previously reported – March 2021
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 loke activity, date, or location. Incredibly paid parking could be implemented everywhere on the island including in the rights-of-way. At first blush, this appears to potentially be a significant revenue stream for the Town.

Previously reported – April 2021
Brian discussed the two (2) paid parking presentations/proposals. The programs are very flexible and can be tailored to what we want. Paid parking has the potential to be a significant revenue stream for the Town and help offset the numerous costs we incur from the daily influx of day trippers. Commissioner Sullivan stated that we need to determine how this will work and then how we will communicate that to the public.

Previously reported – May 2021
The Board recognizes that there is a need for additional parking. But they do not want to burden our property owners with the cost of providing parking. Paid parking can provide a significant revenue stream and could recoup a lot of the expenses we currently incur. They acknowledged it does makes sense to pursue paid parking. A series of things need to be accomplished making it unlikely that they can get it done for this summer. They authorized the Town Manager to put out a Request for Proposal for paid parking. Currently there are restrictions on how you can spend funds if they are not off-street parking spots. Therefore they also authorized David to explore requesting special legislation in order to allow us to use street parking spots funds for other purposes then current legislation permits.

Holden Beach eyes paid parking
The Holden Beach board of commissioners met twice during the week of May 18 to discuss items such as setting up paid parking and how residents can send in complaints. Last Friday morning, they listened to Tim Hoppenrath, market president of Premium Parking, give a presentation on how paid parking can help the town and used Kure Beach as an example. “They were getting a big influx of people, probably due to COVID last year, coming to the beach,” he said. “And because it was free and what was happening, there was more damage. There was more trash.” Free parking was ended, and his business was hired for the parking contract. Now that town is making money off the parking. Kure Beach made a gross $156,000 in the first 41 days. The beach, he said, has 632 spaces, usually with 300 to 400 that are occupied on busy days. On the busiest day, they earned $8,000 with 560 sessions. He said there is zero start-up cost, and pay machines are solar powered so there is no electricity cost. The town would only have to pay for labor costs and management fees. The company makes a little money on the transaction fee, which is 35 cents for each transaction. Drivers only need to register their plates and pay the company in advance. If they can’t remember their plates, they can also do it based on a description of their car. If a car is caught in violation, the owner will receive a warning. If they are caught again, they can receive a citation and be sent to collections, Hoppenrath said, but collections would end up keeping most of the money, making that futile. The other option is to keep fining the driver. The goal, he said, isn’t to write citations. It is to keep people compliant. He added there will also be plenty of signs up to remind people to pay and use their plates, but not so much that it becomes “white noise.” One question the board had was about how renters will pay. Owners are already guaranteed two parking spots each, and renters would have to pay unless owners worked around that. The owner could give the renter a login and permit number. Golf carts were also brought up. One of the commissioners suggested rental companies purchase passes and permits to prove the golf cart is legal. Commissioner Brian Murdock said there will be a push to get cars off the sides of the road. Hoppenrath advised the town would also receive a portion of the earnings, which can be used how the town sees fit, including paying for the parking lots. He added there will be a surge of sign-ups for the first month or two, then it calms down. The board then requested the contract, not to sign yet but to look it over. Commissioner Pat Kwiatkowski said, “This is all very promising. But let’s be frank. We have one chance to roll this out properly.” Kwiatkowski said if they did something wrong, it will be hard to get confidence back from the residents. Kwiatkowski said they should start the program in the spring of 2022 and iron out all the details such as the terms, fees and more. She said all of this should be addressed so there isn’t confusion when they start the program. Kwiatkowski said the parking committee will have several months to work on this. The delay would also prevent inadvertent “goofs.” Other commissioners said they should start as soon as possible. They settled on looking into it further.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – June 2021
Agenda Packet –
Directive to:
Parking Committee

Issue and Action Requested:
In order for paid parking to be successfully rolled out in Spring pf 2022, there are a number of decisions that will need to be made by the BOC before the end of 2021. The Parking Committee is asked to develop a paid parking plan with financials covering the years 2022-2025 in line with the charge questions below.

and Potential Implications:
With the continuing popularity and growth of Holden Beach and Brunswick County, parking on the island during many months of the year is increasingly problematic for both visitors and property owners. Additionally, increasing numbers of off island beach goers translate to increasing costs for the Town in terms of trash pickup, facilities maintenance, beach patrol and traffic control.
In order to better organize visitor parking and help defray seasonal costs, the decision has been made to implement a paid parking program starting in Spring 2022. It is important to have a clear description of the parking facilities and cost plus a communication plan for rollout of the paid parking program to avoid miscommunication and confusion.

Charge Questions:

1. Parking Lots (suggest the committee shows lots and spaces on a town map, color code for a, b, c)
a) What town owned lots currently exist and how many spaces are available for paid parking?
b) What town owned property is suitable for conversion to paid parking before next Spring and what is the estimated cost for conversion?
c) What properties (if any) are proposed for purchase and how many spaces will be available for paid parking? What is the estimated cost to purchase, assumed timeframe for establishing the parking lot and cost for conversion?
2. Financials
a) Rate proposal and date range for paid parking
Estimated gross profit associated with 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and 2024
c) Estimated initial costs for signage and equipment (show where on map)
d) Estimated expenses associated with 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and (including personnel)
e) Estimated net profit for 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and 2024
3. Public Communication and Engagement Plan
Who, when, where

Proposed Deadline:
No later than the October BOCM.

Tasker is a formal request to the Committee. It outlines what information that they would like to be included in their report and clarifies their purpose. The intent is to get information needed so that the Board are able to make a decision. David indicated that a Request for Proposal (RFP) was advertised last week, it contains very similar items that are in the tasker. He anticipates that they should have that for BOC’s review at the July meeting.

Update –
Received proposals from four vendors, staff is looking for direction on how to proceed. Commissioner Murdock felt that the staff should be the one to make the decision since they will have to make the program work. The Board asked the Town staff to review the proposals and make a recommendation to them. David said that they would utilize a decision selection matrix and report back to them at the next scheduled meeting.

No decision was made – No action taken

    • 14. Discussion and Possible Action on Golf Cart Violation Reporting Tasker – Commissioners Kwiatkowski and Smith

      Agenda Packet –
      Request for Golf Cart Infraction Details
      Issue and Action Requested:
      Golf cart parking and moving vehicle violations have become highly visible with the increasing number of golf carts being used by renters and property owners. In order to judge whether the Town’s increased communication and police department efforts are improving golf cart “safety” and compliance, the Board needs to see golf cart infraction details.

      Background and Potential Implications:
      Golf cart safety has become a major concern of many of our residents-we see frequent cases of underage drivers, unsafe driving, seat belts not used, babies in laps, and illegal parking. One of the justifications for increasing the THB police force last year was to be able to better enforce traffic and parking rules, with golf carts acknowledged as a particular problem. It is hoped that police warnings and, when necessary, ticketing early in the rental week leads to reduced infractions as the week progresses.

      Without detailed golf cart infraction data neither the BOC or Town Staff can judge whether ongoing Town communication efforts and Police Department focused activities are reducing unsafe practices and illegal parking of golf carts. The BOC needs a report specific to golf carts that provides for all warnings and tickets. Below is a suggested list of information that would help Town Staff, the Board and our residents measure improvements and determine whether changes in education and/or enforcement activities would be appropriate.

      Violation description:

          • Parking
          • Underage driver
          • Seat belt infraction
          • Child seat infraction Unsafe driving
          • Unlicensed vehicle

      Warning or ticket

      Date and day of week
      Time of day
      Location on island

      A summary of findings would be presented at our monthly BOCM’s , suggested to start in August.

      Previously reported – June 2021

      Golf carts are supposed to be treated the same as any other automotive vehicle. Despite the educational signs and the police chiefs commitment of stepped-up enforcement I have not noticed any noticeable change in behavior. Have you? The police department say that golf carts are being addressed as a priority in order to keep people safe. Golf cart issues still appear to be out of control. Underage drivers that clearly don’t have a driver’s license, children not properly restrained, seat belts not being used, carts parked illegally  in the rights-of-way on OBW, are all safety issues that could have serious consequences.  Just to be clear, even though  we still see violations does not necessarily mean the police department has not  followed through on their commitment of stepped-up enforcement. Letting us know what they have been doing to get this issue under control would be helpful. Therefore, my recommendation is for Jeremy to include the number of warnings and tickets issued for golf cart violations in the meetings  police report.

      Update –
      Pat & Rick are asking for violation reporting from the Police Department. They are requesting details specific to golf carts to help determine what kind of impact that our stepped-up enforcement is having. The police department currently do not data track by type of vehicle. Jeremy stated he did not like the request, nor does he have the staff to comply with the request.  The police department will continue to enforce the ordinances, but this request is not going to solve anything.

      No decision was made – No action taken

      Well it’s one month later and I’m singing a different tune. The good news is there has definitely been a noticeable change in behavior. The bad news is that there still are a significant number of golf carts in violation of vehicle regulations.

    • Some progress has been made!

    • 15. Discussion and Possible Action on Golf Cart Request to Town Attorney – Commissioner Smith

      Agenda Packet –
      Action Requested:
      I would like to ask the Town Attorney if it is legal to require the golf cart rental companies to purchase a Holden Beach yearly permit/sticker and require them to complete a safety/state compliance inspection before each rental and have a rules and regulation form the renters must sign off on when they receive the rental cart.

      Also require Holden Beach residents and property owners to purchase a permanent permit/sticker and allow them to self-inspect their golf carts for safety and state requirements and sign off on the state and Holden Beach rules and regulations.

      My concern is for the safety of the people, especially the kids, that operate and ride on the golf carts at Holden Beach. We do not want anybody injured or worse.

      Update –
      The Town Attorney addressed the request, he stated that they may regulate golf carts. He also stated this is a serious safety issue and this can and should be regulated by the Town. The Board allowed Kevin a retired NCDOT enforcement officer who specialized in golf carts who also owns a golf rental company on the island to speak. He didn’t think they were going about this the right way, and he offered to work with them to develop a solution. Commissioner Sullivan stated that we already have enough regulations, this is really an enforcement issue.

      No decision was made – No action taken

      16. FEMA Gated Community Debris Pickup Update – Town Manager Hewett

      Agenda Packet – background information not provided

      Previously reported – May 2021
      Last year they had discussions about picking up debris on the west end gated community which did not qualify for FEMA reimbursement. Pat is just exploring if it is possible to get reimbursement from FEMA for our gated communities. FEMA does not normally reimburse municipalities for debris pickups made in gated communities.

      Apparently the first step is to get a written agreement from the gated communities giving the Town permission to provide this service. In order to apply for reimbursement, legal contracts are needed. Documentation would be ready in case we have to; it does not necessarily mean that the Town will provide this service. The motion is to get the contracts completed prior to the next storm event. They authorized the Town Manager to explore getting a legal contract in place.

      Item was removed from the agenda

      17. Discussion and Possible Action on Text Amendment for Swimming Pool Locations – Inspections Director Evans

      Agenda Packet –
      Staff has reviewed and recommends consideration by the Board of Commissioners the amendments to sections 157.0Gl(D)(G)(c) and 157.060(0)(7){c).

      Staff believes that the above-mentioned text amendments will help insure a healthy safe environment for the town of Holden Beach. While pools have become a staple in the rental business, most lots without exception will not accommodate pools, and it’s the staff’s beliefs that the town never intended to provide exceptions for pools in the front yard. As a matter of record staff has concluded that the ordinance allowing for such use was meant to keep clear those front yard setbacks of any such amenities to secure best-case scenarios for impervious runoff. The Town of Holden Beach has recognized in the past, and it is true currently that overflow parking is a must at most rental locations. The state of North Carolina makes it extremely hard to control the number of people located in a dwelling. The town does have a mandatory parking requirement. It is imperative that the town recognize the benefits of keeping as much space open for occupants to use for parking.

      Staff believes that there is a real danger in swimming pools located so close to the street rights-of-way as many are in the 25-foot setback area, providing direct access for an amenity that has been declared and identified as an attractive nuisance. Pools are considered so dangerous that the North Carolina Building Code has specific Safety requirements and an independent code section just for pools.

      Sections 157.061(0)(6) and 157.060(0)(7), that allows for the unintended exception can be corrected with the above-mentioned text amendment .

      This text amendment was generated by staff and supported by Commissioner Sullivan, Planning Board Chair Vicki Myers.

      Added following verbiage: pools are prohibited within the front yard setback

      Update –
      Timbo asked them to decide if they want to accept the text amendment that will prohibit pools in the front yard setback. It was not the intent of the ordinance to allow pools in the front yard setback. Unfortunately, it inadvertently allowed them creating a safety issue and is legally called an attractive nuisance. This can be corrected by the text that he submitted to them. Any changes made to the Zoning Code requires a Public Hearing.

      A decision was made – Approved (4-1)
      Commissioner Smith opposed the motion

      18. Town Manager’s Report

      Special Obligation Bonds were approved by the Local Government Commission.
      Bonds are to cover the  cost  for the Central Reach federal reimbursement sand project.
      Last week we closed on $27.7 million financing with PNC Bank. Notice of contract  award was issued to Weeks Marine for nourishment project.

      Seagull Street Paving
      Notice to proceed with surveying required for design work has been issued
      Previously reported – June 2021
      Reviewed Seagull street paving engineer’s schedule over the next eight (8) months

      Lift Station #2
      Progress meeting is scheduled for next week
      Almost ready to advertise for upgrade to this lift station

      In Case You Missed It –

      Check out the new improved and secure THB website at https://hbtownhall.com/

    • Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
      Hurricane Season
      June 1st was the official start to hurricane season in the Atlantic.

      Would your family be prepared in the event of a hurricane? Click here to visit the Emergency Information section of our website. You will find helpful tips to put in place now, before the threat of a storm.

      Please make sure you have your vehicle decals in place now. Do not wait! These decals are necessary for re-entry to the island in the event of an emergency situation that restricts access to the island. Click here for more information on decals.

      Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
      2020 Water Quality Results
      The 2020 Consumer Confidence Report is now available. Click here to read the report.

      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.

      Port-a- Johns
      The Town budgeted money from the BPART account to cover the costs of seasonal (100 days of summer) public restroom facilities and services. We will have four handicap accessible units strategically placed at three locations on the island.

      They are located as follows:

            1. Two are at the far east end
            2. One is at sewer lift station by Greensboro
            3. One is at sewer lift station just before the 800 block

      19. Board of Commissioners’ Comments

      Three Commissioners laid out their position regarding the pier property purchase.

    • Commissioner Murdock wants to purchase the pier even if we have to replace every piling.
    • Commissioner Sullivan was a bit more pragmatic and only wants to purchase if it makes fiscal sense.Commissioner Kwiatkowski was concerned about how we plan to pay for it and reviewed all the debt that we already have committed to. She strongly urged the property owners to contact them on whether they want to purchase the pier property.
      Editor’s Note –

      The public needs to participate more in the process, the Board can’t represent you without your input. The pier property purchase has an upfront price tag of $3.25 million dollars. Only 23% of those that completed Lou’s Views survey gave an unconditional YES response to purchase it. The majority 64% gave a conditional positive response. What that means is that the Board will  need to explain how they plan to pay for this property. According to the Board we have only  agreed to the terms of the contract, but it is not a done deal yet. Therefore, it’s important that the Board gets a better feel for what the community wants. This is your chance to help determine whether we purchase the property or pass on the opportunity.

      Do you think the Town should purchase the pier property?

          • Yes, whatever it takes
          • Only if it makes fiscal sense, with no added assessment or tax to  property owners
          • Only if it is shown to be self-sustaining and all the costs are covered
          • No, it’s an unnecessary expense

      I encourage all of you to send an email with where you stand on this issue

      Make sure to include your name, address, and whether this is your primary residence

      Please send comments to:

      Heather Finnell                           Town Clerk                heather@hbtownhall.com
      Alan Holden                                 Mayor                        alan@alanholdenrealty.com
      Gerald Brown                              Mayor Pro Tem        geraldbrowngb365@gmail.com
      Brian Murdock                            Commissioner          BOCmurdock@gmail.com
      Pat Kwiatkowski                         Commissioner          pattykwi@gmail.com
      Mike Sullivan                               Commissioner          sullivm4@gmail.com
      Rick Smith                                    Commissioner          rsmith9421@gmail.com

      heather@hbtownhall.com; alan@alanholdenrealty.com; geraldbrowngb365@gmail.com; BOCmurdock@gmail.com; pattykwi@gmail.com; sullivm4@gmail.com; rsmith9421@gmail.com

Glimpsing the end of the pier? Future hazy for NC coastal icons
Repeated hurricanes drive up costs and risk as developers flood beach towns, but NC fishing piers provide habitat, recreation, and economic draw.
The Oceanana Fishing Pier in Atlantic Beach lost 150 feet of boardwalk along with the Barnacle Bar in a record high tide and tidal surge during Hurricane Florence in 2018. The storm crashed into land near Wrightsville Beach then tortured the central North Carolina coast with fierce winds, devastating rain, and a record-breaking storm surge of 13 feet that submerged the Oceanana’s deck. Florence could have been a terminal blow to the 60-year-old pier, which also sustained damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011. But Trace Cooper and his family, the owners of the pier, decided to rebuild in spite of the potential for more frequent and punishing storms in the future due to climate change. According to Cooper, who also serves as Atlantic Beach’s mayor, it wasn’t an easy decision. In fact, the fate of the Oceanana and other ocean piers in North Carolina may be in peril, threatened by climate change, ebbing demand, and rising real estate values. Cooper told CPP that the cost to repair the pier is roughly $1,000 per foot. The last rebuild in 2018 and 2019 was nearly $300,000. Since the price of insurance is prohibitive, the Coopers incurred the entire cost to restore the pier. “If you do the math, if we go 15 to 20 years without a hurricane, it makes sense to rebuild,” he said. “We’ve lost the pier twice in a decade. That’s never happened before.”  In the 1990s, Bogue Banks, a 21-mile barrier island near Morehead City, once anchored seven ocean piers to its shore. Today, there are just two on the island; the 1,000-foot-long Oceanana is one of them. Two piers in Atlantic Beach, the Sportsman’s Pier, and the Triple S Pier, were razed in 2006 to make room for development. The other remaining structure, the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier in Emerald Isle, was placed on the market in July. Its future is uncertain. The asking price is $18 million. The heyday of seaside piers, Cooper said, was the 1950s and 1960s. Cooper’s grandfather A.B. Cooper built the Oceanana Fishing Pier and a motel in 1959. The 8-acre property bounded by State Road 58 on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other also includes several dozen vacation trailers whose owners lease land from the Oceanana. “For a long time, if you wanted to fish on the ocean, you had to go to a pier,” Cooper said. At the height of the pier boom, in 1980, there were 36 ocean piers along the state’s coast. Now, according to Chris Wilson, who collects recreational fishing data for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, 20 coastal piers remain in operation. Excluding the state-owned Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head on the Outer Banks and the town-operated Oak Island Pier south of Wilmington, all are private enterprises. Cooper attended college in New York and worked as an attorney in Silicon Valley. But in 2011, he returned to Atlantic Beach to operate the family’s business. Since his return, aside from a recent spike in visitation, the number of pier anglers has diminished. Cooper attributes the decline in the Oceanana’s fishing business to the relatively low cost of financing a boat. Longer loan terms and low borrowing rates have eased the purchase of oceangoing vessels and, perhaps, has made pier fishing less of an attraction. In 2015, when the Oceanana began collecting data, 20,036 people paid $10 per day (it’s now $12 per day) to fish from the pier. Walking, visiting the bar or sightseeing from the pier has no fee. In 2017, 17,171 people fished at the pier, a 14.3% decline from 2015. In 2019, only 11,369 paid to fish from the Oceanana, although storm damage and construction closures resulting from Florence, Cooper said, contributed to the decline. Wilson of the NCDMF said that since the state agency began collecting data in 2012, North Carolina piers have averaged 340,000 users per year. Casting aside 2018 and 2019, which were impacted by Hurricane Florence, Wilson said use is trending upward slightly. Still, Cooper isn’t hopeful that the Oceanana’s numbers will resurface, nor is he banking on it. According to Cooper, 25% of the revenue comes from fishing passes, bait, tackle and rod-and-reel rental, but the majority of the revenue is generated by the motel and the restaurant in the pier house. Piers that rely only on fishing may have more incentive to sell to a developer, especially if the price of scarce oceanfront property continues to rise. “The pier is an amenity for the hotel and helps us rent rooms,” he said. “We have a reason to rebuild that a stand-alone pier doesn’t.”
Providing habitat for coastal species
A primary reason that anglers are drawn to piers is that the structure orchestrates a lush habitat of marine life. Barnacles and sea urchins form on the pylons and provide a smorgasbord that feeds a range of fishes, including northern puffers, sheepshead, and Atlantic spadefish. They also attract hunter species, such as southern flounders, which visit piers seeking prey. Discarded carcasses, tossed by anglers, are a substantial food source for rays, crabs, sharks, and birds. And the elevated boardwalk provides a better vantage than the shore for saltwater anglers who pursue Spanish mackerel and spotted sea trout. According to Wilson, the biggest catches by weight from North Carolina’s ocean piers in 2019 were bluefish, Spanish mackerel, kingfish, pompano, and pufferfish. Anne Deaton, an NCDMF habitat manager, said the habitat that developed along barrier islands, such as Bogue Banks, has been transformed by humans and nature over time. Geologically speaking, barrier islands are offshore deposits of sand separated from the mainland. The sand is perpetually shifted during floods, and the dunes roll toward the mainland during storms. To protect property and counter shore erosion, beach nourishment projects have altered the marine landscape along the shore of the islands. “We’re putting sand over the shallows near the shore,” Deaton said. The result is a rising sea floor below the pier, which means that species, such as spot and croaker, are now farther from the beach. Many barrier islands also have muddy sloughs — deep, underwater troughs running parallel to the beach. Fish travel them looking for food, such as crabs or sand fleas. “Old-timers have told me that there were muddy sloughs near the surf break that attracted shrimp” and other predators at Atlantic Beach, Deaton said. But the bottom of nourished beaches can become hard from additions of mud, sand, and shells. The near-shore sloughs are often covered, making it difficult for small flounder to burrow or mullet to feed. That loss of habitat, whether caused by storms or human-made projects, is a major fisheries management concern.
Piers as an economic asset
Saltwater fishing and marine habitat, however, aren’t the only assets piers offer. Like lighthouses, they are public goods. That is, they are an economic good in which users can’t be excluded and also provide a community or civic benefit. For example, the breaking waves near the Oceanana and other piers along the eastern coast are hallowed waters for surfers. By forming sand bars, piers enhance the waves that reliably peak on either side of the structure. And while occasionally visitors may have one too many beers and tensions sometimes flare between surfers and anglers, Cooper said the Oceanana remains committed to his grandfather’s vision of building a family-friendly operation. In the ’30s and ’40s, Atlantic Beach, Cooper said, was initially developed and funded, in large part, by Eastern North Carolina tobacco money. But after World War II, the eastern end of Bogue Banks attracted middle-class farmers from Kinston, Goldsboro, Wilson, and Greenville. By the 1980s, condominium complexes rose. In the 1990s and 2000s, single-home development filled in empty spaces. Now, Cooper said, 95% of land in Atlantic Beach is developed. Predictably, multimillion-dollar homes are replacing modest beach cottages. “This town reflects the evolution of North Carolina,” Cooper said. “It’s more affluent in Eastern North Carolina than when it was primarily agricultural. What happens in Raleigh will happen here.” Based on ZIP codes, Cooper said, Wake County residents are the largest group of homeowners in Atlantic Beach. The grill fare in the Oceanana’s Pier House Restaurant also reflects the economic status of visitors to Atlantic Beach. On the menu, fresh, local seafood has supplanted hot dogs. Yet the pier has remained more pluralistic, economically speaking, than perhaps the rest of Atlantic Beach. Much like public spaces and public parks, piers may be more inclusive and a shared place because of the low entrance barriers. “Piers offer access to people from all walks of life, a wide range of income, different races and different levels of fishing ability,” said John Hadley, an economist with the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council who authored an NCDMF social and economic study of piers in 2012. “Many are also handicapped-accessible. They are pillars of the beach community. North Carolina is pretty unique in the number of ocean piers. They are one of the defining features of the North Carolina coast.” Wilson added that piers are a microcosm of fishing society. “You’ve got your tourists and cliques of regulars – the pier rats that you see over and over again. It’s a microcosm of fishing society. When one pier disappears, it’s a loss.” Indeed, a characteristic of a public good is that private parties may struggle to profit, which undermines their incentive to provide them. While some have suggested that the state should build additional public piers, such as Jennette’s Pier, not everyone is on board with that idea. “You want to maintain the public benefit and access, but at the same time, not inadvertently put other piers out of business that have been operating for decades,” said Hadley. Unexpectedly, Cooper said, after fishing resumed during phase 1 of the state’s reopening from the coronavirus pandemic this spring, the Oceanana experienced a spike in the number of anglers. “The pier was a godsend during March and April and kept our people working,” Cooper said. “It’s the first time we leaned on the fishing business in a while.” Despite the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, Cooper said he is preparing plans to redevelop the property. The outdated motel and pier house will be replaced, and owners of trailers who lease land are on notice that redevelopment is imminent. That portion of the property will be replaced by vacation rentals. While the buildings and space will get a fresh look, Cooper said the pier will remain. That is, as long as Mother Nature allows. “If a hurricane happens again this year, it wouldn’t make sense economically to rebuild the pier,” he said. “It’s all private money. We want to continue to have public access, but there’s no state or federal money to help us. There is a reason there aren’t a lot of piers left: They don’t make great businesses.”
Read more » click here

Loose Ends (3)

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

      General Comments –

    • 2021 Municipal Elections
      For more information » click here
    • Filings for municipal elections complete for all races
      The filing period for municipal elections has ended.  The following candidates have officially filed for Holden Beach municipal elections before the deadline and will not face any opposition.
      Holden Beach Mayor
      Alan Holden                           128 OBW                             Holden Beach        (incumbent)
    • Holden Beach Commissioner
      Pat Kwiatkowski                   1298 OBW                           Holden Beach        (incumbent)
      Rick Smith                              823 OBW                             Holden Beach
      Page Dyer                               149 Scotch Bonnet             Holden Beach
      It would appear that incumbent Mike Sullivan has chosen not to run for office
      Board of Commissioners Duties and Responsibilities include:

      • adopting the annual budget
      • establishing the annual tax rate
      • enacting local ordinances and Town policies
      • formulating policies for the conduct of Town operations
      • making appointments to advisory boards and committees
      • oversee long range plans for the community

      Previously reported –
      June 2017

      Staggered Terms
      Appointing the members of Boards so that all the members do not change at the same time because their terms expire at different times.

      Advantage of Staggered Terms –
      Help preserve institutional memory by not allowing total rotation of the leadership at one time. Good institutional memory generally improves decision-making and promotes the continuity of good practices and programs.

      Reinstitute Staggered Terms –
      Holden Beach and Bolivia are the only Brunswick County town governments that do not have staggered terms. The Board normally would have two (2) options on how they could make change back to staggered terms. We will need to do a referendum for it to be in effect before the November 2017 elections. It will take two election cycles to fully implement. Justification given is to preserve continuity.

      Referendum –
      A general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision.

      Update –
      By unanimous vote, the Board of Commissioners approved the crafting of a resolution that would put the proposed changes to voters as a referendum on the ballot in November of 2017. If the referendum is approved the staggered terms would be implemented after the November of 2019 election. To be clear, only registered voters of Holden Beach would get to vote on the referendum.
      A decision was made – Approved unanimously

      Previously reported – July 2017
      Agenda Packet –

      Section 2. At the regular municipal election to be held on November 5, 2019, the three commissioner candidates who   receive the   highest number   of votes shall be elected for four-year terms, while the two commissioner candidates who receive the next highest   number   of votes shall be elected for two-year terms.  At the regular municipal election to be held in 2021, and every four years thereafter, two commissioners on the Board of Commissioners shall be elected to serve for four­ year terms. At the regular municipal election to be held in 2023, and every four years thereafter, three commissioners of the Board of Commissioners shall be elected to four-year terms.

      Previously reported – November 2017
      Referendum was approved so we will implement the four-year staggered terms beginning in 2019. 

      BOC’s Meeting

      The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, August 17th

      Hurricane #1 - CR


      Hurricane Season
      For more information » click here

      Be prepared – have a plan!



      No matter what a storm outlook is for a given year,
      vigilance and preparedness is urged.



      If the Town declares a mandatory evacuation, PLEASE LEAVE
      General Assembly during the 2012 Session, specifically authorizes both voluntary and mandatory evacuations, and increases the penalty for violating any local emergency restriction or prohibition from a Class 3 to a Class 2 misdemeanor. Given the broad authority granted to the governor and city and county officials under the North Carolina Emergency Management Act (G.S. Chapter 166A) to take measures necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare during a disaster, it is reasonable to interpret the authority to “direct and compel” evacuations to mean ordering “mandatory” evacuations. Those who choose to not comply with official warnings to get out of harm’s way, or are unable to, should prepare themselves to be fully self-sufficient for the first 72 hours after the storm.

      Hurricane Season * Lou’s Views (lousviews.com)

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