03 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Regular Meeting 03/08/22

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Presentation of Plaque from FEMA to the Holden Beach Planning Department for the Town’s Successful Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System – Mayor Holden

Agenda Packet – background information was not provided

Community Rating System (CRS)
The National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.

As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS:

      • Reduce flood damage to insurable property;
      • Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and
      • Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

For CRS participating communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted in increments of 5% (i.e., a Class 1 community would receive a 45% premium discount, while a Class 9 community would receive a 5% discount (a Class 10 is not participating in the CRS and receives no discount)). The CRS classes for local communities are based on 18 creditable activities, organized under four categories:

      • Public Information,
      • Mapping and Regulations,
      • Flood Damage Reduction, and
      • Flood Preparedness.

National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System
For more information » click here

Update –
Mayor Holden thanked Tim Evans, Planning & Inspections Director, for his efforts that improved our rating, which translates into lower insurance premiums for all of us. The plaque was presented to him and followed by a photo-op.


2. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon
Agenda Packet – pages 20 – 23

Police Patch
The Police report is now generated from Central Square program. A number of  cases are not able to be investigated due to not having a detective as part of the Police Department. Manpower needs will be discussed during the budget process.

 

Previously reported – February 2022
The Police Department has completed the integration of Central Square, a computer aided automated dispatch system, with the County’s 911 system. The expense was approved by the Board in the last budget cycle, but they waited to the winter to implement the transition.


Speed limit will change on OBW west of the general store to 35mph on April 1st.


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

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

 

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

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


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


Neighborhood Watch

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

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

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

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


3. Discussion and Possible Action on Items Necessary to Proceed with Paid Parking – Town Manager Hewett Ordinance 22-02, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Title VII: Traffic Code
.   a)
Ordinance 22-02, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of           .           Ordinances, Title VII: Traffic Code
.   b)
Services Agreement between the Town and Otto Connect
.   c)
Signage
.   d)
Ordinance 22-04, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21-13, The                     .          Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 – 2022               .            (Amendment 10)
  e)
Seeking Local Legislation from the General Assembly Pertaining to            .          NCGS 160A- 301(a)

Agenda Packet – pages 24 – 62 which is too large to include here

There are several items on the 8 March agenda associated with parking. The following attempts to address some of them specifically and additional practical implementation matters as well.

1. Delineation and deconfliction of parking spaces:
  A.
Assuming the draft ordinance is sufficiently refined to consider for adoption I would like to have the Police Department and Public Works ground truth it by marking all locations where parking is proposed to occur; for both on street and off-street categories.
.   B
Marking the spaces will allow public safety officials to realistically test and evaluate whether the distances from intersections and parking locations provide sufficient turning access in addition to allowing other large public services and recreational vehicle towing combinations to gauge the effect of the new reduced intersection

2. Signage:
  A.
Templates and content examples are included for Board review and approval if
.   B.
A budget amendment is included to accommodate the funding streams for both on and off-street parking in accordance with the Fiscal Control Act and GS lG0A-301 (a) and (b) regarding use of same. The budget amendment represents estimates for the last 90 days of the current fiscal year and funds generated will primarily be used for signage and any site work required for implementation. The General Fund will house the program with expenses being made from the Streets

Both the sign templates and budget amendment will require Board approval before signs can be ordered.

3. Implementation date; advertising and consideration of “no pay” days
.     a)
Recommend Board consider “soft start” of paid parking 1 May 2022 for several
.         •
Uncertain delivery times for signage and delivery.
.         •
Uncertainty on prep work for Davis Street property; minimal but required.
.         •
Easter week begins 10 April (Palm Sunday) thru the 17th. Large influx of visitors .           –  not the best time to test a new  system.   Believe the extra month would be     .           better utilized to advertise the beginning of  the paid parking program via large .           digital sign at foot of bridge. It will be critically important to be able to                           standardize and communicate the program’s specifics through various Town     .           media/message platforms.

4. Days at the Docks is 23/24 Apr and will locate vendors in paid parking spaces; there is enough activity associated with this event that it would be cleaner to not complicate the paid parking program issue further until the Board decides on a protocol and schedule of “no pay/reduced pay” days and schedule which can be determined at a later date .Follow on action regarding ask of the General Assembly

It is suggested that the Town of Holden Beach seek local legislation from the General Assembly essentially waiving the constraints imposed by GS 160A-301 (a) relating to the use of on street parking revenues; similar to the flexibility afforded to several towns in New Hanover County via HB 212 Session Law 2001-9 that allows for the use of all paid parking revenues for any public purpose.

Feedback from the NC league of Municipalities indicates that bill filing deadlines for local bills have not yet been announced but the best guess is mid-April or mid-May.  The League suggests that now is the appropriate time to reach out to the town’s local delegation to educate them on the need and request they have legislative staff draft a bill if the Town is ready to proceed in that direction.

RECOMMENDATION:
If the Board is satisfied that the ordinance as drafted is sufficient to implement a paid parking program a motion as follows would provide for sufficient staff direction to move the program forward:

“Motion to approve the paid parking ordinance, the services agreement with Otto Connect, sign templates and budget amendment 22-04 and direct the Town Manager (or other designee as determined by the Board) to seek enabling legislation from the General Assembly through its local delegation.”

Previously reported – February 2022

Finalization of Parking Places
Revised Parking Zone and Area Table, which is included in the packet, the proposal has five hundred and six (506) designated parking spaces now.

# of Lot Spaces 134
# of ROW Spaces 372
Total 506 (458 Full Size / 48 LSV)
Ordinance 22-02, Title VII: Traffic Code

Resolution 22-01, Fee Schedule
Last meeting the motion was to reduce the fee schedule, plus they added a single vehicle option. Lower rates were included in the new fee schedule. Motion was made to accept the fee schedule as written.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Otto Connect Services Agreement
The Board decided that Otto will monitor all streets not just the designated parking areas as originally proposed. After discussion, several changes were made, and the agreement will be adjusted accordingly. It will still need to be submitted to the BOC’s for approval.
No decision was made – No action taken

Update –
David read the agenda packet memo that is posted above.

They discussed the following parking plan changes:

      • The fire department had safety concerns and requested that setbacks be moved back from 25’ to 40’
      • NC Wildlife area boat ramp area parking was eliminated from the plan
      • Considering additional handicap accessible parking spots

Board approved the paid parking ordinance, the services agreement with Otto Connect, sign templates and budget amendment 22-04 and to seek enabling legislation from the General Assembly through its local delegation.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Moved funds of $92,204
ORDINANCE 22-04
Provide budgetary program to account for paid parking Revenues & Expenses
On street parking        $9,868
Off street parking        $82,336
Total                               $92,204

Holden Beach commissioners pass paid parking ordinance
Leaders of the Town of Holden Beach voted unanimously at a meeting Tuesday evening to implement paid parking in Holden Beach beginning May 1, 2022.

The Town will enter into a two-year service agreement with Otto Connect to administer the app-based parking program which applies to 445 regular size parking spaces and 61 low speed vehicle (like golf carts) spaces.

Parking fees will apply from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. until October 31. Usually, the season will begin April 1; however, this year the town is aiming for a soft start to give time to get everything situated.

Parking rates in all designated parking areas will be as follows:

      • $3 per hour for up to 4 hours
      • $15 per day for any duration loner than 4 hours
      • $60 per week for 7 consecutive days

Hourly, daily, weekly, and annual permits will be available at the office of the Town Clerk.
Read more » click here


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Town Communication Plan and Items To Be Produced For Paid Parking Rollout Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Item was added to the agenda

Update –
Otto appeared to have their act together and was ready with a comprehensive plan of action. The Town plans to communicate with the public via all means available including a press release to the local newspapers.


5. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution 22-05, Resolution of the Town of Holden Beach, Approving an Installment Financing Contract and Delivery Thereof and Providing for Certain Other Related Matters – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
pages 63 – 121 which is too large to include here

Pier Property Financing Contract and Resolution
Attached are the installment financing contract with Truist (attachment 1), the deed of trust (attachment 2), the required approval resolution (attachment 3), and the wire transfer agreement (the instal1ment financing contract and deed of trust are redlined to reflect revisions negotiated with Truist from the drafts that were available at the public hearing). The wire transfer agreement sets forth certain security and verification procedures to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent wire transfers through cyber fraud and other means. The required public hearing on the installment financing contract was held at the January meeting. The Local Government Commission approved the financing on March 1, 2022. Approval of Resolution #22-05 regarding the installment financing contract and other related matters as outlined in the resolution is needed to move forward with installment financing to purchase the property at 441 Ocean Boulevard West.

Attachment 1: Installment Financing Contract
Attachment 2: Deed of Trust
Attachment 3: Resolution #22-05
Attachment 4: Wire Transfer Agreement

RESOLUTION 22-05
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of the Town (the “Board”) has determined that it is in the best interest of the Town to enter into an installment financing contract (the “Contract”) with Truist Bank (the “Bank”) in an aggregate amount not to exceed $3,300,000, pursuant to which the Town will receive an advance of funds under which the Town will make certain installment payments, in order to (a) pay the costs of, or reimburse itself for paying the costs of, acquiring property in the Town located at 441 Ocean Boulevard W., including the pier (the “Property”), and (b) pay the costs associated with entering into the Contract;


Pier Property Purchase

Fate of Holden Beach Pier purchase could be decided March 1
After several concerns delayed its funding last month, the town of Holden Beach is now one step closer to buying the Holden Beach Fishing Pier. The deal to purchase the pier was set to close at the end of February, but the Local Government Commission held off on deciding whether to finance the town’s $3.3 million purchase, citing questions around the public’s support, the pier’s structure, the town’s financing assumptions, and the involvement of Mayor Alan Holden’s real estate company. Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden said since his real estate company listed the property, he’s been advised to not vote on the purchase, take no commission, and not to take part in any discussions. “We’re trying to make sure my hands are clean of the deal,” Holden said. “I can’t really do anything other than acknowledge what public record is.” Now the financing application will go before the Local Government Commission March 1, which if approved, would allow the town to buy the 1.9-acre property including the pier, parking lot and adjacent building. “There’s no reason at this point why they shouldn’t vote in favor,” Holden said. “If the LGC gives its blessing, which I expect it will, things should move right along. Right now, everything appears to be on schedule.” But according to State Auditor Beth Wood, who sits on the commission, there are still concerns about the pier’s structure and what all the needed repairs could cost. The town’s pier inspection report found the structure “likely surpassed its remaining service life” and is in need of immediate maintenance costing at least $500,000. However, the scope of the assessment was limited due to bad weather and did not include an underwater assessment, meaning the full extent of its condition and the maintenance it needs is still unknown. “It gets back to loaning the right amount of money for the right cost of the asset,” Wood said. “If there are structural problems and that’s not factored into the pricing that they’re trying to borrow money for, that’s a problem.” Unknowns about the pier structure and concerns over the plan to pay back the financing with parking revenue have been the main drivers of public opposition to the purchase. According to Holden Beach Property Owners Association President Tom Myers, about 60% of members polled are still against the purchase. Myers said requiring a full pier inspection was one request residents were hoping to have delivered before moving forward. “It’s really hard to represent both sides equally,” Myers said of Holden handling the deal. “One tends to end up getting a better deal.” While the deal has garnered mixed reactions throughout, Holden said in recent weeks the public supporting the purchase has become more vocal. “I think as time has gone on, people have begun to understand the true facts versus the fears,” he said. “Especially as the value of the lots continue to appreciate. Every day it seems like it’s a better deal for the town.” Some locals have even taken to emailing their support to the commission directly, and Holden Beach resident Keith Smith created a petition that amassed over 600 signatures. Smith said on top of the necessary beach access and parking the property would provide the pier is an iconic point of interest for the town. “When you think of a coastal beach town and a pier, they’re synonymous,” Smith sad. “It’s more of a cultural and social center.”
Read more » click here

Burgaw, Holden Beach, Columbus County await decisions by LGC
Leaders in Holden Beach, Burgaw and Columbus County will await word Tuesday from the Local Government Commission whether to move forward with projects involving more than $19 million dollars in financing. The commission is scheduled to meet remotely starting at 1:30 pm on Tuesday. State Treasurer Dale Folwell chairs the commission, which has a statutory duty to monitor the finances of more than 1,100 local government units. The LGC also examines whether the amount of money a local government borrows is adequate and reasonable for its’ proposed projects, and it also confirms if the government can reasonably afford to repay the debt. According to the agenda, the town of Holden Beach is LGC approval on a $3.3 million contract to buy pier property and an adjacent lot. Town leaders say the purchase is necessary to provide regional public beach access, public parking and access for beach nourishment and public safety.
Read more » click here

LGC greenlights town’s purchase of Holden Beach Fishing Pier
The Local Government Commission formally approved the financing for the town of Holden Beach to buy the Holden Beach Fishing pier on Tuesday afternoon. The $3.3 million financing agreement unanimously passed, and the pier sale may now officially close on March 28. Included in the purchase is the fishing pier itself, the pier house which contains a café and a store, and an 80-car parking lot. Town leaders say the purchase provides another public beach access, as well as emergency vehicle access. The matter was initially on the LGC’s consent agenda, but commission members moved it off and discussed it as a separate item for 45 minutes before they held the vote. The purchase has been a contentious issue for some time, with the town first entering into a contract to buy the pier in 2021. There’s been several road blocks in completing the purchase, including the LGC putting a stop to the sale last month to gather more information, pushing back the contracted February closing date. The plan to buy and revitalize the pier is a divisive issue among local residents, too. Online petitions have garnered hundreds of signatures hoping to buy the pier so future generations could enjoy the nostalgic reminder of the town’s past. Some taxpayers on the island were worried about whether or not property owners were going to have to foot the bill “Nobody wants to lose it, but at the same time there’s financial realities of what this thing is gonna cost. How much is nostalgia worth it to us in terms of what has to be paid? You look at the numbers in the LGC agenda and it’s basically doubling our debt ratio, it’s doubling the debt per capita, so we’re taking on a lot of debt,” said Tom Myers, president of the Holden Beach Property Owner’s Association. The latest poll from the Holden Beach Property Owners Association shows 60 percent of respondents were not in favor of the town’s plan to buy the pier. In a letter to the LCG, Myers also cited the groups concern about errors in the paid parking revenue projections, no underwater pier inspection, risks associated with insurance coverage, environmental concerns, and the town’s “very weak negotiating position when dealing with the seller.”
LGC Talks Through Several Concerns
Tuesday afternoon, the Town Manager, the Mayor, and the Mayor Pro Tem sat before the commission in Raleigh ready to answer questions about the sale. The state auditor and the state treasurer asked the town leaders several hard questions Tuesday, starting with concerns about the inspection. When the property inspectors were doing their assessment on the pier, the weather was too dangerous for divers to check the underwater portion of the pier. Aside from the portion below the water level, the inspection of the pier house showed the structure had likely surpassed its useful life, having been built in 1957. There were several safety concerns, and code issues related to the building’s plumbing and electric. On Tuesday, the mayor explained that many of the repairs needed were cosmetic, and the large repairs will be made overtime as budget permits. The town’s paid parking proposal was also brought up in the discussion portion Tuesday. The way the motions are currently written, the town manager confirms the paid parking proceeds for 80 parking spaces at the pier are the only spaces where revenue would be used to fund the pier project. When LGC members asked if the paid parking was brought up after they decided to move forward with the pier purchase, town leaders clarified that paid parking had been an effort they’ve talked about prior to the pier project, and it was even part of the town’s strategic plan. State Auditor Beth Wood had several pointed questions about the mayor’s realty company representing the pier’s seller. The mayor explained his company had been representing the pier far before the town became interested in the sale. As the process began picking up speed, mayor Alan Holden says he gave up the six-figure commission on the property and excused himself from the negotiations. Mayor Holden told the LGC on the record that no one affiliated with his company will get a benefit from the pier transaction. A commission member also announced they had a signed affidavit from the mayor certifying the claims that there wasn’t a conflict of interest, and the sale didn’t violate any ethics laws. Friday morning the commission also received a letter from the town attorney explaining his opinion that it didn’t violate any ethics laws.
Read more » click here

Holden Beach moves forward with $3.3 million pier purchase
The town of Holden Beach has secured financing to purchase the Holden Beach Fishing Pier, after several concerns delayed its funding last month. The N.C. Local Government Commission questioned town officials about the pier’s structure and Mayor Alan Holden’s involvement in the deal, but ultimately approved the $3.3 million needed to buy the pier, adjacent building, and parking lot. The deal was set to close at the end of February, but the Local Government Commission kept the town’s application off the agenda to address the issues. The sale will now close March 28. According to Holden, whose real estate company listed the pier property, he gave up a six-figure commission on the sale and took no part in discussions. “We’re trying to make sure my hands are clean of the deal,” he said before the financing was approved. The commission was also concerned about the state of the pier, which due to bad weather wasn’t able to get a full underwater inspection when the town assessed its structure. State Auditor Beth Wood, who sits on the commission, said the unknown costs could have the town coming back asking for more funding. The town’s pier inspection report found the structure “likely surpassed its remaining service life” and is in need of immediate maintenance costing at least $500,000. Holden said the town would be able to pay for any additional repairs over time and wouldn’t have to raise taxes for more funding. Unknowns about the pier structure and concerns over the plan to pay back the financing with parking revenue have been the main drivers of public opposition to the purchase. According to Holden Beach Property Owners Association President Tom Myers, about 60% of members polled are still against the purchase. Myers said requiring a full pier inspection was one request residents were hoping to have delivered before moving forward. “It’s really hard to represent both sides equally,” Myers said of Holden handling the deal. “One tends to end up getting a better deal.” While the deal has garnered mixed reactions throughout, Holden said in recent weeks the public supporting the purchase has become more vocal. “I think as time has gone on, people have begun to understand the true facts versus the fears,” he said. “Especially as the value of the lots continue to appreciate. Every day it seems like it’s a better deal for the town.” Some locals have even taken to emailing their support to the commission directly, and Holden Beach resident Keith Smith created a petition that amassed over 600 signatures. Smith said on top of the necessary beach access and parking the property would provide the pier is an iconic point of interest for the town. “When you think of a coastal beach town and a pier, they’re synonymous,” Smith sad. “It’s more of a cultural and social center.”
Read more » click here

LGC approves Holden Beach loan request
The North Carolina Local Government Commission has approved the town of Holden Beach’s request for a loan to pay for the Holden Beach Fishing Pier. Holden Beach asked the commission, which is staffed by the N.C. Department of Treasurer to monitor local government finances, to have a $3.3 million loan through Truist Bank with a 3.18% annual percentage rate for 15 years. According to the Local Government Commission’s documents in the agenda, there will also be a $50,650 cash contribution in addition to the loan. The insurance cost was documented at $54,650. Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden, town commissioner Rick Smith and town manager David Hewett attended the March 1 meeting in person. LGC staff recommended approving the loan. Staff also said most of the emails received on the pier purchase were supportive, with a small amount that weren’t. N.C. Treasurer Dale Folwell said, “My knowledge about this is that I have seen this pier on proper ty on Holden Beach – fantastic place.” He asked whether town representatives can state the town’s intention in keeping the pier, maintaining it or what the capital expenditures may be. Hewett said there are 350 feet of oceanfront property and its public beach access, adding the lot can provide access for emergency vehicles and to residents nearby who can’t access the beach from another access point. He also called the pier and the pier house an “iconic representation for North Carolinians” of the oceanfront coast. The plan to fix the pier, if required, has in-house building inspectors who can do some fixes. Hewett said any significant repairs would be made “incrementally over time” and stretched out to fit the budget. He said about four years ago, a hurricane come through, causing 25-foot seas that pounded the bottom of the pier for about six hours. “If those 25-foot seas didn’t take it then, it’s going to be there for a while,” he said. Hewett said a portion of the pier was inspected, but bad weather stopped under water inspection, which is scheduled soon. He said there is an undetermined life expectancy for the pilings. “If you go look at them, they look really green, which is an indicator of good health,” he said. The beach nourishment project that’s currently under way is expected to bury the pilings at the high tide or lower area. Folwell asked what
would happen if the pier isn’t inspected and town officials were to find they purchased a “lemon.” Hewett said the ocean portion of the pier may be a lemon, but the dry land portion of it is still viable. He said he had his granddaughter out on it about seven weeks ago on a “heavy sea day” and it didn’t move too much. Folwell asked what’s the contingency plan if it is a lemon. “The real estate itself stands for the note,” Hewett said, adding the appraisal is higher than the asking amount and the real estate is “worth the problem.” Hewett said the town’s building inspector will most likely ask for an outside engineer. In response to what would be the liability, Hewett said it will be the same as the town’s other public beach accesses. In response to why the pier is for sale. Holden
said Gil Bass, who is the principal in the corporation, is “old and tired” like the rest of them. Smith said Bass lost his wife a few years ago, which caused Bass to step back. Smith said when the town made a plan to repay the pier money, they only included the building. He said there are several grants available, but the town can’t apply for the grants until the pier purchase is official. The LGC said there were comments the town might be paying too much. Hewett said town commissioners voted unanimously to pursue financing. He said the feedback the town has received includes concerns on the pier’s condition and whether access is needed. In response to questions about on-site parking, Hewett said there are about 80 parking spots on asphalt there now that qualify for the town’s paid parking program. The town did not include pier parking in the program because it doesn’t yet own the property. He added the paid parking program will be a town-wide program. Spaces at the pier site will be used to help pay for the property if it is purchased. N.C. state auditor Beth Wood asked if paid parking was a serious conversation before the town began to talk about the pier. Hewett said the parking program was identified in the commissioners’ strategic goals a year ago. Hewett said commissioners also created an advisory committee to look into it. Wood said if the pier has huge structural issues, will the town return to ask for more money or raise parking fees? Hewett said commissioners are on record they won’t raise taxes to pay for the pier. He said between beach nourishment and migration because of COVID, more people are coming. He said the occupancy tax is strong and will be the primary source for financing. Wood also asked why this deal is going through Holden’s real estate company. Holden is a dual agent for the purchase. He said his company had the proper ty listed before the town expressed interest. When the town showed interest, Holden said he gave up a six-figure commission. He also pulled himself out of the town’s discussions on the pier. Secretary Ronald Penny asked if Holden’s company will receive anything because of the transaction. “No one affiliated with me in any way, past, present, or future, will receive any benefit from this transaction,” Holden said. Holden said the pier has been there since 1959 and he has represented the Holden Beach Fishing Pier properties exclusively that they rented on the canal. He said another company had the pier listed before he did. He said he also had two of the company’s proper ties oceanfront lots for just under $600,000 each. He said the town is getting this for a substantial discount. Holden said the town was also asked if it has experience maintaining other piers, which it does on the Intracoastal Waterway. “We are on top of things in regards of that,” he said. Before the LGC voted, Folwell advised Holden Beach to split the loan out to “tax-free and taxed” to reduce the interest cost. He also suggested when the town
starts charging for parking, to start with the 80 spots in front of the pier. “It just may be a way, no pun intended, to kind of stick your toe in the water and to see how your visitors and your residents really feel about your paid parking,” Folwell said. He said the residents just want to know if the town has sharpened its pencils as much as possible. The LGC then voted in favor of the loan. Folwell said the LGC voted “yes” because the application was “properly before them and many board members had lots of questions. “At the end of the day it’s not only about the need for the adequacy of the financing, it’s about the plan that brings some level of certainty that Holden Beach can remain one of the No. 1 voted beaches on the East Coast,” he said. Folwell added he hopes the town takes their advice because it will help lower the cost.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – February 2022
Update of the Local Government Commission (LGC) Review of Financial Package for the Pier Property Purchase – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
Item was added to the agenda

In January, the Town received official notification from the LGC that consideration of the financial package would not be on their February agenda. Pat stressed that this was neither an acceptance nor a refusal, the proposed financial package is still in the works and should be on the LGC March agenda.

Pier Purchase Update
The Local Government Commission (LGC) did not include the Town’s loan application on the agenda for their February 1st meeting.

Click here to view the email the LGC sent to the Town notifying them about this decision.

Click here to view the Town’s loan application.

The LGC has serious concerns about:

      • The amount of public opposition to the pier purchase
      • The amount of public opposition to the paid parking plan that was listed as a source of funding for the pier purchase
      • The underwater inspection not being done
      • The payback assumptions in the Town’s financial plan for the pier
      • The Mayor’s real estate company representing the seller

As a result, the Town will not be able to close on the property on February 28th as required in the purchase contract.

Click here to view the contract
* clause 8a addresses the situation if the Town is denied approval by the LGC


Concerns over public support, mayor involvement could put Holden Beach pier purchase on hold
The town of Holden Beach’s plan to purchase a pier and adjacent building could be put on hold after the N.C. Local Government Commission raised concerns about its financing application. The town was set to close on the two-parcel, 1.9-acre property, which includes the pier, parking lot and adjacent building for just around $3.3 million at the end of February. The deal, which has garnered mixed reactions from residents, was contingent on the town receiving financing from the Local Government Commission during its Feb. 1 meeting. But Holden Beach’s financing application was not on the February agenda. According to an email the commission sent the town in January, Holden Beach’s financing application will be kept off the agenda until several concerns can be addressed by the town. Concerns include public opposition to the purchase, even greater opposition to the parking plan meant to pay for the pier, the pier structure’s evaluation, and the involvement of Mayor Alan Holden’s real estate company, according to commission financial analyst Joe Futima, “These concerns are taken seriously by the Commission and there needs to be more time for the Town to better address them,” Futima states in the email. “We will reevaluate the application for a March placement.” According to Holden Beach Property Owners Association President Tom Myers, the concerns brought by the commission are the same ones property owners have been expressing for months. Myers said while some residents are glad the commission stepped in, others say the opportunity for the town to purchase the land is too good to pass up, despite any setbacks. “At this point, everybody’s entrenched, and it’s been going on since June,” he said. “It’s still the same arguments that we’ve been hearing from each side.” The commission noted the assumptions made in the town’s plan to pay back the financing were “less than certain.” Town officials have maintained they would not increase property taxes for the purchase and would instead use parking revenue and could potentially lease the pier and building. The commission also flagged the pier’s evaluation as a concern. According to the town’s pier inspection report, the structure has “likely surpassed its remaining service life” and is in need of immediate maintenance. “The hardware throughout the structure is heavily corroded, with greater than 50% section loss,” the report stated. Immediate repairs needed would cost at least $500,000 and would extend its service life by 10 to 15 years, according to the report. Due to bad weather, however, the scope of the pier assessment was limited and did not include an underwater assessment, meaning the full extent of its condition and the maintenance it needs is still unknown. Holden Beach officials did not respond to requests Monday for comment from the StarNews.
Read more » click here

LGC: Holden Beach application ‘unfinished’
The town of Holden Beach’s loan application to buy the Holden Beach Pier did not make it into the Local Government Commission’s Feb. 1 agenda because it wasn’t finished, according to North Carolina Treasurer Dale R. Folwell. He said that was the main reason why it wasn’t put on the agenda. Folwell said the commission also had several questions that needed to be answered as the commission continues analyzing it. “There are a lot of legal requirements that have to be vetted in order to make sure that … what is before us is adequate,” he said. He said the questions are to make sure all legal and ethical questions are met.

The commission had other questions.

• What is the town’s intended use of the pier in the future?
• Is the public aware that this purchase may have different scenarios for the future of the pier?
• If initial repairs are being considered to allow for the use of the building on the pier for lease revenue purposes, what is the long-term plan for the pier operations?
• What is the estimated cost of future expenditures for repairs/upkeep for the pier?
• This would need to be referenced in a detailed evaluation of the structure, including underwater features. Specifically, which funds will support debt service?
• Are any of these funds contingent on other actions the town would need to take before receipt?
• “We’re keepers of the public purse, the job of the LGC is to be confident and transparent,” he said, adding they do that on every transaction.

He said unfinished applications happen “more often than not.” He said the applications must be 100% completed and vetted. Folwell said he personally was not aware of the town’s plans to buy the pier. “As far as the LGC, our job … is to do our job, to make sure that transactions that are presented to us have the right amount of information,” he said. He said the commission also makes sure the price paid for the item, such as the pier, in this case, is adequate and not excessive. He said if the purchase was only a raw piece of land, it is easy to figure out the adequate price. However, when the purchase is a structure that may need more money to maintain it for future use, which is a whole different question. Folwell said the main value of the pier is under water and can’t be seen. He said the underwater inspection in this purchase is a unique but important part of the town’s application. He said the application must reflect the purchase and that all factors have been accounted for. He said anyone saying the commission is for or against anything is dealing with information he isn’t aware of and doesn’t believe exists. Folwell said there are concerns with Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden being a dual agent on this purchase. “This is not about how anybody fees about anybody personally, but this is about issues related to whether all the boxes have been checked as far as the transparency on the transaction,” he said. He said the commission is also dealing with this another local event in Ocean Isle Beach. In January, the state audit department reviewed and then faulted the way Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith’s real estate company purchased her town’s former police station, along with the way the transaction was handled by the town of Ocean Isle Beach. The audit department said Smith made an offer on the land before it was made available to the public, along with a few
other issues. The state recommended officials involved receive training and passed the information along to the district attorney to investigate. “It’s not about (Holden) and it’s not about Holden Beach,” Folwell said. Rather, Folwell said this is about anyone at any one time in the state who is involved in a transaction that isn’t completely
transparent. He said the commission applies the same standards statewide. Folwell couldn’t comment on whether the town will finish the application in time for the next meeting. He said the commission doesn’t know how long it will take to do an application. “If this is a great deal today, it’ll be a great deal next week and next month,” he said.
Folwell said just because an item isn’t on a particular agenda doesn’t mean it has anything to do with the “virtue of the deal.” He said the commission is in the business of checking hundreds of applications a year. They come from 1,300 entities encompassing 100 counties and more than 548 municipalities. There are also 30 staffers to sort through the applications. Folwell said the commission doesn’t pick and choose what rules apply to a particular applicant. He said because of the sheer number of applications the commission sees, the limited staff applies the same rules to everyone. He said he was not in a position to answer whether the Holden Beach application not making it onto the LGC’s February agenda will impact the closing date at the end of this month. Folwell said it comes down to the transparency of taxpayer money. “When it comes to the transparency of local government and taxpayer money, it’s never a bad idea to measure five times and cut once,” he said.
Beacon

Update –
Approval of Resolution #22-05 regarding the installment financing contract and other related matters as outlined in the resolution is needed to move forward with installment financing to purchase the property at 441 Ocean Boulevard West. BOC’s approved the resolution and will close on the pier property before the end of the month.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


6. Discussion and Possible Approval of Contract with the Division of Coastal Management for a Grant (50-Foot Lot Portion of the Holden Beach Pier Property) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
pages 122 – 147 which is too large to include here

In August 2021, the Town submitted a final grant application for the 50-foot lot portion of the Holden Beach Pier Property located at 441 OBW (parcel ID#246DB002). The purpose was primarily identified as providing pedestrian access to canal property owners, as well as day trippers, while also providing emergency vehicle access and an entry point for large equipment during beach nourishment projects. The Town was approved for funding by the Division of Coastal Management (DCM) as part of the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Program. The amount awarded to the Town as outlined in the attached grant contract (attachment 1) is $180,460. The Town did provide a match as referenced in the application because match contributions make the application more competitive.

If the BOC’s would like to accept the grant for use toward the purchase of the 50-foot lot, the suggested motion would be: Motion to enter into a contract with DCM, as outlined in attachment 1, and authorize the Town Manager to execute the contract and provisions therein.

Grant Assistance Requested:              $180,460.00
Local Cash Contribution:                    $361,206.67
Total:                                                      $541,666.67

Update –
BOC’s approved accepting the grant and enter into a contract with Division of Coastal Management.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


7. Feedback from the Town Attorney Regarding the Possible Use of 796 Ocean Boulevard West as a Community Center in Light of Mayor’s Question Whether a Town Ordinance Related to Clubhouses on Holden Beach is Applicable – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet – background information was not provided

Previously reported – February 2022
Discussion and Possible Action on the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board’s Recommendations for 796 Ocean Boulevard West – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson
Agenda Packet – pages 55 – 79 which is too large to include here
The BOC tasked the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) with compiling recommendations for the use of 796 Ocean Boulevard West. The PRAB held regular meetings, and one special meeting with town staff, with its recommendations included in your agenda packet. Chair John McEntire is in attendance to go over the board’s report with you this evening.

Possible Actions and Recommendation
Option 1: Use of the facility as is with minimal renovation
Option 2: A renovated facility like the Ocean Isle Community Center
Option 3: A completely new structure
Option 4: Remove structure and create parking spaces.
Option 5: Sell The Property

Summary
The PRAB has determined that The Property at 796 OBW is optimally located to serve as a community center recreational facility as envisioned in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

The various options were evaluated and ranked as to which best addressed the expressed goals of the BOC and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Preferences were as follows:

Option 4: Demo and restrooms, parking
Option 2: Renovation
Option 3: Completely new structure
Option 5: Sell
Option 1: Use as is

THB Parks & Recreation Master Plan / 796 Ocean Boulevard

      • Consider reuse of this structure as a community recreation resource
      • Bathhouse (restrooms/showers)
      • Classroom or exhibit space
      • Rentable meeting space (with kitchen)
      • Improve parking layout
      • Improve accessibility ADA

Board agreed to terminating lease agreement so they can move forward with plans for the community to utilize the property.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – January 2021
This memo proposes the BOC’s terminate the lease with 796 Ocean Boulevard West tenant effective 28 February 2022 and to direct the Town Manager to officially notify the tenant accordingly.

The term for the lease agreement between the tenant and Town for the residence at 796 Ocean Boulevard West was for six months, with an automatic month-to-month renewal option after completion of the initial term. The initial term ended on 1 May 2021.

With numerous conversations, planning and pending decisions/activities associated with 796 Ocean Boulevard West, it is recommended that the Town give the tenant notice of termination in order to facilitate an orderly progression of outcomes for the property.

PRAB Chair John McEntire made the presentation. He addressed the issues as the tasker required them to do. He went through the process that they took and briefly reviewed all considerations. They focused on the potential intended use of the property. They identified and explored several options. The PRAB determined that the property is optimally located to serve as a community center recreational facility as envisioned in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
No decision was made – No action taken


I would be concerned with the following:

 

      • another project that would be at a considerable cost to the community
      • renovations far exceed the allowed amount, noncompliance with 50% rule
      • commercial use in residential area
        * same issue as the Beach Club Houses
      • not having adequate parking there
        * that includes what is in the current proposed parking plan

Update –
Mayor Holden voiced his concerns that the Rules & Regulations that were put in place to prevent Beach Club Houses would apply to this building too. Town attorney explained that the difference is private use by off-island subdivision vs. public use by the community. He did not see any issues with the planned use as a community center.


8. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 22-05, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21 13, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 – 2022 (Amendment  No. 11), Appropriating Funds for Sewer Capital Outlay – Budget & Fiscal Operations Analyst McRainey

Agenda Packet – pages 148 – 149

Considering the rapid nature of new construction that the Town has experienced, revenues from system development fees have exceeded original projections. These fees are collected and transferred to the capital reserve fund to help pay for costs incurred to increase sewer capacity. The staff is asking the Board to approve the amendment to be able to transfer this money from the Capital Reserve Fund to the Water and Sewer fund to be used for the purchase of valve pits that will expand sewer service to new homes constructed in the town.
Staff recommends approval of Ordinance 22-05.

Update –
BOC’s approved request to transfer funds in order to purchase valve pits, a proactive approach to address future growth.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Moved funds of $43,000


9. Town Manager’s Report


Click here to view footage of the project.

Beach Nourishment Project
The nourishment project, initiated January 7th,  is about a two-thirds of the way complete. They have placed 1.1 million cyds of sand on the beach strand so far and we anticipate an on-time completion of the project.

Previously reported – December 2021
We were able to mate two (2) projects, Central Reach and Eastern Reach areas. This is a continuous project of over five (5) miles, from 262 OBE through 871 OBW. It will cover an area that is over five (5) miles long, eight (8) feet high, and one hundred (100) feet wide.

Lockwood Folly Inlet Crossing Navigation Maintenance Project
USACE sponsored project due to place 210K cyds of beach compatible sand on the east end started last week. Southwind is going to dredge the inlet crossing section of the intracoastal waterway, including bend wideners where the inlet and waterway meet.  The dredge pipeline and equipment needs to be removed by April 14th. The window is tight, but Southwind believes they can complete the project by then.

Wetlands
Per the Board’s direction the wetland delineation is underway, clearing parcels as needed for the surveyors.

Previously reported – February 2022
They have ordered an engineer to delineate the wetland areas, work is to be completed in the next two (2) weeks

Previously reported – January 2022
They agreed that they will need to get our plans to the DOT for their approval. Also, it will require a civil engineer to delineate the wetland area and do any required permitting. Brian made a motion that we delineate all town property bordering marsh areas that is included in the parking plan.

Roadway
Paving for Seagull bid package is going out next week, plan to award the contract at the BOC’s Regular Meeting in April. David anticipates paving will be completed before Memorial Day, as it has been done in the past few years.

 

In Case You Missed It –.


National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On March 11, 2022, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to September 30, 2022.


Utility Department Billing
Effective January 1, 2022, Brunswick County will increase the Town’s water wholesale rate by 82%. This increase is to cover the cost of increased plant capacity and to add a low-pressure reverse osmosis treatment system. The Town of Holden Beach will also increase their rates on January 1st to reflect the increased cost to them.


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
Property owners will be provided with four (4) decals which will be included in their water bills. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

The decals are your passes to get back onto the island to check your property in the event that an emergency would necessitate restricting access to the island. Decals must be displayed in the driver side lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle. 

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 the Town website to find out more information regarding decals and emergency situations.


Upcoming Events –

Family Nighttime Easter Egg Hunt
The Town will hold its nighttime Easter Egg Hunt on Friday, April 15thbeginning at 7:00 pm. Teams of four will compete against each other. Participants will need to bring their own flashlights to the event. Participants MUST register by March 18th, call (910) 842-6488 to register. Registrations will not be accepted by email.


10. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(6), To Discuss Qualifications, Competence, Performance of a Public Employee Mayor Pro Tem Smith

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

11. 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 Contracts Concerning the Acquisition of Real Properties – Mayor Pro Tem Smith

No decision was made – No action taken

This is the list of properties currently being considered for acquisition by the Town
Seven (7) pier properties currently under contract
Block Q
Parcels 232NH002, 232NH003, 232NB014, 232NB015, 232NB021, 232NB022          

To View Parcels » click here

Brunswick County – Basic Search
Select Parcel Number
Enter Parcel Number
Click Owner Name
Click View Map for this Parcel


General Comments – .



BOC’s Meeting

The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, April 19th
.



.
A little surprised that

they still have not scheduled any
Budget Meetings

 


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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. 


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