08 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Public Hearing / Regular Meeting 08/16/22

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


Public Hearing

NC Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Grant Application

Previously reported – July 2022
Discussion and Possible Setting of Public Hearing for NC Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Grant Application – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet – pages 23 – 25

Based on the BOC’s direction to pursue grant opportunities to assist with the development of the pier properties, the staff submitted a pre-application to the Division of Coastal Management for the development of the 50-foot lot for beach access to include a Hatteras ramp and walkway for a total project cost of $63,535.00. The agency approved the pre-application, and the town has been asked to complete a final application that will come before the BOC in August. As part of the application, a public meeting or hearing is required, and the staff determined that a public hearing would demonstrate the town taking the most formal approach to submission requirements. If awarded the grant, the BOC would still have to choose to accept or decline funds.

Suggested Motion: Set the public hearing for 5:00 p.m. on August  16th  prior  to  the start of the  regular  board meeting and ask the town clerk to advertise accordingly .

For more information » click here

Our preliminary request for funding of the Pier Access Improvements Public Beach Access by the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Grant Program has been reviewed by the Division of Coastal Management (DCM) and we are invited to submit a final application for further consideration in the 2022-23 grant cycle. As part of the application a Public Hearing is required, they scheduled it prior to the next BOC’s meeting.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
As part of the application, a public hearing is required, and the staff determined that a public hearing would demonstrate the town taking the most formal approach to submission requirements.


Regular Meeting


1.   Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Agenda Packet – pages 15 – 22

Police Patch
Jeremy reviewed the actions that were taken by them last month Typical summertime fun at the beach
Home stretch, only twenty (20) days left until Labor Day (09/05/22)

 

The police department currently has only eight (8) officers of the ten (10) they are budgeted to have. Otto handling the majority of parking issues.

Golf carts is being addressed as a priority in order to keep people safe. All rules that apply to motor vehicles apply to golf carts. 

Originally reported that they will implement the no left turn coming off the bridge on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. Have not had the need to close the left turn lane on the bridge, traffic never backed up there. Watching the situation and if the need arises they will implement no left turn coming off the bridge again.

Reminded everyone its Hurricane Season be prepared, have a plan!
We are going into the more active hurricane period which is from August to October

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.


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

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!


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


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.


Parking
§72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY.
(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. … 


Previously reported – July 2022
Discussion and Possible Action on Golf Cart Violation Reporting Tasker – Mayor Pro Tem Smith and Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet – page 30

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.

This time I would like to request we task the Town Manager with making sure we get this information every month with the Police report until the BOC can determine if we need to make changes or add an ordinance to protect our citizens and visitors.

Request for Golf Cart Infraction Details


All rules that apply to motor vehicles apply to golf carts. Despite assurances that golf carts are being addressed as a priority in order to keep people safe, we have not seen any noticeable change in behavior, there still are a significant number of golf carts in violation of vehicle regulations. This is the same tasker from June of 2021. This is a safety issue and more needs to be done. They questioned whether enforcement is the issue. What we are doing is not working, they are trying to be proactive before anything bad happens. They just want to utilize measurement metrics to see if what we are doing is getting the desired effect. Jeremy objected to the Board giving them direction as to what laws to enforce, they enforce all laws on all vehicles and they can’t legally target specific vehicles. It was a convoluted response; all the Board is asking is for them to report what is being done to address the issue. The Board asked him to figure out how to make this happen and Jeremy reluctantly agreed that he will figure out how to capture the data.

Holden Beach commissioners request more information on golf cart violations Golf carts have been the talk of the county this summer and, as more and more appear on the roadways and more incidents happen as a result, one local town wants to investigate if golf cart drivers are following traffic laws, as well as how those laws are being enforced. During the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 19, an agenda item was listed, presented by Mayor Pro Tem Rick Smith and Commissioner Pat Kwiatkowski, requesting monthly low-speed vehicle (i.e., golf cart) infraction reports to be given to the Board of Commissioners. “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,” the agenda item reads. Smith said the board is requesting monthly reports from the Holden Beach Police Department containing information on the number of golf cart-related incidents in town. He noted these reports should include information about parking, seatbelt and child car seat violations and citations issued to unlicensed and underage drivers. The request stems from the increase in golf carts on the roads, which has been accompanied by many folks not abiding by traffic laws – which are largely the same for golf carts as they are for cars. “It’s gotten to the point where I’m getting calls from residents. We want to know, as the board, if we need to do anything other than what’s being done,” Smith said. “I think law enforcement getting a count as to what is actually happening out there, so we can actually give some kind of idea, is how we need to move forward.” Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon, though in agreement that golf carts are creating safety issues in town, wasn’t keen on the idea and explained why. Dixon said he feels it is “bad practice” for the police department to allow the Board of Commissioners to determine what their enforcement actions should be. He also said he feels this could come across as the town targeting golf carts, which could be seen as discriminatory. Dixon noted a lawsuit in Delaware, Espinosa v. Town of Fenwick Island, that stems from that town adopting an ordinance that banned most low-speed vehicles from driving on town streets. In early July, a Delaware court ruled that the ordinance, temporarily, is unenforceable. “A golf cart or a low-speed vehicle is still a motor vehicle, and we need to treat them the same as every other motor vehicle,” Dixon said. Kwiatkowski said the board doesn’t want the police department to target golf carts, but rather to share organically gathered golf cart citation information, specifically regarding violations related to seatbelts and children riding in laps, to “see whether or not the efforts that are being made to communicate to get messages out there are actually helping.” Dixon responded, noting he understands the request but is unsure how accurate the information would even be considering officers often stop golf carts without issuing citations. Smith asked Dixon to find a way to get accurate information. “What we’re doing and what we’re seeing is not working,” he said. “I don’t want to wait until someone is killed for us to do a knee jerk reaction on doing something then,” Smith continued. “Let’s put something in place on the front end to try to curb this so we don’t have to do something drastic on the back end.” Lieutenant Frank Dilworth told the board that the way crash and citations data is collected is set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and their classifications do not include golf carts or low-speed vehicles. Smith and Kwiatkowski both agreed the data on golf cart infractions didn’t need to be official data, but just asked the department to keep track of citations, warnings and conversations with golf cart drivers and passengers for the board to see if their safety efforts are working. “It’s what can you do outside of the existing system that’s in place to tease out golf cart information that helps us see that, yeah, it does help, or we need to focus on communication, education, something,” Kwiatkowski said. “Because I have a feeling that we still need to come up with more ways to get the word out. From week to week, it varies tremendously.” Smith said the request isn’t about cracking down on golf carts, it’s about ensuring the safety of those on the golf carts. “I don’t want to ruin anybody’s vacation, stop them and just give them a warning, give them a good talking to, especially the ones that have got the babies in their arms.” In the end, Dixon agreed to provide the board with data on golf cart citations, incidents and warnings but he was unsure if it would help address the safety issues.
Read more » click here


Five things to know about driving golf carts at Brunswick’s beaches
Earlier this summer, Southport Police Chief Todd Coring was riding through town when he saw something that stopped him in his tracks. A golf cart, driven by an underage driver, was cruising the streets, pulling a teen riding a skateboard and holding a dog on a leash. Coring held his breath as they approached the intersection. The golf cart stopped; the skateboard didn’t. Thankfully, all were safe and unharmed. “The boy held onto the dog, jumped off the skateboard, and never missed a beat,” Coring recalled. “The skateboard rolled out into the road, but thankfully, the cars stopped, and everything was all right.” While Coring took a minute to joke with the boy about his amazing balance and coordination, he also educated the kids about the city’s low-speed vehicle ordinance, which mandates golf cart drivers must be at least 18 years old. Coring’s not alone. Across Brunswick County, beach towns are seeing an increase in the number of violations. Sunset Beach Police Chief Kenneth Klamar noted in addition to tourists who may be unfamiliar with the rules, one of the issues driving the increase in violations is the volume of golf carts on the roads during the summer months. While it may be a fun, easy way to get around town, leaders in several Brunswick municipalities say they are concerned for the safety of the riders and those around them, and they are considering how to address the issue. Here are five things to know if you plan to operate a golf cart in Brunswick’s beach towns.
Understand local ordinances
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to golf cart ordinances, and towns don’t have to allow them. On Bald Head Island, golf carts are the primary mode of transportation and are permitted, but it’s a bit different on Sunset Beach. Klamar explained that while they don’t allow traditional golf carts, they do allow Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs) as outlined in North Carolina General Statute 20-121.1. Like Bald Head Island, the City of Southport also permits golf carts, but they must be registered with the city annually. Most municipalities have their ordinances listed on their website. Check it before you hit the road to be sure you are in compliance.
‘Golf cart’ and ‘low-speed vehicle’ terms not interchangeable
North Carolina General Statute defines a golf cart as “a vehicle designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour.” A low-speed vehicle, or LSV as it if often called, is covered in the North Carolina General Statutes, which defines it as “a four-wheeled electric vehicle whose top speed is greater than 20 miles per hour but less than 25 miles per hour.” The statute permits low-speed vehicles on “only on streets and highways where the posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less.” Low-speed vehicles must be registered with the state and insured.
Drivers must be of age
Daisy Ivey, town administrator for Ocean Isle Beach, said the issues they primarily see are underage drivers and unsecured children. These issues were reported across the board by officials in Brunswick’s beach towns, and they say it’s a safety concern. Even though it’s not a car, a golf cart still poses significant injury risk. “You don’t have as much protection around you as you do in a vehicle,” Coring said. While some towns allow 16-year-olds to operate golf carts, others, like Southport, require drivers to be at least 18 years old.
Traffic laws still apply
Driving a golf cart means obeying traffic laws by stopping at stop signs and stoplights. Golf cart drivers should also know even though golf carts are smaller than most traditional vehicles, they still should be parked in traditional parking spaces. Officials also note that when it comes to drinking and driving, golf carts are treated the same as motor vehicles, and intoxicated drivers will be charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI).
Towns are cracking down on violators
After seeing an increase in violations over the summer, towns are working to address the issue through education and increased enforcement. On July 21, the Oak Island Police Department reported 24 LSV stops in a single hour. The most common citations were for no child restraints, unregistered vehicles which did not possess the necessary equipment, and overloaded capacity. Michael Emory, public information officer for Oak Island, said that in addition to increased enforcement, the town is attempting to educate the public on the rules.  “We have already begun this effort with an increased social media push, as well as redesigning and reprinting our ‘Respect the Road’ information cards, which are being provided by the Police Department, available at Town Hall, and available to all LSV rental companies,” Emory said in an email. Coring also reported that Southport is increasing enforcement efforts and hosting golf cart registration events to ensure that golf carts have the necessary safety equipment and are registered with the city. He said the goal is to ensure everyone’s safety. “We welcome golf carts,” he said. “We just want people to be safe on the roads.”
Read more » click here

Update –
There have been a lot of incidents, they would like to remind everyone that it is important to protect your personal property. For the month of July, the Police Department issued eight (8) citations/warnings for LSVs and Golf Carts.  The paid parking vendor, Otto Connect, issued 492 citations.


2.   Inspections Department Report – Inspections Director Evans

Agenda Packet – pages 23 – 24

Previously reported – June 2022
Timbo prepared a slide presentation. They are dedicated to keeping families and visitors safe, by enforcing the applied rules and regulations applicable to development and construction within the town corporate limits. Building on the island has picked up exponentially and he made it clear that they have been very, very, busy.

The department has the inability to cut corners, they can’t reduce process and carry out their core responsibilities.

Apparently Timbo took umbrage to the criticism of the department at the last meeting and prepared this report in response. We get it, there is a lot going on.

Previously reported – July 2022
Bottomline, a lot of building is going on. They have a new inspector in training, so we now have two people out there. The department is down an  administrative person which will affect turnaround time. They are trying to do the best they can. Don’t really see the need for a monthly update, I’d think his time is better spent elsewhere.

Update –
Timbo reported what the department is busy doing. Finally, activity has started to be trending down. The department is now fully staffed, they have two (2) trainees.


3.   Discussion and Possible Action on Filling Gerald Brown’s Vacant Seat – Mayor Holden

Agenda Packet – background information was not provided

Filling a Vacancy on the Town Council

§30.11 TERMS OF OFFICE; FILLING OF VACANCIES.

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

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

§160A63. Vacancies.

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

Holden Beach Commissioner Gerald Brown passes away
Holden Beach Town Commissioner Gerald Brown has passed away after battling health issues for the past several weeks, according to Mayor J. Alan Holden. Holden said Brown passed away in the hospital on Sunday. Brown was elected as Town Commissioner in November 2019. He served as Mayor Pro Tem after taking office. Holden said he hoped to have additional details on services for Brown in the next couple of days. According to the mayor, the Board of Commissioners will appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of Brown’s current term, which ends in December 2023. Holden said he did not know when that selection would take place.

Update –
Although the statute  states that the position is to be filled by appointment by the Board, they decided that instead they would consider anybody in the Town that wants to be a Commissioner. The Board agreed to request that anybody interested should submit their qualifications in the next thirty (30) days. Applications will be accepted, and candidates will be interviewed by the Board at a Special Meeting. They will be selected, but not seated until the October meeting.

A decision was made – Approved (3-1)
Commissioner Smith opposed the motion

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

If you are a resident and interested in filling the vacancy, please send your name, qualifications/background and a description of why you would like to serve to Heather Finnell at heather@hbtownhall.com or to 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach, NC 28462 by September 20th.

The Board of Commissioners will review the submissions and schedule a special meeting to interview the interested candidates. If there are any dates that you are unavailable (through mid-October) please indicate that on your submission. 


4.   Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 22-19, An Ordinance Amending Town of Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 71: Traffic Schedules – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet – pages 25 – 26

Ordinance 22-19, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 71: Traffic Schedules was prepared based on the Board’s direction at the July  meeting. If  approved,  the speed limit on Ocean Boulevard will be 35 MPH year-round.

The suggested motion is to approve Ordinance 22-19.

Previously reported – July 2022
Discussion and Possible Action on Speed Limit on Ocean Boulevard – Commissioner Dyer
Agenda Packet – pages 31 – 32
The main concern I have is for safety and to try and get crosswalks distinguished after paving. With the increase in permanent residents and addition of two bike lanes, I feel like a speed limit of 45 MPH is not safe. With the higher speed and more distracted drivers, I am concerned that there will be an incident. For example, a child will dart out and drivers can’t react in time at that speed. The increased population is year-round, not just in the summer.

Once again they are proposing lowering the speed limit on Ocean Boulevard to 35 miles per hour year-round. In 2019 the HBPOA survey had a very strong response of almost 80% for keeping the 45mph speed limit in the off season. A little over a year ago the NCDOT said that they support the current posted speed limits, and we can leave the ordinance as it is written. Police Chief acknowledged that we have not had any issues with the higher speed limit. Yet here we are.  Their default position is that Public Safety is what’s most important and the driving force for the change. They are not actually changing ordinance at this meeting; they will have to bring back ordinance to implement the change.

A decision was made – Approved (3-1)
Commissioner Smith opposed the motion


Commissioners vote to reduce speed limit on Ocean Boulevard
The Holden Beach Board of Commissioners voted during its Tuesday, July 19 meeting to permanently lower the speed limit on Ocean Boulevard from Greensboro Street to the west end of the road. The speed limit on the road will now be 35 miles per hour all year. With the addition of bike lanes coming to Ocean Boulevard early next year and the year-round increase in people and traffic on the island, the commissioners agreed the reduction was the right move. The board also hopes the reduction will make it possible for the NCDOT to install crosswalks on that portion of the street (crosswalks are only installed in areas with a speed limit of 35 mph or below). Previously, the speed limit on Ocean Boulevard changed in the off season. From April 1 to September 30, the speed limit has been 35 mph, while from October 1 to March 31, the speed limit has been 45 mph. A December 2020 engineering report found that a year-round decrease in the speed limit was not necessary, but Commissioner Page Dyer, who brought the issue to the board, had concerns that the report does not factor in the changes and growth in the town over the past two and half years. “My concern is the [number] of residents, full-time, has increased since that engineering report,” Dyer said. “I’m also concerned that it was done in December of 2020 — which is still considered Covid time. We’ve had an increase in houses being built, we’ve had an increase in the number of residents that live on [the island] full time.” Dyer said the town should not wait until someone is injured or killed to act. Commissioner Pat Kwiatkowski echoed Dyer’s sentiment, noting that the reduction should be made prior to the installation of bike lanes. “When the bike lanes go in, we need to go 35 [miles per hour]” Kwiatkowski said. “So, the bike lanes are going to go in next year in the first part of the year, we may as well just start all year round 35 and let people get used to it.” Kwiatkowski also requested that Town Manager David Hewett reach out to NCDOT to officially request the addition of crosswalks in the area. Mayor Pro Tem Rick Smith voiced his disagreement with permanently reducing the speed limit, noting that there have been no issues in the past due to the 45-mph offseason speed limit and that reducing the limit by 10 mph won’t make a difference regarding safety. “Anybody that comes out the side of the trashcans [onto Ocean Boulevard], whether it’s 35 or 45 miles an hour, it’s not going to be pretty,” Smith said. Smith also reference a 2019 poll conducted by the town in which 90% of residents were opposed to permanently changing the speed limit in that area. Commissioner Brian Murdock noted that he didn’t want to change the speed limit but, once the bike lanes are added, it will end up being lowered anyway. He added reducing the speed limit in the area is the best thing for public safety. “If we as a community lose track of public safety in favor getting somewhere in another minute, then we’re going to have bigger fish to fry at some point,” Murdock said. Murdock also echoed Dyer’s remarks on the 2020 engineering report being outdated. “There’s been a ton of development on this island since that survey was taken and there’s a lot of people here a lot of the time.” Dyer, Kwiatkowski and Murdock voted in favor of keeping the speed limit at 35-mph year-round, while Smith voted against.
Read more » click here

Update –
The motion proposes permanently lowering the speed limit on Ocean Boulevard to thirty-five (35) miles per hour year-round. They decided to implement the change; therefore, the speed limit will not increase to forty-five (45) miles per hour on October 1st  as usual.

A decision was made – Approved (3-1)
Commissioner Smith opposed the motion


5.   Discussion and Possible Action on Statements of Qualifications Received for Block Q and the Pier Properties – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet – pages 27, plus separate packet

Qualifications McGill Block Q

Qualifications McGill Pier

Qualifications Stature Pier

As directed, staff readvertised the Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Block Q and HB Pier properties. In addition to placing an ad in the Star News, advertising on our website and sending the RFQ to the original directly solicited recipients, the RFQs were sent to additional firms as requested by the Board. These firms include Withers & Ravenel, WK Dickson and Co., McPherson Engineering Design, Moffatt and Nichol, Gary Gurganus, Applied Technology and Management and Stature Engineering.

In response to the RFQs, we received Statements of Qualifications from two firms. McGill Associates provided statements for both the HB Pier and Block Q properties. Stature Engineering provided a statement in response to the RFQ for the HB Pier property.

The Statements of Qualifications are included for the Board’s review and discussion on how to proceed.

Previously reported – July 2022
Discussion and Possible Action on Statements of Qualifications Received for Block Q and the Pier Properties – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet – page 49, plus separate packets

Separate RFQs to provide comprehensive Engineering and Architectural services for the development/redevelopment of the Block Q and the Pier properties were advertised in June. McGill and Associates was the only firm that submitted responses. (Atch 1 & 2). Should the Board desire to utilize McGill for the Pier and/or Block Q project(s) it would need to direct staff to have contract proposal(s) prepared for consideration/approval.

Pier and Block Q

The  Request for Quotation (RfQ) for engineering for the Pier and Block Q is out and due back by June 24th  

Food trucks are operating at the pier but are struggling due to lack of customers  

Some reservations have been made for the camper spaces the Town owns 

The CAMA grant reimbursement 9$180k) for the for the access parcel is expected sometime next month  

RFQ Response – Pier

RFQ Response – Block Q

The Board was not comfortable with having only one response. They gave direction to the Town Manager to reach out and attempt to get more responses.

Update –
A number of firms were contacted. But after re-advertising, only one (1) firm submitted for Block Q and two (2) for the Pier. The Board was still not comfortable with this few responses. The BOC’s would like to have at least three (3) responses for each property. They gave direction to the Town Manager to reach out and attempt to get more responses.

 No decision was made – No action taken


6.   Discussion and Possible Action on Pier Financial Reporting – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet – pages 28

At the July meeting Board tasked development of an expanded line-item detail for the two pier properties to enable a more refined view of actions forthcoming with pending improvements and new operations. The current BPART budget contains appropriations described as follows:

      1. 441 OBW
      2. Debt Service 441 OBW

After consulting with Commissioner Kwiatkowski, the following new account descriptions  are proposed to augment the existing chart of account descriptions for the purpose of housing associated expenses for the properties.

      1. Pier House Renovations & Repair
      2. Pier Renovations & Repair
      3. 441Professional Services
      4. 441 Utilities & Insurance
      5. 441West Beach Access

If approved the new account descriptions will be added to the existing chart of accounts and incorporated into the budget ordinance when the Board authorizes appropriations to individual expense accounts.

Update –
David suggested five (5) additional account descriptions be added to the budget report to allow for better expense tracking. Motion was made to add the five (5) lines which will be added to the existing chart of accounts and incorporated into the budget ordinance.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


7.   Discussion and Possible Action on NC Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Grant Application – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet – pages 29 – 43 which is too large to include here

Based on the BOC’s direction to pursue grant opportunities to assist with the development of the pier properties, the staff submitted a pre-application to the Division of Coastal Management for the development of the 50-foot lot for beach access to include a Hatteras ramp and walkway for a total project cost of $63,535.00. The new estimate based on increased costs for construction is $66,985.00. The agency approved the pre-application, and the town has been asked to complete a final application. As part of the application, a public meeting or hearing is required, and the staff determined that a public hearing would demonstrate the town taking the most formal approach to submission requirements. If awarded the grant, the BOC would still have to choose to accept or decline funds. The application is in the packet for the public hearing and for possible action by the board on the agenda.

Suggested Motion: Approval of the 2022-2023 North Carolina Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Program Final Application with instructions for the town manager to execute paperwork for final submission.

Update –
This application is for the development of the fifty-foot lot west of the pier building for beach access to include a Hatteras ramp and walkway. Commissioner Kwiatkowski recommended that all the parking on the lot to be handicapped parking.  Board agreed to move forward with the application.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


  • 8.  Town Manager’s Report

FEMA storm damage repair project
David reported that as of last week the Town has received all but $45K in cost from the $23M FEMA beach renourishment project not counting interest cost. Reimbursement on the interest cost on the FEMA loan is still undetermined but we believe it is an allowable expense.

Previously reported – July 2022
Rolled over the special obligation bond of $4.28M. We will incur interest payment charges of $617K, eligibility for reimbursement has not been determined yet

 Audit
The audit is on track with no issues so far.

Personnel
We have filled two (2) of the open positions, the Inspections Department Permit Specialist and the Public Works Technician. 

Previously reported – July 2022
Manning, recruitment, and retention continue to be challenging for the Town staff. Of the twenty-nine (29) full time positions only twenty-four (24) of those are filled. Currently have five (5) vacant positions, staffing levels only at 82%.


9.   Mayor’s Comments

We are going into the more active hurricane period which is from August to October – be prepared, have a plan!
Mayor Holden met with the Town staff and reviewed responsibilities, and they are on top of things. He plans to meet with the rental property management companies to review the Town plans during an emergency.

Alan said that he is getting a lot of complaints about the causeway.  He reminded everyone that the causeway is not part of the Town of Holden Beach, but it is a part of Brunswick County. There is an ongoing effort to make improvements and they are discussing a number of opportunities to beautify the causeway.


Corrections & Amplifications

Peddling
Previously reported – July 2022
Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 22-17, An Ordinance Amending Town of Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 112: Peddlers – Inspections Director Evans
a. Fee Schedule Revision

Agenda Packet – pages 38 – 42

Ordinance 22-17 was prepared for consideration and possible approval by the Board of Commissioners, Staff prepared the draft ordinance as directed by the Board at its last scheduled meeting. The dates of operation and times were excluded and can be entered if the Board so approves the amended section.

Ordinance is so designed to allow only those merchants with established businesses to conduct such business remotely on the strand with specific guidelines, locations and dates by permit only.

 

Proposal is for allowing peddling on the beach strand with specific guidelines as follows:

      • Only Vendors With a Brick-and-Mortar Presence on the Island
      • Permits Required
      • Associated Fees ($250 permit / $1,000 per pushcart)
      • Food & Beverages Only
      • Locations Permitted
      • Restricted Dates
      • Restricted Times
      • Pushcart Design
      • Insurance Requirements

Unable to benchmark off of other locations that have an ordinance that addresses peddling. Timbo felt it was easier to modify our existing ordinance. Vendor will need to meet the conditions stated in the ordinance to get an annual permit. They will be permitted to operate Easter through October from 10:00am to 6:00pm. That gives them the option to be out there when it makes business sense to be on the beach strand. Our Town attorney will review the submitted ordinance for consideration. Plan is for final version of ordinance will be submitted for approval by the Board at the next meeting.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Holden Beach Commissioners vote to allow vendor carts on strand
Holden Beach Commissioners during the monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 19, voted to allow local businesses to venture out into the vending world on the Holden Beach strand. The peddler ordinance will allow local businesses inside the town to purchase an off-premise permit which will allow them to sell products from a pushcart on the strand. “Each year, we will offer off premise sales to established businesses by permit only,” Holden Beach Planning and Inspections Director Tim Evans said. “And then with that permit, you will be able to get permits for five push carts. So, you’ll get an off-premise permit and then you’ll have the capability of buying permits for push carts.” An off-premise permit for the business will be $250 alone. Once approved for a permit, the business will be able to pay a fee of $1,000 to push a cart. Each business must supply its own cart and pay the $1,000 fee for each cart they would like to use. Each permit holder is allowed up to five carts. “For those that are listening in the room and elsewhere, please make sure there is no misunderstanding that this is consideration to be given to anyone that qualifies,” Mayor Alan Holden said. Evans explained that in order to obtain an off-premise permit, the local business must go through an approval process that includes multiple conditions. Two of these conditions include that a business must be legal and have a brick-and-mortar store within town limits. The ordinance affirms that if the permit is denied or revoked, the business must file the appeal with Town Clerk Heather Finnell within 10 days of the denial. “Only those merchants with established businesses [can] conduct such businesses remotely on the strand with specific guidelines, locations and dates by permit only,” Evans said. At other Brunswick County beaches such as Ocean Isle Beach and Oak Island, the town allows off premise sales using pushcarts. Those beaches have much cheaper costs to do so, Commissioner Pat Kwiatkowski noted. Drew Sellers, co-owner of Sunset Slush Classic Italian Ice, told commissioners that Easter is typically when Sunset Slush starts pushing carts on the beach. He added that being allowed to push the carts through October would be ideal. The local business is often seen on other Brunswick County beaches between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., depending on weather and other conditions. “I don’t see a problem linking it to when we have paid parking and letting it happen from April to the end of October,” Kwiatkowski said. The recently approved paid parking ordinance states: “Parking permits will be required from April 1 through Oct. 31 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day.” Kwiatkowski noted that aligning the two ordinances gives vendors ample time to do their business when it’s profitable for them. Commissioners agreed that once the times are set, no selling of merchandise will be allowed after or before the permitted hours. The timeframe includes the set up and take down of all carts. The ordinance differentiates off premise sales from peddling and sales by itinerant merchants, explicitly prohibiting the latter two. It states that, “No itinerant merchant/peddler shall conduct any business sale, or offer to conduct any business sale, from any public road, other public thoroughfare, public beach, sidewalk, parking lot, or any other public property whatsoever, unless permitted.” Peddlers and itinerant merchants are, therefore, still not allowed to sell in the town of Holden Beach or on the beach. A peddler is considered a private seller who travels from place to place with goods without a store; an itinerant merchant is defined as an individual who transports goods and displays them for sale. A peddler or itinerant merchant does not meet the specified requirements for this ordinance, so they will not be able to obtain an off-premises permit. “You cannot peddle in the Town of Holden Beach. Open vending is not allowed,” Tim Evans said. Although the ordinance has been approved, it will not go into effect until the town attorney Richard Green has read it and given his approval. Since the matter was discussed at the meeting, the specified times, dates and requirements for liability insurance must be inserted into the document that is pending Green’s approval. “If I’ve got a problem, I’ll send it back,” Richard Green said. “The only variables we’ve got [to add] are times and dates in there as far as I can tell… and liability insurance.” Green plans to have the document ready to go into effect by Aug. 1 and anticipates no issues.  If there are problems, Green will send it back to the commissioners and there will be another discussion with a final vote.
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Update –
Last month I reported that they are not actually changing ordinance at this meeting; they will have to bring back ordinance to implement the change. Well, that is what usually happens but not this time. What happened is the ordinance was sent to the Town attorney and pending no issues it went into effect on August 1st. What that means is that Sunset Slush has been on the beach strand this month


General Comments –



BOC’s Meeting

The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, September 20th
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  • Hurricane Season
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    For more information
    » click here

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    Be prepared – have a plan!.

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Weather Permitting: Hurricane season has been quiet so far in 2022.
Will it stay that way?
About a month ago, it seemed the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season was off and running. From the Carolinas to Central America, tropical storms were slogging ashore, with a seemingly endless freight train of low-pressure systems chugging across the Atlantic. Fast-forward to early August. No hurricanes, no storms. Not even a promising swirl for Hurricane Hunters to check out over the past month. It’s like someone pulled the tropical plug. For only the fourth time in the past 30 years, the stretch from July 4 to Aug. 4 has passed without any named storm activity. The tropics, it seems, are drier than the Baptist state convention. Were all the dire predictions of another hyperactive hurricane season just a lot of hot air? Or have weather enthusiasts just been spoiled by the nonstop tropical spin-ups we’ve seen over the past couple of years? The answer is probably a little bit of both. This 2022 season is the first in the past five years that got to August without at least one hurricane forming. And in the last 30 years, only four seasons have been storm-free from July 4 through Aug. 4: 1993, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Remember this week two years ago? The Cape Fear region was bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Isaias — the ninth named storm of the season. Another storm, Hanna, had already become the first hurricane of the season, and by the end of the year, the National Hurricane Center was deep into the Greek alphabet of storm names. Last year saw another batch of storms — but oddly there was a four-week breather during July into August as well. That rest was rudely ended when a trio of named storms — Fred, Gracie and Henri — all dropped off the African coast within a few days of each other. The 2021 season went on to feature 21 named storms. So, we’ve been conditioned over the last couple of years to expect a parade of storms, especially with conditions that are conducive to development. A continuing La Nina, with above-average sea temperatures, would bode well for storm formation. And, as the hurricane season shifts from “homegrown” systems to the long-tracking Cape Verde storms, all eyes turn to the west coast of Africa. What we’ve seen for the last couple of weeks has been surprising. An extreme layer of bone-dry, dusty Sahara Desert air has cloaked the eastern Atlantic, choking potential storms as they wade off the coast. This dust cloud is a common summer feature, but it has been particularly potent during July. In addition, strong low-level winds have helped rip potential systems apart, and sinking air west of Africa prevents the towering storm clouds we associate with tropical systems. It doesn’t matter how warm the water is if the storms can’t use it. And right now, conditions in the central Atlantic are downright hostile.
What’s next
Will things stay that way? Not likely. Already there are indications that the Sahara Dust Layer is beginning to ease. As sea temperatures continue to creep up, sinking air should become less of an issue. And the wave train off Africa shows no sign of stopping. A few past “slow start” seasons may offer a hint for this year: The 2019 season saw an equally quiet start, with the Atlantic producing only a “C” storm (Chantal) by mid-August. A week later, the gates opened, and 2019 ended up with 18 named storms. In 2010, Tropical Storm Colin didn’t arrive until the first week of August, another slow start to the season. However, by the end of the month, two Category 4 storms formed (Danielle and Earl) and the season ended up with 19 named systems. Finally, the “slow start” season of 1999 made its mark on North Carolina. By early August, only one named storm had formed. By the end of the season, five Category 4 storms had formed, and two (Dennis and Floyd) teamed up that September to produce devastating floods in eastern North Carolina. And, for those keeping track, 1999 was another La Nina year. So, while things may seem quiet in the Atlantic, we’re actually not that far off the 30-year average for hurricanes. August is the traditional first month for hurricanes to form, with early September the peak of the season. Keep an eye on conditions in the Central Atlantic starting in mid-August. I think we’ve got a long way to go. Stay tuned!
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NOAA still expects above-normal Atlantic hurricane season
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather experts still expect the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season to have above-normal activity. NOAA released Thursday its annual mid-season update to the 2022 outlook issued in May by the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. Since the May report, which covers the six-month hurricane season that began June 1 and ends Nov. 30, forecasters have slightly decreased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season from 65% to a 60% chance. Meanwhile, the likelihood of near-normal activity has risen to 30% and the chances remain at 10% for a below-normal season. NOAA’s update to the 2022 outlook calls for 14-20 named storms, which have winds of 39 mph or greater. Six to 10 of those named storms could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or greater. Of those, three to five could become major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. “We’re just getting into the peak months of August through October for hurricane development, and we anticipate that more storms are on the way,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, in a statement. Erik Heden, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service forecast office for Morehead City, told Coastal Review Monday that the peak of hurricane season is not until around Sept. 10. “Typically, the season really doesn’t get going until later in August through October. It’s too early to let our guard down, we aren’t even close to the typical peak yet,” he said. “Lastly, it only takes one storm to make a difference in your lives. Take this quiet time in the season to finish your hurricane kit and plan.” He recommended visiting www.weather.gov/MHX/hurricaneprep for help with a hurricane kit and plan. Heden said his office is offering more hurricane talks ahead, including one at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Emerald Isle board meeting room, 7500 Emerald Drive, and 6 p.m. Aug. 16 in North Topsail Beach Town Hall, 2008 Loggerhead Court. Sign up to virtually attend the North Topsail Beach talk. Two talks are planned for later this month on the Outer Banks, as well.
“Communities and families should prepare now for the remainder of what is still expected to be an active hurricane season,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Weather Service. “Ensure that you are ready to take action if a hurricane threatens your area by developing an evacuation plan and gathering hurricane supplies now, before a storm is bearing down on your community.”So far, the season has seen three named storms and no hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. The outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. Landfalls are largely governed by short-term weather patterns that are currently only predictable within about one week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline, according to NOAA. I urge everyone to remain vigilant as we enter the peak months of hurricane season,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “The experts at NOAA will continue to provide the science, data and services needed to help communities become hurricane resilient and climate-ready for the remainder of hurricane season and beyond.” There are several atmospheric and oceanic conditions that still favor an active hurricane season. This includes La Niña conditions, which are favored to remain in place for the rest of 2022 and could allow the ongoing high-activity era conditions to dominate, or slightly enhance hurricane activity. In addition to a continued La Niña, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, an active west African Monsoon and likely above-normal Atlantic sea-surface temperatures set the stage for an active hurricane season and are reflective of the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes. NOAA’s hurricane science and forecasting information is available at Hurricane Season Media Resource Guide and the National Hurricane Center provides the latest on tropical storm and hurricane activity in the Atlantic. “Although it has been a relatively slow start to hurricane season, with no major storms developing in the Atlantic, this is not unusual  and we therefore cannot afford to let our guard down,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. She recommends being proactive by downloading the FEMA app and visiting Ready.gov or Listo.gov for preparedness tips. “And most importantly, make sure you understand your local risk and follow directions from your state and local officials.”
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No matter what a storm outlook is for a given year,
vigilance and preparedness is urged.


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