04 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 04/20/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Per Section 160A-63 of the North Carolina General Statutes, the Holden Beach Bord of Commissioners Will Select a Person to Fill in the Vacancy Created by the Resignation of Commissioner Tyner (The current Board will conduct interviews of all persons, who timely expressed their interest in the open position and appear in person at the Special Meeting. After the interviews are concluded, the current Board members will vote, by ballot, to fill the existing vacancy.) – Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski

 These are the six (6) candidates being considered to fill the BOC’s vacancy

        1. Page Dyer
        2. Michael Keaney
        3. Mike Kelly
        4. Regina Martin
        5. Pete Pallas
        6. Rick Smith

They interviewed all of  them individually; then the Board voted by ballot and selected Rick Smith to fill the vacancy.

Previously reported – March 2021
Agenda Packet –
§30.11 TERMS OF OFFICE; FILLING OF VACANCIES.
(A) Commissioner shall be two years, both of which begin on the day of first regular meeting in December following their election, except in case either is elected to serve an unexpired term, in which case the newly elected officers shall qualify and commence serving immediately upon the declaration of the result of the election by the Town BOC.
(B) Vacancies shall be filled as provided for in North Carolina General Statute § 160A-63

§160A63. Vacancies.
A vacancy that occurs in an elective office of a city shall be filled by appointment of the city council. If the term of the office expires immediately following the next regular city election, or if the next regular city election will be held within 90 days after the vacancy occurs, the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Otherwise, a successor shall be elected at the next regularly scheduled city election that is held more than 90 days after the vacancy occurs, and the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve only until the elected successor takes office. The elected successor shall then serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

Filling a Vacancy on the Town Council

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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

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

2. The Town Clerk Will Swear in the Newly Selected Commissioner – Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski

Rick Smith was sworn in followed by a photo-op. He will only serve the remainder of the unexpired term until the next regular election which is this November.


BOC’s Public Hearing / Regular Meeting 04/20/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here


BOC’s Public Hearing

PUBLIC HEARING: Resolution 21-04, Preliminary Assessment Resolution to Improve the Existing Soil Roadway of Seagull Drive

Public Comments –
They received just five (5) comments which are posted online at the Town’s website
For more information » click here


BOC’s Regular Meeting


1. Public Comments on Agenda/General Items

Only one (1) comment about paid parking which is posted online at the Town’s website
For more information » click here


2. Presentation and Possible Action on Holden Beach Coastal Storm Risk Management Study Federal Cost Share Agreement (FCSA) – Bob Keistler, Corps (Assistant Town Manager Ferguson)
   a. Ordinance 21-09, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 11)

Agenda Packet – slide presentation pages 14 to 40
In order for us to become a USACE beach requires a new study be authorized
Three (3) years / Three (3) levels of review / Three (3) million dollars
     • $1.5 million Feds and $1.5 million Town of Holden Beach
Why consider doing a study?
     •
FEMA is not an insurance policy
     •
The rule book is changing
.      •
We have to consider risks

Coastal Storm Risk Management Study
This attached draft agreement for a Coastal Storm Risk Management Study (Attachment 1) between the USACE and the Town of Holden Beach represents the inclusion of the study in the Corps work plan for this federal fiscal year. The study was the Town’s number one advocacy priority at the federal level as a proposed means of storm damage reduction . The Town will not know if it is economically and environmentally feasible for us to become a federal beach unless the study is conducted. The attached budget amendment (Attachment  2) in the amount of $500,000 represents the town’s commitment for the upcoming FY for the Town’s share of the total non-federal (Town) study cost of $1,500,000.

If the BOC chooses to pursue the study, a motion will need to be made to authorize the Town Manager to execute the contract document and self-certification of financial capability with the USACE and approve the attached budget amendment.

ORDINANCE NO. 21-09
Moved funds of $500,000
From Revenue account #50.0398.0300 to Expense account#50.0710.5008

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

It appears that we have also been funded.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Update –
Christy went through a slide presentation briefly reviewing how we got to this point. The abridged version is that FEMA continues to change the rules for engineered beaches maintenance programs. The study with the USACE gives us another option if we can’t count on FEMA moving forward. Commissioner Kwiatkowski was prepared as usual and had a number of questions for the USACE representatives that were in attendance at the meeting. The Corps representative walked them through the process. Commissioner Sullivan asked a couple additional questions regarding funding. An important takeaway is the federal government contributes 65% of the costs for initial construction, the cost split is 50% between federal and non-federal funding for maintenance nourishment projects. Of course the major concern is whether there will be adequate funding for not only the study but for an approved project. The Corps rep made it very clear that there is no guarantee, but he felt confident that they both would be funded. He understands that the Town is looking to obtain the best deal possible. FEMA and USACE organizations are both here to help and each have a place. The difference between them is that the USACE is more of a designed project, build, and maintain whereas FEMA is primarily there to help cover emergencies. The BOC’s decided to fund the  $1.5 million study and take the funds from the BPART account instead of the Capital Reserve account.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

We just approved spending $1.5 million to potentially switch to USACEwait for itafter we just received $45 million for FEMA projects. I have some reservations about making the change and was really disappointed that there was not more serious discussions prior to spending that kind of money.  Just to be clear I’m for beach nourishment, but I am generally opposed to moving forward with the federal project due to the uncertainty of the funding. Congressional authorization of a project does not necessarily mean that the project will receive federal construction funds. Project authorizations over the years have far outpaced the level of federal appropriations provided. Our portion is $1.5 million just for the Storm Risk Management study, which is a huge amount of money when we don’t even know if the study will be completely funded let alone whether the project will be approved or funded.


3. Police Report – Lieutenant Dilworth

Police PatchDespite the number of people here there has not  been a lot of issues. 

Previously reported – April 2019
The Town of Holden Beach made it offi
cial Monday, April 1, when they swore in Jeremy Dixon as the town’s newest police chief, taking the mantle from former chief Wally Layne.


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


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.


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


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Emergency Restrictions Pertaining to Town Hall/Board of Commissioners’ Meetings – Commissioners Sullivan & Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
Gov. Cooper Announces North Carolina Will Relax Some COVID-19 Restrictions
State’s trends continue to move in the right direction and key indicators used to inform decisions throughout the pandemic remain stable
For more information » click here

As I read what is in place thru April 30 , the following seem potentially relevant for us when considering opening our BOC meetings to the number of individuals that can be allowed under the restrictions, taking into account our meeting room size and social distancing requirements.

      • 3.6.Government Operations
      • 3.8. Meeting Spaces, Conference Centers, and Reception Venues
      • APPENDIX F: Additional Health and Safety Requirements for Meeting
      • APPENDIX A: Core Signage, Screening, and Sanitation Requirements

Update –
Commissioner Sullivan would like to open up all public meetings to the permissible number allowed and have the Town Hall be open for business effective May 1st. Mayor Holden  will need to sign a revised emergency declaration, which he agreed to do, to make this happen.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


5. Report on Parking Committee Finds on Paid Parking – Commissioner Murdock

Agenda Packet –
Parking Committee Meeting 03/05/21
PAID PARKING SOLUTIONS PRESENTATIONS
The committee listened to a presentation from Jim Varner and Emily Irons of Otto Connect. Mr. Varner answered questions from the committee. Mr. Varner said he could prepare estimates/pricing model for the committee. Inspections Director Evans said there are 219 -226 permanent spaces. Some of those are in the DOT ROW and not on Town property. Commissioner Murdock wants to know what number of spaces makes it viable to utilize paid parking. Mr. Varner talked about required parking for receiving federal funds for beach nourishment.

Tim Hoppenrath from Premium Parking presented information on his company. He answered questions after the presentation. Mr. Hoppenrath will send a proposal. He mentioned the possibility of his company contributing towards the purchase of land for parking.

REPORT ON US WILDLIFE BOAT RAMP
Chief Dixon said he spoke with a representative from Wildlife. They said the purpose of the ramp is for launching and recovery of water vessels. It has 15 spaces, one being handicap. Parking is on a first come­ first serve basis.

Premium Parking Presentation
For more information » click here

Otto Connect Presentation
For more information » click here

Previously reported – March 2021
Almost all the public comments were against public parking in residential areas. Although there was a consensus that paid parking in commercial zones is an acceptable option. The committee met with two vendors that offer paid parking options. Both vendors offer one stop shopping, like a smorgasbord we can pick and choose what we want them to do including having them manage all elements of the program. The billing is based on a unique identifier, the vehicle license plate number. Payment can be made by text, their app or by calling them. Fees can be adjusted based on things loke activity, date, or location. Incredibly paid parking could be implemented everywhere on the island including in the rights-of-way.  At first blush, this appears to potentially be a significant revenue stream for the Town.

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

No decision was made – No action taken


6. Discussion and Possible Action on Recruiting a Member to Fill Commissioner Tyner’s Position on the Parking Committee – Commissioner Murdock

Agenda Packet –
Recruit Member to Fill Woody Tyner’s Position on Parking Committee
At the November Board of Commissioners’ meeting the Board voted to form a parking committee that would be staffed by Commissioner Tyner, Commissioner Murdock, and the appropriate town staff members. As the result of Woody Tyner’s resignation from his commissioner position, there is an open spot on the Parking Committee. The Board should discuss the possibility of appointing another member to the position.

Update –
Our new Commissioner Rick Smith will replace Woody on this Committee. They also added two (2) additional members of the public and the Town will solicit for volunteers to participate on this committee.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
Volunteers Needed
Two volunteers are needed to serve on the Town’s Parking Committee. If you are interested, please click here to fill out an application form. Completed forms can be turned in to heather@hbtownhall.com
.


7. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 21-06, Assessment Resolution to Improve the Existing Soil Roadway of Seagull Drive (Cannot Adopt until 24 hours after Public Hearing) – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
At the March Board of Commissioners’ meeting, the Board adopted a preliminary resolution (Attachment 1). The required public hearing on the resolution is scheduled for April  2oth at 5:00 p.m. . The public hearing was advertised, and a copy of the resolution was sent to each property owner within the proposed project area (Attachment 2).

After the hearing, the Board may adopt a resolution directing the project to be undertaken. The proposed resolution is included for your review (Attachment 3). Since comments for the public hearing will be accepted through April 2 is• at 5:00 p.m., the Board should wait until a date/time after that to adopt the resolution. The Board can choose to recess the meeting or wait until the May meeting for adoption.

RESOLUTION 21-04
PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT RESOLUTION TO IMPROVE THE EXISITING SOIL ROADWAY OF SEAGULL DRIVE

RESOLUTION NO. 21-06
ASSESSMENT RESOLUTION TO IMPROVE THE EXISTING SOIL ROADWAY OF SEAGULL DRIVE

1. That the existing soil roadway of Seagull Drive be improved by paving it, under and by virtue of Chapter 160A. Article 10 of the General Statutes of North Carolina and the procedure therein established, and that said paving be done by contract after due notice and advertisement for bids as outlined in C.G.S. Chapter 143;
2. That fifty percent (50%) of the total cost of said improvement be hereafter assessed upon the properties receiving the improvements, using the frontage basis assessment; and
3. That the assessment herein provided for shall be payable in cash or if any property owner shall so elect and give notice of the fact to the Board of Commissioners in accordance with Chapter 160A. Sections 232 and 233 of the General Statutes of North Carolina, he shall have the option and privilege of paying the assessment in one annual installment to bear interest at the rate of 8% per annum after thirty days following publication of the notice that the assessment roll has been confirmed.

Previously reported – March 2021
Agenda Packet –
The Town has received signatures from the majority of property owners on Seagull Drive, requesting the improvement of the existing soil roadway of Seagull Drive. A copy of the certificate as to the sufficiency of the petition is in your packets (Attachment 1).

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

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

RESOLUTION 21-04

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
Approval must be delayed a minimum of 24 hours. It will be put on the budget meeting agenda that is scheduled on May 7th for approval.


8. Final Agreement and Action on Proposed Ordinance 21-04, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 50: Solid Waste – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
ORDINANCE 21-04
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH CODE OF ORDINANCES, CHAPTER 50: SOLID WASTE

§50.04 ACCUMULATION AND COLLECTION.
All garbage and household refuse shall be kept in proper containers as required by this chapter and it shall be unlawful for any person to permit garbage to accumulate or remain on any premises longer than is reasonably necessary for its removal. It is the intent of the town that all containers be secured in such a manner either next to non-elevated, underneath elevated houses or alongside of the house except prior to collection days when they are to be placed at street side. Through a town contract for island wide rollback, empty all trash and recycling containers will be rolled back to the street side of the house, under the house or to a corral if available. Full containers will stay curbside until emptied by the next pickup.

§50.08 RENTAL HOMES.
Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In the interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like). In instances where three trash cans or more are required, one can may be substituted with a contractor approved recycling bin.

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

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

Proposed for Discussion:

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

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

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

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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


Update –
After kicking this around for a while, they approved just two (2) changes to the current ordinance as follows:

1) All containers including full trash cans that miss the pickup will be rolled back under the house
2)
Recycling containers are in addition to, not in replacement of, the required number of garbage containers for rental properties

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
Solid Waste Restrictions
Rental homes need to make sure they have the proper amount of garbage carts to meet Town ordinance. All rental homes need to have at least one trash cart per two bedrooms (example: 1 – 2 bedrooms – 1 cart, 3 – 4 bedrooms – 2 carts, 5 – 6 bedrooms – 3 carts). As of April 21, 2021, it is no longer permissible for rental homes to replace a required garbage cart with a recycling cart.

The Town’s rollback contractor will now roll back ALL containers to the street side of the house, under the house or to a corral if available. Full carts will no longer be left at the curb.

Click here to view the revised ordinance.


9. Discussion and Possible Approval of Budget Amendments – Town Manager Hewett
a.
Ordinance 21-05, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 7, Capital Projects)
b.
Ordinance 21-06, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 8, Isaias)
c.
Ordinance 21-07, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 9, Inspections Department)
d.
Ordinance 21-08, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 10, Recycling)

Agenda Packet –
Capital Grants Project Budget-Florence, Michael, and Dorian
The size and scope of FEMA projects: Florence, Michael, and Dorian, necessitate the establishment of a separate capital grants project budget. The projects are currently housed in the BPART fund. This budget amendment will move the expenses and revenue associated with these storms to a special capital grants project budget where it will remain open across budget years until project completion and closeout. The auditor was contacted about this process and supports town staff s opinion that this is the more ideal budget set-up for this program.


Recommend approval of the attached budget amendment, Ordinance 21-05, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 -2021 (Amendment No. 7).

Ordinance 21-05
Section I
                    Description                                         Account                Amount          Action
Revenue
                    FEMA Florence PW 674(0)              50.0364.0100        15,861,220     Decrease
                    FEMA Michael PW 11(0)                  50.0364.0200          8,547,506     Decrease                     FEMA Florence PW 2547(0) Cat-Z  50.0364.0300             798,855     Decrease
                    FEMA Michael PW 158(0) Cat-Z      50.0364.0400             427,376     Decrease
Total                                                                                                       25,634,957
Expense
                    FEMA Florence PW 674(0)               50.0810.0119       15,861,220     Decrease
                    FEMA Michael PW 11(0)                   50.0810.0120         8,547,506     Decrease
.                   FEMA Florence PW 2547(0) Cat-Z   50.0810.0121            798,855     Decrease

                    FEMA Michael PW 158(0) Cat-Z       50.0810.0122            427,376     Decrease
Total                                                                                                       25,634,957

 Section II
                    Description                                          Account               Amount         Action
Revenue
                    FEMA Florence PW 674(0)               70.0320.0000       15,861,220     Increase
                    FEMA Michael PW 11(0)                   70.0321.0000          8,547,506    Increase                          FEMA Florence PW 2547(0) Cat-Z   70.0320.0100             798,855    Increase
                    FEMA Michael PW 158(0) Cat-Z      70.0321.0100             427,376    Increase                           FEMA Dorian PW 00221(0)              70.0322.0000       15,496,802     Increase
                    FEMA Dorian PW 494 Cat-Z             70.0322.0100              775,835   Increase
Total                                                                                                       41,907,594

Expense
                    FEMA Florence PW 674(0)               70.0320.0000       15,861,220     Increase                     FEMA Michael PW 11(0)                   70.0321.0000         8,547,506     Increase      .                   FEMA Florence PW 2547(0) Cat-Z   70.0320.0100            798,855     Increase
                    FEMA Michael PW 158(0) Cat-Z       70.0321.0100            427,376     Increase  .                   FEMA Dorian PW 00221(0)                70.0322.0000     15,496,802      Increase
                    FEMA Dorian PW 494 Cat-Z              70.0322.0100           775,835      Increase
Total                                                                                                        41,907,594


FEMA Isaias Budget Amendment
The attached budget amendment recognizes previously received Cat F and Cat B Isaias reimbursements on a small project basis from FEMA. The reimbursements (totaling $33,167) cover $17,392 for force account labor, materials and equipment as related to reconstitution of the sewer valve pits and lift stations following the storm. It also includes $15,775 in reimbursements for overtime and emergency protective measures including supplies. The revenues were temporarily housed in  miscellaneous  accounts  for related funds.  This amendment moves them to newly created line items in the corresponding fund.


Recommend approval of the attached budget amendment, Ordinance 21-06, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 8).

ORDINANCE NO. 21-06
                Description                                                             Account            Amount   Action
Revenue
                Isaias FEMA Non CAT G/Z Reimbursements    10.0385.000     12,944      Increase
                Isaias FEMA Non CAT G/Z Reimbursements    30.0385.000     18,597      Increase                 Isaias FEMA Non CAT G/Z Reimbursements    50.0385.000       1,626      Increase
Total                                                                                                                   33,167
Expense
              Salaries                                                                      10.0420.0200     4,295      Increase
              Salaries                                                                      10.0510.0200     7,525      Increase
              Salaries                                                                      10.0570.0200        830      Increase
             Operational Contingencies                                     10.0410.3301        294      Increase
             Salaries                                                                       30.0810.0200     9,971      Increase
             Dept Supplies & Materials                                      30.0810.3300     5,825      Increase
             O&M Vacuum Stations                                            30.0810.3301     2,365       Increase
             EOC Ops MX and Repair                                         30.0810.9305         436      Increase
             Salaries-Recreation                                                  50.0610.0200     1,626      Increase Total                                                                                                                   33,167


Inspections Department Budget Amendment
The construction economy has continued its upward trajectory during the third quarter of this fiscal year. The sheer number of building related permits issued, and the revenues associated thereto has exceeded the total Inspections annual forecasted revenues by 18% as of this date.

NC GS 159-33.1was revised to require that finance officers of local governments and public authorities report revenues and expenditures of inspection fees collected under G.S. 160A-414 for municipalities. The statute restricts the expenditure of the allowed inspection fees to those expenditures incurred “for support of the administration and activities of the inspection department and for no other purpose”. This information is now reported to the Local Government Commission in the AFIR (Accounting and Finance Information Report) who in turn provides it to the Department of Insurance for compliance review.

Any Inspections revenues exceeding Inspections departmental expenditures requires a specific explanation in the AFIR. Inspections related revenues exceeded Inspections department expenses for the year ending 30 June 2020 and the Holden Beach Fiscal Year 2020 AFIR submittals articulated such.

Budget Ordinance Amendment 21-07, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10,The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No.9) “Inspections Department Appropriations” increases the Fiscal Year 2021 General Fund appropriations by $40,689 to recognize actual revenues received to date and provides corresponding expenditures for a new Inspections department truck ($39,689) and associated administrative homeowners recovery fee reimbursements ($1000).


RECOMMENDATION: BOC approve Budget Ordinance Amendment 21-07, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10,The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No.9) “Inspections Department Appropriations”.

ORDINANCE NO. 21-07
                 Description                                     Account             Amount     Action
Revenue
                 Homeowners Recovery Fund     10.0357.0500        1,000       Increase
                 Building Permits                            10.0356.0000     30,959       Increase
.                CAMA Permits                                10.0356.0000           228      Increase

                 Zoning Fees                                     10.0357.0000             66      Increase
                 Electrical Inspection                     10.0357.0100        4,868      Increase
                 Plumbing Inspection                    10.0357.0200         3,568     Increase
Total                                                                                               40,689
Expense
                Homeowners Recovery Fund      10.0540.6900        1,000      Increase
               Capital Outlay – Vehicle                  10.0540.7400      39,689     Increase
Total                                                                                                40,689


Ordinance 21-08 (Recycling)
The attached amendment is needed to adjust the Blue Can Home Recycling line in order to be in accordance with GASB 159-8. The collected revenues and correlated expenses for the blue can home recycling services have exceeded the previously budgeted amount due in part to the higher-than-expected number of new homes being built. The adjustment brings the line total to a the newly projected year end amount based off the Town’s fee schedule.


Staff recommends Board approval of Ordinance 21-09, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 10)

ORDINANCE NO. 21-08
                    Description                                Account               Amount       Action
Revenue
                   Blue Can Home Recycling       10.0335.0500       11,422          Increase
Total                                                                                             11,422
Expense
                   Blue Can Home Recycling       10.0580.4501       10,687          Increase
                   Available for Appropriation   10.0410.9200            735          Increase
Total                                                                                              11,422

Update –


Ordinance 21-05
The size and scope of FEMA projects, necessitate the establishment of a separate capital grants project budget. Strictly housekeeping, money is to be set aside in separate funds.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Ordinance 21-06
Reimbursements on a small project basis from FEMA. The revenues were temporarily housed in  miscellaneous  accounts  for related funds. This amendment moves them to newly created line items in the corresponding fund.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Ordinance 21-07
Due to the amount of construction projects on the island, revenues has exceeded the total Inspections annual forecasted revenues. Statute restricts the expenditure of the allowed inspection fees to those expenditures incurred “for support of the administration and activities of the inspection department and for no other purpose”. Therefore they plan to purchase a new truck for the Inspection Department.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Ordinance 21-08
The amendment is needed to adjust the Blue Can Home Recycling line in order to be in accordance with Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) requirements. 

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


  • 10. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 21-07, A Resolution for Brunswick County to Mitigate Proposed Water Rate Increases – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
    .
  • Agenda Packet –
    Resolution 21-07: A Resolution for Brunswick County to Mitigate Proposed Water Rate Increases
  • .
    NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
    that the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach requests the County Commissioners mitigate the dramatic impact on all rate payers of Brunswick County, as was originally envisioned by the County by seeking means to delay approximately 50% of the debt service for an additional 5 years.
    .
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in particular, the County should apply some portion of the $28 million that it will receive under the recently passed American Recovery Act that permits using such funds for “…water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure projects”, money that remains available for use through December 2024, and
    .
    BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that before any decision is taken by Brunswick County on the proposed water rate increases , meetings between County and municipal leaders and staff and parties representing county residents should be held to attempt to arrive at viable solutions to help phase in any proposed rate increase and ensure fairness across all customers vs residents receiving water directly or indirectly from Brunswick County.

Previously reported – February 2021
Agenda Packet –

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

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

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

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

Wholesale – per 1,000 gallons $5.25

Industrial – per 1 ,000 gallons $4.35

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


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

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

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

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


Water Rate Changes
The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners received information on recommended changes to the county’s water rates during its regular meeting this Tuesday, Jan. 19. The Board of Commissioners will review and take action on the recommended changes as part of its Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) budget process. Approved changes would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. Brunswick County retail water rates have seen minimal adjustments over the past 17 years. The only increase occurred in FY 2015 when the monthly retail base rate was increased by $1. Meanwhile, volumetric rates for retail customers were decreased by $0.90 in both FY 2004 and FY 2020. With the proposed changes, the County’s FY 2022 recommended rates would still remain lower or comparable with other retail water rates in other coastal North Carolina counties. The recommended changes address the anticipated debt service repayments that will begin in 2022 for capital improvements at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, loss in revenues due to the recent closure of an industrial customer, expected reductions in revenue from wholesale customers, and expected rate increases for raw water the County purchases. The proposed rate changes considered recommendations from the Raftelis water rate study completed in 2019 and subsequent financial forecasts developed in 2020 and reviewed this month. The rate methodology used in the water rate study is in accordance with procedures outlined in the American Water Works Association M-1 Manual, which is the industry standard. In 2018, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners took action to finance the installation of a low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the County’s Northwest Water Treatment Plant to remove PFAS contaminants like GenX from water from the Cape Fear River. All Brunswick County water customers receive all or part of their water from this facility. The project at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant broke ground in Summer 2020. The facility will increase its conventional treatment capacity from 24 million gallons per day to 45 million gallons per day by Spring 2022. The first five units of the low-pressure reverse osmosis system are expected to begin treating water in Summer 2023 with the final three units anticipated to go online by Fall 2023. Brunswick County has joined other utilities in the region to sue DuPont and Chemours. The County is seeking monetary damages from Chemours to hold it responsible for the millions of dollars it is spending to install a new treatment system necessary to remove PFAS contaminants. The lawsuit remains active and ongoing.
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It does not appear that the County plans to do anything at this time to mitigate the significant water rate increase. Working with David they did an assessment of probably what will happen. They laid out what the rate increase implications are for us here at Holden Beach. Bottomline is that we are looking at a significant increase which is much higher than a County residence with the same water usage. We probably need to do a rate study to make sure that revenue and expenditures will stay in balance. Patty read a list of recommended actions and requested authorization to draft a letter to the County stating our issues, concerns, and recommendations regarding the proposed water rate increase. The plan is for her to present a resolution at next month’s BOC’s Regular Meeting agenda for approval.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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

Calabash OKs letter addressing 81% water hike
Town commissioners last week approved drafting a letter expressing concern about a proposed countywide 81% water-rate hike poised to take effect next January. Akin to concerns recently expressed in Shallotte, commissioners informally agreed at their monthly March 9 meeting that the increase will have impact on Calabash and its renowned restaurants and other businesses, which have already been struggling during the pandemic. Town commissioner Forrest King cited a recent letter penned by the town of Shallotte outlining the effect the hike will have on its own restaurants and businesses. “We can assume it’s going to have exactly the same effect here … significant increases on everybody,” he said. Mayor Pro Tem Jody Nance suggested they “piggy-back on the Shallotte letter.” “We need to adopt something pretty close,” King said, favoring a suggested alternative that the county impose the increase in steps “rather than hitting us all at one time with it.” He noted Shallotte suggested spreading the increase over a two-year period, which he deemed “bearable.” “But all at one time, especially with the environment we’re in right now, I think is a little bit crazy,” King said. A study presented to the county board in January proposed the hike to help pay off $156.8 million in capital improvements for the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, with wholesale water rates increasing from $2.89 to $5.25 per 1,000 gallons and a monthly base service charge rising $4 for all meters. It also proposes a 40% hike to $34.68 per 4,500 gallons for retail and irrigation customers from the current rate of $24.83.Commissioners estimated the climb could amount to thousands of dollars for a restaurant and several hundred dollars for a single-family home. They also wondered how sewer rates will be affected. Town Administrator Chuck Nance said he’s not sure about that but speculated the water hike should not have an effect on sewer unless the county votes on it. “I know what (county officials) have said and why they’re saying they have to do it, but it is a very steep increase,” he said, referring to the water rate rise. “It’s not so much the increase as the design going about it,” said town commissioner Michael Herring, also favoring spreading the increase over a greater period of time. Commissioners approved having Chuck Nance draft a letter to be sent to county commissioners. “A two-year span is something we could live with,” Jody Nance said.
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Mayors from county water customer towns meet with officials about rate increase
A contingent of Brunswick County’s mayors whose towns are Brunswick utilities customers met with county officials April 12 to lobby for taking the sting out of water rate increases expected to kick in next January. County commissioners are looking at water rate hikes as part of the fiscal 2022 budget process. A study presented to the county board  Jan. 19 proposed to pay off the debt for $156.8 million in capital improvements to the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. The study presented examples of Wholesale customers rates increasing from $2.89 per 1,000 gallons to $5.25, with a monthly base service charge rising $4 for all meters and a proposed water rate of $34.68 per 4,500-gallon usage for retail and irrigation customers, a $9.85 hike from the current rate of $24.83. County commissioners will discuss the proposal during budget talks, which begin with a goals and budget workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 3, prior to the county’s first board meeting of the month. At Monday’s meeting, Shallotte Mayor Walt Eccard was joined by Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith, Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden, Northwest Mayor James Knox, Navassa Mayor Eulis Willis, Carolina Shores Mayor Joyce Dunn and Bolivia Mayor Ella Jane Marston. “There were several county officials including Commissioners Randy Thompson and Mike Forte” Eccard said.
“Whatever the water rate increase will be, it’ll be decided and included in the budget that will be adopted in June of this year. And the rate adjustment will take place in January of 2022.” Eccard said the mayors asked the commissioners about using some of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding, which will provide Brunswick County with $26,699,060 to help offset the increase. They indicated that they’re currently reading of the guidance, which is a bit preliminary, is that they can’t use money to repay previously incurred debt,” Eccard said. The bonds were (already) issued to fund the construction. So they aren’t certain, and they seem to think they won’t be able to use it for that. I think it is fair to say that everybody is waiting for some guidance from Treasury. I read the authority to spend money on water and sewer infrastructure a little broader than they do. But I’m also prepared to be cautious and say we need to have more guidance from Treasury. There are other provisions in the bill that talk about not using money to repay debt. I’m not sure how those two provisions completely interact. “I probably have a slightly more aggressive take, but I could be wrong, and they could be right. The fact is unless guidance comes out prior to the budget being adopted, they said the budget rate decision will be final. So I just have to assume that if they don’t get guidance and in their current plan, they would be reluctant to use that money, that they won’t use it. But it’s their decision. My sense is that they’re reluctant to.” Eccard said there was no talk of allocating an equivalent amount of money from other county funds to use for the debt if the rules say they can’t use the ARP money. “We didn’t go into that in-depth. They did say that their staff is preparing recommendations for the commissioners on how to use the $28 million – $14 million this year, $14 million next year – and their current thinking is to use the money on general fund projects and also for some transmission lines for water and wastewater,” Eccard said. “Theoretically, I guess if you save some money there, you could look to save some of that savings. But we didn’t get good clarification on that point.” Eccard said the mayors pressed a number of alternatives and suggestions of things that could moderate the rate increase impact. “One is to review the capital recovery fees and see if some increase in capital recovery fees could, which is new growth, offset the cost to the existing ratepayers,” he said. They committed to look at that. “We also requested they consider using what we would call a more current growth rate assumption. They are currently using a 10-year average. And that’s a conservative approach. We think that with the knowledge they have on the amount of building that’s going on in Brunswick County that it really would pay benefits to look at (again). You could fairly and not wildly assume a somewhat larger growth rate, which again would reduce the impact. So we raised that point.” Eccard said the county officials are concerned about the rate increase impact on businesses. “They’re looking at how they can help them in a way that would mitigate the increase, but there were no specifics and how they plan to do that,” he said. “They’re also looking at breaking the increase over two years, rather than all of this in one year. In previous conversations, to me, the majority of the commissioners are not in favor of that. But they did agree to look at that again.” The county officials told the mayors any recovery they get from a lawsuit against Chemours would be used to benefit the ratepayers. “Of course, that settlement probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon,” Eccard said. But whenever it happens, if they get an amount of money that’s roughly equivalent to the cost of the reverse osmosis plant, the general commitment was to return that money, in one form or another, to the ratepayers. The county said they’re going to consider if there’s a way to adjust some kind of payment plan. We didn’t get specific on it, but the idea is the county ratepayers pay monthly, Shallotte ratepayers pay every other month. They’re going to see if there’s some way of having a payment structure that would let people pay over time in a different way. I don’t know how that would work, but they’re going to look at if there’s some way, they can use some kind of payment mechanism. “The towns in Brunswick County, some of them, like us, are wholesale purchasers of water from the county and we run our own water system. A number of them, perhaps even a majority, have the county run their water system. So the whole question of wholesale rates doesn’t really impact them because they’re not a purchaser of water. They probably purchase water for their own operations, but not for reselling to customers.” Eccard said they did not discuss the higher prices wholesale customers would face compared to retail customers. “That’s one topic we didn’t get to. We covered a lot of ground, but we didn’t get to everything. That’s a point we’ve been scratching our heads on also,” Eccard said. The mayors intend to keep pushing for changes to the water rate increase as the county has proposed it through communication with the county commissioners but also by keeping their residents up to date on the interactions the response, they receive from the county officials. “We’ve raised a number of points and they said they’re going to look at some of them. We appreciate that. But with the schedule they’re under, we’re going to reach out to all of our citizens to alert them in case they haven’t become aware of this coming change and what the impact on them would be,” Eccard said. “At a minimum, we don’t want to have our ratepayers surprised and be mad at us for not even telling them this was going to happen. We’re going to make sure we let them know what’s going to happen. We’re going to continue to urge the commissioners in whatever way that we can that they need to find some ways to reduce the impact, the one-year impact of this.” “I think the mayors are going to huddle to find the most effective way of continuing to communicate our views and concerns. Whether that takes the form of another meeting or some other mechanism, I honestly don’t know at this point. But we’re not going to be silent about this. Shallotte will not be silent and I’m pretty sure that other towns will not be silent.” Eccard couldn’t gauge how receptive county officials were to the ideas brought to them by the mayors. “I think the fairest way to say it is, the fact that they agreed to look at whether the capital recovery rate is set appropriately given the amount of costs thy are incurring. The fact that they’re willing to try to find a way to help businesses and the way that they’re at least willing to consider using of ARP funds if they get legal guidance. It indicated they were listening,” Eccard said.  I don’t really have a good sense of what they’re going to do about the growth rates. I think they may look at that, but I don’t know if they’re going to make any adjustments. Similarly, although they’re going to look at breaking the payment over two years, I don’t have any clarity on whether they’re going to do that or not so. So I guess the fairest view of it is they heard what we were saying. They’re going to review a few things. And that’s all positive. But I didn’t come away with a feeling that we found a solution at all to the problem. “If I could be so bold, I guess my overall statement is one of appreciation that they’re willing to listen and consider some of the suggestions we made. But my deep concern remains about the impact of the proposed increase,” Eccard said.
Read more » click here

Update –
A lot of things going on to try to mitigate the proposed water rate increase
THB Resolution joins the chorus to try and reduce the impact of the increase

  • A decision was made – Approved unanimously

    11. Discussion and Possible Scheduling of a Date to Hold a Public Hearing on the Draft System Development Fees Report – Town Clerk Finnell

    Agenda Packet –
    Draft System Development Fees Report Public Hearing
    The draft System Development Fees Report has been published for comments for a period of 45 days as required by law. Input was solicited via the Town’s Electronic Newsletter on February 23rd and March 23rd. Prior to considering the adoption the report, the Board must hold a public hearing.

    Staff suggests the Board schedule a public hearing on May 18th at 5:00 p.m. (next Regular Board of Commissioners’ meeting). Mihaela Coopersmith from Raftelis is available to attend the hearing if it is schedule for May 18th.

    Previously reported – February 2021

    Draft System Development Fees Report
    Calculation of Water and Sewer System Development Fees for FY2022

    Agenda Packet –
    The System Development Report herein has been developed by Raftelis in accordance with Board direction to develop an update prior to the expiration of its five-year shelf life. Representatives from Raftelis will provide an introductory review of the report for the Board in addition to outlining the statutory process for consideration and adoption.


    Draft System Development Fee Report
    The Town, like Brunswick County, has chosen to assess its system development fee for its customers based on the number of bedrooms.

    Step 5 – Scale the System Development Fees for Various Categories of Demand
    The system development fees for various bedroom sizes were calculated by multiplying the system development fee for one bedroom by the number of bedrooms. The resulting water and sewer system development fees for up to 4 bedrooms are shown in Table 7.

    Table 7. Water and Sewer System Development Fees by Bedroom
    Bedroom Size       Water Fee       Sewer Fee      Total Fee
    1 Bedroom              $960                   $2,240              $3,200
    2 Bedrooms            $1,920                $4,480              $6,400
    3 Bedrooms            $2,880                $6,720              $9,600
    4 Bedrooms            $3,840                $8,960              $12,800

    The water and sewer system development fees shown represent the maximum cost justified level of system development fees that can be assessed by the Town.

    Schedule 3: Summary of Current and Proposed System Development
    Total System Development Fee
    Bedroom Size            Current Fee       Proposed Fee       Difference $       Difference %
    Cost 1 Bedroom         $2,800                $3,200                    $400                     14%
    Cost 2 Bedrooms       $5,600                $6,400                    $800                     14%
    Cost 3 Bedrooms       $8,400                $9,600                    $1,200                  14%
    Cost 4 Bedrooms       $11,200              $12,800                  $1,600                  14%

This is just the introduction of the draft report educating the public on how this process works. Mihaela briefly reviewed how we got here and also pointed out that this report will need to be done every five (5) years. She went step by step, explaining the methodology used which is how they determined the proposed rate for new construction. The Town has chosen to assess its system development fee for its customers based on the number of bedrooms. The water and sewer system development fees shown in Schedule 3 represent the maximum cost justified level of system development fees that can be assessed by the Town. Compared to the original McGill Associates study this represents a fairly modest fee schedule change. Just to be clear, the proposed fee schedule does not impact current homeowners just new development.

Update
Motion was made to have a Public Hearing at next month’s BOC’s Regular Meeting which is scheduled on May 18th

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Development Fees

There has been no discussion about what their intentions are. I would have expected this to have been kicked around a bit before they take any action.


  • 12. Discussion and Possible Action on Approving Mayor’s Issuance of a Proclamation in Opposition to the Proposed Zoning Bill (SB 349/HB 401) – Commissioner Sullivan

    Agenda Packet –
    From:              Walt Eccard
    Subject:          Zoning Bill

    It has come to my attention that some of you did not receive the explanation of the impact of the zoning bill. Set forth below is the League prepared summary of this bill.

    SB 349/HB 401 Increase Housing Opportunities Edition 1 Explainer
    When taken together, all the provisions that are explained below severely reduce or eliminate the tradition of community-wide decisions regarding development. In SB 349, elected local governing boards see their decision-making authority hamstrung. And community members face new, large hurdles to use legal tools that currently give them a voice. So, by sidelining community members and their elected boards, SB 349 would allow development to proceed with little regard for a community’s preferences.

    How does this bill eliminate local zoning authority?
    . Section 1.1 preempts local zoning authority by putting in place a statewide zoning scheme that would allow duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, and townhomes in every zone that also has single family zoning.

    . Section 1.3 mandates that every single-family zone in the state also accommodate an accessory dwelling unit on each lot, subject to the local government’s setback rules. This section also preempts a local government’s ability to set parking standards for these additional homes
    . Section 2.2 locks in place all zoning codes, and it only allows future changes that would increase the density of development or allow a more-intense land use. An exception for public health, safety, or welfare is likely to happen only rarely. Proposed 160D-702(d) . . Section 2.2 also appears to eliminate all zoning except for industrial zoning and adult establishments. Proposed 1600-702(e) and (f).
    . Section 2.3 severely restricts conditional zoning, thereby taking away a tool that gives developers and local governments flexibility to tailor development. What other devices are in this bill that hamper a local governing board’s ability to make development decisions that benefit the community at large?
    . Section 2.2 appears to prevent a local government from enforcing any prior-enacted zoning changes that shifted the uses in that zone from higher-intensity to lower-intensity. Therefore, this provision invalidates countless past zoning decisions. Proposed 160D-702(d).
    .Section 2.4 gives automatic attorney’s fees to successful legal challengers, paid by local taxpayers. However, the bill does not offer a reciprocal automatic attorney’s fees award if the local government prevails in any lawsuit. The threat of having to automatically pay attorney’s fees will result in overly cautious decision-making by local governing boards who wish to avoid lawsuits.
    .Section 2.5 disallows a governing board from adopting language into its zoning code that would clarify conflicts within the code, if-as it resolved the conflict-the governing board wanted to choose a more restrictive rule. Proposed 1600-706(c). April 2, 2021 In what ways does this bill obstruct the ability of community members and neighbors to have a say in how nearby development should occur?
    . Section 2.6 places hurdles on community members and neighbors who want to intervene in legal disputes involving development, thereby making it difficult for them to participate and protect their property interests. Examples of these hurdles include:

    • Shortening the amount of time in which they may ask a court to grant them intervenor status. Proposed 1600-1402(g).
    • Eliminating their ability to appeal an unwanted local government development decision, if the developer starts work before they can appeal that decision to the courts.Proposed 1600-1402(11).
    • Requiring them to post a bond.Proposed 1600-1402(0).


    How would this bill affect mixed-used developments that are becoming increasingly popular in downtowns and urban areas?
    . Section 2.3 severely restricts conditional zoning, and for many mixed-use developments, this provision would curb flexibility for developers and harm their ability to address the concerns of nearby residents and property owners.

    Would this bill ensure that housing that is built would be affordable?
    .No.
    There is no language in the bill that would require any housing to be affordable to people with lower incomes


    The battle for ‘middle housing’: NC neighbors fight to save single-family zoning
    Ambitious and bipartisan, the legislation could upend neighborhood zoning statewide. The backlash has been swift.

    Though Kenilworth Forest lies directly behind a major mall, the neighborhood feels divorced from the hum of nearby commercial activity. Secluded by rows of trees and a glistening lake, the small community of 99 houses in Asheville is set on sloped terrain, with a narrow main street that culminates in a dead-end. “There’s only one way in and one way out so everybody’s having to say hi,” said resident Rick Freeman. “It’s quiet and super friendly.” It was this tranquility that motivated Freeman, a former General Electric executive, to purchase a mid-century modern ranch home in the community four years ago when he and his wife were looking to retire to Asheville. And it is this tranquility he hopes to preserve as he fights against a pair of bills that threaten to upend the way North Carolina has zoned neighborhoods like Kenilworth Forest for decades. In late March, a bipartisan group of state legislators introduced companion bills that would eliminate single-family zoning in North Carolina. House Bill 401 and Senate Bill 349 both call for “middle housing” – townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes – to be allowed in any neighborhood currently zoned for detached single-family homes. “Middle housing” fills the gap between single-family houses and taller apartment buildings. Over the decades, zoning ordinances have shrunk this sector of the housing stock, leaving advocates to coin it “Missing middle housing.” By promoting “Missing Middle,” North Carolina could add up to a million housing units said Senator Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson), an enticing prediction given that cities from the mountains to the coast face drastic housing shortages and skyrocketing housing costs. “There’s just simply a lack of supply,” said Edwards, who is a primary sponsor of the Senate bill. “There’s only one solution to providing affordable housing and that is to build more affordable housing.” But for the middle housing legislation to pass, it must overcome fierce objections from residents and local officials who claim the bills benefit developers, private communities, and short-term rental companies rather than actually increase affordable housing options. Middle housing may transform North Carolina’s single-family neighborhoods, though not in ways Rick Freeman and many of his neighbors welcome. “This approach would change the character (of Kenilworth Forest), which was not what I had hoped for when I bought here and not what I really pay taxes to have happen,” said Freeman, who serves as president of the Kenilworth Forest Neighborhood Association. Across North Carolina, a zoning debate is set to unfold over the coming weeks and months. Discussions have already featured plenty of technical jargon about density, parcel standards, and traffic assessments, but they’ve also stirred up broader questions about  wealth, inclusion, urban sprawl, and neighborhood control. No matter its outcome, the fight over middle housing will likely be intense; as Asheville-area realtor Dusty Allison put it: “Zoning is always a very sensitive topic.” 

    Rethinking single-family zoning
    Alongside the white picket fence, car, and clean-cut yard, the single-family home was a cornerstone of suburban neighborhoods that formed in the mid-20th century. To keep low-income and families of color from moving into these communities, cities enacted zoning laws that prohibited multi-family units, said Mai Thi Nguyen, director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego and a former city planning professor at UNC Chapel Hill. “Houses in the suburbs were exclusionary to different racial and ethnic groups, and they also appreciated in value quite dramatically,” she said. “So, once (residents) built wealth in the suburbs, they wanted to keep it that way.”
    Single-family zones continue to cover large portions of North Carolina’s cities. In Asheville, these zones constitute 67% of the city’s residential-only areas. In Charlotte, it’s more than 80%, while close to 60% of Wilmington – not just residential areas but the entire city – is zoned for single-family homes according to data from the Wilmington Planning Department. Nguyen says the abundance of single-family zoning has come at the expense of middle housing options. According to the American Housing Survey, less than 10% of new housing units from 1990 to 2013 were categorized as “Missing Middle Housing”. But as demand for housing continues to outpace supply, many have looked to get middle housing into single-family neighborhoods. In 2019, Oregon became the first, and still only, state to permit multi-family units like townhouses, duplexes, and quadplexes in single-family zones. Two years ago, Durham amended its land use ordinances to “allow for more, and more varied, housing choices.” The City of Charlotte is weighing whether it should eradicate its single-family zones. “I think there are lots of people who see (middle housing) as an avenue towards more economic and racial diversity in neighborhoods,” Nguyen said. In his massive infrastructure plan, President Joe Biden proposed giving municipalities incentives to “take concrete steps to eliminate such needless barriers to producing affordable housing.” Yet North Carolina’s middle housing legislation doesn’t incentivize local governments to end single-family zoning. It demands it.

    ‘A radical and comprehensive attack’
    The middle housing bills have drawn support from both sides of the aisle. Multiple Republicans and Democrats joined Senator Edwards in sponsoring the legislation, including Sen. Valerie Foushee of Orange County, who chairs the Senate Democratic Caucus. “There’s enough in this bill to be attractive to a wide range of folks,” said Rep. Brian Turner, a Buncombe County Democrat, who didn’t sponsor the House bill but does support it. “There is the concern about the affordable housing issue that’s typically a Democratic-leaning issue. It also goes to property rights, which typically appeals to some of the more conservative folks.” If the middle housing bills were to become law, developers would no longer need special permission from local governments to build townhouses, duplexes, triplexes or quadplexes in single-family zones. The bill also allows accessory dwelling units, smaller homes that share lots with larger, primary houses, to be built statewide. Construction limitations would still apply. Developers could only build middle housing where there’s water and sewer access, and new multi-family units would have to conform to local standards like building height, yard length, and parking location. The legislation exempts historic neighborhoods and subdivisions with homeowner association covenants from having to allow multi-family units, which is one of several criticisms opponents have levied against the bills. The North Carolina League of Municipalities, which represents more than 500 towns, has lambasted the legislation as a disingenuous overreach of state government. “We think it’s basically an attempt to undermine local control and local decision making in the guise of an affordable housing bill,” said Scott Mooneyham, NCLM’s director of political communication and coordination. Mooneyham pointed out the bills are backed by the North Carolina Home Builders Association, which represents developers. In the last campaign cycle, the NCHBA made donations to multiple sponsors of the middle housing bills, including Foushee and Edwards. In a scathing public statement on April 5, the Boone Town Council condemned House Bill 401 and Senate Bill 349 for hiding “behind the term ‘affordable housing’” while not actually requiring middle housing units be sold at affordable prices. Last week, the High Point City Council issued a similar rebuke, deeming the legislation “a radical and comprehensive attack on local land-use decisions.” A retired nurse, Norma Baynes sees the zoning changes as an existential threat to her community of Shiloh, a historically Black neighborhood of single-family homes in south Asheville. Knowing that development had contributed to the displacement or destruction of Black communities in the past, Baynes, who serves as president of the Shiloh Community Association, resists any steps that might alter the look and feel of one of Asheville’s oldest communities. “We’re still struggling to keep the community intact for generations to come,” she said. This week, the executive committee of the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods gathered over Zoom to discuss the controversial legislation. The committee’s six members each live in a different Asheville neighborhood that, at least in part, is zoned for single-family homes. Patrick Gilbert, a retired reporter,
    and CAN’s vice president, called the bills “onerous” and advised the General Assembly to “encourage municipalities to provide more affordable housing” rather than “shackle” their control over what gets built within their borders. Rick Freeman predicted granting developers “carte blanche” to increase housing density would produce more traffic, more parking issues, and less connection among Kenilworth Forest residents. One CAN member suggested Asheville neighborhoods could become homeowner associations in order to sidestep the legislation. In a unanimous vote, the CAN executive committee approved a motion to oppose House Bill 401 and Senate Bill 349. They would send out a letter with their concerns to local legislators and the Governor.
    Read more » click here

    Brunswick County towns push back on proposed bill for state control of zoning decisions
    A bill filed in the state house in March that proposes taking zoning decisions out of the hands of local governments has Brunswick County town officials pushing back on what they see as overreaching by state legislators. Shallotte Mayor Walt Eccard said mayors from 15 of Brunswick County’s 19 towns have signed a letter sent out Tuesday to local state senators and representatives as well as sponsors of the bill to voice their opposition to taking decision-making on development zoning out of local hands. The bill was filed as Senate Bill 349 by primary sponsors Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards, District 48 (Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania), Republican Sen. Paul Newton, District 36 (Cabarrus, Union) and Democrat Sen. Milton F. “Toby” Fitch Jr., District 4 (Edgecombe, Halifax, Wilson). It has also been filed in the House as HB 401 by Republican Rep. Destin Hall, District 87 (Caldwell), Republican Rep. Timothy Moffitt, District 117 (Henderson), Republican Rep. Mark Brody, District 55 (Anson, Union) and Democrat Rep. William Richardson, District 44 (Cumberland).
    The proposed bill would allow duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes and townhomes in every zone that allows single-family zoning statewide. Shallotte planning director Robert Waring said the town ordinance would consider those to be a multifamily development, which are already allowed but with a special use permit. Every single-family zone would also be required to allow an accessory dwelling on each lot. While local setback rules would remain, local governments wouldn’t be able to set parking standards for the additional dwelling. The only allowable future changes to local zoning codes already in place would increase development density or land use with rare exceptions for public health and safety. “By preempting all local authority over the zoning the developer can come in and there is essentially no requirements he has to meet,” Eccard said. “They do reference in one area for the extra buildings on a lot that the setback is applicable. What is the rationale? And why should we be forced to allow an extra building on a single lot without planning for additional parking. These are things that are best decided at the local level, when you have real knowledge of the area that they’re talking about and how the proposed use would fit in with the overall appearance of the town. “The decision makers closest to the people are the people who should be making these decisions, not having all that power taken away by the state, who has no ability and no interest in regulating what the results of this would be. And it prohibits or at least severely limits the town from being able to do that. “Time after time, we impose extra requirements in order to get an authorization to proceed, to meet the needs of local property owners who are adjacent to the property, and property owners, generally, throughout the town. A lot of that authority would go away. So it’s just an unseemly power grab where the state is taking away all this authority from local governments. If they feel this strongly about it, I think they should just abolish all towns and let the legislature run the entire state.” Another section of the bill proposes to eliminate zoning for everything except industrial zoning or adult establishments. “The current structures we have given the town flexibility to work with developers, so the growth of a town conforms with the town’s overall vision of what it wants,” Eccard said. “If you kind of do away with all zoning, except for industrial and adult entertainment, it really limits the town’s ability to do (any) planning.” The proposal would also severely restrict conditional zoning that allows local government to work with a developer to tailor developments. “Conditional zoning allows for projects to be tailored to both the developer’s needs and a city’s wants and needs,” Waring said. “It also allows for more flexibility in terms of having conversations with the developers between the decision makers, and the developers. Whereas like a special use permit, for example, specifically can’t have that precursor conversation between the cities elected officials and the developers. Conditional zoning helps us bridge that gap.” He said it also “lets the developer show what they intend to put on the ground. And sometimes that has the effect of putting fears to rest with the adjacent property owners.” Eccard used the town’s plans for the riverfront as an example. “We’ve been considering using a special zoning tool so that the development can be built along the lines the town wants,” Eccard said. “It would be a type of conditional rezoning where the developer or the town would develop a master plan and that would be part of the rezoning record,” Waring added. “Being able to have a consistent style in architecture and appearance and to tailor, setbacks and height of the buildings, conditional zoning gives us the ability to do that, and it protects the investor,” Eccard said. “It protects the developer and the town in terms of the investment. So the investment is not devalued by subsequent development. And if you do away with conditional zoning, then you lose that tool.”  Other measures proposed would prevent local government from enforcing already enacted zoning changes I they shifted zoning from higher-intensity to lower-intensity and would require governments to pay attorney’s fees automatically in a successful lawsuit. The proposed bill also would include restrictive rules for disputing development decisions. And it doesn’t include any requirements for housing developments to be affordable to people in lower incomes. At their monthly meeting last Tuesday, April 13, the Calabash Town Board of Commissioners approved a draft resolution to send opposing Senate Bill 349 and House Bill 401 on grounds the legislation would “disempower local governments from making land use decisions.” The resolution states proposed legislation would “diminish the protections available to property owners and residents when incompatible uses are proposed adjacent to their properties and homes” and would “prohibit local governments from including language to clarify conflicts in development regulation if the governing board desires to choose the more restrictive rule.” It also states the proposed bills discourage local government and private individuals from using the court system when challenging development proposals and that other states have enacted legislation addressing the issue of housing affordability “without such significant diminishment of local government power to make land use decisions on behalf of the communities they represent.” “I don’t know what the heck they’re thinking of,” Calabash Mayor Pro Tem Jody Nance said during board discussion. Calabash Town Administrator Chuck Nance said it’s a relatively new bill that’s been recently brought up and that the North Carolina League of Municipalities is opposed to it. He said the Cape Fear Council of Governments sent the town a “sample resolution.” “I didn’t really register what this was till I read the one another mayor sent you,” said town commissioner Forrest King, who had the resolution added to the night’s agenda at the start of the meeting. Town commissioner Michael Price said he didn’t think this was the first time “they’ve tried this.” Chuck Nance said there are a lot of contradictions. “The (Council of Governments) didn’t seem enthused this is going to pass,” he said, adding the sponsors are bipartisan. Nance later clarified it’s his understanding from what has been reported that vacation rental companies like Airbnb and VRBO are pushing the legislation because they seem to be exempt from it. “Most communities have a problem with outside entities legislating how to apply zoning within their jurisdiction and changes that might affect densities in old, established neighborhoods that are primarily single-family,” Nance wrote in an email to the Beacon on Monday. King acknowledged the legislation is cosponsored by about “six different folks on both sides of the aisle.” Calabash Mayor Donna Prince Long said local mayors have gotten together to discuss the matter. “I’m not particularly in favor of what I read about that so far,” she said. Town commissioner Michael Herring said as a Realtor, he sees legal issues and a couple of problems. “It can’t be enacted legally,” he said. “Every area would become an HOA. I’m curious how they’re proposing to do (this).”
    Read more » click here

    Update –
    Legislation is currently under consideration, the letter in the agenda packet delineates why we should oppose this bill. NC League of Municipalities issued an action alert asking municipalities to notify their representatives of our opposition to this bill. Mike said the essence of Holden Beach will be destroyed if the bill is enacted. The Board agreed to prepare a resolution in opposition to the proposed bills.

    A decision was made – Approved unanimously


    13. Town Manager’s Report


Budget Calendar
Two workshops have been scheduled in May

Editor’s Note –
Local governments must balance their budget
Ensuring that government commitments are in line with available resources is an essential element of good governance.
The Town Manager’s proposed budget is due by June 1st
Commissioners must adopt budget no later than July 1st for the next fiscal year
Adopting the annual budget is a primary responsibility of the Board.

First budget meeting is scheduled for May 7th
Compare that to the 2019 Budget Meeting schedule

 

    1. 16 January       BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives
    2. 05 February     BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives / Capital Programs
    3. 15 February     Canal Dredging Working Group / PRAB / IBPB
      *
      PRAB – Parks & Recreation Advisory Board
      *
      IBPB – Inlet & Beach Protection Board
    4. 22 February     Departments Input to Manager
    5. 7 March           BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
    6. 21 March         BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
    7. 28 March         BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
    8. 12 April            BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
    9. 19 April            BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
    10. 6-10 May          Budget Message
    11. 7 June               Public Hearing
    12. 18 June             Regular BOC’s Meeting – Ordinance Consideration
    13. 1 July                Budget adopted (No Later Than)

FEMA
Hurricane Isaias FEMA worksheet approved $3.8 million
We will need to amend budget and establish a separate capital grants project fund
That will be scheduled at the next regular meeting just like we did tonight
Potential for one large super storm project but there are a number of hurdles to clear to make that happen
FEMA projects now total more than $45 million

Previously reported – March 2021
David indicated that the potential for us to combine all four storms in one large project appears to be increasing.

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

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

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

Holden Beach awarded $3.8M to renourish beaches damaged by Hurricane Isaias
The State of North Carolina and FEMA have approved more than $3.8 million to help the Town of Holden Beach restore sand, vegetation, and fencing on the Central Reach shoreline damaged by Hurricane Isaias last year. Funds for the project cover restoration of 67,438 cubic yards of beach sand, installing 320,000 dune plants and 24,000 linear feet of protective sand fencing along Central Reach Beach in Brunswick County. FEMA’s share for the projects is $2,878,528 and the state’s share is $959,509. FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants for state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to reimburse the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent repair work. Public Assistance is a cost-sharing program. FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of eligible costs and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. The federal share is paid directly to the state to disburse to agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.
Read more » click here

Holden Beach awarded $3.8 million to renourish reaches damaged by Hurricane Isaias
The state of North Carolina and Federal Emergency Management Agency have approved $3,838,038 to help the town of Holden Beach restore sand, vegetation and fencing on the Central Reach shoreline damaged by Hurricane Isaias last year, according to an April 16 FEMA press release. Funds for the project cover restoration of 67,438 cubic yards of beach sand, installing 320,000 dune plants and 24,000 linear feet of protective sand fencing along Central Reach Beach in Brunswick County. FEMA’s share for the projects is $2,878,528 and the state’s share is $959,509. FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants for state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to reimburse the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent repair work. Public Assistance is a cost-sharing program. FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of eligible costs and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. The federal share is paid directly to the state to disburse to agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.

Also approved was $3,239,775 to reimburse the city of Wilmington and $1,459,270 to reimburse New Hanover County for debris removal costs from Hurricane Isaias. Funds to the city are for county-wide removal of just over 220,000 cubic yards of hurricane-related debris. FEMA’s share for the projects is $2,429,831 and the state’s share is $809,943.Funds to New Hanover county cover the county-wide removal of just over 133,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris, 643 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris, four trees and 482 hanging limbs. FEMA’s share for the projects is $1,094,452 and the state’s share is $364,817.The state and FEMA have also approved $10,061,294 to help the town of Oak Island with emergency expenses to protect its natural dune system and berms damaged by Hurricane Florence in 2018, according to an April 15 press release. Storm surge and waves caused extensive erosion to the dunes. The town con-structed emergency berms and temporary levees to protect property along Oak Island beaches in Brunswick County. FEMA’s share for this project is $7,545,970 and the state’s share is $2,515,323. For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Isaias, go to FEMA.gov/disaster/4568 or follow them on Twitter @NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4. For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence go to ncdps.gov/Florence and FEMA.gov/Disaster/4393.
Brunswick Beacon


LWF Inlet Crossing Maintenance Project
We were contacted about the next dredging cycle of sand from the project that is coming to Holden Beach this year. Details of cost and sand volume are unknown at this time. USACE  tentatively plans to make contract award at the end of  July.


Annual Beach Monitoring Survey
Survey is currently underway; crews will be out there for the next couple of weeks

Previously reported – 2020
The Town participates in annual beach monitoring to maintain a healthy beach and dune system and to keep our engineered beach status. These reports are also instrumental in serving as a baseline account of sand volume as compared to post-storm surveys.

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

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

Annual monitoring has occurred since 2001. We have an engineered beach – which means it has been nourished and is being monitored.


Sand Fence Installation Project
The project has been completed, they got to around 955 OBW

Previously reported – March 2021
The project is currently in the 800 block. They will continue working west as far as they are permitted to by CAMA.

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


Parks & Recreation Master Plan Update
They have gotten a good response rate from a wide variety of participants
They are pleased that they will have a solid baseline on the served population

Previously reported – March 2021
Process is well underway, six (6) focus groups have participated in developing the plan.

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

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


Genset
Automatic transfer switch installation has been completed
All systems good to go for hurricane season


Jordan Boulevard Bathroom Remodel
Project has been put on hold due to a number of complications, they will come back to it at a later date


Lift Stations
Sewer Lift Station #3
Complete, final payments have been made, it’s a done deal

Previously reported – March 2021
Has everything he needs in hand, about to proceed to make final payments

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

Sewer Lift Station #2
Engineering Services Request for Quote (RFQ) has been advertised

Previously reported – March 2021
Ready to start the upgrade process, will begin with a
request for quotation (RFQ)


Brunswick Avenue Paving
Project has been completed, subject to engineer’s inspection

Previously reported – March 2021
In 2015 the Board implemented a tax increase of $.010 specifically for street paving and maintenance. The penny worth of tax revenue earmarked for paving is money that is already in the budget. Last year, Right Angle Engineering reviewed the bids and recommended Highland Paving. Highland did the work on Brunswick Avenue Phase 1 project last year  and has done satisfactory work for the Town before. The motion was made to award the contract to Highland Paving and make necessary budget adjustment as requested.


Bike Lane
David had follow-up meeting with NCDOT representatives. Both resurfacing and bike lane projects are moving forward. We will have a seat at the table, able to get our hat in the ring, for the federal project grant funding.

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

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

Previously reported – March 2021
David provided the Board with a memo summarizing the information that he gathered since the last meeting. That memo was not included in the agenda packet. He reviewed the process, timeline, and financing. DOT informed him that if we are interested that we need to stay engaged with them. The public has said that they are in favor of having bike lanes. The project is an improvement worth the expenditure especially if we can get help with the funding through grants. They decided to give the  project a green light and have David work to keep moving the project forward.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously


In Case You Missed It –

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

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

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

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


14. Mayor’s Comments

Mayor Holden asked about the work being done on the Sewer Lift Station under the bridge. Chris the Public Works Director informed him that a corroded pipe is being replaced there. 

Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department is planning to ask the County Commissioners for a 15% increase in fire fees to replace their building that was built in 1968.


15. Board of Commissioners’ Comments

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

Folks speaking up would be helpful!


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

No decision was made – No action taken


Loose Ends (3)

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

General Comments –

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


 

Disappointed that we do not plan to start the budget process this year until May 7th

 


.
BOC’s Meeting

The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, May 18th
.


Hurricane #1 - CR

 

Hurricane Season
For more information » click here

Be prepared – have a plan!

.a


Hurricane season start date could shift earlier because of a surge in May storms

Story Highlights

    • According to NOAA, May storms have formed in each of the past six years.
    • Although the majority of the recent May storms have been rather benign, some have not.
    • There will be no changes to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season this year.

Because of a surge in May storms, meteorologists are considering moving the start date of the Atlantic hurricane season from June 1 to May 15. The hurricane season has started on June 1 for more than five decades. The discussion on changing the start date began in December at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) hurricane conference, which followed the most active hurricane season on record, when 30 named storms formed. Storms have formed in May in each of the past six years, according to NOAA. In 2020, Tropical Storm Arthur came to life on May 16, followed by Tropical Storm Bertha on May 27. Since the late 1960s, when satellites began identifying tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic, 19 named storms have formed before June 1, Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach said. Although the majority of the recent May storms have been rather benign, some have not: “At least 20 deaths have occurred from late May storms since 2012, with about $200 million in total damage, and one of these systems was a 60-knot (70 mph) tropical storm at landfall,” according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The most recent confirmed hurricane during the month of May dates back to May 20, 1970 – Hurricane Alma, which reached maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, AccuWeather said. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph. Klotzbach worries about moving the start date to May 15 since the most dangerous storms typically don’t occur until the height of the season from late August through mid-October. “If you extend the season another 15 days, you could basically have three months with very little storm activity,” Klotzbach said. “People can only prepare for things for so long before they just say, ‘forget it.’” The eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15, but Klotzbach said the Atlantic basin has a much more peaked season. The World Meteorological Organization and NOAA will have meetings this spring to discuss moving the date of the hurricane season. The WMO has the final say on any potential date change. “An examination would need to take place regarding the need for, and potential ramifications of, potentially moving the beginning of the hurricane season to May 15,” National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said in a statement sent to USA TODAY. Regardless, there will be no changes to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season this year, he said. Although the start date of the basin’s hurricane season has traditionally begun on June 1, the end date has a history of being pushed back, first from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13 to Nov. 30, where it is today, AccuWeather said.
Read more » click here

New climate ‘normal’ for Atlantic hurricanes shows more frequent and intense storms
The past 30 years have seen record levels of hurricane activity.
Every 10 years, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration revises the baseline of what weather and climate conditions are considered “normal.” The most recent normals for Atlantic hurricane activity will soon be released, and a preview reveals a spike in storm frequency and intensity. During the most recent 30-year period, which spans 1991 to 2020, there has been an uptick in the number of named storms and an increase in the frequency of major hurricanes of category 3 intensity or greater in the Atlantic. That comes as no surprise amid a spate of extreme hurricane activity that has featured seven Category 5 storms swirling across Atlantic waters in just the past five years. The newly revised climate normals aren’t a forecast of upcoming activity, nor are they necessarily illustrative of any one particular climate or meteorological trend. They’re simply benchmark values. The National Weather Service calculates new climate normals each decade for all major U.S. cities with sufficient historical data. When you hear your local television meteorologist describe a day as “10 degrees above average,” for instance, this data is where that comes from. The new hurricane normals are not official yet, though available data clearly shows an uptick in storm frequency and intensity, likely related to a combination of climate change, natural variability, and improved storm detection.
Read more » click here

‘It only takes one storm’: AccuWeather predicts above-average 2021 hurricane season for NC
AccuWeather is predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season for 2021. In a report released Wednesday, AccuWeather’s team of tropical weather experts said 2021 is predicted to bring 16-20 named storms, with seven-to-10 becoming hurricanes and three-to-five major hurricanes expected to impact the United States. A normal season, according to their report, is 14 storms. In 2020, there were 13 storms with six becoming major hurricanes. In the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office, Warning Coordination Meteorologist Steve Pfaff said they use predictions given by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, which won’t be out until May. Right now, NOAA forecasters are still looking at all the moving pieces that help create a hurricane season prediction, Pfaff said. That includes everything from expected rainfall trends in Africa, which could impact the number of tropical waves, to temperatures in the Caribbean and wind patterns that could move Saharan dust into the Atlantic basin. “These predictions are not simple,” Pfaff explained. The more important thing about these annual season predictions, Pfaff said, is that it gets communities talking. North Carolina is “rapidly approaching hurricane season,” which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, Pfaff said. “Regardless of what the prediction is, it only takes one storm to define a region,” he added. Even if the NOAA forecast predicts a lower-than-average season, Pfaff said the level of preparedness shouldn’t change. “All it takes is that one,” Pfaff said. “People unfortunately equate the number to impact. That’s not a good way to think about these.” Pfaff has spent 26 years with the National Weather Service, and over that time he’s seen more and more category 4 storms, which is why he stresses the importance of being prepared no matter what predictions show. The numbers are just that – purely numbers – and don’t specify who has a higher chance of being hit. On top of that, several hurricanes in recent years have led to significant flooding events. “It seems like we’re seeing more and more tropical storms and hurricanes that result in flood disasters,” Pfaff said, using Hurricane Florence as a prime local example. The storm, which made landfall near Wrightsville Beach on Sept. 14, 2018 as a Category 1, was slow moving and dumped record-breaking amounts of rain on the area for days. During these times people are cut off from help and supplies. Pfaff recommended families keep preparations on hand for seven days rather than the typical three in case of extreme “It seems like we’re seeing more and more tropical storms and hurricanes that result in flood disasters,” Pfaff said, using Hurricane Florence as a prime local example. The storm, which made landfall near Wrightsville Beach on Sept. 14, 2018 as a Category 1, was slow moving and dumped record-breaking amounts of rain on the area for days. During these times people are cut off from help and supplies. Pfaff recommended families keep preparations on hand for seven days rather than the typical three in case of extreme circumstances. Meteorologists are also considering a change in the timeline for hurricane season, potentially moving the date two weeks earlier to mid-May due to an increase in May storms. That discussion is still ongoing and would require worldwide coordination. While most May storms tend to be tropical storms or low-category hurricanes due to there being less warm water to feed off than during the summer, Pfaff said, he recommends having kits ready to go in early May.
For more information on how to prepare for hurricanes » click here
Read more » click here

2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Expected to Be More Active Than Normal

At a Glance

    • A total of 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes are expected this season.
    • This is above the 30-year average of 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
    • The forecast was released Thursday by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project.

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be more active than usual, according to an outlook released Thursday by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project. The group led by Dr. Phil Klotzbach calls for 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. A major hurricane is one that is Category 3 or higher (115-plus-mph winds) on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This forecast is above the 30-year average (1991 to 2020) of 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. “We anticipate that the 2021 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have above-normal activity,” Klotzbach wrote in the outlook. Though the official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November, storms can occasionally develop outside those months, as was the case in the previous six seasons and 10 of the past 18 seasons since 2003. In 2020, Tropical storms Arthur and Bertha each formed in mid- to late May. The CSU outlook is based on roughly 40 years of statistical factors combined with data from seasons exhibiting similar features of sea-level pressure and sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific oceans.

What Does This Mean for the United States?
A record 11 storms made landfall in the U.S. in 2020, including six hurricanes: Hanna, Isaias, Laura, Sally, Delta, and Zeta. That’s well above the average of one to two hurricane landfalls each season, according to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division. “We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” Klotzbach said. “As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.” Despite the 2020 season, there isn’t necessarily a strong correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes and U.S. landfalls in any given season. One or more of the 17 named storms predicted to develop this season could hit the U.S. or none at all. Some past hurricane seasons have been inactive but included at least one notable landfall. The 1992 season produced only six named storms and one subtropical storm. However, one of those named storms was Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida as a Category 5 hurricane. In 1983, there were only four named storms, but one of them was Alicia. The Category 3 hurricane hit the Houston-Galveston area and caused almost as many direct fatalities there – 21 – as Andrew did in South Florida – 26. On the other hand, the 2010 Atlantic season was very active, with 19 named storms and 12 hurricanes. Despite the high number of storms that year, no hurricanes and only one tropical storm made landfall in the U.S. In other words, a season can deliver many storms but have little impact or deliver few storms and have one or more hitting the U.S. coast with major impact. The bottom line is it’s impossible to know for certain if a U.S. hurricane strike will occur this season. Keep in mind that even a weak tropical storm hitting the U.S. can cause major impacts, particularly if it moves slowly and rainfall triggers flooding.
Read more » click here

‘Average’ Atlantic hurricane season to reflect more storms
Higher averages based on most recent 30-year climate record
Beginning with this year’s hurricane season outlooks, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) will use 1991-2020 as the new 30-year period of record. The updated averages for the Atlantic hurricane season have increased with 14 named storms and 7 hurricanes. The average for major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) remains unchanged at 3. The previous Atlantic storm averages, based on the period from 1981 to 2010, were 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. NOAA is updating the set of statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the climate record. This update process occurs once every decade. “This update allows our meteorologists to make forecasts for the hurricane season with the most relevant climate statistics taken into consideration,” said Michael Farrar, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction
. “Our work illustrates the value of NOAA’s investments in next-generation technologies to capture the data that underpins our outlooks and other forecast products. These products are essential to providing the public and local emergency managers with advance information to prepare for storms, and achieving NOAA’s mission of protecting life and property.”

This graphic captures the changes in Atlantic hurricane season averages from the last three-decade period of 1981-2010 to the most current such period, 1991-2020. The updated averages for the Atlantic hurricane season have increased with 14 named storms and 7 hurricanes. The average for major hurricanes remains unchanged at 3. The previous Atlantic storm averages, based on the period from 1981 to 2010, were 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

The increase in the averages may be attributed to the overall improvement in observing platforms, including NOAA’s fleet of next-generation environmental satellites and continued hurricane reconnaissance. It may also be due to the warming ocean and atmosphere which are influenced by climate change. The update also reflects a very busy period over the last 30 years, which includes many years of a positive Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, which can increase Atlantic hurricane activity. “These updated averages better reflect our collective experience of the past 10 years, which included some very active hurricane seasons,” said Matt Rosencrans, seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “NOAA scientists have evaluated the impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones and determined that it can influence storm intensity. Further research is needed to better understand and attribute the impacts of anthropogenic forcings and natural variability on tropical storm activity.” For the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific basins the averages over the 1991 – 2020 period do not change. The Eastern Pacific basin will remain at 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. The Central Pacific basin will maintain an average of 4 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. NOAA will issue its initial seasonal outlook for the 2021 hurricane season in late May. The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30.
Read more » click here


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Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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

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

https://lousviews.com/

04 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / April Edition


Calendar of Events –



.Days at the Docks Festival

April 27th
28th
Holden Beach

.

The annual festival occurs in April or May and is sponsored by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. It’s the Holden Beach way to kick-off the Spring and start the vacation season. In addition to the food and arts & crafts, enjoy live music & entertainment, a horseshoe tournament and the world famous “Bopple Race”. Lots of activities for the entire family!
For more information » click here

Days at the Docks Festival has been canceled



Blue Crab Festival

May 15th – 16th
Little River SC

.

This will be the 39th annual world famous Blue Crab Festival. It is held on the waterfront in Little River and is one of the largest festivals in the Southeast. The purpose of this festival is one that supports and showcases the fabulous atmosphere of the local communities.
For more information » click here


Events
TDA - logo
Discover a wide range of things to do in the Brunswick Islands for an experience that goes beyond the beach.
For more information » click here


Calendar of Events Island –


Concerts on the Coast Series
The Town’s summer concert series calendar has been released! Live performances featuring local musical groups are held at the pavilion on Sunday evenings from late May to early September. The concerts are free of charge.

While they are still uncertain about the ability to hold concerts and will rely on outside occupancy limits established by the State of NC at the time the season starts, they remain hopeful that they can provide this popular community event in a manner that adheres to safety protocols. The schedule will be adjusted based on Covid-19 guidance. Please continue to visit the Town website and social media outlets for updates on the status of the concerts.
For more information » click here

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled


HBBC Plant Sale  
The HBBC is holding their Annual Plant Sale on Friday, May 14th and Saturday, May 15th at the Emergency Operations Center, which is beside Food Lion located at 1044 Sabbath Home Road. Landscaping plants, perennials, annuals, herbs, and gardening gloves will be available for purchase. All funds generated from the plant sale are earmarked for beautification projects on the island. Visit the Beautification Club’s website at http://holdenbeachbc.org/ if you are unable to attend the plant sale but would like to contribute.

HBBC Plant Sale has been cancelled


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


Reminders –


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2021 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills.
Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. 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.



Speed Limit
Please take notice – Speed limit seasonal limitations, in accordance with Town Ordinances. Speed limit will change on OBW from 45mph to 35mph west of the general store. This change will take place on April 1st and be in effect through September 30th.



Trash Can Requirements – Rental Properties
GFL Environmental – trash can requirements
Ordinance 07-13, Section 50.10


Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.
* One extra trash can per every two bedrooms

.

§ 50.08 RENTAL HOMES.
(A) Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in abnormally large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like).


Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule
GFL Environmental change in service, trash pickup will be twice a week. Starting the Saturday before Memorial Day through the Saturday after Labor Day: Pick-up is every Tuesday and Saturday from May 29th through September 25th

Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting May 29th twice a week

Recyclingstarting May 25th weekly pick-up

Please note:
. • Trash carts must be at the street by 6:00 a.m. on the pickup day
. • BAG the trash before putting it in the cart
. • Carts will be rolled back to the front of the house


Yard Waste Service
Yard debris pick-up will be provided twice a month on the 2ndand 4th Fridays during the months of March, April, and May. Please have yard waste placed at the street for pick-up on Thursday night. The first pickup of the season was on March 12th. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.

Debris must be placed in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a length not to exceed five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds. Each residence is allowed a total of ten (10) items, which can include a combination of bundles of brush and limbs meeting the required length and weight and/ or biodegradable bags with grass clippings, leaves, etc.



Bird Nesting Area

NC Wildlife Commission has posted signs that say – Bird Nesting Area / Please don’t disturb. The signs are posted on the west end beach strand around 1307 OBW.


People and dogs are supposed to stay out of the area from April through November

. 1) It’s a Plover nesting area
. 2) Allows migrating birds a place to land and rest without being disturbed


Mosquito Control
Current EPA protocol is that spraying is complaint driven
The Town is unable to just spray as they had in the past
. 1)
Complaint based
. 2)
Citizen request
. 3)
Proactively monitor hot spots

They recommend that you get rid of any standing water on your property that you can
Urged everyone to call Town Hall if they have mosquito issues so that they can spray

Spraying is complaint based, so keep the calls coming!


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

§157.087 BUILDING NUMBERS.

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

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



BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, May 18th
.


News from Town of Holden Beach
The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here


Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to heather@hbtownhall.com.


Curbside Recycling
GFL environmental is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $93.29 annually paid in advance to the Town of Holden Beach and consists of a ninety-six (96) gallon cart that is emptied every other week.
Curbside Recycling Application » click here
Curbside Recycling Calendar » click here

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

Recycling Renewal
It is time to renew your annual recycling service. If you would like to continue the recycling service for the 2021 year, please fill out the recycling form and send it to Town Hall with the payment of $93.29 per bin no later than April 30, 2021. Any payments not received by this date will result in cancellation of the service and removal of the recycling bin. Click here to access the recycling form.

If you have any questions, contact Megan at reception@hbtownhall.com or at (910) 842-6488.


Elevator - CRElevators
Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system.


Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard

Hazard:
The elevator cab can fall unexpectedly to the bottom of the elevator shaft and abruptly stop, posing an injury hazard to consumers in the elevator cab.

Consumer Contact:
Waupaca Elevator toll-free at 833-850-7981 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, e-mail at info@WaupacaElevator.com or online at www.WaupacaElevator.com and click on Recall Information for more information.

Recall Details

Description:
This recall involves residential elevator models Custom Lift 450# and Custom Lift 500#, shipped and installed between 1979 and 2008. The recalled elevators are used in consumers’ homes.

Remedy:
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled elevators and contact Waupaca Elevator to schedule a free gearbox inspection and the installation of a free overspeed braking device. Waupaca Elevator also will provide the installation of a free gearbox if the gearbox inspection reveals that the gears in the gearbox have worn down.

For more information » click here

There is an issue with the gearboxes on select Waupaca Elevators that may cause the elevator to suddenly drop. In December on the island, despite having recommended gearbox inspection, the Waupaca elevator cab fell to the bottom of the elevator shaft causing serious injuries to my friends that were in the elevator cab. Affected elevators need to be checked and the installation of overspeed braking devices completed before being put back into service. Even then I still would be concerned, due to the severity of gear boxes failure the safety features are not responding as they should. I’d strongly recommend that you immediately stop using these Waupaca elevators.


Library
If you need something to keep you busy in this colder weather, make sure to visit the island library. The library is in the upstairs of Holden Beach Town Hall. All the books were donated. Patrons of the library don’t have to check out a book; they are on the honor system to return it.



Neighborhood Watch –

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


Coronavirus –


Brunswick County COVID-19 Snapshot: as of March 19th


Novant Health announces new website for vaccine sign-ups in Brunswick County
Novant Health on Tuesday announced a new website where people who 65 years and older in Brunswick County can sign-up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The new website is NovantHealth.org/BrunswickVaccine. Novant officials are still encouraging people to sign up for a MyChart account to provide all necessary information, including date of birth to confirm eligibility, prior to their vaccination appointment. Recipients do not need to be affiliated with a specific healthcare system to sign up for MyChart, officials say. A spokesperson for Novant said the change was made in an effort to streamline the sign-up process for community members. “Our main priority is to provide the vaccine as quickly as possible to those who are eligible and want the vaccine. We are committed to ensuring all vaccine distribution is equitable, effective and in the best interest of public health despite unprecedented supply challenges,” the spokesperson said. Novant officials offered a reminder that appointments are available based on the limited supply of vaccine provided by the state health department and will be updated weekly. New appointments are added every Friday evening.


COVID/State of Emergency – Timeline

03/23/21
It’s been just over a year since North Carolina went into the Covid-19 shutdown, and subsequent restrictions from Gov. Roy Cooper have followed. Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 204 which will roll back some of them, a further easing of restrictions on maximum capacity limits for many businesses and entertainment venues. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

02/24/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 195 which will ease but not lift restrictions in several areas of
the modified stay-at-home order. More businesses will be able to operate, some for the first time and others with increased capacity. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

01/27/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 189 which further extends the modified stay-at-home order with a curfew that requires people to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

01/06/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 188 which extends the modified stay-at-home order with a curfew that requires people to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Click here to view the Executive Order details.


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

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

The situation is serious; take it seriously!

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


Upon Further Review –


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


Water Rate Methodology and Rate Increase

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

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

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


Water Rate Changes
The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners received information on recommended changes to the county’s water rates during its regular meeting this Tuesday, Jan. 19. The Board of Commissioners will review and take action on the recommended changes as part of its Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) budget process. Approved changes would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. Brunswick County retail water rates have seen minimal adjustments over the past 17 years. The only increase occurred in FY 2015 when the monthly retail base rate was increased by $1. Meanwhile, volumetric rates for retail customers were decreased by $0.90 in both FY 2004 and FY 2020. With the proposed changes, the County’s FY 2022 recommended rates would still remain lower or comparable with other retail water rates in other coastal North Carolina counties. The recommended changes address the anticipated debt service repayments that will begin in 2022 for capital improvements at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, loss in revenues due to the recent closure of an industrial customer, expected reductions in revenue from wholesale customers, and expected rate increases for raw water the County purchases. The proposed rate changes considered recommendations from the Raftelis water rate study completed in 2019 and subsequent financial forecasts developed in 2020 and reviewed this month. The rate methodology used in the water rate study is in accordance with procedures outlined in the American Water Works Association M-1 Manual, which is the industry standard. In 2018, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners took action to finance the installation of a low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the County’s Northwest Water Treatment Plant to remove PFAS contaminants like GenX from water from the Cape Fear River. All Brunswick County water customers receive all or part of their water from this facility. The project at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant broke ground in Summer 2020. The facility will increase its conventional treatment capacity from 24 million gallons per day to 45 million gallons per day by Spring 2022. The first five units of the low-pressure reverse osmosis system are expected to begin treating water in Summer 2023 with the final three units anticipated to go online by Fall 2023. Brunswick County has joined other utilities in the region to sue DuPont and Chemours. The County is seeking monetary damages from Chemours to hold it responsible for the millions of dollars it is spending to install a new treatment system necessary to remove PFAS contaminants. The lawsuit remains active and ongoing.
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County should lessen impact of proposed water rate increase
In January 2021, the Alliance of Brunswick County Property Owners Associations (ABCPOA), which has a membership of 24 residential communities in Brunswick County, be-came aware of the proposal for a significant increase in retail and wholesale water rates proposed by Brunswick County. Our concerns extend to every individual, business and industry that relies on water from the county system. If you turn on your tap for a glass of water, you are affected! Since January, the AB-CPOA has been in communication with county officials to gather information, understand the issues, and share ideas for lessening the impact of a proposed 81% increase of wholesale water rates that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, if approved by the commissioners as proposed. The circumstances that the county cites for increasing the water rates demonstrate the need for meeting the costs for upgrading the water treatment plant, providing low pressure reverse osmosis for secondary filtration, and the loss of two large customers. However, with a range of available options for “lessening the sting,” the initial proposed rates seem to indicate a preference for only one option; pass it along to the consumer in one fell swoop. We find this to be short-sighted due to the risk of long-term damaging consequences for individuals, existing business, and future economic development. Two defenses for the cur-rent proposal that have been presented include: “Our rates are now comparable with other water systems providing secondary level purification,” and “It’s only a $9 increase.” With regard to the first defense, while it is true water rates were below the median for similar coastal counties providing secondary purification, it is also true that they did not get to their current rate levels in one billing cycle. As an enterprise fund with large capital investments, depreciation, and the need to upgrade should have been a part of long-range planning and, the Northwest Treatment Plant didn’t turn 40 years old in one year. The Chemours dumping into the Cape Fear River did create an immediate unforeseen need but with aggressive legal action by the county, what recompense might our residents and businesses expect in the future? As far as the “It’s only $9” argument goes, it’s important to remember that water billing is structured on a tiered system that starts with a set base rate (increasing with this proposal) plus usage that bills based on usage per 1,000 gallons with the price per 1,000 gallons increasing when usage exceeds the prior tier limits. Perhaps a residential user of 1,000 gallons per month might only see a $9 monthly ($108 annual) increase but we suspect there are few customers that meet this description. We urge you to check your own personal usage to gauge the impact. Irrigation and industrial fees are similarly structured. We are particularly fearful of the impact of these rate in-creases on small businesses, particularly those struggling to recover from the pandemic induced recession. During our meetings and exchanged communications with the Brunswick County Commissioners, the AB-CPOA has offered a range of suggestions for lessening the impact of these proposed rate increases. We encourage commissioners to reject the initial proposal and deter-mine a course of action that meets their financial needs while not unduly burdening their customers, the residents, industries, and businesses who rely on them for this service. A meeting between county, impacted municipal leadership and staff to brainstorm viable solutions would seem to be a useful first step. The ABCPOA is willing to participate in such a process
Brunswick Beacon

Calabash OKs letter addressing 81% water hike
Town commissioners last week approved drafting a letter expressing concern about a proposed countywide 81% water-rate hike poised to take effect next January. Akin to concerns recently expressed in Shallotte, commissioners informally agreed at their monthly March 9 meeting that the increase will have impact on Calabash and its renowned restaurants and other businesses, which have already been struggling during the pandemic. Town commissioner Forrest King cited a recent letter penned by the town of Shallotte outlining the effect the hike will have on its own restaurants and businesses. “We can assume it’s going to have exactly the same effect here … significant increases on everybody,” he said. Mayor Pro Tem Jody Nance suggested they “piggy-back on the Shallotte letter.” “We need to adopt some-thing pretty close,” King said, favoring a suggested alternative that the county impose the increase in steps “rather than hitting us all at one time with it.” He noted Shallotte suggested spreading the increase over a two-year period, which he deemed “bearable.” “But all at one time, especially with the environment we’re in right now, I think is a little bit crazy,” King said. A study presented to the county board in January pro-posed the hike to help pay off $156.8 million in capital improvements for the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, with wholesale water rates increasing from $2.89 to $5.25 per 1,000 gallons and a monthly base service charge rising $4 for all meters. It also proposes a 40% hike to $34.68 per 4,500 gallons for retail and irrigation customers from the current rate of $24.83.Commissioners estimated the climb could amount to thousands of dollars for a restaurant and several hundred dollars for a single-family home. They also wondered how sewer rates will be affected. Town Administrator Chuck Nance said he’s not sure about that but speculated the water hike should not have an effect on sewer un-less the county votes on it. “I know what (county officials) have said and why they’re saying they have to do it, but it is a very steep increase,” he said, referring to the water rate rise. “It’s not so much the increase as the design going about it,” said town com-missioner Michael Herring, also favoring spreading the increase over a greater period of time. Commissioners approved having Chuck Nance draft a letter to be sent to county commissioners. “A two-year span is something we could live with,” Jody Nance said.
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Mayors from county water customer towns meet with officials about rate increase
A contingent of Brunswick County’s mayors whose towns are Brunswick utilities customers met with county officials April 12 to lobby for taking the sting out of water rate increases expected to kick in next January. County commissioners are looking at water rate hikes as part of the fiscal 2022 budget process. A study presented to the county board Jan. 19 proposed to pay off the debt for $156.8 million in capital improvements to the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. The study presented examples of Wholesale customers rates increasing from $2.89 per 1,000 gallons to $5.25, with a monthly base service charge rising $4 for all meters and a proposed water rate of $34.68 per 4,500-gallon usage for retail and irrigation customers, a $9.85 hike from the current rate of $24.83. County commissioners will discuss the proposal during budget talks, which begin with a goals and budget workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 3, prior to the county’s first board meeting of the month. At Monday’s meeting, Shallotte Mayor Walt Eccard was joined by Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith, Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden, Northwest Mayor James Knox, Navassa Mayor Eulis Willis, Carolina Shores Mayor Joyce Dunn and Bolivia Mayor Ella Jane Marston. “There were several county officials including Commissioners Randy Thompson and Mike Forte” Eccard said.
“Whatever the water rate increase will be, it’ll be decided and included in the budget that will be adopted in June of this year. And the rate adjustment will take place in January of 2022.” Eccard said the mayors asked the commissioners about using some of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding, which will provide Brunswick County with $26,699,060 to help offset the increase. They indicated that they’re currently reading of the guidance, which is a bit preliminary, is that they can’t use money to repay previously incurred debt,” Eccard said. The bonds were (already) issued to fund the construction. So they aren’t certain, and they seem to think they won’t be able to use it for that. I think it is fair to say that everybody is waiting for some guidance from Treasury. I read the authority to spend money on water and sewer infrastructure a little broader than they do. But I’m also prepared to be cautious and say we need to have more guidance from Treasury. There are other provisions in the bill that talk about not using money to repay debt. I’m not sure how those two provisions completely interact. “I probably have a slightly more aggressive take, but I could be wrong, and they could be right. The fact is unless guidance comes out prior to the budget being adopted, they said the budget rate decision will be final. So I just have to assume that if they don’t get guidance and in their current plan, they would be reluctant to use that money, that they won’t use it. But it’s their decision. My sense is that they’re reluctant to.” Eccard said there was no talk of allocating an equivalent amount of money from other county funds to use for the debt if the rules say they can’t use the ARP money. “We didn’t go into that in-depth. They did say that their staff is preparing recommendations for the commissioners on how to use the $28 million – $14 million this year, $14 million next year – and their current thinking is to use the money on general fund projects and also for some transmission lines for water and wastewater,” Eccard said. “Theoretically, I guess if you save some money there, you could look to save some of that savings. But we didn’t get good clarification on that point.” Eccard said the mayors pressed a number of alternatives and suggestions of things that could moderate the rate increase impact. “One is to review the capital recovery fees and see if some increase in capital recovery fees could, which is new growth, offset the cost to the existing ratepayers,” he said. They committed to look at that. “We also requested they consider using what we would call a more current growth rate assumption. They are currently using a 10-year average. And that’s a conservative approach. We think that with the knowledge they have on the amount of building that’s going on in Brunswick County that it really would pay benefits to look at (again). You could fairly and not wildly assume a somewhat larger growth rate, which again would reduce the impact. So we raised that point.” Eccard said the county officials are concerned about the rate increase impact on businesses. “They’re looking at how they can help them in a way that would mitigate the increase, but there were no specifics and how they plan to do that,” he said. “They’re also looking at breaking the increase over two years, rather than all of this in one year. In previous conversations, to me, the majority of the commissioners are not in favor of that. But they did agree to look at that again.” The county officials told the mayors any recovery they get from a lawsuit against Chemours would be used to benefit the ratepayers. “Of course, that settlement probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon,” Eccard said. But whenever it happens, if they get an amount of money that’s roughly equivalent to the cost of the reverse osmosis plant, the general commitment was to return that money, in one form or another, to the ratepayers. The county said they’re going to consider if there’s a way to adjust some kind of payment plan. We didn’t get specific on it, but the idea is the county ratepayers pay monthly, Shallotte ratepayers pay every other month. They’re going to see if there’s some way of having a payment structure that would let people pay over time in a different way. I don’t know how that would work, but they’re going to look at if there’s some way, they can use some kind of payment mechanism. “The towns in Brunswick County, some of them, like us, are wholesale purchasers of water from the county and we run our own water system. A number of them, perhaps even a majority, have the county run their water system. So the whole question of wholesale rates doesn’t really impact them because they’re not a purchaser of water. They probably purchase water for their own operations, but not for reselling to customers.” Eccard said they did not discuss the higher prices wholesale customers would face compared to retail customers. “That’s one topic we didn’t get to. We covered a lot of ground, but we didn’t get to everything. That’s a point we’ve been scratching our heads on also,” Eccard said. The mayors intend to keep pushing for changes to the water rate increase as the county has proposed it through communication with the county commissioners but also by keeping their residents up to date on the interactions the response, they receive from the county officials. “We’ve raised a number of points and they said they’re going to look at some of them. We appreciate that. But with the schedule they’re under, we’re going to reach out to all of our citizens to alert them in case they haven’t become aware of this coming change and what the impact on them would be,” Eccard said. “At a minimum, we don’t want to have our ratepayers surprised and be mad at us for not even telling them this was going to happen. We’re going to make sure we let them know what’s going to happen. We’re going to continue to urge the commissioners in whatever way that we can that they need to find some ways to reduce the impact, the one-year impact of this.” “I think the mayors are going to huddle to find the most effective way of continuing to communicate our views and concerns. Whether that takes the form of another meeting or some other mechanism, I honestly don’t know at this point. But we’re not going to be silent about this. Shallotte will not be silent and I’m pretty sure that other towns will not be silent.” Eccard couldn’t gauge how receptive county officials were to the ideas brought to them by the mayors. “I think the fairest way to say it is, the fact that they agreed to look at whether the capital recovery rate is set appropriately given the amount of costs thy are incurring. The fact that they’re willing to try to find a way to help businesses and the way that they’re at least willing to consider using of ARP funds if they get legal guidance. It indicated they were listening,” Eccard said. I don’t really have a good sense of what they’re going to do about the growth rates. I think they may look at that, but I don’t know if they’re going to make any adjustments. Similarly, although they’re going to look at breaking the payment over two years, I don’t have any clarity on whether they’re going to do that or not so. So I guess the fairest view of it is they heard what we were saying. They’re going to review a few things. And that’s all positive. But I didn’t come away with a feeling that we found a solution at all to the problem. “If I could be so bold, I guess my overall statement is one of appreciation that they’re willing to listen and consider some of the suggestions we made. But my deep concern remains about the impact of the proposed increase,” Eccard said.
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  • Dog Park
    The dog park will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Town needed to use the land at the dog park to place material from the canal dredging project as the dredge spoils area. It is unknown when it will be returned to a useable state as a dog park again. They are currently looking at other options for a dog park on the island.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

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

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


    Corrections & Amplifications –


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2021 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills.
Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. 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.

EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS

What is a State of Emergency?
A proclamation by the Town which enacts special ordinances and/or prohibitions during emergency situations to protect the public, public health and property. These prohibitions can include limitations on movement, curfews, directing of evacuations, controlling ingress and egress to the emergency area, alcoholic beverages, and more. State of Emergencies are issued in accordance with N.C.G.S. 166A-19.22.

What is a curfew?
A curfew is an order, typically during a State of Emergency, which requires all persons in the affected areas to remain on their own property. During a curfew, you are not free to move about public domain areas or on others’ property. Violations of a curfew could lead to arrest in certain situations.

What is a voluntary evacuation?
A voluntary evacuation creates a recommendation for all parties in the affected area to get their affairs in order hastily and evacuated.

What is a mandatory evacuation?
A mandatory evacuation means you must leave the area in which an order has been issued. With recent changes to the laws in North Carolina, you no longer have the option of staying in an area under an order of mandatory evacuation.

Why is the sewer system turned off during a storm/event?
Often the sewer system is turned off during storms which have the potential to create significant flooding on the island. The system is turned off to protect its integrity. If it were left on, it could pose a significant threat to the public health. When the system is manually shut down, it also greatly reduces the time needed to bring it back up after an event which equates to getting residents and guests back on the Island much faster.

Why is there a delay for decal holders to get back on the island once a storm ends?
After a storm, many things must occur before even limited access can be allowed. Some of those things include making sure the streets are passable; the sewer system must be restarted to comply with State laws; the utilities (water, sewer, electricity, propane supplies) must be checked to ensure no safety risk are present; and the post-storm damage assessment team needs to perform an initial assessment.

Where can I get up-to-date information during and after a storm or State of Emergency?
You can sign up for the Town email service by clicking here. The newsletter, along with the Town’s website will be the main sources of information during an emergency situation. Links to the Town’s official Facebook and Twitter pages can be found on the website. You can also download our app for Apple and Android phones by accessing the app store on your smart phone and searching Holden Beach.

Please refrain from calling Town Hall and Police Department phone lines with general information questions. These lines need to remain open for emergencies, storm management and post-storm mitigation. All updates concerning re-entry, general access, etc. may be found on the Town’s website and other media outlets.

Why do I see others moving about the island during a curfew?
If a curfew order is in place, you must stay on your own property. You may see many other vehicles moving about the Island. We often receive assistance from other local, state, federal and contract personnel during events. It is likely these are the personnel you are seeing, and they are involved in the mitigation process for the event. Please do not assume that a curfew order has been lifted and/or you are free to move about the island.

Can I check my friends’ property for them?
If a curfew order is in place, you may ONLY travel to your personally owned property. Traveling about the Island to check on others’ property is not allowed. is in place, you may ONLY travel to your personally owned property. Traveling about

Who can obtain decals?
Only property owners and businesses who service the island can obtain a decal.

How do I get decals for my vehicle…?

If I am an owner?
Decals will be mailed out in water bills to property owners before the season starts. Those owners who need additional decals can contact Town Hall. A fee may apply, please check the current fee schedule.

If I am a renter?
You must contact the owner of the property to obtain a decal.

If I am a business owner on the Island?
You must contact Town Hall to obtain a decal.

If I am a business owner off the Island that provides services on the Island?
You must contact Town Hall for eligibility and to obtain a decal.

When does my decal expire?
All decals expire on the last day of the calendar year as indicated on the decal.

Where do I put my decal on my car?
Decals must be displayed in the lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items to include window tinting, other decals, etc. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle. Please note that re-entry will not be allowed if a current, intact decal is not affixed to the windshield as designated.

How do I replace a decal if I get a new vehicle?
If you trade a vehicle or otherwise need a replacement decal, you may obtain them from Town Hall during normal business hours. A fee may apply, check the current fee schedule.

Can I obtain a decal right before an emergency occurs?
While most of the storms we deal with are tropical in nature with some type of advanced warning, we do experience many other types of events that could create a State of Emergency without warning. All eligible parties should obtain decals as early as possible each year to avoid being denied access to the Island. Decals shall not be issued during the 24-hour period prior to an anticipated order of evacuation so staff can concentrate on properly preparing the Town for the storm/event.

Can I use a tax bill or another document for re-entry?
No. You MUST have a decal to re-enter the Island until it is open to the general public.

How does re-entry after a storm during a State of Emergency work?
The bridge is closed to all vehicle access, except for official vehicles. Once those with proper decals are allowed access, they must conform with the current rules in place by the specific State of Emergency Order. After all hazards have been rendered safe, the bridge will be opened to the general public. A curfew could remain in effect however, to ensure the safety and security of the Island and its residents and guests. Please understand this process typically takes days to evolve and could be significantly longer, depending on the amount of damage sustained. Please refrain from calling for times for re-entry, as those are often not set on schedule. Instead, stay tunes to local media outlets and official social media accounts for accurate updates.

How can I check on my property if access is limited to the Island?
Once it is safe, property owners with valid decals will be allowed back on the Island after a storm/event. At this point, you can travel to your property, in accordance with the rules of the specific State of Emergency Order currently in place.

If you live out of the area, please do not travel to the Island until you are certain you will be allowed access. Stay tuned to those media outlets and email services that are of official nature for this information. Also, be certain you have your current, valid decal properly affixed to your vehicle.

It is a good idea to be sure your contact information is current with the Town tax office as this is the location Town officials will use in the event you need to be contacted.
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NC General Statute 166A-19.22
Power of municipalities and counties to enact ordinances to deal with states of emergency.

Synopsis – The governing body may impose by declaration or enacted ordinance, prohibitions, and restrictions during a state of emergency. This includes the prohibition and restriction of movements of people in public places, including imposing a curfew; directing or compelling the voluntary or mandatory evacuation of all or part of the population, controlling ingress and egress of an emergency area, and providing for the closure of streets, roads, highways, bridges, public vehicular areas. All prohibitions and restrictions imposed by declaration or ordinance shall take effect immediately upon publication of the declaration unless the declaration sets a later time. The prohibitions and restrictions shall expire when they are terminated by the official or entity that imposed them, or when the state of emergency terminates.

Violation – Any person who violates any provisions of an ordinance or a declaration enacted or declared pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, proponents of the groin want to move forward. After the decision was entered by the federal judge to dismiss the case, the National Audubon Society filed an appeal with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. According to the town, they are scheduled to have their arguments heard next month. “The Town has been informed by our attorney that the oral argument before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has been scheduled for December 8, 2020. We are hopeful that a final decision on this matter will be rendered by the judge shortly after the oral argument is completed. We will post additional updates as they are made available to the Town,” according to a Facebook Post from the town.
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Ocean Isle Wins Appeal on Terminal Groin
A recent court ruling now opens the way for Ocean Isle Beach to build a terminal groin at the east end of its ocean shoreline and plans are underway to kick off construction later this year. A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fairly considered the alternatives included in an environmental impact statement examining the proposed project. The judges rendered their opinion March 26. Their decision ends a year’s long fight stretching back to August 2017, when the National Audubon Society filed a lawsuit challenging the Corps’ approval of the proposed project. The town was included in the lawsuit shortly after the suit was initially filed. Ocean Isle Mayor Debbie Smith said in a telephone interview last week that she expected town commissioners to approve engineering contracts in the coming days. She said the town will have updated information on the present condition of the shoreline, including surveys and beach profiles, before soliciting bids. “All that has certainly changed since our original bid opening,” she said. Smith said the town is aiming to start construction on the project in November. Ocean Isle Beach had both a North Carolina Division of Coastal Management-issued Coastal Area Management Act, or CAMA, major permit, and the necessary federally approved permit by the end of February 2017. Those permits remain valid. The Department of the Army’s authorization is effective through Dec. 31, 2027. As long as the town adheres to the permit conditions and does not request to modify the permit, the town will not have to reapply for federal authorization, Emily Winget, a public affairs specialist with the Corps’ Wilmington District, said in an email. The town’s CAMA major permit will expire Dec. 31. A spokesperson with the Division of Coastal Management said the town will not have to apply for a new permit or provide additional information to the state unless the town changes the project from what is currently permitted. The town had advertised for bids on the project, which will include construction of a 750-foot-long terminal groin of large armor rock, before the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Wilmington. The lawsuit claimed that the Corps had approved the multi-million-dollar project without fairly considering other alternatives that would be cheaper for the town’s taxpayers, adequately protect vulnerable properties and maintain wildlife habitat at the east end of the barrier island in Brunswick County. The Southern Environmental Law Center, which filed the suit on behalf of Audubon, alleged that the Corps failed to fairly evaluate project alternatives in the EIS, and secondary effects of the alternatives presented in the study. The lawsuit also alleged that the alternative selected by the engineering firm hired by the town to complete the EIS and approved by the Corps was not the least environmentally damaging alternative and that the Corps did not independently evaluate environmental information submitted by Coastal Planning & Engineering of North Carolina Inc. Geoff Gisler, senior attorney with the law center’s Chapel Hill office, said the appellate court’s decision is disappointing. “I think one of the things that is important as we go forward is that part of the reason the decision came out the way it did is that the court deferred to the Corps that there would not be harmful effects on the eastern end of the island,” he said. “If the town chooses to go forward with the project, we’ll be watching to make sure that is the case.” The terminal groin, a wall-like structure built perpendicular to the shore, would be designed to mitigate erosion along 3,500 feet of the town’s oceanfront shoreline west of Shallotte Inlet. About 264,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from that inlet will be placed behind the structure once it is complete. A wall of sandbags 15 feet tall and at least 1,500 feet long stretches along the east-end shore to protect private properties, roads and public utilities from erosion, Smith said. “And I’m ready for them to be covered up and never seen again,” she said. “The town of Ocean Isle has worked diligently for a lot of years to try to make this a reality. They’re proven structures when properly installed.” Those efforts began more than 10 years ago in a pursuit to get North Carolina legislators to ditch a decades-long ban on terminal groins, hardened erosion control structures that, opponents argue, may cause increased erosion down the beach from where they are constructed. The North Carolina General Assembly in 2011 passed Senate Bill 110, which repealed a 30-year-old ban on hardened structures and allowed four test terminal groins to be built on the coast. That number was later raised to six. Since then, only one town – the Village of Bald Head Island in Brunswick County – has built a terminal groin. North Topsail Beach in Onslow County is in the process of having an environmental study prepared for a proposed terminal groin at New River Inlet.
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Odds & Ends –


Bipartisan group pushes for offshore wind energy
A bipartisan group of North Carolina U.S. representatives has strongly endorsed federal efforts to develop offshore wind energy with seven members of Congress – more than half the delegation – requesting a personal briefing later this month and stating they wanted to act quickly and avoid a decade-long moratorium on new wind energy leases imposed by former President Donald Trump set to begin July 2022. The letter from two Republicans and five Democrats acknowledges a recent study commissioned by the N.C. Department of Commerce that found tremendous potential for growth in offshore wind generation. The study stated, in part, that North Carolina could generate far more energy than the state is projected to use in 2035 and could capture future investments exceeding $100 billion in the wind energy business. The study, conducted by industry consultants and N.C. State University, details how North Carolina’s existing ports and other infrastructure could support expansion of wind energy and provides a blueprint for long-term improvements. The letter from the Congress members asks the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to promptly and responsibly advance existing lease areas and identify new ones, if possible. “We look forward to working with BOEM … to move these processes forward, capture the massive economic potential of this nascent industry and meet the clean energy goals outlines by both President (Joe) Biden and our home state,” wrote Republican representatives Richard Hudson and David Rouzer and Democrats Deborah Ross, Alma Adams, G.K. Butterfield, David Price and Kathy Manning. “This is a great example of bipartisanship and how we can work together in North Carolina,” said Randy Sturgill, campaign organizer for the nonprofit environmental group Oceana. “North Carolina is particularly well-positioned to meaningfully contribute to the offshore wind industry,” the Congress members wrote. “We rank first among East Coast states in both technical potential for offshore wind generation capacity and manufacturing workforces… “For North Carolina to realize its full potential in the offshore market, BOEM must expeditiously begin leasing (wind energy areas) … We respectfully urge BOEM to take swift action to hold lease sales for two of our (areas) – Wilmington East and Wilmington West – so that lease agreements can be executed in advance of the July 1 (2022) deadline. We also respectfully request that the Biden-Harris administration take all available measures to remove the impending decade-long moratorium on offshore wind leasing … “As our country begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we capitalize on growth opportunities that will provide both near and long-term benefits for our communities and our economy,” the representatives stated. “BOEM has the opportunity to accelerate this recovery by bolstering an industry that is poised to provide billions in economic development and hundreds of thousands of new living-wage jobs.”
Reaction
“This report confirms what we’ve known for some time, that North Carolina stands to make major economic – and environmental – gains by developing its offshore wind energy sector,” said Erin Carey of the N.C. Sierra Club, in a prepared statement. “Our environment, our manufacturing industries, our work force and our communities will all benefit from offshore wind development. We’re heartened by the (Gov. Roy) Cooper administration’s commitment to clean energy expansion in our state.” Environmental groups, including Oceana, praised the shift toward renewable energy. A recent Oceana analysis stated that ending new leasing for offshore oil and gas could prevent more than 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions as well as more than $720 billion in damages to people, property, and the environment. Additionally, the analysis found that ending new leasing will also safeguard the U.S. coast economy, which supports around 3.3 million jobs and $250 billion in GDP through activities like tourism, recreation, and fishing. “By permanently protecting our coasts from dirty offshore drilling and advancing clean energy sources like offshore wind, we can simultaneously combat climate change and safeguard our clean coast economy,” said Sturgill. “President Biden has an incredible opportunity to act on climate change and protect our coasts once and for all by closing the chapter on future offshore oil leasing. “If enacted, President Biden’s campaign commitments to tackle the climate crisis and protect our waters from new offshore oil drilling will ensure we build back better, keep coastal economies safe from oil disasters and support a transition to clean, renewable energy.” The report further evaluates North Carolina’s position in areas that include business climate, workforce, infrastructure, and location. The state recognizes that it has a number of competitive advantages specific to the offshore wind supply chain that include:

      • Pro-business climate
      • Strategic geographic location
      • Relatively large electricity consumption (nine percent of East Coast states’ electricity) and growing demand for renewable energy
      • Relatively low CO2 electricity footprint
      • The North Carolina Clean Energy Plan goal of 70-percent reduction in power sector greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a carbon-neutral power sector by 2050
      • The major electricity provider to most of North Carolina, Duke Energy, has set a near-term carbon reduction goal of at least 50-percent by 2030 and long-term goal of net-zero by 2050.

The report, titled “Building North Carolina’s Offshore Wind Supply Chain,” is available at https://www.nccommerce.com/documents/report-building-north-carolinas-offshore-wind-supply-chain 
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Rep. Rouzer, Ross urge Biden Administration to support NC offshore wind industry
On April 12, U.S. Reps. David Rouzer (NC-07) and Deborah Ross (NC-02) led the North Carolina delegation in sending a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Amanda Lefton expressing support for the Bureau’s efforts to promptly and responsibly advance lease sales of existing wind energy areas (WEAs) and identify new WEAs off the coast of North Carolina. The state has the potential to be a national leader in offshore wind energy generation capacity, research, and manufacturing. The letter read in part, The offshore wind industry is projected to invest nearly $140 billion in the U.S. by 2035 for the manufacturing, construction and maintenance of offshore wind projects. As a new industry for the U.S., offshore wind presents the opportunity to develop a substantial domes-tic manufacturing supply chain, create well-paying jobs and infuse new manufacturing investments and tax revenues across the country. North Carolina is particularly well-positioned to meaningfully contribute to the offshore wind industry. We rank first among east coast states in both technical potential for offshore wind generation capacity and manufacturing workforce. Together with an established land-based wind industry supply chain, world-class university and community college network, robust intermodal transit system, and deep-water port infrastructure, North Carolina’s unique set of strengths stand to accommodate all facets of the industry. Gov. Roy Cooper said, Ensuring that North Carolina is best positioned to take advantage of wind energy to create good new jobs and decrease carbon emissions is the right thing to do for our community and state and I appreciate the work of congressional leaders to make progress in this area. Offshore wind presents an unparalleled economic opportunity to create well-paying jobs, invest in our region’s ports and infrastructure, and expand upon the state’s existing manufacturing strengths, said Katharine Kollins, president of the Southeastern Wind Coalition. The Southeastern Wind Coalition deeply appreciates the leadership of Congress members Ross and Rouzer and other signatories in elevating the need for further leasing on the North Carolina coast, a critical step in realizing the benefits of this industry for the state. Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association (ACP) said, North Carolina is set to continue its strong standing as a clean energy development and manufacturing hub. North Carolina is the #2 state in the U.S. for solar energy, has 25 manufacturing facilities for land-based wind, and now has the opportunity to lead in offshore wind manufacturing and deployment. According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, offshore wind represents a $100 billion market opportunity that will leverage North Carolina’s manufacturing and infrastructure presence to create an offshore wind supply chain. ACP applauds this bipartisan coalition of North Carolina representatives advocating for more offshore wind jobs and economic output in their state. The letter was signed by Reps. Alma Adams (NC-12), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Richard Hudson (NC-08), Kathy Manning (NC-06), and David Price (NC-04).
Brunswick Beacon


 

A Starter Kit for Aspiring Wine Lovers

You don’t need much. This guide will show you which equipment to invest in, what to avoid and how to learn more about the wine styles you most enjoy.

 

 

The terrible human and economic cost of the pandemic cannot be ignored. It has forced many people to test the limits of their creativity and endurance. And maybe, for a lucky unburdened few, all that time at home has provided an opportunity to explore new interests. It may have been cooking or knitting. Sales of guitars shot upward in 2020 as people found relief in playing music. Or maybe you discovered that you love wine, and you have become curious enough to want to learn more about it. Many great books can help to broaden your knowledge, yet with wine, the best way to begin the journey is by drinking. Whether you prefer to do that systematically or randomly is up to you. But whichever you decide, you’ll want just a few tools to enhance the experience. Let me explain that. You really don’t need anything to enjoy wine short of a corkscrew (you don’t even need that if the bottle has a screw cap) and a glass (no, do not drink wine out of the bottle unless you’ve just won the World Series). But while those are the bare essentials, a few practical items will heighten your enjoyment. This starter kit is simple. You need wine glasses, a corkscrew, a decanter and, of course, some wine. Later, you can add to your equipment. (Fair warning: It has the potential to become a money pit.) But initially, if you choose wisely, the investment will be small. The potential for pleasure, though, is great. Here is what you need to get started.

Corkscrew
You cannot drink wine without opening the bottle (unless you have a boxed wine). Though screw caps are welcome and easy additions to the range of wine closures, most bottles are still stoppered with a cork. For that you need a corkscrew. This is an easy selection. Forget about your Swiss Army knife or the double-winged man whose arms you squeeze together to extract the cork. The single best corkscrew is what you’ve seen in countless restaurants, sometimes called the waiter’s friend. It’s essentially a knifelike handle with a spiral worm for inserting into the cork, a double-hinged fulcrum for resistance and a small, folding blade for cutting the foil that protects the cork. This sort of corkscrew, which was deemed the top choice a few years ago by Wirecutter, a product review site owned by The New York Times, is compact and inexpensive, $10 or $12 or so. Wine shops often carry them, as do many online markets. It pays to buy a few if, like me, you habitually misplace them. With a bit of practice, it is easy to use.

Wine Glasses
You need a vessel for drinking the wine. Good, stemmed glasses are essential equipment. It’s tempting to think of stemmed glasses as fussy. What’s the point? You’ve been to bars or restaurants, perhaps, that serve wine in tumblers, and that works well enough. Many companies now offer stemless glasses, too. Don’t succumb to the temptation. You can relish a wine served in a squat juice glass, but you will enjoy it even more drinking it out of a proper stemmed glass. Good wine is sensitive to temperature. Both white wine and red needs to be served cool, certainly cooler than the temperature of your body. A stemless glass requires you to hold it by the bowl, thus transmitting the heat of your hands to the glass, warming it and the wine. That is the reason good wine glasses have a stem. The proper way to hold a wine glass is by the stem so that you don’t heat up the bowl. This may seem pretentious. Wine drinkers in popular culture often hold their wine glasses by the bowl, by design, I suspect, to avoid appearing pompous to the audience. If you grab a wine glass by the bowl, it’s not the end of the world. Those who gasp in dismay prove themselves to be the snobs. Ideally, you want to make use of the built-in functionality of the glass. So try holding it by the stem. It’s worth taking the trouble to do this for another reason, too. The color of good wine is both beautiful and revealing. Over time, you will learn to discern some important characteristics of the wine. A white wine may get darker over time, or if it has oxidized. A red wine, by contrast, may lighten around the edges as it ages. Holding the bowl with your fingers smudges the glass, obscuring the clarity of the wine. To assess the wine, the glass needs to be clear, not colored, beveled, or otherwise decorated in such a way that blocks your view. Choosing a glass is a lot simpler than you might think. For one thing, you need only one set. While the wine industry, and especially glass manufacturers, have promoted the notion that each sort of wine requires its own specially designed glass — not just red, white and sparkling, but pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, riesling and so on — the truth is that one set of all-purpose glasses will serve you well. Good all-purpose glasses ought to be vertically shaped with a tall bowl that is wide at the stem and tapers gently inward toward the lip. This shape channels aromas upward, amplifying them as you swirl and sniff. You’ve probably seen many wine lovers swirling the glass before they sniff. I do it habitually, believing that the action increases the wine’s exposure to air and activates the aromas. Chances are you will be doing this before long, too. To avoid sloshing yourself with wine, good glasses need to be large enough to hold a decent amount when filled one-third of the way up. A few years ago I joined some colleagues at Wirecutter to review wine glasses. We concluded the best all-around value in wine glasses was the Libbey Kentfield Estate Signature All-Purpose, which sells for $35 to $40 for a set of four. Last December, Wirecutter revisited wine glasses and reaffirmed the selection of the Libbey. That’s a pretty good endorsement. They are not the only possibility, but they offer a good example of a well-shaped, all-purpose glass. How many will you need? What’s your style of entertaining? I know the pandemic has us all out of practice, but I think eight is a pretty good number for a start. Good wine glasses are not fragile. Don’t hesitate to put them in a dishwasher, though of course you should be careful how you position them. One more point: Despite the long tradition of using special glasses like flutes, tulips or coupes for Champagne and other sparkling wines, many wine professionals and I prefer ordinary wine glasses, which better show off the beauty, aromas, and flavors. Nonetheless, because sparkling wine is so often opened for celebratory occasions, use these stylish glasses if you think they more clearly convey a sense of ceremony. Sometimes style wins out over functionality.

Decanter
A decanter is not essential. But it’s useful, simple and can enhance youthful wines by opening up their aromas and flavors by exposing the wine to air. What is decanting? It simply means to pour the wine from the bottle into another container before serving. Many people assume decanting is only useful for older red wines, which might accumulate sediment over the course of long aging. But I like to decant young wines, too, both white and red, particularly those that might be high in acidity or tannins. I definitely do not always decant. But I like to do it occasionally. You can spend a lot of money on fancy decanters. That’s unnecessary. An iced-tea pitcher works great, so long as it is big enough to comfortably hold the contents of a 750-milliliter bottle. At home I use one-liter Erlenmeyer flasks, which have a certain mad-scientist charm to them.

Things to Avoid
Wine abounds in useless gadgets: Advertisements tout the virtues of aerators, which purport to age your wine in a matter of seconds, and similarly magical wands, said to eliminate the possibility of headaches. Save your money.
You will also encounter pumps, closures and other tools said to protect a partly consumed bottle of wine from spoiling. Avoid them, too. Good wine — by which I mean carefully made, not expensive — is much harder than people think. You can safely leave unfinished wine in the bottle for two or three days. Just put the bottle someplace cool and out of the sunlight.

The Wine
All of this paraphernalia would be useless without wine. If you are investing in the proper equipment, you also need to commit to serving good wine, made from conscientiously farmed grapes and painstaking winemaking.
The single best way to achieve this goal is to develop a relationship with the best wine shop in your vicinity. Unlike supermarkets and the equivalent, which generally sell popular brands regardless of quality, good wine shops carefully select their inventory, picking wines that they can stand behind. How can you tell if a shop is good? It will be hospitable; its inventory will reflect a point of view and the wine will be well stored and displayed. Generally, it will be a place that makes you comfortable, that you want to visit. In selecting wine, the best values are most often in the $15 to $25 range. Some wines, particularly the most famous names, will be more expensive. You will have to pay more for a good Champagne, Barolo, or Napa Valley cabernet. But plenty of great, less expensive bottles exist. The best way to start out, once you identify a good shop, is to ask for a mixed case of wine. Tell the merchant your budget and parameters, say, half white, half red, with two sparkling wines, or a few rosés. Or, if a case is too much of an investment, just get a bottle or two at a time. As you drink the wines, note which ones you like and which ones you do not. Keep in mind that you can learn something from every bottle as you begin to identify your personal taste. When you finish, go back to the merchant with your notes, and ask for another mixed case with selections based on your reactions to the first set. Your learning journey has begun. As long as you continue to love wine, it will never end.

Future Considerations
As your interest deepens, you may want to augment your equipment. You might want to buy better, more beautiful glassware, for example, or raise your budget on wine purchases. If you begin to accumulate bottles, you need to consider wine storage, especially if you are buying bottles to age. Nothing is worse than investing in good bottles and aging them for years only to see them spoiled because of poor storage. The solution depends partly on your living situation. If your house has a cool, dark, tranquil basement, you are in luck. Throw some shelves in a corner, add bottles, and let them sit. If you are in an apartment or don’t have a basement, you might want to consider a wine refrigerator, a unit intended for wine bottles that keeps them cool, generally somewhere from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Wirecutter offers some excellent advice on choosing a fridge. Two things are important to know right away. First, buy the best one you can afford. You are entrusting your wine to this device, and you don’t want it to fail you. Second, go big. No matter what size fridge you buy, chances are you will outgrow it before long.
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Wine Top Picks – Red * Lou’s Views

Wine Top Picks – White * Lou’s Views


This and That –


Residential real estate inventory hits record low in a frenzied sellers’ market
Months’ supply has reached a record low in New Hanover County, as a frenzied sellers’ market eats up available inventory within days of listing — regardless of price point. The region has had a low inventory problem for years, but the pandemic exacerbated an already insatiable demand for homes. Inventory is as low as area experts have ever seen it. “It physically really can’t get any lower,” said Tom Gale, president of Cape Fear Realtors. “We’ve gone off the deep end at this point.”

A new dynamic
A measurement of how long it would take the market to consume all available properties if no new units are listed, months’ supply is at 0.8 months as of March. It’s the lowest figure in Cape Fear Realtors’ 16-year database, down 79% compared to last March. Healthy markets hover around four and six months of supply; less than four, sellers have the advantage, and more than six, buyers have more negotiating power, according to Showing Time, a real-estate market research firm. Last month, there were just 328 homes for sale under $300,000 in the tri-county region (population: 440,000 people), down 74% compared to last year. “When you have that much of a shortage, it definitely skews things,” Gale said. Soaring population growth paired with pandemic restrictions boosted real estate interest beyond already strong pre-Covid levels. “We artificially constrained supply,” Gale said about the period of reduced activity last spring. “Ever since then, we haven’t been able to get caught up.” Inventory of both existing and new homes has bottomed out. Sellers are tempted — rightfully so — to list and collect on an escalating price tag: At $295,000 last month in the tri-county area, the median sale price has grown by $35,100 (13%) in just a year. Despite the temptation, the reality of selling is more complicated. A well-priced home in good condition is likely to sell in a matter of days (Gale said the actual window is much tighter than the median days on market figure last month — 18 — reaching a 15-year low, with deals already in place while parties wait for loans to close). Even if a seller was interested in listing, it’s as hard as it’s ever been to find a home because of the severely low inventory. “So now we’ve really reached the point where the market has seized up,” Gale said. “Whatever activity there would be is not happening because the chicken and egg of people don’t want to list their home because they can’t find it, and no one can else can buy your home because they can’t find it.” On the buyer side, the shriveled-up supply has prompted bidding wars, with multiple offers over asking price becoming a norm. “You get some people if this is their sixth or twelfth offer that they’ve written, some people are just desperate and they’re willing to overpay versus what the previous comps were just because they’re done continuing to try to get the offer accepted,” Gale said. Buyers are asking agents what to offer in order to lock down a contract and escape the deflating feeling of losing out on multiple bids. “All bets are off,” Gale said. “If you want to keep looking for the next four months, we can keep looking. But, unfortunately, at every turn, prices are only going higher. So if you miss out on this one, the next one’s going to be listed for a higher price.” The predicament puts both buyers and agents in a tough spot, at risk of advising or paying more than a house is actually worth, above its appraised value. “When people are desperate and making rash decisions, that’s when you have market volatility. I want to make sure people are making smart, financially measured decisions,” Gale said. Tim Milam, owner of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, said if a seller’s chances of finding a new home (in this market or elsewhere) are dire, his agents have sometimes advised them to wait it out — even though sale prices are at an all-time high. “I’m proud when that happens. The reality is, what they want to buy, they can’t find,” Milam said. “It’s a dynamic that’s new to the market.” The typical means of buying and selling have flip-flopped. In a more relaxed market, buyers would often make an offer contingent on the sale of their own home — a once-common move that’s now far less attractive today. “Here’s what it used to be: Put my house on the market, get it under contract, now I go find a house and make it subject to my house closing,” Milam said. “Well, it’s kind of reverse now. You might want to go find your house, put it under contract, and then come back and list your house.” Milam said buyers are writing more personal letters to sellers than ever before, hoping to win them over emotionally instead. “When you write an offer for 10 or 15 or $20,000 more than the asking price, and you lose, you can’t help but ask yourself, ‘How did I lose this?’” he said. There’s more out-of-market demand than ever, further intensifying competition for local buyers. Milam said Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage’s website has seen its highest-ever traffic, with visitors from the northeast and California homing in on this market, with comparatively cheaper homes and lower taxes. “We’re just no longer a hidden secret like we were 20, 25 years ago,” he said.

Above asking
In a multiple-offer scenario, cash buyers are prioritized (really, regardless of market conditions, cash buyers are preferred); this puts median-to-low-income buyers using a lending service at a disadvantage when competing at the same price point. Oftentimes, loans are contingent upon appraised value. Buyers who intend to borrow need to be prepared with the ability to access more capital — and quickly — if they plan to pay above asking. “You really need to be prepared to make an offer, not only the first time you view a house, but you have to have your offer basically in hand. It’s every price point,” said Ariana Jo, an agent with Intracoastal Realty. “It’s really tough especially for these first-time buyers who have never been through the experience to have to make that impulsive decision to move forward and to be willing to pay over the list price.” Buyers are also offering more cash down as due diligence. These non-refundable fees get paid upfront, showing a seller the buyer’s seriousness during the inspection phase and get attributed to the closing cost. If the buyer chooses to back out before the sale closes, the seller keeps the money. It used to cost just a couple hundred dollars to lock in a contract. Now, it’s normal to see due diligence fees in the thousands. “It happened overnight,” Jo said. In the triangle area and in larger metropolitans, it’s not unusual to see due diligence fees in the double digits, according to Jo. Increased fees and shorter due diligence periods are just part of the overall portfolio buyers are using to make their offer stand out. An expensive rental market means prospective buyers are also struggling to find housing at a price point where a mortgage begins to make more sense. “They’re also competing at a high level for a high amount for something they don’t build equity in,” Jo said.

‘It’s a state and national issue’
The simplest solution to low inventory is to introduce new homes on the market. Sellers in existing homes are hesitant to list and builders aren’t able to meet demand. “The challenge is in keeping up,” said Cameron Moore, president of Wilmington Cape Fear Home Builders Association. “It’s not just here — it’s a state and it’s a national issue.” Covid-19 clogged homebuilders’ supply chain, resulting in price increases and delivery delays that persist today. Windows, doors, roofing, siding, cabinets, flooring, paint — “pretty much anything that goes into the house right now is having some type of delay,” Moore said. A typical lumber-framing package for a 2,200 square-foot house, valued at $12,000 to $15,000 before the pandemic, now costs more than $30,000, Moore explained. Thirty-year interest rates hit all-time lows in January, at 2.6%, and remain attractively low this month, at about 3%. Though the low rates mean more buying power, the wiggle room disappears when it covers increased costs. “Money isn’t going as far,” Moore said. Builders have begun adding escalation clauses into their contracts to cover cost increases on the supply side, a risk many buyers are willing to take. “Consumers are still buying houses,” Moore said. “It’s not deterring the house-buying process from what we can tell.” Some builders with the means to do so are stockpiling products in storage facilities to lock in prices and secure supply in anticipation of future builds — a new market trend. While the increased demand may on the surface seem positive for builders, Moore said the industry is bracing through the cost increases. “I have builders right now that for all practical purposes could very well be building for free just to keep the employee base moving,” he said. “It’s not even a question of margins anymore. It is literally a question right now of survival. That’s what this comes down to: is surviving everything that’s going on in the market right now and trying to figure out where you can put the next product on the ground.”
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BFA marks 40th year helping neighbors in need
For the past four decades, Brunswick Family Assistance has been extending a helping hand to people in need.
This year, in commemoration of the nonprofit’s 40th anniversary, BFA is seeking help of its own in the form of monetary donations. Now well known in Brunswick County as BFA, the private 501(c)(3) began as the Volunteer Information Center back in 1981. Its initial purpose was to provide information on volunteer opportunities in Brunswick County. But with the harsh reality of an increasing poverty rate in the county, the organization started seeing an influx of requests coming from people in need of help. With limited funding and needs rising, staff and volunteers quickly realized there was a gap in services that needed to be filled. From this realization, the beginning stages of community-based service programs were set in motion, ones that would soon become a familiar comfort for those seeking assistance in Brunswick County. In 1998, the agency was incorporated, and the familiar Brunswick Family Assistance Agency name was born. Over the years, the need for assistance has continued to grow and so have programs offered by BFA, which now offers a wide variety of coordinated programs and services to meet the needs of the community. These programs include two emergency food pantries in Shallotte and Leland; financial assistance for rent, utilities, prescriptions, emergency shelter, transportation, etc.; monthly “commodities” food distributions; a back-to-school book-bag program; an annual Angel Tree Christmas program; a summer food program for children; and many more. BFA is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families in crisis in Brunswick County who are willing to help themselves by providing emergency assistance, educational and skills development programs. As BFA leaders and their dedicated team of volunteers celebrate 40 years of service, they said they remember the poor and destitute, elderly, and sick, families and individuals who rely on their programs to make ends meet. With community support, they hope to have many more years providing these critical life-sustaining programs to help ensure everyone in the community has access to a nutritious supply of food, water, and adequate resources to sustain themselves. “On behalf of the BFA’s board of directors, staff, volunteers and, most importantly, the clients we serve, thank you for believing in our mission for the last 40 years,” BFA executive director Stephanie Bowen said. “It is only with the support and kindness of our community that we can meet the needs of those living in poverty.” To donate to BFA’s 40-year anniversary campaign, mail a check to P.O. Box 1551, Shallotte, NC 28459 or call the Shallotte office at 754-4766 to make a credit card donation. BFA also has many volunteer opportunities, which can be found on its website at brunswickfamily.org under the “volunteer” tab.
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Factoid That May Interest Only Me


The ‘brown gold’ that falls from pine trees in North Carolina
There is a saying among some farmers in the Carolina Sandhills: “A man would have to be a fool to cut down a longleaf pine.” It’s not because the gangly-limbed tree is particularly beautiful. The pine doesn’t have a magnolia’s flowers or an oak’s shade. And it has nothing to do with the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker that calls the tree home. The longleaf pine’s most obvious attribute is its strong, straight timber — perfect for utility poles.

But the reason that longleaf pines are prized around here: their needles. The dropped needles are in such demand that a lucrative business has grown up around raking, baling, and selling them to landscapers and homeowners as mulch. Three varieties of pine needles are farmed, but the discarded debris of a longleaf pine is the most sought-after — and fetches the best price — because of its unusual length and high resin content, making it an attractive, water-retaining ground cover for gardens. Some even call it “brown gold.” And like anything valuable left just lying on the ground, theft is a problem. That’s why North Carolina made it a felony to steal pine needles.

It’s a case of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure — and, in this case, generating an estimated $200 million in annual sales across the Southeast. The pine straw industry, as it’s known, also helps preserve existing longleaf pine forests and supports the creation of new tree stands out of former tobacco fields and peach orchards. The bargain does have an ecological cost. Leaving the pine needles on the ground is ideal. But increasingly there is support for conservation efforts that acknowledge nature can’t be locked away behind museum glass and allowing that some measured uses can offer protection, such as permitting cattle to graze on prairie lands to keep them open and free of woody vegetation. “It shows a reasonable compromise between exploitive uses and conservation,” said Jeff Marcus, a scientist with the Nature Conservancy who works on the restoration of North Carolina’s longleaf pine ecosystem. The ability to profit from pine needles has benefited longleaf pine forests that for decades have been decimated by logging and development. “You can only sell the timber once. The pine needles come every year,” said Mike Wilson, who runs a pine straw operation here, two hours east of Charlotte.
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Hot Button Issues
Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions


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

The Trump Administration Rolled Back More Than 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.
Over four years, the Trump administration dismantled major climate policies and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water, wildlife, and toxic chemicals. In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts nearly 100 environmental rules officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. More than a dozen other potential rollbacks remained in progress by the end but were not finalized by the end of the administration’s term.
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Development Fees
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Draft System Development Fees Report
Calculation of Water and Sewer System Development Fees for FY2022

Agenda Packet –
The System Development Report herein has been developed by Raftelis in accordance with Board direction to develop an update prior to the expiration of its five-year shelf life. Representatives from Raftelis will provide an introductory review of the report for the Board in addition to outlining the statutory process for consideration and adoption.


Draft System Development Fee Report

The Town, like Brunswick County, has chosen to assess its system development fee for its customers based on the number of bedrooms.

Step 5 – Scale the System Development Fees for Various Categories of Demand
The system development fees for various bedroom sizes were calculated by multiplying the system development fee for one bedroom by the number of bedrooms. The resulting water and sewer system development fees for up to 4 bedrooms are shown in Table 7.

Table 7. Water and Sewer System Development Fees by Bedroom
Bedroom Size Water Fee Sewer Fee Total Fee

1 Bedroom $960 $2,240 $3,200
2 Bedrooms $1,920 $4,480 $6,400
3 Bedrooms $2,880 $6,720 $9,600
4 Bedrooms $3,840 $8,960 $12,800

The water and sewer system development fees shown represent the maximum cost justified level of system development fees that can be assessed by the Town.

Schedule 3: Summary of Current and Proposed System Development
Total System Development Fee
Bedroom Size Current Fee Proposed Fee Diference $ Difference %
Cost 1 Bedroom $2,800 $3,200 $400 14%
Cost 2 Bedrooms $5,600 $6,400 $800 14%
Cost 3 Bedrooms $8,400 $9,600 $1,200 14%
Cost 4 Bedrooms $11,200 $12,800 $1,600 14%

System Development Fees Report
Click here to view the draft System Development Fees Report prepared by Raftelis in accordance with HB 436. The Board will schedule a public hearing prior to considering the adoption of the analysis. Information on the public hearing will be provided when available.  


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

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


Flood-prone homeowners could see major rate hikes in FEMA flood insurance changes, new study finds
With a major overhaul of the nation’s flood insurance program just months away, new data released Monday by the First Street Foundation suggests hundreds of thousands of homeowners in the riskiest locations across America could face massive rate hikes starting in October. The Brooklyn, New York-based research group estimates the average rate needs to more than quadruple on the nation’s most flood-prone homes under the ongoing effort to make the federal flood insurance program solvent and ensure homeowners most at risk are paying their fair share.

First Street data projects that the majority of homeowners won’t see big rate changes, and others could see premiums decrease. But for some 265,000 properties, annual premiums would need to climb $10,000 or more to match the actual risk. Those with more expensive properties are estimated to see the biggest premium increases. Any actual rate hikes adopted by the federal government would be slowly phased in for existing policyholders.
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Flood Insurance Costs Vastly Underrated by FEMA, New Report Says
At a Glance

    • A new report takes into account the cost of damage.
    • FEMA doesn’t currently factor that in to flood insurance premiums.
    • The fee structure for the federal flood insurance program is set to change this year.

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners across the U.S. would pay considerably more in federal subsidized flood insurance if rates accurately reflected the risk, according to a new report from research group First Street Foundation. The report comes at the same time the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working to revise premiums for the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA says the new premiums will be more in line with real-life costs. If the First Street data is any indication, that could mean rates more than five times higher than what they currently are. First Street, a nonprofit research and technology group, identified 4.3 million residential properties as having substantial flood risk that would result in damage and financial losses. Under current FEMA rules, flood insurance rates are based mostly on whether or not a property is within a designated Special Flood Hazard Area, which requires flood insurance if a homeowner has a federally backed mortgage. The rates don’t take into account a home’s value, estimated cost of damages in the event of a flood and other factors, according to Matthew Eby, founder, and executive director of First Street. That means the cost of flood insurance for a $300,000 home could be the same as for a million-dollar home. “The rates are really low for some properties that have substantial risk,” Eby told weather.com in a recent interview. “And the reason for that is because FEMA does a zone-based approach to flood risk.” The foundation calculated annual estimated losses over a 30-year-period to determine what homeowners should be paying for flood insurance. About 2.7 million of the properties identified by First Street are outside of an SFHA. The foundation estimates that under the current system, flood insurance costs would need to increase by 5.2 times, which would bring annual premiums up to about $2,484 a year. Those inside an SFHA would face premium increases of 4.2 times, costing $7,895 a year. Costs would vary once other factors are thrown into the mix. And the prices would go up as climate change increases costs and makes flooding more likely, according to the report. The total expected loss from flooding this year is $20 billion. But that goes up to nearly $32.2 billion in 30 years. FEMA is expected to raise rates for flood insurance on Oct. 1. The agency says people should not assume that the First Street estimates are the same as the new NFIP rate structure, called Risk Rating 2.0. “Any entity claiming that they can provide insight or comparison to the Risk Rating 2.0 initiative, including premium amounts, is misinformed and setting public expectations that are not based in fact,” David I. Maurstad, who runs the flood insurance program for FEMA, said in a statement, according to the New York Times. The NFIP is operating under a loss of more than $36 billion, according to First Street. First Street introduced a new tool last year called Flood Factor, which is an interactive website that lets people look up flood risk by address. As part of its new report, the foundation added estimated costs of flood damage and losses over the course of 30 years to the tool.
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Big flood insurance rate changes are coming to NC. Will they be fair?
Climate change denial isn’t just the domain of recalcitrant contrarians. It’s baked into the way the risks and costs of flooding are calculated in North Carolina and around the nation. Government-backed flood insurance – often the only option for homeowners along the coast and near rivers – is based on outdated flood maps that fail to reflect how climate change is increasing the regularity and scale of flooding. Those maps have skewed insurance rates downward and left wide swaths of land where properties should be insured against flooding but are not.

Fortunately, that’s about to change. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is preparing to unveil the sweeping changes in assessing flood risk and setting insurance rates. The new approach, called Risk Rating 2.0, will begin Oct. 1. In North Carolina, with its long coast and many flood-prone areas within its coastal plain and mountain region, the changes will have a major impact. There will be a shift in rates – higher for some, lower for others – and more accurate risk assessments could show more property owners that they need protection against flooding. NFIP rates will no longer be based on zones. Instead properties will be individually rated depending on updated weather patterns and individual aspects of a specific property. Amanda Bryant, director of the website myfloodrisk.org, said that will mean higher rates for more vulnerable homes. “The new risk assessment will show the majority of coastal properties in North Carolina are at more risk,” she said. Former North Carolina insurance commissioner Wayne Goodwin said the rate increases come after Congress has long postponed setting premiums high enough to cover the actual risk. “The longer you wait to correct something, the greater the pain and that’s what’s happening here,” he said.

FEMA is not saying yet how much the new risk assessment will drive up rates and when. Annual premium increases are capped by law at 18 percent, but the escalation over time could change who can afford to live in coastal areas. An analysis by the First Street Foundation, a non-profit that assesses flood risks, projects that some properties could face massive rate hikes. The predictions of rate shocks for expensive homes should not obscure that the changes will benefit owners of more modest homes, said Don Hornstein, a University of North Carolina law professor who specializes in insurance law. The current system sets rates too broadly, he said, and that leads to lower-income homeowners subsidizing the cost of flood insurance for higher-income homeowners. Hornstein said the rate changes are “going to fix that by eliminating these cross subsidies that go the wrong way.” As a result, he said, more homes will get price decreases than price increases. But also more homes should get flood insurance. “Climate change is indeed driving the flood risk up for everyone,” said Rick Luettich, director of the Center for Natural Hazards Resilience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Luettich, who develops flooding models, said the new risk assessments will be helpful to homebuyers. “There’s an aspect of it being good news if you have a better understanding of what the hazard level is and you can make a better decision about whether you want to live there,” he said. Meanwhile, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey sees an option to higher federal flood insurance rates. He is pushing to have private insurers get back into the flood insurance business they fled in the 1960s, necessitating the creation of the NFIP. Causey said during a meeting with Carteret County officials last year that private insurance policies could be “far superior to anything under the federal program.” He also wants more homeowners to buy flood insurance regardless of whether they are in a designated flood zone. “My message to everybody is if it rains where you live, you need flood insurance,” he said, “We’re all in a flood zone, it’s just a matter of whether you’re in a high-risk flood zone or low risk.”
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FEMA pauses flood insurance rate update after Schumer pushback: report
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has paused an impending update to flood insurance rates, aimed at making the country more prepared for risks of climate change, after objections from Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), The New York Times reported Thursday. FEMA was reportedly set to announce new rates on April 1 to better factor in climate risks, a move that aimed to reduce construction in areas with significant threats but could have increased some costs for people who live in those areas. The Times reported, citing anonymous sources, that Schumer fought the changes, and that his efforts halted FEMA’s action. Neither FEMA nor a spokesperson for Schumer immediately responded to The Hill’s request for comment. Schumer spokesperson Alex Nguyen told the Times that the agency should consult Congress before taking action and called for “affordable protection.” “FEMA shouldn’t be rushing to overhaul their process and risk dramatically increasing premiums on middle-class and working-class families without first consulting with Congress and the communities at greatest risk to the effects of climate change,” Nguyen said. “Congress and the Biden administration must work together in a collaborative and transparent process.” An agency spokesperson told the newspaper that FEMA will continue to work with Congress to carry out the plan and its changes will “better reflect an individual property’s unique flood risk.” When he was on the campaign trail, President Biden’s climate plan included provisions saying he wanted to help make the country more resilient to the impacts of climate change. His plan also notes, however, that resilient efforts “must consciously protect low-income communities from ‘green gentrification’ ” in a section that noted that some mitigation efforts can raise property values. Schumer, meanwhile, publicly pushed back on proposed FEMA flood insurance changes in 2019, saying they “unfairly put a bullseye on the backs of Long Island and New York homeowners,” and that the agency should “halt.”
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U.S. rolls out first update to flood insurance pricing in 50 years
Hundreds of thousands of Americans will pay significantly more to insure their homes in coastal areas and flood zones under new rules released on Thursday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the first major update to its pricing system in half a century. The agency said that, over the coming year, it will phase in a price-setting method that marks an epochal shift in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which was set up in 1968 to cover property in flood-prone areas. New premiums will be based on a property’s value, risk of flooding and other factors, rather than simply on a property’s elevation in a flood zone. They will take effect on Oct. 1, 2021, for new policies and April 1, 2022, for the rest, FEMA said. The NFIP currently provides $1.3 trillion in coverage through more than 5 million policies in the U.S. but has been losing money for years and is currently $20.5 billion in debt. The new rules will mean hefty increases for expensive properties in wealthy coastal enclaves, said Jeremy Porter, head of research and development at First Street Foundation, a Brooklyn-New York based nonprofit that studies flood risk. Current flood zone-based pricing was “basically a subsidy to people,” Porter said. Under FEMA’s new system, “pricing is based on your insurance risk.” FEMA said it expects 4%, or more than 200,000 policies, will see significant premium increases, while about 1.15 million will see decreases, noting the change makes prices “more equitable.” In a study released in February of flood-prone properties rather than policies, First Street determined that more than 4 million would face increases and the average premium in flood zones would be $7,895 a year. The numbers in First Street’s study are higher than FEMA’s because only about 30% of flood-prone properties carry NFIP coverage, Porter noted. The changes mark the first update to FEMA’s pricing methods in 50 years and are based on updated technology and FEMA’s evolving knowledge of flood risk, the agency said.
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Millions to see rate hikes under new flood insurance plan  
More than 1 million people who buy flood insurance from the federal government will see their premiums drop next year under a new system that will end decades of overpayments by making insurance rates more accurately reflect a property’s flood risk, officials said yesterday.  At the same time, premiums charged by the National Flood Insurance Program will rise sharply for about 200,000 policyholders, many of whom own expensive homes in high-risk flood zones and have been paying too little, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.  The vast majority of NFIP policyholders — roughly 3.7 million people — will see moderate rate increases, according to FEMA projections released yesterday.  “This will address inequity that has built up over time and must be corrected,” said David Maurstad, who runs the flood insurance program for FEMA. “Property owners with lower-value homes are paying more than they should, and those with higher-value homes are paying less.”  Many owners of lower-valued homes have been “paying way more than their fair share,” Maurstad added.             The NFIP is the nation’s main provider of flood insurance, which is not included in standard homeowners’ insurance policies. It insures 5 million properties, mostly along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.  The overhaul in FEMA’s flood insurance rates could generate opposition from some lawmakers, particularly those from the Northeast, where a large number of people will see rate hikes. A 2019 bill by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is now the Senate majority leader, would have barred FEMA from raising anyone’s insurance rate by more than 9% a year.         New York and New Jersey will be two of the hardest-hit states under FEMA’s new system.  In New York, 14% of the state’s NFIP policyholders will see their premiums increase by at least $120 a year, according to FEMA projections. In New Jersey, 15% of the policyholders will see premiums rise by $120 a year or more.  “FEMA shouldn’t be rushing to overhaul their process and risk dramatically increasing premiums on middle-class and working-class families without first consulting with Congress and the communities at greatest risk to the effects of climate change,” Schumer spokesperson Alex Nguyen said in a recent statement. “Congress and the Biden administration must work together in a collaborative and transparent process.” By contrast, the percentage of policyholders facing at least a $120-a-year increase is 7% in Texas, 9% in Alabama and North Carolina, and 10% in Louisiana. In Florida, where more people buy NFIP coverage than any other state, 12% of the state’s policyholders will see a rate increase of at least $120 a year.  Some policyholders will face the annual rate hikes for only a few years, while others who have been paying too little for insurance for a long time will see rate hikes for a decade or longer.  The new rates will begin to take effect next April for people who are renewing policies. For new policyholders, the new premiums will take effect in October.  FEMA’s announcement yesterday drew praise from environmental advocates.  “This isn’t just a minor improvement but a quantitative and qualitative leap forward in more accurately pricing risk,” said Forbes Tompkins, head of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ resilient infrastructure program. Shana Udvardy, a climate resilience analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said FEMA’s new insurance rates “could go a long way in helping homeowners better understand their risk, ensuring they can make informed decisions to protect themselves and their property.”  The new insurance rates are the result of a yearslong process FEMA has undertaken to refine its analysis of flood risk. Under the new system, called Risk Rating 2.0, FEMA uses the latest technology and data to estimate both the risk of an individual home being flooded and the cost to replace each home.  For decades, FEMA has used a crude analysis that puts homes into large geographic groupings and charges the owners the same insurance premium, ignoring distinctions that make some of the homes riskier than others.  “It’s like going from a standard-definition TV to HD-quality resolution,” Tompkins said.  Incorporating replacement costs into insurance premiums would result in generally higher rates in regions such as the Northeast and the West Coast, where labor and materials are more expensive than in the rest of the country. Maurstad of FEMA said he expects the new pricing would increase the number of people who have flood insurance by making the rates fairer and easier for homeowners and insurance agents to understand.  “It will result in greater value and trust in the program. As a result, folks that maybe didn’t think they were at much of a risk of flooding will now know that they are, and it will be harder for them to ignore it,” Maurstad said during a news briefing yesterday.  Federal law requires people to have flood insurance if they own a property that is located in a flood zone and is secured by a federally backed mortgage. But millions of people ignore the requirement, and in some cases face financial ruin when their homes are flooded and they have no insurance.
E&E News


 

GenX
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    Homeowners Insurance
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    Insurance companies request rate increase for homeowners
    The North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) has requested a 24.5 percent statewide average increase in homeowners’ insurance rates to take effect August 2021, according to a news release issued Nov. 10 by state insurance commissioner Mike Causey. The NCRB is not part of the N.C. Department of Insurance but represents companies that write insurance policies in the state. The department can either agree with the rates as filed or negotiate a settlement with the NCRB on a lower rate. If a settlement cannot be reached within 50 days, Causey will call for a hearing. Two years ago, in December 2018, the NCRB requested a statewide average increase of 17.4 percent. Causey negotiated a rate 13.4 percentage points lower and settled with a statewide aver-age rate increase of 4 percent. One of the drivers behind this requested increase is that North Carolina has experienced increased wind and hail losses stemming from damaging storms. A public comment period is required by law to give the public time to address the NCRB’s proposed rate increase.
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  • To see a table of proposed homeowners’ rate increases go to: click here
  • Territory 120 / Beach areas in Brunswick County / NCRB proposed increase 25%

  • Insurance commissioner sets hearing date in dwelling insurance rate hike case
    North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has set Jan. 18, 2022, as the hearing date for the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s proposed 18.7% dwelling insurance rate increase. “We are not in agreement with the Rate Bureau’s proposed increase filed in December,” Commissioner Causey said. “I want to make sure that the process is transparent, and that consumers’ interests are protected while making sure our insurance companies remain healthy so they can pay claims.” The Rate Bureau is not part of the Department of Insurance. It represents all companies writing property insurance in the state. The notice of hearing said that some of the data included in the Rate Bureau’s Dec. 14, 2020, filing contained a lack of documentation, explanation, and justification of both the data used as well as the procedures and methodologies used. The hearing is set for 10 a.m. Jan. 18, 2022, in the second-floor hearing room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh. The hearing will take place unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Rate Bureau are able to negotiate a settlement before that date. State law gives the Insurance Commissioner 45 days to issue an order once the hearing concludes. Once the order is issued, the NCRB has the right to appeal the decision before the N.C. Court of Appeals. A Court of Appeals order could then be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court. The NCRB and DOI can settle the proposed rate increase at any time during the process. Dwelling insurance policies are not homeowners’ insurance policies. Dwelling policies are offered to non-owner-occupied residences of no more than four units, including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full time by the property owner. The filing covers insurance for fire and extended coverage at varying rates around the state. Under the NCRB proposal, the increases would be felt statewide with most consumers seeing a double-digit increase. The last NCRB dwelling rate increase filing was in 2019 that resulted in a settlement of 4%, which took effect July 1, 2020.
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Causey sets hearing date in dwelling insurance rate hike case
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has set Jan. 18, 2022, as the hearing date for the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s (NCRB) proposed 18.7% dwelling insurance rate increase. We are not in agreement with the Rate Bureau’s proposed increase filed in December, Commissioner Causey said. “I want to make sure that the process is transparent, and that consumers’ interests are protected while making sure our insurance companies remain healthy so they can pay claims. The Rate Bureau is not part of the Department of Insurance. It represents all companies writing property insurance in the state. The notice of hearing said that some of the data included in the Rate Bureau’s Dec. 14, 2020, filing contained a lack of documentation, explanation, and justification of both the data used, as well as the procedures and methodologies used. The hearing is set for 10 a.m. Jan. 18, 2022, in the second-floor hearing room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh. The hearing will take place unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Rate Bureau are able to negotiate a settlement before that date. State law gives the Insurance Commissioner 45 days to is-sue an order once the hearing concludes. Once the order is issued, the NCRB has the right to appeal the decision before the N.C. Court of Appeals. A Court of Appeals order could then be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court. The NCRB and DOI can settle the proposed rate in-crease at any time during the process. Dwelling insurance policies are not homeowners’ insurance policies. Dwelling policies are offered to non-owner-occupied residences of no more than four units, including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full-time by the property owner. The filing covers insurance for ire and extended coverage at varying rates around the state. Under the NCRB proposal, the increases would be felt statewide with most consumers seeing a double-digit increase. The last NCRB dwelling rate increase filing was in 2019 that resulted in a settlement of 4%, which took effect July 1, 2020.
Brunswick Beacon



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    Hurricane Season

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Hurricane season start date could shift earlier because of a surge in May storms
Story Highlights

    • According to NOAA, May storms have formed in each of the past six years.
    • Although the majority of the recent May storms have been rather benign, some have not.
    • There will be no changes to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season this year.

Because of a surge in May storms, meteorologists are considering moving the start date of the Atlantic hurricane season from June 1 to May 15. The hurricane season has started on June 1 for more than five decades. The discussion on changing the start date began in December at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) hurricane conference, which followed the most active hurricane season on record, when 30 named storms formed. Storms have formed in May in each of the past six years, according to NOAA. In 2020, Tropical Storm Arthur came to life on May 16, followed by Tropical Storm Bertha on May 27. Since the late 1960s, when satellites began identifying tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic, 19 named storms have formed before June 1, Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach said. Although the majority of the recent May storms have been rather benign, some have not: “At least 20 deaths have occurred from late May storms since 2012, with about $200 million in total damage, and one of these systems was a 60-knot (70 mph) tropical storm at landfall,” according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The most recent confirmed hurricane during the month of May dates back to May 20, 1970 – Hurricane Alma, which reached maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, AccuWeather said. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph. Klotzbach worries about moving the start date to May 15 since the most dangerous storms typically don’t occur until the height of the season from late August through mid-October. “If you extend the season another 15 days, you could basically have three months with very little storm activity,” Klotzbach said. “People can only prepare for things for so long before they just say, ‘forget it.’” The eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15, but Klotzbach said the Atlantic basin has a much more peaked season. The World Meteorological Organization and NOAA will have meetings this spring to discuss moving the date of the hurricane season. The WMO has the final say on any potential date change. “An examination would need to take place regarding the need for, and potential ramifications of, potentially moving the beginning of the hurricane season to May 15,” National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said in a statement sent to USA TODAY. Regardless, there will be no changes to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season this year, he said. Although the start date of the basin’s hurricane season has traditionally begun on June 1, the end date has a history of being pushed back, first from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13 to Nov. 30, where it is today, AccuWeather said.
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New climate ‘normal’ for Atlantic hurricanes shows more frequent and intense storms
The past 30 years have seen record levels of hurricane activity.
Every 10 years, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration revises the baseline of what weather and climate conditions are considered “normal.” The most recent normals for Atlantic hurricane activity will soon be released, and a preview reveals a spike in storm frequency and intensity. During the most recent 30-year period, which spans 1991 to 2020, there has been an uptick in the number of named storms and an increase in the frequency of major hurricanes of category 3 intensity or greater in the Atlantic. That comes as no surprise amid a spate of extreme hurricane activity that has featured seven Category 5 storms swirling across Atlantic waters in just the past five years. The newly revised climate normals aren’t a forecast of upcoming activity, nor are they necessarily illustrative of any one particular climate or meteorological trend. They’re simply benchmark values. The National Weather Service calculates new climate normals each decade for all major U.S. cities with sufficient historical data. When you hear your local television meteorologist describe a day as “10 degrees above average,” for instance, this data is where that comes from. The new hurricane normals are not official yet, though available data clearly shows an uptick in storm frequency and intensity, likely related to a combination of climate change, natural variability, and improved storm detection.
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‘It only takes one storm’: AccuWeather predicts above-average 2021 hurricane season for NC
AccuWeather is predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season for 2021. In a report released Wednesday, AccuWeather’s team of tropical weather experts said 2021 is predicted to bring 16-20 named storms, with seven-to-10 becoming hurricanes and three-to-five major hurricanes expected to impact the United States. A normal season, according to their report, is 14 storms. In 2020, there were 13 storms with six becoming major hurricanes. In the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office, Warning Coordination Meteorologist Steve Pfaff said they use predictions given by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, which won’t be out until May. Right now, NOAA forecasters are still looking at all the moving pieces that help create a hurricane season prediction, Pfaff said. That includes everything from expected rainfall trends in Africa, which could impact the number of tropical waves, to temperatures in the Caribbean and wind patterns that could move Saharan dust into the Atlantic basin. “These predictions are not simple,” Pfaff explained. The more important thing about these annual season predictions, Pfaff said, is that it gets communities talking. North Carolina is “rapidly approaching hurricane season,” which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, Pfaff said. “Regardless of what the prediction is, it only takes one storm to define a region,” he added. Even if the NOAA forecast predicts a lower-than-average season, Pfaff said the level of preparedness shouldn’t change. “All it takes is that one,” Pfaff said. “People unfortunately equate the number to impact. That’s not a good way to think about these.” Pfaff has spent 26 years with the National Weather Service, and over that time he’s seen more and more category 4 storms, which is why he stresses the importance of being prepared no matter what predictions show. The numbers are just that – purely numbers – and don’t specify who has a higher chance of being hit. On top of that, several hurricanes in recent years have led to significant flooding events. “It seems like we’re seeing more and more tropical storms and hurricanes that result in flood disasters,” Pfaff said, using Hurricane Florence as a prime local example. The storm, which made landfall near Wrightsville Beach on Sept. 14, 2018 as a Category 1, was slow moving and dumped record-breaking amounts of rain on the area for days. During these times people are cut off from help and supplies. Pfaff recommended families keep preparations on hand for seven days rather than the typical three in case of extreme “It seems like we’re seeing more and more tropical storms and hurricanes that result in flood disasters,” Pfaff said, using Hurricane Florence as a prime local example. The storm, which made landfall near Wrightsville Beach on Sept. 14, 2018 as a Category 1, was slow moving and dumped record-breaking amounts of rain on the area for days. During these times people are cut off from help and supplies. Pfaff recommended families keep preparations on hand for seven days rather than the typical three in case of extreme circumstances. Meteorologists are also considering a change in the timeline for hurricane season, potentially moving the date two weeks earlier to mid-May due to an increase in May storms. That discussion is still ongoing and would require worldwide coordination. While most May storms tend to be tropical storms or low-category hurricanes due to there being less warm water to feed off than during the summer, Pfaff said, he recommends having kits ready to go in early May.
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2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Expected to Be More Active Than Normal

At a Glance

  • A total of 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes are expected this season.
  • This is above the 30-year average of 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
  • The forecast was released Thursday by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project.

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be more active than usual, according to an outlook released Thursday by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project. The group led by Dr. Phil Klotzbach calls for 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. A major hurricane is one that is Category 3 or higher (115-plus-mph winds) on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This forecast is above the 30-year average (1991 to 2020) of 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. “We anticipate that the 2021 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have above-normal activity,” Klotzbach wrote in the outlook. Though the official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November, storms can occasionally develop outside those months, as was the case in the previous six seasons and 10 of the past 18 seasons since 2003. In 2020, Tropical storms Arthur and Bertha each formed in mid- to late May. The CSU outlook is based on roughly 40 years of statistical factors combined with data from seasons exhibiting similar features of sea-level pressure and sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific oceans.

What Does This Mean for the United States?
A record 11 storms made landfall in the U.S. in 2020, including six hurricanes: Hanna, Isaias, Laura, Sally, Delta, and Zeta. That’s well above the average of one to two hurricane landfalls each season, according to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division. “We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” Klotzbach said. “As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.” Despite the 2020 season, there isn’t necessarily a strong correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes and U.S. landfalls in any given season. One or more of the 17 named storms predicted to develop this season could hit the U.S. or none at all. Some past hurricane seasons have been inactive but included at least one notable landfall. The 1992 season produced only six named storms and one subtropical storm. However, one of those named storms was Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida as a Category 5 hurricane. In 1983, there were only four named storms, but one of them was Alicia. The Category 3 hurricane hit the Houston-Galveston area and caused almost as many direct fatalities there – 21 – as Andrew did in South Florida – 26. On the other hand, the 2010 Atlantic season was very active, with 19 named storms and 12 hurricanes. Despite the high number of storms that year, no hurricanes and only one tropical storm made landfall in the U.S. In other words, a season can deliver many storms but have little impact or deliver few storms and have one or more hitting the U.S. coast with major impact. The bottom line is it’s impossible to know for certain if a U.S. hurricane strike will occur this season. Keep in mind that even a weak tropical storm hitting the U.S. can cause major impacts, particularly if it moves slowly and rainfall triggers flooding.
Read more » click here

‘Average’ Atlantic hurricane season to reflect more storms
Higher averages based on most recent 30-year climate record
Beginning with this year’s hurricane season outlooks, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) will use 1991-2020 as the new 30-year period of record. The updated averages for the Atlantic hurricane season have increased with 14 named storms and 7 hurricanes. The average for major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) remains unchanged at 3. The previous Atlantic storm averages, based on the period from 1981 to 2010, were 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. NOAA is updating the set of statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the climate record. This update process occurs once every decade. “This update allows our meteorologists to make forecasts for the hurricane season with the most relevant climate statistics taken into consideration,” said Michael Farrar, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction
. “Our work illustrates the value of NOAA’s investments in next-generation technologies to capture the data that underpins our outlooks and other forecast products. These products are essential to providing the public and local emergency managers with advance information to prepare for storms, and achieving NOAA’s mission of protecting life and property.”

This graphic captures the changes in Atlantic hurricane season averages from the last three-decade period of 1981-2010 to the most current such period, 1991-2020. The updated averages for the Atlantic hurricane season have increased with 14 named storms and 7 hurricanes. The average for major hurricanes remains unchanged at 3. The previous Atlantic storm averages, based on the period from 1981 to 2010, were 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

The increase in the averages may be attributed to the overall improvement in observing platforms, including NOAA’s fleet of next-generation environmental satellites and continued hurricane reconnaissance. It may also be due to the warming ocean and atmosphere which are influenced by climate change. The update also reflects a very busy period over the last 30 years, which includes many years of a positive Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, which can increase Atlantic hurricane activity. “These updated averages better reflect our collective experience of the past 10 years, which included some very active hurricane seasons,” said Matt Rosencrans, seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “NOAA scientists have evaluated the impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones and determined that it can influence storm intensity. Further research is needed to better understand and attribute the impacts of anthropogenic forcings and natural variability on tropical storm activity.” For the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific basins the averages over the 1991 – 2020 period do not change. The Eastern Pacific basin will remain at 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. The Central Pacific basin will maintain an average of 4 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. NOAA will issue its initial seasonal outlook for the 2021 hurricane season in late May. The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30.
Read more » click here


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Lockwood Folly Inlet
For more information » click here
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Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
For more information » click here
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  • .
    Solid Waste Program

    For more information » click here
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Things I Think I Think –

Dining #2Eating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
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Dinner Club outings have been on hold since March 2020

Dining Guide – Guests

Dining Guide – Local

Restaurant Reviews – North

Restaurant Reviews – South


Seafood Barn in Holden Beach closes after more than forty (40) years in business. The restaurant will not reopen for the 2021 season, as the owners prepare for retirement. When the unmistakable barn on Holden Beach road opens for the 2021 season, it’ll have a new name and new management.

As vaccinations increase, you may want to dine indoors again.
Here’s what to consider.

Not for the first time in this pandemic, the ground is shifting. This time, the news is good: After a slow start, more and more people are getting vaccinated against the coronavirus. And many restaurants around the country are reopening dining rooms, bringing back business to a hard-hit industry. That might be worth a toast at your favorite neighborhood hangout — but these glad tidings also come with a heaping side of uncertainty. Vaccine rollouts are happening at varying paces, meaning families and friend groups won’t all have their shots at the same time. Restaurant regulations still vary widely by jurisdiction, and a few places have pretty much lifted restrictions, which some have interpreted as permission to party like it’s 2019. Who can dine together? Can I eat indoors again? Should I? Those are just some of the questions diners are considering as they think about booking a table during this in-between time, when millions of Americans are getting vaccinated daily but before we’ve reached herd immunity. The answers aren’t always clear-cut. “There’s no such thing as zero risk, and nothing is 100 percent risky,” says Leana Wen, a visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health and contributing columnist at The Washington Post. “It’s a spectrum.” She has long urged people to think about their risks as expenditures from a “coronavirus budget,” and says the budgets of those who have been vaccinated just went way up. “You still have to think about how to spend it, and if your priority is seeing grandchildren and going to church, then maybe you’re not going to restaurants all that often.” With encouraging headlines, springlike temperatures and our collective covid fatigue at an all-time high, it might be tempting to throw caution — and another round of takeout — to the wind. But experts agree that now is not the time to lower your guard, but instead to maintain your vigilance so we can return to something like normal by the fall. For most people, who aren’t vaccinated, restaurants can still pose risks. A study released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that counties allowing in-person dining at restaurants saw a subsequent rise in cases and deaths. That followed an earlier CDC finding that people who were infected in July were more likely to have dined at a restaurant. We spoke to public health experts, scientists, and industry representatives about dining in this new, partially vaccinated world.

Whom can you dine with?
The CDC’s guidelines for vaccinated people, two weeks past their final shot, applies only to private settings. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said guidance for public places is coming soon, although the agency doesn’t have a firm release date yet. In its initial advice, the CDC focused on what vaccinated people could safely do in their homes and urged them to continue taking precautions including masking and distancing in public settings. The agency is cautious about issuing dining guidelines because of too many unknowns, said Greta Massetti, co-leader of the CDC’s Community Inventions and Critical Populations Task Force. “First of all, if you go to a restaurant, you will not know the vaccination status of any of the other patrons or any of the people who work there,” she says. “And likewise, the restaurants themselves won’t know whether people are vaccinated who walk through their doors.” To figure out whom you can break bread with in public, first check to see how many people are legally allowed to be seated as a party where you live. But numbers aren’t the only factor to consider. Wen notes that eating in a group means you can’t observe the usual protocols. “When you’re dining in a group, you’re going to have your masks off, and you’ll be sitting in close proximity to one another,” she says. While it’s fine for multiple vaccinated people to be seated together, “fully vaccinated people should not be dining with unvaccinated people, and unvaccinated people should not be dining with one another.” It isn’t yet clear to public health experts whether vaccinated people can spread the virus. That means up-close interactions between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated may still carry risk. “It’s less safe,” says Jennifer Kolker, a professor at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health. “There’s more data showing that the chance of a vaccinated person passing it on is pretty low, but we don’t know for absolutely sure.” Even if you’re gathering your friends for a celebration of everyone’s newly vaccinated status, keep the party on the small side. “The larger the group, the harder it is to know and trust that they’re fully vaccinated,” Wen says.

What to consider before you go
Before you make a reservation, think about the infection rate in your community, Kolker advises. High rates increase the infection risk for anyone. “Being vaccinated when there’s a lot of disease in your community means you’re highly protected … but there’s still more disease coming at you,” she says. The consensus is that outdoors is safer than indoors, though some people have become infected by eating too close to asymptomatic carriers on patios and the like. The CDC recommends that you eat on patios or in well-ventilated tents because you “are less likely to get or spread Covid-19 during outdoor activities.” But the agency cautions that even outdoor diners should wear masks when not eating or drinking and maintain six feet of social distance. Whether you’re thinking about dining inside or out, first check out the restaurant to see its setup and safety precautions. Is there a touchless payment system? A time limit for diners? Distance between tables? Some restaurants are spelling out covid protocols on their websites or on social media. But if you’re unsure, pick up the phone. “Customers … should be calling the restaurant and saying, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing to make me feel safe?’ ” said Larry Lynch, senior vice president for science and industry at the National Restaurant Association. That can help you decide if you’re comfortable — and lessen the chance of conflict or confusion. Tiffanie Barriere, a brand, and bar consultant in Atlanta, advises patrons to be more mindful than ever about restaurants’ rules. “Call before you come and see what’s the protocol if you want to bring your friends, or if you want to bring a baby,” she says. “See if it’s for you. It might not be.” The adage that the customer is always right has gone out the window, she says: “It’s not your place, it’s theirs. The second you want to make it your place, all hell breaks loose, and we’ve all seen those viral videos.” If all this fact-finding sounds like too much, or you still don’t want to take a risk, remember: You can always support your favorite restaurant with takeout.

Sanitation
By now we know that there’s only a small risk of surface transmission of the virus — that is, via commonly touched surfaces, such as menus or credit cards. Still, restaurants offering hand sanitizer and frequently wiping down spaces may not just be engaging in “sanitation theater.” “If they’re paying attention to this, there’s a good chance they’re being attentive to the virus in other ways,” Wen says. Restaurants and bars have long operated under health codes that require proper food handling, storage, sanitation, hot water, handwashing, hygiene and more to prevent the spread of food-borne illnesses. But Lynch says the pandemic has required managers to expand their thinking about sanitation. Servers now wipe down everything and make sure they’re “familiar with the kinds of chemical compounds that can be used safely and effectively against covid-19,” he said. 

Air quality and environment
Unless you’re an environmental engineer, it’s almost impossible to judge the quality of a dining room’s ventilation and filtration systems based on appearances alone, and even specialists need to conduct tests and review data. The best a diner can do is ask about a system and whether owners regularly service it. “Think about your own home system,” Lynch said. “The moment they come in and service it for the season, whether it’s for the winter or summer, you automatically get this better air flow. … It’s the same thing in a commercial structure.” This subject gets very complicated very fast. Some restaurants, like a South Korean one that was the subject of a well-publicized study on air flow last year, have no ventilation system at all. The restaurant relied on air conditioning units to move air throughout the dining room; two diners were infected with coronavirus because they sat in the direct air flow from a third, asymptomatic customer. Diners may feel as if they are playing Russian roulette, because they can’t determine what indoor environments are safe. What kind of filtration system does the restaurant have, and how often is the air exchanged? Does the restaurant have a carbon dioxide detector, which may indicate how well-ventilated a room is and whether there is a concentration of coronavirus aerosols? Donald Milton, professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, says one of the safest units is also one of the rarest: an upper-room ultraviolet germicidal system, which disinfects the air with UV light. But it can cost thousands of dollars to install per room, and it works only in high-ceiling spaces. But Milton says these systems could benefit restaurants even after the pandemic by protecting against seasonal flu, which kills tens of thousands of Americans annually. Short of the UV systems, Milton says, restaurants could use portable HEPA filter units. “Even if they’re not particularly well-placed, as long as they’re not all just on the perimeter, that’s going to create a much better environment,” he said. 

Are restaurant workers vaccinated?
If you’re vaccinated, and the servers are fully masked, they probably don’t pose much of a risk to you, Wen says. But dining indoors is not just about your safety; it’s about the servers, back waiters, bussers, bartenders, and anyone else who comes in contact with customers. In some places, such as New York and Kentucky, food service workers are getting vaccinated, but in others, such as Florida and Louisiana, they are still waiting for an eligibility date. “Unfortunately, we’ve got this patchwork quilt of regulations around the country, so there’s no solid way we can get everyone vaccinated in the same way at the same time,” said Lynch of the National Restaurant Association.

That is why the association asks members to maintain protocols that have been in place for months, including encouraging diners to wear a mask at the table when not eating or drinking. That’s especially important where food service workers — who spend hours exposed to the breath of countless diners — are still waiting for vaccine appointments. The national association and state groups are educating workers to communicate with customers that the server-diner relationship is not as one-sided as before the pandemic. The goal is to convince diners of the mutual respect needed when diners may be vaccinated (and potentially still contagious) but servers are not, and when some states have lifted mask mandates, but President Biden has issued a nationwide one. The idea, said Lynch, is to have servers explain that they’re protecting customers by wearing a mask — and that they need the same protection from diners in return. A year ago in the Lone Star State, a similar spirit led to a social contract called the Texas Restaurant Promise. By posting the promise on their door, restaurants agree to have employees pass health screenings and wear face coverings, to maintain safe distances between parties, and to disinfect tables between seatings. In return, by entering the restaurant, diners agree to follow protocols and instructions from employees, including distancing rules. The gist is simple: “Don’t be a jerk,” said Anna Tauzin, chief revenue, and innovation officer at the Texas Restaurant Association. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) recently allowed restaurants outside areas with “high hospitalizations” to open with no state requirements for mask-wearing or capacity limits, even though its hospitality workers remain ineligible for the vaccine. Tauzin noted that nearly three-quarters of the 725 members that responded to a recent survey said they would continue to require staff members to wear masks. It’s fair to say, she added, that 75 to 80 percent of the association’s 4,800 members would do the same.

Only 38 percent, though, said they would continue requiring diners to wear masks, while 42 percent said they would not, and 20 percent said they weren’t sure. “Frankly, they’re just tired of the confrontation,” Tauzin said. “And if someone comes in, they will remind them, ‘Hey, could you please put on a mask?’ And if they say, ‘No, it’s my God-given right to not wear one,’ then they’re not going to fight them. They’re going to let them sit at the restaurant. They’re going to serve them. And then hopefully those people are not going to wander around licking doorknobs or anything like that.”

A time for patience
Experts say the arrival of vaccines isn’t a moment to let up on precautions; hopefully, we’ll have to live with the stress and inconvenience for only a little while longer. The CDC hasn’t set a target yet for when the agency will declare herd immunity, but Massetti said “more than 70 percent” of Americans will need to be vaccinated. How many more remains unknown until the CDC can review more data on variants, asymptomatic transmission among vaccinated people and other key research. “We are on the right path,” said Massetti. “We want to continue to stay the course to ensure that we stay on that path.” Kolker says public officials have a tough needle to thread as they’re warning people to stay vigilant about safety precautions even as vaccination rates rise. But there’s still a possibility that before vaccines are widespread, a spike in cases could lead to more lockdowns. “Telling people to still be careful is a hard message right now,” she says. “Because if we’re saying, ‘Get vaccinated, but there’s still doom and gloom,’ it makes it sound like there’s no reason to do it. Everyone is chomping at the bit to get out there and dine with their friends and family, and there’s reason to be hopeful that we will — but we just don’t want to blow it.”
Read more » click here 


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
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BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED
by Lisa Gardner
This story is about a middle-aged white woman who is a recovering alcoholic and whose made it her job to find lost and forgotten missing people after everyone else has given up.  She puts herself in danger when she searches for a missing Haitian teenager in a disreputable Boston neighborhood. The story is based on an informal online network of amateur detectives who research and investigate missing persons and other cold cases.


  • .That’s it for this newsletter

    See you next month


    Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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

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

    https://lousviews.com/


 


03 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 02/23/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

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


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


Parking Committee Meeting 03/05/21

Committee Agenda Packet » click here  

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Overall:

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

Specifically:

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

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

2. Report on US Wildlife Boat Ramp – Chief Dixon

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

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

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

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

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


BOC’s Regular Meeting 03/16/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Public Comments on Agenda/General Items

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


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

Previously reported – February 2021
Agenda Packet –

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

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

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

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

Wholesale – per 1,000 gallons $5.25

Industrial – per 1 ,000 gallons $4.35

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


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


Water Rate Methodology and Rate Increase

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

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

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


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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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

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


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

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

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

Supplemental Information » click here  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


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

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

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

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

RESOLUTION 21-04

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


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

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

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

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


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

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

Name of StreetSpeed Limit (mph)

Seasonal

Limitations

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

April 1 –
September 30

(inclusive)

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

October 1 –
March 31

(inclusive each year)

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

limitations

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

Previously reported – January 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A decision was made – Approved (3-1)


7. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


Neighborhood Watch

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Analysis –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion –

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previously reported – July 2020
Holden Beach ponders seasonal police help for 2021
Read more » click here

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

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

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

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

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

No decision was made – No action taken

 

 

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

Rules obeyed on Holden Beach – not so much!


Beach Ranger Program

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consistency Statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


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

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

§50.02 CONTAINER SPECIFICATIONS.
(A) Residential requirements

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

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

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

§50.08 RENTAL HOMES.
Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In the interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like). In instances where three trash cans or more are required, one can may be substituted with a contractor approved recycling bin.


Previously reported – March 2019
Solid Waste Report

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

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


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

Previously reported – February 2021

Proposed Solid Waste Changes

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

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

Proposed for Discussion:

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

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

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

§50.08 RENTAL HOMES.
Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In the interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like). In instances where three trash cans or more are required, one can may be substituted with a contractor approved recycling bin.

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

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

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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



 

 

 

 

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

The concerns about the ordinance remain the same:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


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

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

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

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

§160A63. Vacancies.

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

Filling a Vacancy on the Town Council

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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

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

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


13. Town Manager’s Report

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

It appears that we have also been funded.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

In Case You Missed It –

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

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

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

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

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


14. Mayor’s Comments

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

Chapter 90 / Animals / § 90.20 / Responsibilities of owners

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

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

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


15. Board of Commissioners’ Comments

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

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

Folks speaking up would be helpful!


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

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

No decision was made – No action taken


Loose Ends (3)

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

General Comments –

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


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

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


.
BOC’s Meeting

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


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Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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

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

https://lousviews.com/

03 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / March Edition


Calendar of Events –


Southport Spring Festival LogoSouthport Spring Festival
April 2
nd 3rd
Southport


Welcome Spring Easter weekend in style at the Southport Spring Festival, a tradition for more than 25 years. This festival features a wide variety of activities.
For more information » click here

Southport Spring Festival has been canceled


Azalea Festival Logo
N.C. Azalea Festival
April 7th – 11th
Wilmington


Wilmington has been celebrating Spring Southern Style since 1948. There’s something for everyone among their community’s rich array of artwork, gardens, history and culture. This will be the 73rd annual festival and is considered one of the top events in the Southeast.
For more information » click here


Azalea Festival organizers aim for year-long celebration in 2021
The North Carolina Azalea Festival is hoping to do things a little differently this year. Organizers say the traditional springtime event will be celebrated throughout most of 2021. Last year, the 73rd annual Azalea Festival was called off in March due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. However, this year, organizers say they plan to have a full lineup of events and programming in April, with the street fair and the Main Stage musical acts scheduled for later this summer. A new “Pin Pals” program will also debut this year as a way of stimulating the local economy, organizers say. “Guests can purchase a 2021 commemorative pin for $10 and receive discounts from local businesses the entire month of April. Guests can also register their pin for a chance to win one of three grand prizes valued at over $1,500 each,” according to a news release. This year’s musical acts — The Avett Brothers; and Sublime with Rome and Michael Franti & Spearhead — will be held at the city’s new musical venue, the North Waterfront Park. For more information on tickets, click here.

Read more » click here

Azalea Festival announces events will happen all year long
The North Carolina Azalea Festival has announced it will be celebrating spring during festival dates of April 7-11 and continuing throughout the year. “With the pandemic and restrictions still in place with our state, we are having to move some of our larger events to later in the year,” executive director Alison English said. Despite the challenges, English says they were determined to hold the festival this year in order to maintain the benefits it provides the area. “The North Carolina Azalea festival has over a 50-million-dollar economic impact on our community, and that’s very important to us,” English said. “So we wanna make sure to have those large events anytime that we can so we can keep that economic stimulus going.” English says she’s optimistic that if all goes well this time, they should be able to hold a normal festival next year. “2022 is the Azalea Festival’s 75th anniversary,” English noted. “So that already is a big year for us. We’re just hoping that it’s going to be an even bigger and better year, hopefully being the first year that we can have everything.” Even with the changes to the festival this year, English expects it will still be a fun time for everyone. “We still want the community to celebrate spring and to be a part, and really just show what this community is so great,” English said. “We just have such giving citizens. Wonderful people who like to be supportive and love where we live. We’re just excited for people to showcase that, festival week in April.” In a news release on Monday, the festival says there will be a full lineup of festival week events and programming for this April. However, events like the concerts, garden party, and street fair won’t take place until later this summer. Queen Azalea #74 will be coming to town to celebrate with guests in smaller, more intimate, socially-distance appropriate gatherings. The festival also announced its new Pin Pals commemorative pin collecting program as one of its efforts to stimulate the local economy. Guests can purchase a 2021 commemorative pin for $10 and receive discounts from local businesses the entire month of April. Guests can also register their pin for a chance to win one of three Grand Prizes valued at over $1,500 each. Business registration in this program is free. As part of the work of the new Azalea Festival Diversity and Inclusion Committee, this business registration application is now also available in Spanish. The festival has rescheduled its larger events for later in the year. The DGX Street Fair, the Dollar General Parade, and all main stage shows in August.
Read more » click here



.Days at the Docks Festival

April 27th
28th
Holden Beach

.

The annual festival occurs in April or May and is sponsored by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. It’s the Holden Beach way to kick-off the Spring and start the vacation season. In addition to the food and arts & crafts, enjoy live music & entertainment, a horseshoe tournament and the world famous “Bopple Race”. Lots of activities for the entire family!
For more information » click here

Days at the Docks Festival has been canceled



Blue Crab Festival

May 15th – 16th
Little River SC

.

This will be the 39th annual world famous Blue Crab Festival. It is held on the waterfront in Little River and is one of the largest festivals in the Southeast. The purpose of this festival is one that supports and showcases the fabulous atmosphere of the local communities.
For more information » click here


Events
TDA - logo
Discover a wide range of things to do in the Brunswick Islands for an experience that goes beyond the beach.
For more information » click here


Calendar of Events Island –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled


Easter Egg Drop
The Town will be holding a drive-by egg drop on Friday, April 2nd from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The Easter Bunny will be present, but we must keep the bunny healthy so there will be no pictures with the bunny. Individuals wishing to participate should call Town Hall at (910) 842-6488 to sign up. Vehicles will stop in front of Town hall to receive eggs. There will be event signs to move traffic up Ocean Boulevard to Roger and circling back to Town Hall. 


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


Reminders –

Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2021 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills.
Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. 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.



Speed Limit
Please take notice – Speed limit seasonal limitations, in accordance with Town Ordinances. Speed limit will change on OBW from 45mph to 35mph west of the general store. This change will take place on April 1st and be in effect through September 30th.



Trash Can Requirements – Rental Properties
GFL Environmental – trash can requirements
Ordinance 07-13, Section 50.10


Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.
* One extra trash can per every two bedrooms

.

§ 50.08 RENTAL HOMES.
(A) Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in abnormally large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like).


Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule
GFL Environmental change in service, trash pickup will be once a week. This year September 26th will be the the last Saturday trash pick-up until June. Trash collection will go back to Tuesdays only.

 

Please note:
. • Trash carts must be at the street by 6:00 a.m. on the pickup day
. • BAG the trash before putting it in the cart
. • Carts will be rolled back to the front of the house 


Yard Waste Service
Yard debris pick-up will be provided twice a month on the 2ndand 4th Fridays during the months of March, April, and May. Please have yard waste placed at the street for pick-up on Thursday night. The first pickup of the season was on March 12th. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.

Debris must be placed in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a length not to exceed five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds. Each residence is allowed a total of ten (10) items, which can include a combination of bundles of brush and limbs meeting the required length and weight and/ or biodegradable bags with grass clippings, leaves, etc.



Smoke Detectors

Time change means time to check smoke detectors, too. The fire department is encouraging people to test their smoke alarms and change the battery. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, whether they are battery-operated or hard-wired.



Bird Nesting Area

NC Wildlife Commission has posted signs that say – Bird Nesting Area / Please don’t disturb. The signs are posted on the west end beach strand around 1307 OBW.


People and dogs are supposed to stay out of the area from April through November

. 1) It’s a Plover nesting area
. 2) Allows migrating birds a place to land and rest without being disturbed


Mosquito Control
Current EPA protocol is that spraying is complaint driven
The Town is unable to just spray as they had in the past
. 1)
Complaint based
. 2)
Citizen request
. 3)
Proactively monitor hot spots

They recommend that you get rid of any standing water on your property that you can
Urged everyone to call Town Hall if they have mosquito issues so that they can spray

Spraying is complaint based, so keep the calls coming!


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

§157.087 BUILDING NUMBERS.

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

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



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


News from Town of Holden Beach
The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here


Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to heather@hbtownhall.com.


Curbside Recycling
GFL environmental is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $93.29 annually paid in advance to the Town of Holden Beach and consists of a ninety-six (96) gallon cart that is emptied every other week.
Curbside Recycling Application » click here
Curbside Recycling Calendar » click here

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


Elevator - CRElevators
Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system.


Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard

Hazard:
The elevator cab can fall unexpectedly to the bottom of the elevator shaft and abruptly stop, posing an injury hazard to consumers in the elevator cab.

Consumer Contact:
Waupaca Elevator toll-free at 833-850-7981 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, e-mail at info@WaupacaElevator.com or online at www.WaupacaElevator.com and click on Recall Information for more information.

Recall Details

Description:
This recall involves residential elevator models Custom Lift 450# and Custom Lift 500#, shipped and installed between 1979 and 2008. The recalled elevators are used in consumers’ homes.

Remedy:
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled elevators and contact Waupaca Elevator to schedule a free gearbox inspection and the installation of a free overspeed braking device. Waupaca Elevator also will provide the installation of a free gearbox if the gearbox inspection reveals that the gears in the gearbox have worn down.

For more information » click here

There is an issue with the gearboxes on select Waupaca Elevators that may cause the elevator to suddenly drop. In December on the island, despite having recommended gearbox inspection, the Waupaca elevator cab fell to the bottom of the elevator shaft causing serious injuries to my friends that were in the elevator cab. Affected elevators need to be checked and the installation of overspeed braking devices completed before being put back into service. Even then I still would be concerned, due to the severity of gear boxes failure the safety features are not responding as they should. I’d strongly recommend that you immediately stop using these Waupaca elevators.


Library
If you need something to keep you busy in this colder weather, make sure to visit the island library. The library is in the upstairs of Holden Beach Town Hall. All the books were donated. Patrons of the library don’t have to check out a book; they are on the honor system to return it.



Neighborhood Watch –

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


Coronavirus –

Brunswick County COVID-19 Snapshot: as of March 12th


NC’s updated vaccine rollout – Brunswick County has moved to Group 4 of the state’s revised COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Phase 1a
– Health care staff working directly with COVID-19 patients and those administering COVID-19 vaccines.

– Long-term care facility residents and staff (administered through federal program).

Phase 1b
– Group 1: Anyone 75 years or older

Group 2: Health care and frontline essential workers 50 years or older. Frontline essential workers include firefighters, police officers, teachers, and those working in corrections, postal services, groceries, and public transit.

Group 3: Health care and frontline workers of any age, no matter their working conditions.

Phase 2
– Group 1: Anyone 65-74 years old.

– Group 2: Anyone 16-64 years old who has an underlying condition that increases their risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19.

– Group 3: Individuals who are incarcerated or living in another congregate living setting that hasn’t been vaccinated.

Group 4: Other essential workers, as defined by the CDC. This group includes those in food service, construction, public health, engineering, and media.

Phase 3
– Students in college, university or high school who are 16 or older (Vaccines have not yet be recommended for those under 16).

Phase 4
– Anyone 16 years or older


Novant Health announces new website for vaccine sign-ups in Brunswick County
Novant Health on Tuesday announced a new website where people who 65 years and older in Brunswick County can sign-up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The new website is NovantHealth.org/BrunswickVaccine. Novant officials are still encouraging people to sign up for a MyChart account to provide all necessary information, including date of birth to confirm eligibility, prior to their vaccination appointment. Recipients do not need to be affiliated with a specific healthcare system to sign up for MyChart, officials say. A spokesperson for Novant said the change was made in an effort to streamline the sign-up process for community members. “Our main priority is to provide the vaccine as quickly as possible to those who are eligible and want the vaccine. We are committed to ensuring all vaccine distribution is equitable, effective and in the best interest of public health despite unprecedented supply challenges,” the spokesperson said. Novant officials offered a reminder that appointments are available based on the limited supply of vaccine provided by the state health department and will be updated weekly. New appointments are added every Friday evening.


COVID/State of Emergency – Timeline

02/24/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 195 which will ease but not lift restrictions in several areas of
the modified stay-at-home order. More businesses will be able to operate, some for the first time and others with increased capacity.  Click here to view the Executive Order details.

01/27/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 189 which further extends the modified stay-at-home order with a curfew that requires people to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

01/06/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 188 which extends the modified stay-at-home order with a curfew that requires people to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

12/08/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 181 which is a modified stay-at-home order with a curfew that requires people to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

11/23/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 180 which expands current mask requirements, extending the rule to essentially any time an individual is outside of their home and in the presence of a non-household contact. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

11/10/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 176 which lowers the indoor gathering limit from 25 to 10 people. The state will remain paused in Phase 3 of its reopening plan. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

10/28/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 171 which assists all residential tenants in North Carolina who qualify for protection from eviction under the terms of the CDC Order. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

10/21/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 170 which is an extension of the Phase 3 order. We will remain paused for another three weeks in Phase 3 of the pandemic recovery. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

09/30/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 169 which lifted certain restrictions and will allow additional openings and capacity for certain businesses. The state’s phased reopening process continues our state’s dimmer switch approach to easing restrictions and is moving from Phase 2.5 to Phase 3 of the pandemic recovery. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

09/04/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 163 which revised some prohibitions and restrictions to the state’s “Safer At Home” measures and will move into Phase 2.5 of the pandemic recovery. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

08/05/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 155 which extends the state’s “Safer At Home” Phase 2 measures for five (5) additional weeks until at least September 11, 2020. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

07/28/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 153 which restricts late-night service of alcoholic beverages. The governor also said that bars will remain closed as North Carolina continues efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

07/14/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 151 which extends the state’s Safer At Home Phase 2 measures for three additional weeks until at least August 7, 2020. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

06/26/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 147 which pauses the state’s Phase 2 economic reopening’s for three additional weeks went into effect at 5:00 p.m. Friday, June 26. The Governor announced that the new face covering requirement in public places statewide is to slow the spread of the virus during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

06/02/20
With the exception of the playground and splash pad, Bridgeview Park is now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 10 of the Town’s State of Emergency.

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

05/29/20
With the exception of Bridgeview Park (across from Town Hall), Town recreational areas are now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 9 of the Town’s State of Emergency.

05/22/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 141 which is a transition to Phase 2 of a three-part plan to reopen North Carolina amid the coronavirus pandemic went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, May 22. The Governor announced that they are lifting the Stay at Home order and shifting to a Safer at Home recommendation. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

05/18/20
Public restroom facilities are now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 8.

05/08/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 138 to modify North Carolina’s stay-at-home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions. Phase 1of Governor Cooper’s three-part plan to reopen North Carolina amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, May 8. It’s the first step in the state’s gradual return to normalcy. Phase two is expected to begin two to three weeks after phase one, given that certain conditions are met. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

04/30/20
Having consulted in an emergency meeting with the Board of Commissioners, the terms of the State of Emergency have been amended. Highlights include the following: rentals may resume as of May 8th; and public parking and public accesses are open immediately. All other restrictions remain in full force. Click here to view Amendment No.7.

04/19/20
Item #9 of the existing Town of Holden Beach State of Emergency, which was made effective on April 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., shall hereby be rescinded at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. This action will thus allow the beach strand to be open for the purpose of exercise and relaxation. No congregating shall be allowed. All other parts of the current declaration of emergency shall remain in effect. Click here to view Amendment No. 6.

04/08/20
Emergency Management Director, in consultation with the Commissioners, have decided to close the beach strand effective Wednesday, April 8 at 11:59pm. Today’s Amendment No. 5 is being added to the existing Declaration of the State of Emergency. Any person who violates any provision of this declaration or any provision of any Executive Order issued by the Governor shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of sixty days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine per offense.
Click here to view Amendment No. 5.

04/01/20
Town of Holden Beach has declared a State of Emergency, Amendment No. 4 is an attempt to define the purpose of the original declaration more clearly (no new tenancy).
Click here to view Amendment No. 4.

03/31/20
The State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach has been amended to coincide with Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Order. Click here to view the Amendment No. 3.

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

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

The situation is serious; take it seriously!

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


Upon Further Review –


Crews to begin removing abandoned vessels along the coast
This month local crews will begin work on a new project to remove abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) along the North Carolina coastline, funded by a combination of state and federal sources. Aside from being unsightly, ADVs often contain pollution, including fuel and other hazardous materials that may remain on board that can leach into sensitive marine habitats. They can also pose a threat to safety, navigation, and public health. Often displaced by hurricanes, ADVs can litter local shorelines for years. Local and state governments have advanced policies in recent years to make removing the abandoned boats easier while still honoring the owners’ rights. Last year and in 2019, Governor Roy Cooper signed legislation that funded and permitted state partners to remove the vessels. The new laws allow the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to determine a vessel abandoned after an unsuccessful attempt to contact the last known owner and a posted notice on the vessel goes unanswered. After Division of Coastal Management and North Carolina Coastal Federation officials assessed, documented, and prioritized the vessels, NCWRC tagged them for removal. The nonprofit N.C. Coastal Federation is hiring crews to remove 80 vessels identified along the entire coastline. WRC has identified at least 20 along the tri-county southeastern coastline, according to its database. The current project is being funded by a $1 million 2019 state appropriation, NOAA’s marine debris removal program, and USDA’s emergency watershed protection program. “For the first time ever, North Carolina is mounting a comprehensive effort to rid our coast of these broken-down boats that blight our coast. The federal, state and local partners and multiple funders, along with support from the N.C. General Assembly, have come together to make this happen. We are enthusiastic about the removal of so many vessels posing environmental, health and economic risks to our coast,” Todd Miller, the federation’s executive director, said in a press release. Since Hurricane Florence, the Coastal Federation has overseen the removal of more than 910 tons of marine debris, funded by state and federal contracts.
Read more » click here

Abandoned vessel removal to begin in March
Once seaworthy vessels, now damaged or sunk along the coast, are slated for removal beginning in March. Working with state and local partners, the North Carolina Coastal Federation is ramping up efforts to tackle large-scale marine debris by focusing on the removal of unsightly vessels that were damaged and linger in the marshes and creeks following recent hurricanes Florence and Matthew. The federation is hiring contractors to remove over 80 abandoned and derelict recreational and commercial boats between Manteo and Sunset Beach. Removal will begin once the owner notification process is complete. Although pollution from most vessels was mitigated by the U.S. Coast Guard and its contractors soon after becoming displaced, residual polluting and hazardous materials may remain onboard. Removal of the vessels from the environment will reduce marine debris and reduce any remaining pollution impacts on important coastal habitats such as oyster reef, submerged aquatic vegetation and marshes. Some of these vessels also pose a threat to navigation safety and public health. “For the first time ever, North Carolina is mounting a comprehensive effort to rid our coast of these broken down boats that blight our coast, said Todd Miller, federation executive director. “The federal, state and local partners and multiple funders, along with support from the General Assembly, have come together to make this happen. We are enthusiastic about the removal of so many vessels posing environmental, health and economic risks to our coast.” There are 25 vessels slated for removal in Pamlico, Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick counties with funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program awarded to the N.C. Division of Coastal Management in partnership with the federation and N.C Wildlife Resource Commission. The federation will remove an additional 20 vessels in Currituck and Dare counties supported by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospherics’ Marine Debris Pro-gram in partnership with Dare County, the N.C Division of Coastal Management and the N.C. Wildlife Commission. “We are a proud participant in this removal effort,” mentioned Ben Solomon, environmental specialist of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “It speaks directly to our agency’s mission to conserve North Carolina’s wildlife resources and their habitats, and to provide opportunities for wildlife-associated recreation. Clearing the boat debris is imperative to protecting North Carolina’s diverse aquatic and coastal species and maintaining a clean environment for out-door enthusiasts who recreate along our state’s coastline.” “The complexity of planning this large-scale effort required close coordination over a long period of time. And the result will quickly benefit our coastal resources and those who live, work, and play among them,” said Paula Gillikin with the N.C Department of Environmental Quality’s N.C. Division of Coastal Management. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospherics’ Marine Debris Program have also awarded the federation funding to remove an additional 35 vessels in Pamlico, Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Brunswick, and New Hanover counties. These grant projects are all part of a collaboration that was further enhanced with a 2019 N.C. General Assembly appropriation of $1 million to the Wildlife Commission for vessel removal. In July of last year, Gov. Cooper approved final legisla
tion that updated authorizing language to allow the Wildlife Commission to remove these storm-related vessels littering the coast. The legislation helped speed up the removal of abandoned boats while also protecting boat owners private property rights. (North Carolina Session Laws 2020-74 and 2019-224).The N.C. Division of Coastal Management, the Wildlife Commission and the federation have assessed, documented, and prioritized the abandoned vessels for removal. The Wildlife Commission has tagged the vessels, the last step in clearing the way for removal to begin once contractors are secured. Once the removals are complete, broader interagency co-ordination among the Wildlife Commission, Department of Environmental Quality agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard and others will continue to strengthen pre-storm planning and post-storm response to displaced vessels. Efforts build on large-scale marine debris removal led by the federation, which have resulted in the removal of over 910 tons of pressure treated wood, floats and other trash and debris from coastal waters since Hurricane Florence. To learn about the progress of this work and the federation’s efforts to create a coast that is free of marine debris, go to https://www.nccoast.org/protect-the-coast/marine-debris/.
Brunswick Beacon

 Southern Lady

Originally reported – October 2011
Half-submerged and prominently visible from the Holden Beach Bridge the 62-foot commercial shrimp boat Southern Lady is sinking on the north side of the ICW across from the Chapel. It has been over five years now, still no progress has been made with removing the shrimp boat Southern Lady because no one has jurisdiction to remove the abandoned boat.  

There are navigational, environmental, and public safety hazards. It’s a regulatory no man’s land: No one wants to deal with these boats. The Army Corps of Engineers removes abandoned vessels that block federal navigation channels. The United States Coast Guard moves recreational boats that pose environmental risks. Compounding the problem are the layers of bureaucracy required to remove a boat, including the issuance of environmental permits and the legal filings needed to declare vessels abandoned property. Still, the contracting process does not resolve the thorny issue of what agency is responsible for removing the boats, in part, it seems, because no one wants to assume the cost. The abandoned shrimp boat Southern Lady, one of the boats that prompted the ordinance, could cost up to $50,000 to remove.


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


Water Rate Methodology and Rate Increase

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

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

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


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

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

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


  • Dog Park
    The dog park will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Town needed to use the land at the dog park to place material from the canal dredging project as the dredge spoils area. It is unknown when it will be returned to a useable state as a dog park again. They are currently looking at other options for a dog park on the island.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

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

    For more information » click here

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


    Corrections & Amplifications –


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2021 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills.
Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. 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.

EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS

What is a State of Emergency?
A proclamation by the Town which enacts special ordinances and/or prohibitions during emergency situations to protect the public, public health and property. These prohibitions can include limitations on movement, curfews, directing of evacuations, controlling ingress and egress to the emergency area, alcoholic beverages, and more. State of Emergencies are issued in accordance with N.C.G.S. 166A-19.22.

What is a curfew?
A curfew is an order, typically during a State of Emergency, which requires all persons in the affected areas to remain on their own property. During a curfew, you are not free to move about public domain areas or on others’ property. Violations of a curfew could lead to arrest in certain situations.

What is a voluntary evacuation?
A voluntary evacuation creates a recommendation for all parties in the affected area to get their affairs in order hastily and evacuated.

What is a mandatory evacuation?
A mandatory evacuation means you must leave the area in which an order has been issued. With recent changes to the laws in North Carolina, you no longer have the option of staying in an area under an order of mandatory evacuation.

Why is the sewer system turned off during a storm/event?
Often the sewer system is turned off during storms which have the potential to create significant flooding on the island. The system is turned off to protect its integrity. If it were left on, it could pose a significant threat to the public health. When the system is manually shut down, it also greatly reduces the time needed to bring it back up after an event which equates to getting residents and guests back on the Island much faster.

Why is there a delay for decal holders to get back on the island once a storm ends?
After a storm, many things must occur before even limited access can be allowed. Some of those things include making sure the streets are passable; the sewer system must be restarted to comply with State laws; the utilities (water, sewer, electricity, propane supplies) must be checked to ensure no safety risk are present; and the post-storm damage assessment team needs to perform an initial assessment.

Where can I get up-to-date information during and after a storm or State of Emergency?
You can sign up for the Town email service by clicking here. The newsletter, along with the Town’s website will be the main sources of information during an emergency situation. Links to the Town’s official Facebook and Twitter pages can be found on the website. You can also download our app for Apple and Android phones by accessing the app store on your smart phone and searching Holden Beach.

Please refrain from calling Town Hall and Police Department phone lines with general information questions. These lines need to remain open for emergencies, storm management and post-storm mitigation. All updates concerning re-entry, general access, etc. may be found on the Town’s website and other media outlets.

Why do I see others moving about the island during a curfew?
If a curfew order is in place, you must stay on your own property. You may see many other vehicles moving about the Island. We often receive assistance from other local, state, federal and contract personnel during events. It is likely these are the personnel you are seeing, and they are involved in the mitigation process for the event. Please do not assume that a curfew order has been lifted and/or you are free to move about the island.

Can I check my friends’ property for them?
If a curfew order is in place, you may ONLY travel to your personally owned property. Traveling about the Island to check on others’ property is not allowed. is in place, you may ONLY travel to your personally owned property. Traveling about

Who can obtain decals?
Only property owners and businesses who service the island can obtain a decal.

How do I get decals for my vehicle…?

If I am an owner?
Decals will be mailed out in water bills to property owners before the season starts. Those owners who need additional decals can contact Town Hall. A fee may apply, please check the current fee schedule.

If I am a renter?
You must contact the owner of the property to obtain a decal.

If I am a business owner on the Island?
You must contact Town Hall to obtain a decal.

If I am a business owner off the Island that provides services on the Island?
You must contact Town Hall for eligibility and to obtain a decal.

When does my decal expire?
All decals expire on the last day of the calendar year as indicated on the decal.

Where do I put my decal on my car?
Decals must be displayed in the lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items to include window tinting, other decals, etc. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle. Please note that re-entry will not be allowed if a current, intact decal is not affixed to the windshield as designated.

How do I replace a decal if I get a new vehicle?
If you trade a vehicle or otherwise need a replacement decal, you may obtain them from Town Hall during normal business hours. A fee may apply, check the current fee schedule.

Can I obtain a decal right before an emergency occurs?
While most of the storms we deal with are tropical in nature with some type of advanced warning, we do experience many other types of events that could create a State of Emergency without warning. All eligible parties should obtain decals as early as possible each year to avoid being denied access to the Island. Decals shall not be issued during the 24-hour period prior to an anticipated order of evacuation so staff can concentrate on properly preparing the Town for the storm/event.

Can I use a tax bill or another document for re-entry?
No. You MUST have a decal to re-enter the Island until it is open to the general public.

How does re-entry after a storm during a State of Emergency work?
The bridge is closed to all vehicle access, except for official vehicles. Once those with proper decals are allowed access, they must conform with the current rules in place by the specific State of Emergency Order. After all hazards have been rendered safe, the bridge will be opened to the general public. A curfew could remain in effect however, to ensure the safety and security of the Island and its residents and guests. Please understand this process typically takes days to evolve and could be significantly longer, depending on the amount of damage sustained. Please refrain from calling for times for re-entry, as those are often not set on schedule. Instead, stay tunes to local media outlets and official social media accounts for accurate updates.

How can I check on my property if access is limited to the Island?
Once it is safe, property owners with valid decals will be allowed back on the Island after a storm/event. At this point, you can travel to your property, in accordance with the rules of the specific State of Emergency Order currently in place.

If you live out of the area, please do not travel to the Island until you are certain you will be allowed access. Stay tuned to those media outlets and email services that are of official nature for this information. Also, be certain you have your current, valid decal properly affixed to your vehicle.

It is a good idea to be sure your contact information is current with the Town tax office as this is the location Town officials will use in the event you need to be contacted.
For more information » click here

NC General Statute 166A-19.22
Power of municipalities and counties to enact ordinances to deal with states of emergency.

Synopsis – The governing body may impose by declaration or enacted ordinance, prohibitions, and restrictions during a state of emergency. This includes the prohibition and restriction of movements of people in public places, including imposing a curfew; directing or compelling the voluntary or mandatory evacuation of all or part of the population, controlling ingress and egress of an emergency area, and providing for the closure of streets, roads, highways, bridges, public vehicular areas. All prohibitions and restrictions imposed by declaration or ordinance shall take effect immediately upon publication of the declaration unless the declaration sets a later time. The prohibitions and restrictions shall expire when they are terminated by the official or entity that imposed them, or when the state of emergency terminates.

Violation – Any person who violates any provisions of an ordinance or a declaration enacted or declared pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TERMINAL GROIN LITIGATION UPDATE
The oral argument for the Terminal Groin lawsuit was heard on December 8, 2020.  We will now await a decision by the court.  On average this could take 2-3 months after the oral argument is heard, however, we are hoping for a shorter timeframe


Odds & Ends –


CodeRed / Brunswick County Emergency Communications Network
Do you want to have the latest information about warnings in our area? Sign up for emergency notices and critical community alerts. When one takes place, Brunswick County utilizes a mass notification system to call, text and email individuals with important information. CodeRED is a lifesaving notification system that keeps residents informed of emergencies near them.

Brunswick County strongly encourages residents to enroll to receive alerts. The CodeRED system will allow you to manage your own information and update your contact information on your own. This information is private and is not sold or shared with outside parties. Please take a moment to sign up for alerts by clicking here so you can stay safe.


If You Live to 100…
In recent years, estimating longevity and planning for it have become more sophisticated. The LivingTo100 longevity calculator, developed by Dr. Perls, is a good place to start to get a rough estimate of your life span.


This and That –


Beachcombing Guide 

How to Collect Seashells
“It helps to have a search image in your mind,” says José H. Leal, the science director and curator at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum in Florida. Research ahead of time what kind of mollusks you might encounter so that your eyes are primed to pick out specific shapes and colors. Leal has collected seashells since he was a boy in Rio de Janeiro. On his first trip to New York, in his 20s, he was so shell-focused that he dove to the sidewalk before realizing that what he thought were small, unusual clams were actually pistachio shells. “You get fixated,” he says. Consult a tide chart; go out within an hour of low tide when the beach is most exposed. Storms tend to wash more shells ashore in the winter months. In popular shelling destinations such as Sanibel Island, near where Leal lives, collectors often search at night to avoid competition. (If turtles are nesting in the area, avoid using flashlights, which disrupt brooding females and disorient their hatchlings.) If shells are abundant, pick a spot and settle in. Rather than hoard shells, take only the most beautiful specimens of each variety. Make sure the shell is uninhabited. With the spiral-shaped gastropods, you should be able to see the creature. “A shell is usually much heavier when there’s an animal inside,” Leal says. Know the relevant regulations; many places curtail or outright ban the collection of shells, and the United States has various import restrictions, including a prohibition on queen conch shells from the Caribbean. The urge to beachcomb is natural, however. Humans have been using mollusk exoskeletons as art, adornment, currency, and tools since before we were even human beings. (Scientists recently discovered distinct hash marks on a freshwater mussel shell they believe were engraved by our extinct ancestor Homo erectus.) Still, Leal is worried about the future of marine mollusks, given how vulnerable they are to pollution and ocean acidification. Maybe your urge to collect these unoccupied calcium-carbonate dwellings can serve as a sort of gateway drug. “Once you get a love for shells,” Leal says, “I hope you learn to care about the animals that make them.”
Read more » click here 


Factoid That May Interest Only Me


 

Lumber prices top $1,000 for the first time as single-family housing starts drop 12%


Key Points

      • Lumber prices inched over $1,000 per 1,000 board feet, according to Random Length Lumber Futures for March.
      • That’s double the price from just three months ago.
      • Starts of single-family homes, which are the most desperately needed, fell 12% compared with December, according to the U.S. Census.

Consumers want more newly built, affordable homes, but builders are finding that hard to deliver, especially as prices for framing lumber spike ever higher. Lumber prices inched above $1,000 per 1,000 board feet Thursday morning before falling back below that milestone, according to Random Length Lumber Futures for March. The high of $1,004.90 is double the price from just three months ago and a record. Higher lumber costs are likely behind a drop in January housing starts. Starts of single-family homes, which are the most desperately needed, fell 12% from December, according to the U.S. Census. “Builders report concerns over increasing lumber and other construction costs and delays in obtaining building materials,” wrote Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders. “Rising interest rates will also erode housing affordability in 2021, as inventories of existing homes remain low.
Read more » click here

$24,000 — The average premium that rising lumber prices have added to the cost of building a single-family home in the U.S., according to the National Association of Home Builders. Lumber is one of the biggest costs in home-building, after land and labor, and the raw material has never been more expensive amid heightened residential demand during the pandemic



Sorry About Your Sleep
A group of U.S. senators has joined the ranks of those who want to abolish daylight saving time, which has roots in cost-cutting strategies of the late 19th century.

Hello. You may be here to learn when is daylight saving time, or what is the time that we’re saving, or why does daylight saving time even exist. Hopefully, this will answer those questions, and maybe a few more that hadn’t crossed your mind, like what do the railroad companies of the 19th century have to do with it and whether golf course owners have an interest in your sleep habits.

Here goes.

When is it?

Based on when search interest for this question jumps, it is probably this weekend. Unlike other, easier-to-remember federal events, like the Fourth of July, in the United States the clock change is tied to a roving day: Since 2007, it has taken place on the second Sunday of March, when clocks spring forward an hour, and the first Sunday of November, when they go back. (In Britain, France and Germany, the clocks change on the last Sunday in March, and the last Sunday in October.)

American lawmakers in 1966, writing in the Uniform Time Act, decided that the right time of day for this shift was “2 o’clock antemeridian,” better known as 2 a.m.

What is it?

To farmers, daylight saving time is a disruptive schedule foisted on them by the federal government; a popular myth even blamed them for its existence. To some parents, it’s a nuisance that can throw bedtime into chaos. To the people who run golf courses, gas stations and many retail businesses, it’s great. “When it’s dark or there are limited hours after work, people tend to go straight home and stay there,” said Jeff Lenard, a spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores, an industry group. “When it’s lighter, they are more likely to go out and do something, whether it’s in the neighborhood, a local park or some other experience. And that behavior shift also drives sales, whether at a favorite restaurant or the local convenience store.”

OK, if it wasn’t farmers, whose idea was this?

The idea is to move an hour of sunlight from the early morning to the evening, so that people can make more use of daylight. Benjamin Franklin is often credited as the first to suggest it in the 18th century, after he realized he was wasting his Parisian mornings by staying in bed. He proposed that the French fire cannons at sunrise to wake people up and reduce candle consumption at night.

Over the next 100 years, the Industrial Revolution laid the groundwork for his idea to enter government policy. For much of the 1800s, time was set according to the sun and the people running the clocks in every town and city, creating scores of conflicting, locally established “sun times.” It could be noon in New York, 12:05 in Philadelphia and 12:15 in Boston. This caused problems for railway companies trying to deliver passengers and freight on time, as nobody agreed whose time it was. In the 1840s, British railroads adopted standard times to reduce confusion. American counterparts soon followed. Once the time zone business was settled, it wasn’t long until Franklin’s idea for daylight saving was refashioned for the industrial world. In the 1900s, an English builder, William Willet, urged British lawmakers to shift the clocks to reap economic benefits. Parliament rejected the proposal in 1909, only to embrace it a few years later under the pressures of World War I. In 1916, Germany was the first European nation to enact the policy in an effort to cut energy costs, and over the next few years several Western nations followed suit. In the United States, the federal government took oversight of time zones in 1918. And in March of that year, the country lost its first hour of sleep.

But why?

One of the oldest arguments for daylight saving time is that it can save energy costs. There have been many conflicting studies about whether actually it does. A Department of Energy report from 2008 found that the extended daylight-saving time signed by George W. Bush in 2005 saved about 0.5 percent in total electricity use per day. Also that year, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the shift in daylight saving time, “contrary to the policy’s intent,” increased residential electricity demand by about 1 percent, raising electricity bills in Indiana by $9 million per year and increasing pollution emissions. But daylight-saving time still has fervent supporters, especially among business advocates who argue it helps drive the economy.

Who wants to end it?

The European Union and several U.S. states, including California, Florida and Ohio, are either considering dropping the shift or taking steps to do so. This month, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill to make daylight time permanent year-round. In a statement, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said that “springing forward and falling back year after year only creates unnecessary confusion while harming Americans’ health and our economy.” China, India, and Russia do not use daylight saving time. Nor does Hawaii or most of Arizona. (The Navajo Nation, in northeastern Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, does observe.) Several U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands also do not apply daylight saving time. In 2020, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine called for the abolition of daylight-saving time. In a statement, the academy said the shift, by disrupting the body’s natural clock, could cause an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular events, and could lead to more traffic accidents. “Not only are we sleep deprived but we’re trying to force our brain into a little bit more of an unnatural sleep schedule,” said Dr. Rachel Ziegler, a physician in the Sleep Medicine Department at Mayo Clinic Health System. “If you ask any sleep specialist, I think most of us would be in favor of a permanent schedule.” 
Read more » click here


Hot Button Issues
Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions


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Climate
For more information » click here

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

The Trump Administration Rolled Back More Than 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.
Over four years, the Trump administration dismantled major climate policies and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water, wildlife, and toxic chemicals. In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts nearly 100 environmental rules officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. More than a dozen other potential rollbacks remained in progress by the end but were not finalized by the end of the administration’s term.
Read more » click here


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Development Fees
For more information » click here
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Draft System Development Fees Report
Calculation of Water and Sewer System Development Fees for FY2022

Agenda Packet –
The System Development Report herein has been developed by Raftelis in accordance with Board direction to develop an update prior to the expiration of its five-year shelf life. Representatives from Raftelis will provide an introductory review of the report for the Board in addition to outlining the statutory process for consideration and adoption.


Draft System Development Fee Report

The Town, like Brunswick County, has chosen to assess its system development fee for its customers based on the number of bedrooms.

Step 5 – Scale the System Development Fees for Various Categories of Demand
The system development fees for various bedroom sizes were calculated by multiplying the system development fee for one bedroom by the number of bedrooms. The resulting water and sewer system development fees for up to 4 bedrooms are shown in Table 7.

Table 7. Water and Sewer System Development Fees by Bedroom
Bedroom Size Water Fee Sewer Fee Total Fee

1 Bedroom             $960          $2,240       $3,200
2 Bedrooms           $1,920       $4,480       $6,400
3 Bedrooms           $2,880       $6,720       $9,600
4 Bedrooms           $3,840       $8,960       $12,800

The water and sewer system development fees shown represent the maximum cost justified level of system development fees that can be assessed by the Town.

Schedule 3: Summary of Current and Proposed System Development
Total System Development Fee
Bedroom Size Current Fee Proposed Fee Difference $ Difference %
Cost 1 Bedroom         $2,800         $3,200         $400          14%
Cost 2 Bedrooms       $5,600         $6,400         $800          14%
Cost 3 Bedrooms       $8,400         $9,600         $1,200       14%
Cost 4 Bedrooms       $11,200       $12,800       $1,600       14%


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

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


Flood-prone homeowners could see major rate hikes in FEMA flood insurance changes, new study finds
With a major overhaul of the nation’s flood insurance program just months away, new data released Monday by the First Street Foundation suggests hundreds of thousands of homeowners in the riskiest locations across America could face massive rate hikes starting in October. The Brooklyn, New York-based research group estimates the average rate needs to more than quadruple on the nation’s most flood-prone homes under the ongoing effort to make the federal flood insurance program solvent and ensure homeowners most at risk are paying their fair share.

First Street data projects that the majority of homeowners won’t see big rate changes, and others could see premiums decrease. But for some 265,000 properties, annual premiums would need to climb $10,000 or more to match the actual risk. Those with more expensive properties are estimated to see the biggest premium increases. Any actual rate hikes adopted by the federal government would be slowly phased in for existing policyholders.
Read more » click here

Flood Insurance Costs Vastly Underrated by FEMA, New Report Says
At a Glance

    • A new report takes into account the cost of damage.
    • FEMA doesn’t currently factor that in to flood insurance premiums.
    • The fee structure for the federal flood insurance program is set to change this year.

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners across the U.S. would pay considerably more in federal subsidized flood insurance if rates accurately reflected the risk, according to a new report from research group First Street Foundation. The report comes at the same time the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working to revise premiums for the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA says the new premiums will be more in line with real-life costs. If the First Street data is any indication, that could mean rates more than five times higher than what they currently are. First Street, a nonprofit research and technology group, identified 4.3 million residential properties as having substantial flood risk that would result in damage and financial losses. Under current FEMA rules, flood insurance rates are based mostly on whether or not a property is within a designated Special Flood Hazard Area, which requires flood insurance if a homeowner has a federally backed mortgage. The rates don’t take into account a home’s value, estimated cost of damages in the event of a flood and other factors, according to Matthew Eby, founder, and executive director of First Street. That means the cost of flood insurance for a $300,000 home could be the same as for a million-dollar home. “The rates are really low for some properties that have substantial risk,” Eby told weather.com in a recent interview. “And the reason for that is because FEMA does a zone-based approach to flood risk.” The foundation calculated annual estimated losses over a 30-year-period to determine what homeowners should be paying for flood insurance. About 2.7 million of the properties identified by First Street are outside of an SFHA. The foundation estimates that under the current system, flood insurance costs would need to increase by 5.2 times, which would bring annual premiums up to about $2,484 a year. Those inside an SFHA would face premium increases of 4.2 times, costing $7,895 a year. Costs would vary once other factors are thrown into the mix. And the prices would go up as climate change increases costs and makes flooding more likely, according to the report. The total expected loss from flooding this year is $20 billion. But that goes up to nearly $32.2 billion in 30 years. FEMA is expected to raise rates for flood insurance on Oct. 1. The agency says people should not assume that the First Street estimates are the same as the new NFIP rate structure, called Risk Rating 2.0. “Any entity claiming that they can provide insight or comparison to the Risk Rating 2.0 initiative, including premium amounts, is misinformed and setting public expectations that are not based in fact,” David I. Maurstad, who runs the flood insurance program for FEMA, said in a statement, according to the New York Times. The NFIP is operating under a loss of more than $36 billion, according to First Street. First Street introduced a new tool last year called Flood Factor, which is an interactive website that lets people look up flood risk by address. As part of its new report, the foundation added estimated costs of flood damage and losses over the course of 30 years to the tool.
Read more » click here

Big flood insurance rate changes are coming to NC. Will they be fair?
Climate change denial isn’t just the domain of recalcitrant contrarians. It’s baked into the way the risks and costs of flooding are calculated in North Carolina and around the nation. Government-backed flood insurance – often the only option for homeowners along the coast and near rivers – is based on outdated flood maps that fail to reflect how climate change is increasing the regularity and scale of flooding. Those maps have skewed insurance rates downward and left wide swaths of land where properties should be insured against flooding but are not.

Fortunately, that’s about to change. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is preparing to unveil the sweeping changes in assessing flood risk and setting insurance rates. The new approach, called Risk Rating 2.0, will begin Oct. 1. In North Carolina, with its long coast and many flood-prone areas within its coastal plain and mountain region, the changes will have a major impact. There will be a shift in rates – higher for some, lower for others – and more accurate risk assessments could show more property owners that they need protection against flooding. NFIP rates will no longer be based on zones. Instead properties will be individually rated depending on updated weather patterns and individual aspects of a specific property. Amanda Bryant, director of the website myfloodrisk.org, said that will mean higher rates for more vulnerable homes. “The new risk assessment will show the majority of coastal properties in North Carolina are at more risk,” she said. Former North Carolina insurance commissioner Wayne Goodwin said the rate increases come after Congress has long postponed setting premiums high enough to cover the actual risk. “The longer you wait to correct something, the greater the pain and that’s what’s happening here,” he said.

FEMA is not saying yet how much the new risk assessment will drive up rates and when. Annual premium increases are capped by law at 18 percent, but the escalation over time could change who can afford to live in coastal areas. An analysis by the First Street Foundation, a non-profit that assesses flood risks, projects that some properties could face massive rate hikes. The predictions of rate shocks for expensive homes should not obscure that the changes will benefit owners of more modest homes, said Don Hornstein, a University of North Carolina law professor who specializes in insurance law. The current system sets rates too broadly, he said, and that leads to lower-income homeowners subsidizing the cost of flood insurance for higher-income homeowners. Hornstein said the rate changes are “going to fix that by eliminating these cross subsidies that go the wrong way.” As a result, he said, more homes will get price decreases than price increases. But also more homes should get flood insurance. “Climate change is indeed driving the flood risk up for everyone,” said Rick Luettich, director of the Center for Natural Hazards Resilience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Luettich, who develops flooding models, said the new risk assessments will be helpful to homebuyers. “There’s an aspect of it being good news if you have a better understanding of what the hazard level is and you can make a better decision about whether you want to live there,” he said. Meanwhile, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey sees an option to higher federal flood insurance rates. He is pushing to have private insurers get back into the flood insurance business they fled in the 1960s, necessitating the creation of the NFIP. Causey said during a meeting with Carteret County officials last year that private insurance policies could be “far superior to anything under the federal program.” He also wants more homeowners to buy flood insurance regardless of whether they are in a designated flood zone. “My message to everybody is if it rains where you live, you need flood insurance,” he said, “We’re all in a flood zone, it’s just a matter of whether you’re in a high-risk flood zone or low risk.”
Read more » click here

FEMA pauses flood insurance rate update after Schumer pushback: report
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has paused an impending update to flood insurance rates, aimed at making the country more prepared for risks of climate change, after objections from Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), The New York Times reported Thursday. FEMA was reportedly set to announce new rates on April 1 to better factor in climate risks, a move that aimed to reduce construction in areas with significant threats but could have increased some costs for people who live in those areas. The Times reported, citing anonymous sources, that Schumer fought the changes, and that his efforts halted FEMA’s action. Neither FEMA nor a spokesperson for Schumer immediately responded to The Hill’s request for comment. Schumer spokesperson Alex Nguyen told the Times that the agency should consult Congress before taking action and called for “affordable protection.” “FEMA shouldn’t be rushing to overhaul their process and risk dramatically increasing premiums on middle-class and working-class families without first consulting with Congress and the communities at greatest risk to the effects of climate change,” Nguyen said. “Congress and the Biden administration must work together in a collaborative and transparent process.” An agency spokesperson told the newspaper that FEMA will continue to work with Congress to carry out the plan and its changes will “better reflect an individual property’s unique flood risk.”  When he was on the campaign trail, President Biden’s climate plan included provisions saying he wanted to help make the country more resilient to the impacts of climate change. His plan also notes, however, that resilient efforts “must consciously protect low-income communities from ‘green gentrification’ ” in a section that noted that some mitigation efforts can raise property values. Schumer, meanwhile, publicly pushed back on proposed FEMA flood insurance changes in 2019, saying they “unfairly put a bullseye on the backs of Long Island and New York homeowners,” and that the agency should “halt.”
Read more » click here


 

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

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

  • Insurance commissioner sets hearing date in dwelling insurance rate hike case
    North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has set Jan. 18, 2022, as the hearing date for the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s proposed 18.7% dwelling insurance rate increase. “We are not in agreement with the Rate Bureau’s proposed increase filed in December,” Commissioner Causey said. “I want to make sure that the process is transparent, and that consumers’ interests are protected while making sure our insurance companies remain healthy so they can pay claims.” The Rate Bureau is not part of the Department of Insurance. It represents all companies writing property insurance in the state. The notice of hearing said that some of the data included in the Rate Bureau’s Dec. 14, 2020, filing contained a lack of documentation, explanation, and justification of both the data used as well as the procedures and methodologies used. The hearing is set for 10 a.m. Jan. 18, 2022, in the second-floor hearing room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh. The hearing will take place unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Rate Bureau are able to negotiate a settlement before that date. State law gives the Insurance Commissioner 45 days to issue an order once the hearing concludes. Once the order is issued, the NCRB has the right to appeal the decision before the N.C. Court of Appeals. A Court of Appeals order could then be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court. The NCRB and DOI can settle the proposed rate increase at any time during the process. Dwelling insurance policies are not homeowners’ insurance policies. Dwelling policies are offered to non-owner-occupied residences of no more than four units, including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full time by the property owner. The filing covers insurance for fire and extended coverage at varying rates around the state. Under the NCRB proposal, the increases would be felt statewide with most consumers seeing a double-digit increase. The last NCRB dwelling rate increase filing was in 2019 that resulted in a settlement of 4%, which took effect July 1, 2020.
    Read more » click here

Causey sets hearing date in dwelling insurance rate hike case
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has set Jan. 18, 2022, as the hearing date for the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s (NCRB) proposed 18.7% dwelling insurance rate increase. We are not in agreement with the Rate Bureau’s proposed increase filed in December, Commissioner Causey said. “I want to make sure that the process is transparent, and that consumers’ interests are protected while making sure our insurance companies remain healthy so they can pay claims. The Rate Bureau is not part of the Department of Insurance. It represents all companies writing property insurance in the state. The notice of hearing said that some of the data included in the Rate Bureau’s Dec. 14, 2020, filing contained a lack of documentation, explanation, and justification of both the data used, as well as the procedures and methodologies used. The hearing is set for 10 a.m. Jan. 18, 2022, in the second-floor hearing room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh. The hearing will take place unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Rate Bureau are able to negotiate a settlement before that date. State law gives the Insurance Commissioner 45 days to is-sue an order once the hearing concludes. Once the order is issued, the NCRB has the right to appeal the decision before the N.C. Court of Appeals. A Court of Appeals order could then be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court. The NCRB and DOI can settle the proposed rate in-crease at any time during the process. Dwelling insurance policies are not homeowners’ insurance policies. Dwelling policies are offered to non-owner-occupied residences of no more than four units, including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full-time by the property owner. The filing covers insurance for ire and extended coverage at varying rates around the state. Under the NCRB proposal, the increases would be felt statewide with most consumers seeing a double-digit increase. The last NCRB dwelling rate increase filing was in 2019 that resulted in a settlement of 4%, which took effect July 1, 2020.
Brunswick Beacon



  • .
    Hurricane Season

    For more information » click here

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Hurricane season start date could shift earlier because of a surge in May storms
Story Highlights

    • According to NOAA, May storms have formed in each of the past six years.
    • Although the majority of the recent May storms have been rather benign, some have not.
    • There will be no changes to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season this year.

Because of a surge in May storms, meteorologists are considering moving the start date of the Atlantic hurricane season from June 1 to May 15. The hurricane season has started on June 1 for more than five decades. The discussion on changing the start date began in December at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) hurricane conference, which followed the most active hurricane season on record, when 30 named storms formed. Storms have formed in May in each of the past six years, according to NOAA. In 2020, Tropical Storm Arthur came to life on May 16, followed by Tropical Storm Bertha on May 27. Since the late 1960s, when satellites began identifying tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic, 19 named storms have formed before June 1, Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach said. Although the majority of the recent May storms have been rather benign, some have not: “At least 20 deaths have occurred from late May storms since 2012, with about $200 million in total damage, and one of these systems was a 60-knot (70 mph) tropical storm at landfall,” according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The most recent confirmed hurricane during the month of May dates back to May 20, 1970 – Hurricane Alma, which reached maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, AccuWeather said. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph. Klotzbach worries about moving the start date to May 15 since the most dangerous storms typically don’t occur until the height of the season from late August through mid-October. “If you extend the season another 15 days, you could basically have three months with very little storm activity,” Klotzbach said. “People can only prepare for things for so long before they just say, ‘forget it.’” The eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15, but Klotzbach said the Atlantic basin has a much more peaked season. The World Meteorological Organization and NOAA will have meetings this spring to discuss moving the date of the hurricane season. The WMO has the final say on any potential date change.  “An examination would need to take place regarding the need for, and potential ramifications of, potentially moving the beginning of the hurricane season to May 15,” National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said in a statement sent to USA TODAY. Regardless, there will be no changes to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season this year, he said. Although the start date of the basin’s hurricane season has traditionally begun on June 1, the end date has a history of being pushed back, first from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13 to Nov. 30, where it is today, AccuWeather said.
Read more » click here

New climate ‘normal’ for Atlantic hurricanes shows more frequent and intense storms
The past 30 years have seen record levels of hurricane activity.
Every 10 years, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration revises the baseline of what weather and climate conditions are considered “normal.” The most recent normals for Atlantic hurricane activity will soon be released, and a preview reveals a spike in storm frequency and intensity. During the most recent 30-year period, which spans 1991 to 2020, there has been an uptick in the number of named storms and an increase in the frequency of major hurricanes of category 3 intensity or greater in the Atlantic. That comes as no surprise amid a spate of extreme hurricane activity that has featured seven Category 5 storms swirling across Atlantic waters in just the past five years. The newly revised climate normals aren’t a forecast of upcoming activity, nor are they necessarily illustrative of any one particular climate or meteorological trend. They’re simply benchmark values. The National Weather Service calculates new climate normals each decade for all major U.S. cities with sufficient historical data. When you hear your local television meteorologist describe a day as “10 degrees above average,” for instance, this data is where that comes from. The new hurricane normals are not official yet, though available data clearly shows an uptick in storm frequency and intensity, likely related to a combination of climate change, natural variability, and improved storm detection.
Read more » click here


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Lockwood Folly Inlet
For more information » click here
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Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
For more information » click here
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    Solid Waste Program

    For more information » click here
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Things I Think I Think –

Dining #2Eating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
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Dinner Club outings have been on hold since March 2020

Dining Guide – Guests

Dining Guide – Local

Restaurant Reviews – North

Restaurant Reviews – South


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
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THE LAW OF INNOCENCE by Michael Connelly
This is the sixth entry in the series of legal thriller novels featuring Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer. Haller, the Los Angeles defense attorney, is back but this time around he is the one on trial. Mickey knows he’s been framed and must defend himself against murder charges.

“In the law of innocence, for every man not guilty of a crime, there is a man out there who is. And to prove true innocence, the guilty man must be found and exposed to the world.”


  • .That’s it for this newsletter

    See you next month


    Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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

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

    https://lousviews.com/


 


02 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Public Hearing / Regular Meeting 02/16/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here 


BOC’s Public Hearing

PUBLIC HEARING: Ordinance 21-02 (formerly Ordinance 20-18), An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 157.006: Definitions (Height Measuring Point)

Inspections Director Tim Evans briefly explained the status of the proposed ordinance.

Public Comments –
There were no comments


BOC’s Regular Meeting


1. Public Comments on Agenda/General Items

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

They read three (3) comments that were not about parking –
Elaine Jordan – System Development Fees
HBPOA/Tom Myers – Meeting Protocols
Tracey Thomas – Speed Limit Study


2. Report on Bike Lane Potential and Associated Ocean Boulevard Status – Caitlin Marks & Chad Kimes, NC Department of Transportation (Town Manager Hewett)

Agenda Packet –
Emails were included but unable to view estimates

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

 YIKES!!!

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


3. Discussion and Possible Action on System Development Fees Report –Mihaela Coopersmith, Raftelis (Town Manager Hewett)

Draft System Development Fees Report
Calculation of Water and Sewer System Development Fees for FY2022

Agenda Packet –
The System Development Report herein has been developed by Raftelis in accordance with Board direction to develop an update prior to the expiration of its five-year shelf life.  Representatives from Raftelis will provide an introductory review of the report for the Board in addition to outlining the statutory process for consideration and  adoption.


Draft System Development Fee Report

The Town, like Brunswick County, has chosen to assess its system development fee for its customers based on the number of bedrooms.

Step 5 – Scale the System Development Fees for Various Categories of Demand
The system development fees for various bedroom sizes were calculated by multiplying the system development fee for one bedroom by the number of bedrooms. The resulting water and sewer system development fees for up to 4 bedrooms are shown in Table 7.

Table 7. Water and Sewer System Development Fees by Bedroom
Bedroom Size             Water Fee      Sewer Fee      Total Fee
1 Bedroom                     $960                 $2,240               $3,200
2 Bedrooms                   $1,920              $4,480               $6,400
3 Bedrooms                   $2,880              $6,720               $9,600
4 Bedrooms                   $3,840              $8,960               $12,800

The water and sewer system development fees shown represent the maximum cost justified level of system development fees that can be assessed by the Town.

Schedule 3: Summary of Current and Proposed System Development
Total System Development Fee
Bedroom Size             Current Fee      Proposed Fee      Difference $      Difference %
Cost 1 Bedroom          $2,800               $3,200                   $400                    14%
Cost 2 Bedrooms        $5,600               $6,400                   $800                    14%
Cost 3 Bedrooms        $8,400               $9,600                   $1,200                 14%
Cost 4 Bedrooms        $11,200             $12,800                 $1,600                 14%


Review of Development Fees Timeline

Enacted July 2004
North Carolina General Assembly – House Bill 1730 / S.L. 2004-96

Gives us the authority to impose sewer fees

 Holden Beach Sewer Treatment Fee

Enacted July 2017
House Bill 436 / Public Water and Sewer System Development Fee Act

Eliminates the authority to charge the sewer fee
Authority to impose fees has been modified
Necessitates us having to retool water and sewer fee rate schedule
Recommends it be prepared by licensed professional engineer
Town must comply not later than July 1, 2018
Town Manager plans to commission McGill and Associates to develop rate schedule

Previously reported – March 2018
System Development Fees Report

System Development Fees Report prepared by McGill and Associates in accordance with HB 436.

Previously reported – May 2018
In accordance with §162A-209, after expiration of the posting period, the Board needs to hold a Public Hearing prior to considering the adoption of the analysis. The Board has scheduled to hold a Public Hearing on May 23rd at 1:00pm

Previously reported – June 2018
Agenda Packet –
Legislation House Bill 436 required a Public Hearing as one of the steps that must happen before the Town can move forward and implement the charges. HB436 is prescriptive, with precise instructions and the report given is in accordance with the legislation. The next steps are adoption of the study report and creating Ordinance that incorporates the recommended fees into a fee schedule. This process must be completed no later than July 1st.

Previously reported – July 2018
RESOLUTION 18-04 / ADOPTING SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEES REPORT

WHEREAS, Session law 2017-138 (House Bill 436) known as the “Public Water and Sewer System Development Fee Act” sets certain standards and limitations before a town may adopt a system development fee for water and sewer service; and

WHEREAS, all other conditions, standards, and requirements of said Act has been satisfied.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLIVED by the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners that the Town hereby adopts and approves the Cost-Justified Water and Wastewater System Development Fees Report created by McGill Associates, dated March 2018.

 RESOLUTION 18-05 / AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH FEE SCHEDULE
Fee is based on combination of existing system capacity and planned capital improvements to expand capacity

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach, North Carolina does hereby approve the deletion of the Impact Fees and the Share Cost sections and the addition of the Water and Sewer System Development Fees (Attachment 1) to the Holden Beach Fee Schedule.

Town Attorney Noel Fox walked them through the prescriptive legislation and all the protocols that were followed which was a lengthy and complicated procedure. Most of the community including contractors and realtors were unaware of the significant fee increase. Based on what was presented to the public, a reasonable case could be made that posting System Development Fees without any explanation given as to the effect on construction cost is why no one questioned the report or even knew the building permit fees would be impacted.  Although the process was followed as required, they are now aware that people who needed to know didn’t. Thus, the brouhaha. In an attempt to address any misunderstanding, the Board submitted some thirty (30) questions for the Town Manager to complete and post on the Town website. It appears that they are at least willing to give it a second look. They were elected, and it is strictly their call whether to make an adjustment or not.  I got the feeling that the Board took umbrage to some of the comments that were made, particularly a lack of understating what the fee schedule change would actually translate to in dollars and cents. In addition, they questioned the negative economic impact that was suggested by some of the speakers. If in fact, they decide to reduce the development fee it was established that they can’t make it retroactive.


This Board –
.    1) chose to implement the max recommended fee schedule
.    2)
did not adequately consider whether the increased fee would “unduly burden new development”

Previously reported – August 2018
The North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 436 in July 2017, amending Chapter 162A of the General Statutes by adding “Article 8, System Development Fees.” This amendment was enacted as “An Act to Provide for Uniform Authority to Implement System Development Fees for Public Water and Sewer Systems in North Carolina and to Clarify the Applicable Statute of Limitations.” in HB436, which requires compliance with designated calculation methodology by July 1, 2018.

In response to the House Bill 436, the Town of Holden Beach retained McGill and Associates to complete a system development fee analysis. Based on the Town of Holden Beach’s combination of existing system capacity and planned capital improvements to expand capacity, the development fee, in accordance with HB 436 rules for an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) for water and sewer was calculated to be $20,577. ERU is defined as the water and sewer capacities required to serve the most typical user type, which is a three-bedroom single-family dwelling.

McGill Associates has calculated costs for water and wastewater capacity on a per gallon per day basis for the Town of Holden Beach. This calculation was performed using the Combined Method to account for the Town’s combination of existing capacity and planned future capacity expansion through capital expenditure. This calculation resulted in a development fee of $20,577 for an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU). ERU is defined as the water and sewer capacities required to serve the most typical user type, which is a three-bedroom single-family dwelling. The fee for other types of development can be calculated by applying the calculated the cost of capacity per gallon of flow per day to the water and wastewater demands for various uses as defined by NC Administrative Code 15A NCAC 18C .0409 and 15A NCAC 02T.0114. Using NC Administrative Code 15A NCAC 18C.0409 and 15A NCAC 02T.0114 ensures that the same standard used to plan, design, construct and finance capital assets is applied as the same cost recovery basis to be applied to new development.

The Town may elect to charge less than the cost-justified System Development Fee documented in this report. Any adjustment must be calculated on a cost per unit volume basis, meaning the same cost per gallon adjustment must be applied equally to all customers.

The Board repealed and replaced the development fee schedule
  1)
Repealed Resolution 18-05
.    2) Replaced with an interim fee schedule
Mayor Pro Tem Sullivan and Commissioner Kwiatkowski both voted against the motion

 Previously reported – February 2019

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This was supposed to be an interim fee schedule
They committed to permanent fees before the end of 2018
Then they said the interim fees would remain in effect for the next ninety (90) days
Well both of those dates have come and gone
A permanent fee schedule has yet to be adopted

Previously reported – April 2019
Town Attorney Noel Fox stated that the fact of the matter is that it was not just one thing but many things that requires us to redo the report. Adopted Ordinance No.19-07 which allocated funds of $10,000 to obtain bids for the development of a cost justified water and wastewater system Development Fees Report.  They will pursue bids from all qualified vendors whether they are an engineering or financial firm.

Previously reported – August 2020
System Development Fee Study – Raftelis Proposal

Consensus was this was more of a financial rather than an engineering issue. Board directed the Town Manager to proceed to get a proposed contract from Raftelis the financial firm that responded.

Previously reported – September 2020
Financial firm Raftelis selected to complete a System Development Fee Study, awarded $23,858 contract.  Just three years later, the cost to do the study has more than doubled. That said, they decided they need to redo study to establish appropriate cost justified fees. Financial firm Raftelis contract was approved.

The question that needs to be asked is: What is the appropriate fee to charge that generates adequate revenue but does not unduly burden new development?

Update –
This is just the introduction of the draft report educating the public on how this process works. Mihaela briefly reviewed how we got here and also pointed out that this report will need to be done every five (5) years. She went step by step, explaining the methodology used which is how they determined the proposed rate for new construction. The Town has chosen to assess its system development fee for its customers based on the number of bedrooms. The water and sewer system development fees shown in Schedule 3 represent the maximum cost justified level of system development fees that can be assessed by the Town. Compared to the original McGill Associates study this represents a fairly modest fee schedule change. Just to be clear, the proposed fee schedule does not impact current homeowners just new development.


It is my understanding that this is how the process works
Tentative steps/schedule as follows:
Report posted on town website at the following link: System Development Fees Report
.   a) This is only the first step and it will conservatively take several months before any    .        decision is made
. 1)
Raftelis presentation was made at the BOC’s February Regular Meeting
.   a)
You can listen any time after at the following link: (27:31 in / 2:02:50 left)
       • 
Town of Holden Beach was live. – Town of Holden Beach (facebook.com)
. 2) Publish report, posting period will be for 45 days for public comments
. 3) BOC’s request that the public participate in the process
       • You will have plenty of time to review and submit questions and comments
. 4) Discussion at BOC’s April Regular Meeting
       • Meeting is scheduled to be held Tuesday April 20th at 5:00pm
. 5) Public Hearing to be scheduled
. 6) Adoption of the analysis at the same meeting
. 7) Creation of the Ordinance
.      •
Incorporate the recommended fees into a fee schedule
. 8) Approval of the Ordinance


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Brunswick County Proposed Wholesale Water Rates–Town Manager Hewett

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

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

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

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

Wholesale –             per 1,000  gallons $5.25

Industrial –              per 1 ,000 gallons $4.35

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


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


Water Rate Methodology and Rate Increase

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

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

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


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


5. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police Patch
So far so good, it’s been fairly quiet, typical for this time of year.
They swore in their new police officer, Preston Conley, in January and he is currently in field training. We still have one more vacancy and they are looking at potential candidates for the position.


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


6. Report and Possible Action on Speed Limit on Ocean Boulevard–Chief Dixon

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

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

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

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

NC DEPARTMENT  OF TRANSPORTATION

This is regarding your request for a speed limit evaluation on SR 1116 (Ocean Blvd .) in Holden Beach, Brunswick County. We share your concern for highway safety and appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention.

The Department has completed an engineering investigation to determine if the technical warrants are met to recommend changing the speed l imit. A speed study was conducted that includes evaluating the 85th percentile speed, road characteristics, existing conditions, and surrounding environment. The 85th percentile speed is the speed at or below which 85 percent of the sampled vehicles travel. Typically, the 85th percentile speed is used to determine the speed limit. This helps to avoid posting speed limits that are artificially low, which can become difficult to enforce. The 85th percentile speeds om SR 1116 (Ocean Blvd.) were 40mph, 50mph, 50mph, and 45mph in four different locations with the seasonal 45mph (off-seasonal) zone, and 43mph within the 35mph zone.

Based on the findings, these roads are posted appropriately for the data we collected (for Off-Peak Season Traffic). I have included the raw data for this study for your review. A pamphlet is included on speed limits  produced by the NC Department of Transportation, which explains how speed limits are determined throughout the state.

Previously reported – January 2020
Proposal is to reduce speed limit on OBW to 35 miles per hour year-round

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


Trying to change speed limits in your neighborhood?
It’s not as easy as you might think
The NCDOT utilizes what is known as the 85th percentile speed to help guide and set speed limits. Essentially this is the average speed that 85% of drivers are traveling on a road under free-flowing conditions, regardless of the speed limit. “We usually rely on that [85th percentile] pretty heavily because typically people will drive a road at a speed, they feel comfortable, regardless of the signage unless there is strict enforcement,” Leonard said. The 85th percentile tool was cited as the reason why the NCDOT was not in favor of lowering the speed limit on Dow Road in Carolina Beach when it was requested by the town. Essentially, the state said that since the lowering of the speed limit would likely not be followed it did not support the change. If the 85th percentile speed is faster than the posted speed limit the NCDOT suggests strict enforcement to get compliance.
Read more » click here

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


7. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-01 (Formerly Ordinance 20-17), An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 94.03: Frontal Dune Policy and Regulations–Inspections Director Evans

Agenda Packet –
The Board of Commissioners held a public hearing prior to their January Regular Meeting. The subject text amendment was presented  by  staff  during  the  Board’s  Regular January Meeting. Board  consideration  was  given. The statutory waiting period of 24 hours has been satisfied.

Recommendation: Board approve Ordinance 21-01.

Previously reported – January 2021
Agenda Packet –
The above-mentioned amendment was presented at the last meeting for consideration, the Board of Commissioners set the Public Hearing. Once the matter meets the statuary requirements for proper notification it may be considered for approval,

Note: approval must be delayed a minimum of 24 hours.

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH ORDINANCE 21-01
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH CODE OF ORDINANCES,
SECTION 94.03: FRONTAL DUNE POLICY AND REGULATIONS

Proposed Change »
Exception: Swimming Pools maybe located south of the town’s designated  frontal dune, placement of pools and decking shall not extend more than 50 feet from the established seaward toe of designated frontal dune. This exception only applies when the CAMA dune is more seaward than the town’s frontal dune.

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

Update –
Timbo briefly reviewed steps taken and stated that we have met all the requirements

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


8. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-02 (Formerly Ordinance 20-18), An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 157.006: Definitions (Height Measuring Point) (cannot be adopted until 24 hours from time of the public hearing) – Inspections Director Evans

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

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

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

Consistency Statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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


9. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution 21-01, Resolution Adopting the NC Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan –Inspections Director Evans

Draft Hazard Mitigation Plan
Southeastern NC Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan

Agenda Packet –
This is an update to our regional Hazard Mitigation plan. This plan allows the town to be part of the required regional plan while maintaining autonomy within.

Staff has been involved with the process since the beginning of the update in July 2019. Some portions of the updates are mandatory on an associated regional basis. The only significant changes are those associated with our commitment to a stricter NFIP and the resiliency improvements to the town’s sewer lift station upfits.

FEMA requires that hazard mitigation plans be updated every five years to remain eligible for federal mitigation and public assistance funding. To prepare the 2021 Southeastern  NC Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan, ESP Associates. Inc. was hired by North Carolina Emergency Management to provide professional mitigation planning services for the plan update. Per the contractual scope of work, the consultant team followed the mitigation planning process recommended  by FEMA (Publication Series 386 and Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide) and recommendations  provided by North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM) mitigation planning staff. Additionally, for the update, FEMA Community Rating System (CRS) and Community Wildfire Protection Plan requirements were integrated into the plan update.

As presented adoption of the Updated Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan guarantees points addition for our next available CRS evaluation.

Recommended Action: BOC approve Resolution 21 02, Resolution Adopting the NC Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Previously reported – March, 2016
Brunswick County MultiJurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan
The purposes of the hazard mitigation plan are to:
.   1.
Provide a comprehensive update to the Brunswick County MultiJurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan
.   2.
Protect life, safety, and property by reducing the potential for future damages and economic losses that result from hazards.
.   3.
Qualify Brunswick County and its participating jurisdictions and partners for grant funding in both the predisaster and postdisaster environment.
  4.
Expedite recovery and redevelopment following future disaster events.
  5.
Demonstrate a firm local commitment to hazard mitigation principles.
.   6.
Maintain compliance with state and federal legislative requirements for local hazard mitigation plans.

FEMA definition of Hazard Mitigation – Any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from hazards.

Update –
Timbo stated that this is simply an update to the plan that we participated in 2016. FEMA requires that these plans must be updated every five (5) years. We have met all the requirements and we can adopt the resolution tonight.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

This is another critical component of your insurance premium. Tim is hoping that his efforts could possibly lower our CSR rating which can lower your insurance premiums too.

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.


10. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution 21-02, Resolution of the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach, North Carolina, Adopting the 2019 Town of Holden Beach Land Use Plan –Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
The Board approved the Land Use Plan at the January Regular Meeting. The Division of Coastal Management has asked that the Board approve a resolution confirming adoption of the plan. The proposed resolution (Attachment 1) is in your packets for consideration.

Proposed Action – Approve Resolution 21-02.

Previously reported – January 2021
Agenda Packet –
Before the BOC is the final and last stage of the Town of Holden Beach Land Use Plan.

This plan meets 7b requirements under the North Carolina CAMA act, and the new standards for consideration under the current 160d statutes, (requiring all government entities to have in place a Comprehensive Development Plan).

This will replace the current LUP plan once approved.

Previously reported –
HBPOA / What is the Land Use Plan?
“Holden Beach’s Land Use Plan provides guidance to local decision-makers seeking to achieve the community’s long-term vision. This process allows public officials, staff, and other stakeholders to be proactive rather than reactive in maintaining Holden Beach’s status as one of the finest family oriented coastal communities on the East Coast of the United States. This plan builds on the previous land use plans prepared by Holden Beach in 1980, 1985, 1990, 1997, and 2009. It encompasses all geographic areas in the community, considering issues of future land use, development, and natural resource protection. The plan is long-range in nature and looks beyond current issues to address potential future land use and environmental issues over the next 10 to 15 years and beyond.”   

Editor’s Note –
The plan merely sets guidelines which can be changed as the situation requires. What’s more it is nonbinding. Every land use or zoning decision needs a consistency statement that says whether the recommendation conforms to the LUP or not.   We can recommend something that does not conform if we state why it is in the best interest to do that.  

Timbo stated it took a long time to get to this point, requested they adopt the Land Use Plan as submitted. The Board adopted the Land Use Plan as submitted.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
Heather read the following statement – The Board approved the Land Use Plan at the January Regular Meeting.
The Division of Coastal Management has asked that the Board approve a resolution confirming adoption of the plan.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


11. Discussion and Possible Action on a Revised Waste Trash Ordinance (Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 50: Solid Waste) – Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski

Proposed Solid Waste Changes

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

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

Proposed for Discussion:

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

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

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

§50.08 RENTAL HOMES.
Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In the interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like). In instances where three trash cans or more are required, one can may be substituted with a contractor approved recycling bin.

Previously reported – January 2021
Agenda Packet –
Commissioner Kwiatkowski memo
In 2018 a series of special meetings were held by the Commissioners to address issues with waste bins, often overflowing, sitting at roadside for days at a time (see P. Kwiatkowski Issue memo dated 26 July 2018, included in the packet). A revised ordinance was agreed and passed by the BOC in December 2018 but then was significantly altered at a subsequent BOCM in a manner that continues to allow bins containing trash to sit at roadside at any time and precludes town paid rollback of any bins that are not empty. This has resulted in not only a health issue but is also a safety hazard, particularly on Saturdays during summer season when over 200 bins are left roadside on OB on a typical rental changeover day ( personal observation by Commissioner Kwiatkowski).

The BOC should evaluate the overall the 2018 Waste Disposal issue effort and revised ordinance that was overturned with the objective of identifying and implementing changes that can help reduce roadside trash containing bins, particularly during periods of high rental activity.

Also included in the package is an example of trash bin management as it appears on the website of Emerald Isle, a beach community in Carteret County, as well as copies of the current Holden Beach trash ordinance and the previous version that had been approved but was changed at a subsequent BOCM .


  • Emerald Isle/ Garbage & Recycling
    For more information » click here

    Garbage and/or recyclable containers may be placed adjacent to the street no earlier than 12:00 p.m. the day before collection is scheduled and must be returned to an acceptable location by 9:00 a.m. on the day after collection.


Memo / July 2018
Issue:
Waste Disposal, including Recyclables

Needed:
A waste disposal program that encompasses both perishable waste and recyclables, and a solution to the unsightly roadside full and empty bins that linger after scheduled collection, particularly on Saturdays during season.

Background:
Overflowing waste bins on both Tuesdays and Saturdays are a too common site on Holden Beach. Although rental properties are required to have one waste bin per two bedrooms, not all rental properties are in compliance; it may also be that for some properties the standard 1 for 2 is inadequate. To further exacerbate the situation, in the absence of a mandatory recycling program, a significant amount of recyclable material goes into the garbage bins, not only taking space needed for garbage but also unnecessarily adding to our local landfill burden.

Uncollected waste in or around bins prematurely pushed to roadside or that do not make it to curbside in time for Waste Industry pickup, particularly on Saturday during season, is both a health and island image issue for residents and renters (plus an inconvenience to incoming renters faced with 2 1/2 days without enough garbage space). Additionally, a significant portion of HB does not have waste bin rollback service, resulting in a large number of empty bins being very near or even partly in the road (and subject to blowing over). On Saturdays during season, roadside bins pose increased risk to drivers who are already distracted with locating their rental.

Activities to Date:
After the closure of the Holden Beach recycle center in September 2016, the Town Manager (TM) committed to collect data on waste collection, including recycle, and to analyze the data in order to bring recommendations to the Board of Commissioners. The data has been collected, a report issued and SOC discussions have occurred.

Next Steps:
The SOC must decide which of the possible solutions for several problems is the preferred solution (the report and previous discussions form the basis for August 6 discussions and decisions). Once accomplished, the preferred solutions can be reviewed and commented on by the Town Attorney, following which a final set of directions can be produced for actions and where necessary budget consideration for the 2019 calendar year.

Decisions needed:
Recycling policy for the island

Recycle pick up schedule that best fits island’s needs

Audit (and enforcement policy) of 1 can per 2-bedroom (or more for high occupancy houses?) requirement for rentals

Rollback service improvements

Rental agency/owner responsibilities for renter education and “out of compliance” trash (and enforcement policy).

What constitutes citable violations and fines with respect to
. 1. waste bins kept at homes and
. 2. waste bins at street side

What action to take on corrals?

Town of Holden Beach educational material for property owners and rental agents

Possible Outputs:
Recycling policy for the island

Opt out (problem with opt out can return-city capital tied up?) Voluntary

Recycle- pick up schedule that best fits island’s needs during season

Stay as is (every other Tuesday) – renter confusion

Every other Tuesday October 1 thru May 15, either every Tuesday or every

Saturday (preferred) from May 15 to September 30.

Ordinance rewrites to better define waste types, waste policies (legal containers, number of containers, time to and from curb, where containers are to be stored), what constitutes citable violations, enforcement policy and fines.

Audit procedure and audit of 1 can per 2-bedroom requirement (or more for high occupancy houses?) for rentals (with enforcement policy)

Rollback service possibilities-preference not to increase budget

Stay as is (all Tuesdays plus Saturdays during season, OB only) Whole island all Tuesdays plus Saturdays during season-higher cost Whole island or OB only, only Tuesdays and Saturdays during season

Whole island or OB only, Tuesdays off season and Saturdays during season

Whole island or OB only, only Saturdays during season

No service-some residents have expressed their preference for no roll back

Rental agency/owner responsibilities for renter education and “out of compliance” waste (with enforcement policy)-should rental management companies be responsible for hauling cans (full or empty) back from the curb after the established deadline

Town of Holden Beach educational material for property owners and rental agents

Draft timeline/proposed key decision dates

Recycle policy and pickup schedule and the waste can audit procedure finalized by October 1, to be reported no later than the October 2018 BOC (enable acceptance by EOY)

Ordinance amendments completed and signed off by November 2018 BOC

Enforcement policies completed by November 2018 BOC (enables acceptance by EOY)

Town of Holden Beach educational material for property owners and rental agents by March 1.

Waste bin number audit completed by January 15 and communication to out of compliance owners by March 1 (to allow time for them to have the right number before May 1). Enforcement after May 1.

Push back changes (if any) by March 1 for budget consideration (both 18 and 19)


Previously reported – March 2019
Solid Waste Report

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

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

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

§50.04 ACCUMULATION AND COLLECTION.
(A) All garbage and household refuse shall be kept in proper containers as required by this chapter and it shall be unlawful for any person to permit garbage to accumulate or remain on any premises longer than is reasonably necessary for its removal. It is the intent of the town that all containers be secured in such a manner either next to non-elevated or underneath elevated houses, or alongside of the house except prior to collection days when they are to be placed at street side, so that the town street right-of-way remains clear of empty containers, and so that containers are not damaged or overturned by high winds or other occurrences. Trash corrals are an acceptable alternative method of storage. Containers will be located at curbside no earlier than 6:00p.m. the evening before designated collection days during the summer rental season. For the rest of the year containers will be located at curbside no more than 48 hours before the designated collection. All containers should be returned to the normal house-side storage location by 6:00 p.m. the day after collection. Through a town contract for island wide rollback, empty trash and recycling containers will be rolled back to the street side of the house or to a corral if available. Full containers will stay curbside until emptied by the next pickup.

§50.99 PENALTY.
(A) Criminal. Violators of Chapter 50 will not be subject to a criminal penalty.
(B) Civil. In accordance with § 10.99(B) of this code of ordinances, the civil fine for violation of any provision of this chapter shall be $50 per day per offense. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to the penalty provided in § 10.99(B) of this code of ordinances.


Commissioner Sullivan gave a brief timeline overview of the work that had been done to develop a comprehensive plan to address the issues. His position is that it is a reasonable expectation to establish rules and for people to comply. Commissioner Kwiatkowski also felt that the ordinance needs to be revisited and the first step would be to get the trash cans off the street, particularly OBW. Patty said that we could benchmark Emerald Isle since it seems that they are already doing what we are talking about doing. Although they plan to revisit a number of issues, at this time they are proposing changing our policy of leaving full containers roadside and would like to see them be included in rollback just like we do for all empty containers. They asked the public for comments prior to changing the ordinance. This is all for naught if requirements do not include a clear enforcement mechanism. The plan is to bring the proposed ordinance to the next meeting.
No decision was made – No action taken

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

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

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

To be continued …


12. Review and Discussion of Board of Commissioners’ Objectives Set for this Budget Year with   Priorities for the Second Half of this Budget Cycle – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
Review and Discussion of BOC objectives Set for this Budget Year with Consideration of Priorities for the Second Half of this Budget Cycle. Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Attached is a list of BOC’s objectives settled upon during various discussions during the last budget cycle (those receiving more than 13 points). As we enter the last months of the budget year a review of outstanding objectives and priorities is timely. The Board might also note any objectives that should carry forward into the next year’s budget.

BOC’s Objectives for Fiscal Year 2020/2021

Financial/Budget

General

  1. Balance the budget while preserving the minimum fund balances as defined by the BOC
  2. Ensure revenues from the Town’s delivery of municipal services covers the associated expenses
  3. Develop and track various financial ratios to flag any negative trends
  4. Ensure the Town meets or exceeds annual financial budget goals Audits
  5. Ensure the Town achieves an unmodified opinion rating on annual fiscal audit and addresses noted deficiencies
  6. Ensure staff is qualified to perform newly established audit and accounting procedures to ensure there are no material deficiencies noted in the annual fiscal
  7. Oversee progress on internal control plan with every 6-month reviews to the Board

Funding

  1. Ensure funding and budgeting for sewer lift stations 3 and 2
  2. Ensure funding for FLOMIKE and Dorian FEMA projects

Personnel

  1. Examine total cost of employees, including health care costs, for benchmarking
  2. Evaluate Police Department staffing against safety and enforcement wants to ensure adequate manpower and funding for the next 3-5

Long-Term Plans

  1. Finalize and approve the Land Use Plan
  2. Develop and implement a fire hydrant replacement plan for hydrants in disrepair
  3. Develop a strategy and implement a plan to protect the beach and dune system, including keeping people off the dunes
  4. Work with DOT to ensure all legal crosswalks are appropriately marked to protect residents and visitors
  5. Find options to protect backup generators at the lift stations from salt and weather deterioration.
  6. Complete a needs assessment for a second water tower.
  7. Continue to support LWI access to the

Ordinance Related

  1. Make decision on zoning change regarding setbacks, parking and % permeability for different sized homes

Policies/Procedures/Resolutions

  1. Work together transparently, prioritizing the good of the Town

Advocacy

  1. Ensure advocacy resources are given to limit expansion of the IHA
  2. Support and participate in beach and inlet related advocacy efforts at local, state, and federal level
    • Become more involved in and lead where possible regional advocacy groups and committees
    • Develop advocacy strategy, plan and material for county and state efforts and implement the plan
    • Review and as appropriate amend directions to Poyner Spruill for federal advocacy
    • Support and participate in advocacy efforts and any level as appropriate.
  3. Review Holden Beach marketing materials and methods aimed at renters and potential homeowners for updating

Update –
Patty asked them to review objectives and see if they want to make any changes to the list. They plan to use the same procedure that they used last year. Once again, they will attempt to create a coherent list of objectives for each category. David recommended that they need to schedule a Budget Workshop to address and review these objectives.


13. Discussion and Possible Action on Setting a Budget Calendar – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
It is time to establish a calendar for the upcoming budget season. Please provide your availability through the end of June to me.

At the February meeting, the Board will discuss the objectives that were set for this budget year. If you have additional objectives you would like to be discussed for the upcoming budget, send them along with your availability.  I will compile them, and the Board can discuss them at the  Budget Workshop.

Previously reported – January, 2020
Budget Meeting Schedule / 2020

      • January                          BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives / Capital Programs
      • February                        Canal Working Group
      • February                        Input from Town Boards / Committees
      • February                       Town Departments Input to Manager
      • March                            Workshop Review Revenue & Expenses
      • April                               Draft Budget Message
      • April                               BOC’s Workshop – adjustments as needed
      • May                                Budget Message
      • June                                Public Hearing
      • June                                Regular BOC’s Meeting Adopt Budget
      • June                                Budget adopted no later than June 30th

Ensuring that government commitments are in line with available resources is an essential element of good governance.

The Town Manager’s proposed budget is due by June 1st
Commissioners must adopt budget no later than June 30th for the next fiscal year
Adopting the annual budget is a primary responsibility of the Board.

Update –
David said its budget season and they need to kick into gear. In order to get started he requested that they give him some input. They usually have four (4) meetings/workshops and need to determine when they will be held. The Board agreed to send Heather a calendar of their availability so she can schedule the meetings. The first meeting has traditionally been to determine objectives. Meanwhile it’s the middle of February and nothing has been scheduled yet.


14. Discussion and Possible Approval of Contract Between the Town and Martin Starnes and Associates for Audit Services for Fiscal Year 2020–2021 – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
The proposed contract documents between the Town and Martin Starnes for the fiscal year 2020 – 2021 audit (Attachment 1) are in the Board’s packets for consideration. This is a standard LGC contract and is in keeping with the terms of Martin Starnes’ year two price as set forth in their original three-year proposal.

The proposed contract has been provided to the members of the Audit Committee for their individual review. No concerns have been set forth by the four members that have responded to me as of the preparation of this memo.

Recommended Action – Approve the contract documents between the Town and Martin Starnes for the fiscal year 2020-2021 audit.

Previously reported – March, 2020
Ordinance 20-05, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#10)
Approval of Contract to Conduct Town’s Audit
Martin Starnes
was awarded the $17,250 contractUpdate –
It’s time for the Board to redo the audit contract which is a standard Local Government Commission contract. The motion was to accept the proposed contract that was set forth in the original three-year proposal. Martin Starnes was awarded the $17,250 contract for the second year at the same price as last year.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


15. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-03, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020–2021 (Amendment No. 6) – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
The Town’s FY 20-21 budget forecast as related to occupancy tax was established with an uncertainty regarding collection. Acknowledging the many variables related to COVID-19 impacts, the staff took a conservative approach, knowing that tourism for the year was unpredictable. As stated in many of my previous monthly reports, we have actually seen one of the best years for visitors in recent history. To remain in compliance with the NC Fiscal Control Act, we need to recognize what staff is forecasting for the remainder of this fiscal year for occupancy tax revenue and the related expenses that coincide with those revenues.

The attached budget amendment forecasts a $337,204 increase in accommodations tax for the remainder of the fiscal year. It recognizes the required transfer of Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority (TOA) funding in addition to programming the following expenses:

      • Public parking lots’ construction costs at the 800 block and 764 OBW
      • Legal fees for easement acquisition
      • Lockwood Folly Inlet May dredging event
      • One walkway rebuild and one repair at public accesses secondary to increased wear and tear
      • Replacement of funds expended with additional Covid cleaning requirements for public restroom facilities
      • Port-a-john rentals, including new port-a-johns at new parking areas
      • Court and dock maintenance at Bridgeview Park
      • Repairs and upgrades to improve handicap access at Halstead Park

Suggested Motion: Approval of Ordinance 21-03, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 6).

Revise Accommodations Tax Estimates

                       Description                                   Account                      Amount        Action

Revenues
                     Accommodations Tax                    50.0302.0000              337204          Increase
Total                                                                                                            337204

Expense

                     Transfer County Accom Tax         50.0401.0000              55358            Increase                       Prof Services Beach                       50.0710.0902              12320            Increase
                      Jordan Blvd Ops, Mx, Repair       50.0710.0906              28476            Increase
                      Public Restrooms                           50.0710.1500              35000            Increase
                      Access and Rec                               50.0710.4300              152580          Increase
                      Halstead Park                                 50.0710.5001              22995            Increase
                      Rothschild Davis Park                  50.0710.5004               8475              Increase
                      Lockwood Folly Dredging            50.0710.7200              22000            Increase   Total                                                                                                            337204

Update –
David proposed this budget amendment in order to get our books balanced. The budget forecast was established with extreme uncertainty do to COVID-19, so they took a conservative approach to estimated revenue. Well it turns out that this was one of the best years for occupancy tax revenue. In order to remain in compliance with the NC Fiscal Control Act  we will need to make some adjustments to the budget. In addition, due to not moving forward with parking proposal they will need to redirect those funds to the Capital Reserve Sand Fund.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


16. Discussion and Possible Approval of Lease Agreement for Vactor Truck – Public Works Director Clemmons
a. Resolution 21-03, Resolution of Governing Body, Extract of Minutes

Agenda Packet –
The 20/21 budget included funding in the amount $73,281.00 for the yearly installments to purchase a new vacuum truck. Quotes were obtained through the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association Procurement Program. This program qualifies for the bidding process under N.C.G.S 143-129(e)(3) .

The total purchase price of the vacuum truck is $332,687. After the down payment of $35,000 is applied, the Town would finance $297,687.The first of five annual installments of $64,773 will be due in December 2021.

Required Board Action : Approval of Resolution 21-03.

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

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

Update –
Chris negotiated lease agreement; he was able to get a $60,000 trade-in credit for our twelve-year-old truck.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


17. Discussion and Possible Action on Parking Recommendations –Commissioners Tyner and Murdock

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previously reported – January 2021
Agenda Packet –
Parking Committee Meeting 01/08/21
For more information » click here


Holden Beach parking committee scopes out options at first meeting
Read more » click here


Woody gave an update and summarized what was done so far.
Main takeaway is that they developed four tasks
He also said that they are looking for input from the public.

Update –

Item was removed from the agenda


Parking Committee Meeting 02/05/21
For more information » click here

Holden Beach parking committee ready to propose potential sites
The Holden Beach parking committee reviewed potential sites for additional parking spaces around town at their second meeting Feb. 5 and will take their early recommendations to the town board at the next meeting. The parking committee decided to bring two locations to town commissioners for immediate consideration to add angled parking spaces along Ocean Boulevard, town-owned properties near the current public beach access parking lot near 796 Ocean Blvd. Town commissioner Woody Tyner and Brian Mur-dock serve on the parking committee. Holden Beach has 226 total parking spots and approximately six lots of land to develop into additional parking. The first location considered is a 342-foot stretch of town property including seven lots 810, 812, 814, 816, 820, 822 along Ocean Boulevard West about a third of a mile east of Swordfish Drive. Holden Beach planning and inspection director Tim Evans said they anticipate 31 parking spaces could be created. Town administrator David Hewett said they can’t pave the location because it is in an area of environmental concern, so it would require a slate rock base and a bulkhead for erosion control. The cost estimates put the slate rock base at $32,000, the bulkhead at $30,780 and the cost per parking space at $2,000 or $62,000 for a total estimate of $124,780.The second lot at 764 Ocean Blvd. W. sits on the same town-owned parcel as the beach access parking lot. “I’m not sure people were aware we own this,” Evans said. Evans said the lot could provide room for 12 parking spaces but would also require a slate rock base and a 170-foot bulkhead for erosion control. The cost estimates put the slate rock base at $10,000, the bulkhead at $15,300 and the cost per parking space at $2,108 or $25,296 for a total estimate of $50,596.The committee also looked at a few other options including a road they designated Avenue A, a dirt road considered part of McCray Street near where Ocean Boulevard East dead ends. The site offers 10,000 square feet that could provide 22 parking spaces. Cost estimates put a slate rock base at $25,000 and paving at $48,000, but it would need Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) approval for a total estimate of $73,000.Two other town-owned sites that sit between private residences were proposed to each create 25 angled parking spaces, but the committee members chose to focus on the sites the town could move on sooner than later. “Mr. Evans, with your help at the board of commissioners meeting we’ll present these charts, we’ll say, at least, we want to do the 800 block,” Tyner said. “The board has the 800 and 764 block, but if the board would like us to look at Avenue A or whatever, we can have that conversation, too.
Beacon Article

Town owned properties in the area of the proposed public parking: 46BC001, 246BC010, 246BC011, 246BC012, 246BC013, 246BC014, 246BC015, 246BC016, 246BC01604, and 246BC01609


Providing adequate public parking on the island is not a new issue. We have been talking about this issue for more than ten (10) years already. Most of the discussions were about utilizing properties that the Town already owned. The parking committee identified a number of locations that could potentially provide additional parking on the island. The two locations proposed for immediate consideration were purchased eight (8) years ago. From my perspective this could be described as low hanging fruit. We own the property already, we have parking nearby, beach access is right there, five closest homes are all rental properties, marsh is behind it, and a street is in front, so minimal disruption to the neighborhood. The committee may have gotten out over their skis a little bit with their request of funding without tagging all the required bases first. That said, I really don’t understand the brouhaha. I’m a little surprised that the HBPOA sent out emails that essentially were a call to arms. (A call to arms is something that makes people want to take action and get involved in an attempt to deal with a potentially bad situation.) As a result, the Board has received a significant number of complaints about this agenda item. I’m not sure what is going on here. It’s not like we don’t already have public parking on the other parts of the island that don’t create many of the issues that were included in the emails sent to the Commissioners. Understand that the conversation must include what is adequate parking spaces, what is our responsibility to provide parking, at what cost, and on who’s dime. Counting 350 parking spaces in the  right-of way or 45% of the total 776 parking spaces is disingenuous. Regardless of what you may want, day trippers will continue to come here. The question you have to ask is: Do you want them parking in your right-of-way or in designated parking areas with trash cans and bathrooms? So yes, I’m for providing the additional parking spots at this location. I think it’s the right thing to do. People that don’t live on the island have a right to come to the beach, making a reasonable accommodation to provide beach access and parking is not an unreasonable burden on us.


Day trippers want more parking

Property owners are saying NIMBY

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Well, you just can’t please everyone!


What will it cost? A closer look at Surf City’s paid parking plan
Paid parking, it’s become a topic of debate for beach towns across Southeastern North Carolina for some time now. As the population in the region continues to grow and beaches attract more and more tourists each year, towns that previously offered free parking are starting to realize the need to monetize the services.
Read more » click here

Surf City Paid Parking
Paid Parking is the latest project Town Council is working on. Although this is not a new conversation, we understand this change will have significant change on our community if it is implemented. Of course with any project there comes additional hard work and big decisions. The following information is aimed at providing details as to how we got to this point, what factors are influencing decisions that will be made, and how the program could look throughout our town.
Read more » click here

The trend continues, Oak Island set to discuss paid parking
Yet another beach town in the Cape Fear region is set to discuss adding a paid parking program to their town revenue stream – this time – it’s the Town of Oak Island. Not much is known about the plans just yet, but the item is on the agenda for the Feb. 16, Town Council retreat. The item is listed as a possible ‘economic development project’ and right now, is only up for council discussion. It appears the council will consider paid parking for ‘large lots’ that include 604 Ocean, Cabana, and West Beach. Oak Island is just one of several beach towns considering paid parking. The Town of Surf City is in the process of approving a paid parking program as is the Town of Kure Beach. This is not the first time Oak Island will be discussing a paid parking program, in 2019 the town voted to move forward with paid parking but then had a sudden change of heart and voted to reverse the decision. One of the biggest reasons beach towns are turning to paid parking is to prevent the need to raise taxes in order to pay for the always-costly beach nourishment projects.  While money from paid parking lots can go to cover items like this, parking revenues from on-street parking cannot, instead, state law requires that money be used for parking related expenses, which could be why Oak Island’s discussion is for ‘large lots.’
Read more » click here


18. Town Manager’s Report

Federal Work Plan
Last month reported $500,000 for investigation/feasibility study, we have been advised too standby

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

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

It appears that we have also been funded.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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


Sand Fence Project Installation
The project is about halfway done, they are almost at the pier. They will continue working west as far as they are permitted to by CAMA.

Previously reported – January 2021
Well underway – approximately 4,000 feet beachfront installed so far; they are working from west to east on the east end of the island.


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

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


Coastal Resources Commission
The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission will meet Thursday, February 18th  by video conference. Agenda covers a number of important topics specifically Inlet Hazard Areas are addressed.
For more information » click here


Parks & Rec Master Plan
Kickoff meeting between McGill and staff , they met last week

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


19. Mayor’s Comments

Alan thanked everyone for reaching out to him during his convalescence
He also said that  COVID-19 is REAL!!!

Previously reported –
January 2021
Mayor Holden has tested positive for COVID-19 and is at home isolating. While he recovers, please contact Town Hall with any questions or concerns regarding town business in order to allow him proper time to rest and recuperate.

From the Mayor’s Desk 02/15/21
2021 has brought many opportunities and challenges to Holden Beach. COVID seems to continue to be impacting almost everything here.

The Town Hall building continues to be locked and inaccessible to the public due to the virus-related guidelines. Communications with the public are via phone, email, and US mail. Currently, there is no plan giving relief to this policy.

Speaking of COVID, I endured and suffered with it all of January. After being in the hospital and isolated I returned to work on a limited basis. 

Former North Carolina State Senator R.C. Soles recently passed away. Senator Soles was the last member of the group that worked with my father, first Holden Beach Mayor John F. Holden, to organize and work to create the Town of Holden Beach on Valentine’s Day of 1969. Senator Soles represented this district and was instrumental in getting the paperwork through the legal process in the state government.

Our Ocean Boulevard has been in terrible condition for the past several years. Resurfacing has been scheduled for the past two years, but when highway funding was not available the work was postponed. This was due to the reduced money derived from the gas tax. Less gas sales has resulted due to less travel. 

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has this February patched some of the worst areas on Ocean Boulevard, but it still needs resurfacing. Reminder, this is a state road and not a town road!

As you leave Holden Beach and turn right at the stoplight, you will pass the Food Lion on your left. Approximately one-half mile ahead you will come to a stop sign at the intersection of Sabbath Home Road and Old Ferry Connection. Be aware! This is now a “four way stop” intersection.

The ABC Store on NC 130 located about a mile and a half towards Shallotte from the Holden Beach causeway stoplight will soon be moving into a new building currently under construction. This new location is about a half mile closer to the stoplight. 

The ABC Store in Shallotte is soon to be demolished. The new Shallotte ABC Store is next door. 

The Town of Shallotte is getting a Chick-fil-A, a Cook Out and a modern carwash. All of these are north of Walmart on Main Street. The new shopping center at the intersection of NC 130 and Main Street in Shallotte is open. 

The US Army Corps of Engineers dredge, “Merritt”, has been working many days recently in the Lockwood Folly Inlet. Time will tell whether the inlet will prove to be safe for the boaters this spring.

Yes, the Holden Beach Fishing Pier and Campground is for sale. This is causing much discussion regarding public parking and access. I am receiving calls and emails about the town buying it. There is currently no serious ongoing activity involving the Town. Recent offers from private investors are getting stronger.

The Town of Holden Beach Parking Committee has been active in studying and making recommendations. The Holden Beach Town Regular Meeting will be February 16th and parking is on the agenda. 

Our beach strand is in good condition. Sand fencing is being placed along the ocean side of the frontal dune. This will help capture more sand as we continue to grow the dunes. 

The Holden Beach Chapel continues to provide services each Sunday. Spacing and other protective measures are being taken to protect those who attend. Chaplain Dr. Reggie Rushing and his wife, Sandy are doing a wonderful job with the music program. The singers and bell choir always add to the service.

Construction and sales are extremely active. There are less than a dozen homes for sale on the island. Rental reservations indicate a busy summer. Swimming pools are in high demand and are on backorder. Appliances are proving to be hard to find and many are on backorder as well. Building materials cost remains high but are showing a little bit of fluctuation.

I have lived on Holden Beach all of my seventy-two years. As I recall the years when my brother and I were the only two children living on the island, I can’t recall a drearier first six weeks of a new year. The water table in the area is almost at the surface. Maybe this means a beautiful, sunny spring and summer. 

Click here to view a pilot program of the North Carolina Insurance Underwriter Association (NCIUA). You may find this of interest. Our building codes continue to change, and our structures are being built more storm resistant. 

I am receiving more and more questions about our concerts and festivals for 2021. The staff and I will try to make sure you are informed as soon as possible.  


20. Board of Commissioners’ Comments

Board addressed the parking issue, the key takeaways;

      • They appreciate your feedback
      • Everyone that wants to go to the beach should be able to
      • Issue needs to be addressed
      • Significant number of parking spaces will be eliminated when a number of properties are sold
      • They are considering all options
      • Board needs to revisit role they want Parking Committee to have

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

Folks speaking up would be helpful!


21. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(6), To Discuss Qualifications, Competence, Performance of a Public Employee (Commissioners Tyner and Kwiatkowski) and North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(3), To Consult with the Town Attorney (Town Manager Hewett)

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

No decision was made – No action taken


  • Loose Ends (3)
      • Commercial District / Zoning                             February 2019
      • Dog Park                                                                January 2020
      • 796 OBW                                                                February 2020

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


.
A little surprised that there was still NO discussion on the Sewer System #2 upgrade …

 


.
BOC’s Meeting

The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, March 16th
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                 Final Public Notice

The Town of Holden Beach has applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Program funding through North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM) as a sub- recipient.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), federal actions must be reviewed and evaluated for feasible alternatives and for social, economic, historic, environmental, legal, and safety considerations. Under Executive Order (EO) 11988 and EO 11990, FEMA is required to consider alternatives, and to provide a public notice of any proposed actions in or affecting floodplains or wetlands. EO 12898 also requires FEMA to provide the opportunity for public participation in the planning process and to consider potential impacts to minority and low-income populations. This notice may also fulfill requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

Funding for the proposed project will be conditional upon compliance with all applicable federal, tribal, state, and local laws, regulations, floodplain standards, permit requirements and conditions.

Sub-Applicant:  Town of Holden Beach

Project Title: 159645-Beach Strand Sand Volume Erosion; PA-04-NC-4568-PW-00050

Location of Proposed Work:

Central Reach
240 OBE to 781 OBW, Holden Beach, NC 28462
Start: 33.91430, -78.25310; End: 33.90760, -78.33170

Special Flood Hazard Area Zone:
This project is for the restoration of the Central Reach portion of Holden Beach. All work is located in a Coastal High Hazard Area. Confirmation of location in a Coastal High Hazard Area (VE Zone) was determined by the Brunswick County Flood Insurance Rate Map, Panel Numbers: 3720201500K, 3720201600K, 3720202600K, each dated 8/28/2018. The proposed work conforms to all applicable State of North Carolina and local floodplain regulations. There is a potential for the facility to be impacted by future flooding events due to its location within the Coastal High Hazard Area. The proposed work will take place in Estuarine/Marine Wetland, per the United States Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory but will have a beneficial effect on wetland values.

Proposed Work and Purpose:
The Town of Holden Beach will restore a total of approximately 4.5 miles along the Central Reach portion of Holden Beach using offshore dredged material. The proposed project includes concurrently restoring losses attributable to three storm events as a single re-nourishment project to the engineered and designed beach template funded in FEMA-4568-DR-NC, including approximately 67,438 cubic yards (CY) of sand, 24,000 linear feet (LF) of fencing, and 350,000 individual dune plants. Sand for the proposed project will be obtained by hopper dredging from an offshore borrow area located approximately two miles offshore of Holden Beach.

The purpose of the proposed project is to provide storm damage reduction benefits to the existing shoreline, upland habitat, and surrounding infrastructure. Restoration of the engineered beach will also maintain a viable beach environment for nesting habitat for threatened and endangered nesting sea turtles, as well as protect and maintain foraging habitat for shorebird species. The beach restoration project will also provide recreation enhancement of the publicly accessible shoreline along Holden Beach.

Project Alternatives:

Alternative #1 (no action alternative): The ‘no action’ alternative would ultimately result in a negative impact on the Town of Holden Beach. The beach and surrounding community would not be protected from future storm surge events. Erosion would continue to occur along the beach and negative impacts to species and recreational value of the area could occur.

Alternative #2 (Beach Restoration): The proposed action restores the beach to pre-disaster condition, which reduces the risk to improved property on the island, provides additional habitat for sea turtles and shorebirds, and increases the recreational value of the area.

Comment Period:

Comments are solicited from the public; local, state, or federal agencies, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the proposed project. The comments should be made in writing and addressed to:

FEMA Internal 11988 Reviewer
FEMA Region 4
3003 Chamblee-Tucker Road
Atlanta, Georgia, 30341

Alternatively, comments may be emailed to: FEMA-R4EHP@fema.dhs.gov. Please send comments with the subject line [DR-4568-NC-00050 11988 COMMENT].

All comments are due by no later than 30 days of the posted date of this notice.

POSTED ON: 2/10/2021

End of Notice

 The beaches are the economic engine of our tourism-based economy!


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