11 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 11/12/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here 

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion & Possible Action on the Purchase of the Pier Property – Commissioners Sullivan & Kwiatkowski

Commissioner Sullivan made a motion to go back to the seller and ask for a reduction of $500,000 based on the findings of the ATM inspection report. The inspection was not done under water, the estimated cost to correct the above water damage will cost between $500,000 to $750,000.

Commissioner Murdock articulated why we should proceed with this purchase. He stated that the proposed paid parking program will provide a significant revenue stream which will offset a significant amount of the cost of acquiring these properties.

Commissioner Kwiatkowski once again asked for the projected revenues and expenses before she could support purchasing the pier properties.

It was a spirited discussion. It’s a complicated issue with no simple solution.

Mayor Holden said he feels obligated to make everyone aware that all the pier properties for sale are under contract for considerably more money.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


It’s difficult to support the proposed purchase of the pier properties until we know the following:
.

        1. What is the business plan?
        2. What is the intended use of the property?
        3. How do they plan to pay for it?
          * Projected revenues and expenses
        4. What is this going to cost property owners either with taxes or an assessment?

2. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(5), To Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price and Terms of Contracts Concerning the Acquisition of Real Properties – Mayor Pro Tem Brown & Commissioner Murdock

No decision was made – No action taken

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

To View Parcels » click here

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

BOC’s Regular Meeting 11/16/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Public Comments on Agenda Items

There were comments made at the meeting
In addition there are a significant number of comments posted on the Town website
For more information » click here

Most of the comments were regarding the pier purchase

HBPOA Survey234 responses so far

    • Do not purchase the pier without a plan for what we are going to do with it and how much it will cost (82%)
    • Do not increase taxes to cover costs associated with the pier (72%)
    • Set a limit on the amount of parking to protect the character of the island (95%)
    • Do not purchase more property for parking (75%)
    • Do not allow ROW parking in front of private properties (90%)
    • Allow owners to use posts and ropes (90%)
    • Do not incur any additional debt without a public vote (78%)
    • Be more transparent in decisions regarding the use of taxpayer funds (87%)

2. Presentation of Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 Audit Results – Elsa Watts, Martin Starnes and Associates (Town Manager Hewett)

Audit Results
For more information » click here

Financial Highlights
· The assets and deferred outflows of resources of the Town of Holden Beach exceeded its liabilities
and deferred inflows of resources at the close of the fiscal year by $33,125,393 (net position).
· The government’s total net position increased by $2,431,774, primarily due to an increase in the governmental activities of $2,402,464 and increases in the business-type activities of $29,310.
· As of the close of the current fiscal year, the Town of Holden Beach’s governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $13,867,944, an increase of $959,559 in comparison with the prior year. Of this amount, $2,814,661 is available for spending at the government’s discretion.
· At the end of the current fiscal year, unassigned fund balance for the General Fund was $3,038,385, or 98%, of total General Fund expenditure.

Update –
Auditor’s report for fiscal year 2020 – 2021 audit was presented by Elsa the project manager. Audit was submitted to Local Government Commission timely and approved with no changes. The auditor Martin Starnes was able to render an unmodified/clean opinion; which is the best possible opinion that you can receive.


3. Discussion/Question and Answer on the Audit Committee Message on the External Audit Report to the Board of Commissioners – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet – pages 8-9
Overall Long-Term Debt
As of June 30, 2021, the Town of Holden Beach had total debt of $10,100,771 (excluding compensated absences). There was a net decrease in total debt of $875,865. The key factor of this decrease was the scheduled repayment of debt.

Update –
The Audit Committee reviewed the audit and submitted a two-page memo that covers what the public most often have wanted to know about the audit.


4. Annual Monitoring Report – Fran Way, ATM (Assistant Town Manager Ferguson)

Agenda Packet – pages 10-18
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. Mr.Fran Way with ATM is here to present data from the annual report and highlight changes since last year.

Ongoing Beach Management Activities

      • USACE 50-yr study
      • Florence/Michael Mitigation
      • Dorian Mitigation
      • Issaias Mitigation
      • LWFIX & Bend-Winder
      • LWF Outer Channel Dredging/Navigation

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.

Update –
Fran Way presented the annual beach monitoring report. They have completed the annual survey of the beach strand. Primarily they make sure the beach is healthy. Most sections of the beach strand are stable and had accretion compared to baseline conditions comparison. Beach equilibration has occurred, projects are designed to include a volume of sand that the waves and currents will transport offshore to fill in the lower parts of the beach profile. Some of the sand lost off shore has been come back in to the system. Ongoing beach management activity has made the beach strand wider and healthier than it was twenty years ago. In the engineered portion of the beach strand, we are basically looking at another FEMA mitigation nourishment project similar in size to the last Central Reach Project. The good news is that we are starting with a much wider beach strand there than we did then. Under federal and state law, dredging projects have to be performed within a limited environmental window. Contractors have between Nov. 16 and April 30 for all projects because of the sea turtle and shorebird nesting seasons

Beach nourishment profile equilibration:
What to expect after sand is placed on a beach
Read more » click here


5. Discussion and Possible Action on Audit Committee Proposed Revised Ordinance 30.26, Audit Committee (Ordinance 2132) – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
pages 19-23
This appears to be another complete rewrite

Update –
Audit Committee reviewed the existing Ordinance. They attempted to make it more representative of what they believe should be there focus. Motion was made that the  revised Ordinance as written be approved.

A decision was made – Approved (3-2)
Commissioners Brown and Smith voted against the motion

This is like the umpteenth time we have rewrote this Ordinance.

How many times do we need to go through this exercise?


6. Discussion and Possible Action on Request for Beer Garden and Signage for Run HB – Johnna Terragna (Assistant Town Manager Ferguson)

Agenda Packet – pages 24-26
Coastal Race Productions is requesting a banner, vendors. and a beer garden as part of the January 29, 2022, race. These items have been allowed as part of the race for several years but currently require board action each year. I have spoken with the police chief and no issues were reported with the proposed items at last year’s event.

Coastal Race Productions would like to request special considerations for our January 29th, 2022, Run Holden Beach event:

    • Permission to place an 8×4 ft banner at the island side base of the bridge on Holden Beach Vacations property with their consent and permission one week prior to the event itself.
    • Permission to host a fully contained beer garden requiring us to get a One­ Time Special ABC Permit in the gravel lot near the pavilion under the bridge.
    • Permission to have up to ten vendors or less contained to the Start/Finish line area near the Pavilion and under the bridge during the event times. We will be cleaned up and out of the area by 11:30am.

The eighth annual “Run Holden Beach” event is scheduled on Saturday, January 29th.

For more information » click here

 



Update –
The requests have been allowed before but requires Board approval each year. This is the eighth annual fun family race day on Holden Beach. They expect over @1,500 participants this year. All the other towns that the race is held allow both activities. They don’t sell beer, they give one (1) free beer to runners over twenty-one (21) years old at the end of the race. In addition, donations are made to a local non-profit which in our case is to the Turtle Patrol. Police Chief also gave his consent., they have no problem with it either.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


7. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police PatchJeremy made two (2) Public Service Announcements –

  • Hunting season is underway, it is not allowed on the island
  • Scams – be on guard, you need to protect yourself from scammers

If you know something, hear something, or see something –
call 911 and let the police deal with it.


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


8. Parking Committee’s Summary in Response to the Board of Commissioners’ Tasker – Commissioners Murdock & Smith

Agenda Packet – page 27
Otto Connect

      • Implement and maximize paid parking
      • Net Over 1,000 potential parking spaces
      • Update Ordinances

Key takeaway – funds from parking fees should be used to develop parking areas, pay for leases, and improve town/beach access and amenities for owners, renters, and visitors alike.

Otto Parking Presentation

Parking Committee Meeting November 5th
Discussion on Board of Commissioners’ Tasker to the Parking Committee
.   A.
Parking Lots (suggest the committee shows lots and spaces on a town map, color code for a, b, c)
.     a)
What town owned lots currently exist and how many spaces are available for paid parking?
.     b)
What town owned property is suitable for conversion to paid parking before next spring and what is the estimated cost for conversion?
.     c)
What properties (if any) are proposed for purchase and how many spaces will be available for paid parking? What is the estimated cost to purchase, assumed timeframe for establishing the parking lot and cost for conversion?

  B. Financials
.     a)
Rate proposal and date range for paid parking
.     b)
Estimated gross profit associated with A for 2022, 2023 and 2024
.     c)
Estimated initial costs for signage and equipment (show where on map)
.     d)
Estimated expenses associated with A for 2022, 2023 and 2024 (including personnel)
.     e)
Estimated net profit for A for 2022, 2023 and 2024

.   C. Public Communication and Engagement Plan
.          Who, when, where

Presentation by Jim Varner, Otto Parking

Preparation of Summary for the BOC’s November 16th Meeting

Previously reported – August 2021
Parking Committee Status & Possible Action – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
Agenda Packet –
The BOCM remit to the parking committee that was unanimously approved has an October deadline. The two (2) meetings since have been cancelled. There may be actions needed to ensure fulfillment of the remit in time for BOC review and decision on implementation of a paid parking program for 2022

Directive was Made: June 15, 2021
Directive to:
Parking Committee
Issue and Action Requested:
In order for paid parking to be successfully rolled out in Spring pf 2022, there are a number of decisions that will need to be made by the BOC before the end of 2021. The Parking Committee is asked to develop a paid parking plan with financials covering the years 2022-2025 in line with the charge questions below.
Background and Potential Implications:
With the continuing popularity and growth of Holden Beach and Brunswick County, parking on the island during many months of the year is increasingly problematic for both visitors and property owners. Additionally, increasing numbers of off island beach goers translate to increasing costs for the Town in terms of trash pickup, facilities maintenance, beach patrol and traffic control.
In order to better organize visitor parking and help defray seasonal costs, the decision has been made to implement a paid parking program starting in Spring 2022. It is important to have a clear description of the parking facilities and cost plus a communication plan for rollout of the paid parking program to avoid miscommunication and confusion.

Charge Questions:

1. Parking Lots (suggest the committee shows lots and spaces on a town map, color code for a, b, c)

a) What town owned lots currently exist and how many spaces are available for paid parking?
b) What town owned property is suitable for conversion to paid parking before next Spring and what is the estimated cost for conversion?
c) What properties (if any) are proposed for purchase and how many spaces will be available for paid parking? What is the estimated cost to purchase, assumed timeframe for establishing the parking lot and cost for conversion?

2. Financials

a) Rate proposal and date range for paid parking
b)
Estimated gross profit associated with 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and 2024
c) Estimated initial costs for signage and equipment (show where on map)
d) Estimated expenses associated with 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and (including personnel)
e) Estimated net profit for 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and 2024

3. Public Communication and Engagement Plan
Who, when, where

Proposed Deadline:
No later than the October BOCM.

Editor’s Note –
Tasker is a formal request to the Committee. It outlines what information that they would like to be included in their report and clarifies their purpose. The intent is to get information needed so that the Board are able to make a decision.


Previously reported – September 2021
The Parking Committee has not met they have cancelled several meetings. Actions are needed for BOC’s to review and make a decision on implementation of a paid parking program for 2022. Patty recommended that at least some of the tasker, charge questions part 1, should be handed off to Town staff since they already have the information. David said “sure” they can do it. Board tasked the Town with preparing information for the next meeting.

Previously reported – October 2021
David reviewed the work done by his staff to do an assessment of paid parking for the island. The attachments are the presentation of their analysis. Essentially what he said to them is that the ball is in the Board’s court now.

Update –
Otto Connect gave paid parking presentation at Parking Committee November meeting.
For more information
» click here

Brian addressed the tasker as follows:

What town owned lots currently exist and how many spaces are available for paid parking?
190 to 221 spaces depending on what you want to include

What town owned property is suitable for conversion to paid parking before next Spring and what is the estimated cost for conversion?
Additional 50 spaces

What properties (if any) are proposed for purchase and how many spaces will be available for paid parking?
In contract for pier properties that would  add 82 spaces
Identified properties for sale that we could purchase
Those properties would provide a significant amount of additional spaces

Rate proposal and date range for paid parking
$4.00 hour or $20.00 day / March 1st through October 31st only

Financials
Projected cost is $1,000 for each parking space
To implement paid parking will cost around $48,000
We could gross in the neighborhood of $293,000 with what spaces we have now

Commissioner Mudock eventually would like to eliminate right-of-way parking and the post and rope in them once we have adequate parking spaces. Brian would like to get to around 500 to 600  parking spaces which would generate additional revenue. It is not their intention to create the over one thousand potential spaces that is in the presentation.                                                                                                                            


9. Update on Revision of Oceanfront Lighting Ordinance – Attorney Madon (Commissioner Smith)

Agenda Packet –
background information was not provided

Previously reported – October 2021
Discussion and Possible Direction to Staff on Oceanfront Lighting
Commissioner Smith in conjunction with the Turtle Patrol wants to address light pollution and restrict oceanfront lighting. Decision was to have our attorney and our building inspector review the ordinances and make a recommendation for any potential changes to the existing ordinances.

Update –
Turtle Patrol representative was scheduled to speak but unfortunately was unable to attend tonight’s meeting.


10. Discussion and Possible Action on Updated Water Fee Schedule – Public Works Director Clemmons

Agenda Packet – pages 28-31
As of January l, 2022, rate Brunswick County will increase wholesale by 82%. the Town’s The current rate is $2.89 per 1,000 gallons, with the new rate being set at $5.25 per thousand gallons. This increase by Brunswick County is to cover the cost of the plant capacity from 24 MGD to 48 MGD and to add a low pressure reverse osmosis treatment system.

Staff is proposing the Town increase our water/sewer rates effective January I , 2022, to reflect the increased amount (Attachment 1). The proposed increase reflects the county’s increase only, with no additional profit to the Town (Attachment 2). Our 202112022 budget supports this increase.

Suggested motion : Approve the proposed water/sewer rates effective January I, 2022, and direct staff to update the fee schedule to reflect the new rates.

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

Previously reported – March 2021
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

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

  • Previously reported –
    April 2021
  • 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.

Update –
Staff is proposing the Town increase our water/sewer rates effective January I , 2022, to reflect the county’s increase only, with no additional profit to the Town .

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


New Water & Sewer Rates 2022
The new rates are effective as of January 1, 2022. 

The new rates for House meters are as follows:
Base Charges for water is $22.72 and for sewer is $14.10.
This includes the first 2,000 gallons of usage.

For 2,001 – 6,000 gallons, the water rate is $5.46 per 1,000 gallons and $6.46 per 1,000 gallons for sewer.

All usage over 6,000 gallons will be charged $6.45 per 1,000 gallons for water and $7.45 per 1,000 gallons for sewer. 


The new rates for Irrigation meters are as follows:
Base Charge of $5.00 plus a $2.50 inspection fee.  

For the first 6,000 gallons, the water rate is $5.46 per 1,000 gallons and $6.46 per 1,000 gallons for all usage over 6,000 gallons.


  • 11. Discussion and Possible Action on Staff Compensation (Resolution 21-16, Providing COVID-19 Performance Bonuses to Town Staff) – Board of Commissioners

Agenda Packet – page 32
RESOLUTION  21-16
PROVIDING COVID-19 PERFORMANCE BONUSES TO TOWN STAFF

WHEREAS, the virus known as COVID-19 has spread worldwide taking lives and wreaking havoc with economies and disrupting local communities; and

WHEREAS, due to the COVI0-19 global pandemic a state of emergency has existed in North Carolina and specifically within the Town of Holden Beach since March 23, 2020;and

WHEREAS, municipal operations have been severely tested; requiring intermittent and frequent modifications driven by unknown threats to the public health; and

WHEREAS, the Town staff of the Town of Holden Beach has demonstrated extreme competence and been a steadfast source of providing continuous uninterrupted municipal services throughout the State of Emergency; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners to recognize and reward the hard work and dedication of the Town staff by virtue of providing compensation for same.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Town Manager is authorized and directed to distribute a sum of $750 to each regular full time non-probationary employee of the Town of Holden Beach; said distribution estimated to total $15,750 and to be made from the Governing Body’s Departmental line item in the Budget Ordinance titled “Available to Appropriate”.


County staffers to get special COVID pay
The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners approved in a regular meeting Nov. 1 the Brunswick County Public Service Premium Pay Policy COVID-19 Essential to the tune of more than $2 million. This means eligible employees can get a maximum payment of $2,200 based on the number of months a full-time employee worked between April 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, when stay-at-home orders occurred. Employees can receive $200 for each month, which is considered tax-deductible income. The Brunswick County human resources and finance departments estimate this will cost $2.4 million. “This proposed premium payment would be in recognition of county staff who continued to support our community and providing essential services during critical time,” county human resources director Melanie Turrise said. She said employees who were working from home or on extended leave for at least one month would be ineligible for that period. Board chairman Randy Thompson asked whether an employee who retired after the period would still be eligible. Turrise said one eligibility requirement is an employee has to be actively working when the premium pay is issued. Former employees would not be eligible. So anyone who retires a few days before commissioners approved the pay would not be eligible. An employee who retires a few days after commissioners approve the pay would be eligible. Commissioner Frank Williams confirmed this was a federal rule written into the legislation President Joe Biden signed March 11, 2021. Commissioner Marty Cooke said the public should know there have been many conversations over this matter and that commissioners have been constrained in what they can do. He added the staff has done exemplary work and helped out. “It’s hard to delineate,” he said, adding staff efforts have been appreciated. The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners approved in a regular meeting Nov. 1 the Brunswick County COVID-19 Essential Public Service Premium Pay Policy to the tune of more than $2 million. This means eligible employees can get a maximum payment of $2,200 based on the number of months a full-time employee worked between April 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, when stay-at-home orders occurred. Employees can receive $200 for each month, which is considered tax-deductible income. The Brunswick County human resources and finance departments estimate this will cost $2.4 million. “This proposed premium payment would be in recognition of county staff who continued to support our community and providing essential services during critical time,” county human resources director Melanie Turrise said. She said employees who were working from home or on extended leave for at least one month would be ineligible for that period. Board chairman Randy Thompson asked whether an employee who retired after the period would still be eligible. Turrise said one eligibility requirement is an employee has to be actively working when the premium pay is issued. Former employees would not be eligible. So anyone who retires a few days before commissioners approved the pay would not be eligible. An employee who retires a few days after commissioners approve the pay would be eligible. Commissioner Frank Williams confirmed this was a federal rule written into the legislation President Joe Biden signed March 11, 2021. Commissioner Marty Cooke said the public should know there have been many conversations over this matter and that commissioners have been constrained in what they can do. He added the staff has done exemplary work and helped out. “It’s hard to delineate,” he said, adding staff efforts have been appreciated.
Read more » click here

Update –
It is the desire of the Commissioners to recognize and reward the hard work and dedication of the Town staff by virtue of providing compensation, $750 for each employee, for same.

  • A decision was made – Approved unanimously

12. Discussion and Possible Action on a Request for Parks & Recreation Committee Suggestions for the Town-Owned 796 Ocean Boulevard West Property – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet – page 33 – 34
In the new Parks and Recreation Master Plan potential use of 796 OBW as a community recreation resource is highlighted (page 38) with several options for community use, and a proposed budget with no specifics is given (150K in 23/24). In addition, when the property was purchased, the board and staff brainstormed possible uses.

It would be beneficial for the Board to have input from the Parks and Rec Committee on how they envision using 796 OBW in advance of our budgeting for FY 22/23. A list of the top 2 or 3 more complete. Use descriptions with an estimated time needed to upgrade/renovate and estimated total costs for each by the February 2022 BOCM would be helpful to the Board.

THB Parks & Recreation Master Plan / 796 Ocean Boulevard

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

Previously reported – September 2019
Ordinance 19-15, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#3)
. 1) Provide funds for purchase of property at 796 OBW – approved $349,000
. 2) A significant portion of the cost of acquiring this property is offset by us no longer needing to do additional acoustical engineering.

Previously reported – January 2020
We need to determine what we will do with the building. The first step is deciding how you want to use the property. Pat’s position is that we need to keep building because of noise abatement issues.
Board wanted to hand this off to the Parks & Recreation Committee for them to develop some potential uses.

Basically, we have two options:
. 1) Convert the house into some undetermined community facility
. 2)
Sell and move the house off the property

Poor optics: Are we to understand that they didn’t have a plan when we purchased this property? It was my understanding that the building was going to be removed creating more space between the sewer station and residential properties. Property is not zoned commercial so for starters getting it changed from a residential zone to a commercial zone will take both time and money. Besides that, we would have a huge expense to convert the house into a public facility, in order to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act, we will have ongoing expenses for housekeeping, maintenance, utilities and security issues. Let’s cut our losses and sell the house and have it moved off the property.

Previously reported – February 2020
Agenda Packet –

Directive to:
Parks and Recreation Board

Issue and Action Requested:
The Town purchased 796 OBW, the property next to Sewer Pump Station 3, primarily as a solution for decibel concerns due to proximity. Various potential uses for the property were discussed, including possibilities for public use. It was agreed to defer any decision on the best use of the building to 2020, when a proper plan of action would be determined. With potential public uses of the building in the mix, Parks and Rec is appropriate to lead this effort. Parks and Rec is asked to seek input and recommend possible uses for 796 OBW.

Background and Potential Implications:
When the Town purchased 796 OBW, a number of possible uses for the building were identified as potentially viable, some involving staff use and some public use. Instead of exploring costs for all possibilities, it was decided to defer further evaluation until 2020, when input could be sought and a “short list” of possible uses defined before examining re-modelling and re-zoning implications. Without a pre-screen, internal time and money could be wasted on evaluating facility uses that are not of interest to either staff or our property owners or simply not possible given the nature of the location and/or structure.

Charge Questions:
1. What uses do our residents and property owners envision and prefer?
2. What uses does Town staff envision and prefer?
3. Does proximity of the pumping station impact the viability of the envisioned use?
4. Does proximity to neighboring properties impact the viability of the envisioned use?
5. Is parking going to be adequate for the envisioned use?
6.
What other possible upsides or downsides might be associated with the envisioned use?
7. Will it be possible to request grant money to help defer remodeling and/or maintenance costs for the envisioned use?

Proposed Deadline:
September 2020 BOCM

Most of the discussion was over what the next step should be. It can be characterized as: which comes first the chicken or the egg? The choice between sending it to Parks & Rec Board or sending it to Timbo in Planning & Inspections Department. Between us, this is the same exact discussion we had last month but here we are again. By sending it to the Planning Department first the thinking is that it will help to narrow down the parameters of what we can do there. Once we know what we can do then we can discuss what we would prefer to do. Consensus was to send it to Timbo now and hold off on tasking Parks & Rec Board.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)
Gerald objected to even asking Timbo because he only sees us incurring big expenses by utilizing the building structure.

Tax records has the building value at $186,710, 50% rule means most you can spend renovating is $93,355

Previously reported – September 2020
We still have no game plan for what we will do with this property that was purchased one (1) year ago.

Previously reported – October 2020
Concerns were expressed about maintenance issues and our insurance liability. Commissioner Murdock felt we need to decide what we are going to do with this property long-term. Timbo offered to do inspection to confirm that it is habitable and reasonably safe. Approved contingent upon Town Inspector favorable report at which time the Town Manager can lease the property to Town employee for $700 per month.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

In February, the BOC’s tasked Planning & Inspections Department to evaluate what we can do there. Where is that report? Oh, so now they want to be landlords. It would seem to me that the risks far exceed the benefits.

Editor’s Note –
Essentially, we are providing a Town employee subsidized housing. Rent is only $700; at that price you can’t even rent a trailer on the mainland.


Update –
The Parks & Rec Master Plan lists a number of options for this facility. The Board is requesting that the Parks & Rec committee prioritizes them and recommend what they envision the building be used for. They would like a response from the committee by the BOC’s scheduled February meeting.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


13. Property Purchase Update & Request for Public Opinion – Commissioners Sullivan & Kwiatkowski

ATM Pier Report
For more information » click here

Agenda Packet – page 35 – 39
Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski – November Memo
In July we sent you an email outlining how the BOC had arrived at making an offer to purchase the pier properties, parcels 246DB 001 & 002, (July memo below). The original basis for the purchase had been to preserve and use the pier and building much as they have been for many years and maintain both beachgoer and emergency access to the beach. The purpose has become a moving target with, as yet, no proposed use definitively established.

When the original offer was made, it was assumed by a majority of the Board that the purchase could be financed by a combination of grants, paid parking revenue and revenue from leasing the pier and building. How much it would cost to bring the building and pier up to current code and safety standards as well as fair market value for leasing the pier and building were major unknowns flagged in our July message. However, both of us believed we would better understand property value and upgrade costs after due diligence was conducted.

Soon after the contract was sent to the Seller in early July, Commissioner Sullivan proposed that the Board make budgetary arrangements to allow for pier property inspections  Despite the lack of information on the condition of the pier and building, and even though the Commissioners advocating the purchase stated they knew the pier and building were in bad shape, our colleagues were unwilling to do anything until we were under contract. Seller didn’t respond to the contract for almost a month, significantly reducing the amount of time that would be available for due diligence activities, the majority of the Commissioners expressed no interest in planning for inspections. In fact, their position was, and still is, that no matter the condition of the property they would still vote to purchase it. Only after the signed contract was received and Commissioner Kwiatkowski provided a report to the Board and Town staff of another island’s due diligence pier inspection, conducted according to standards adopted by the American Society of Civil Engineer’s, did discussion begin. Two meetings were needed before a budget was proposed adequate to cover inspection of the building and pier, including extra funding to allow at least two additional days of underwater investigations if needed. The property assessment had already been budgeted.

Because the Seller delayed signing the contract, arranging inspections was difficult. The Board determined an extension of the due diligence period, and a later closing date were necessary. The seller demanded an increase in the due diligence money for permitting the change to the due diligence period and closing date. Commissioners Brown, Murdock and Smith over our objection, voted to increase due diligence money by an additional $50,000, In closed session one commissioner offered as justification that the Seller will be responsible for more property tax because closing is pushed into next year. This is true, but the extra taxes are a fraction of the increase.

The Town has now received all the property inspection and assessment reports arranged by Town staff and they are available for review on the Town of Holden Beach website. Unfortunately, despite our (Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski) best efforts, robust information on the property’s value and condition are still lacking.

The recommended value estimates in the assessment establish market values derived from recently closed and active residential properties. A number of the properties included in the statistical market comparison may not be truly “comparable”, being in gated communities where there is a premium placed on property; three such properties sold for $1.05 million, $750,000 and $620,000. Also questionable is inclusion of the plat next to the pier properties which is being offered by the same seller at $1.09 million.

More important is the pier inspection report. Despite the importance placed by us (Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski) on below water assessment of the pier pilings, the Board was given an inspection report at the October 19 Board meeting executive session that does not include the level of investigation expected. The report states “Due to weather conditions at the time of inspection, underwater visual and tactile inspections were limited”. Later in the report it is stated the divers “attempted to perform diving operations on the piles, but due to the state of the sea it was unsafe to continue. Alternatively, all upland piles were inspected, and a hands-on tactile inspection performed on the accessible piles by wading into the wave break until water depths exceed 5 feet.” We do not question the choice to limit the inspection for safety reasons; however, there was no communication to the Board that this was the case between the September 21 inspection date and October 19 when we received the report. This is disappointing, as there has been good weather in October, and it was for the specific possibility of unfavorable weather conditions that we added extra funds to the budget to allow for additional dive days. However, even with limited investigation, the report states that the pier,”” Based on the available information provided to ATM and the preliminary results of our inspection, the Holden Beach fishing pier has likely surpassed its remaining service life considering it was constructed in 1957, which is 64 years old. Most fixed timber pier structures are constructed for a 50-year life span with regular maintenance.” (emphasis added). The report states further,” The nature of the due diligence inspection is to provide a high-level condition assessment of the facility, with a limited number of elements inspected only visually and tactilely. Prior to  making repairs, future functionality of the facility  needs to be determined and a feasibility study performed. Once facility functionality is determined , a design level inspection of the facility should be performed to confirm suitability for future operations.” (emphasis added). Based on the above cited sections of the Holden Beach Oceanfront Pier Due Diligence Inspection Report, it is clear that we cannot, at this time, make a reasonable estimate of the full cost to repair and maintain the pier, nor what it can be used for. In addition, based on the current condition of the pier, if the Town makes the purchase, it will need to be closed until repairs to pilings and railings are made which will cost AT LEAST 500-750 thousand dollars (ATM staff believes that the estimated costs for repairs is too low, particularly when considering current construction prices) to extend the lifetime of the pier by 10 to 15 years.

With less than 2 weeks until due diligence closes, it is Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski’s opinion that there is still insufficient information on property value, the pier’s condition and the estimated time and money needed to have a functioning pier and building open for business. You as property owners and voters deserve to have a clear presentation of an estimated ultimate cost for both the property purchase and improvements and a fact-based proposal of how it will be paid for.

We encourage you to make your thoughts known to the Board. Every member of the Board has asked for input and guidance from the public on this difficult issue. At the September Board of Commissioners Meeting a representative of the Holden Beach Property Owners Association (HBPOA) addressed the Board, he informed the Board that HBPOA conducted a survey and received 345 responses, approximately 82% of which supported HBPOA’s position not to support the purchase of the pier absent the inspection results, the intended use, including beach access, a 15 year plan for the estimated revenues and expenses, including repairs, improvements, insurance and operating costs, the impact on taxes. HBPOA did not oppose the purchase, but rather stated it needed the desired information prior to making a decision.

Commissioner Murdock took the position that a survey can be skewed in favor of a desired outcome and therefore determined it was not useful for determining the public’s true feelings. Therefore, we ask you, whether in favor of or opposed to the purchase under the current circumstances, as interested individuals, to make your thoughts known to the Board by stating your name, address, and opinion and/or position in an email to the Town Clerk. Alternatively, you can make a public comment in person at the November 15th  Board of Commissioners’ Meeting. After November 19, when due diligence closes, the Town is legally obligated to make the purchase unless the Town cannot arrange the financing for the purchase.

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

For the past few years, the Town has been granted a license by the owners to use the western most twenty (20) feet of the overall property (west of the RV park) as an emergency vehicle access point to the beach strand. The need for this type of access is important for the health and safety of everyone who uses the beach. The pier property has been listed for sale and of course the sale would include the currently licensed property. Not wanting to lose the vital access to the strand, the Board first focused on purchasing the licensed property; the eventual offer was not accepted by the seller. As a result of additional executive session discussions, a majority decision was taken by the Board to also explore purchasing the property containing the pier and building, specifically parcel 246DB001. After a period of negotiation, during which the owner did not accept the Town’s offer for the licensed access, the owner offered to sell the Town the parcel on which the pier and building are situated as well as a parcel adjacent to the building and extending fifty (50) feet west (parcel 246DB002). A verbal agreement on an acceptable price and due diligence and escrow amounts has been reached.

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

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

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

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

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

.  4. It is assumed that the purchase can be financed by a combination of paid parking revenue and leasing the pier and cafe building. If available grant monies can be obtained, the debt service will be less than the estimated $250,000/year. However, each potential revenue stream is merely an assumption and in no way assured.
.     a) There is a question, based on North Carolina statute, whether paid parking can be used for debt service payments. The Town will, as necessary, seek an exception to the statute, but an exception is not guaranteed.
.     b) The proposed conditions of a paid parking program on Holden Beach in 2022 are not yet settled, so currently there is not a reliable revenue estimate for the pier property parking space.
.     c) The fair market value for leasing the pier and cafe is unknown.
.     d) The grants, which can account for from 0% to 30% of the sale price, can only be applied for after the property is purchased, and of course there is no guarantee any grant money will be received.

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

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

Previously reported – October 2021

Proposed Pier Property Purchase Information

Appraisal Report

Oceanfront Land Sold –
2018 – 2021 / 18 properties sold average @$530,000
2021 / 5 properties sold average @$592,000
So the appraisal average of $715,000 seems pretty high to me

The ten sold properties used as comps also don’t seem kosher
Half of the properties, five (5) of the ten (10), are in gated communities
More importantly the lot size and dimensions on a number of these lots is significantly larger than what we are considering purchasing at the pier

Engineering Report – Building Assessment

McPherson Engineering Design did assessment
The original section of the building and the east side addition may be demolished.
The west side addition may be able to be salvaged.

Systems Evaluation

Town Building Inspector did assessment
The structure itself is in disrepair, but the west end of this structure may have some real potential and modifications, other portions are practically beyond repair, but have monetary value for improvements.

ATM Pier Inspection Report

The inspection of the timber piles was conducted by a three-person engineer dive team. MidAtlantic attempted to perform diving operation on the piles, but due to the sea state it was unsafe to continue. Alternatively, MidAtlantic inspected all the upland piles and performed a hands-on tactile inspection on the accessible piles by wading into the wave break until water depths exceed 5ft. Piles which could not be safely inspected by a person in the water the piles were visually inspected using a drone. All work was performed in accordance with the ASCE Underwater Investigations Standard Practice Manual, No. 130.

Based on the available information provided to ATM and the preliminary results of our inspection, the Holden Beach fishing pier has likely surpassed its remaining service life considering it was constructed in 1957, which is ~64 years old. Most fixed timber pier structures are constructed for a 50-year life span with regular maintenance. Without maintenance records it is difficult to ascertain when key components such as the pilings were replaced.

One of the key concerns observed during the inspection was the heavily corroded and missing/damaged connection hardware throughout the pier structure. Most connections appear to have more than 50% sectional loss (thereby reducing their strength by 50%).

In order to extend the service life to a reasonably acceptable time, many of the connections and bracing will need total replacement. While the piling may have a longer remaining service life than the other components, significant maintenance and repair of the other key structural components will need to be completed.

Immediate repairs to the pier to extend the service life to a reasonable period of time (10-15 years) is estimated to be on the order of $500,000 to $750,000. This would include replacement or significant repair of the three damaged piles, replacement of the damaged pile caps, installation of new cross bracing and total replacement of corroded fasteners and connections. This estimate assumes that significant material such as decking and stringers can be salvaged, and the construction can be completed by land-based equipment (i.e., no mobilization of barges or water-based equipment).

Update –
Seller indicated that he is unable to respond to request to reduce  the price by the deadline given. The motion is to request they extend due diligence till December 17th with a response required by November 19th. If seller doesn’t extend the due diligence period that we withdraw the offer which would terminate the contract.

A decision was made – Not Approved (2-3)
Commissioners Brown, Smith, and Murdock voted against the motion

The revised motion is to request they extend due diligence till December 17th with a response required by November 19th eliminating the termination verbiage.

A decision was made –
Approved unanimously

Pretty spirited and heartfelt discussion from Commissioners Sullivan and Murdock. Both Commissioner’s articulated their opposing opinions and neither made any headway in persuading the other one. 


Editor’s Note –
This is not how you effectively negotiate a price reduction. As a bare minimum we should be able to get a price reduction for the commission that Alan stated he is not taking for the sale of the properties.


I’d like to say I’m outraged but disappointed will have to suffice. They asked for and got input from the community. It does not appear that the responses are what they wanted so they have been pooh-poohed. The talking point was that the several hundred negative responses are not statistically significant is balderdash. Just to put this in perspective, over the last eight (8) elections the candidate with the most votes averaged just one hundred and ninety-eight (198) votes. So what number does this Board consider to be statistically significant? Most of the public comments do not support the pier property purchase without more information. It would be much easier to make the case that they don’t have a significant amount of community support at this time. Commissioner Sullivan made an excellent point when he said that the Board is beholden to the people that elected them, and they do not have public support to proceed. Unfortunately, this public request for more information appears to be falling on deaf ears.


14. Town Manager’s Report

Seagull Street Paving
Right Angle Engineering plans, design and specs have been finalized.
The project is scheduled for between Easter and Memorial Day. 


Sand Compatibility
Sediment sampling to ascertain its composition of the beach strand has been accepted by the Commission of Coastal Management. Simply put the sand source is compatible and approved for scheduled beach nourishment project.

Previously reported – May 2021
Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-12, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 –2021 (Amendment No. 13) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson
Agenda Packet –
Division Coastal Management (DCM) added native beach and large sediment sampling criteria to its beach nourishment rules and regulations. Following the announcement of the change, the Town worked with DCM to apply for grant funding. We received notification of funding in the amount of $6,000 and a fully executed contract from the state. We need to recognize the funds in this budget year as the sampling is now a permit condition in the recently issued CAMA permit for the upcoming project.

Sedimentation characterization grant required as one of the conditions for beach nourishment permit. We applied for a $6,000 grant and was awarded that amount, which does not require any matching funds. This also needs to be recognized with the budget amendment proposed.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Beach Nourishment Project
We were able to mate two (2) projects, Central Reach and Eastern Reach areas
This is a continuous project of  over five (5) miles, from 262 OBE through 871 OBW
It will cover an area that is:
.      • five (5) miles long
.      • eight (8) feet high
.      • one hundred (100) feet wide
The contract is for placement of sand in that area
We do not know the schedule for the project yet
We also don’t know where they are going to start or in which direction they will work in

In Case You Missed It –



Contractors Information Seminar
The Planning & Inspections Department, supported by the town staff, hosted the nineth annual Contractors Information Seminar on Thursday, November 4th.


Veteran’s Appreciation Luncheon
In the past we have honored Veterans, with a Resolution in Honor of Veteran’s Day and an appreciation luncheon. The Town held its Veterans Appreciation Luncheon outside at Bridgeview Park on Wednesday, November 10th.


National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On September 30, 2021, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 3, 2021.


Upcoming Events –


Turkey Trot
The Town of Holden Beach will hold its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, November 25th at 8 a.m. Registration is required by calling (910) 842-6488. Please bring a canned food item to donate to a local food bank. 



Tree Lighting
The Town of Holden Beach will hold its annual tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 3rd at 6 p.m.

 



Run Holden Beach
The eighth annual Run Holden Beach event is scheduled on Saturday, January 29th.



15. E
xecutive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(5), To Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price and Terms of Contracts Concerning the Acquisition of Real Properties – Commissioners Murdock & Smith

16. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-33, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21-13, The Revenues & Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 – 2022 (Amendment No. 7) – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
Item was added to the agenda

Audio Recording » click here  

Motion was made to appropriate $850,000 for additional property acquisition   

Moved funds of $850,000
From Revenue account #50.0399.0000 to Expense account#50.0710.7401

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

  Recessed till Friday, October 19th at 2:00pm 


BOC’s Meeting 11/19/21

Audio Recording » click here

Back in session the town attorney informed them that the seller will not give them an extension of the due diligence period nor make an adjustment to the price. Commissioner Sullivan made a motion to terminate the contract.

A decision was made – Not Approved (2-3)
Commissioners Brown, Smith, and Murdock voted against the motion

       Recessed till Monday, October 22nd at 12:00pm     


General Comments –


HBPOA Survey
The HBPOA sends a survey to all property owners on a biennial basis. This is your opportunity to provide input to elected officials regarding your opinions and positions on key issues. If you are a property owner and don’t have the password, you can email them at hbpoa@hotmail.com with your property address and they will send you the link or the password. Your feedback is important.


2021 Municipal Elections Results

Candidate                              Position                    Term               Votes
Alan Holden                            Mayor                         Seventh           71        (unopposed)

Page Dyer                                Commissioner           First                 77        (unopposed)
Rick Smith                               Commissioner           First                 63        (unopposed)
Patricia Kwiatkowski            Commissioner           Third               60        (unopposed)

Congratulations and thanks to our elected officials for their service to the community. 


Editor’s Note –
Off-year elections are often noted for low interest and few voters at the polls. The fact that all four (4) candidates ran unopposed probably explains why we only had eighty-five (85) voters out of eight hundred and twenty-five (825) registered voters or just 10.30% turnout to vote. Surprisingly Page Dyer, who previously had not served in the town government in any capacity, received the most votes and will fill the unexpired commission term, which is just two (2) years.

Election results in 2019 by comparison were as follows:

Candidate                             Position                     Term               Votes
Alan Holden                           Mayor                          Sixth                241      (unopposed)

Gerald Brown                        Commissioner            Second            246
Woody Tyner                        
Commissioner            First                230
Brian Murdock                     
Commissioner            First                225
Mike Sullivan                         Commissioner            Second            182
Patricia Kwiatkowski          
Commissioner            Second            168



        • BOC’s Meeting

          The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, December 21
          st

           


        • I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with family, friends

          and all of the memories that make you thankful!

          November 25, 2021


Hurricane #1 - CR

 

Hurricane Season
For more information » click here

Be prepared – have a plan!

.a.

.

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


Do you enjoy this newsletter?
Then please forward it to a friend!


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/

11 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / November Edition


Calendar of Events –


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 –



Turkey Trot
The Town of Holden Beach will hold its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, November 25th at 8 a.m. Registration is required by calling (910) 842-6488. Please bring a canned food item to donate to a local food bank.


Tree Lighting
The Town of Holden Beach will hold its annual tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 3, 2021 at 6 p.m.


Sandy Paws Dog Parade
Join us on Saturday, December 11th at 10:00 a.m. outside the Town Hall Public Assembly for our annual Sandy Paws Dog Parade. This will be a short walk to the Pavilion where you can have you dog’s picture taken with Santa. Registration is required by December 6th at 5:00 p.m.


The Chapel Choir’s Excellent Adventure
The Holden Beach Choir is preparing for its first Christmas concert with a live orchestra. On Sunday December 12th at 7:00 PM, the choir will present the musical, All Is Calm, All Is Bright accompanied by a Chamber Orchestra composed of strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. It is going to be a beautiful evening of Christmas music you will not want to miss. Mark your calendars now for this very special Christmas concert. It will be the highlight of your holiday season.


Run Holden Beach
The eighth annual Run Holden Beach event is scheduled on Saturday, January 29th.


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


Reminders –



Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule

GFL Environmental change in service, trash pickup will be once a week. Trash collection goes 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


Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting October once a week

Recyclingstarting October every other week


Yard debris is collected on the second (2nd) and fourth (4th) Fridays during the months of October, November, and December. Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length not to exceed five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. 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. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.


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



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).


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, December 21st
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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.


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.


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


Upon Further Review –


National Flood Insurance Rates: the Tide Is Changing
Flood Insurance Presentation » click here


Corrections & Amplifications –


Abandoned trawlers removal underway in Holden Beach
Two abandoned commercial shrimping trawlers submerged in the Intracoastal Waterway in Holden Beach are in the process of being removed this week, an effort to clean up harmful marine debris. Brunswick County and North Carolina Coastal Federation, which publishes Coastal Review, teamed up to remove the two abandoned and derelict vessels, the 65-foot-long Miss Evans and the Capt. Jeff. Both trawlers are beyond repair or salvage. The owners have granted permission for the trawlers to be removed and properly disposed of. The federation is organizing the removal with contractor, Mainstream Commercial Divers with offices in Charleston, South Carolina, and Kentucky. Mainstream’s team will coordinate the environmental protection aspect of the removal through the use of debris and oil booms, removal of all hazardous materials from the vessels and onsite monitoring. A land-based crane will remove and dismantle the trawlers. The debris will be placed into dumpsters and taken to the landfill for disposal. The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners approved a landfill fee waiver for the disposal of these two derelict vessels during their Nov. 15 regular meeting. The estimated landfill disposal fees of $8,000 to $10,000 can now be used to remove more vessels.
The site of the removal operations and waters surrounding the trawlers are closed to the public during the removal operations. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program Emergency Hurricane Funding supported the project through the federation. The removals currently underway close out a yearlong effort to remove abandoned and derelict vessels and large-scale hurricane marine debris from Brunswick County, the federation said. The state first granted Brunswick County the authority to address abandoned vessels in 2013. The county adopted an ordinance in 2017 to manage abandoned and derelict vessels. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office marine patrol monitors boats that are discovered at anchor to avoid further abandonment.
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Sunken shrimp trawlers to be removed from ICW
Brunswick County and the North Carolina Coastal Federation (NCCF) are working together to remove two sunken commercial shrimping trawlers from the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in Holden Beach. According to a news release from the federation, the 65 long Miss Evans and Capt. Jeff are no longer in service and are beyond repair or salvage. The owners of the vessels have granted the county and the federation permission to remove the trawlers and dispose of them properly. “The two trawlers and their symbolism of coastal history and culture will be missed, and the generations of men and women who worked on them are saddened at the loss,” the federation stated in a news release. “However, the removal will reduce and clean up harmful debris in the surrounding waters and habitats, and it will aid the owners and their families.” The removal operations will be conducted by Mainstream Commercial Divers. “Mainstream’s team will coordinate the environmental protection aspect of the removal through the use of debris and oil booms; removal of all hazardous materials from the vessels; and on-site monitoring,” the news release states. “A land-based crane will remove and dismantle the trawlers. The debris will be placed into dumpsters and taken to the landfill for disposal.” During its meeting Monday, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners approved a landfill waiver for the disposal of the two vessels. The estimated landfill disposal fees of $8,000-$10,000 will be able to be utilized to remove additional vessels, officials say. “The site of the removal operations and waters surrounding the trawlers will be closed to entry to the public,” according to the news release. “The removal operations are funded through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/NOAA Marine Debris Program Emergency Hurricane Funding to the federation.”
Read more » click here


Odds & Ends –


NC Answers: Why is there no happy hour in North Carolina?
Happy hours did have a heyday in Tar Heel State. Just not anymore.

Question: Why can’t North Carolina restaurants host happy hours?

Short Answer: Concerns over drunk driving led North Carolina to ban limited drink specials in the 1980s, and the state is now one of only eight to prohibit happy hours. Though some would surely like to grab a discounted beer (or beers) at certain times of the day, representatives of the state’s food and beverage industry say getting back happy hour isn’t currently a top priority.

Longer Answer: Alcoholic drinks can’t be sold at free or reduced prices in North Carolina for limited hours. A bar can sell drinks at a discounted rate for an entire day, but not less. Businesses also can’t offer discounts for only certain customers (so no ladies’ nights, college nights, annoyed journalists’ nights, etc.). Happy hours did have a heyday in the Tar Heel State, albeit a brief one. The concept gained popularity in the late 1970s once North Carolina began allowing bars and restaurants to serve individual liquor drinks. Newspapers wrote about the new drink deal trend with quotes: “happy hours”. However in 1985, a year after the National Minimum Drinking Age Act raised the drinking age to 21, North Carolina legislators were vocally opposing the practice. “We’re glamorizing and promoting it as if it’s lemonade,” Rep. Coy Privette (R-Cabarrus) said at the time. Privette was a Baptist pastor, Christian activist and a teetotaler (he’d later be charged with multiple counts of aiding and abetting prostitution, but that’s another matter). He believed happy hours contributed to drunk driving, a worry shared by many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. “I think happy hours encourage consumption at the wrong times, when people are tired and are on their way home,” said Rep. Martin Lancaster, a Democrat who would later serve in Congress and the Clinton Administration. Lancaster introduced a bill to eliminate limited drink specials. But before the General Assembly could pass a bill, the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission beat them to it: putting a happy hour ban into effect in August 1985. The ABC Commission is a state agency that controls how all alcoholic beverages in North Carolina are made, transported and sold.  Today, North Carolina is one of eight states without happy hours. The others — Massachusetts, Indiana, Alaska, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, and Oklahoma — are geographically and politically diverse. As for whether happy hours will make a resurgence, the topic is down on the list of changes business owners have wanted to see, said Lynn Minges, president of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) “There have been so many other more pressing issues that have demanded our attention and we’ve chosen to focus on those,” she said. A few years ago, the NCRLA successfully lobbied for a brunch bill that allowed alcohol to be sold on Sundays as early as 10 a.m. Alcohol sales had previously been prohibited before noon on Sundays. More recently, the association has pushed to create more social districts, extend alcohol service in outdoor dining settings, and allow restaurants to order liquor from ABC stores online. North Carolina is also currently facing a widespread liquor shortage, a problem that prompted the head of the ABC Commission to resign earlier this year. So, happy hours may not be top-of-mind at the moment. Some restaurant owners, Minges pointed out, may like not feeling the competitive pressures to offer limited drink specials. “Given the situation they’ve all struggled through during COVID, (happy hour) is probably not something that they are eager to do right now,” she said. Austin Jordan, general manager at the Jack of the Wood pub in Asheville, said the lack of happy hours hasn’t hampered sales. He offered afternoon specials when working at a bar in Virginia and noted these discounts did draw in the after-work crowd. But he said his current bar gets by just fine doing select drink specials — dollar off bourbons, $7 Moscow Mules — that (by law) run all day.
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This and That –


‘A long-term dream:’ Ocean Isle Beach poised to begin construction on terminal groin after lobbying, lengthy legal battles
Leaders in Ocean Isle Beach have been working for years to preserve the coastline and stave of beach erosion at the end of the island. The journey appears to be coming to a close after nearly 20 years of legislative work and lawsuits. Crews will begin work on their terminal groin project as soon as the environmental window opens up November 16. The groin essentially traps the sand to better secure the beachfront. Some sand will still be able to wash around the groin, but the structure aims to be a long-term solution to the erosion that’s tormented the east end of the island for ages. Storms and the advancing shoreline have been taking back homes and roads and disrupting utility lines for some time now. Nothing remains of the home Mayor Debbie Smith built on Third Street back in the 1980′s. Feet away from what
s left of the road sits massive piles of sandbags. Third Street is now oceanfront, and First and Second Street are no more. When the house was first built, there were two to three rows of homes in front, until the ocean began to inundate the properties. Smith sold the home decades before a storm ultimately knocked it off the sandbags supporting the structure but kept watch as it was reduced to debris and cleared away piece by piece. “It’s pretty shocking. It’s actually kind of a tourist attraction. When I bring my family over, I show them. I’m worried it might affect my house someday,” said island resident Colin Blair. A remedy isn’t far away though — US Army Corps of Engineers beach renourishment and the terminal groin construction beginning in a matter of weeks. “The terminal groin the town is working on, it hopefully is a long-term solution. It will stabilize the end of the island and the sand we pump as part of this job will stay there longer,” said USACE Project engineer Brennan Dooley. “It’s a great partnership.” The entire product is expected to cost $11 million, which the town is paying for with accommodations tax money it has saved over the years. The mayor says they’ve been able to save the money slowly over the years because the process to bring the groin to fruition has taken so long. The town had to first change the law to allow the groin. After the new law passed, it secured the necessary permits from USACE, CAMA and wildlife, and then was hit by a lawsuit the week it planned to open construction bids. Ultimately, the town won the lawsuit that aimed to take the project permits, but the ruling was appealed twice and went to both the state and federal court. Mayor Debbie Smith, though says the town’s elected leaders never stopped pushing. “These property owners — this town — deserve to try and help themselves, to save infrastructure, to save our water lines, our sewer lines. We’ve moved two to three manholes after storms — that shouldn’t happen,” said Smith. “It’s the beginning of a long-term dream so I’m very optimistic that it’s going to make a positive impact on the last mile or better of Ocean Isle Beach.”
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Ocean Isle Beach terminal groin, sand projects set to begin
Two major beachfront projects to mitigate erosion and beef up the east end of Ocean Isle Beach’s shore are expected to be underway next month. Once the environmental window for dredging and beach nourishment activities opens Nov. 16, contractors are set to begin building a terminal groin, a wall-like structure built perpendicular to shore. At the same time, a joint federal project will kick off to beef up the east end of the town’s ocean shoreline. “We do hope to see activity on the beach the middle of November,” said Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith. Though the two projects were initiated separately, the timing is such that they will be done together. Ocean Isle Beach had the necessary federal and state permits by February 2017 to build a 1,050-foot terminal groin, 300 feet of which will be a sheet-pile, shore-anchorage section. In August that year, the National Audubon Society filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the project. A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed last March a lower court’s decision that the Corps fairly considered the alternatives included in an environmental impact statement examining the project. About two months prior to that ruling, Congress approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Work Plan for the Army Civil Works program. That approval included funding for a Coastal Storm Risk Management, or CSRM, project. Federal funds cover 65% of the project costs, with the town and state matching the remaining 35%.
According to information on the town’s website, Ocean Isle Beach submitted the 35% share of $3,045,000 to the Corps and requested the state reimburse half of that amount. Last month, the Corps awarded a $6,675,000 contract to Norfolk Dredging Co. to dredge from a borrow area within Shallotte Inlet and place the dredged material at the far-east end of the island. An estimated 700,000 cubic yards of sand is anticipated to be placed on about 1.5 miles of the easternmost beachfront, according to Dave Connolly, public affairs chief of the Corps’ Wilmington district. Ocean Isle’s ocean shoreline is about 5.5 miles long. “The work will be completed simultaneously, and it is likely the town’s contractor for the groin will start work on the groin and our contractor will start and pump sand behind the groin and fill out the template,” Connolly said in an email response to Coastal Review. “This portion of work behind the groin is a contract option fully funded by the town – we are doing this work for them through an Additional Work Memorandum of Agreement.” The cost to the town, per that agreement, is an estimated $2.45 million and does not include the cost of constructing the terminal groin, according to information provided on the town’s website. Of the two bids the town received in September to build the terminal groin, Coastal Design and Construction Inc. of Virginia submitted the lowest at about $11.4 million. Coastal Protection Engineering, the Wilmington firm the town hired to oversee the project, recommended Ocean Isle award the contract to the low bidder contingent upon the town receiving a North Carolina Coastal Area Management Act, or CAMA, major permit modification. The state has granted the permit modification extending the deadline of the completion of the terminal groin from March 31 to April 30, 2022. Smith said the request for an extension was made in the event of possible weather-related or equipment-related issues that could push back work on the terminal groin. “Hopefully with everybody out there it will move quickly,” she said. A news release earlier this month from the Wilmington District described how, by the end of the project, “the east end of the island will look drastically different and provide added benefits toward recreation, erosion protection and a potential habitat for sea turtles and nesting birds.” Smith said that opting to have the Corps build up the beach behind the terminal groin cuts down on costs. “It will save the town money on the terminal groin project because it will save some on the mobilization cost of the dredge,” she said. Smith said she did not know the specific cost savings, adding, “It’s substantial money.” The terminal groin is designed to reduce the erosion that has for years eaten away at the east end of the island, where a wall of sandbags 15 feet tall and some 1,500 feet long barricades the ocean from private properties, roads and public utilities. “Our engineer and modeling reports do say that the terminal groin should extend the life of the (CSRM) project,” Smith said. “How many years we don’t know for sure.” Dredging for the Coastal Storm Risk Management project is expected to end March 31, 2022.
Read more » click here


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Watch out for deer
NCDOT warns motorists
across North Carolina to stay alert for deer now that fall has arrived. Every year during late autumn, auto and body shops across the region brace for a bumper crop of business, comprised of an influx of cars with damage from collisions with deer. Beginning in October, roads across the state become hazardous as North Carolina’s deer population fans out, lurking on highway shoulders in search of food and potential mates. It’s the deadliest time of the year for deer, which also pose a particular danger to motorists. Nearly half of vehicle accidents involving white-tail deer occur from October to December. Deer accidents typically begin rising in October, peak in November and begin dropping off after December, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Deer are crepuscular mammals, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk – which, following the onset of daylight savings time, places them near roads and byways precisely when large numbers of residents are commuting to and from work.

Report: Animal-related crashes on the rise in North Carolina
The frequency of animal-vehicle crashes has increased considerably from the year before, according to a report. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) said there was a total of 20,331 animal-involved crashes in 2019, an increase of more than 2,300 from 2018. Officials said deer account for about 90% of all animal-related crashes. The increase in incidents could be attributed to growth in the state, with more drivers on the road and more development. State officials warn that North Carolina is entering the three worst months of the year for animal-related crashes, with October, November, and December accounting for half of the annual total over the past three years. The NCDOT Transportation Mobility and Safety Division study shows animal-related crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800 others, and caused nearly $156.9 million in property damage over those three years. For the 17th year in a row, Wake County leads the rest of the state for animal collisions with 1,023 in 2019. The NCDOT says far western counties have the lowest numbers because they have the fewest drivers and roads. Graham County recorded just five animal collisions and has the bottom spot for the fifth year in a row.

NCDOT has some helpful tips for motorists in regard to deer-vehicle crashes:

    • Although it does not decrease the risk of being in a crash, wearing a seat belt gives you a better chance of avoiding or minimizing injuries if you hit a deer or other animal.
    • Always maintain a safe amount of distance between your vehicle and others, especially at night. If the vehicle ahead of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash.
    • Slowdown in areas posted with deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.
    • Most deer-vehicle crashes occur where deer are more likely to travel, near bridges or overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches. Be vigilant when passing through potentially risky landscapes.
    • Drive with high beams on when possible and watch for eyes reflecting in the headlights.
    • Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one deer near a road, be alert that others may be around.
    • If you see deer near a road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast.
    • Do not swerve to avoid a collision with deer. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, increasing the risk of it flipping over, veering into oncoming traffic, or overcorrecting and running off the road and causing a more serious crash.

Officials say the most crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight, accounting for about 45% of the overall total. With the end of daylight savings time at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, the time shift increases the chance of deer being by roadways when drivers are traveling in the dark, especially for their evening commute. If your vehicle does strike a deer, officials say do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can be dangerous or further injure itself. Get your vehicle off the road if possible and call 911.
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AAA: Oh deer! They’re on the move
Tips to avoid deer collisions and costly repairs
With deer mating season under way, AAA Carolinas is urging motorists to be cautious and extra vigilant on the roads to help avoid collisions, as October through December are considered to be the worst months of the year for vehicle collisions with animals. “This is the time of the year when deer are extremely active and the chances of  them darting into the roadway are much higher,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “We urge drivers to stay alert especially in animal-prone areas because a collision with a deer can be just as destructive as a collision with another vehicle.” According to the North Carolina Department of  Transportation, there was an increase of more than 2,300 animal-vehicle crashes in 2019, with the overall ­figure reaching 20,331 crashes, of which 90 percent are assumed to be deer. The months of October through December account for 51 percent of those crashes. In the most recent data provided by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, South Carolina reported 3,086 collisions with animals in 2019 (no pertinent stats for 2020 due to pandemic and less motorists on the roads). According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, from 2010 to 2019, almost 2,000 people were killed in animal-related crashes. Colliding with a deer is not only dangerous, it’s also increasingly expensive even in a minor crash,” Wright said. “New technology like cameras and windshield sensors drive up the cost of repairs, which makes it more imperative to double-check your insurance coverage.” The average claim for hitting a deer in the Carolinas is $4,300. To avoid out-of-pocket expense, AAA recommends purchasing an auto policy including comprehensive coverage, which covers collisions with deer or other animals.
Tips when on the road
AAA encourages motorists to keep these tips in mind when on the road:
Most deer are active between 5 and 8 a.m. and 5 and 8 p.m., so pay extra attention during this time if  you’re out on the road. If you see a deer, slow down and watch out for other deer that may follow. While slowing down, honk your horn to scare the animal. Brake ­firmly and do not swerve.
In the event of a collision
If possible, immediately move the vehicle to a safe location, out of the roadway. Your safety and the safety of your passengers are most important. Once you are in a safe location and no longer driving, call the police. Turn the vehicle’s hazard lights on. Avoid making contact with the deer/animal. A frightened or wounded animal can hurt you or further injure itself. Contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to report any damage to your vehicle. Take photos of the damage if you can do so safely and without entering the roadway. To report an injured deer in North Carolina, call the state Wildlife Enforcement  Division at (800) 662-7137. To report an injured deer in South Carolina, call the SC Department of Natural Resources of­fice at (803) 734-3886 to locate a rehabilitator near you. When in North Carolina, deer-related crashes should be reported to NCDOT. When in South Carolina, deer-related crashes should be reported to the SC Department of Transportation.
Beacon


Hot Button Issues

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


Climate
For more information » click here

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


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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 September 30, 2021, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 3, 2021.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on December 3, 2021


FEMA seeks comment on National Flood Insurance Program
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are calling for feedback on the National Flood Insurance Program. The National Flood Insurance Program provides flood insurance to property owners, renters and businesses as well as works with communities required to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations that help mitigate flooding effects, according to FEMA. FEMA is hosting two, 90-minute virtual meetings when the public can comment. The first meeting is 2:30-4 p.m. Thursday. Participants must register in advance on the webpage. The second meeting is from 3:30-5 p.m. Nov. 15. Register in advance online to attend or speak. The meetings will look at the program’s floodplain management standards for land management and use and an assess the program’s impact on threatened and endangered species and their habitats, FEMA officials said. Floodplain management is a community-based effort to prevent or reduce the risk of flooding. Published Oct. 12 in the Federal Register, the notice says FEMA officials want to hear from the public what updates are needed for the program’s minimum floodplain management standards to help communities become safer, stronger and more resilient, according to the agency. The agency also seeks input on minimum floodplain management standards to promote conservation of threatened and endangered species and their habitats, as consistent with the Endangered Species Act. In addition to providing verbal comments at the meetings, written comments can be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal using Docket ID: FEMA-2021-2024. Click on the “Comment” button and complete the form. The comment period closes Dec. 13. 

FEMA officials said that the type of feedback that is most useful to the agency:

    • Identifies opportunities for the agency to improve the minimum floodplain management standards for land management and use.
    • Identifies specific program components that promote conservation of threatened and endangered species and their habitats.
    • Refers to specific barriers to community participation.
    • Aligns the program with the improved understanding of flood risk and flood risk reduction approaches.
    • Identifies better incentives for communities and policyholders, particularly for Endangered Species Act-listed species and critical habitats.
    • Offers actionable data.
    • Specifies viable alternatives to existing approaches that meet statutory obligations.

Read more » click here

National Flood Insurance Rates: the Tide Is Changing
Flood Insurance Presentation
For more information » click here


 

GenX
For more information » click here
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EPA assessment: GenX more toxic than thought; health effects might include liver, immune system
The Environmental Protection Agency released an assessment Monday showing that GenX, a chemical made at a Bladen County plant, is more toxic than previously believed. The toxicity assessment for hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt, which the EPA calls GenX chemicals, determined a daily ingestion level at which a person is unlikely to face adverse health effects, according to the EPA website. During a similar review in 2018, agency officials set that chronic “reference dose” at a level more than 26 times this year’s assessment. The EPA’s review talked about possible health effects. “Animal studies following oral exposure have shown health effects including on the liver, kidneys, the immune system, development of offspring, and an association with cancer,” it said. “Based on available information across studies of different sexes, life stages, and durations of exposure, the liver appears to be particularly sensitive from oral exposure to GenX chemicals.” EPA officials say the assessment will help public health officials determine the risks associated with GenX. The Chemours company manufactures GenX at its plant in Bladen County. The chemical also is a byproduct of other processes there. GenX belongs to a family of compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The compounds are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily. The Chemours company manufactures GenX at its plant in Bladen County. The chemical also is a byproduct of other processes there. GenX belongs to a family of compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The compounds are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily. State officials have been investigating GenX since 2017, when the Wilmington Star-News reported that researchers had discovered the chemical and similar compounds in the Cape Fear River, downstream from the Chemours plant. The company agreed to a consent order that requires it to drastically reduce the amount of GenX it is emitting into the air.
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EPA releases final GenX human health toxicity assessment
The release Monday of the Environmental Protection Agency’s final human health toxicity assessment for GenX chemicals represents a key step in advancing the scientific understanding of these toxins and their effects on human health, officials said Monday. Across the country, including in southeastern North Carolina, GenX chemicals, part of the per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substance, or PFAS, group, have been found in surface water, groundwater, drinking water, rainwater, and the air. The final GenX chemicals toxicity assessment is a step closer to developing a national drinking water health advisory for GenX chemicals, which the agency committed to publishing in Spring 2022 as part of the PFAS Roadmap that EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan’s announced the PFAS Roadmap last week. The roadmap details the whole-of-agency approach to addressing PFAS. During his announcement Oct. 19 he said to expect the release of this final assessment. “Research establishes a foundation for informed decision making and it is one of the central strategies of EPA’s PFAS Roadmap,” said Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox in a statement. “This science-based final assessment marks a critical step in the process of establishing a national drinking water health advisory for GenX chemicals and provides important information to our partners that can be used to protect communities where these chemicals are found.” The final assessment for GenX chemicals looks at the potential human health effects associated with oral exposure. The Southern Environmental Law Center represents Cape Fear River Watch in litigation to stop pollution into the Cape Fear River from the Chemours Fayetteville Works facility in North Carolina. News broke of the pollution in June 2017, while Regan was North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality’s secretary. The final human health toxicity assessment for GenX underscores the importance of regulating PFAS as a class of chemicals and the need to stop harmful pollution at its source under existing laws, according to the center. “Today’s toxicity assessment is further confirmation that the more we learn about these chemicals, the more we learn that they must be treated as a class; no community should have to suffer from harmful PFAS as we wait for research to confirm their toxicity,” said Geoff Gisler, senior attorney and leader of the Clean Water Program at the Southern Environmental Law Center who led litigation against Chemours in North Carolina. “This more stringent GenX toxicity assessment is why it’s so vital to our families and communities that DEQ, and state agencies nationwide, must impose stringent limits on PFAS using existing authority when issuing water permits to polluters.”  The law center’s litigation led to a consent order among Cape Fear River Watch, the state and Chemours to stop at least 99% of PFAS pollution at its source that contaminated the Cape Fear River, according to the release.
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Chemours responsible for New Hanover contamination, NC DEQ says
State officials have determined Chemours is responsible for contaminating New Hanover County’s water supply. The company, which has a plant on the Cape Fear River, also is responsible for contaminating groundwater monitoring wells in New Hanover County and also might be responsible for contaminations in Pender, Columbus and Brunswick counties, according to a statement released Wednesday by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ is requiring Chemours to “assess the extent of contamination in downstream communities to include well sampling and provision of replacement drinking water supplies,” according to the statement. DEQ Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser said contamination from Chemours extends to multiple communities down the Cape Fear River. The company’s actions to address the communication must reach those communities, she said. “DEQ will continue to take the necessary steps to provide relief to affected North Carolinians as the science and regulations require,” she said.
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State to force Chemours to test downstream wells for PFAS
The state is requiring Chemours to take more action to address GenX and PFAS contamination into the Cape Fear River from the Fayetteville Works facility, especially that affecting private well owners. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, which includes GenX, are widely used, man-made toxins often called “forever chemicals” that break down very slowly over time and build up in humans, animals and the environment, according to the EPA. Studies show that exposure to some of these chemicals may be linked to harmful health effects. First, Chemours must assess the extent of contamination in communities downstream, to include well sampling and provision of replacement drinking water supplies, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality officials said Wednesday. Second, Chemours is required to review existing well sampling in communities surrounding the Fayetteville Works facility to determine additional eligibility for whole-house filtration and public water, in light of the revised Toxicity Assessment for GenX from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “The contamination from Chemours extends down the Cape Fear River into multiple communities and Chemours’ actions to address that contamination must reach those communities as well,” said DEQ Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser in a statement. “DEQ will continue to take the necessary steps to provide relief to affected North Carolinians as the science and regulations require.” Copies of the notifications to Chemours are online. DEQ officials said the department has determined that Chemours is responsible for contamination of groundwater monitoring wells and water supply wells in New Hanover County and possibly Pender, Columbus, and Brunswick counties. “Chemours is required to expand the off-site assessment required under the 2019 Consent Order to determine the extent of the contamination. Chemours must also conduct sampling of private drinking water wells to identify residents who may be eligible for replacement drinking water supplies. Chemours must submit plans to DEQ for approval,” officials said. Regarding the second action, officials said Chemours had been advised that the EPA will be releasing a federal drinking water health advisory level for GenX in the coming months. The 2019 Consent Order requires Chemours to provide replacement permanent drinking water to private wells with “detections of GenX compounds in exceedance of 140 ng/L (nanogram per liter), or any applicable health advisory, whichever is lower.” In advance of a likely EPA health advisory level below 140 nanogram per liter, DEQ is requiring Chemours to review existing well sampling data to identify residents who would be entitled to public water or whole house filtration under a revised health advisory level.  Chemours must revise the assessment of public water feasibility for all affected residents under a lower health advisory level. DEQ is also requiring Chemours to create a plan to transition residents who have previously received reverse osmosis systems based on GenX results to either public water or whole-house filtrations systems as appropriate under a lower GenX health advisory level. “I want to thank DEQ and Secretary Biser for taking these steps to require action from Chemours, so they take responsibility for the PFAS contamination they have caused in our community,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman in a statement.
“It is important for our residents to be provided with the same protections as those who are close to the Chemours plant, and that means testing and monitoring the groundwater wells in our county and providing bottled water and then a permanent filtration or connection to a public water supply if elevated PFAS are detected,” she said. “New Hanover County has advocated to be included in the Consent Order, and today’s actions are a positive step towards that. We will continue to do all we can to support DEQ’s efforts and ensure our residents have access to safe drinking water.” Lisa Randall, regional communications lead for Chemours, provided the following statement on behalf of the company: “Chemours is a part of the solution to addressing PFAS contamination in North Carolina, and we will continue working with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), as we have been for several years, to move forward with efforts to address PFAS found in the environment related to our Fayetteville Works manufacturing site. We have worked closely with NCDEQ on implementation of on-site and off-site programs, including a private well sampling program, as part of the consent order agreement between Chemours, Cape Fear River Watch and the state of North Carolina. “We are continuing to review the NCDEQ correspondence we just received and will follow-up with the agency for further clarification of their correspondence.”
Read more » click here


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    Homeowners Insurance
    For more information » click here
    .


NC DOI Again Postpones Hearing on 25% Homeowners Rate Hike
A hearing set for today on a proposed 24.5% average increase in homeowners’ insurance rates has been postponed until Jan. 3, the North Carolina Department of Insurance announced. The rate increase was recommended by the North Carolina Rate Bureau one year ago and has met with stiff opposition from realtors and homeowner groups since then. The Rate Bureau is not part of the insurance department but represents insurers in the state. Insurers have said that increased wind and hail losses from storms are the main drivers behind the requested increase. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said in a news release that the January hearing will proceed if the department and the rate bureau cannot negotiate a settlement for a lower rate increase. This is the second time the hearing has been postponed. A Sept. 20 meeting was rescheduled for today, Nov. 1. The recommended increase follows one in 2018, in which the bureau asked for a statewide average hike of 17.4%, but later settled for a 4% increase. In April of this year, the bureau had proposed an 18.7% average increase in dwelling insurance, for rental and investment properties, but settled for a 7.6% rise after negotiating with the department. If the two sides do not reach a compromise, the hearing on the latest proposed increase will be Jan. 3 at 10 a.m. in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., in Raleigh.
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  • .
    Hurricane Season

    For more information » click here

 


 

Inlet Hazard Areas
For more information » 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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Offshore Wind Farms
For more information » click here.
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Duke to study offshore wind energy’s effects on marine life
The United States Department of Energy has awarded Duke University a $7.5 million grant to research the impact that offshore wind development can have on wildlife and marine life. The grant announced Oct. 13 is part of a larger sustainable energy development award package of $13.5 million by the Energy Department. The department distributed the funds among four different projects, all focused on wildlife and offshore wind. Earlier this year, the Biden administration announced a goal of creating tens of thousands of jobs while deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by the year 2030. Meeting this goal can put the U.S. on a path to achieve 110 gigawatts by 2050. The ultimate intention is to create jobs while also creating opportunities for renewable energy, without endangering ecosystems as they currently exist. To put these plans in motion, more offshore wind construction off the Atlantic coast will be beginning in the next several years. But there is uncertainty as to how offshore wind may affect fish, whales, birds, and other marine life. Duke University’s project, Wildlife and Offshore Wind, or WOW, aims to answer some of these questions. “There’s a fair few number of moving parts, and we’re going to try to figure out how to get those moving parts to move in harmony,” said Dr. Douglas Nowacek, a Repass-Rodgers University Distinguished Professor of Conservation Technology at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort. Nowacek will be leading WOW along with other researchers at Duke University. However, the consortium of researchers involved in the project will span 15 different institutions. One of the first steps, said Nowacek, is to aggregate all the data that already exists in one place. This data comes from academic researchers, government agencies, as well as some of Europe’s experience with offshore wind. They also have letters of commitment from several wind energy developers, stating that they will share wildlife data with WOW. “The next step then is going to be to create some tools, some models, (and) some frameworks to utilize those data,” Nowacek said. The first year of this project will be focused on data aggregation, as well as creating frameworks, synthesis tools and data standards. After assessing what’s already out there, the team can identify gaps in knowledge and potential lines of inquiry. The following years will be spent deploying research efforts to address the questions identified in the first year. Nowacek said that even though coordination across so many contributors is difficult, the collective expertise across institutions is likely the reason that they were selected for the grant in the first place. Formally, WOW has been in the works since January, when Nowacek and others started compiling their grant proposal. However, Nowacek said that the relationship building that goes into an expansive project like this has been in the works for years. Dr. Patrick Halpin, director of Duke’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, will take the lead on the data synthesis component of the project. Halpin said the timing of the grant is especially important. As offshore wind is in the early stages of development in the region, beginning WOW work now means that they can do critical initial assessments before construction of turbines begins. This will be key later on, in that the researchers will have pre-construction data to refer to. Having pre- and post-construction data will make it easier to evaluate how offshore wind interacts with marine wildlife. This project could set the stage for long-term, conscientious management of sustainable energy with regard to marine species. “A big portion of this project is really to come up with a common framework for assessment, which will allow us to help develop monitoring protocols (and) help us be able to look at the interactions for many different taxa,” Halpin said, referring to biological groupings of species. “And then doing that at a regional scale so that the lessons learned can be applied across this rapidly developing field right now.” Different wildlife may be affected at different stages of the process, said Halpin. Marine mammals, like the endangered North Atlantic right whale, may be most impacted during the noisy construction stage. Whereas avian interactions or displacement could occur after the turbines are built. “I think people think about it as interactions are going to be one thing — a monolithic kind of issue,” Halpin said. “But really, interactions for different species are going to be very, very different in space and time.” In addition to Duke University, the other partners on WOW include the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Rutgers University, the University of St. Andrews, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Syracuse University, the Pacific Northwest National Lab, TetraTech, Scientific Innovations, the New England Aquarium, Florida State University, the Biodiversity Research Institute, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Southall Environmental Associates, and Cornell University.
Read more » click here


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.
/////
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
/////
WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS by Stacey Abrams
A shrewd political/legal thriller set within the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court. The novel begins when a Supreme Court Justice falls into a coma, his brilliant law clerk is shocked to discover that her boss has made her his legal guardian and granted her power of attorney.
The young law clerk finds herself embroiled in a shocking conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington. The setup is like a complicated in-progress game of chess. She realizes this complex puzzle will lead her directly into harm’s way in order to find the truth.


  • .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

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10 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Regular Meeting 09/21/21

Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(5), To Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price and Terms of Contracts Concerning the Acquisition of Real Property – Commissioners Murdock and Kwiatkowski

No decision was made – No action taken

Recessed till Wednesday, September 29th at 8:00am


BOC’s Meeting 09/29/21

Audio Recording » click here


Back from Executive Session they discussed asking for an extension of the due diligence period in order to get pier property inspection completed. The motion was to be cautious and take a conservative approach, require date certain, asking for date of November 19th which should be adequate time to have everything they need to make a decision.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Based on several variables,  they anticipate that would push the closing date till February of next year. Motion was to define the closing date to be by the last day of February.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Need a response from the seller by 5:00pm on Friday which is the current contractual deadline. They requested a response from the seller by noon Friday, which gives them some time to decide what they want to do. A no response would trigger a termination of the contract at that time.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Documents should be disclosed and made public

      • Appraisal
      • Engineers report of the building
      • Town Inspectors accompanying report

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Resolution 21-15

Approved amending resolution for lift station financing

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Scheduled Special Meeting on Friday, October 1st at 12:15pm


Mayor Holden is the agent for the pier property. He stated that he has not participated other than procedurally in the process. Alan reaffirmed that he is not getting any commission for the sale. That should put to bed any conversations about their being a conflict of interest in him representing both the seller and the buyer.


BOC’s Special Meeting 10/01/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Appraisal Report

Engineering Report – Building Assessment

Systems Evaluation

Audio Recording » click here

Mayor Holden – was not in attendance


1. Public Comment

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

3. Discussion and Possible Action on Contract for the 441 Ocean Boulevard West (the pier property)

The seller accepted what we requested. Motion was to approve amended contract as prepared by our town attorney which contains all conditions necessary to comply. Seller agreed to the request to extend the due diligence period but wants an additional $50,000 to keep the property off the market. Commissioner Sullivan pointed out that the reason we needed to ask for an extension is because the seller delayed sending us back a signed contract.

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


We just authorized an additional $50,000 payment for extending the due diligence period.

The extension was necessary because the seller created the problem by not responding timely.

This is money he just gets if we do not close on the properties.


BOC’s Regular Meeting 10/19/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police Patch
It’s that time of year, rental season ends, and break-in season officially starts.
Requested that we all serve as the eyes and ears for law enforcement.

If you know something, hear something, or see something –
              call 911 and let police deal with it.


Agenda Packet –

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA SESSION 2021
SESSION LAW 2021-33 / SENATE BILL 241
AN ACT AMENDING MOTOR VEHICLE LAWS REGULATING MODIFIED UTILITY VEHICLES

2021 Legislation Amends Rules for Modified Utility Vehicles – NC Criminal Law

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA SESSION 2021
SESSION LAW 2021-128 / HOUSE BILL 692
AN ACT PROHIBITING CERTAIN MODIFICATIONS TO PASSENGER VEHICLES OPERATING ON HIGHWAYS OR PUBLIC VEHICULAR AREAS.

The agenda packet material refers to modified utility vehicles, they are not restricted like golf carts and can operate like any other legal motor vehicles.

They had a brief discussion regarding golf carts west of Greensboro that are not supposed to be on OBW since the speed limit was changed to 45mph. No report was given on golf cart citations as requested by the Board.


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


2. Discussion and Possible Action on Parking Deliverables, Staff Response to BOC Tasker to the Parking Committee – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet – background information was provided (pages 32 – 86) but it is too large to include all of it here

This memo responds to Board direction to prepare a map in accordance with Tasker dated 15 Jun 21 (Atch 1). It provides a framework to address specific issues regarding implementation of a paid parking program at Holden Beach.

Specific charge questions were:

Parking Lots
  * suggest committee show lots and spaces on a town map, color code for a, b, c.

       a) What town owned lots currently exist and how many spaces are available paid             parking?
       b) What town owned property is suitable for conversion to paid parking before     .           Spring and what is the estimated cost for conversion?
       c) What properties (if any) are proposed for purchase and how many spaces will             be available for paid parking? What is the estimated cost to purchase?

A map has been prepared and is on display in the Board room. It has been developed within the existing framework of administrative, legal, logistical, and practical considerations. Further details are as follows:

.   1. Administrative and Legal:

The tasker itself evolved from the Board’s Objectives for FY21/22 which included as high priority “Determine if paid parking is economically viable; if so, implement paid parking (Atch 2). The determination of what is construed as a “lot” for the purposes of determining parking is aided by a discussion of related terms, definitions, and constructs. It is of particular import to note the inherent differences in the meaning of a “lot” in real estate parlance and what is nominally referred to as a “lot” that may or may not be used for parking and are shown in fact to be street ends within the town right of way. Example: NE Comer of Bruns Ave/Davis versus southern end of Ferry.

a) The Town’s street system map (Powell Bill) is at Atch 3 and has been manually transposed onto the Town Zoning Map for clarity. Both Town maintained streets and State streets are shown. Town streets are depicted in GREEN State streets are shown in PINK. The authority for Town maintained streets is GS 136-41.1 thru 41.4 and is at Atch 4.

b) The NC DOT publication “Standard Specifications for Roads and Structures is included at Atch 5. It includes definitions for streets, right of ways, roads and other relevant definitions which coupled with the Powell Bill Map referenced above serve to refine the focus of the dialogue on implementing paid parking at Holden Beach.

c) The authority governing Town Streets, Traffic and Parking is contained in GS 160A-296 thru 309; hereto included at Atch 6; specifically relevant to paid parking is GS 160A-301 (a) and (b) which categorically differentiates between “on street” and “off street” parking and the manner in which revenues generated from each may be used.

d) Enabling legislation has been granted (Atch 7) to New Hanover County municipalities providing for greater flexibility in the use of “on street” and “off street” paid parking revenue. If the Town implements a paid parking program that has an on-street component it should consider seeking similar enabling legislation.

e) Standards for Public Access – 15A NCAC 07M.0310 (d)· Public access sites funded by CAMA may charge user fees, but the use of those fees are restricted to providing for public access. (Atch 8)

f) A listing of town real estate ·prepared by the Holden Beach Tax Collector and the Subdivision Administrator is at Atch 9. These properties are shown in BLUE on the map and includes dredge spoil islands and public walkways.

.   2. Relevant Town Regulations

a) Street Right of Way: Encourages Landscaping and allows exclusionary practices by adjacent to street property owners (post and rope) – Atch 10

b) Parking Regulations: Identifies no parking areas, streets, times, and worker exceptions Atch 11. No parking streets and areas are marked in RED.

.   3. An attempt to perform a “density calibration” has been made by identifying structures at the parcel level. The Brunsco GIS system was used to spatially identify developed parcels primarily for the purpose of gauging development by the depiction of residences and businesses. All parcels with structures are indicated with a black “dot”.

a) Vacant to developed tots counts by subdivision/area have been made for the following:

* Holden Beach Harbor             25/281/9%      (no OBW or “ICW dock” parcels)
* Heritage Harbor                       20/153/13%    (no OBW parcels)
* Harbor Acres & Herons           65/337/19%    (no OBW parcels)
* Holden Beach West                  N/A
* Dunescape                                  N/A
* 349 BAW – Rothschild              39/145/27%
* Quinton – Ferry                         29/158/18%    (no OBE parcels)
* Ferry – OBE/McCray                 40/196/40%    (no OBE parcels)
* Density calcs have not been made for the public area east of OBE/McRay split
* The Commercial areas adjacent to Jordan Boulevard require detailed review beyond the scope of this analysis

  4. Atypical house/lot/driveway configuration

a) The vast majority of Holden Beach lots that front public streets are 50 feet wide.

b) Residences constructed thereon have either a two-driveway connection or a single driveway connection with a landscaped area substituting for the second driveway.

c) Side yard setbacks are 5 feet.

d) Pile separation to allow for vehicle clearance is nominally 10 feet

e) Nominal dimensions of parking spaces are 9×18

f) Valve pits and water meters intrude into the ROWs

g) The above constraints imposed by the current built upon environment alone would seem to significantly constrict the ability of the Town to implement paid parking abutting developed lots.

h) The acceptance of a paid parking program abutting developed but unbuilt upon lots is unknown at this time but is anticipated too not be favorable.

  5. Areas most suited to considering implementation of a paid parking program

a) several localized areas east of the McCray/QBE split to include town ROWs

b) Jordan Blvd – Requires a more in-depth review

c) All of the high ground town owned properties and ROWs adjacent to same depicted on the map

d) Staff had previously developed estimates for construction of parking spaces in the 800 block, the two through streets between OBW and BAW, Avenue A and Hillside Drive. Those estimates are included at Atch 12.

.   6. Block Q: A draft parking plan (Atch 13) for the area known as block Q (near the boat ramp) has been prepared. Development of the plan as drafted would require procurement of all subject properties and an abandonment of the Carolina Avenue ROW with a recombination of the properties into a contiguous whole. Thusly configured it is estimated to provide for 214 10 by 18-foot parking spaces. Boat trailer accommodations were not considered in the preparation of this plan. The extent to what improvements would be required (and cost) to support the development of a parking lot are unknown at this time.

  7. The Town is currently under contract to purchase the Pier Property located at 441 Ocean Blvd West. It is estimated to be able to provide 80 parking spaces which is the current configuration of the site.

RECOMMENDATION: BOC’s consider memo and provide staff direction.

Thirteen (13) Attachments

      • BOC tasker 15 June 2021
      • BOC goals excerpt
      • Town Powell Bill Map
      • GS 136-41.1-41-4 “State Aid for streets”
      • NC DOT “Standard Specs”
      • NCGS Article 15 Streets, Traffic and Parking
      • HB 1596, HB 212
      • 15A NCAC 07M.0310 (d) “CAMA user fee rule”
      • Tax scroll of municipal properties
      • Town Ordinance Chapter 95.05 Streets Right of Way
      • Town Ordinance Chapters 72.01 thru 72.06 Parking Regulations
      • Staff cost estimates for parking area development
      • Block Q parking concept

Previously reported – August 2021
Parking Committee Status & Possible Action – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
Agenda Packet –
The BOCM remit to the parking committee that was unanimously approved has an October deadline. The two (2) meetings since have been cancelled. There may be actions needed to ensure fulfillment of the remit in time for BOC review and decision on implementation of a paid parking program for 2022

Directive was Made: June 15, 2021
Directive to:
Parking Committee
Issue and Action Requested:
In order for paid parking to be successfully rolled out in Spring pf 2022, there are a number of decisions that will need to be made by the BOC before the end of 2021. The Parking Committee is asked to develop a paid parking plan with financials covering the years 2022-2025 in line with the charge questions below.
Background and Potential Implications:
With the continuing popularity and growth of Holden Beach and Brunswick County, parking on the island during many months of the year is increasingly problematic for both visitors and property owners. Additionally, increasing numbers of off island beach goers translate to increasing costs for the Town in terms of trash pickup, facilities maintenance, beach patrol and traffic control.
In order to better organize visitor parking and help defray seasonal costs, the decision has been made to implement a paid parking program starting in Spring 2022. It is important to have a clear description of the parking facilities and cost plus a communication plan for rollout of the paid parking program to avoid miscommunication and confusion.

Charge Questions:

1. Parking Lots (suggest the committee shows lots and spaces on a town map, color code for a, b, c)

a) What town owned lots currently exist and how many spaces are available for paid parking?
b) What town owned property is suitable for conversion to paid parking before next Spring and what is the estimated cost for conversion?
c) What properties (if any) are proposed for purchase and how many spaces will be available for paid parking? What is the estimated cost to purchase, assumed timeframe for establishing the parking lot and cost for conversion?

2. Financials

a) Rate proposal and date range for paid parking
b)
Estimated gross profit associated with 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and 2024
c) Estimated initial costs for signage and equipment (show where on map)
d) Estimated expenses associated with 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and (including personnel)
e) Estimated net profit for 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and 2024

3. Public Communication and Engagement Plan
Who, when, where

Proposed Deadline:
No later than the October BOCM.

Editor’s Note –
Tasker is a formal request to the Committee. It outlines what information that they would like to be included in their report and clarifies their purpose. The intent is to get information needed so that the Board are able to make a decision.


Previously reported – September 2021
The Parking Committee has not met they have cancelled several meetings. Actions are needed for BOC’s to review and make a decision on implementation of a paid parking program for 2022. Patty recommended that at least some of the tasker, charge questions part 1, should be handed off to Town staff since they already have the information. David said “sure” they can do it. Board tasked the Town with preparing information for the next meeting.

Lawsuit filed against several N.C. towns over on-street parking programs
Currently, all four municipalities in New Hanover County along with Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Speaker of the State House Tim Moore, and State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger are being sued for local laws, which set them apart from the rest of the state when it comes to profiting from on-street parking. Greg Buscemi, a Wrightsville Beach resident, and mayoral candidate, filed the lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court on Wednesday, alleging these local acts are in direct violation of the North Carolina Constitution. There’s a lot of legal minutiae, but the crux of the lawsuit is whether or not these local acts made by the General Assembly are prohibited in the state Constitution. State law is explicit with how municipalities are allowed to use the proceeds from on-street parking, and there’s a reason why so many towns don’t charge for it. “Proceeds from the use of parking meters on public streets must be used to defray the cost of enforcing and administering traffic and parking ordinances and regulations,” according to G.S. § 160A-301. That means that towns could use the money to pay a parking company or for the maintenance of parking meters, but they could not take that money and put it in their general funds. Off-street parking lots owned and operated by the municipality are fair game when it comes to using the proceeds, but since the streets are owned by the state, there are restrictions.
Exceptions to the rule
In the late 90s, the Town of Wrightsville Beach was granted an exemption to the state law allowing them to use parking revenues to help offset taxes, fund lifeguards, and use the money for any public use. The General Assembly approved the new law, and the town has been using the parking funds ever since. In 2001, that law was amended to include all of the municipalities in New Hanover County. It was titled, “An act to allow certain municipalities in New Hanover County to use proceeds from on-street parking meters in the same manner in which proceeds from off-street parking facilities are used.” “Now they can do that for private lots but not for on-street parking,” said Buscemi. “The streets belong to everyone in the state, and they are provided to them so they can access the beach. And when they start charging for a profit to benefit only their community and no one else, they can’t do that.” Following the lead of New Hanover County, other cities across the state also managed to get local acts passed allowing them to use on-street money for any public use. But Buscemi says these local acts are unconstitutional. “Our state constitution has a specific section that limits the certain areas where the General Assembly can enact local or special laws,” he said. The impact of these local acts is massive for beach communities like Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach. Paid parking is a big revenue-generator and these funds act as an incentive for municipalities to continue to increase costs and the financial burden of visitors, Buscemi said. “These local modifications allow the Defendants to charge excessive fees for the use of on-street parking meters and to use the proceeds for public purposes other than defraying the cost of administering traffic and parking ordinances,” according to the lawsuit. There are several claims Buscemi makes in the lawsuit, but in terms of unconstitutionality, he says that the state constitution forbids these types of local acts. “N.C. Const. art. II, § 24, which expressly forbids the General Assembly from enacting any local, private, or special act or resolution concerning 14 prohibited subjects, N.C.,” according to the suit. Some of those subjects include authorizing the Laying Out, Opening, Altering, Maintaining, or Discontinuing of Highways, Streets, or Alleys; Regulating Trade, Labor, Mining, or Manufacturing, but Buscemi says these local acts do just that. “You can’t profit from on-street parking, that’s why the state law specifically specifies on-street parking and off-street parking. They can own as many private lots as they want — that’s private land, which has nothing to do with people’s right to access the beach. If they want to charge $1,000 a day to park there — by all means. But once you start profiting from on-street parking, you’re violating the state constitution,” he said. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday and so far, most of the towns that did respond told WECT they had yet to be served with an official copy of the lawsuit. After receiving a copy of it via email, Brian Edes, the Town of Wrightsville Beach’s attorney said the following. “As of this writing, the Town has not been served. Nevertheless, we have reviewed the allegations contained in the Complaint that you provided and offer the following response: The allegations are baseless and without merit. The Town of Wrightsville Beach has acted in accordance with the authority granted to the Town by the General Statutes of the State of North Carolina. Moreover, the individual who filed the Complaint cannot represent “other similarly situated citizens, residents, taxpayers, and voters” as he has been ordered by the N.C. State Bar to “refrain from practicing law in North Carolina unless and until returned to active status . . ..” That Order is a Consent Order and is a matter of public record…” As for Buscemi, he wants the courts to make it even across the state and not allow the General Assembly to pick and choose who can or can’t profit from parking. “So, I’m asking the court to declare the specific local acts that allow these certain municipalities to do this, declare those acts void,” he said.
Read more » click here

Update –
David reviewed the work done by his staff  to do an assessment of paid parking for the island. The attachments are the presentation of their analysis. Essentially what he said to them is that the ball is in the Board’s court now.


3. Discussion and Possible Action on Agreement Between the Town and Otto Connect – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
This Consulting Agreement (“Agreement”) formalizes the relationship between Otto Connect, Inc. (“Consultant”) and The Town of Holden Beach (“Client”), and the terms and conditions both sides agree are reasonable for the conduct of the relationship.

CLIENT will be invoiced by the Consultant at a not to exceed value of $5,000.00 at a rate of $100 per hour per person at the end of the Term and shall be payable within 30 days. All consultation fees will be waived upon execution of a definitive agreement whereby Consultant will provide paid parking services to CLIENT so long as said agreement is executed prior to the termination of this Consultation Agreement”

Consultant had previously evaluated and proposed via formal RFP response an end-to-end paid parking solution for the Town of Holden Beach. As a Consultant, we will be available to answer questions either via phone or in person (as jointly agreed), evaluate all current and proposed parking areas, on-street vs. off-street parking, and town ordinances needed to implement paid parking. Specific areas of assessment include but are not limited to:

      • Enforcement policies
      • Dates and hours of operation
      • On-street and off-street parking options
      • Parking rate structure, competitive to the coastal environment or for different parking areas
      • Golf Cart rules and regulations for parking
      • Business Parking
      • Ordinance Assessment to support paid parking and parking in general
      • Audit-ability requirements
      • Projected revenue – based on fees, weather assumptions, and visitor trends
      • Signs and Communication plans for paid parking awareness

Previously reported – July 2021
Received proposals from four vendors, staff is looking for direction on how to proceed. Commissioner Murdock felt that the staff should be the one to make the decision since they will have to make the program work. The Board asked the Town staff to review the proposals and make a recommendation to them. David said that they would utilize a decision selection matrix and report back to them at the next scheduled meeting.
No decision was made – No action taken

Previously reported – August 2021
David went through the process they used to create the decision selection  matrix. Commissioner Murdock felt the staff should interview Otto and Premium and have them make the selection. David agreed to make the call, will bring back recommendation at the next meeting.
No decision was made – No action taken

Previously reported – September 2021
Agenda Packet –
Per the Board’s direction at the August meeting, staff met with Premium Parking and Otto Connect to determine which firm would be better suited to implement a paid parking program for the Town. Six staff members participated in the process, which included looking at price, user interface and program implementation logistics.

Otto Connect unanimously selected as staff’s recommendation to the Board. The next step is for the Board to consider approving Otto as the Town’s parking vendor and to have a contract prepared.

David said they were tasked to select vendor and make recommendation and that they unanimously chose Otto. Mike pointed out that they had not approved proceeding with paid parking yet. Therefore it was premature to select a vendor. We need to determine what paid parking will look like first. Brian said the Parking Committee can’t move forward without parking vendor input and would like to bring them on as consultant. The motion was made to approve Otto as the Town’s parking vendor and to have a contract prepared for the Board’s consideration for parking consultant services.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
David stated that the contract was in response to the Board’s direction to obtain parking consultant services. Otto will credit back the money spent for consultation if we hire them when we decide to have a paid parking program. They had a discussion, what came first the chicken or the egg, whether they need the consultant should be there initially or after some decisions are made. be there right out of the gate to give the committee direction. The motion was to approve contract as submitted, limiting the contract not to exceed $5,000.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


4. Discussion and Possible Action Relating to the No Wake Zone – Mayor Holden

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Alan stated that laws are not being abided by and there are daily violations. He was unable to get government officials here on such short notice and requested that they revisit this issue at the January meeting. That meeting would include as many officials and office representatives as possible for an in-depth discussion.


5. Discussion and Possible Action Relating to the Boat Ramp and Trailer Parking – Mayor Holden

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Alan requested that they revisit this issue at the January meeting too.


6. Discussion and Possible Action on Block Q Property – Commissioner Murdock

Agenda Packet –
Maps –
.     1)
Preliminary Parking Layout
.     2)
Brunswick County GIS Data Viewer

Update –
Brian explained that Block Q is a commercially zoned property where lots of people park there now . It is a track of land, , east of the bridge, by the boat ramp, where the festivals are held. He said that it is a valuable piece of property and has been offered for sale to the Town numerous times before. It is currently up for sale and would provide us with over two hundred (200) public parking spaces. If it goes away it would have a significantly negative impact on public parking on the island. He made a pitch that we should consider purchasing it now.

No decision was made – No action taken


7. Discussion and Possible Action on Amending Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 94.05, Digging of Holes on Beach Strand, to Include a Section on Metal Detecting on the Beach Strand – Commissioner Smith

Agenda Packet –
I would like to discuss with other commissioners the possibility of amending Ordinance 94.05 to include a section on Metal detecting on the beach strand.

Metal detecting/treasure hunting on the beach strand            

      • it will be illegal to dig a hole more than I ft deep on the beach strand and must be completely covered and packed to its original condition.
      • Metal shovels are not permitted for metal detecting.
      • Plastic sand scoops are allowed for metal detecting.
      • Metal detecting holes must be filled and packet to return the beach strand to its original condition to prevent injury to beach strand walkers before leaving the area.

Other islands have such requirements and the outer banks and state parks do not allow any metal detectors. I have been approached by several residents about this issue.

§94.05 DIGGING OF HOLES ON BEACH STRAND.

(A) To help prevent personal injury and damage to property, it shall be unlawful tor any person, firm or corporation within the corporate limits of the town to dig into the sand on any part of the beach strand greater than 12 inches deep, without having a responsible person attending the area to prevent any person or persons from walking into any existing hole and risking personal injury and to allow public safety vehicles the ability to respond to emergencies without the risk of damage to equipment or personal property.

(B) Prior to leaving the area, any hole greater than 12 inches deep shall be filled to be level with the surrounding area, leaving the area in the same general condition in which it was found.

(C) The violation of this section shall be punishable by a $50 fine.

Update –
Item was removed from the agenda


  • 8. Posting of Documents Related to the Proposed Purchase of the Pier Property – Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet – separate packet
Proposed Pier Property Purchase Information

Update –
Mike stated that public comments indicated that not enough information was available to the public. He wanted to make sure that everyone knows the documents are now available on the Town’s website.


Agree to disagree, we still do not have enough information to formulate an opinion. Although they have shared information, they still have not explained what the game plan is or how we are planning to pay for it.

Appraisal Report

Oceanfront Land Sold –
2018 – 2021 / 18 properties sold average @$530,000
2021 / 5 properties sold average @$592,000
So the appraisal average of $715,000 seems pretty high to me

The ten sold properties used as comps also don’t seem kosher
Half of the properties, five (5) of the ten (10), are in gated communities
More importantly the lot size and dimensions on a number of these lots is significantly larger than what we are considering purchasing at the pier

Engineering Report – Building Assessment

McPherson Engineering Design did assessment
The original section of the building and the east side addition may be demolished.
The west side addition may be able to be salvaged.

 Systems Evaluation

Town Building Inspector did assessment
The structure itself is in disrepair, but the west end of this structure may have some real potential and modifications, other portions are practically beyond repair, but have monetary value for improvements.

ATM Pier Inspection Report

The inspection of the timber piles was conducted by a three-person engineer dive team. MidAtlantic attempted to perform diving operation on the piles, but due to the sea state it was unsafe to continue. Alternatively, MidAtlantic inspected all the upland piles and performed a hands-on tactile inspection on the accessible  piles by wading into the wave break until water depths exceed 5ft. Piles which could not be safely inspected by a person in the water the piles were visually inspected using a drone. All work was performed in accordance with the ASCE Underwater Investigations Standard Practice Manual, No. 130.

Based on the available information provided to ATM and the preliminary results of our inspection, the Holden Beach fishing pier has likely surpassed its remaining service life considering it was constructed in 1957, which is ~64 years old. Most fixed timber pier structures are constructed for a 50-year life span with regular maintenance. Without maintenance records it is difficult to ascertain when key components such as the pilings were replaced.

One of the key concerns observed during the inspection was the heavily corroded and missing/damaged connection hardware throughout the pier structure. Most connections appear to have more than 50% sectional loss (thereby reducing their strength by 50%).

In order to extend the service life to a reasonably acceptable time, many of the connections and bracing will need total replacement. While the piling may have a longer remaining service life than the other components, significant maintenance and repair of the other key structural components will need to be completed.

Immediate repairs to the pier to extend the service life to a reasonable period of time (10-15 years) is estimated to be on the order of $500,000 to $750,000. This would include replacement or significant repair of the three damaged piles, replacement of the damaged pile caps, installation of new cross bracing and total replacement of corroded fasteners and connections. This estimate assumes that significant material such as decking and stringers can be salvaged, and the construction can be completed by land-based equipment (i.e., no mobilization of barges or water-based equipment).


We want to keep you informed regarding the status of the Town’s plans to purchase a portion of the pier property.  Since this is a complicated issue, the HBPOA has created a new Hot Topic page on our website to share important documents and detailed information.  This email summarizes some of the key points.

At our Labor Day meeting, the HBPOA adopted a position to withhold support for the pier purchase until the plans and associated costs for the property are known.  We followed up with an online survey sent to property owners and over 80% of the responses supported our position.  We shared this information with the Board of Commissioners and sent a letter summarizing the key questions and issues.

The town has still not identified the intended use of the property or provided specific information on how it will be paid for other than the debt financing of the purchase.  

On September 29th the Commissioners discussed the Engineering Report – Building Assessment, the Systems Evaluation report, and the Appraisal Report for the pier building.  The reports basically confirm that the building is a tear-down.  At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Brian Murdock stated that based on the inspection results the Town may end up tearing down both the pier and the building but should still purchase the property for investment purposes; listen to his comments here at the 2:32:00 mark.

The Commissioners then voted to offer the pier owner a revised contract which would move the Due Diligence period back until November 19th – after the inspection report on the pier structure is expected – and push the closing date back until February 28th.  This delay is what was requested by HBPOA.  

On October 1st the Commissioners voted to offer a new contract including an additional $50,000 due diligence payment to the pier owner.

Many property owners have expressed concerns about the Town borrowing money and potentially raising taxes to speculate on real estate.  A worst-case scenario would be for the Town to buy the pier and allow it to become an abandoned, derelict structure while taxpayers foot the bill.  

We will keep you informed as this topic evolves.  Please don’t hesitate to communicate your position to the Commissioners and the HBPOA.


9. Discussion and Possible Direction to Staff on Oceanfront Lighting – Commissioner Smith

Agenda Packet –
§92.30 DEFINITIONS
For the purpose of this subchapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

DECORATIVE LIGHTS. Lights used to enhance the appearance of an area rather than to provide illumination. These include Christmas lights and low voltage (less than sixty (60) volts) driveway and landscaping lights.

DOORWAY LIGHTS. Lights attached to structures or walkways used to illuminate doors and immediate areas leading to entrances; to include those installed beneath houses.

FLOOD/SPOT LIGHTS. Bare lights attached to buildings and used to illuminate a specific area (yards, driveways, walkways, and the like) normally for a limited time period. These may also be used as security lights.

SAFETY LIGHT. A light used to warn boats or vehicles of possible obstacles.

SECURITY LIGHT. A light (either automatic or manual) which remains on overnight for the protection of people or property.

YARD LIGHT. A light whose fixture is not attached to a building, ramp, or deck and is over four feet above ground level.

§92.31 PURPOSE
It is the intent of this subchapter to permit sufficient outside lighting to provide for the safety and security of citizens while preventing undue distraction to residents or guests.

§92.32 UNLAWFUL LIGHTS.
It shall be unlawful for any outside light to be installed or directed:
     (A) So as to interfere with the vision of the operator of any motor vehicle on any                  street or waterway; or
     (B) That is not in compliance with the provisions of this subchapter.

§92.33 LIGHTS PERMITTED IN R-1 AND R-2 DISTRICTS. 

    • (A) Decorative lights.
      (B) Flood or spot lights provided they are directed onto the owner’s property.
      (C) Doorway lights of 100 watts or less per light.
      (D) Safety lights.

      (E) Security lights, attached to a building, and so shielded that no direct lighting is outside the owners property.
      (F) Security lights, presently on poles, which do not meet the restrictions of division (G) of this section are permitted for a period of one year following enactment of this subchapter provided they are so shielded that there is no direct lighting outside the owner’s property.
      (G) One yard light per living unit provided:
        1. It does not exceed ten feet in height (measured from mean lot level) and does not draw in excess of 100 watts.
        2. It is of the same design and wattage as the approved town street lights and does not exceed 20 feet in height.

§92.34 LIGHTS PERMITTED IN C-1 COMMERCIAL DISTRICTS.
     (A) Any lights permitted in R-1 or R-2 Districts are permitted.
     (B) Security lights not attached in buildings and lights used to illuminate                           entertainment facilities provided:

        1. The light is so shielded that no direct lighting is outside the owner’s
        2. Any pole is a minimum of ten feet from the road right-of-way.

§92.35 COMPLAINTS.
Permitted lights which may be in violation of§ 92.32 of this chapter will be reported in writing to the Town Manager who will make the final determination if a violation exists. The Town Manager will notify the complainant and the alleged violator of his/her findings in writing.

Update –
Rick in conjunction with the Turtle Patrol wants to address light pollution and restrict oceanfront lighting. Decision was to have our attorney and our building inspector review the ordinances and make a recommendation for any potential changes to the existing ordinances.


10. Town Manager’s Report

Annual Audit
The audit was completed and submitted to Local Government Commission
Should have it back to the Board for the November meeting

Budget Report
David had a slide presentation that did a brief overview of the budget highlights
For more information » click here
Basically  it showed where we are at right now ninety (90) days in to the budget year

We have had a robust collection of  occupancy tax that funds the BPART account

The budget report is posted on the Town’s website
For more information » click here

Loan
The Town has closed on the lift station #3 loan of approximately $2.5 million dollars

In Case You Missed It –

Veteran’s
In the past we have honored Veterans, with a Resolution in Honor of Veteran’s Day and an appreciation luncheon.
The Town will hold its Veterans Appreciation Luncheon outside at Bridgeview Park on Wednesday, November 10th.

Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan

National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On September 30, 2021, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 3, 2021.


11. Mayor’s Comments

Although hurricane season is still on the calendar, traditionally we have been out of the woods. He feels that we have safely made it through another hurricane season and have been very fortunate this year.

Festival by the Sea is scheduled at the end of the month, festival will be held on the island but there will not be any parade this year.

OBW paving/bike path are still on track, but they were some eighteen (18) to twenty-four (24) months off. He will be attending a GSAT meeting regarding both of these projects in the near future.

It seems that both of these projects got pushed back a year. In February we were told the resurfacing program for OBW is scheduled for the spring of 2022. It seems like every year they say it will be done next year.

                 It’s kinda like when Lucy tells Charlie Brown to kick the football –


12. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(5), To Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price and Terms of a Contract Concerning the Acquisition of Real Property (Commissioner Kwiatkowski) and North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(3), To Consult with the Attorney (Town Manager Hewett)

No decision was made – No action taken


Previously reported – September 2021
Discussion and Possible Action on Division of Coastal Management, North Carolina Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Grant Application – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson
Agenda Packet –
Based on the BOC’s direction to pursue grant opportunities to assist with the pending purchase of the pier properties, the staff submitted a final grant application (Attachment l) to the Division of Coastal Management on August 16, 2021. The application was for the 50-foot-wide oceanfront lot (Parcel # 246DB002) only based on the lack of clarity DCM has in the current funding policy regarding public purposes for paid parking. DCM has previously approved a pre-application submitted in April that allowed for a final application package in the amount of $180,460.00. The Town Manager and I have been in continuous dialogue with DCM regarding updates and changes as they emerged. They advised us to submit the application with as much information as we had available at the time in August and then complete additional areas as they come to fruition. One of the requirements is that the application be on the agenda of a public meeting. While we submitted draft minutes of the public hearing that was held on the potential purchase, the provision in the application is for the grant package itself to be placed on the agenda for consideration. If awarded the grant, the BOC would still have to choose to accept or decline funds.

DCM Grant Assistance Requested              $180,460
Holden Beach Contribution                    $361,207
Total                                                                $541,667

To move forward with grant application it needed to be an agenda item. Motion was made to have grant application considered for funding from DCM. If awarded the grant, the BOC’ would still have to choose to accept or decline funds.
A decision was made –
Approved unanimously

State officials award more than $1.1M to improve beach,
coastal waterfront access
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management has awarded more than $1.1 million to nine local governments to improve public access to coastal beaches and waters for the 2021-22 fiscal year. “For 40 years, the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Program has helped fund key projects that enhance access and improve experiences for residents and visitors enjoying the natural beauty of our coastal waterways,” said Elizabeth S. Biser, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality. “DEQ is honored to offer this support for our local partners and the coastal economy.”

The division awarded grants to the following local governments:

    • Atlantic Beach received $73,288 to construct a 290 ft. handicap-accessible dune crossover at the DoubleTree East Public Beach Access.
    • Town of Cedar Point received $60,000 to construct an ADA accessible kayak launch with shaded wheelchair parking at the Boathouse Creek Walking Trails Park, the project includes both an ADA accessible parking area and walkway to the kayak launch.
    • Elizabeth City received $92,180 to fund the George M. Wood Memorial Park Restoration Project, which will rehabilitate the existing boardwalk on the Pasquotank River and provide ADA parking space at the existing public access.
    • Holden Beach received $180,460 for the acquisition of oceanfront property.
    • Hyde County received $90,750 to renovate the Englehard Far Creek Boardwalk.
    • Town of Nags Head received $200,000 to remove the existing bathhouse and dune walkover and install a bathhouse and dune walkover with upgraded parking, site amenities and landscaping at existing oceanfront access. Improvements will increase ADA accessibility at the Epstein Street Public Beach Access.
    • City of New Bern received $110,809 to extend the existing marshwalk and add a fishing platform at Lawson Creek Park.
    • Tyrrell County received $25,650 for Phase III of the Scuppernong River Park Renovation to expand existing pier platform at the existing public access site.
    • City of Washington received $350,000 for Phase II of the Wetlands Boardwalk Reconstruction to renovate 1,024 ft. of the pedestrian boardwalk.

The Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program, now in its 40th year, provides matching funds to local governments in the 20 coastal counties. Governments that receive grants must match them by contributing at least 25 percent toward the project’s cost. Funding for the grant program comes from the North Carolina General Assembly through the state’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. Access projects may include walkways, dune crossovers, restrooms, parking areas, piers, and related projects. Funds also may be used for land acquisition or urban waterfront revitalization. Staff with the state Division of Coastal Management selected the recipients based on criteria set by the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission. The grant program has provided more than $48 million for 461 public waterfront access sites since the program began in 1981. For more information about the program, go to the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access website.
Read more » click here


General Comments –

2021 Municipal Elections
The following candidates have officially filed for Holden Beach municipal elections and will not face any opposition.

Holden Beach Mayor
Alan Holden                           128 OBW                           Holden Beach             (incumbent)

Holden Beach Commissioner
Pat Kwiatkowski                    1298 OBW                        Holden Beach             (incumbent)
Rick Smith                               823 OBW                          Holden Beach
Page Dyer                                149 Scotch Bonnet          Holden Beach

Board of Commissioners Duties and Responsibilities include:

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

General Election 2021 – Tuesday, November 2nd

        • Encourage everyone to vote
        • Remember it’s a right and a privilege to be able to do so
        • Polling place location is at the Holden Beach EOC Building, 1044 Sabbath Home Rd., Supply

For more information visit The North Carolina State Board of Elections web site
Read more » click here

Elected officials have significant impact on our daily lives. As a matter of principle, we would want everyone to vote, and to do so in an informed and reasoned way. Remember it’s a right and a privilege to be able to do so.

Be a Voter – Your Vote Matters!



        • BOC’s Meeting

          The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, November 16
          th
          .


Hurricane #1 - CR

 

Hurricane Season
For more information » click here

Be prepared – have a plan!

.a.

.

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


THB EMERGENCY INFORMATION

EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS

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


Goodbye hurricane season? With 6 weeks to go, it may be all but over
While the Atlantic hurricane season does not officially end until Nov. 30, AccuWeather forecasters believe that the odds of any additional tropical storm formation in the near future are low. After a frenetic pace around the peak of hurricane season, there is now just one name left on the 2021 list of storm names: Wanda. Might that name go unused? The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season got off to a record-fast start, with five storms forming by July 1, surpassing a record set just a year ago. The season continued at a fast pace, with development kicking off again in mid-August and continuing through mid-September. By the end of the period of rapid activity, eight storms had made landfall in the United States. But now, the tropics sit dormant.
Read more » click here


Do you enjoy this newsletter?
Then please forward it to a friend!


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/

10 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / October Edition


Calendar of Events –


N.C. Festival by the Sea
October 30th – 31st
Holden Beach, NC
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 –


Trick-or-Treat at Town Hall
Children may come by Town Hall on Friday, October 29th to trick-or-treat from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Try to figure out what monster or ghoul is behind our disguises.  

Halloween Candy Drop
The Town will conduct a drive thru candy drop on Friday evening, October 29th from 4:30- 6:30 p.m. Participants should turn up Rothschild and then plan to take a left on Brunswick to exit. Traffic will not be allowed to turn right toward the bridge due to the festival set-up. Call (910) 842-6488 to register.



Turkey Trot
The Town of Holden Beach will hold its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, November 25th at 8 a.m. Registration is required by calling (910) 842-6488. Please bring a canned food item to donate to a local food bank.


Tree Lighting
The Town of Holden Beach will hold its annual tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 3, 2021 at 6 p.m.  


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


Reminders –



Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule

GFL Environmental change in service, trash pickup will be once a week. Trash collection goes 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


Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting October once a week

Recyclingstarting October every other week


Yard debris is collected on the second (2nd) and fourth (4th) Fridays during the months of October, November, and December. Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length not to exceed five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. 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. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.


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



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).


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, November 16th
.


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.



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.


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


COVID/State of Emergency – Timeline

08/06/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 225 which is extending certain health and human services provisions in previous Executive Orders and delegations of authority. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

07/29/21
The state is presently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 spread, principally among those who are unvaccinated. The state’s key COVID-19 metrics suggest some measures must remain active to address and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 224 which is an extension to the end of August of COVID-19 measures to reflect the public health recommendations. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

06/11/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 220 which is an extension to the end of July of COVID-19 measures to reflect the public health recommendations. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

05/14/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 215 which lifts COVID-19 restrictions to reflect new public health recommendations. The order ended gathering limits, social distancing requirements in all settings, and drops indoor mask requirements for most settings.
Returning the state to almost normal operations after 15 months marked by COVID-19 lockdowns and limits. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

04/28/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 209 which removes the outdoor face covering requirement, relaxes restrictions on gatherings and extends the capacity and social distancing measures of Executive Order 204. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

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.


Upon Further Review –


Brunswick County restaurant significantly damaged by fire
A fire early Tuesday morning caused significant damage to a Supply restaurant. Crews from the Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department responded to Ginny’s Chicken House, located at 3258 Holden Beach Road near Holden Beach, around 3:20 a.m. Firefighters found a fire on the front deck of the restaurant, according to Chief Douglas Todd. “Responding crews brought the fire under control within six minutes,” Todd said. No one was injured as a result of the fire. Its cause is under investigation by the Brunswick County Fire Marshall’s Office and Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. Owner Virginia Craig said investigators have ruled out arson and believe the fire may have been the result of discarded cigarette on the front deck. Firefighters from Civietown, and Supply Fire Departments and units from Brunswick County EMS responded to the scene to assist.
Read more » click here

Update –
Two (2) years later and all things are as they were …


Corrections & Amplifications –


National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On September 30, 2021, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 3, 2021.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on December 3, 2021.


A Second Helping
They just completed the seventeenth year of the program. For the last sixteen weeks they have collected food on Saturday mornings in front of Beach Mart; the food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County. During this summer season, they collected 16,245 pounds of food and $2,250  in monetary donations. Their food collections have now exceeded two hundred and sixty-eight thousand (268,000) pounds of food since this program began in June of 2005. Hunger exists everywhere in this country. Thanks to the Holden Beach vacationers for donating again this year! Cash donations are gratefully accepted. One hundred percent (100%) of these cash donations are used to buy more food. You can be assured that the money will be very well spent.

Mail Donations to:
A Second Helping % Douglas Cottrell
2939 Alan Trail
Supply, NC 28462                         


Website:
http://www.secondhelping.us/


Odds & Ends –


Brunswick County tourism reaps $731.2  million for 2020
Domestic and international visitors to and within Brunswick County spent $731.2 million in 2020 in the county. This data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. While this number represents a decrease of 1.3 percent from 2019, Brunswick County moved from ninth to sixth among the state’s 100 counties in spending by visitors. “We feel very fortunate that Brunswick County did not feel the impact of  the pandemic on our area tourism to the extent that other counties did in North Carolina in 2020,” said Bonnie Cox, chairman of the Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority. “The fact that tourism remained strong in Brunswick County in 2020 was essential to the county’s overall economy.”

Impact highlights Brunswick County tourism impact highlights for 2020 include:

    • The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 4,575 in Brunswick County.
    • Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Brunswick County was $161.4 million.
    • State tax revenue generated in Brunswick County totaled $24.7 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income.
    • About $38.5 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.

These statistics come from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2020,” which can be accessed at https://partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association. Statewide, visitor spending was down 32 percent to $19.96 billion compared to 2019. Tourism employment fell 26 percent to 178,685. The losses were most acutely felt in urban areas. “Despite the bad news for North Carolina as a whole, our ranking at No. 5 among states for visitation is a position of  strength for rebuilding our tourism economy,” said Visit NC director Wit Tuttell. “Given the state’s resilience and vast appeal of its natural beauty, our creative cities and our authentic experiences at every turn, we’re confident that we’ll regain what has been lost and exceed the spending records of the recent past.”

The study included the following key findings:

    • Domestic and international travelers spent $19.96 billion in North Carolina in 2020.
    • The spending marks a 32 percent decrease from the $29.22 billion spent in 2019.
    • Eighty-six of the state’s 100 counties experienced decreases in visitor spending.

Despite large losses for many, top counties for spending in 2020 were similar to previous years.

Visitors spend more than $54 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $4.9 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $2.4 million in state taxes and $2.5 million in local taxes).
Brunswick Beacon

Shallotte, get ready to ‘Eat Mor Chiken’: Chick-fil-A opens this week
Do you love some Chick-fil-A and live in or near Shallotte? If so, you’re about to get some great news. Chick-fil-A in Shallotte will open its doors at 6 a.m. Thursday and begin serving all of your favorites on a daily basis while employing 125 full and part-time team members. The store is located at 2900 Frontage Road N.W., near the intersection of Main Street and Ocean Highway and will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. One big change: There will be no overnight stay for fans who want to take part in the traditional Chick-fil-A First 100 Grand Opening celebration and a chance for free Chick-fil-A for a year. For this opening Chick-fil-A will be surprising 100 local heroes who make an impact in Shallotte with free Chick-fil-A for a year while also donating $25,000 to Feeding America. Those funds will be distributed to partners within the greater Shallotte area to aid in the fight against hunger. North Carolina native Chris Guthrie, who started working at Chick-fi-A in High Point at the age of 15, has worked his way up through the ranks, ultimately becoming the operator in the summer of 2008. Guthrie said he is thrilled to welcome the Shallotte community into the new restaurant and serve guests great-tasting food with genuine hospitality. “With the opening of Chick-fil-A Shallotte, I look forward to building a team centered on providing exceptional service to our guests,” said Guthrie. “I hope to create and cultivate an environment where our team members and the Shallotte community feel welcomed and cared for.”
Read more »
click here


This and That –


‘A long-term dream:’ Ocean Isle Beach poised to begin construction on terminal groin after lobbying, lengthy legal battles
Leaders in Ocean Isle Beach have been working for years to preserve the coastline and stave of beach erosion at the end of the island. The journey appears to be coming to a close after nearly 20 years of legislative work and lawsuits. Crews will begin work on their terminal groin project as soon as the environmental window opens up November 16. The groin essentially traps the sand to better secure the beachfront. Some sand will still be able to wash around the groin, but the structure aims to be a long-term solution to the erosion that’s tormented the east end of the island for ages. Storms and the advancing shoreline have been taking back homes and roads and disrupting utility lines for some time now. Nothing remains of the home Mayor Debbie Smith built on Third Street back in the 1980′s. Feet away from what
s left of the road sits massive piles of sandbags. Third Street is now oceanfront, and First and Second Street are no more. When the house was first built, there were two to three rows of homes in front, until the ocean began to inundate the properties. Smith sold the home decades before a storm ultimately knocked it off the sandbags supporting the structure but kept watch as it was reduced to debris and cleared away piece by piece. “It’s pretty shocking. It’s actually kind of a tourist attraction. When I bring my family over, I show them. I’m worried it might affect my house someday,” said island resident Colin Blair. A remedy isn’t far away though — US Army Corps of Engineers beach renourishment and the terminal groin construction beginning in a matter of weeks. “The terminal groin the town is working on, it hopefully is a long-term solution. It will stabilize the end of the island and the sand we pump as part of this job will stay there longer,” said USACE Project engineer Brennan Dooley. “It’s a great partnership.” The entire product is expected to cost $11 million, which the town is paying for with accommodations tax money it has saved over the years. The mayor says they’ve been able to save the money slowly over the years because the process to bring the groin to fruition has taken so long. The town had to first change the law to allow the groin. After the new law passed, it secured the necessary permits from USACE, CAMA and wildlife, and then was hit by a lawsuit the week it planned to open construction bids. Ultimately, the town won the lawsuit that aimed to take the project permits, but the ruling was appealed twice and went to both the state and federal court. Mayor Debbie Smith, though says the town’s elected leaders never stopped pushing. “These property owners — this town — deserve to try and help themselves, to save infrastructure, to save our water lines, our sewer lines. We’ve moved two to three manholes after storms — that shouldn’t happen,” said Smith. “It’s the beginning of a long-term dream so I’m very optimistic that it’s going to make a positive impact on the last mile or better of Ocean Isle Beach.”
Read more » click here

Ocean Isle Beach terminal groin, sand projects set to begin
Two major beachfront projects to mitigate erosion and beef up the east end of Ocean Isle Beach’s shore are expected to be underway next month. Once the environmental window for dredging and beach nourishment activities opens Nov. 16, contractors are set to begin building a terminal groin, a wall-like structure built perpendicular to shore. At the same time, a joint federal project will kick off to beef up the east end of the town’s ocean shoreline. “We do hope to see activity on the beach the middle of November,” said Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith. Though the two projects were initiated separately, the timing is such that they will be done together. Ocean Isle Beach had the necessary federal and state permits by February 2017 to build a 1,050-foot terminal groin, 300 feet of which will be a sheet-pile, shore-anchorage section. In August that year, the National Audubon Society filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the project. A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed last March a lower court’s decision that the Corps fairly considered the alternatives included in an environmental impact statement examining the project. About two months prior to that ruling, Congress approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Work Plan for the Army Civil Works program. That approval included funding for a Coastal Storm Risk Management, or CSRM, project. Federal funds cover 65% of the project costs, with the town and state matching the remaining 35%.
According to information on the town’s website, Ocean Isle Beach submitted the 35% share of $3,045,000 to the Corps and requested the state reimburse half of that amount. Last month, the Corps awarded a $6,675,000 contract to Norfolk Dredging Co. to dredge from a borrow area within Shallotte Inlet and place the dredged material at the far-east end of the island. An estimated 700,000 cubic yards of sand is anticipated to be placed on about 1.5 miles of the easternmost beachfront, according to Dave Connolly, public affairs chief of the Corps’ Wilmington district. Ocean Isle’s ocean shoreline is about 5.5 miles long. “The work will be completed simultaneously, and it is likely the town’s contractor for the groin will start work on the groin and our contractor will start and pump sand behind the groin and fill out the template,” Connolly said in an email response to Coastal Review. “This portion of work behind the groin is a contract option fully funded by the town – we are doing this work for them through an Additional Work Memorandum of Agreement.” The cost to the town, per that agreement, is an estimated $2.45 million and does not include the cost of constructing the terminal groin, according to information provided on the town’s website. Of the two bids the town received in September to build the terminal groin, Coastal Design and Construction Inc. of Virginia submitted the lowest at about $11.4 million. Coastal Protection Engineering, the Wilmington firm the town hired to oversee the project, recommended Ocean Isle award the contract to the low bidder contingent upon the town receiving a North Carolina Coastal Area Management Act, or CAMA, major permit modification. The state has granted the permit modification extending the deadline of the completion of the terminal groin from March 31 to April 30, 2022. Smith said the request for an extension was made in the event of possible weather-related or equipment-related issues that could push back work on the terminal groin. “Hopefully with everybody out there it will move quickly,” she said. A news release earlier this month from the Wilmington District described how, by the end of the project, “the east end of the island will look drastically different and provide added benefits toward recreation, erosion protection and a potential habitat for sea turtles and nesting birds.” Smith said that opting to have the Corps build up the beach behind the terminal groin cuts down on costs. “It will save the town money on the terminal groin project because it will save some on the mobilization cost of the dredge,” she said. Smith said she did not know the specific cost savings, adding, “It’s substantial money.” The terminal groin is designed to reduce the erosion that has for years eaten away at the east end of the island, where a wall of sandbags 15 feet tall and some 1,500 feet long barricades the ocean from private properties, roads and public utilities. “Our engineer and modeling reports do say that the terminal groin should extend the life of the (CSRM) project,” Smith said. “How many years we don’t know for sure.” Dredging for the Coastal Storm Risk Management project is expected to end March 31, 2022.
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Oak Island council OKs $17.5-million sand contract
Oak Island Town Council has approved a $17.5-million contract with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock to put sand along the western portions of the shore this winter. Council also asked that managers see if the contractor could start on the west end of the beach, where some houses are currently threatened by erosion and protected mainly by giant sandbags. The original work schedule has the contractor starting at just east of Middleton Avenue, where the 2020-2020 winter project ended, working to about 69th Place West. It will add 658,000 cubic yards of material to a shore badly battered by Hurricane Florence. The area is now protected only by an emergency dune that was created by pushing sand landward at low tide. During high tide, most of the area currently has no dry sand beach.
The base contract will put sand from Jay Bird Shoals along about four miles of shoreline and includes grading and the addition of post and rope dune crossovers for beachgoers. Planting native beach grasses or sea oats will be a separate contract, estimated at $300,000. The town’s contribution to the project is $6.09 million, with the state picking up $3.8 million from two separate funds and the Federal Emergency Management Agency paying $7.54 million. Oak Island has agreed to a $10-million special obligation bond to pay most of the state and federal share. Finance Director David Hatten said at the special October 1 meeting that new rules require communities to pay disaster assistance costs up-front, but he expected reimbursement rapidly. Work is scheduled to begin after the close of sea turtle nesting and hatching in November and continue until the end of March. Council noted that the most recent project last winter, also conducted by Great Lakes, went past original deadlines, and required two extensions by regulators and the addition of a second dredge at the 11th hour. An engineer for Moffatt & Nichol acknowledged the problem and said that the penalty for failure to meet deadlines had increased in the current contract from $4,000 to $5,000 a day. The finish date also allows some leeway, he said. The project will employ one or more hopper dredges to pull sand from Jay Bird Shoals and, if necessary, the Central Reach, a partially mined cache of beach-quality sand off the west side of Oak Island that was used several years ago by neighboring Holden Beach. Hopper dredges are like big shovels that grab the sand and move it near shore. The previous operation, like the usual Wilmington Harbor dredging every two years, employed a hydraulic cutter-head suction dredge, which basically sucks sand from the seabed and pipes a sand-water slurry up to several miles away. Hopper dredges tend to have fewer breakdowns and delays, the engineer said. The town also put two add-on projects for later consideration, depending on conditions, funding, and the availability of sand once crews mobilize. One add-on would put another 224,000 cubic yards of sand on the east end of the project at a cost of $3.35 million. The other alternative would add sand to the west end at around 54th Place West at a cost of $4 million. The town and contractor will negotiate these add-ons depending on several factors, including the availability of sand, funding, and timing. The bigger question facing town leaders is whether and how to engage in a long-term effort to protect all beachfront properties from storms expected every 10 or 25 years. This, engineers said, could cost roughly $40-million and would require $32-million worth of maintenance every six years. Oak Island’s annual general fund government budget is less than $12 million. These projects envision putting 1.7 million to 2.1-million cubic yards of sand along the beach. For comparison, a typical dump truck holds about 10 cubic yards. The town has established municipal service districts for sand, but the current assessment is zero. Council has agreed to address the matter again in January 2022, after the annual budget planning retreat. The town has updated its beach renourishment web pages for the public. They are available at www.oakislandnc.com/sand.
Read more » click here


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Health Care Heroes: Volunteer
Honors volunteers at a health care provider or other health-related organization who are considered exemplary by people within those organizations.

 

SUSAN GIBBLE
Title: Physician assistant (retired)


What the nominator said:
“Susan Gibble, PA, was in private practice with her husband, Dr. Timothy Gibble, at Atlantic Internal Medicine in Brunswick County from 1986 until she retired, and the practice was sold in 2016. Susan dedicated her life to the field of medicine and healing while working full time and raising her two sons. She made a lifetime commitment to improve the health of her community, working 50+ hours a week in a career that she truly loved and gave her heart and soul to her patients and community. She would often share her private cell phone number so her patients could reach her after hours with a phone call or a text with a worry or concern for themselves or for a loved one. While working full time, Gibble was the president of the Brunswick County Heart Association from 1987-1991 in addition to serving on the board of Brunswick Family Assistance from 1987-1993. She also volunteered with the N.C. Baptist Medical team devoting her time to offer mobile medical exams for those without access to health care in Brunswick County. Another extension to her volunteer service has been as a three-term member of the Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center Foundation board where she currently serves as the secretary and an active member of its Governance Committee.”

Read more » click here


Watch out for deer
NCDOT warns motorists
across North Carolina to stay alert for deer now that fall has arrived. Every year during late autumn, auto and body shops across the region brace for a bumper crop of business, comprised of an influx of cars with damage from collisions with deer. Beginning in October, roads across the state become hazardous as North Carolina’s deer population fans out, lurking on highway shoulders in search of food and potential mates. It’s the deadliest time of the year for deer, which also pose a particular danger to motorists. Nearly half of vehicle accidents involving white-tail deer occur from October to December. Deer accidents typically begin rising in October, peak in November and begin dropping off after December, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Deer are crepuscular mammals, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk – which, following the onset of daylight savings time, places them near roads and byways precisely when large numbers of residents are commuting to and from work.

Report: Animal-related crashes on the rise in North Carolina
The frequency of animal-vehicle crashes has increased considerably from the year before, according to a report. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) said there was a total of 20,331 animal-involved crashes in 2019, an increase of more than 2,300 from 2018. Officials said deer account for about 90% of all animal-related crashes. The increase in incidents could be attributed to growth in the state, with more drivers on the road and more development. State officials warn that North Carolina is entering the three worst months of the year for animal-related crashes, with October, November, and December accounting for half of the annual total over the past three years. The NCDOT Transportation Mobility and Safety Division study shows animal-related crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800 others, and caused nearly $156.9 million in property damage over those three years. For the 17th year in a row, Wake County leads the rest of the state for animal collisions with 1,023 in 2019. The NCDOT says far western counties have the lowest numbers because they have the fewest drivers and roads. Graham County recorded just five animal collisions and has the bottom spot for the fifth year in a row.

NCDOT has some helpful tips for motorists in regard to deer-vehicle crashes:

    • Although it does not decrease the risk of being in a crash, wearing a seat belt gives you a better chance of avoiding or minimizing injuries if you hit a deer or other animal.
    • Always maintain a safe amount of distance between your vehicle and others, especially at night. If the vehicle ahead of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash.
    • Slowdown in areas posted with deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.
    • Most deer-vehicle crashes occur where deer are more likely to travel, near bridges or overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches. Be vigilant when passing through potentially risky landscapes.
    • Drive with high beams on when possible and watch for eyes reflecting in the headlights.
    • Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one deer near a road, be alert that others may be around.
    • If you see deer near a road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast.
    • Do not swerve to avoid a collision with deer. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, increasing the risk of it flipping over, veering into oncoming traffic, or overcorrecting and running off the road and causing a more serious crash.

Officials say the most crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight, accounting for about 45% of the overall total. With the end of daylight savings time at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, the time shift increases the chance of deer being by roadways when drivers are traveling in the dark, especially for their evening commute. If your vehicle does strike a deer, officials say do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can be dangerous or further injure itself. Get your vehicle off the road if possible and call 911.
Read more » click here

NCDOT: Vehicle-animal crashes on the rise statewide, Brunswick in top 10
Animal-vehicle collisions have increased across North Carolina, according to a new report released by the N.C. Department of Transportation Monday. Brunswick County is ranked sixth out of the state’s 100 counties for animal-vehicle collisions between 2017 and 2019. These types of collisions have increased in the county by 27% since 2012, with 480 crashes last year, according to the report.

Animal collisions are up statewide due to increased development, which pushes animals out of their habitats, according to NCDOT. Deer make up the majority (90%) of animal-vehicle collisions. Statewide, these crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800, and caused more than $156 million in property damage between 2017 and 2019. Collisions are known to increase during the last three months of the year, according to NCDOT, because crashes in this timeframe tend to make up half the annual total. Pender County ranks 16th with 331 animal crashes last year, and New Hanover County ranks 69th with 85 crashes on the state’s list. The state’s westernmost counties tend to have the least amount of animal crashes due to sparser populations and roads. Almost a majority of crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight. The end of Daylight Savings on Nov. 1 increases the chance of deer being hit on the roadways as more drivers travel in the dark, according to NCDOT.

Below are tips NCDOT provided drivers to protect themselves from animal collisions:

    • Wear a seatbelt
    • Keep a safe distance between vehicles
    • Drive slow in areas with posted deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas near dusk and night.
    • Be mindful while driving near areas where deer are more likely to travel, including near bridges, overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches.
    • When possible, drive with high beams on and look out for eyes reflected in the headlights
    • Look out for other deer when one is spotted; deer often travel in groups
    • Blow the horn with a long blast if you spot a deer near the road.
    • Do not swerve your vehicle to avoid colliding with a deer.
    • If you do strike a deer with your vehicle, try to get your vehicle off the road, call 911, and don’t touch the animal. Injured or wounded deer can further injure itself or others.

Read more » click here


Hot Button Issues

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


..
Climate
For more information » click here

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


.

Flood Insurance Program
For more information » click here
.


National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On September 30, 2021, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 3, 2021.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on December 3, 2021


New National Flood Insurance Program premiums coming Oct. 1.
Will yours increase?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s historic recalculation of flood insurance premiums will go into effect Oct. 1, and approximately 5 million policyholders nationwide will see changes in the coming year. FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 has been hailed as positive in that flood insurance premiums will now accurately reflect the real cost of flooding. For years, the National Flood Insurance Program has subsidized flood insurance by calculating premiums based on flood zone maps, and not individual, present-day structure risk. Some homeowners have been paying far less than their fair share, while others have been paying much more. Risk Rating 2.0 is meant to correct that by assessing a building’s actuarial flood risk. But there’s national concern that more than 3 million people will see their premiums increase as a result – and rightfully so based on the risk of flooding. Homeowners less likely to be able to weather an unexpected increase in their housing costs, like the middle class and low-income homeowners, could, in turn, be hurt by the policy change. More than 1.5 million will be lucky and see premium decreases. “Conscious of the far-reaching economic impacts COVID-19 has had on the nation and existing policyholders,” FEMA says, the agency is taking a phased approach to rolling out the new rates. New policies beginning Oct. 1 will be subject to the new methodology, and existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to take advantage of immediate decreases in their premiums. On April 1, 2022, all remaining policies renewed on that date or after will be subject to the new methodology. Risk Rating 2.0 will see FEMA incorporating factors like flood frequency, multiple flood types, distance to water and property characteristics to determine a structure’s insurance premium. The agency has released numbers showing how policyholders in each state will be impacted by Risk Rating 2.0. Federal law requires that most rates not increase more than 18% per year.
Read more » click here

If you have flood insurance, the price is likely going up.
What that means in NC
Starting this month , anyone buying a flood insurance policy will see a shift in prices due to a set of changes the Federal Emergency Management Agency has called Risk Rating 2.0. “The way that the rates are actually set is long overdue for an overhaul and has not been updated in decades, so Risk Rating 2.0 really brings the whole insurance system into the 21st century with updates that are based on more granular data about an individual property,” Laura Lightbody, director of The Pew Charitable Trust’s flood-prepared communities initiative, told The News & Observer. FEMA has touted Risk Rating 2.0 as marking a significant shift in how flood insurance premiums are set by accounting for a number of property-specific factors instead of setting prices solely based on the zone where a property sits. The federal agency oversees the National Flood Insurance Program, pricing flood insurance and also deciding which property owners need to purchase it in order to secure a federally backed mortgage. “Policyholders with lower-value homes that have been paying more than they should, they will no longer bear the cost for the policyholders with higher-value homes who have been paying less than they should. Risk Rating 2.0 fixes this injustice,” David Maurstad, the National Flood Insurance Program’s senior executive, said on a recent press call. The NFIP has historically been deeply in debt due to massive losses from storms like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey. And losses are likely to mount as climate change continues to exacerbate natural hazards like hurricanes and heavy rainfall. Flood insurance is typically not covered by homeowners’ policies. New policies purchased after Oct. 1 are subject to the changes. Any existing policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be impacted by the changes.
How is FEMA changing its formula?
Flood insurance rates have historically been based on whether a property sat in a specific zone. Rates were largely based on how flood-prone FEMA deemed that zone. Now, FEMA will consider such factors as the frequency of floods, how far a property is from water and how flooding is caused. The program will also consider information like whether a property is elevated and how much it would cost to rebuild. “Your policy is now going to be property specific. It’s going to be tailored exactly to the location and the characteristics of your house, and so the prices are going to change to reflect that additional information,” said Miyuki Hino, a UNC-Chapel Hill professor of land use and environmental planning. Steve Garrett, North Carolina’s National Flood Insurance Program coordinator, said that historically a property on the edge of a flood map would be paying the same rate as one that was much closer to a water source but in the same flood zone. Under Risk Rating 2.0, Garrett said, the pricing will be more “actuarial.” “It gives a more comprehensive picture of the flood risk of a structure but also individualizes that to that specific location,” Garrett said. Because the new formula considers replacement cost, he added, it better accounts for the actual risk posed by a specific property.
How will this impact what I’m paying for flood insurance?
The answer comes down to your specific property. There are 139,842 active flood insurance policies across North Carolina, according to data provided by FEMA. In the first year of Risk Rating 2.0, impact to premiums would include: In North Carolina, there are fifty (50) properties including two single-family homes that would see rate increases of at least $100 a month. Those properties are generally located in coastal areas like Brunswick and New Hanover counties, but there are five in Wake County and three in Haywood County. Congress has capped flood insurance rate increases at 18% per year, so it could take several years for Risk Rating 2.0’s change to become fully effective in the most flood-prone areas. While the caps could be helpful right now, Hino said, gradual increases could lead to problems for some property owners. “You might be living in a house where your insurance is affordable right now and it might be for another couple of years, but it’s quickly going to get more expensive than you can tolerate,” Hino said, adding that homeowners need to know what their final cost of insurance will be once the full increases have taken effect. During the FEMA press call, Maurstad said premiums nationwide have been rising by about 10% annually for “a number of years.” In addition to offering the NFIP’s first-ever decreases, he said, premiums will stop increasing once the true risk level has been reached — a process he acknowledged could
take five or 10 years in some cases. Flood insurance premiums for single-family homes will be capped at $12,125 annually, he added.
Is Risk Rating 2.0 more equitable?
According to FEMA, policyholders in less expensive homes have historically paid an out-sized portion of flood insurance policies. By considering the cost of rebuilding a home, FEMA hopes not only to better price risk but also shift the burden of premiums to the people who are more likely to submit high claims. “It’s aimed at fixing a longstanding imbalance in the program where because it was based on this antiquated system, many lower-value, lower-risk homes were paying too much and many higher-risk, higher-value homes were paying not enough,” Lightbody said. Risk Rating 2.0 also does away with a discount for insurance that FEMA offered after the first $60,000 of coverage was purchased. Hino, of UNC, said that discount historically meant that people with more expensive homes were paying lower rates for more coverage. “That’s no longer the case,” Hino said, “and so it’s less likely to be the case that the owner of a comparatively lower-value property would be paying more to insure than the owner of a higher-value property.”
Will this change who needs to buy flood insurance?
No. Under Risk Rating 2.0, owners of any buildings that stand within a FEMA-mapped special flood hazard area will still need to purchase flood insurance in order to secure a federally backed mortgage. Special hazard areas are defined as places that have at least a 1% chance of flooding in a given year. “The in-or-out determination will still be important for the lending institutions to determine which structures are required to have flood insurance under the current regulations, and it’s also still going to be used for floodplain management,” Garrett said.
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GenX
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State to host PFAS, GenX remediation update
Residents can learn from the state next month the current actions underway to prevent and remediate per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, contamination at the Chemours Fayetteville Works Facility. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is hosting a remote community information session 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16. The public is invited to participate by phone or online. During the information session, there will be updates from NCDEQ’s air, water and waste management divisions about emission reduction requirements, upcoming permit actions, drinking water well sampling results and replacement water updates, according to the state. Officials from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will provide an overview of knowledge about potential health effects and how to reduce exposure. To dial in, call 1-415-655-0003 and use access code 2427 524 0753. To view the meeting online through WebEx at https://ncdenrits.webex.com/ncdenrits/j.php?MTID=m20e1854b10e617d07b77546e228cf776.
Event password is 1234. After the presentations by state representatives, community members who registered online before the meeting will have an opportunity to ask questions. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions through a chat feature in the web conferencing software. More information about the state’s investigation can be found at https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation. Information for residents can be found at https://deq.nc.gov/news/key-issues/genx-investigation/genx-information-residents.
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EPA to list PFAS as hazardous as part of new approach
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday an approach to address pollution nationwide from the types of toxic “forever chemicals” that have been plaguing southeastern North Carolina for decades, a plan that includes listing certain of these substances as hazardous under the Superfund Act. EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the three-year “PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitments to Action 2021-2024”
Monday to a handful gathered at North Carolina State University’s Lake Raleigh Fishing Pier in Raleigh. Gov. Roy Cooper, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth Biser and Congresswoman Deborah Ross, D-North Carolina, joined Regan for the announcement. The event was streamed live on YouTube, but technical issues frequently interrupted the program for viewers. The strategic roadmap, the result of work by the EPA Council on PFAS that Regan put in place in April, focuses on three strategies: increase investments in research, leverage authorities to act now to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination, EPA officials said. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, including GenX, are a group of man-made chemicals used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. Research suggests that PFAS breaks down slowly and can accumulate in people, animals and the environment, which can lead to adverse health outcomes, according to the EPA. Regan has long been entrenched in managing PFAS. He was serving as the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality secretary when news broke June 7, 2017, that the Chemours Fayetteville Works facility had for years released PFAS into the Cape Fear River, the drinking water source for the Wilmington area. President Joe Biden selected Regan earlier this year to serve as the EPA administrator. Regan said that moving to designate certain PFAS as hazardous substances under the Superfund program would allow the agency to clean up contaminated sites and hold the responsible parties accountable by either having them perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-led cleanup work. “The Superfund program has successfully protected American communities by requiring polluters to pay to clean up the hazardous waste and pollution that they themselves have released in our environment,” he explained. “This strategy will leverage EPA existing authority to take bold action to restrict chemicals from entering the land, the air, the water, and land at all levels that are harmful to public health and the environment.” Regan said that the EPA will immediately broaden and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination. When the agency becomes aware of a situation where PFAS poses a serious threat to the health of a community, “we will not hesitate to take swift action, strong enforcement to address the threat and hold polluters accountable, all across the country.” This strategy means EPA will work with other agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Defense Department to identify facilities where PFAS have been used and are known to be a source of contamination. Other actions include a final toxicity assessment of the substance known as GenX, “which will ensure that no other community has to go through what the Cape Fear River communities had to endure,” Regan said. Biden has called for more than $10 billion in funding to help address PFAS contamination through the Build Back Better Agenda. “These critical resources will enable EPA and other federal agencies to scale up the research and work, so that they’re commiserate with the scale of the challenges that we all face together,” Regan said. Regan highlighted work taking place in North Carolina, noting that Biser, the DEQ secretary, had recently issued a $300,000 fine to Chemours for failing to meet its obligation to protect state residents. “Secretary Biser is setting the standard, this is the kind of accountability that we want to see all over the country, and that we will work with states to achieve,” Regan said. He noted that across the country, lessons have been learned that can be shared and that every level of government will need to step up to protect the public. He also highlighted the need for continued partnerships with advocacy groups and community activists. Regan said that some may question trust in the EPA because “so many communities have been let down before, time and time again,” adding that the public needs to see action. “I believe that the national strategy that we’re laying out shows and demonstrates strong and forceful action from EPA, a willingness to use all of our authority, all of our tools, all of our talent to tackle PFAS.” He said the EPA pledges to “hold the polluters accountable for the decades of unchecked devastation that they’ve caused.”

 According to the EPA, the roadmap also includes the following:

    • Aggressive timelines to set enforceable drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure water is safe to drink in every community.
    • A hazardous substance designation under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, also known as Superfund, to strengthen the ability to hold polluters financially accountable.
    • Timelines for action, whether it is data collection or rulemaking, on Effluent Guideline Limitations under the Clean Water Act for nine industrial categories.
    • A review of past actions on PFAS taken under the Toxic Substances Control Act to address those that are insufficiently protective.
    • Increased monitoring, data collection and research so that the agency can identify what actions are needed and when to take them.
    • A final toxicity assessment for GenX, which can be used to develop health advisories that will help communities make informed decisions to better protect human health and ecological wellness.
    • Continued efforts to build the technical foundation needed on PFAS air emissions to inform future actions under the Clean Air Act. 

Cooper introduced Regan Monday afternoon, highlighting North Carolina’s and the nation’s need for the plan. “This roadmap commits the EPA to quickly setting enforceable drinking water limits for these chemicals, as well as giving us stronger tools, and giving them to communities, to protect people’s health and our environment. As we continue partnering with EPA on this and other important efforts. It’s critical that Congress pass the bipartisan infrastructure deal, and the larger budget resolution that includes funding to tackle PFAS contamination,” Cooper said. Biser pledged state cooperation. “We all have a lot of work ahead but with coordination at all levels of government, with our elected officials and our public servants, we can protect the communities and the residents throughout North Carolina, and across the nation,” she said.
Advocates react
The Southern Environmental Law Center has been at the forefront of litigation on behalf of Cape Fear River Watch against Chemours in North Carolina to stop GenX and other PFAS pollution. “SELC’s litigation under existing laws led to a consent order among Cape Fear River Watch, the state and Chemours to stop at least 99% of PFAS pollution that contaminated drinking water supplies for about 300,000 people in communities along the Cape Fear River,” the law center said in a statement. Geoff Gisler, a senior attorney with the law center and leader of its Clean Water Program, said in a statement that the roadmap charts a course to important new protections while using existing authority to protect families and communities plagued by PFAS pollution. “We have seen in North Carolina that when permitting agencies require industrial polluters to comply with existing laws, PFAS water pollution can be stopped at the source. EPA’s Roadmap pairs a plan for the future with the tools it currently has to stop ongoing contamination as the agency develops new standards,” Gisler said. “This roadmap, when fully implemented, could change the landscape in our efforts to protect communities from PFAS pollution. On this anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we’re a step closer to achieving its goals. While the roads to standards identified by EPA are necessarily long; the route to stopping ongoing pollution of our streams and rivers can and should be short.” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del, issued a statement that he was encouraged by the EPA’s urgency in dealing with a public health threat. “This is truly a soup-to-nuts plan — one that commits to cleaning up PFAS in our environment while also putting protections in place to prevent more of these forever chemicals from finding their way into our lives. After the previous administration failed to follow through on its plan to address PFAS contamination, EPA’s new leadership promised action. I look forward to working with them on living up to this commitment.” Ken Cook, president of the national nonprofit Environmental Working Group, said that communities contaminated by PFAS had waited decades for action. “So, it’s good news that Administrator Regan will fulfill President Biden’s pledge to take quick action to reduce PFOA and PFOS in tap water, to restrict industrial releases of PFAS into the air and water, and to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances to hold polluters accountable,” Cook said in a statement. “It’s been more than 20 years since EPA and EWG first learned that these toxic forever chemicals were building up in our blood and increasing our likelihood of cancer and other health harms. It’s time for action, not more plans, and that’s what this Administrator will deliver. As significant as these actions are, they are just the first of many actions needed to protect us from PFAS, as the Administrator has said.” Environmental Working Group Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber said that no one should have to worry about toxic chemicals in their tap water. “We’re grateful that Administrator Regan will fulfill President Biden’s pledge to address PFOA and PFOS in our tap water and will begin to turn off the tap of industrial PFAS pollution.” The Environmental Protection Network is an organization composed of nearly 550 former EPA career staff and political appointees from across the country. The organization’s Betsy Southerland, former director of the Office of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water, called EPA’s approach to restrict or ban current PFAS uses a critical piece of the plan. “The actions detailed in the roadmap are essential first steps in reducing people’s exposure to these extremely dangerous chemicals, especially in communities already disproportionately impacted by pollution,” Southerland said. “While EPA will identify initial PFAS classes in the National Testing Strategy, the agency set tight deadlines for regulating individual PFAS chemicals in air, water, and waste, which will begin to drive stringent treatment requirements. EPA’s success in turning the roadmap into action will require the swift passage of a robust budget to give the agency adequate funding and staffing to get the job done.”
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EPA to publish toxicity assessment, set health advisories for GenX.
Here’s what it means.
The federal government plans to take steps to help public health officials determine the risks associated with a compound that has contaminated hundreds of wells around a Bladen County chemical plant and drinking water in Wilmington and other communities downstream from the facility. The Environmental Protection Agency will release a toxicity assessment “in the coming days” for GenX, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said Monday at an event in Raleigh. The announcement was part of a broader move by EPA to develop a “strategic roadmap” on how to deal with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). GenX belongs to the PFAS family of compounds, which are sometimes known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily. State officials have been investigating GenX since 2017, when the Wilmington Star-News reported that researchers had found the chemical and similar compounds in the Cape Fear River, downstream from the Chemours plant. The company agreed to a consent order that requires it to drastically reduce the amount of GenX it emits into the air. The Chemours plant in Bladen County makes GenX. The compound also is a byproduct of other processes there. GenX and similar compounds have been found in hundreds of wells around the Chemours facility, which is off N.C. 87 near the Cumberland County line. Lisa Randall, a Chemours spokeswoman, said in a statement that company officials have reviewed the EPA roadmap and commend the agency for “compiling a comprehensive, science-based approach.” “While additional detail is needed for many of the initiatives, Chemours is supportive of the framework approach and looks forward to engaging in the process moving forward,” she said.  “We believe the voluntary stewardship program recommended by the agency could help achieve meaningful progress in reducing emissions while several of the initiatives work their way through the regulatory process.” Regan said on Monday that the toxicity assessment will help make sure other communities don’t have to go through what those in North Carolina have gone through.
Assessment intended to help health officials
A statement released by EPA officials said the assessment “can be used to develop health advisories that will help communities make informed decisions to better protect human health and ecological wellness.” The EPA plan says it will publish assessments on hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt, which the plan calls “GenX chemicals.” The compounds have been found in surface water, groundwater, drinking water, rainwater, and air emissions, and are known to impact human health and ecosystems, it says. “Scientists have observed liver and kidney toxicity, immune effects, hematological effects, reproductive and developmental effects, and cancer in animals exposed to GenX chemicals,” the EPA plan says. “Completing a toxicity assessment for GenX is essential to better understanding its effects on people and the environment. EPA can use this information to develop health advisories that will help communities make informed decisions to better protect human health and ecological wellness.” Chemours officials have said that the amount of GenX in wells around the plant is not harmful. Scott Faber is senior vice president for government affairs with the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. He said he will be interested to see if the toxicity assessment causes the EPA to set a lifetime health advisory for GenX. The EPA has issued such advisories for two other PFAS compounds. They are perfluorooctanoic acid, which is known as PFOA, and perfluorooctane sulfonate, PFOS. PFOA, which also is called C8, was made at the Bladen County facility when it was owned by DuPont. Chemours is a spinoff from DuPont. The EPA could go further by setting mandatory drinking water standards for PFAS, Faber said. North Carolina also could set its own standards as some other states have done, he said. “That might be the quickest way to get GenX out of drinking water,” he said. The EPA plan also says toxicity assessments will be issued for five other PFAS compounds — PFBA, PFHxA, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFDA. Three of those compounds — PFHxA, PFNA, and PFDA — and PFOS were found in foam in a Cumberland County stream by state regulators this year. A Chemours spokeswoman said none of those compounds are associated with the plant’s processes. The EPA plan said that the agency expects to issue health advisories for GenX and another PFAS compound called PFBS next year. EPA published a toxicity assessment for PFBS in April. The health advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory but will help state and local officials determine if they need to take actions to address public health impacts, the plan said. “Health advisories offer a margin of protection by defining a level of drinking water concentration at or below which lifetime exposure is not anticipated to lead to adverse health effects,” it said. “They include information on health effects, analytical methodologies, and treatment technologies and are designed to protect all life stages.”
EPA roadmap sets timelines
The EPA plan also sets up timelines to set enforceable drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act, strengthens the ability to hold polluters accountable, and reviews previous actions by the agency regarding PFAS, according to the statement. The plan also calls for increased monitoring, data collection and research, it said. Faber said the plan represents the first time the administration of a president of either political party has set up timelines for which it can be held accountable. U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s 8th District, released a statement about the EPA roadmap. “I’m glad to see the EPA give these toxic forever chemicals the attention they deserve,” he said. “We need a comprehensive and reasonable approach to combat PFAS and I look forward to reviewing the EPA’s Roadmap.” Hudson thanked Regan for developing the initiative. “I will continue to work with the Administrator and my colleagues in Congress to make sure citizens near the Cape Fear River and throughout our region have access to safe drinking water,” he said. State Sen. Kirk deViere represents Cumberland County, which he called “ground zero for GenX contamination.” He said in a statement released Monday that he applauds the EPA action, but more must be done. “While this announcement provides a roadmap, we need timely action to provide clean water now to the thousands of residents of Cumberland County who have contaminated wells,” he said. “The ultimate solution cannot be simply offering bottles of water to residents or installing under-the-sink filters.” Bold leadership is needed by state officials and Chemours to be sure residents get clean water, deViere said. “This is a public health crisis and the time for drastic immediate improvement is now,” he said.
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How Chemical Companies Avoid Paying for Pollution
DuPont factories pumped dangerous substances into the environment. The company and its offspring have gone to great lengths to dodge responsibility.
One humid day this summer, Brian Long, a senior executive at the chemical company Chemours, took a reporter on a tour of the Fayetteville Works factory. Mr. Long showed off the plant’s new antipollution technologies, designed to stop a chemical called GenX from pouring into the Cape Fear River, escaping into the air and seeping into the ground water. There was a new high-tech filtration system. And a new thermal oxidizer, which heats waste to 2,000 degrees. And an underground wall — still under construction — to keep the chemicals out of the river. And more. “They’re not Band-Aids,” Mr. Long said. “They’re long-term, robust solutions.” Yet weeks later, North Carolina officials announced that Chemours had exceeded limits on how much GenX its Fayetteville factory was emitting. This month, the state fined the company $300,000 for the violations — the second time this year the company has been penalized by the state’s environmental regulator. GenX is part of a family of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. They allow everyday items — frying pans, rain jackets, face masks, pizza boxes — to repel water, grease and stains. Exposure to the chemicals has been linked to cancer and other serious health problems. To avoid responsibility for what many experts believe is a public health crisis, leading chemical companies like Chemours, DuPont and 3M have deployed a potent mix of tactics. They have used public charm offensives to persuade regulators and lawmakers to back off. They have engineered complex corporate transactions to shield themselves from legal liability. And they have rolled out a conveyor belt of scantly tested substitute chemicals that sometimes turn out to be just as dangerous as their predecessors. “You don’t have to live near Chemours or DuPont or 3M to have exposure to these things,” said Linda S. Birnbaum, the former head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “It is in the water. It is in our food. It’s in our homes and in our house dust. And depending on where you live, it may be in our air.” PFAS substances are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down and can accumulate in the environment and in the blood and organs of people and animals. When the compounds get into water supplies, the effects can be devastating. Around Madison, Wis., residents are advised not to eat the fish from nearby lakes. In Wayland, Mass., residents are drinking bottled water because the tap water is contaminated. In northern Michigan, scientists found unsafe levels of PFAS in the rain. Most Americans have been exposed to at least trace amounts of the chemicals and have them in their blood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research by chemical companies and academics has shown that exposure to PFAS has been linked to cancer, liver damage, birth defects and other health problems. GenX was supposed to be a safer alternative to earlier generations of the chemicals, but new studies are discovering similar health hazards. This week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was going to start requiring companies to test and publicly report the amount of PFAS in the products they make. It is an early step toward regulating the chemicals, though the E.P.A. has not set limits on their production or discharge. The E.P.A. administrator, Michael S. Regan, who announced the new rules, previously was the top environmental regulator in North Carolina, where he clashed with Chemours over its GenX pollution. “PFAS contamination has been devastating communities for decades,” Mr. Regan said. “I saw this firsthand in North Carolina.” The situation in Fayetteville is in many ways emblematic of the battles being waged in communities nationwide. Pollution from Fayetteville Works has shown up in drinking water as far as 90 miles away from the plant. Chemours argues that most of the pollution in North Carolina occurred long before it owned Fayetteville Works. DuPont, which built the factory in the 1960s, claims it can’t be held liable because of a corporate reorganization that took place several years ago. DuPont “does not produce” the chemicals in question, “and we are not in a position to comment on products that are owned by other independent, publicly traded companies,” said a DuPont spokesman, Daniel A. Turner. Both companies have downplayed the dangers of their chemicals and opted for occasional piecemeal fixes rather than comprehensive but costly solutions that would have protected the environment, according to interviews with scientists, lawyers, regulators, company officials and residents and a review of previously unreported documents detailing the industry’s tactics.
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    Homeowners Insurance
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    Hurricane Season

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Goodbye hurricane season? With 6 weeks to go, it may be all but over
While the Atlantic hurricane season does not officially end until Nov. 30, AccuWeather forecasters believe that the odds of any additional tropical storm formation in the near future are low. After a frenetic pace around the peak of hurricane season, there is now just one name left on the 2021 list of storm names: Wanda. Might that name go unused? The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season got off to a record-fast start, with five storms forming by July 1, surpassing a record set just a year ago. The season continued at a fast pace, with development kicking off again in mid-August and continuing through mid-September. By the end of the period of rapid activity, eight storms had made landfall in the United States. But now, the tropics sit dormant.
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Inlet Hazard Areas
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Lockwood Folly Inlet
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US Army Corps of Engineers set to complete dredging of dangerously shallow Brunswick County inlet
Dredging is finally underway in Lockwood Folly Inlet, an area fishermen, rescuers and recreational boaters alike have been eagerly awaiting the much-needed maintenance. The area between Oak Island and Holden Beach had gotten so shallow that boats were in danger of crashing and flipping over. The inlet was just 1-2 feet deep at low tide, a level so dangerous the Coast Guard removed its navigation buoys and deemed the inlet unsafe. Leaders hoped to get the US Army Corps dredge down this spring, but due to several delays, crews couldn’t make it down until early August. US Army Corps of Engineers says there’s several factors that play into their dredging schedule. Because they only have four vessels that work all across the entire east coast, they have to prioritize projects very carefully. Things grow even more challenging, given the size of the shallow draft inlet. The only ship in the fleet that can clear the channel is the side caster dredge, called the Merritt. Elements like public safety, commerce, and the source of the funding play into the order USACE tackles its projects, but the agency also isn’t immune to equipment breakdowns, COVID-19 delays, storms, or having to respond to emergencies around its coverage area, which stretches from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. Despite the obstacles, leaders were happy to be back to maintain Lockwood Folly, where they aim to dredge the channel every few months. “We’re here to help. We don’t like it any more than they do. If we could just pick up everything and come right away to all these areas that need us to dredge, we absolutely want to do that, but we’re just — we have constraints that we have to take into consideration, and again we have to prioritize, but if we can get there, we’re going to,” said USACE Chief of Navigation Jeremy Smith. The dredging of the inlet was funded by the town of Holden Beach, Oak Island and Brunswick County. The project cost rang in at $600,000. No federal dollars were used. The dredging kicked off in early August and is expected to wrap up in the next week.
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Boaters call for USCG to add navigational buoys back to Lockwood Folly Inlet
The Lockwood Folly Inlet between Oak Island and Holden Beach is no longer dangerously shallow following a recent dredging project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveyed the inlet on Monday morning to follow up on the dredging project that was completed on September 5. The Corps said the project was successful and President of the Lockwood Folly Inlet Association Cane Faircloth agrees. “We had a lot of beach erosion from the tropical storms that were passing by and the high tides, but the inlet faired really good from that,” Faircloth said. “It actually got better; it didn’t get worse. That’s always a concern when you have sand eroding from the beaches.” The conditions are a stark difference from earlier this summer. In June, the Coast Guard shared a bulletin saying parts of the inlet were less than two feet deep at low tide. Now the Corps said according to a survey performed just after the dredging project was complete
, the channel is seven to eight feet deep and 150 feet wide. “The inlet’s in great shape, we have a great channel, but it’s really important for us to get our navigational aids put back so that boaters can know exactly where this channel is because it’s really shallow to the east or the west of the channel,” Faircloth said. Another concern is the shipwreck close by the inlet that’s only visible at low tide. “Over the past month, we’ve had a couple of boaters hit it. We had one boater hit it this weekend and tear the lower unit of his engine off,” Faircloth said. The Coast Guard is the entity in charge of placing the navigational buoys. A spokesperson said they are awaiting the results of Monday’s survey to see if the project held and it’s safe for them to mark the channel. The spokesperson explained the water must be deep enough for their cutter to place and maintain the buoys. The results of Monday’s survey are expected to be available by Tuesday afternoon. The Coast Guard spokesperson added there are no plans to mark the shipwreck and it has never been marked before. While Faircloth waits and advocates for the return of the buoys, he advises people to follow boaters who are familiar with the inlet to get a track line and remain cautious while navigating the area.
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Lockwood Folly Inlet survey results are in
The latest survey results of Lockwood Folly Inlet have been posted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On Tuesday afternoon, the Corps posted the results of the survey conducted on Monday morning. The survey was a follow-up from the latest dredging project that concluded on September 5. The Corps said on September 27 that the dredging project was successful, citing a survey performed just after the completion of the project that showed the channel was seven to eight feet deep and 150 feet wide. Lockwood Folly Inlet Association President Cane Faircloth said the inlet is in great shape following the latest dredge. Faircloth said the heavy rainfall helping the inlet rather than hurting it shows the environment is responding well to the project and it’s evident the economy is benefitting judging by the number of fishermen using the inlet. Faircloth said the final piece of the puzzle in making the inlet as safe as possible would be returning to navigational buoys. Returning the navigational aids is up to the U.S. Coast Guard. A USCG spokesperson said they will review the latest survey to determine if they can safely return the buoys because the water must be deep enough for their cutter to place and maintain the buoys.
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Editor’s Note –
It is my understanding that the inlet buoys were put back on October 19th


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Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
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Report touts benefits of bans on new offshore drilling leases
An international advocacy group released Wednesday a state-based analyses detailing the economic benefits of banning new offshore drilling for the East and West coasts. In the report, Oceana, an organization dedicated to ocean conservation, looked at data on ocean-dependent jobs and fishing, tourism and recreation revenue along the coasts of Atlantic and Pacific states, North Carolina, and Florida’s Gulf coast. Based on Oceana’s findings in January, findings suggest that ending new leasing for offshore oil and gas in the United States could prevent more than 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions as well as more than $720 billion in damages. Ending new leasing also will support around 3.3 million American jobs and $250 billion in gross domestic product, according to the organization. The analysis for North Carolina says that the state has 3,375 miles of coastline that supports 62,000 jobs with a clean coast economy. Tourism, recreation, and fishing bring in about $3.1 billion. Additionally, the economically recoverable oil and gas resources would only meet demand for roughly 65 days of oil and 57 days of gas. A catastrophic oil spill would pose a great risk to North Carolina’s coastal economies that depend on a healthy ocean. For the East Coast, offshore drilling threatens more than 1.6 million jobs and about $127 billion for seven months’ worth of oil and six months’ worth of gas, the analysis finds. The House Committee on Natural Resources proposed Monday a legislative measure
that would permanently protect the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico from future offshore drilling. Additionally, the Biden-Harris administration is expected to release an interim report on the federal oil and gas leasing program, which Oceana officials said, “must result in an end to new leasing for offshore drilling.” Oceana campaign director Diane Hoskins said that to protect coastal economies and combat climate change, “we must stop looking for new fossil fuels in the ocean.” Hoskins said in a news release that the new state-level analysis offers the clearest picture yet of the economic dangers associated with expanded offshore drilling. Permanent protections will safeguard states’ tourism, recreation, and fishing industries and prevent climate pollution that is incompatible with addressing the climate crisis. “President Biden has taken bold, swift action on climate, which stands in stark contrast to the denial of climate change and the attacks our oceans and coasts faced during the previous administration. Now, President Biden and Congress must go further to ensure our coasts are permanently protected from new offshore drilling,” Hoskins said. Oceana reports that the following oppose or are concerned over offshore drilling activities:

    • Every East and West Coast governor, including North Carolina’s Gov. Roy Cooper.
    • More than 390 local municipalities, 2,300 local, state and federal bipartisan officials, 120 scientists and 80 former military leaders.
    • Alliances representing more than 56,000 businesses on both coasts.
    • Pacific, New England, South Atlantic, and Mid-Atlantic fishery management councils, and commercial and recreational fishing interests
    • Department of Defense, NASA, U.S. Air Force and Florida Defense Support Task Force

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Offshore Wind Farms
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Biden Administration Plans Wind Farms Along Nearly the Entire U.S. Coastline
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced that her agency will formally begin the process of identifying federal waters to lease to wind developers by 2025.
Speaking at a wind power industry conference in Boston, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that her agency will begin to identify, demarcate, and hope to eventually lease federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Maine and off the coasts of the Mid-Atlantic States, North Carolina and South Carolina, California, and Oregon, to wind power developers by 2025. The announcement came months after the Biden administration approved the nation’s first major commercial offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and began reviewing a dozen other potential offshore wind projects along the East Coast. On the West Coast, the administration has approved opening up two areas off the shores of Central and Northern California for commercial wind power development. Taken together, the actions represent the most forceful push ever by federal government to promote offshore wind development. “The Interior Department is laying out an ambitious road map as we advance the administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good-paying jobs, and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” said Ms. Haaland. “This timetable provides two crucial ingredients for success: increased certainty and transparency. Together, we will meet our clean energy goals while addressing the needs of other ocean users and potentially impacted communities.”
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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.
/////
Dinner Club outings have been on hold since March 2020

Dining Guide – Guests

Dining Guide – Local

Restaurant Reviews – North

Restaurant Reviews – South


Name:            Café Chinois
Cuisine:
        Asian Fusion
Location:      3710 S College Road / Unit#123, Wilmington NC
Contact:        910.769.3193 / 
https://www.cafe-chinois.com/

Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:               Inexpensive <=$18 / Moderate <=$24 / Expensive <=$30 / Exorbitant <=$40
Rating:          Three Stars
This restaurant is the latest eatery from the Indochine restaurant group. It’s an unassuming restaurant located in  a nondescript strip mall. You will be pleasantly surprised when you step inside to the dining room that is filled to the brim with Asian art and artifacts. An exceptional value with large portions and moderate prices for the quality of the food served. You can expect a dining experience similar to their flagship restaurant Indochine


Cloud 9
9 Estell Lee Pl
Wilmington, North Carolina 28401
910.726.9226
Rooftop Bar
http://www.cloud9ilm.com

Enjoy panoramic views from the Cloud 9 rooftop bar which overlooks picturesque downtown Wilmington. This premier open-air rooftop venue is located on the Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington on the ninth floor of the Embassy Suites. The bar is open seven (7) days a week at 4:00 PM and is currently serving almost fifty (50) different brews on tap and in cans and more than 20 wine selections. They also offer live music Thursday through Saturday evenings throughout the summer months. This is a must visit the next time you are in Wilmington.


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
/////

FALLING by T.J. Newman
Falling is a terrifying tale of a single cross-country flight during which an airline pilot faces an impossible choice. The choice he’s given is to crash his plane, killing everyone aboard, or save the lives of his passengers and watch his family die. It’s one very bad day where things somehow just keep getting worse.
 


  • .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/



09 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 09/01/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-28, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21-13, The Revenues & Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 – 2022 (Amendment No. 4) – Commissioners Sullivan & Kwiatkowski

Previously reported – August 2021
Ordinance 21-27
Amendment proposes to add $25,000 in funding for inspection of the pier properties out of BPART funds in accordance with standards from the American Society of Civil Engineers for those types of properties.

Moved funds of $25,000
From Revenue account #50.0399.0000 to Expense account#50.0710.0903

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
Commissioner Sullivan indicated that the inspection cost of the pier is $46K which is greater than what they had  expected, they only budgeted $25K, and that they needed to allocate more money to get the inspection done. Conducting the pier inspection is both necessary and an obligation of the Board under the due diligence aspect of the purchase of the property. Commissioner Kwiatkowski made a motion, just to be on the safe side,  to increase the requested additional funds from $31K to $45K in order  to cover any unexpected expenses that they may incur. David explained the procedure that they will follow will be to perform a level 1 marine inspection of the pier which is an underwater visual inspection that will tell them enough for them to determine which way to go from there. After the initial assessment they can stop right then if it looks bad. They all agreed that is how they were going to do it and were going to proceed accordingly. The budgeted funds are for the marine inspection only. There was some discussion about the  commercial building inspection. Both the Building Inspector and the Town Attorney said that it should be done by an independent third party. David said he plans to lineup the inspections sequentially, do one at a time, that way he can hold off on doing the building inspection if the pier inspection is bad. ATM, our coastal engineering firm, will be doing the inspection at a cost of up to $46K depending on how much work they actually need to do.

Moved funds of $45,000
From Revenue account #50.0399.0000 to Expense account#50.0710.0903

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

Mayor Holden – was not in attendance

Editor’s Note –
They followed remote government meeting protocols, Commissioners introduced themselves before they spoke, which was a nice  positive change.

HBPOA – official position statement:
The HPBOA cannot support the proposed purchase of the pier properties until these items are known:
.   1)
The inspection results listing any necessary repairs and their estimated cost
.   2)
The Town’s intended use of the property, including the provision of beach access
.   3)
A 15-year plan for the estimated revenues and expenses, including repairs,                 .       improvements, insurance, and operating costs
.   4)
The impact on taxes

.

.

Public does not have enough information to formulate an opinion.
Due diligence is a critical part of the pier property purchase process.
Need to ensure the public that they are acting fairly, transparently and in good faith.
Most importantly, they need to be forthright explaining how they plan to pay for it.


BOC’s Public Hearing / Regular Meeting 09/21/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here


BOC’s Public Hearing


PUBLIC HEARING: Consideration of Entering into an Installment Financing Contract for the Remodeling and Improvement of Lift Stations for the Town’s Utilities Systems and Purchasing Property Located at 441 Ocean Boulevard West, Including the Pier

Previously reported – August 2021
Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution 21-12, Resolution Authoring the Negotiation of One or More Installment Financing Contracts and Providing for Certain Other Related Matters Thereto – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
The attached resolution (Attachment I), prepared by our bond attorney firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP, is a necessary component for the installment financing application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) and to negotiate one or more installment financing contracts to pay the costs of remodeling and improvement of lift stations for the Town’s sewer utility systems and to pay the cost of purchasing the pier properties located at 441 Ocean Boulevard. The resolution anticipates applying for amounts up to $5,200,000 for the two Lift Station upgrades and up to $3,300,000 for the pier properties. Actual amounts procured via installment financing contracts will be subject to bank RFPs, construction contracting response to the sewer lift station 2 bid solicitation, and BOC/LGC approvals. The amount proposed to be financed for the lift station upgrades includes the repayment to the water/sewer fund of costs previously incurred with the lift station 3 project as approved by the BOC reimbursement resolution dated Oct 2020 as well as estimated project costs for lift station 2 currently under design and anticipated to be ready for bid review/consideration at the September BOC meeting.

This is a necessary component for the installment financing application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) and to negotiate one or more installment financing contracts. Not optional , this is a requirement to move forward.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

A public hearing shall be conducted, concerning the approval of the execution and delivery of the Contract for the financing of the Projects.  

Update –
David briefly explained the proposed financing. Experts were on hand to answer any of the Board’s questions.

 Public Comments
There were several comments made all of which regarding the pier properties purchase

If I may summarize, the recurring two issues
  1) The public does not have enough information to formulate an opinion.
  2) They need to explain how they plan to pay for it.

John Witten representing the Holden Beach Properties Owners Association reported that they electronically online polled their members regarding the pier project financing position. Despite the short notice three hundred (300) members responded with 82% in favor of the resolution which opposes incurring the debt at this time without additional information.

HBPOA – official position statement:
The Board of Commissioners (BOC) has approved a contract to purchase the Fishing Pier, attached Building and adjacent 70-space Parking Lot and is planning to incur $3.3 million of 15-year Public Debt to fund the purchase. This Property does not include the parcels on either side, which have the same owner and are also for sale. All three parcels are listed by Alan Holden Realty, as agent for the owner.

At its September 4, 2021 meeting the HBPOA membership adopted a resolution to be delivered to the BOC stating that HBPOA DOES NOT support purchasing the Property UNLESS AND UNTIL: (i) all Inspections are complete and there is a cost estimate and plan for repair; (ii) taxpayers are told the plan for operating the pier, parking lot and restaurant building; (iii) taxpayers are given a realistic plan and revenue sources for repayment of the $3.3 million of public debt; and (iv) taxpayers can see the potential impact on property and occupancy taxes.

This vote made it clear that the HBPOA does not oppose the concept of the Town owning and developing the Property and preserving the Pier, but it does not support incurring over $3+ million public debt and obligating taxpayers without taking prudent precautions to ensure that the Town is not paying too much and/or is not taking on hidden risks and liabilities, and without knowing how the Town plans to repay that $3+ million.


BOC’s Regular Meeting


1. September Monthly Report and Washington Legislative and Advocacy Update – Mike McIntyre, Ward and Smith, Roger Gwinn, the Ferguson Group (Assistant Town Manager Ferguson)

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Editor’s Note –
In January of  2021 we renewed our contract with Mike McIntyre who was with Poyner Spruill but has since moved to the Ward and Smith firm. The retainer for their services is $7,975 per month or a minimum of $95,700 annually. Retainer is the minimum it will cost us. Ferguson Group services are billed separately. Additionally, we are billed monthly for all kinds of additional charges. The agreement with  Ward and Smith is for an annual total estimated advocacy cost of $119,700.

Update –
Mike gave the report  briefly reviewing the history of our efforts for beach projects. They have been able to secure approval of USACE study, the contract was just signed in August. Discussed LWF inlet maintenance dredging funding, which falls under Congressional directed spending now, able to submit for $1,005,000 for this project. Bipartisan infrastructure package proposes four (4) billion for the USACE operation and maintenance budget where dredging money comes from, this is in addition to the regular annual appropriations which is almost four (4) billion too. He covered a lot of other ground and once again he left a very favorable impression of what they are doing on our behalf.


2. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 21-13, Resolution Approving an Installment Financing Contract and Delivery Thereof and Providing for Certain Other Related Matters – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson, Scott Leo, Parker Poe and Andrew Carter, DEC Associates

Agenda Packet –
The attached resolution (Attachment I prepared by our bond attorney firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP, is a necessary component for the application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) to obtain financing for the improvement/remodeling of lift stations, including adjacent property acquisition, and the acquisition of the pier properties. The resolution approves the terms of the financing agreement between the Town of Holden Beach and Truist Bank and authorizes Town officials to execute the financing documents on behalf of the Town and take any other actions necessary for the financing of the projects.

RESOLUTION 21-13
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of the Town (the “Board’) has determined that it is in the best interest of the Town to enter into an installment financing contract (the “Contract i ‘) with Truist Bank (the “Bank”) pursuant to which the Town will receive an advance of funds under which the Town will make certain installment payments, in order to (l ) (a) pay the costs of the remodeling and improvement of lift stations for the Town’s utilities systems, including the acquisition of adjacent property (the “Utilities Project”), and (b) pay a portion of the costs associated with entering into the Contract, collectively in an aggregate amount not to exceed $5,200,000, and (2) (a) pay the costs of purchasing certain real property located in the Town, including the pier (the “Pier Acquisition” and together with the Utilities Project, the “Projects”), and (b) pay a portion of the costs associated with entering into the Contract, collectively in an aggregate amount not to exceed $3,300,000;

Financing Contracting Comments for BOCM – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

General Considerations
There are two immediate town projects that require funding: 1. Remodeling and improvement of lift stations for the Town’s sewer utility system and 2. To pay the cost of purchasing the pier properties at 441 Ocean Blvd West.

Financing projects when interest rates are low should always be considered, but it needs to be remembered there is a long-term annual cost for debt service that falls on all property owners. While it is stated in the August 2021 resolution 21-12 that the Town does not anticipate an increase in taxes but if an increase is necessary, it will not be excessive, annual assessments (such as are currently paid for the sewer system) are not defined as taxes, and “not excessive” will always be open to interpretation.

Also in resolution 21-12, it is stated “Whereas the Board will consider entering into either separate installment financing contracts or a single installment financing contract…”. My opinion is we should have separate contracts, in part because the definitive decision on the pier purchase will not occur until October, but also because from my perspective it is more appropriate and transparent to have separate contracts when projects are managed from different cost centers.

I comment on each project individually below.

Sewer
In October 2020 the Board approved resolution 20-12, referring to the remodeling and improvement of lift stations and the requisition and installation of a water tower. In the official declaration of intent, the approximate cost was given as 5 million dollars. In resolution 21-12, the financing of the utilities project, now expressed as only sewer lift stations (referring to lift stations 3 and 2), will be for up to 5.2 million dollars, 200,000$ more than approximated in resolution 20-12.

The cost of lift station 3 was more than the estimate from the McGill 2017 Holden Beach Sewer Study, and we are currently awaiting a bid on lift station 2 (expecting it to be more than for lift station 3). It is probable the estimated total of 5.2 million dollars is reasonably accurate. However, when the Board of Commissioners passed resolution 20-12 in October 2020, there was no anticipation of additional projects requiring financing in the same time frame. Since then, the Town has added a bicycle lane project which will require approximately 700,000 dollars of financing and the proposed pier property purchase requiring an estimated 3.25 million dollars financing. There has also been considerable discussion by some commissioners to invest in property for additional parking which could total over 1 million dollars.

While borrowing 5 million dollars for both lift station improvements seemed acceptable when it was the only financing foreseen, borrowing the full amount for two stations when confronted with another 4 or possibly 5 million dollars in projects also requiring financing should be reconsidered. In my opinion, the Town should finance the full cost for lift station 2 but only the amount for lift station 3 that is in excess of the 2017 McGill report estimate. If needed, an amended resolution can be written.

Pier Property Purchase
Unlike for the sewer lift station project, the purchase of the pier property is not in my opinion “essential to the Town’s proper, efficient and economic operation and to the general health and welfare of its inhabitants, that the Project will provide an essential use and will permit the Town to carry out public functions that it is authorized by law to perform” ( quoted from resolution 21-12). The Town should not execute financing until 1. due diligence inspection results are received 2. estimates of improvement costs and anticipated annual revenues vs expenditures demonstrate a reasonable certainty that Town purchase and ownership of the pier property will not impose additional taxes or assessments on property owners.

Update –
Commissioner Kwiatkowski broached the subject that this financing resolution should be handled separately. Motion to split the financing and handle separately was not carried on a 3-2 vote. Resolution submitted was passed on a 3-2 vote too.

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


3. Discussion and Possible Award of Contract for Vacuum Sewer System #2 Upgrade – Leo Green, Green Engineering (Public Works Director Clemmons)

Agenda Packet –
The bid opening for the Lift Station #2 upfit was held at 2:00p.m. on September 9th. There was only one bid submitted. Since three are required, Leo Green will rebid for opening on the 20th of September with the intent to present to the Board at the September 21st regular meeting.

Update –
David indicated that the project needed to be rebid. Leo said we still only had one bid from the vendor that did the other lift stations. He attempted to explain the driving forces for the significantly higher price.

Lift Station #4              2018                $1,205,000
Lift Station #3              2019                $1,622,000      @35% increase vs. lift station #4
Lift Station #2              2021                $2,664,000      @64% increase vs. lift station #3

Commissioner Kwiatkowski pointed out that we will need to go through another hurricane season before project is completed. They discussed proceeding versus waiting, some of the variables that needed to be considered are the cost of materials, the cost of borrowing money, the availability of materials, and the potential increase of number of projects because of Federal Infrastructure money. They are not saying that we are not going to do the project, but they prefer to hold off proceeding for the time being. They decided to put the project on hold.

No decision was made – No action taken


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Draft Parks & Recreation Master Plan – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson & McGill Representative

Agenda Packet –
The Town is conducting a Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update with McGill Associates, PA as the consulting firm. The plan has been through the extensive review of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, monthly, since their July meeting. The document will serve as a guide for the growth and development of the department over the next 10 years. Based on the dedication and commitment of the PRAB to produce a user-friendly document that will serve as a resource for the Town, several rounds of revisions have been suggested to culminate in the final document before you this evening (Attachment l). The PRAB passed the plan unanimously at their special meeting held September 9, 2021. It will be very beneficial in the pursuit of grants that fund parks and recreation facilities. The next step is for the BOC to consider approving the plan.

Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan

Parks & Rec Master Plan Initial Comments from Commissioner Kwiatkowski

The efforts of the Parks and Rec Board to prepare an update of the 10-year master plan would be appreciated at any time but are particularly so considering the difficulty of gathering information during the pandemic as well as dealing with meeting restrictions during a sizable portion of the project schedule. The inventory of existing facilities with recommendations for improvement is an excellent compilation; it serves as a reminder of what we already have and the need to keep facilities fresh and current, so they continue to be a source of enjoyment to our community. And of course we must have adequate staff, dedicated volunteers, and funding to move ahead.

My initial thoughts of the document (in no particular order) compared to my personal expectations are below. They are based on only one fairly thorough read and I look forward to engaging with members of the Parks and Rec Board to better my understanding of the current contents and scope of the proposed Master Plan, Again, many thanks to the Parks and Rec Board for their efforts and proven dedication to serving our community.

General Comments
While the document may provide what is generally accepted for a Parks and Rec master plan according to accepted standards, I am missing what I will call overarching themes for future development of parks and rec facilities and programs. We live in a time of particular concern about the effects of sea level rise and climate change; I expected recognition of these factors for our island’s plan (prioritizing facilities less prone to flooding/water damage needs to become a factor when justifying funding, and demonstrating a reduction in fossil fuel use, either by reducing the need to drive or using alternative energy technologies for facilities, should be a consideration). AARP livable community concepts could bring benefit to this plan. When the land use plan was finalized, I asked that more AARP livable community specifics be included; I was told expanded discussion would be more appropriate in a Parks and Rec plan, but there is no mention in this document. Review of AARP livable community concepts that can be incorporated in the plan is an appropriate ask.

Existing Parks/Facilities
Holden Beach is an island with 8 miles of beach and many points of access and water views to the AIWW and inlets; the beach already receives more “attention” than it can handle during peak use periods, which is to be expected since people vacation on an island to go to the beach (by the way, I find it curious that in section 3.4 on evaluation of park land needs our acres of beach are not included or at least commented on) . However, families don’t expect to spend 12 hours a day at the ocean; they look for other family activity opportunities. We need to provide easily reached (without always having to drive) activity locations and entertaining options away from the strand to “spread the love” over more of the island as an alternative to loading the family into the car to drive off island every day. The proposed walking trail to connect points is an excellent idea as are exploiting points of interest for bikers (who will not have bike lanes). A park at Scotch Bonnet, including but not limited to a dog park, seems a sound proposal.

Proposed facility proposals and recommendations
Facilities need to be used for the majority of the year to be a worthwhile investment They also need to be managed and monitored. I question the need for tennis courts ( just because recommended guidelines suggest a community this size should have one doesn’t translate to it’s a high priority need), and considering the Sunshine private court which frequently floods, has limited parking and would require driving almost the length of OBW to access doesn’t appear attractive to me.

Regarding comments on providing an outdoor performance area not so close to the bridge that provides visitors a more enjoyable experience, the question becomes where such a site exists on island that can handle the parking needs for concerts and whatever other productions are envisioned. Perhaps collaboration with the county on use of mainland county owned properties near THB could provide a solution.

Programs
We need some suggestions for more programs for children, teens, and adults (including the elderly) that include physical, educational, and social opportunities. The plan includes very little detail on existing programs/events other than tide dye Tuesday and no real recommendations for new possibilities other than to say they are needed. This should be the document that captures ideas; this should be the time to think outside the box. Consider today’s available technology (e.g., smart phones)-what can be designed to educate on local nature and barrier island dynamics while walking trails or taking bike rest stops?

Community Input
I realize the difficulty getting in person input due to pandemic restrictions; initial community input sample sizes for resident and visitor “wants” are smaller than hoped for, although the input coupled with subsequent virtual focus group interviews, the survey conducted, and land use plan survey results can provide direction. That being said, I believe it is important to seek additional input and community confirmation on this draft to ensure the recommendations made specific for Holden Beach are indeed what our owners want/expect. The virtual focus group citizen interview priority list (in order, programs and classes, bike path/lane, trails, dog park, launches, fishing, tennis, pickle ball, fitness) could be the starting point for discussion. I particularly note from the on-line survey getting dedicated pickle ball courts (not shared with basketball) was frequently mentioned.

The 8-mile-long problem
Due to the length and increasing narrowness of the island as one goes west, it is not realistic to assume every part of the island can be equally served (beyond Sailfish there simply aren’t options for to create a park. The western portion of the island will benefit from the bike lanes more will be accessible (without driving), but some preferably shaded rest points (benches, gazebos on side streets or OBW) and some permanent restroom facilities along the way (it’s not just a seasonal, beachgoer want to be met with port a pots) are needed for those who are able and like to “marathon” bike or walk alone or with family members (particularly for children). The town owned building at 7960BW has community use as well as restroom possibilities and its future needs to be defined. There are a number of possibilities given in the document but no project plan; I expected to see some specific recommendations in this master plan.

Costs
Everything sounds attractive when there’s no price attached. Each Project Task needs an estimated total cost and anticipated amount that will require HB dollars. Our Occupancy Tax revenue stream appears fully committed for the next several years (central reach debt service uses approximately half the revenue thru 2027 or 8).

Question on a particular section of the document Emphasizing private facilities “near” Holden Beach (Section 2), particularly golf courses and parks that require driving 20 miles or more (most if not all of them) as well as public schools doesn’t fit my definition of readily accessible opportunities for residents and vacationers. But if they are considered acceptable opportunities, doesn’t it diminish the likelihood HB specific parkland expansion should be a high priority?

Update –
This is simply a guide, a document that can be changed. This is the reference document that is utilized for any grant applications. This is our second go round, the original plan was done in 2012. The plan needs to be updated every five (5) to seven (7) years in order to be considered current. Mike, the representative from McGill, said the plan was driven by the community and is consistent with element standards of our state government. Christy informed them that the Board needs to accept the plan for some grant applications.

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


5. Police Report – Lieutenant Dilworth

Police PatchThey experienced a normal decline of activity after the Labor Day weekend

Next major event is Run Holden Beach from 7:00am to 12:00pm on October 9th. They are meeting with various agencies to coordinate their activity.


Frank reviewed seasonal changes –

Pets allowed back on the beach strand  –
still need to be on leash,
need to clean up after them

Speed Limit changes from 35mph to 45mph west of the general store on October 1st

Golf Carts can’t operate on OBW beyond the general store once speed limit changes


We are in the most active hurricane period which is from August to October –

Be Prepared!


August 2021 BOC’s Agenda Item #15 Response
Police Chief to provide the total number of “golf cart” tickets issued as part of the Police Report.

August 2021 Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) citations
    * 2 parking citations (town ordinance)
.     * 5 state citations


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


Parking
§72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY.
(1) All vehicles must be as far off the public street rights-of-way as possible; and
(2) No vehicle may be left parked on any portion of any roadway; and
(3) No vehicle may be parked on portion of the sidewalk.


  • 6. Discussion and Possible Action on Revised System Development Fees – Town Manager Hewett
    .   a. Resolution 21-14, Resolution Amending the Holden Beach Fee Schedule

    .
    Agenda Packet –

    Resolution 21-14, Resolution Amending the Holden Beach Fee Schedule (Attachment l) has been prepared based on the fees proposed at the August meeting.

  • Resolution 21-14

    Water System Development Fee$460 per bedroom
    Sewer System Development Fee$2,240 per bedroom

    Development Fee Comments for BOCM – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

    While I understand development fees should be approached so as not to discourage development, they are also an important revenue stream for future water and sewer system maintenance or expansion. Three years ago various commenters were concerned that adding any significant amount to then current building costs would discourage building and growth on Holden Beach because new properties would not appraise for enough to cover any increase in price and therefore potential purchasers would not be able to borrow enough to cover their building costs. The resulting fees that were put in place were largely based on that consideration.

    While the concern expressed 3 years ago may have been true at that time, it is less likely in the current market. New construction and renovation as well as sales on Holden Beach have been robust for the past 2 years, and overall property values have increased significantly. While concerns have been expressed this year about the negative impact the spike in lumber and other building material costs may have on new construction, over the past months prices have moderated and it is expected prices and supply will be more predictable as we move forward into 2022. A modest increase in fee costs should not negatively impact the island’s growth potential.

    In my opinion, the Board should not lower the total development fee for water plus sewer for any type of “building activity”. Current fees are 100$/bedroom for water and 2700$/bedroom for sewer, with 5 bedrooms credited for sewer for properties that are already paid into the sewer system. The Town Manager has proposed fees of 460$/bedroom for water and 2240$/ bedroom for sewer, again with the 5-bedroom sewer credit. While construction on lots with the sewer credit will see a 360$/bedroom increase in total fees due to the water fee increase (1800$ for a 5-bedroom house), the fee total for renovations that add bedrooms to existing 5 or more-bedroom properties and the fee for new construction on lots that haven’t bought into the sewer system will be lower by IOO$/bedroom than under the current fee schedule. It would also cost IOO$/bedroom less on bedrooms 6 and more for new construction than under the current fee schedule.

    The water system development fee should be increased to 560$/bedroom and the sewer development fee 2240$/bedroom as proposed in order to ensure no building activity under the new fee schedule is lower cost than under the existing schedule.

    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.

    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.

    Previously reported – May 2021
    The Board approved
    adopting the Draft System Development Fees Report only. The report establishes the maximum rates the Town is allowed to charge. Just to be clear, the Board still needs to determine the fees that we will charge.
    A decision was made – Approved unanimously

    Previously reported – July 2021
    Resolution 21-11

    Agenda Packet –
    All actions necessary to approve the adoption of the Draft System Development Fees Report as required by House Bill 436 have been carried out.

    To reiterate, the report does not determine the rates the Town will charge for the fees. It establishes the maximum rates the Town is allowed to charge. After the report is adopted as provided for in Resolution 21-11, the Board can proceed with considerations to revise the existing water and sewer system fees. As discussed at the last meeting, staff proposes the report is given an effective date of October 1, 2021, if the Board desires to approve it at the June meeting. This allows time to determine what the Town’s fees will be, while retaining the current fees in place in the interim.

    Previously reported – August 2021
    Agenda Packet –
    The System Development Fee Report prepared by Raftelis was approved by the Board of Commissioners at their 15 June 2021 meeting with a 1 October 2021 effective date. The chart below shows the current and proposed fees accordingly .

    System Development Fee
                          Current                            Proposed                        Maximum

    Water           $100 per bedroom        $460 per bedroom        $960 per bedroom
    Sewer           $2,700 per bedroom     $2,240 per bedroom     $2,240 per bedroom

    It is proposed to continue credit for previously remitted sewer share fees in accordance with the existing fee schedule but at the reduced proposed $2240 per bedroom rate.

    The System Development Fee Report prepared by Raftelis was approved by the Board of Commissioners at their June meeting with an October 1st effective date. David reviewed the proposal and devised a proposed fee schedule for the Board to discuss. It was not intended for it to be adopted tonight, it is being introduced for public consumption and feedback.  Adoption of the fee schedule is for consideration at next month’s meeting.
    No decision was made – No action taken

    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 –
David introduced the proposed fees, and the Board discussed its impact. Commissioner Kwiatkowski recommended that they consider a higher rate to help build our reserve fund. The Board approved the motion as written.

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


  • 7. Discussion and Possible Selection on Parking Firm – Town Manager Hewett

  • Agenda Packet –
    Per the Board’s direction at the August meeting, staff met with Premium Parking and Otto Connect to determine which firm would be better suited to implement a paid parking program for the Town. Six staff members participated in the process, which included looking at price, user interface and program implementation logistics.Otto Connect unanimously selected as staff’s recommendation to the Board. The next step is for the Board to consider approving Otto as the Town’s parking vendor and to have a contract prepared.
    .
  • Previously reported July 2021
    Received proposals from four vendors, staff is looking for direction on how to proceed. Commissioner Murdock felt that the staff should be the one to make the decision since they will have to make the program work. The Board asked the Town staff to review the proposals and make a recommendation to them. David said that they would utilize a decision selection matrix and report back to them at the next scheduled meeting.
    No decision was made – No action taken
    .
    Previously reported – August 2021
    David went through the process they used to create the decision selection matrix. Commissioner Murdock felt the staff should interview Otto and Premium and have them make the selection. David agreed to make the call, will bring back recommendation at the next meeting.
    No decision was made – No action taken

  • Update –
    David said that they were tasked to select vendor and make recommendation and that they unanimously chose Otto. Commissioner Sullivan pointed out that they had not approved proceeding with paid parking yet. Therefore it was premature to select a vendor. We need to determine what paid parking will look like first. Commissioner Murdock said the Parking Committee can’t move forward without parking vendor input and would like to bring them on as consultant. The motion was made to approve Otto as the Town’s parking vendor and to have a contract prepared for the Board’s consideration for parking consultant services..
    .
    A decision was made –
    Approved unanimously

  • 8. Discussion and Possible Action on Division of Coastal Management, North Carolina Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Grant Application – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

  • Agenda Packet –
    Based on the BOC’s direction to pursue grant opportunities to assist with the pending purchase of the pier properties, the staff submitted a final grant application (Attachment l) to the Division of Coastal Management on August 16, 2021. The application was for the 50-foot-wide oceanfront lot (Parcel # 246DB002) only based on the lack of clarity DCM has in the current funding policy regarding public purposes for paid parking. DCM has previously approved a pre-application submitted in April that allowed for a final application package in the amount of $180,460.00. The Town Manager and I have been in continuous dialogue with DCM regarding updates and changes as they emerged. They advised us to submit the application with as much information as we had available at the time in August and then complete additional areas as they come to fruition. One of the requirements is that the application be on the agenda of a public meeting. While we submitted draft minutes of the public hearing that was held on the potential purchase, the provision in the application is for the grant package itself to be placed on the agenda for consideration. If awarded the grant, the BOC would still have to choose to accept or decline funds.
    .
    .
    DCM Grant
    Assistance Requested                $180,460
    Holden Beach Contribution                            $361,207
    Total                                                                       $541,667

  • Update –
  • To move forward with grant application it needed to be an agenda item. Motion was made to have grant application considered for funding from DCM. If awarded the grant, the BOC’ would still have to choose to accept or decline funds.
    .
    A decision was made – Approved unanimously


    9. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-29, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21-13, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 – 2022 (Amendment No. 5) – Town Manager Hewett

  • Agenda Packet –
    This amendment is necessary to account for the increase in American Recovery Plan funding that the state has appropriated to the town.
    .
    Moved funds of $17,615.10
    From Revenue account #11.0301.0000 to Expense account#11.0601.0000
     

Update –
David indicated the ordinance recognizes the increased revenues from the American Recovery Plan.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


  • 10. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-30, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21-13, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 – 2022 (Amendment No. 6) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

  • Agenda Packet –
    The attached Sand Fence and Vegetation budget amendment provides $168,090 in current year funding via a reappropriation of a prior year encumbrance for installation of sand fence and vegetation. The work has been accomplished.

    .
    Moved funds of
    $168,090
    From Revenue account #50.0399.0000
    To Expense account#50.0710.1700 & Expense account#50.0710.4700

Update –
Work has been completed. This ordinance simply takes the funds that were not spent on the contract last year and reappropriates them to this year.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


  • 11. Discussion and Possible Action on Limiting Meeting Time – Mayor Pro Tem Brown and Commissioner Murdock

    Agenda Packet – background information was not provided

Update –
The discussion is to try to keep the meetings more manageable, would like to a set time limit. If they are not done, they will just have to come back and meet another day. Town attorney recommended against setting a specific time limit. They already have a way to handle this, parliamentary procedure have what they want, any Commissioner can just make a motion to recess the meeting.

No decision was made – No action taken


  • 12. Town Manager’s Report

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

  • Bike Lane

    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 –
    Submitted draft application for bike lane
    .
    Vegetation Project
    Received $79,000 reimbursement from Department of Water Resources
    .
    Mountain to Coast Ride
    The first Cycle North Carolina Mountains to Coast Ride was held in 1999.  In the twenty-one years since, the Mountains to Coast Ride has traversed the state using a different week-long route each year.  The Mountains to Coast Ride is not a race, but a recreational trek across the state using scenic back roads.  The ride is designed to promote physical fitness, good health, and the scenic beauty of North Carolina.David announced the 2022 ride terminus will be Holden Beach.
    This is another activity that gives us exposure on a much broader scale.


    In Case You Missed It –


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


    Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan


  • Bridge Lane Closure Notice
    The NC Department of Transportation has notified us that there will be intermittent lane closures on the Holden Beach Bridge October 11th – 15th. During this time routine bridge inspection will take place. Please make your travel plans accordingly.


USACE
Previously reported – August 2021
Federal Cost Share Agreement
Received Atlanta Region Corps approval to execute
Arranging for signing ceremony

Holden Beach, Corps begin $3M storm risk planning study
A three-year study is underway in Holden Beach that could set the tone for how future beach projects may be funded. The town has signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to launch a coastal storm risk management feasibility study, one that will determine whether it’s in the federal government’s interest to take part in planning coastal storm risk plans for the town for up to 50 years. An Aug. 27 signing ceremony between the Corps and Holden Beach officially kicked off the study, which is budgeted to cost up to $3 million, according to Emily Winget, a public affairs specialist in the Corps’ Wilmington District. Funding for the study is being split 50-50. Winget said in an email responding to questions that $500,000 was initially allocated for the study in the Corps’ Fiscal 2021 Work Plan. More funding has been requested for future budget cycles, she said. “The Holden Beach, N.C. Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) Project General Reevaluation Study will scope and analyze alternatives for Federal participation in cost shared coastal storm risk management measures over a project life up to 50 years,” Winget wrote in the email. “We will be looking at all possible alternatives that provide a benefit (reduced risk) to Holden Beach.” Such alternatives will include routine beach nourishment, dune enhancement and repair, as well as public education, resilient town building codes and other “non-structural measures.” “The study will analyze an array of alternatives (list to be determined), trying to find a project that maximizes benefits as compared to overall cost,” Winget said. “Specifically, the study will be determining if we can identify a project with ‘Federal Interest’ that reduces the risk to coastal storms at Holden Beach.” The Brunswick County town’s entire 8-mile-long ocean shoreline will be included in the study. In 2018, Holden Beach commissioners withdrew the town’s permit application to build a terminal groin at the east end of the barrier island, citing that the costs of the proposed hardened erosion mitigation structure outweighed the benefits to the town. The board’s decision followed several years and more than $600,000 on studies examining various ways to mitigate severe erosion at the Lockwood Folly Inlet. A coastal engineering firmed hired by the town to explore ways to reduce erosion at the inlet determined Holden Beach’s best alternative was to build a 1,000-foot-long terminal groin, the estimated long-term costs of which exceeded $34 million. Terminal groins are wall-like structures built perpendicular to the shore at inlets to contain sand in areas of high erosion, like that of beaches at inlets. About a year before commissioners voted to withdraw the terminal groin permit application, the town completed the first phase of its Central Reach project, a multimillion-dollar sand nourishment project that pumped about 1.3 million cubic yards of sand along about a 4-mile stretch of oceanfront in the middle of the barrier island. In March, North Carolina and the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved allocating nearly $15.5 million to help the town restore sand and vegetation along the Central Reach area damaged by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. FEMA’s portion of the project cost included about $11.6 million for the project. The state’s share was about $3.8 million. Those funds include restoring 555,000 cubic yards of sand and stabilizing 80,000 square yards of dune vegetation. Town officials are currently discussing an east end project, one that would put at least 100,000 cubic yards of sand along that end of the island, according to information on the town’s website. Holden Beach Town Manager David Hewett did not return calls seeking comment. Oak Island, which is immediately east of Holden Beach, has submitted to the Corps a letter of intent asking to be considered for a Coastal Storm Risk Management feasibility study, Winget said. “We have expressed that capability up the line and will need funding (Federal and the non-Federal match) to be allocated to start that study,” she said. No other beach towns in the state are scheduled to sign a feasibility cost share agreement with the Corps this year.
Read more » click here


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

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


    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.


    13. Mayor’s Comments

    The other islands all have better boat ramp facilities then we do. Commercial properties in that area that are used for parking are currently for sale. Something needs to be done to address this issue. In addition the No Wake Zone is being ignored by boaters, laws are on the book, they need to be enforced.


    14. Board of Commissioners’ Comments

    Commissioner Murdock admits that they do not have a solid plan for the pier properties purchase. The property is for sale, and he feels strongly that  we can’t pass up the opportunity to make the purchase. In a worst-case scenario, we obtain seven (7) ocean front lots at a good price, we obtain additional public access, and we preserve the properties for future generations to enjoy. He feels that paid parking will generate enough revenue to make this work, but if it doesn’t, he feels raising taxes is a viable option. He made a rather impassioned case for purchasing the pier properties regardless of the public concerns and comments.

    Commissioner Sullivan took a different tact, no surprise there. He feels that they have been talking about this for months, but very little information has been shared with the public so far. He would like to share whatever he can that is legally permissible on the town website. He was more concerned about what the potential costs will be and its impact on property owners.

    Commissioner Kwiatkowski stated that she was still open- minded but was for maintaining the status quo if it could  be paid for without a property tax increase or assessment. 


    15. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(5), To Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price and Terms of Contracts Concerning the Acquisition of Real Property – Commissioners Murdock and Kwiatkowski

No decision was made – No action taken

Recessed till Wednesday, September 29th at 8:00am


General Comments –


The Labor Day holiday marks the unofficial end of summer.

Goodbye, tourist season!

I for one am happy to see the vacationers heading home.

(That’s right I said it …)


        • .
          BOC’s Meeting

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


          Hurricane #1 - CR

           

          Hurricane Season
          For more information » click here

          Be prepared – have a plan!

          .a.

          .

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


          THB EMERGENCY INFORMATION

          EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS

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


          NOAA updates its hurricane season outlook
          The tropical Atlantic has been quiet for the past few weeks, but don’t expect that to last, according to forecasters. NOAA issued a mid-season update for the Atlantic on Wednesday and said forecasters are still expecting another above-average season when it comes to the number of named storms. The updated outlook suggests there could be 15-21 named storms, seven to 10 hurricane and three to five major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or stronger storms. That’s a slight uptick from its May outlook, which had 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes. An average season, according to NOAA, has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. According to NOAA there is a 65 percent chance of an above-average season, a 25 percent chance for an average season and a 10 percent chance of a below-average season. So far this season there have been five named storms. One of those, Elsa, briefly became a Category 1 hurricane. Elsa also made history as the earliest fifth named storm on record. Three of the five storms (Claudette, Danny, and Elsa) made landfall in the U.S. One of the reasons forecasters think it will be another busy year is the possible return of La Nina in the fall. La Nina typically translates into above-average activity in the Atlantic. NOAA issued a La Nina watch last month and said there is a greater than 50 percent chance it will materialize later this fall. Other indicators of what could be a busy season are warmer sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic (though not as warm as during last year’s record-breaking season), reduced wind shear (which can tear storms apart) and a more active monsoon season in west Africa, which can send more disturbances spinning into the eastern Atlantic that can eventually intensify into tropical storms. The hurricne forecast shows how busy forecasters think the season can be, but what it can’t do is predict if or where storms will make landfall. “The seasonal outlook from NOAA is not a landfall forecast as landfalls are typically only predictable within about a week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline,” NOAA said. Forecasters continued to warn those along the coast that it only takes one storm to make it a devastating season for them and to make sure they have all their preparations in place. The Atlantic is showing indications things could get busier soon. The National Hurricane Center on Wednesday was tracking three tropical waves, two of which have low chances of becoming tropical depressions. None of those systems is an immediate threat to the U.S. The Atlantic hurricane season runs until Nov. 30.
          Read more » click here

          Atlantic hurricane season is about to ramp up dramatically, as NOAA boosts forecast
          The Atlantic has been quiet lately. That’s about to change. NOAA is calling for 15 to 21 named storms this season.
          After a record start to Atlantic hurricane season in May and June, tropical storminess shut down in mid-July. But signs point to a dramatic ramp-up in activity in the next two weeks, with a number of named storms likely to develop in August and an increasing potential for U.S. impacts. Already, meteorologists are monitoring three tropical waves over the Atlantic that are exhibiting some low-end potential for development. But they may just mark the start of what looks to be a jam-packed peak season ahead. On Wednesday morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their latest hurricane outlook calling for even greater odds of an above-average season, which runs through November. That would make 2021 the sixth consecutive year to feature above-average tropical storm activity. “NOAA’s updated outlook … indicates an above average season is likely,” said Matthew Rosencrans, a meteorologist at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, in a news conference Wednesday. “The number of named storms is likely to be 15 to 21, [which includes] seven to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.” That’s an increase from its May prediction for 13 to 20 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes; its forecast for the number of major hurricanes was unchanged. In recent weeks, the Atlantic has been virtually silent, without any named systems present anywhere in the ocean basin since the dissipation of Elsa on July 9. Elsa brought heavy rain and tornadoes to parts of the East Coast. “Given an increase in predicted number of named storms and hurricanes, there is now a 65 percent chance of an above-average season … and only a 10 percent chance of a below-average season,” Rosencrans said. Driving the predictions are a number of factors that take into consideration large-scale features of both the atmosphere and ocean. In the short term, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring three disturbances that it says has low chances, 30 percent or less, to develop. The three systems point to the awakening of the Atlantic’s MDR, or Main Development Region. This imaginary box stretches through roughly the eastern two-thirds of the tropical North Atlantic several degrees north of the equator and encompasses the more classic formation locations for tropical systems that compose the bulk of long-track, long-lived Atlantic hurricanes. At present, hurricanes are hard to come by because of widespread sinking air over the Atlantic. That has suppressed upward motion and inhibited updrafts, preventing the type of clustered thunderstorm activity that occasionally self-aggregates into a fledgling storm. Moreover, intrusions of the SAL, or Saharan Air Layer, draped a layer of hot, dry air over much of the eastern Atlantic, capping the vertical development of thunderstorms in the MDR. That all looks to change in the coming weeks thanks to the combined effects of several large-scale overturning circulations that will bring lift, or foster rising air, over the Atlantic. The Madden-Julian Oscillation, or MJO, can be envisioned as a large wave that sweeps around the global tropics every 30 to 60 days. Air rises on the leading edge of the waves, which is characterized by a packet of unsettled weather and widespread thunderstorm activity, while sinking air on the back side marks the “suppressed phase” of the wave. Similar, albeit smaller, features known as “convectively coupled Kelvin waves” will periodically overlap with the MJO to bring occasional enhancements or temporary lulls in the season. It’s ordinarily possible to predict these sub seasonal upticks about a month in advance before a swarm of storms brew. All indications are that beginning around Aug. 10 to 14, the Atlantic will awaken. Later in the month, the tropics could become quite busy as rising motion really takes hold of the Atlantic Basin. It’s a time of year when hurricane activity generally ramps up anyway, so there’s every reason to believe that the latter two weeks of August and the start of September will be busy. Moreover, the Atlantic has warmed significantly in the past couple of weeks. Previously, waters off the Gulf of Mexico coastline were running about a degree or two below average. Now the entire gulf is a degree or two above average. That bolsters the odds of tropical cyclones, which feed off warm water, rapidly intensifying assuming they enter the gulf. Ocean waters over the open Atlantic have also experienced a warming trend across the tropical belt, save for immediately surrounding the Cabo Verde islands. Rosencrans did note that sea surface temperatures, while anomalously warm, are not as hot as in 2020, meaning the season, though anticipated to be active, is not expected to rival the hyperactivity of 2020. In addition, some semblance of a La Niña pattern — the opposite of the more well-known El Niño — could begin to develop as we head deeper into the autumn. That would mean cooler waters over the east equatorial Pacific, fostering sinking there. That would trigger an opposite reaction over the Atlantic, reinforcing rising motion and, in turn, favoring hurricanes. (That can also sometimes weaken high altitude winds over the Atlantic, making it easier for storms to form.) If La Niña does develop, it could extend the end of hurricane season later, potentially keeping activity going into November. Upper-level steering currents could be more supportive of hurricanes affecting the East Coast this year, too, thanks to a swath of blocking high pressure that may become established over the Canadian Maritimes later in August and into September. It’s important to remember that, even though forecasts like this are generally reliable across the entire Atlantic, hurricane season’s impacts are manifest on an individual storm level. In other words, it only takes one storm. Hurricane Andrew formed in 1992, and put an end to what, until that point, had been a cakewalk of an early season. The Category 5 storm leveled entire communities in south Florida. Preparing ahead of time, rather than scrambling when a storm develops and warnings are issued, is the best way to make sure you’re ready for whatever this hurricane season holds.
          Read more » click here

          Atlantic hurricane season maintaining prolific pace
          The active Atlantic produced two more named systems over the weekend, and meteorologists say more storms could develop this week, including one storm that may come back from the dead.
          The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is maintaining a prolific pace, and AccuWeather forecasters say it could be the second straight year that a supplemental list of storm names is utilized. With 17 named storms in the books already, only four storm names remain on the designated list for the season, which still has more than two months to go. Given the frenzy of activity, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is not far off from tapping into a  new supplemental list of names predetermined by the World Meteorological Organization this past spring. These names will be given to named storms rather than using Greek letters beyond the original list of names as was the case in the hyperactive years of 2020 and 2005.
          Read more » click here


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