03 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 03/11/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here NA

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion and Possible Action on Setting 2020 Board of Commissioners’ Objectives

Minutes –
Commissioner Kwiatkowski explained the process. The Board put their proposed objectives into each of the five categories – Financial / Budget, Long-Term Plans, Ordinance Related, Policies / Procedures / Resolutions and Advocacy. The Board discussed how to move forward and the next steps. Commissioners Tyner and Kwiatkowski will work with Town Clerk Finnell to prepare a list from the proposed objectives.

Previously reported – April 2019
Policies / Procedures / Resolutions
13 Address Ocean Blvd water retention issues

13 Improve Community Rating Score
Long Range Planning
12 Initiate Stage IT Sewer Pump Station Upgrade

12 Fully support IBPB and implement strategy
11 Make a decision on the second water tower
11 Approve and fund an appropriate near-term beach re-nourishment project
11 Review proposed Land Use Plan and approve an appropriate final document
Ordinances
15 Trash related decisions

13 Ensure clear enforcement procedures are in place as appropriate
12 Control of large homes
Advocacy
15 Promptly address any activity/support and funding requests that result from Poyner Spruill advocacy efforts for short- and long-term coordination with state, county and federal groups

15 Define sand fund strategies and supporting documents for starting various levels of government advocacy
15 Become more involved in coastal advocacy groups
14 Increase participation in NCLM to secure support on objectives most relevant to THB
12 Increase involvement in regional planning with other coastal communities
Additional Policies / Procedure / Resolutions Objectives
10 Prioritize Brunswick Avenue road repair

10 Cross train finance staff
10 Improve communication among alerted officials
10 Use pre and post beach sand data to conclude a crisis point
10 Establish a communication plan and website
10 Get more general public involvement

2. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(6) To Discuss a Personnel Matter

No decision was made – No action taken


BOC’s Regular Meeting 03/17/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Board of Commissioners’ Amended Agenda » click here  

Due to coronavirus concerns the agenda was amended.


Audio Recording
»
click here


1. Public Comments on Agenda Items

There were no comments


2. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 20-05, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 19-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 (Amendment No. 10) – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
The attached budget amendment is a zero-sum adjustment totaling $296,264 and requires no additional appropriations to provide for the following actions:

    1. Proposed Martin Starnes audit contract @ $23,000
    2. Replacement of 2 AC units @ $24,000
    3. Genset replacement @ $209,818
    4. Legal fees @ $18,042
    5. Current shortfall in the New Town Hall operations and maintenance line @ $21,404

The actions are enabled by recognizing $296,264 in reimbursements received for the BPART Fund to date (but not budgeted for) of $177,437 from Hurricane Irene,$97,073 from Brunswick County for the Lockwood Folly Inlet Crossing Navigation Maintenance Project and $21,754 from the NC Division of Water Resources for hurricane damage surveys.

Recognition of the $296,264 in BPART revenues allows for a corresponding decrease in the transfer of an equal amount from the General Fund and corresponding increase in the General Fund’s Governing Body Professional Services and New Town Hall Ops Mx and Repair Expense line items to provide for the actions above.

Update –
These funds are unbudgeted, they are reimbursement funds received and is a zero-sum adjustment. No additional appropriations are required to cover listed expenses. Most of the discussion was to clarify that they were not approving these expenses. This is simply an allocation of funds not an appropriation. Town Manager still needs authorization before funds can be spent.

Moved funds of $296,264
From Revenue account #50.0397.0000 to Expense account#10.0410.9500

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


3. Discussion and Possible Award of Contract for Roadway Work – Shane Lippard, Right Angle Engineering (Public Works Director Clemmons)

Agenda Packet –
Three bids were received yesterday. Apparent low bidder was Highland Paving at $111,250. They have completed work for the Town in the past and we have had them on other projects as well. We recommend award to Highland Paving for the Brunswick Avenue work.

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

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

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

Update –
In 2015 the Board implemented a tax increase of $.010 specifically for street paving and maintenance. The penny worth of tax revenue earmarked for paving is money that is already in the budget. Right Angle Engineering reviewed the bids and recommended Highland Paving. Commissioner Murdock pointed out a number of discrepancies with the bids, too many differences and that we weren’t comparing apples to apples. At that point, they all joined the fray! Town Manager Hewitt said that they were not required to accept the recommendation or the lowest bid as long as they select a vendor that was responsive to the bid request. After some discussion, Town Clerk Finnell said that the vendor selected signs a contract that ensures that all items requested are included in their work. They then accepted the recommendation for Highland Paving who has done satisfactory work for the Town before.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

All of the Commissioners appeared to have done their homework. They were prepared and familiar with the material being presented. I liked the engaged discussion, that they turned over stones and asked questions before accepting the recommendation. No rubber stamp of approval here! Kudos!


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Alternative Selection for Generator Placement at Town Hall – Shane Lippard, Right Angle Engineering (Town Manager Hewett)

Agenda Packet –
Preliminary Engineering Report for Standby Diesel Generator Relocation

Presented with three (3) options as follows:
#1 Near water tank area – 550 feet away $245,650
#2 In the triangle town property – 100 feet away $134,010
#3 At existing location with sound absorbing enclosure $197,400

Genset
Previously reported – September 2019
Town Hall genset is history
Discussing options – repair cost / noise level / location are all issues being considered

Previously reported – January 2020
Returned rental to vendor, no budget allocation for backup power generator
Right Angle working on proposal for a permanent solution

A generator set, also known as a genset, is the combination of an electrical generator and an engine mounted together to form a single piece of equipment that produces electrical power. … Generation sets are used in sites that are not connected to the power grid or to supply emergency power when the grid fails.

Editor’s Note –
Why does the Town Hall need a genset?
Don’t we have a genset at the EOC?
Isn’t the EOC where they would be for long term outages like storm events?
These things are not cheap, and we rarely have power outages.

Update –
Town Manager Hewett presented the three options.

Commissioner Murdock took the point and made a very convincing fact-based case that none of these options made sense.

He asked the following questions:
. 1)
Why do we even need a generator for the Town Hall?
.     • THB has
required a power source for less than six (6) hours over the last ten (10) years excluding two (2) storm events
. 2) Why is Town Hall considered a critical facility?
.     • W
e have an Emergency Operation Center that already has a generator
. 3)
If we do require a generator, then why do we need a permanent unit?
.     •
Unit costs a ton of money and we can rent a unit when we need one
. 4)
Why do we need a 300-kilowatt unit?
.     •
BEMC says that a unit a fraction of that size will suffice

Commissioner Sullivan pointed out that there is an exception in our noise ordinance that the government is exempt which represents a $100,000 difference in the cost if we don’t need a sound absorbing enclosure. The Board agreed that the Town Manager needs to do additional legwork and they tasked him with five action items. Everyone recognized the need to be prepared but were not ready to spend a couple hundred thousand without exploring other options.

No decision was made – No action taken

You have to ask: why didn’t our Town manager ask any of these questions? Very impressed with Commissioner Murdock who was really prepared and challenged the proposed action. Kudos!


5. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 20-06, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 30.05: Mayor Pro Tempore (Executive Secretary) – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Ordinance 20-06. An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 30.05: Mayor Pro Tempore removes the Executive Secretary position as discussed by the Board at their February meeting.

Staff recommends approval of Ordinance 20-06.

Previously reported – February 2020
Agenda Packet –
An Executive Secretary position with overarching control of meeting agendas is not necessary.

First, the duties of the executive secretary as detailed in Town Ordinance appear in conflict with how a special meeting is called, whereby any 2 commissioners, the mayor or the Mayor Pro Tem have the right to call the meeting (and define the agenda) with no input required from an additional commissioner. Second, the executive secretary is not the party collecting supporting materials or creating the ultimate agenda -those are done by the Town Clerk. If an individual Commissioner finds an item, he or she designated for a specific meeting does not appear on an agenda for reasons unknown, he or she should say so at the meeting and request it be added to the agenda. Third, all Board members, not only one, should equally receive the support of the Town Clerk and Town Manager and be able to receive legal interpretation from the Town Attorney as appropriate for items they place on the agenda.

While it may suit the Board of Commissioners to designate an individual Commissioner to be responsible for scheduling certain BOC activities and organizing the notes on certain topics, this can be done by Board agreement each year. If the Board prefers to have an individual Commissioner as a first contact for the Town Clerk on draft BOCM agenda questions, the Board can so specify.

Holden Beach Code of Ordinances
§30.05 MAYOR PRO TEMPORE.

. (C) The Executive Secretary shall be responsible for: (1) creating the agenda for each regular and special meeting of the BOG, and (2) assembling all supporting agenda package materials, in consultation with the Mayor, other members of the BOC and the Town Manager and Town Attorney, as applicable. The Executive Secretary shall timely deliver the same to the Town Clerk for copying, delivery and publication in accordance with these ordinances and the Rules of Procedure provided for herein. The Town Clerk and Town Manager shall provide logistical and advisory support to the Executive Secretary in performing these functions and the Town Attorney shall provide legal interpretation or support as requested by the Executive Secretary. No notice of any regular or special meeting of the BOC, nor any agenda or agenda package materials with respect thereto shall be delivered or published by the Town Clerk without the express prior authorization of the Executive Secretary.

Apparently, we are the only municipality that has this position. The position is not necessary, and things would run better without it. Patty recommended striking the position and removing it from §30.05. Once again, this was only just a discussion and no action was taken.

No decision was made – No action taken

Update
No discussion, they just voted to eliminate the position.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


6. Recommendation by Audit Committee for Selection of Audit Firm to Perform 2019 – 2020 Audit, Action by Board of Commissioners on Recommended Audit Firm and Direction to Town Manager to Finalize the Contract – Commissioner Tyner

Agenda Packet –
The Town of Holden Beach Audit Committee recommends the firm of Martin-Starnes and Associates, CPA’s be selected to perform the 2019-2020 financial and compliance examination of the Town’s financial reports. Additionally, it is recommended the Town Manager be given authority to finalize the contracts with Martin­ Starnes as priced in their services proposal.

Audit Proposal Martin Starnes

Previously reported – February 2020
Agenda Packet –
Motion:
Board of Commissioners directs the Town Manager to solicit bids for audit services for the 2019-2020 audit. The solicitation for bids should be distributed on February 14, 2020 and responses should be due by February 28, 2020.

Issue:
Solicitation of bids request for proposals for Audit Services

Request to:
Town Manager

Motion:
Board of Commissioners request the Town Manager solicit bids for audit services for the fiscal year 2019-2020 audit.

Action Requested:
Distribute proposal and solicit bids for audit services for fiscal year 2019-2020 audit.

Proposed Deadline:
Distribute Request for Proposal for Audit Services by February 14,2020 and set a deadline of February 28, 2020 for responses

§30.26 AUDIT COMMITTEE OF THE BOC.
(B) Powers and duties. The Audit Committee shall:
(3) Recommend to the BOC’s the selection of the independent external audit firm to conduct the annual external audit;

It is the Audit Committees responsibility to make the recommendation for an audit firm. However, it is the BOC’s that ultimately make the decision in selecting the audit firm. Town Manager stressed that fewer firms want to do municipal audits so we should have a sense of urgency about finding someone quickly.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – February 2020
Agenda Packet –
Directive to:
Audit Committee

Issue and Action Requested:
Audit Committee recommendations made to the BOC of the firm to conduct the annual audit of the Town’s financial statements have not traditionally included much detail on the Audit Committee’s decision. An Audit Firm Selection Process should be developed and applied to select the recommended firm for the audit of the year ending June 30, 2020, with a presentation made to the BOC.

Background and Potential Implications:
Each year the Audit Committee recommends a firm to the BOC to conduct the annual audit of the Towns financial statements. Without a formal process, the recommended firm may not in the end be the best selection. Following a process including selection criteria to identify the best firm should enable a transparent, qualification-based evaluation of each firm and simplify the final selection.

Charge Questions:
None

Proposed Deadline:
March 17, 2020 BOCM for both the process/selection criteria and recommendation of the audit firm, with justification according to the new process.

Patty wants the Audit Committee to provide the Board with a description of the process as well as selection recommendation. Woody who is the Chair of the Committee basically said that he had no problem with the request. He worked in banking, where they evaluated vendors based on a set criterion and utilized a scorecard which he planned to do here in selecting an audit firm.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
Town Manager was given the directive of solicitation of bids for audit service. Audit Committee was given two directives, develop selection process and make a recommendation to the Board. In addition, the Board wanted them to share the evaluation criteria used to determine the recommendation. Commissioner Tyner reviewed the seven (7) categories that were utilized in the selection process. Audit Committee clearly did their due diligence, they used a thorough and pragmatic approach to select auditor. As a bonus they were able to select an audit service that cost $6,000 less than it did last year. The Board accepted their recommendation even though it was not the lowest cost option. The Town Manager will now move forward in creating a contract with Martin Starnes.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


7. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 20-08, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 19-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 (Amendment No. 11) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
In a recent meeting with FEMA and the NC Department of Public Safety, Town staff executed project worksheets for Florence and Michael. This begins the grant reimbursement process and required monthly reporting. The BOC will need to adopt budgets for each storm in order to house their associated expenses and reimbursements. The proposed budget amendment will satisfy initial capital programming requirements.

Recommend Approval

Suggested Motion: Approval of Ordinance 20-08, an Ordinance Amending Ordinance I9-10, the Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 (Amendment No. 11).

Update –
Housekeeping item, no discussion they just voted for the suggested motion.

Moved funds of $15,861,220
From Revenue account #50.0364.0000 to Expense account#50.0810.90119

Moved funds of $8,547,506
From Revenue account #50.0364.0200 to Expense account#50.0810.0120

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


8. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 20-02, Resolution Amending the Holden Beach Fee Schedule (Annual Recycling Fee) – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
We have received the updated processing fees assessed by Waste Industries for people who utilize the voluntary curbside recycling program. The monthly rate has increased by $0.77 per cart per month for biweekly recycling and $1.54 per cart per month for weekly recycling (June – September). This cost is tied to best negotiated agreements between Waste Industries and local processors.

The annual 2020 cost for people participating in the program will be $93.29 per bin. The fee schedule needs to be amended to reflect the new amount. Staff recommends the Board approve Resolution 20-02, Resolution Amending the Holden Beach Fee Schedule, if you wish to continue the curbside recycling program.

Update –
No discussion, they voted to change fee schedule to reflect the higher cost for this service.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Waste Industries provides curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. Less than four hundred (400) households or @17% participate in the voluntary program. This is the only service that charges a user fee. To add insult to injury the Town assesses a $6.00 service charge to participants in the recycling program. To be perfectly clear, they process just one check annually.

 

 

So why the Vig?

 

.

.


9. Public Comments on General Items

If you do not plan on attending the meeting, but would like to submit a comment you can email heather@hbtowhall.com or drop hand written comments off to the Town Hall drop box.

David read e-mail submitted by Dean Thomas a member of the IBPB – Coronavirus pandemic event, elsewhere they are curtailing visitors: Are we or should we do so too?

Editor’s Note –

Towns are restricting people at beaches and accesses along our coast in response to COVID-19.

Outer Banks closed to tourists due to coronavirus concerns
Citing concerns about the novel coronavirus, Dare County officials issued an emergency order banning visitors from North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Tuesday. In a statement from the Dare County Emergency Management Joint Information Center, officials said they will set up checkpoints at all entrances to the county. No visitors will be allowed access.

Bald Head Island issues voluntary evacuation of short-term rentals
Because of a public threat of COVID-19, the Village of Bald Head island has declared a State of Emergency. That means a voluntary evacuation is underway. The order means all short-term rentals will be discontinued. Those who own property on Bald Head Island are instructed to have all current renters, for a rental period of less than three months duration, and their invitees vacate the premises and leave the island by 2 p.m. on Sunday. Effective immediately, there will be no new rentals of any nature or duration allowed on the Island. Only property owners and residents, business owners and their respective employees and contractors, and municipal employees and contractors shall be admitted to the island after 6 p.m. on Thursday. These restrictions will remain in place through April 30.

Carteret County declares state of emergency, asks non-residents not to enter
Carteret County officials have issued a state of emergency and are asking anyone that doesn’t live, work or own property there not to enter the county.

Wrightsville Beach closes beaches for remainder of March

Carolina Beach was also closing its beaches, parking lots to the public 

NC towns shut down their beaches over coronavirus concerns: ‘Stay home’
A growing number of North Carolina’s popular coastal towns are trying to keep tourists off beaches in response to the coronavirus outbreak. This includes Wrightsville Beach, Surf City, Topsail Island and Emerald Isle, all of which are popular Spring Break destinations. “Stay home,” Nags Head officials said in a blunt Facebook post. “Avoid discretionary travel.” Wrightsville Beach and Surf City have closed all public access to their beaches, according to Facebook posts, while Emerald Isle suspended beach driving and is “discouraging tourist travel to the coast.”

Oak Island declares a State of Emergency and suspends rentals
Moments after the fifth and sixth COVID-19 case were identified in Brunswick County, The Town of Oak Island declared a state of emergency. On Saturday, the town also suspended “short term” rentals. All rental agencies and property owners that rent properties on Town of Oak Island are instructed to have all current renters, with a rental period of less than 3 months, vacate the rentals. They’ve also been instructed to leave the town no later than 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Effective immediately, there will be no new rental occupancies for less than 90 days allowed within the town. Town officials also urge that all travel be limited to essential travel, and that people limit groups to nor more than 10 people.

No discussion or response was made banning visitors. Now an influx of people is putting us at risk. I know that many members of the community are concerned. Towns are restricting people at beaches and accesses along our coast in response to COVID-19. Mayor Holden as the Emergency Coordinator probably is the person that makes that call. Presumably most of the older year-round residents would probably prefer that the island be closed too.

I was disappointed that they did not even bother to broach the subject.

From the Mayor’s Desk dated 03/21/20
The conference call meeting this morning with local, state and national officials discussed updates about the Coronavirus. There were no major changes from the last updates. The situation will probably change more in the next two or three days as progress is being made through more information being learned and shared on all levels. 

There are many rumors containing false information. Please be mindful of this and pay attention to official sources. 

The Town of Holden Beach is accessible and the bridge is open. The beach strand, accesses and public parking areas are open. The Town Hall Public Assembly is available only to the Holden Beach commissioners’ activities as may be determined. The staff is working and their duties are being performed. 

The Holden Beach Chapel is currently not holding worship services or any other activities on its campus until further notice. The renovations are ongoing and will be completed before the reopening. 

Concern has been shared by some owners and residents about all of the non-residents and property owners that are visiting Holden Beach. Their concern and request is to close the bridge and island. Consideration by authorities at all levels are making decisions for different locations throughout the country. No two locations are the same. 

No immediate change of the status of Holden Beach is currently contemplated. 


10. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(3), To Consult with the Town Attorney

No decision was made – No action taken


General Comments –

There were six (6) members of the community in attendance
.
Coronavirus social distancing – only had public seating for ten (10) people

The White House recommended limitations on social gatherings of more than 10 people.

The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that Americans cancel or postpone events of 50-plus people for the next eight weeks.

Despite an amended agenda, they still managed to have a one hour and a half (1½) meeting.

The BOC’s next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, April 21st

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

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


Receipt of Inlet and Beach Protection Board Report
Previously reported –
Ordinance 18-02 established the Inlet and Beach Protection Board
The Ordinance requires a written report from this Board

Agenda Packet –
February IBPB Meeting Update

The Inlet and Beach Protection Board (IBPB) met February 27 and the following issues and topics were discussed and addressed:

Status of the Beach and Inlets: Staff provided an overview of current and future projects, efforts and conditions, and issues relative to the beach strand and inlets. A copy of the Assistant Town Manager’s Report to the IBPB is attached.

BOC Dune Directive: The Board reviewed the task sent to the IBPB from the February BOC Meeting regarding dune protection. Dune protection issues and possible approaches were discussed. Members will submit 5-10 ideas (with sources) by March 5. These will be compiled into a draft for the next IBPB meeting.

Other Updates:

      • Member Pearson distributed a memo on the February MOA Meeting including updates from the Corps of Engineers on planned shallow draft inlet work.

Meeting Updates:

    • Brunswick County Shoreline Protection: The next meeting will be March 18, 2020.
    • The next IBPB meeting will be March 19,2020.

Assistant Town Manager’s report to the IBPB

The following is the status of the beach, inlets, and issues:

    • Sand Search – Had to find a new surveying company. Hoping to get the permits finalized by the end of April.
    • AIWW Crossing Project – The project is complete. Pipe was off the beach on Monday of this week with a few remaining pieces of heavy equipment to be moved. The beach looks good. Plan to get sand fence and vegetation established as soon as possible. The Holden Beach Renourishment Association will assist with some of the cost for sand fence.
    • UNCW – They have obtained LWF and Shallotte Inlet satellite imagery for a number of years from the Corps. One graduate student is compiling them in GIS and will soon begin the coastal digitizing process. The inlet analysis portion of the project will take the longest and will likely continue at least through the end of March. They hope to provide preliminary results once the analysis is complete.

In regard to the vegetation portion of the project, they have obtained imagery of Holden Beach from 2018 and a separate graduate student is working on classifying the imagery. They will not be sampling vegetation on the ground until closer to the summer. ATM provided GIS data on the five management zones.

    • Received and signed project worksheets for Florence and Michael. Staff has submitted the first monthly report on each storm as required with worksheet approval.
    • Received $177,437.96 for Irene. We think this is the closeout for this storm, but we may have to finalize paperwork for another final inspection. We are still waiting on final payment for Matthew.
    • Met with new project manager for Dorian. Signed DOD (Damage Description and Dimensions)/ Scope/ Cost for Dorian regarding Cat G -Beach losses. Our coastal engineer is estimating$14,914,698 losses out to depth-of-closure

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


HBPOIN – Lou’s Views
.         • Gather and disseminate information
.         • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

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

https://lousviews.com/

03 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / March Edition


Calendar of Events –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled 


Azalea Festival Logo
N.C. Azalea Festival
April 1st – 5th
Wilmington


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

N.C. Azalea Festival has been canceled, 1st time in 73-year history


Southport Spring Festival LogoSouthport Spring Festival
April
10th 11th
Southport


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

Southport Spring Festival has been canceled



.Days at the Docks Festival

April 25th
26th
Holden Beach

.

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

Days at the Docks Festival has been postponed



Blue Crab Festival

May 16th – 17th
Little River SC

.

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


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


Calendar of Events Island –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled


SEARCH 5K Run
S
ee Every Athlete Run for Conditional Health. The purpose of the program and of this event is to work on reducing childhood obesity by promoting healthy, active lifestyles into adulthood. The event is scheduled for the first Saturday in April this year it is on the 4th.

SEARCH 5K Run has been canceled


Family Nighttime Easter Egg Hunt
The Town will hold its sixth annual nighttime Easter Egg Hunt on Friday, April 10th beginning at 7:00 pm. Teams of four will compete against each other. This event is designed for youth and adults and will be held at Bridgeview Park. Participants will need to bring their own flashlights to the event.

Registration is required and will only be taken by phone.
Space is limited call 910.842.6488 to register.


Easter Sunrise Church Service
Brunswick Islands Baptist Church and Holden Beach Chapel are sponsoring an Easter sunrise service at 6:30 a.m. Sunday April 12th at the Holden Beach Pier.


HBBC

Holden Beach Beautification Club Plant Sale
The HBBC is holding their 9th Annual Plant Sale on Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 25th at the Emergency Operations Center, which is beside Food Lion located at 1044 Sabbath Home Road. Landscaping plants, perennials, annuals, herbs and gardening gloves will be available for purchase. All funds generated from the plant sale are earmarked for beautification projects on the island.

HBBC Plant Sale has been canceled

Visit the website at http://holdenbeachbc.org/ if you would like to contribute.



.
Days at the Docks Festival

The festival occurs in April or May of each year and is sponsored by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. This year it is April 25th & 26th. It’s the Holden Beach way to kick-off the Spring and start the vacation season.

                 Days at the Docks Festival has been postponed


Pickleball Tournament
Holden Beach is hosting their fourth annual Pickleball Tournament. This year the Battle at the Beach tournament is May 1st to May 3rd.

For more information » click here
Register online » click here

What is Pickleball you ask?

Pickleball: growing sport for seniors
Pickleball originated in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The ball used is a perforated plastic ball similar to a Whiffle ball. The game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. The net is a couple inches lower than a tennis court net and the court is smaller too (20 feet by 44 feet vs. 36 by 78), and the paddles are oversized ping pong paddles made of plywood, aluminum or graphite. The game can be played with two or four players. Experience in tennis, badminton and ping pong is helpful, as there are similarities with those sports. There already are over 100,000 players in the United States alone. When tennis and badminton players find it difficult to navigate the larger courts, the next step is Pickleball, where there is not as much running required.
Read more » click here


Concerts on the Coast Series / 2020
The Town’s summer concert series calendar has been released! Live performances featuring local musical groups are held at the pavilion on Sunday evenings from late May to early September. The concerts are free of charge.
For more information » click here


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


Reminders –



Yard Waste Service
Yard debris pick-up will be provided twice a month on the 2ndand 4th Fridays during the months of March, April and May. Please have yard waste placed at the street for pick-up on Thursday night.

Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length of five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. A total of ten (10) items (bundles of brush/ limbs, bags) will be picked up by Waste Industries. Yard waste must be placed at the street for pick-up. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.


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


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2020 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills. Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

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

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


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


 

Free Dump Week
The Brunswick County Solid Waste Department hosts two free dump weeks a year, the week prior to the third Saturday in April and September. Brunswick County will be hosting its spring free dump week at the Brunswick County Landfill April 13th – April 17th.  Brunswick County residents and/or property owners may dispose of all materials, except for regular household trash or new construction debris, free of charge. Proof of Brunswick County residency or property ownership is required and will be checked at the landfill entrance.

Brunswick County Landfill
172 Landfill Rd NE, Bolivia, NC 28422
Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 8am until 4pm.


Brunswick County Shred Event
In honor of Earth Day, the Brunswick County Solid Waste Department hosts an annual document shredding event each spring. On April 22nd, bring your files that need to be shredded to the Brunswick County Complex between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. The County will have shred trucks parked in the parking lot between buildings B & G (look for the signs). This event is free and open to all businesses, property owners and residents of Brunswick County. For more information call (910) 253-2520.

Brunswick County Governmental Center
3325 Old Ocean Hwy.
Bolivia, NC 28422



Bird Nesting Area

NC Wildlife Commission has posted signs that say – Bird Nesting Area / Please don’t disturb. The signs are posted on the west end beach strand around 1331 OBW.


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

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


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

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

Spraying is complaint based, so keep the calls coming!


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

§157.087 BUILDING NUMBERS.

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

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



BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, April 21st
.


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.


Recycling-Bin
Curbside Recycling

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

 

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


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

Safety Notice –
Waupaca Elevator Company has issued an important safety notice. The potential hazard is associated with normal wear in your elevator. If your elevator develops the problem and it is not repaired, the elevator may drop unexpectedly with you in it and you may be injured. They recommend you contact your elevator service company.

Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard
For more information » click here


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 –


Development Fees
Previously reported – April 2019
The original motion was to allocate funds ($10,000) to obtain bids for the development of a cost justified water and wastewater system Development Fees Report by a financial firm rather than an engineering firm like the first time. After a bit of finger pointing as to why we need to have another report they were able to find some common ground. Town Attorney Noel Fox stated that the fact of the matter is that it was not just one thing but many things that requires us to redo the report. They will pursue bids from all qualified vendors whether they are an engineering or financial firm. Commissioner Sullivan pointed out that by rescinding the adopted development fees cost the town $157,000, which is the difference in the revenue stream from adopted to rescinded fees.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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?

Previously reported – February 2019

¯\_()_/¯

This was supposed to be an interim fee schedule
They committed to permanent fees before the end of 2018
Then they said the interim fees would remain in effect for the next ninety (90) days
Well both of those dates have come and gone
A permanent fee schedule has yet to be adopted

Previously reported – September 2019
System Development Fees lawsuit filed on Oak Island
We have filed an Amicus Brief in support of their position
THB will delay activity on our System Development Fees until this has been adjudicated

In split decision, court sides with property owners in Oak Island sewer lawsuit, town plans to appeal
Reversing the decision of the lower court, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina ruled against the Town of Oak Island in a lawsuit raised by property owners of undeveloped lots, despite one judge on the panel dissenting. The issue between property owners and the town dates back to 2015, when owners of undeveloped property on the island filed suit regarding the town’s sewer service fees. Tuesday, Oak Island’s sewer system cost $140 million to install. In 2004, action from North Carolina’s General Assembly allowed the town to charge property owners fees related to the sewer system in order to help reduce the debt the town carried as a result of the sewer installation. The action allows Oak Island to “impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service” on property owners who could or do benefit from the service. From 2010 to 2017, that resulted in developed property owners paying a total of $4,478.57 in fees, while undeveloped property owners would have paid $3,978.08. Additionally, the court pointed out in its ruling that from 2015 to 2017, the owners of undeveloped properties were actually paying more per year than those who owned developed lots. The term “availability” is what the court’s decision ultimately hinged upon, because the plaintiff property owners argued that for those with undeveloped lots, the sewer system is not actually “available” to them. Therefore, they argued, they should not be subject to the fees. They further argued charging undeveloped properties went beyond what the statute establishing the fees allows, and that the collection of the fees was unconstitutional. The appeals court agreed, saying: “although the Session Laws do not define the term ‘availability’ for purposes of imposing the sewer service availability fees, it is clear that the enabling Session Laws do not, as a matter of law, apply to Plaintiffs’ undeveloped property.” Originally, the plaintiffs wanted the court to declare the fees unconstitutional, as well as order the town to refund the fees paid by the owners of the undeveloped properties. In May 2018, when Brunswick County Superior Court Judge James Ammons found in favor of Oak Island, the plaintiffs attempted to change their plea, only asking for the refund. However, the court declined their motion to amend, and instead ruled in favor of Oak Island’s countersuit, therefore upholding the fee structure. As far as those occurrences, the appeals court said it could not weigh in, because the matters were never ruled upon, and therefore couldn’t be appealed. Judge Allegra Collins disagreed with her two fellow judicial colleagues, arguing the opposite with regard to the “availability” language. Collins argues that just because property owners would have to go through the development process in order to connect to the sewer system, doesn’t mean that it isn’t “available” to them. Despite the split decision, the Court of Appeals ruling reverses the ruling and remands the issue back to Brunswick County Superior Court. Town Attorney Brian Edes said in an email Tuesday the town will likely appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. His statement read: The North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a split opinion today ultimately holding that the subject 2006 N.C. Session Law does not authorize the Town of Oak Island to charge a sewer district fee to owners of undeveloped lots. Naturally, we are disappointed with this holding.
Read more » click here

Supreme Court Construes Local Law to Allow “Availability” Fees to be Charged Against Developed Property and Undeveloped Property
Infrastructure fees are a common battleground between landowners/developers and local governments. The Supreme Court decided a case this week that counts as a “win” for the local governments, reversing a Court of Appeals decision. That is, the Supreme Court determined that the unambiguous language of a State law granted to the local government broader powers than the Court of Appeals otherwise thought. Let’s dig in.

The Facts
The Town of Oak Island constructed a sewer system at a cost of $140M. In 2006, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a local act – which is a State law that relates to one or more local governments – designed to assist the Town in reducing its outstanding debt for the sewer system. The law authorized the Town “to impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service within” its sewer treatment district.

Then Town’s sewer lines run in front of both developed and undeveloped parcels in the district, but the system had the capacity to serve all parcels in the district. Beginning in 2009, owners of developed parcels began paying fees as an additional charge on their monthly sewer bills. Owners of undeveloped parcels began paying fees in 2010, with charges appearing on their real property tax bills.

The Trial Court
In 2015, certain owners of undeveloped property filed suit against the Town challenging the authority to assess the sewer service availability fees against undeveloped properties. In 2018, the trial court granted summary judgment to the Town, which the property owners appealed.

The Appeal
On appeal, the North Carolina Court of Appeals was divided. In a published decision, the majority concluded: “[A]lthough the Session Laws do not define the term “availability” for purposes of imposing the sewer service availability fees, it is clear that the enabling Session Laws do not, as a matter of law, apply to Plaintiffs’ undeveloped property.” The majority determined that the language of the State law was unambiguous, requiring the Court “to give effect to the plain meaning of the statute” and leading the Court to a dictionary definition of “availability” that read: “the quality or state of being available” and ““present or ready for immediate use”. The Court determined that the “complex, costly additional requirements—many of them conditional— that the owner of an undeveloped lot must fulfill in order to benefit from Oak Island’s sewer services foreclose any conclusion that such services are ‘present or ready for immediate use’ by those owners”, such that undeveloped lots did not have the “availability of sewer service” as compared to developed lots; therefore, “annual fees for availability” were not chargeable to the undeveloped lots under State law.

The dissent agrees that the statute is unambiguous and cites to the same dictionary provisions as does the majority, however, the dissent spends more time than does the majority on the Session Law, itself, and reaches a different conclusion as to what “availability” means.

Originally adopted in 2004 (S.L. 2004-96) as applied only to the Town of Holden Beach, the local act was amended in 2006 to apply both to the Town and the Town of Holden Beach. The actual law, as amended, provides: (1) “A municipality may create a fee-supported sewer treatment district for all properties that are or can be served by the sewage collection and treatment plant serving properties within the Town”, (2) “The Town may impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service within the district”, and (3) “Said fees shall be imposed on owners of each dwelling unit or parcel of property that could or does benefit from the availability of sewage treatment”. The dissent focuses on the language of the Session Law, that “fees shall be imposed on owners of each dwelling unit or parcel of property that could or does benefit from the availability of sewage treatment. That is, to the dissent, the statute clearly authorizes the charging of fees to developed property (does benefit) and undeveloped property (could benefit). More to the point, however, the dissent is concerned that the majority’s analysis “would require terms be added to the Session Law, while rendering the terms ‘can be served [,]’ ‘within the district[,]’ and ‘parcel of property that could . . . benefit’ superfluous”, which the dissent notes neglects the judicial duty “not to delete words used or to insert words not used” when construing laws.

The Supreme Court’s Decision
On March 3, 2019, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals “for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion”. That is, the Supreme Court agreed with the dissent’s analysis and conclusion regarding the meaning of “availability” and the ability of the Town, pursuant to the local law, to charge sewer system fees to owners of developed and undeveloped properties, alike.
Read more » click here

NC Supreme Court sides with Oak Island in sewer system dispute
North Carolina’s highest court has sided with the town of Oak Island, reversing a lower court’s decision on whether the town has the right to levy sewer fees on undeveloped properties.

The case, which was heard on Feb. 4 with an opinion filed Feb. 28, began when Bobby Boles filed a lawsuit against the town in 2015.

In that suit, Boles argued the town did not have the right to collect the fees established to help offset the cost of the town’s new sewer system — fees made possible by a 2004 action by the North Carolina General Assembly — from the owners of undeveloped properties.

[ In split decision, appeals court sides with property owners ]

From 2010 to 2017, the fee program resulted in developed property owners paying a total of $4,478.57 in fees, while undeveloped property owners would have paid $3,978.08. The appellate court whose decision the supreme court overturned had pointed out in its ruling that from 2015 to 2017, the owners of undeveloped properties were actually paying more per year than those who owned developed lots.

Property owners argued that because their lots were undeveloped and not connected to the sewer system, the sewer service was not truly “available” to them, and therefore they should not be required to pay the fees.

The Court of Appeals ruled in a split judgment on May 2, 2018, in favor of the property owners, but that result has now been reversed. The reversal was just one page and says: “We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion.”

Judge Allegra Collins disagreed with her two fellow judicial colleagues, arguing the opposite with regard to the “availability” language.

Collins argued that just because property owners would have to go through the development process in order to connect to the sewer system, doesn’t mean that it isn’t “available” to them.
Read more » click here

Stay tuned …


Previously reported – January 2020
Federal judge temporarily blocks NC’s voter ID law

A federal judge has put a temporary hold on North Carolina’s voter ID law, according to the NC NAACP. U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs issued the notice on Thursday that says voters will not have to present a photo ID in the March primaries. Late Thursday night, the North Carolina Board of Elections informed a printing company in Pennsylvania to stop printing a 12-page informational pamphlet regarding the need for photo ID at the polls. That pamphlet would have gone to 4.7 million households in North Carolina. The Board had already sent a one-sheet explainer to voters about a month ago. The judge’s move comes as the NC NAACP is suing over the voter ID law – saying it was passed with discriminatory intent and will have a discriminatory impact on African American and Latinx voters. The judge granted the plaintiff’s request for an injunction – halting the requirement for photo ID to vote. A full trial is expected before the November general election. Voters approved the constitutional amendment during the November 2018 elections.
Read more » click here

Update –
Another court blocks NC voter ID law, citing ‘racially discriminatory intent’
North Carolina’s new voter ID law appears to have been enacted with racially discriminatory intent and will be at least temporarily blocked during the 2020 elections, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. A federal court has already blocked the voter ID mandate at least through the 2020 primary elections, which are underway now. Tuesday’s decision — in a separate lawsuit in state courts rather than federal courts — could also extend that block until the general election in November. The voter ID law was written after voters passed a new constitutional amendment in 2018 requiring voter ID. However, this is now the second court to rule that African American voters could be harmed by the way the legislature wrote the law behind the amendment. The judges issued what’s called a preliminary injunction, which is not a permanent ban on voter ID. It simply blocks the law from going into effect while the lawsuit is still underway. So, if the case is still in the courts in November — which is entirely possible — then voters won’t have to show ID then, either. Based on the evidence they’ve seen so far, the three judges who heard the case wrote, it appears the legislature will lose in its defense of the law. The activists who sued appear likely to be able to prove “that discriminatory intent was a motivating factor behind” the voter ID law.
Read more » click here


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

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

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

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

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

Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

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

For more information » click here


Corrections & Amplifications –

Classification and Pay Plan
Previously reported – April 2019
Town Manager Hewett said that they had already engaged the MAPS Group. The process has been started but he anticipated that it would take the better part of three to four months before they had the completed report.

The Management and Personnel Services Group – MAPS – is a team of consultants specializing in human resource management and development.
For more information » click here

Previously reported – September 2019
The study updates the classification and pay plan for THB as well as making recommendations concerning personnel policies and fringe benefits. Recommendations are being made for salary schedule, position classification plan, and costs for implementing the salary plan. Salary data determined by prevailing rate in geographic area as well as with employers who directly compete for the same pool of workers with those job skills. The salaries represent the local market which provides a reflection of the actual cost of living in the geographic area. Implementation strategy offered three options; the recommended option had an additional annual price tag of $80,327 in just salary cost. An additional cost of roughly 20% for benefits brings the total cost to implement at almost $100,000 annually. Interestingly, we offer significantly higher family health insurance coverage than the rest of the local market, yet we didn’t seem to get any credit for that in a total compensation package. Recommendations for THB are based on meeting the market, not leading the market. Takeaway was that we were in pretty good shape considering we hadn’t done a study in a very long time, but adjustments need to be made to stay competitive in the local market. Staying competitive in our total compensation package will allow us to recruit and retain employees. Presentation was a very pragmatic approach to the subject and clearly directs us on how to proceed.

Previously reported September 2019
The recommended option being considered had an additional annual price tag of $80,327 in just salary cost. An additional cost of roughly 20% for benefits brings the total cost to implement at almost $100,000 annually. The Board is considering adopting this option with the new personnel policy and classification and pay plan potentially beginning January 1, 2020. They have requested that the Town Manager look at how we would pay for it.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)
Commissioner Freer voted against the motion

Previously reported – October 2019
Management and Personnel Services Group
For more information » click here

Three of the Commissioners took a position that this should be addressed in the next budget cycle. They also stressed that we need to address all the components of the total compensation package not just implementing the pay plan.

A decision was made – Not Approved
Commissioners Fletcher, Freer, and Butler all voted against the motion

Previously reported – January 2020
Agenda Packet –
The attached Budget Amendment  is necessary to implement the Classification and Pay Plan per BOC direction. It has been developed in accordance with BOC direction for implementing Option 1 previously briefed to the BOC at the Special Meeting of September 17,2019. The budget amendment  totals $51k and provides implementation funding for the new pay plan to be effective for the second half of the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

Pat briefly reviewed the timeline on this issue. She recommended changes to the submitted Personnel Policy which David agreed with and will incorporate them into the policy. Surprisingly, there was very little discussion regarding the pay plan with an annual increase in expenses in excess of $100,000.

Moved funds of $51,351

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

I am neither for nor against moving forward after due deliberation. Frankly, I’m more likely to be for than against. Really would have liked to see a workshop for the pay plan that considers the entire compensation package – salary, benefits, time off, and advancement opportunities. This also would have allowed them to include pay plan cost increases  to be incorporated into the next budget cycle.

Classification and Pay Plan – implemented

Management and Personnel Services Group

Option 1 –
Employee salaries are placed in the range to meet the following criteria:
  1.
At least to the new hiring rate for the recommended salary grade for employees who .       have not completed probation
  2.
At least to the minimum of the range for employees who have passed probation
.   3.
1% per year of service above the minimum for employees who have been employed        more than 1 year

2020 – Police Officer Pay Range
All five officers are in the minimum window pay range of $40K to $44K
None of the officers are getting paid adequately based on the criteria set in Option 1

$38/$40 – $44 (47) $50 – $56
$38/$40         Hiring Rate / Minimum

$40 – $44       Minimum Window Range
$47                
Mid-Point

$44 – $50       Middle Window Range
$50 – $56       Max Window Range

Police $40,000 minimum salary / 1% year
1) $40,400             7) $42,800
2) $40,800             8) $43,200
3) $41,200             9) $43,600
4) $41,600             10) $44,000
5) $42,000             11) $44,400
6) $42,400             12) $44,800

NAMEYearsSALARY$ S/B $%Pay Plan $
Jessica Camara12$41,766 $44,480 94%$145
Sean Watson 10$40,726 $44,000 93%$0 
John Duncan3$39,312 $41,200 95%$1,872
Colton Robinson2$37,898 $40,800 93%$1,810
Edwin Roman1$31,429 $40,400 78%$0 

Let me get this straight –
We promote two beach rangers to administrative positions grade level 9 and 10 and now we increase their pay to $30,950 with benefits. Meanwhile Edwin a Police Officer that is a grade level 14 is making only $31,429. Despite the fact that  he puts himself in harm’s way daily, he makes just $479 more. MAPS claimed that making our compensation competitive was supposed to help with employee retention. Yet our most at risk employees leaving are our Police Officers who can pretty much get a job almost anywhere else in Brunswick County for more money. So, in what universe does this  salary schedule make sense?


Breaking News –

While the police department currently has eight (8) officers, one (1) officer has tendered their resignation; and then there were seven (7).
.

The Pay Plan ostensibly was supposed to make compensation competitive and address inequities. THB has twenty-two (22) employees not counting the Town Manager. Twelve (12) employees or @55% were not placed in the pay range as described in Option 1. Six (6) are below the minimum for their pay grade. Six (6) are slightly above the minimum, despite their many years of service. What’s more, seven (7) employees or @32% had wages increase by $53,120 or 71% of the total

The total cost to implement Pay Plan Option #1 is almost $100,000 annually. Keep in mind that each penny of your taxes generates just $133,641 of tax revenue. How does this board plan to pay for this? Previously we were told that the budget was lean, so there shouldn’t be $100,000 available to pay for this. When this Board ran for office, they all indicated that there should be no need to have any tax increase for the foreseeable future. One of those statements can’t be right. It seems like higher property taxes are pretty much inevitable.

I just don’t feel that the wage increases were done fairly. It does not address either the inequities that currently exist or making our employee compensation more competitive. Frankly it was not the bill of goods that was sold to us. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Pay Plan did not accomplish any of the stated objectives.


EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS
Previously reported – February 2018
Reminder of Decal Distribution and Re-entry Policies for Owners
For more information » click here


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

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

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


Vehicle Decals
The 2020 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills. Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

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

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


Odds & Ends


Holden Brothers Farm Market closes in wake of estate dispute
For decades, Holden Brothers Farm Market has dominated the landscape as one of Brunswick County’s main roadside attractions. For decades, David Holden and his younger brother Kelly Holden partnered and toiled to keep their U.S. 17 produce market running and drawing customers every spring, summer, fall and even into winter on rented family heirloom acreage just a few miles west of downtown Shallotte. Just about anybody with Brunswick County ties knows Holden Brothers as one of the main go-to places for fresh produce that customers could almost take for granted: pick-your-own strawberries ripe from the field every spring; homegrown corn, watermelons and tomatoes in summer; field-harvested pumpkins in the fall; winter collards and extras like homemade jams, boiled peanuts and Blenheim Ginger Ale available most seasons. This year, the tradition known as Holden Brothers has come to an abrupt, noticeable halt. The landmark market has closed, its signs removed with little indication it will be open this spring.
Read more » click here


Do you know the Butcher of Brunswick?
Have you heard of the Butcher of Brunswick? No, he is not a serial killer. “Sometimes people do bust my chops about that,” said Kevin Fahy , owner of the New York-style deli and meat shop in Ocean Isle Beach. While he caters to southern Brunswick County and its beaches, he sees visitors show up from all over the Carolinas — sometimes people traveling from Raleigh just to pick up an order.

Fahy, a retired homicide detective from the Bronx, moved to Brunswick County in 2003 and opened up the small market at 5850 U.S. 17 in 2008. At first he opened within the long-time locally-owned Randy’s Meats, but later purchased the business and re-branded it. In the last few years, he leased the space next door in the building to Makai Brewing Company so you can enjoy an eggplant Parm hoagie and run next door for your beer.
Read more » click here


Large great white sharks ‘converging’ off Carolinas. Is the weather a cause?
A sudden convergence of great white sharks is taking place off the Carolinas — from Cape Hatteras to Charleston — proving the apex predators are being mysteriously drawn to a tight strip off the coast. Satellite tags reveal seven great whites are within that area, with an eighth hovering at the South Carolina-Georgia border, near Hilton Head. Most (five) are sitting off Southport, near Wilmington.
Read more » click here

Tracking site » click here

Cluster of sharks in one spot off Carolinas coast grows more intense
The clustering of great white sharks off the Carolinas coast is growing more pronounced and mysterious, based on satellite tracking data shared Saturday on social media. Eight tagged great white sharks are now practically on top of each other along the border of North and South Carolina — and they represent the only sharks currently tracking along the East Coast, according to a map posted on Facebook by OCEARCH. Researchers began noticing a convergence of great white sharks off the Carolinas in late January, but the group was more spread out. Now the sharks are exhibiting a clear preference for the same spot off Southport, near Wilmington, the data shows. OCEARCH says the tagged sharks, ranging in size from 8 feet to nearly 13 feet, represent a tiny sampling of what is actually off the coast, meaning waters could be full of great
Read more » click here

Sharks of North Carolina
Read more » click here

Shark Attack
The chances of being attacked by a shark are very small compared to other animal attacks, natural disasters, and ocean-side dangers. Many more people drown in the ocean every year than are bitten by sharks. The few attacks that occur every year are an excellent indication that sharks do not feed on humans and that most attacks are simply due to mistaken identity.

Your chances of being attacked by a shark are just 1 in 11.5 million!

What Are the Odds? Long, Most Likely
Not everyone is at risk of a being bitten by a shark. 1 in 11.5 million is the rate of attacks in one year at 68 U.S. beaches and is based on attendance figures at the venues.
Read more » click here


This & That


Carolina Bays Parkway (SC 31) Extension

NCDOT preparing to narrow down route options for CBP Extension
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will soon narrow down its list of route alternatives for the Carolina Bays Parkway Extension, a half-billion-dollar proposed highway project proposed to streamline traffic between southern Brunswick County and North Myrtle Beach. In December, NCDOT released nine route alternatives for the project that’s been studied since the mid-2000s. Shortly after, NCDOT hosted a pair of public meetings in Little River and in Sunset Beach to present information on the project and hear feedback from stakeholders. So far, the project has already received pushback from some factions of the community, including Sunset Beach Town Council, Brunswick County Board of Commissioners, and a multi-generational farm, Indigo Farms.

Concerns have been raised that progress on the Horry County side of the project will outpace North Carolina’s, thereby locking in NCDOT to a route that the public hasn’t endorsed. Also, local tourism dollars are likely at stake, given the project would increase traffic flow to the Grand Strand. South Carolina is further along in funding the project, having already dedicated $125 million to it via a 2016 Horry County capital project sales tax referendum. Right-of-way acquisitions on the South Carolina side of the project will begin in 2022 ; NCDOT has not dedicated any funds for right-of-way acquisitions for its portion of the project. In all, the 19-mile proposed project will cost an estimated $552 million combined, with NCDOT required to cover roughly two-thirds of the total cost (14 miles of the project would run through North Carolina). Each of the nine proposed route alternatives would replace roughly 6 miles of existing roadway on Highway 17 and ultimately converge at the existing terminus in South Carolina between the existing Carolina Bays Parkway S.C. 31 at S.C. 9 (view all route alternatives).

Public comment
The public comment period on narrowing down the nine proposed alternatives ended Jan. 10 at midnight. Comments submitted before this deadline will be considered part of the public record, according to an NCDOT spokesperson, and comments submitted after will still be considered but not in the public record. Weigh in on the routes via a detailed project website, which includes the option to draw suggested lines, provide commentary, and rank alternatives. Once comments are analyzed, NCDOT will rule out a few of the proposed alternatives to narrow down which routes will be further studied in a detailed environmental analysis. NCDOT will narrow the routes down this spring; a Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected this winter. Once the environmental study is available, a new public comment period will open, including public hearings. A preferred alternative (not the final decision, but the last step before it) could be selected by summer 2021.
Read more » click here


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Sneezing Dogs, Dancing Bees: How Animals Vote
The 2020 election is off to a complicated start. Maybe we can draw some comparative political lessons from the animal kingdom.

Are humans the only animals that caucus? As the early 2020 presidential election season suggests, there are probably more natural and efficient ways to make a group choice. But we’re certainly not the only animals on Earth that vote. We’re not even the only primates that primary.

Any animal living in a group needs to make decisions as a group, too. Even when they don’t agree with their companions, animals rely on one another for protection or help finding food. So they have to find ways to reach consensus about what the group should do next, or where it should live. While they may not conduct continent-spanning electoral contests like this coming Super Tuesday, species ranging from primates all the way to insects have methods for finding agreement that are surprisingly democratic.
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

.
More Heat, Floods, Storms ‘Virtually Certain’

North Carolina can expect large changes in climate by the end of the century, much larger than any time in the state’s history, and it’s very likely that temperatures here will increase substantially during all seasons unless the global increase in heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere is stopped. Temperatures warmer than historic norms, disruptive flooding from rising seas, increasingly intense and frequent rainstorms and more and more intense hurricanes are “virtually certain” in the next 80 years. That’s according to an independent, peer-reviewed report released Wednesday by North Carolina State University’s North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, or NCICS. As a result of hotter temperatures and increased humidity, the state can face public health risks, more frequent and more intense heavy rains from hurricanes and other weather systems, increased flooding in coastal and low-lying areas and severe droughts that are more intense and that will increase the risk of wildfires.
Read more » click here


.

Development Fees
For more information » click here
.

.
CFPUA wants customer input on proposed system development fee increase
The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) is looking to raise its ‘system development fees.’ These fees, which new customers pay when they ‘connect’ to the water and sewer system, help fund overall improvements and expansions. The fees have also been cited as a factor in driving up the cost of housing.

New rates have been proposed to come into effect on July 1, 2020, and would increase both the water and sewer system development charges. “The system development charge (or SDC) is the fee that new customers pay to ‘buy-in’ to the water and sewer system. The proposal includes an increase in the water SDC from $1,880 to $1,920 and an increase in the sewer SDC from $1,930 to $2,070,” according to a memo from CFPUA. The rate changes are not yet approved or finalized and CFPUA has opened an online form to receive public comments on the issue.

According to the utility provider, “The objective of CFPUA’s system development charge is to assess new customers their proportionate share of the cost of infrastructure improvements benefitting the new customer that were paid for by past or existing customers.” The logic and reasoning behind the proposed rate change is that new customers drive the need for new infrastructure and using existing customers’ payments to pay for this is not the most equitable way to fund it.

“CFPUA’s SDC calculation seeks to allocate the equity in existing infrastructure assets to new water and sewer customers. “Equity in existing infrastructure” is defined as the assets funded with rate revenues that will benefit new customers less [with] outstanding debt used to acquire or construct those assets,” according to the memo. While the rate increases could potentially hinder future affordable housing construction in the area, CFPUA does have a responsibility to its ratepayers as well to make sure everyone is paying their equal share and hopefully keeping rates low.
Read more » click here

Supreme Court Construes Local Law to Allow “Availability” Fees to be Charged Against Developed Property and Undeveloped Property
Infrastructure fees are a common battleground between landowners/developers and local governments. The Supreme Court decided a case this week that counts as a “win” for the local governments, reversing a Court of Appeals decision. That is, the Supreme Court determined that the unambiguous language of a State law granted to the local government broader powers than the Court of Appeals otherwise thought. Let’s dig in.

The Facts
The Town of Oak Island constructed a sewer system at a cost of $140M. In 2006, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a local act – which is a State law that relates to one or more local governments – designed to assist the Town in reducing its outstanding debt for the sewer system. The law authorized the Town “to impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service within” its sewer treatment district.

Then Town’s sewer lines run in front of both developed and undeveloped parcels in the district, but the system had the capacity to serve all parcels in the district. Beginning in 2009, owners of developed parcels began paying fees as an additional charge on their monthly sewer bills. Owners of undeveloped parcels began paying fees in 2010, with charges appearing on their real property tax bills.

The Trial Court
In 2015, certain owners of undeveloped property filed suit against the Town challenging the authority to assess the sewer service availability fees against undeveloped properties. In 2018, the trial court granted summary judgment to the Town, which the property owners appealed.

The Appeal
On appeal, the North Carolina Court of Appeals was divided. In a published decision, the majority concluded: “[A]lthough the Session Laws do not define the term “availability” for purposes of imposing the sewer service availability fees, it is clear that the enabling Session Laws do not, as a matter of law, apply to Plaintiffs’ undeveloped property.” The majority determined that the language of the State law was unambiguous, requiring the Court “to give effect to the plain meaning of the statute” and leading the Court to a dictionary definition of “availability” that read: “the quality or state of being available” and ““present or ready for immediate use”. The Court determined that the “complex, costly additional requirements—many of them conditional— that the owner of an undeveloped lot must fulfill in order to benefit from Oak Island’s sewer services foreclose any conclusion that such services are ‘present or ready for immediate use’ by those owners”, such that undeveloped lots did not have the “availability of sewer service” as compared to developed lots; therefore, “annual fees for availability” were not chargeable to the undeveloped lots under State law.

The dissent agrees that the statute is unambiguous and cites to the same dictionary provisions as does the majority, however, the dissent spends more time than does the majority on the Session Law, itself, and reaches a different conclusion as to what “availability” means.

 Originally adopted in 2004 (S.L. 2004-96) as applied only to the Town of Holden Beach, the local act was amended in 2006 to apply both to the Town and the Town of Holden Beach. The actual law, as amended, provides: (1) “A municipality may create a fee-supported sewer treatment district for all properties that are or can be served by the sewage collection and treatment plant serving properties within the Town”, (2) “The Town may impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service within the district”, and (3) “Said fees shall be imposed on owners of each dwelling unit or parcel of property that could or does benefit from the availability of sewage treatment”. The dissent focuses on the language of the Session Law, that “fees shall be imposed on owners of each dwelling unit or parcel of property that could or does benefit from the availability of sewage treatment. That is, to the dissent, the statute clearly authorizes the charging of fees to developed property (does benefit) and undeveloped property (could benefit). More to the point, however, the dissent is concerned that the majority’s analysis “would require terms be added to the Session Law, while rendering the terms ‘can be served [,]’ ‘within the district[,]’ and ‘parcel of property that could . . . benefit’ superfluous”, which the dissent notes neglects the judicial duty “not to delete words used or to insert words not used” when construing laws.

The Supreme Court’s Decision
On March 3, 2019, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals “for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion”. That is, the Supreme Court agreed with the dissent’s analysis and conclusion regarding the meaning of “availability” and the ability of the Town, pursuant to the local law, to charge sewer system fees to owners of developed and undeveloped properties, alike.
Read more » click here

NC Supreme Court sides with Oak Island in sewer system dispute
North Carolina’s highest court has sided with the town of Oak Island, reversing a lower court’s decision on whether the town has the right to levy sewer fees on undeveloped properties.

The case, which was heard on Feb. 4 with an opinion filed Feb. 28, began when Bobby Boles filed a lawsuit against the town in 2015.

In that suit, Boles argued the town did not have the right to collect the fees established to help offset the cost of the town’s new sewer system — fees made possible by a 2004 action by the North Carolina General Assembly — from the owners of undeveloped properties.

[ In split decision, appeals court sides with property owners ]

From 2010 to 2017, the fee program resulted in developed property owners paying a total of $4,478.57 in fees, while undeveloped property owners would have paid $3,978.08. The appellate court whose decision the supreme court overturned had pointed out in its ruling that from 2015 to 2017, the owners of undeveloped properties were actually paying more per year than those who owned developed lots.

Property owners argued that because their lots were undeveloped and not connected to the sewer system, the sewer service was not truly “available” to them, and therefore they should not be required to pay the fees.

The Court of Appeals ruled in a split judgment on May 2, 2018, in favor of the property owners, but that result has now been reversed. The reversal was just one page and says: “We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion.”

Judge Allegra Collins disagreed with her two fellow judicial colleagues, arguing the opposite with regard to the “availability” language.

Collins argued that just because property owners would have to go through the development process in order to connect to the sewer system, doesn’t mean that it isn’t “available” to them.
Read more » click here
 

Stay tuned …


.

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 December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 20, 2019.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2020.

FEMA and Congress have never failed to honor the flood insurance contracts in place with NFIP policyholders. Should the NFIP’s authorization lapse, FEMA would still have authority to ensure the payment of valid claims with available funds. However, FEMA would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 40,000 home sale closings per month.

NFIP reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to take bold steps to reduce the complexity of the program and strengthen the NFIP’s financial framework so that the program can continue helping individuals and communities take the critical step of securing flood insurance.

The level of damage from recent catastrophic storms makes it clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP.

Flood insurance – whether purchased from the NFIP or through private carriers – is the best way for homeowners, renters, business, and communities to financially protect themselves from losses caused by floods.
Read more » click here


 

GenX
For more information » click here
.


 

Homeowners Insurance
For more information » click here
.



.
Hurricane Season

For more information » click here
.


 

Inlet Hazard Areas
For more information » click here
.


.

Lockwood Folly Inlet
For more information » click here
.

 .
QUARTERLY LONG-TERM MOA USER’S GROUP MEETING
From: Mike Pearson, Inlet and Beach Protection Board Vice Chair

Todd Horton Chief of Waterways Management
Brennan Dooley Shallow Draft Navigation Project Manager
Wilmington District
Date: 19 February 2020

Brennan Dooley, Shallow Draft Navigation Project Manager, talked about Lockwood Folly and the dredging and sand placement on Holden Beach by Goodloe Marine.  He said there was a large amount of sand taken from the bend widener and placed on Holden Beach.  He stated that the project would be completed either today or tomorrow.  The Corp did their survey of the project on February 18 and the assessment would be done on February 19.  The side-caster Merritt is scheduled to return and begin dredging the Inlet on April 1 – 14, 2020.  As of February 18, there was still $311,000 in the fund to finish the Merritt job.  There also will not be a mobilization charge when the Merritt returns.

Mr. Dooley also gave an update on AIWW maintenance projects for FY 21.
These included:
.     •
Lockwood River Crossing
.     •
Lockwood Inlet Crossing
.     •
Shallotte River Crossing
.     •
Shallotte Inlet Crossing

The schedule is as follows:
  1)
Issue work in June 2020
.   2)
Bids in July 2020
  3)
Award of Contracts in August 2020

Another speaker gave updated rates for the dredges as follows:
.     • Murden – $1,700 per hour
.     •
Currituck – $1,500 per hour
.     •
Merritt – $2,292 per hour 
    •
Snell – $1,500 per hour
Rates are based on a minimum10-hour day for scheduling purposes


Sand build up in LWF Inlet causing issues as waterway waits for dredging
The narrow passage between Oak Island and Holden Beach is even more narrow than usual as sediment buildup has left Lockwood Folly Inlet at critically shallow depths. According to the Feb. 3 survey by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a majority of the inlet is less than six feet deep at low tide, with localized spots barely having three feet of water. “About any boat that’s going to come in and out of there is going to scrub the bottom at the moment,” said Cane Faircloth, who is president of the Lockwood Inlet Association. Faircloth said before Hurricane Dorian, the inlet was in the best shape it has seen in decades after it was dredged following Hurricane Florence. “We had it, it was about eight feet at low tide, and then Hurricane Dorian hit, and it pumped that thing full of sand,” he said. “And that’s just how mother nature works. You know, you have events you have erosion, so we end up with a lot of sand in it, and then now we’ve been playing catch-up.”
Read more » click here


.

Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
For more information » click here
.



.
Solid Waste Program

For more information » 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.
///// October 2019
Name:            Benny Rappa’s Trattoria
Cuisine:         Italian
Location:      1453 Highway 17 South, North Myrtle Bch SC
Contact:        843.361.1056 / www.bennyrappas.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
Open since 1996, it’s a small restaurant that is very unassuming from the street but is ranked #2 out of @266 restaurants located in North Myrtle Beach. Their chalkboard menu which changes daily, offers about a dozen entrée choices. If you don’t see what you like on the board, ask and they will prepare any dish for you if they have the ingredients. Although the entrees are a bit pricey, the food is terrific and well worth it. They do have an extensive wine list that is very reasonably priced. A trattoria is a home away from home for many Italians where the food is basic, simple, and most of all delicious. I think you’ll enjoy the casual fine dining at this trattoria.


Dining Guide – Local
Old places, New faces
/////
Name:              Mini Jalapeno
Location:        3408 Holden Beach Road, Supply NC
Main Street Grill permanently closed at the end of February. Mini Jalapeno, a Mexican restaurant opened at this location early in March.
For more information » click here


North Carolina governor bans dine-in service at bars, restaurants
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper will close all bars and restaurants in the state to dine-in customers, only allowing take-out and delivery food services to operate as the state works to stop the spread of COVID-19.


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
/////
BLUE MOON by Lee Child
This is the twenty-fourth (24) entry in the bestselling series of crime thrillers with vigilante hero Jack Reacher. Reacher arrives by bus, just another stop in a small town in the middle of nowhere, where he sets out to protect the innocent people caught up in a deadly turf war between rival gangs. Situational ethics allow for his breaking a lot of rules. Then once again he is back on the road, as if nothing had happened. Yet another satisfying entry, but perhaps the last. The author plans to pass the writing baton duties to his younger brother.


.That’s it for this newsletter

See you next month


HBPOIN / Lou’s Views

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

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

https://lousviews.com/

02 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Regular Meeting 02/11/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police Patch
No news is good news
So far so good, it’s been fairly quiet
We are not experiencing any major crime wave at the moment
.


Reminder 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.


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 101Don’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 Ordinance for Maximum House Size Construction – Inspections Director Evans

Agenda Packet –
The Board directed  Inspections Director Evans to prepare an ordinance around his description for house size  limitation and provide it to the attorney  before it was presented  to the Board for review. Attorney Carpenter has advised me that she does not have any concerns with the ordinance prepared by Inspections Director Evans. It is enclosed for your review.

Previously reported – December 2018
Agenda Packet –
I would like to have the Planning and Zoning Board revisit the issue, by investigating and reporting to the Board of Commissioners on the feasibility and applicability of the measures proposed by Dare County, as follows:

    1. At last week’s Duck Town Council meeting, members considered a recommendation by the Duck Planning Board to regulate occupancy by establishing town standards for the capacity of septic systems based on lot sizes.
    2. They also scheduled for 5 a public hearing on a draft ordinance that would set a tiered approach to regulating house size based on lot size.

Dare Towns Look to Manage ‘Mega-Houses’
As Dare County municipalities try to address concerns about the proliferation of “mega-houses” and their impact on the character and environment of beach communities, the town councils in both Southern Shores and Duck met last week to explore new approaches to the issue.
Read more » click here

Update –
Planning & Inspections Director Evans poured some cold water on the discussion, by reminding them that you cannot legally regulate the number of bedrooms. That said, they would like to investigate if it is feasible to obtain the same outcome but approach it from a different way.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – June 2019
Agenda Packet –
The Planning Board has approved a proposed ordinance change for consideration by the Board of Commissioners. As you are aware, Commissioners have voiced some concerns over possible future and present issues related to homes that are so large that they pose an impact to the quality environment that the Holden Beach wishes to portray.

This ordinance has been vetted by the planning Department and is similar to other beach town regulation pertaining to the same issues.

Proposed Zoning Ordinances Changes

      • Maximum House Size of 6,000 square feet
      • Progressive Setbacks
      • Protection of Storm Water Discharge through Reduction
      • Traffic Reduction
      • Reduced Parking Density
      • Reduction of Trash refuse
      • Improve Quality of Life
      • Increase Lot Open Space
      • Decrease Potential Secondary Storm Debris

Clear, concise, easily understood presentation by Timbo. This has been a major issue for years. He said that he attempted to be fair and equitable for everyone. Well thought out, benchmarked other beach town regulations and the Planning Board has already signed off on the proposal. Proposal would not be changing the dynamics of what has been done before; but homes will fit better on the lots now. Next step is for staff to put this into an Ordinance format.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – October 2019
Agenda Packet –
Attached is the proposed ordinance for maximum house size construction that Inspections Director Evans sent to Attorney Fox for review per the Board’s direction. Attorney Fox suggested that the new attorney selected by the Board have the opportunity to review it before action is taken. If the Board agrees a motion to send it to the new attorney should be made.

§157.060 RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT (R-1).
. (D) Dimensional requirements R-1.

.    (1) Lot area. Minimum required:
.       (a) For a one-family dwelling,5,000 square feet.
.       (b) For a two-family dwelling, 7,500 square feet.
.    (2) Lot width. Minimum required: 50 feet.
.    (3) Front Yard Setbacks per structure size:
.          <4000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 25 Feet
.           4000 < 5000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 30 Feet
.           5000 > 6000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 35 Feet
.    (4) Side Yard Setbacks per Structure Size:
.          4000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 5 feet
.          4000 < 5000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 7 Feet
.          5000 > 6000 Square Feet Minimum Required:10 Feet
.       (a) Open porches, decks, or overhangs shall not extend into minimum setbacks
.    (5) Rear Yard Setbacks Per structure S1ze
.          <4000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 20 Feet
.          4000 < 5000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 25 Feet
.          5000 > 6000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 30 Feet
.    (7) Lot coverage.
.   (a) Lot coverage of main structure shall not exceed 30% of the platted lot. If structure is 4000 square feet or greater then lot coverage cannot be greater than 25 percent. If structure coverage is 5000 square feet or greater lot coverage is limited to 20 percent.
. (12) Minimum floor area of building 750 square feet of heated space.
.     (a) Maximum Structure Size of any dwelling shall be 6000 Square Feet
. (13) Open uncovered stairs, not including any deck or landing at porch level, may project up to ten feet into the required front or rear yards of structures <4000 Square Feet, but not both.

New Town attorney will work on language that is both lawful and enforceable.
Consensus of the Board is to put item on the agenda at the November Regular Meeting

Previously reported – January 2020
Agenda Packet –
Attached is a presentation provided by Inspections Director Evans at a previous meeting. Based on the presentation, the Board directed him to prepare an ordinance around his description for house size limitation and provide it to the attorney before it is presented to the Board for review. The item is on the agenda for the attorney to issue comments and guidance to the Board

Item was removed from the agenda yet again

Update –
We have been working on this issue for at least the last five (5) years. Timbo did not make slide presentation since he has made this same presentation numerous times already. The abridged version is simply that you can’t build as big a house that you could before. State statutes require that the governing board hold a public hearing prior to the adoption, amendment, or repeal of any ordinance regulating development. Therefore, it was decided to schedule a Public Hearing before the next Regular BOC’s meeting so they can adopt the Ordinance.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


3. Discussion and Possible Direction on Removing the Designation and Responsibilities of Executive Secretary from Town Ordinances – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
An Executive Secretary position with overarching control of meeting agendas is not necessary.

First, the duties of the executive secretary as detailed in Town Ordinance appear in conflict with how a special meeting is called, whereby any 2 commissioners, the mayor or the Mayor Pro Tem have the right to call the meeting (and define the agenda) with no input required from an additional commissioner. Second, the executive secretary is not the party collecting supporting materials or creating the ultimate agenda -those are done by the Town Clerk. If an individual Commissioner finds an item, he or she designated for a specific meeting does not appear on an agenda for reasons unknown, he or she should say so at the meeting and request it be added to the agenda. Third, all Board members, not only one, should equally receive the support of the Town Clerk and Town Manager and be able to receive legal interpretation from the Town Attorney as appropriate for items they place on the agenda.

While it may suit the Board of Commissioners to designate an individual Commissioner to be responsible for scheduling certain BOC activities and organizing the notes on certain topics, this can be done by Board agreement each year. If the Board prefers to have an individual Commissioner as a first contact for the Town Clerk on draft BOCM agenda questions, the Board can so specify.

Holden Beach Code of Ordinances
§30.05 MAYOR PRO TEMPORE.

. (C) The Executive Secretary shall be responsible for: (1) creating the agenda for each regular and special meeting of the BOG, and (2) assembling all supporting agenda package materials, in consultation with the Mayor, other members of the BOC and the Town Manager and Town Attorney, as applicable. The Executive Secretary shall timely deliver the same to the Town Clerk for copying, delivery and publication in accordance with these ordinances and the Rules of Procedure provided for herein. The Town Clerk and Town Manager shall provide logistical and advisory support to the Executive Secretary in performing these functions and the Town Attorney shall provide legal interpretation or support as requested by the Executive Secretary. No notice of any regular or special meeting of the BOC, nor any agenda or agenda package materials with respect thereto shall be delivered or published by the Town Clerk without the express prior authorization of the Executive Secretary.

Update –
Apparently, we are the only municipality that has this position. The position is not necessary, and things would run better without it. Patty recommended striking the position and removing it from §30.05. Once again, this was only just a discussion and no action was taken.

No decision was made – No action taken


4. Discussion and Possible Action on the Suggested Rules of Procedure for the Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
Way too large a document (@20 pages) and too many changes to include here

Previously reported – December 2019
Agenda Packet –
The Board of Commissioners is required to adopt Rules of Procedure per the Town’s Code of Ordinances, Section 30.19.

I have included the version currently being used. Another version. the Suggested Rules of Procedure for a City Council, by the School of Government has also been used in the past. A copy of this version is also included in your packets. If the Board chooses to adopt either version for the upcoming term, the entire rules can be adopted, or amendments may be made. I suggest the Board review the materials and adopt rules at the January meeting.

The Board is required to adopt some version of Rules of Procedure each year. Heather has given them two (2) options or they can create their own new version. Pat has volunteered to review current version and make recommendations of any necessary changes. This will be on the agenda again next month so that they can adopt rules as required.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – January 2020
Decided to put off discussion until the February meeting giving the Board additional time to review all the changes.

No decision was made – No action taken

Update –
Despite the number of changes already submitted the Board made additional changes tonight. They decided to revise the document and put it on the agenda at the March meeting, giving the Board additional time to review all the changes.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


5. Discussion Pertaining to the Speed Limit on Ocean Boulevard – Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet –
Holden Beach Code of Ordinances / SCHEDULE I. SPEED LIMITS.

(A) The streets or parts of streets described in this traffic schedule shall have the speed limits designated in the following table.

(B) In accordance with division (A) of this traffic schedule, the following speed limits shall be established for the following streets or parts of streets:

Name of StreetSpeed Limit (mph)Seasonal

Limitations

S.R. 1116 (Ocean Boulevard, East and West), from its western terminus to its eastern terminus35April 1 – September 30 (inclusive)
S.R. 1116 from a point 1.76 miles west of NC 130 (Greensboro Street) to a point 5.01 miles west of NC 130 (west end of road).45October 1 – March 31 (inclusive each year)
Delanne Street15
Dunescape Drive15
Serenity Lane15
Windswept Way15
All other streets25
And all other streets within the Holden

Beach West Subdivision

25No seasonal limitations

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

Previously reported – January 2020

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

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

No decision was made – No action taken

Update –
John Plumridge made appeal again, at the Public Comments section of the meeting, in favor of keeping OBW at 35mph year-round. His case is plain and simple, we need to take reasonable precautions to safeguard pedestrians. Despite the talking points presented the community still does not appear to be convinced about making the change. The Board hedged their bets, seeking additional public input since it is pretty much a split decision right now. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on them putting safety over mobility.

No decision was made – No action taken

The people that spoke at the last meeting said cars are speeding, well the speed limit is 45mph now, what do you think will change if it’s 35mph? Despite the persuasive talking points, it really doesn’t matter what speed limit is posted, the issue is people speed and the police don’t issue tickets. When was the last time that you saw a vehicle being pulled over?

Frankly the golf carts are a hazard and the situation appears to be getting worse

    • Underage drivers / The driver MUST have a current, valid Driver’s License
    • Don’t use seatbelts / People hanging off / Child Restraint Laws must be followed
    • Noncompliance state law / State Inspection Sticker / License Plate Issued by NCDMV
    • Slow moving blocking traffic
    • Park illegally

Four crosswalks are not going to have a significant impact. We currently have twenty-four (24) public beach access points that all should have crosswalks. We do have a crosswalk at Jordan Boulevard, and I can tell you that drivers do not stop and let people cross there now.

Editor’s Note –
The Police Department do not have the adequate resources to meet our needs. When we benchmark off of the surrounding beach communities, we are grossly understaffed particularly during tourist season. The Town of Holden Beach has @600 permanent residents and employs eight (8) full-time officers and zero (0) part time officers. By contrast, The Town of Ocean Isle Beach has @600 permanent residents and employs thirteen (13) full-time officers and ten (10) to fifteen (15) part-time officers during the season on beach patrol. The Police in order to be effective need to have high visibility with an increased presence, especially during prime tourist season, to enforce ordinances and to ensure the public safety.

Trying to change speed limits in your neighborhood?
It’s not as easy as you might think
The NCDOT utilizes what is known as the 85th percentile speed to help guide and set speed limits. Essentially this is the average speed that 85% of drivers are traveling on a road under free-flowing conditions, regardless of the speed limit. “We usually rely on that [85th percentile] pretty heavily because typically people will drive a road at a speed they feel comfortable, regardless of the signage unless there is strict enforcement,” Leonard said. The 85th percentile tool was cited as the reason why the NCDOT was not in favor of lowering the speed limit on Dow Road in Carolina Beach when it was requested by the town. Essentially, the state said that since the lowering of the speed limit would likely not be followed it did not support the change. If the 85th percentile speed is faster than the posted speed limit the NCDOT suggests strict enforcement to get compliance.
Read more » click here


6. Discussion and Possible Action on a Request to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for a Recommendation of Possible Uses for 796 Ocean Boulevard West Property – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

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

Previously reported – September 2019
Ordinance 19-15, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#3)

    • Provide funds for purchase of property at 796 OBW – approved $349,000
    • 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. Town Manager basically said “No Can Do” as he reminded them that they just established protocols and that they need to submit a request per Resolution 20-01 passed tonight. Touché!

No decision was made – No action taken

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.

Update –
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)

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

Gerald objected to even asking Timbo because he only sees us incurring big expenses by utilizing the building structure.


7. Discussion and Possible Action on a Request to the Inlet and Beach Protection Board for a Suitable Document on Protecting our Dunes for Owners and Visitors and Recommendation of Best Ways to Disseminate the Information – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
Directive to:
Inlet Beach Protection Board (IBPB)

Issue  and Action  Requested:
Stay off the dunes warning signs do not provide information on why the dune system is important for environmental and economic reasons, or how human behaviors can damage the dunes. Without a better understanding of the importance and fragility of dune systems, owners and visitors may not realize how some of their behaviors can damage dunes. The IBPB should recommend a 1 pager detailing the importance of maintaining dunes and potential negative implications of some of the owner and visitor behaviors that are frequently observed, also restating (not threatening) the legal consequences of not obeying the signs. The IBPB should also recommend ways the message can best be delivered to owners and visitors.

Background and  Potential  Implications:
Residents often see examples of  visitor behaviors damaging to dunes. It is likely the visitors don’t realize the potential harm of their actions. Signs stating stay off the dunes and showing the penalty of not complying do not help educate owners and visitors on why the dune system is critical and how their behaviors can cause harm. Until there is better understanding, behaviors wont change.

Charge Questions:
1.
What publications/public information support the 1 pager?
2. Is the information consistent with state and local law/regulation?

Proposed Deadline:
May  2020 BOCM

Update –
No discussion was necessary

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


8. Discussion and Possible Decision on Solicitation for Audit Services for the Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 Audit – Commissioner Tyner

Agenda Packet –
Motion:
Board of Commissioners directs the Town Manager to solicit bids for audit services for the 2019-2020  audit. The solicitation for bids should be distributed on February 14, 2020 and responses should be due by February 28, 2020.

Issue:
Solicitation of bids request for proposals for Audit Services

Request to:
Town Manager

Motion:
Board of Commissioners request the Town Manager solicit bids for audit services for the fiscal year 2019-2020 audit.

Action Requested:
Distribute proposal and solicit bids  for audit services for fiscal year 2019-2020 audit.

Proposed Deadline:
Distribute Request  for Proposal for  Audit Services  by February 14,2020 and set a deadline of February 28, 2020 for responses

Update –
§30.26 AUDIT COMMITTEE OF THE BOC.
   (B)   Powers and duties. The Audit Committee shall:
            (3)   Recommend to the BOC’s the selection of the independent external audit firm to conduct the annual external audit;

It is the Audit Committees responsibility to make the recommendation for an audit firm. However, it is the BOC’s that ultimately make the decision in selecting the audit firm. Town Manager stressed that fewer firms want to do municipal audits so we should have a sense of urgency about finding someone quickly.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Editor’s Note –
Previously reported – November 2019
Presentation of Fiscal Year 2018 – 2019 Audit Results
– Jay Sharpe, Rives and Associates
The auditor the last two years has been Rives & Associates, with Jay Sharpe in charge of our audit.

Local CPA firm owners dispute lawsuit filed by partners
Jay Sharpe, a former partner of Rives and Associates who operated the Raleigh office, and Aaron Patel, former partner from the Charlotte office, filed a court case with the Wake County Superior Court on Feb. 4 claiming a variety of charges against Leon Rives and his father, including misuse of company funds; inappropriate conduct; withholding of information and making decisions on the firm’s behalf without the input of other partners, among other charges.
Read more » click here


9. Discussion and Possible Action on a Request to the Audit Committee for a Recommendation of the Process for Selecting an Audit Firm and Recommendation of the Audit Firm to Perform the Audit of Financial Statements for the Year Ending June 30, 2020– Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
Directive to:
Audit Committee

Issue and Action Requested:
Audit Committee recommendations made to the BOC of the firm to conduct the annual audit of the Town’s financial statements have not traditionally included much detail on the Audit Committee’s decision. An Audit Firm Selection Process should be developed and applied to select the recommended firm for the audit of the year ending June 30, 2020, with a presentation made to the BOC.

Background and Potential Implications:
Each year the Audit Committee recommends a firm to the BOC to conduct the annual audit of the Towns financial statements. Without a formal process, the recommended firm may not in the end be the best selection. Following a process including selection criteria to identify the best firm should enable a transparent, qualification-based evaluation of each firm and simplify the final selection.

Charge Questions:
None

Proposed Deadline:
March 17, 2020 BOCM for both the process/selection criteria and recommendation of the audit firm, with justification according to the new process.

Update –
Patty wants the Audit Committee to provide the Board with a description of the process as well as selection recommendation. Woody who is the Chair of the Committee basically said that he had no problem with the request.
He worked in banking, where they evaluated vendors based on a set criterion and utilized a scorecard which he planned to do here in selecting an audit firm.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


10. Discussion and Possible Action on Setting the Budget Meeting Schedule for the Creation of the 2020/2021 Budget – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Update –
Patty said that they need to get started. They agreed to just four (4) meetings but still need to determine when they will be held. They also agreed for them to send Heather a calendar of their availability so she can schedule the meetings. The first meeting has traditionally been to determine objectives. Meanwhile nothing is scheduled yet.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Budget Timeline

      1. January           BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives / Capital Programs
      2. February         Canal Working Group
      3. February         Input from Town Boards / Committees
      4. February         Town Departments Input to Manager
      5. March             Workshop Review Revenue & Expenses
      6. April                Draft Budget Message
      7. April                BOC’s Workshop – adjustments as needed
      8. May                 Budget Message
      9. June                 Public Hearing
      10. June                 Regular BOC’s Meeting Adopt Budget
      11. June                 Budget adopted no later than June 30th

The Town Manager is charged with establishing an actual schedule based on everyone’s availability. Once again, the goal is to avoid the annual rush at the end to get things done. In previous years we started the budget process in January. The Board is still not really working on the budget until the eleventh hour. I am disappointed that we are just now tentatively beginning to  establish the budget meeting schedule. The budget process has been an abject disappointment so far. 


11. Discussion and Possible Action to Begin the Town Manager Appraisal Process in a Closed Session at the End of the First Budget Meeting – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Update –
Patty requested that we try to do this properly and would like to start the process at the first budget meeting. This way they do not need to schedule a separate Special Meeting.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


12. Discussion and Possible Action on Encroachment Agreement Between the Town and Tom Womble – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Tom Womble has requested to encroach upon Hillside Drive, which is under the dunes, for the purpose of constructing   a  walkway  to  cross  the  dunes  and  gain  access  to  the  beach.  He  needs  to  have  an encroachment agreement in place before a permit can be issued. The attached agreement is the standard form the Town has utilized in the past.

Previously reported – March 2017
Hillside Drive no longer exists and lies below / underneath the dune pictured
Property owner requested easement for walkway across the dunes
Right is not transferable that’s why we have to do this with each new owner
Walkway would encroach on the public right-of-way owned by the Town
Town policy has been to control access
W
e have approved this action several times before
Action would be consistent with what we have done for others
Staff recommends approval

Update –
Standard practice David recommended approval

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


13. Discussion on Revising, Section 72.02 (K) Parking Regulated on Public Streets and Rights-of-Way – Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet –
PARKING DISCUSSION
After due discussion and consideration, in April 2018 the Board of Commissioners voted to revise ordinance section 72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS OF WAY. The revised ordinance contains section(k) It shall be a violation of this chapter to leave standing any portion of a vehicle in a lawful parking area between the hours of 2:00am and 5:00am.

The stated purpose for the revision was a concern for the safety, privacy and property rights of the property owners of Holden Beach. Due to an increase in proactive enforcement measures of the Holden Beach Police Department related to parking in the right of way, the benefit of the revision has been questioned by some residents and visitors.

In an attempt to address the stated concerns and also protect the stated purposes of the revised ordinance, I suggest the following course of action:

    1. Suggest to rental agencies that the number of available legal spaces be included in all advertisements for rental This will give potential renters an opportunity to determine if a rental home has sufficient parking for their needs.
    2. Allow Holden Beach property owners, displaying a valid Holden Beach Vehicle Decal, to park in the right of way adjacent to their property as long as such parking is not otherwise prohibited, e. no parking on OBW or within 25 feet of an intersection. This limited exception, coupled with other ordinance provisions, should address the vast majority of complaints without expanding the potential for overcrowding and the conversion of smaller rental properties into “event” properties.

Previously reported – August 2018
Agenda Packet –
Town Ordinance 18-07- revise Section (K) or create a new section in the ordinance that clearly states the following recommended wording: Vehicles shall not be permitted to park in any beach access or any municipal designated parking areas, between the hours of 2:00am to 5:00am.

It is also recommended that signs be posted in the nine (9) municipal designated parking areas.

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH / ORDINANCE 18-07
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH CODE OF ORDINANCES, CHAPTER 72: PARKING REGULATIONS (SECTION 72.03 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY)
(K) Additional violation. It shall be a violation of this chapter to leave standing any portion of a vehicle in a lawful parking area for a period exceeding 72 consecutive hours between the hours of 2:00a.m. and 5:00a.m.

Much ado about nothing. It was the Board’s intent to not permit parking between 2:00am and 5:00am only in the nine municipal designated parking areas. All of that verbiage was not included in the Ordinance they adopted. Apparently, Wally assured them that is not the case. He indicated that a revision of the Ordinance was not required. The police department will use their discretion and enforce only in municipal designated parking areas which was the Board’s intent.

No decision was made – No action taken

Previously reported – July 2019
Joe was concerned that tickets were being written for property owner vehicles parked in the right-of-way on their own property. They discussed what was the Board’s intent and what are the ramifications if they make any changes.

Once again, they decided that a revision of the Ordinance was not required. The Police Department will use their discretion and enforce only in municipal designated parking areas which was the Board’s original intent.

No decision was made – No action taken

Minutes – July 2019
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION TO REVISE CHAPTER 72: PARKING REGULATIONS, SECTION 72.02(K)
Commissioner Butler read the current verbiage concerning parking in Section 72.02(K). He believes the Board’s intent last August was to prohibit parking in the nine municipal areas between the hours of 2:00a.m.- 5:00a.m. Commissioner Sullivan said it is specifically how the Board wanted it. The Board had the discussion whether it would be better to prohibit the parking somewhere like under the bridge, but then that person would go park by someone’s home. He said the problem when the issue was raised was that people were complaining that people were parking overnight. After all of the discussions, the Board decided that the most effective way to accomplish the goal was to have a window when you couldn’t leave your car parked. Commissioner Butler stated we have people who need to park in the rights-of-way (ROW) between the hours of 2:00a.m.- 5:00a.m. Commissioner Sullivan said this is an example of what he was talking about; the Board talks about something, passes a rule and then after it is put in place, we feel like we need to revise it. He said if we are going to allow people to parking in the ROW, we might as well just rescind the whole ordinance. Commissioner Butler said he is not in favor of that. Commissioner Sullivan said the police will not know if a car belongs to the person at a house. He asked what the Board would be accomplishing. He suggested if the Board is going to make a change, they should give more thought and decide what the ramifications of the change would be. The guy that would park under the bridge will now park in front of somebody’s house and fisherman can’t park at all. Commissioner Butler said the municipal parking areas are identified with signs that say the prohibited hours. He explained we are a family beach and want to retain that title.

Planning Director Evans clarified there is a distinction between the ROW and municipal areas. Any homeowner can stop people from parking in the ROW by putting up the legalized barriers. Commissioner Sullivan said if someone is renting a home, they won’t put up a fence because people may need to park there. It would take the problem from someone staying under the bridge and possibly move it to someone’s house. Commissioner Butler said he is glad the Board is discussing this. He had an officer bring it to his attention that it was hard to control this. Commissioner Freer stated he would leave it as it is, and it is at the discretion of the Police Department to enforce it. Commissioners Sullivan and Butler agreed.

Mayor Holden stated he bet the others aren’t getting the complaints he is getting. He provided information regarding a complaint concerning someone’s grandson who received a $75 ticket because there wasn’t anywhere to park during the night and there wasnt enough parking at the family house. The man has owned property for approximately 40 years. A friend of his looked for no parking signs and they couldn’t find any signs. Mayor Holden said this it isn’t working, and he will start sharing the complaints he receives. He asked how people are supposed to know there is no parking. He said people ask where they are supposed to park, there is nowhere to legally park. The citizen from the complaint he described said if all of the public parking is shut down and the streets are shut down, he would need to take his grandson to Walmart or somewhere to leave his car overnight.

Previously reported – August 2019
Apparently at the discretion of the Police Department meant something different to the Board and to the Police Department. The Police Department chose to enforce the ordinance and wrote twenty-three (23) tickets for vehicles parked in the right-of-way. Needless to say, Commissioner Butler was not happy with the situation. After another round of robust discussion, it was still unclear as how they planned to amend the Ordinance. They were all in agreement that it shall be a violation to leave any vehicle that is parked between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. in the nine (9) municipal public parking areas. What was not so clear, was parking in the right-of-way.

They were unable to amend ordinance because it was not on the original agenda. They asked the Police Chief to use his discretion and just focus on municipal public parking areas until they can amend ordinance at the next regular meeting.

Frankly we are making this way too complicated. On street parking should be allowed all the time. If an owner wants to restrict parking, they can use a post and rope fence. If someone parks between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. and is carrying on, then just call the Police the same way you would any other time of the day.

Previously reported – September 2019
The proposal allows owners to park four (4) additional vehicles in the right-of way on their property. The storm vehicle decals issued to each property owner is what will be used for identification. The Board asked the Town attorney to prepare a revised Ordinance.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


This is a solution in search of a problem!


Previously reported – October 2019
§72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY. (K) Additional violation. It shall be a violation of this chapter to leave standing any portion of a vehicle in a lawful parking area between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

Agenda Packet –
PARKING DISCUSSION
After due discussion and consideration, in April 2018 the Board of Commissioners voted to revise ordinance section 72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS OF WAY. The revised ordinance contains section(k) It shall be a violation of this chapter to leave standing any portion of a vehicle in a lawful parking area between the hours of 2:00am and 5:00am.

The stated purpose for the revision was a concern for the safety, privacy and property rights of the property owners of Holden Beach. Due to an increase in proactive enforcement measures of the Holden Beach Police Department related to parking in the right of way, the benefit of the revision has been questioned by some residents and visitors.

In an attempt to address the stated concerns and also protect the stated purposes of the revised ordinance, I suggest the following course of action:

1. Suggest to rental agencies that the number of available legal spaces be included in all advertisements for rental properties. This will give potential renters an opportunity to determine if a rental home has sufficient parking for their needs.

2. Allow Holden Beach property owners, displaying a valid Holden Beach Vehicle Decal, to park in the right of way adjacent to their property as long as such parking is not otherwise prohibited, i.e. no parking on OBW or within 25 feet of an intersection. This limited exception, coupled with other ordinance provisions, should address the vast majority of complaints without expanding the potential for overcrowding and the conversion of smaller rental properties into “event” properties.

New Town attorney will work on language that is both lawful and enforceable.
Consensus of the Board is to put item on the agenda at the November Regular Meeting.

Previously reported – January 2020 
Item was removed from the agenda yet again

Update
This is NOT even on the agenda tonight despite being told it would be


Land the plane already!
.
.
It was the original intent of the Board to prohibit parking only in the nine municipal areas between the hours of 2:00a
.m.- 5:00a.m. If an owner wants to restrict parking, they can use a post and rope fence. If someone parks between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. and is carrying on, then just call the Police the same way you would any other time of the day.


  1. 14. Town Manager’s Report

IHA
Submitted Town’s positions to the Coastal Resource Commission (CRC)
ATM our coastal consulting engineer provided a technical memo to support our position
Timbo & Rhonda are attending another CRC meeting

Town Website
Inlet Hazard Area Comment: 
The N.C. Coastal Resource Commission extended the public comment period until March 2nd for proposed rulemaking intended to update Inland Hazard Area boundaries and associated development rules. The proposed rules and related documents are available on the DEQ website. The Town has submitted a letter in opposition of the proposed update. Click here to see the letter. Applied Technology & Management, the Town’s consulting coastal engineer also provided comments. Click here to view the letter. It is important that individuals take the time to familiarize themselves on the topic and submit their own letters.  

For more information » click here

Personnel
We have advertised for the vacant Budget and Fiscal Analyst position

Lift Station #3
Lift Station #3 is progressing as follows:
Advertise for Bids         10/24/19          done
Mandatory Pre-Bids     12/10/19          done
Receive Bids                   12/19/19          done
Contract Award             01/21/20         done
Construction Start        03/23/20
Closeout                          12/31/20

FEMA / Storm Events

Matthew / Irene
Revisions made and submitted, still had @$300,000 on the table
Received $177,438 possibly the final reimbursement payment for Irene
Still waiting on final reimbursement payment for Matthew

Florence / Michael
FloMike hurricane project funds have been awarded
Florence – federal and state $15,861,220
Michael – federal and state $8,547,505
FloMike total Cat G beach nourishment funding is $24,408,725
Town staff is working daily through new digital FEMA Grants Portal
We are on our 6th Project Manager, which is like a new one every nine (9) weeks

Dorian
Federal declaration was made for Hurricane Dorian that includes coastal communities in Brunswick County. Town has estimated approximately $4.5mm for Cat G FEMA reimbursements. We spent $25,400 for surveying and engineering services to meet the Dorian depth of closure requirement. Based on recent analysis it is now estimated at approximately $12mm for Cat G FEMA reimbursements. At the IBPB meeting this week, they said that the new estimate is now closer to $15mm for Cat G FEMA reimbursements.

Update –
Total Cat G beach nourishment funding is now close to $40mm

He will be preparing a budget amendment to set expenses and process revenue reimbursements. They have met with Local Government Commission in anticipation of short-term financing needs of this project. The best guestimate of project start date is the winter of 2021.

Beach Nourishment
Previously reported – January 2020
The sand search continues. The hydrography survey and vibracores have been completed. However, we were told that an archeological side beam scan is required, before we can submit for permit modification. Offshore investigation is moving forward expecting that it will be completed soon.

Update –
Surveyor left for another opportunity, so we had to source a second surveyor
Work should be completed by the end of February
We need to submit permit revisions by the end of April

Spoil Area
Dog park was utilized for canal dredging spoil site. We did some site ditching prior to Hurricane Dorian storm event to facilitate draining of the pond.

Intent is to reestablish pre-dredge capabilities which in order of priority are as follows:

      1. Permitted primary disaster debris management area
      2. Public Works lay down yard
      3. Dog Park

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

Update –
Second site ditching was completed recently
Ground is still wet and is not ready for use yet

Bend Widener Navigation Maintenance Project
The LWF inlet crossing maintenance project is underway with dredging operations by Goodloe Marine. Shore pipe is in place on the beach with placement of beach compatible sand by Dunescape entrance and will continue moving west. Expect operations to be completed this week. Once demobilization is completed sand fencing and vegetation will be put in there.

Upcoming Town Sponsored Events

Anniversary
Town’s 51st Birthday Celebration and closing of the time capsule is this Friday, February 14th at noon.

Run for the Arts 5K
The Town and Brunswick Arts Council will cosponsor a 5K race; the event is scheduled on Saturday, March 14th.
During the event participants and their guests can paint by numbers a professionally designed mural on the Bridgeview Park restroom.


15. Executive Session Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(1) to Approve Executive Session Minutes (Commissioner Kwiatkowski) and N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3) to Consult with the Attorney (Commissioner Sullivan)

No decision was made – No action taken


Receipt of Inlet and Beach Protection Board Report
Previously reported –
Ordinance 18-02 established the Inlet and Beach Protection Board
The Ordinance requires a written report from this Board

Agenda Packet –
January IBPB Meeting Update

The Inlet and Beach Protection Board (IBPS} met January 23 and the following issues and topics were discussed and addressed:

Status of the Beach and Inlets:
Staff provided an overview of current and future projects, efforts and conditions, and issues relative to the beach strand and inlets.  A copy of the Assistant Town Manager’s Report to the IBPB is attached.

Other Updates:

    • “Keep Off the Dunes” signs, which were approved in the adopted budget have arrived and are pending installation.
    • Member Pearson distributed a memo on the Christmas Tree Project. Over 400 trees were placed along the sand fence on the East End and in the 800 Block with help from the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Coastal Transplants to help with dune building.

Meeting Updates:

    • Brunswick County Shoreline Protection: The IBPB was represented at the January meeting. The next meeting will be March 18, 2020.
    • The next IBPB meeting will be February 27, 2020.

Assistant Town Manager’s report to the IBPB:
Status of the Inlet and Beach

Sand Search
Southern winds and waves have not been favorable for completion of surveys. Surveyors need a 4-day window. Hoping to complete soon. ATM putting together other elements of the project in the meantime.

AIWW Inlet  Crossing Dredging Project
Project is moving along with work taking place near Blockade Runner as of yesterday. The project  is expected to continue to move west and last another 2-3 weeks. We would like to remind the public to avoid work zone areas donated with signs and orange fencing. Since this is a USACE navigation project, there is not a project requirement for sand fence and vegetation. The Holden Beach Renourishment Association will be sponsoring the installation of a portion of sand fence in the project  area and the Town will pick up the remainder.

UNCW
A graduate student has been hired by the university for the project.  They started obtaining satellite imagery from USACE. Shoreline and inlet digitization will begin shortly.

Florence/Michael
Town staff is working daily in the grants portal. Project worksheets are being reviewed for accuracy. We are now on our 6th project manager since we started this process. We will meet with FEMA and N.C. Dept. of Public Safety this afternoon.

Dorian
Fran completing analysis of additional survey transects that FEMA required. He has also completed his memo and cost estimate for the project as of yesterday. The cost estimate  is $14,914,698,with sand losses in the Central Reach area at 555,297 cubic yards.


General Comments –

Mayor Holden – was not in attendance

There were thirty-seven (37) members of the community in attendance
. • Average attendance at meetings for 2019 was twenty-four (24)

Scout Troop, both males and females, attended the meeting as part of the requirements to obtain a merit badge.

The BOC’s Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, March 17th

Once again, it was The Patty Show which is an anomalous situation. It’s a one-woman show, of the Commissioners agenda items Patty had thirteen (13) of eighteen (18) or @72% of the agenda items.


Loose Ends –

      • Development Fees                                             June 2018
      • Waste Ordinance Enforcement Policy           January 2019
      • Fee Based Rollout of Containers                     January 2019
      • Commercial District                                         February 2019
      • Land Use Plan                                                   October 2019
      • Parking                                                               October 2019
      • Mega-Houses                                                     October 2019
      • Audit Remedial Policies & Procedures          November 2019

Budget Calendar –
Local governments must balance their budget by a combination of the following:
. 1.
Raising taxes
. 2.
Cutting spending
. 3.
Operating more efficiently

The Town Manager’s proposed budget is due by June 1st
Commissioners must adopt budget no later than June 30th for the next fiscal year

Adopting the annual budget is a primary responsibility of the Board.


BOC’s Special Meeting 02/13/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here NA

Audio Recording » click here NA

1. Discussion and Possible Action on Setting 2020 BOC’s Objectives

Previously reported – February 2019
These are the top critical issues that need to be addressed:

    1. Eastern Reach Deeper Wider Project
    2. President Trump approved disaster declaration that provides FEMA funds for Hurricane Michael
    3. Florence & Michael storm damage mitigation repair will be approximately twenty (20) million dollars
    4. Lift Station #3 Upgrade
    5. Land Use Plan
    6. Beach & Inlet Management Plan
    7. Solid Waste Service – implementation & enforcement
    8. Lobbying – advocacy engagement at legislative level

David reminded them of the dichotomy between what the Board is asking for and for it to be addressed in a meaningful way without additional tax revenue.

Previously reported – April 2019

Policies/procedures/resolutions
13        Address Ocean Blvd water retention issues

13        Improve Community Rating Score

Long Range Planning
12        Initiate Stage IT Sewer Pump Station Upgrade

12        Fully support IBPB and implement strategy
11        Make a decision on the second water tower
11        Approve and fund an appropriate near-term beach re-nourishment project
11        Review proposed Land Use Plan and approve an appropriate final document

Ordinances
15        Trash related decisions

13        Ensure clear enforcement procedures are in place as appropriate
12        Control of large homes

Advocacy
15        Promptly address any activity/support and funding requests that result from Poyner Spruill advocacy efforts for short- and long-term coordination with state, county and federal groups

15        Define sand fund strategies and supporting documents for starting various levels of government advocacy
15        Become more involved in coastal advocacy groups
14        Increase participation in NCLM to secure support on objectives most relevant to THB
12        Increase involvement in regional planning with other coastal communities

Additional Policies/Procedure/Resolutions Objectives
10        Prioritize Brunswick Avenue road repair

10        Cross train finance staff
10        Improve communication among alerted officials
10        Use pre and post beach sand data to conclude a crisis point
10        Establish a communication plan and website
10        Get more general public involvement


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


HBPOIN – Lou’s Views
.          • Gather and disseminate information
.          • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

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

https://lousviews.com/

02 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / February Edition


Calendar of Events –


Boating Skills & Seamanship Class
On Wednesday, February 19, 2020, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will start a comprehensive Boating Skills and Seamanship course that satisfies all state requirements. The course is for both novice and experienced boaters and will be taught over thirteen class sessions conducted on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and on Saturday morning March 7th.

The course covers general information about boating including selecting a boat, registration requirements, equipping your boat, trailering, powering your boat, boat handling, nautical highway signs, rules of the nautical road, boating safety, navigation, plotting, lines and knots, weather, your boat’s radio, what to do in case of boating emergencies, and state-specific laws and regulations you must follow.

Click here to view the full press release and to find information on how to register for the class.


Azalea Festival Logo
N.C. Azalea Festival
April 1st – 5th
Wilmington


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


Southport Spring Festival LogoSouthport Spring Festival
April 10
th
Southport


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



.Days at the Docks Festival

April 25th – 26th
Holden Beach

.

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



Blue Crab Festival

May 16th – 17th
Little River SC

.

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


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


Calendar of Events Island –

Run for the Arts 5K
The Town and Brunswick Arts Council will cosponsor a 5K race; the event is scheduled on Saturday, March 14th. During the event participants and their guests can paint by numbers a professionally designed mural on the Bridgeview Park restroom.

 Create art while you run
Brunswick Arts Council invites the public to participate in the Run for the Arts 5K fundraiser to be held Saturday, March 14, in Holden Beach. The event is a walk/run fundraiser and creating community art – “paint by numbers mural.” Participants can walk or run on this stroller and wheel chair accessible course. The race will be held 10 a.m.-noon and the mural participation will be held until 2 p.m.

Advance registration is $25, $30 day of the event. Sponsorships are available. To register to run, become a sponsor or make a donation, visit www.brunswickartscouncil.org. To volunteer, contact Mary Beth at execdir.brunswickartscouncil@gmail.com. Funds raised from this activity will be used to support ongoing arts programming, scholarships and arts grants within Brunswick County.
Read more » click here


Family Nighttime Easter Egg Hunt
The Town will hold its sixth annual nighttime Easter Egg Hunt on Friday, April 10th beginning at 7:00 pm. Teams of four will compete against each other. This event is designed for youth and adults and will be held at Bridgeview Park. Participants will need to bring their own flashlights to the event.
Registration is required but has not started yet…


Easter Sunrise Church Service
Brunswick Islands Baptist Church and Holden Beach Chapel are sponsoring an Easter sunrise service at 6:30 a.m. Sunday April 12th at the Holden Beach Pier.


HBBC

Holden Beach Beautification Club Plant Sale
The HBBC is holding their 9th Annual Plant Sale on Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 25th at the Emergency Operations Center, which is beside Food Lion located at 1044 Sabbath Home Road. Landscaping plants, perennials, annuals, herbs and gardening gloves will be available for purchase. All funds generated from the plant sale are earmarked for beautification projects on the island. Visit the Beautification Club’s website at http://holdenbeachbc.org/ if you are unable to attend the plant sale but would like to contribute.



Days at the Docks Festival
The festival occurs in April or May of each year and is sponsored by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. This year it is April 25th & 26th. It’s the Holden Beach way to kick-off the Spring and start the vacation season.

 


Pickleball Tournament
Holden Beach is hosting their fourth annual Pickleball Tournament. This year the Battle at the Beach tournament is May 1st to May 3rd.

For more information » click here
Register online » click here

What is Pickleball you ask?

Pickleball: growing sport for seniors
Pickleball originated in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The ball used is a perforated plastic ball similar to a Whiffle ball. The game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. The net is a couple inches lower than a tennis court net and the court is smaller too (20 feet by 44 feet vs. 36 by 78), and the paddles are oversized ping pong paddles made of plywood, aluminum or graphite. The game can be played with two or four players. Experience in tennis, badminton and ping pong is helpful, as there are similarities with those sports. There already are over 100,000 players in the United States alone. When tennis and badminton players find it difficult to navigate the larger courts, the next step is Pickleball, where there is not as much running required.
Read more » click here


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


Reminders –


Hurricane Vehicle Decals –

The 2020 vehicle decals are scheduled to be distributed with the March water bills.
.


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.


SM - Phone Book - CR
The new tide charts are here! The new tide charts are here!”

Holden Beach Tide Charts – 2020
.



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

.


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.


Recycling-Bin
Curbside Recycling

Waste Industries is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $82.48 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 is approaching, you should get e-mail letter in the next few weeks


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.

Safety Notice –
Waupaca Elevator Company has issued an important safety notice. The potential hazard is associated with normal wear in your elevator. If your elevator develops the problem and it is not repaired, the elevator may drop unexpectedly with you in it and you may be injured. They recommend you contact your elevator service company.

Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard
For more information » click here


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 –


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

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

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

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

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

Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

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

For more information » click here


Corrections & Amplifications –


Previously reported – February 2018
Reminder of Decal Distribution and Re-entry Policies for Owners  

EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do I get decals for my vehicle…?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information » click here


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

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

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


Vehicle Decals
Property owners will be provided with four (4) decals which will be included in their water bills. It is important that you place your decals on your vehicles immediately to avoid misplacing them. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

The decals are your passes to get back onto the island to check your property in the event an emergency would necessitate restricting access to the island. Decals must be displayed in the lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle.  Please note that re-entry will NOT be allowed if a current, intact decal is not affixed to the windshield as designated.


Odds & Ends


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

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


Large great white sharks ‘converging’ off Carolinas. Is the weather a cause?
A sudden convergence of great white sharks is taking place off the Carolinas — from Cape Hatteras to Charleston — proving the apex predators are being mysteriously drawn to a tight strip off the coast. Satellite tags reveal seven great whites are within that area, with an eighth hovering at the South Carolina-Georgia border, near Hilton Head. Most (five) are sitting off Southport, near Wilmington.
Read more » click here

Tracking site » click here

Cluster of sharks in one spot off Carolinas coast grows more intense
The clustering of great white sharks off the Carolinas coast is growing more pronounced and mysterious, based on satellite tracking data shared Saturday on social media. Eight tagged great white sharks are now practically on top of each other along the border of North and South Carolina — and they represent the only sharks currently tracking along the East Coast, according to a map posted on Facebook by OCEARCH. Researchers began noticing a convergence of great white sharks off the Carolinas in late January, but the group was more spread out. Now the sharks are exhibiting a clear preference for the same spot off Southport, near Wilmington, the data shows. OCEARCH says the tagged sharks, ranging in size from 8 feet to nearly 13 feet, represent a tiny sampling of what is actually off the coast, meaning waters could be full of great
Read more » click here
 

Sharks of North Carolina
Read more » click here

Shark Attack
The chances of being attacked by a shark are very small compared to other animal attacks, natural disasters, and ocean-side dangers. Many more people drown in the ocean every year than are bitten by sharks. The few attacks that occur every year are an excellent indication that sharks do not feed on humans and that most attacks are simply due to mistaken identity.

Your chances of being attacked by a shark are just 1 in 11.5 million!

What Are the Odds? Long, Most Likely
Not everyone is at risk of a being bitten by a shark. 1 in 11.5 million is the rate of attacks in one year at 68 U.S. beaches and is based on attendance figures at the venues.
Read more » click here


This & That


State officials announce grants to improve public beach access
The state Division of Coastal Management recently announced the availability of approximately $1 million in funding to help local governments in 20 coastal counties improve public access to coastal beaches and waters for the 2020-21 fiscal year. The Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program provides matching funds to local governments to construct low-cost public access facilities. “This funding continues to allow the state to be a resource for successful rebuilding and restoring of our public spaces along the coast,” said Braxton Davis, director of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management. “It is an important means to provide and maintain safe access for our residents and visitors.” Local governments interested in applying for financial assistance must submit a pre-application to the Division of Coastal Management by 5 p.m. on April 17. Local governments will be notified by May 15 if their proposal is selected to submit a final application. Final applications are anticipated to be due in August 2020. All final applicants will be notified in September if their project has been selected for funding. For more information about the Public Access Grant application process, go to the DEQ website at deq.nc.gov. Funding for the grant pro-gram 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 more than 459 public waterfront access sites since the program began in 1981. For more in-formation about the Public Beach and Coastal Water-front Access program, go to the DEQ website at deq.nc.gov.
Beacon Article dated February 6


Carolina Bays Parkway (SC 31) Extension

NCDOT preparing to narrow down route options for CBP Extension
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will soon narrow down its list of route alternatives for the Carolina Bays Parkway Extension, a half-billion-dollar proposed highway project proposed to streamline traffic between southern Brunswick County and North Myrtle Beach. In December, NCDOT released nine route alternatives for the project that’s been studied since the mid-2000s. Shortly after, NCDOT hosted a pair of public meetings in Little River and in Sunset Beach to present information on the project and hear feedback from stakeholders. So far, the project has already received pushback from some factions of the community, including Sunset Beach Town Council, Brunswick County Board of Commissioners, and a multi-generational farm, Indigo Farms.

Concerns have been raised that progress on the Horry County side of the project will outpace North Carolina’s, thereby locking in NCDOT to a route that the public hasn’t endorsed. Also, local tourism dollars are likely at stake, given the project would increase traffic flow to the Grand Strand. South Carolina is further along in funding the project, having already dedicated $125 million to it via a 2016 Horry County capital project sales tax referendum. Right-of-way acquisitions on the South Carolina side of the project will begin in 2022 ; NCDOT has not dedicated any funds for right-of-way acquisitions for its portion of the project. In all, the 19-mile proposed project will cost an estimated $552 million combined, with NCDOT required to cover roughly two-thirds of the total cost (14 miles of the project would run through North Carolina). Each of the nine proposed route alternatives would replace roughly 6 miles of existing roadway on Highway 17 and ultimately converge at the existing terminus in South Carolina between the existing Carolina Bays Parkway S.C. 31 at S.C. 9 (view all route alternatives).

Public comment
The public comment period on narrowing down the nine proposed alternatives ended Jan. 10 at midnight. Comments submitted before this deadline will be considered part of the public record, according to an NCDOT spokesperson, and comments submitted after will still be considered but not in the public record. Weigh in on the routes via a detailed project website, which includes the option to draw suggested lines, provide commentary, and rank alternatives. Once comments are analyzed, NCDOT will rule out a few of the proposed alternatives to narrow down which routes will be further studied in a detailed environmental analysis. NCDOT will narrow the routes down this spring; a Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected this winter. Once the environmental study is available, a new public comment period will open, including public hearings. A preferred alternative (not the final decision, but the last step before it) could be selected by summer 2021.
Read more » click here


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Trump reveals Space Force logo, and ‘Star Trek’ fans aren’t happy
President Trump unveiled the new U.S. Space Force logo on Friday, and the Internet didn’t take kindly to it. The design for the newly minted sixth branch of the military looked an awful lot like the Starfleet Command insignia from the Star Trek series and movies, depicting a delta and a globe encircled by a rocket and set against a backdrop of stars. Minutes after Trump tweeted out the image, a chorus of observers rushed in to ridicule the similarities. It was an “obvious Star Trek knockoff,” one user wrote. “Boldly going where we’ve gone before,” quipped another. Even actor George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu in the original series, joked that the franchise was “expecting some royalties from this. ”
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.

 


The EPA just rolled back protections for wetlands.
What does it mean for Cape Fear region?
The Environmental Protection Agency and United States Army just finalized a historic rule that removes federal protections for wetlands. Under the new rule passed last week, wetlands and streams that do not continuously maintain a surface water connection will no longer have federal protections under the Clean Water Act. If implemented, the rule will likely have devastating national impacts on water quality and increase flood-related risks in already vulnerable coastal communities, including the Cape Fear region. The new ruling redefines Waters of the United States (WOTUS) protected from pollution and obstruction in the Clean Water Act. It ignores subsurface flow (i.e. underground water) connecting wetlands and streams that don’t have a direct surface water connection. This means wet, low-lying inland features that currently trigger federal and state review in the development process could soon get filled in with little to no oversight. “We could fully expect to see new development in areas that are very vulnerable to floodwaters,” Keri Allen, coastal advocate at the North Carolina Coastal Federation, said. “Without protections for these wetlands, you’re going to see building there.”

‘No basis in science’
In comments submitted last year, North Carolina’s Attorney General and Director of the Department of Environmental Quality described the rule as having been established “on the basis of arbitrary dividing lines that have no valid basis in science.” An estimated 17% of North Carolina’s total landmass is comprised of wetlands, at 5.7 million acres. Of these wetlands, 95% are located in the coastal plain. Nationwide, more than half of wetlands will no longer be protected under the new ruling. Even wetlands still technically defined as a WOTUS directly adjacent to jurisdictional waters would be impacted by this ruling. Should it be implemented, the ruling would open up development in areas protected for decades, leading to unprecedented stormwater runoff and flooding, which inevitably will bear down on the coast. Thirty-nine days into his presidency, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to initiate repealing the 1972 Clean Water Act. Last year, the new definition opened up to public comment, garnering 620,000 comments on the proposal, according to the EPA. Proponents of the change describe it as removing red tape to give breathing room to property owners who own land containing jurisdictional wetlands or streams. In announcing the finalized rule last week, the EPA characterized the changes as a simplification of the federal review process that will spur economic growth. Scores of environmental advocacy groups, scientific organizations, and state-level government agencies adamantly oppose the rule’s justification. “In the process, the agencies have abandoned their expertise,” the Southern Environmental Law Center wrote in its comments, submitted last year on behalf of 80 organizations, including the Cape Fear River Watch. The change was a top lobbying priority for the National Association of Realtors last year, according to the SELC. While the rule’s economic analysis
admits it would increase downstream flooding damages, put a greater cost burden on storm-restoration agencies, and increase costs for drinking water suppliers, it claims removing federal oversight would save money overall.

Environmental groups argue this methodology is flawed and fails to fully quantify the extent of imminent damage, should the rule go into effect. Soon, the new rule will be published in the Federal Register. After 60 days in the Federal Register, it will become effective — that is, baring delays from legal challenges, which are anticipated. “These revisions don’t just undo what was done under the Obama Administration,” Allen said. “These set us back decades.”

Wetlands
Wetlands are, in essence, sponges. Often described as nature’s kidneys, wetlands provide critical environmental and economic functions. Hydrophytic plants (i.e. plants that grow totally or partially submerged in water, or in waterlogged soil) absorb excess nutrients found in stormwater runoff, helping to protect bodies of water from harmful algal blooms and pollution. They both save and generate public money by reducing the need for investments in storm-control costs and spurring economic growth via tourism and commercial fisheries. One acre of wetlands is capable
of storing 330,000 gallons of water. When removed, these waters flow unimpeded, directly to traditional navigable waters, pushing storage capacity limits in storm events, causing rivers and stream to crest and ponds and lakes to overflow. Ephemeral streams — riverbeds that are alternately dry or filled by stormwater — would also lose federal protection under the new rule. Currently, if developers wish to impact wetlands or stream features, an extensive oversight process is initiated. Filling or dredging wetland features requires a 404 permit, obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a subsequent state-level version from the Division of Water Resources with a 401 permit. Property owners must prove impacts are “unavoidable” before impacting these resources; if such a determination is granted, the owner must invest in a 2:1 ratio in a public mitigation program that restores wetlands and streams. “Right now we have a pretty thorough process of inter-agency coordination,” Allen said. If the rule is implemented, Allen said the future permitting process is uncertain. “That’s something we don’t know,” she said. “It will definitely be a diminished review process.” The new WOTUS ruling shifts the burden of oversight responsibility to states — an unwelcome task for North Carolina. Both the DEQ and AG’s Office assert the state is too ill-equipped, over-burdened, and underfunded to pick up the jurisdictional review of these wetland and stream features. And according to the SELC, states lack the “political will” and funds to confront powerful polluters. It’s also worth noting that water quality issues are driven by interconnected water systems — networks that do not start or stop at state boundary lines.
Read more » click here

Dirty Water Rule puts the Cape Fear River and NC’s drinking water at risk
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule Jan. 23 that leaves half the nation’s wetlands and thousands of streams, which provide millions of Americans with drinking water, without the federal protection of the Clean Water Act. “North Carolinians care deeply about clean water: for drinking, swimming, fishing and sustaining nature. Yet this Dirty Water Rule will leave the Cape Fear River and other waterways vulnerable to pollution and degradation, and put our drinking water at risk,” said Krista Early, Clean Water Advocate of Environment North Carolina. “Polluted water can make anyone sick, no matter where you live or your politics. This move defies common sense, sound science, and fifty years of bipartisan support for clean water. “The Dirty Water Rule puts the wetlands of North Carolina at risk. As unprotected wetlands become degraded or paved over, they will no longer help filter out pollution. Pollution from unprotected streams and lakes will flow into the rivers like the Haw and Cape Fear. North Carolina waterways like the Cape Fear River are already facing problems from toxic PFAS pollution and degrading our streams and wetlands around it will only make that problem worse. According to U.S. EPA’s own data, intermittent and ephemeral streams help provide drinking water to 117 million Americans. The Dirty Water Rule removes Clean Water Act protections for many of these streams, putting the drinking water of many North Carolinians at risk. Noting the nexus among streams, wetlands, and larger waterways, the Dirty Water Rule was recently rebuked by EPA’s own science advisors. Public support for maintaining Clean Water Act protections is widespread. More than one million Americans, including business owners, local officials, scientists, and hunters and anglers, provided comments to EPA, urging the agency to protect streams and wetlands under the Act. Those speaking up include North Carolina business owners, faith leaders, public health experts, swimmers, and anglers who are raising their “Voices for Clean Water.” Lobbyists for corporate agribusiness, developers, and the oil and gas industry have long demanded that federal protections be removed for streams and wetlands. Pollution from agribusinesses contributes to toxic algal out-breaks, fish kills, dead zones, drinking water contamination, and fecal bacteria that can make swimmers sick. Some developers are eager to build on wetlands and the oil and gas industry has countless pipelines running through them. Some of North Carolina’s Members of Congress are speaking up too. Representative David Price (NC-04) recently co-sponsored a House resolution urging EPA to reverse course on the Dirty Water Rule and several other attacks on clean water. “The Dirty Water Rule is a moment of truth for every single representative in Congress,” said Drew Ball, State Director of Environment North Carolina. “Representative Price is not sitting silently as this administration rips up protections for our rivers, our lakes and our drinking water and no member of Congress should.” “With the Dirty Water Rule, the administration has put the interests of polluters over those of the public and our drinking water,” said Early. “We’ll be calling on Congress and the courts to uphold the Clean Water Act.”
Beacon Article dated February 6


.

Development Fees
For more information » click here
.


.

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 December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 20, 2019.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2020.

FEMA and Congress have never failed to honor the flood insurance contracts in place with NFIP policyholders. Should the NFIP’s authorization lapse, FEMA would still have authority to ensure the payment of valid claims with available funds. However, FEMA would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 40,000 home sale closings per month.

NFIP reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to take bold steps to reduce the complexity of the program and strengthen the NFIP’s financial framework so that the program can continue helping individuals and communities take the critical step of securing flood insurance.

The level of damage from recent catastrophic storms makes it clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP.

Flood insurance – whether purchased from the NFIP or through private carriers – is the best way for homeowners, renters, business, and communities to financially protect themselves from losses caused by floods.
Read more » click here


 

GenX
For more information » click here
.


Brunswick County tops national list for PFAS contamination
A study from the Environmental Working Group tested tap water samples from 44 sites across the county in 2019. The results of that study, fully released at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, found Brunswick County had the highest level of PFAS contamination at 185.9 parts per trillion. Wilmington, at 50.5 ppt, was also in the top five on the list that ranks 31 states and the District of Columbia for presence of these per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and more than 600 others.
Read more » click here

Public Notice
Brunswick County statement in response to Environmental Working Group
January 2020 report
Brunswick County began an extensive testing program for PFAS contaminants when academic studies revealed the presence of multiple PFAS in its drinking water, testing a suite of PFAS contaminants on a weekly basis. Brunswick County’s water samples have continuously remained below the EPA’s established health advisory levels for PFOA + PFOS and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ established provisional health goal for GenX, however the combined levels of all PFAS is concerning and the County continues to test and monitor for most known PFAS compounds and GenX during its routine testing.

At this time, the EPA does not have an established health goal for several of the other compounds listed in this report that are contributing to the overall 185.9 ppt sample level, however the PFOA + PFOS and GenX sample levels in this report are also below the provisional health goals mentioned above. Due to the fact that little or no study has been done on the health effects of combined PFAS or many of these individual PFAS found in the source water, Brunswick County has taken a proactive approach to install the most protective water treatment system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant to remove these contaminants.

Brunswick County’s leadership recognizes that high quality water is of paramount importance to our customers and residents and agree that reverse osmosis is the most effective PFAS removal technology, which is why the Board of Commissioners and county administration are embarking on a project to install an advanced low-pressure reverse osmosis treatment system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, as well as increase capacity at the plant to support the county’s growth. Brunswick County Public Utilities has been working diligently with engineers at CDM-Smith and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to design, permit and build an economical low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the plant for the benefit of all Brunswick County water users.

Low-pressure reverse osmosis is considered one of the most advanced and effective methods to treat and remove both regulated and unregulated materials from drinking water, including GenX, 1,4-dioxane and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In April 2018, the County conducted two rounds of testing on a pilot low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. The results showed that low-pressure reverse osmosis reduced most PFAS including GenX to undetectable levels, essentially removing all the components.

Not only do pilot studies indicate that low-pressure reverse osmosis is the most effective advanced treatment method for PFAS removal, but they also indicate that it is the most economical advanced treatment option for the removal of high percentages of PFAS at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. Most previous studies focus on the high-energy cost when using reverse osmosis for the treatment of saline or brackish water, but the cost is considerably less when used to treat fresh water for PFAS contaminants, especially short-chain PFAS.

All of the County’s water sample test reports are available to the public at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/genx/ 


 

Homeowners Insurance
For more information » click here
.




.
Hurricane Season

For more information » click here

 



Inlet Hazard Areas

For more information » click here

.


Inlet Hazard Area Workshop 01/16/20

The state Division of Coastal Management held a workshop for the Town of Holden Beach to review proposed Inlet Hazard Area boundary updates and associated Coastal Resources Commission rule amendments.

Ken Richardson –NC Division of Coastal Management

“At a Glance”
. 1. Boundary: Updated Inlet Hazard Areas
. 2.
Rule: All structures treated equally
.     •
Structure size: 5,000 sq. ft.
.    
Density: 1 unit per 15,000 sq. ft. of land
. 3.
Rule: setback based on inlet erosion rates
. 4.
Rule: Grandfathering rules still apply

Review presentation » click here

IHA Takeaways:

  1. CRC’s Science Panel on Coastal Hazards used a methodology which involve possibilities, not certainties.
  2. They seem convinced that the west end will have serious erosion issues that are influenced by the inlet
  3. The IHA is based on the worst-case scenario
  4. One has to ask: What is happening in the inlet, other than that OIB is building a terminal groin there?
  5. THB is penalized for the west end accretion in model based on standard deviation formula
  6. Realtors and contractors both felt very strongly that this designation would be like a Scarlett letter
  7. The change could have a significant negative impact for the entire island
  8. The word HAZARD paints too negative a picture, they should consider a change to use RISK instead
  9. Ken requested and wants community input and it would carry more weight coming from the Town
  10. He recommended that the THB send them something summarizing the communities comments
  11. The comment period closes on January 31st

There were eighty-seven (87) members of the community in attendance


.
Breaking News
Public Comment period on the proposed rulemaking to update IHA has been extended to March 2nd

 


Public Comment Period Extended
The N.C. Coastal Resource Commission is extending the public comment period until March 2nd for proposed rulemaking intended to update Inland Hazard Area boundaries and associated development rules. The original comment period was scheduled to end on January 31st.

The proposed rules and related documents are available on the DEQ website.

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with this very important matter and send comments in.

Written comments may be mailed to:
Braxton Davis, Director
Division of Coastal Management
400 Commerce Avenue
Morehead City, NC 28557

Comments may also be emailed to DCMcomments@ncdenr.gov.

Please list “Inlet Hazard Area updates” in the subject line.


Town Website
Inlet Hazard Area Comment: 
The N.C. Coastal Resource Commission extended the public comment period until March 2nd for proposed rulemaking intended to update Inland Hazard Area boundaries and associated development rules. The proposed rules and related documents are available on the DEQ website. The Town has submitted a letter in opposition of the proposed update. Click here to see the letter. Applied Technology & Management, the Town’s consulting coastal engineer also provided comments. Click here to view the letter. It is important that individuals take the time to familiarize themselves on the topic and submit their own letters.
For more information » click here 


State Extends Time For Input On New IHAs
The state Division of Coastal Management has extended the public comment deadline on proposed redrawn inlet hazard area boundaries and building rules within them. Public comments may be submitted through March 2, an additional month past the original Jan. 31 deadline. Ken Richardson, a shoreline management specialist with the division, told members of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Advisory Council, or CRAC, on Wednesday that the division had received a hefty amount of comments about the proposed boundaries and rules. Given the volume of comments the state had already received, Richardson said a staff summary of that public feedback would be presented to the Coastal Resources Commission, or CRC, which will likely discuss the proposed changes during its April meeting in Manteo. “This is just kind of the start,” he said. The CRC may discuss in April issues raised by the public, including proposed grandfathering dates related to rebuilding after storms, proposed limits on the size of structures built within the boundaries and whether the method established to draw the new boundaries accurately predicts erosion rates at the state’s developed inlets.

Spencer Rogers, a member of the Science Panel and CRAC, told fellow council members Wednesday that there are problems with some of the proposed changes. The most serious, he said, is that erosion rates are severely underestimated at some of the inlets under the proposed rules. Current Inlet Hazard Areas, or IHAs, were drawn based on the historic migration of the inlet shoreline. Under the proposed changes, the hybrid vegetation line, or most landward position of the historic vegetation line, is used to establish setbacks within inlet hazard boundaries. Inlet hazard areas are defined as shorelines especially vulnerable to erosion and flooding where inlets can shift suddenly and dramatically. Erosion rates are more similar and evenly parallel along a straight shoreline. That’s not the case at inlet shores, which curve around. Including the average oceanfront erosion shoreline rates with part or all of an inlet shoreline can distort the historical rate of change to an inlet’s shore, Rogers explained. In a memo to the CRAC, Rogers points to Tubbs Inlet as an example of the disparity. The Sunset Beach shoreline at Tubbs Inlet was “blocked” to have an erosion rate of 2 feet per year. That shoreline eroded about 1,000 feet between 2009 and 2014, a rate of about 200 feet a year, Rogers said. Tubbs Inlet is one of 19 active inlets in the state. A little more than 2,900 acres at the state’s 10 developed inlets are designated as IHAs. Those inlets include Tubbs, Shallotte and Lockwood Folly in Brunswick County; Carolina Beach, Masonboro, Mason and Rich in New Hanover County; New Topsail and New River in Pender County; and Bogue Inlet in Carteret County.

The proposed maps expand current IHAs collectively by a little more than 1,359 acres while removing about 470 acres from existing boundaries at the 10 developed inlets. The greatest pushback on the proposed boundaries comes from Holden Beach in Brunswick County and North Topsail Beach in Onslow County. During a series of public meetings DCM hosted late last year and into this year, beach property owners and town officials from Holden Beach expressed their concerns about the proposed expansion of the IHA at Shallotte Inlet eastward for about 2 miles from the end of the island, which is accreting. The preliminary boundary encompasses a little more than 200 structures, nearly four times the 51 structures in the current IHA.

People have also criticized the proposed structure size limit within IHAs. New construction is limited to structures no larger than 5,000 square feet. Rogers said the CRC needs to clarify whether that limit is strictly meant for buildings or all structures, including parking lots, roads and bridges. He also suggested that the CRC consider changing the proposed grandfathering date of August 2009 to the date the new rules are adopted. Currently, buildings in IHAs that are larger than 5,000 square feet and built before Aug. 11, 2009, may be rebuilt after a storm. Those buildings could not be rebuilt under the proposed rules. Other changes to existing rules, including overturning the prohibition of dune construction near inlets, and changing the general permitting rule to allow bulldozing in IHAs may also be considered.

The Science Panel recommends that the IHA boundaries be updated every five years.

Submit comments
Written comments may be sent to Braxton Davis at braxton.davis@ncdenr.gov or Ken Richardson at ken.richardson@ncdenr.gov.

Read more » click here 


 

Lockwood Folly Inlet
For more information » click here
.


.

Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
For more information » click here
.

.
Report details risks to N.C. coastline from planned offshore drilling
A report by a North Carolina-based research center claims the Trump Administration’s proposal to open much of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans could endanger the environment and the health of coastal communities. Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center’s December report said the expansion of offshore drilling off North Carolina’s coast will endanger public health. Its reliance on onshore pipelines, waste disposal facilities, ports and refineries pollute the air, water, and threaten wildlife and ecosystems.
Read more » click here




.
Solid Waste Program

For more information » 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.
///// October 2019
Name:            Island Way
Cuisine:         American
Location:      1407 E Beach Drive, Oak Island, NC
Contact:        910.278.7770 /
https://www.islandwayres.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
/////
Island Way is a popular casual upscale beachfront restaurant with fantastic views of the ocean and pier. Its beach dining in style, with both indoor and outdoor dining options. This is one of the better restaurant offerings in the area, that is far better than most. I was quite impressed; what a pleasant surprise!  It’s a busy place, that is filled to capacity nearly every evening. So, be cautious about making dining plans there during prime tourist season. If you want to eat there you probably should call ahead for reservations.


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
/////
BACKLASH by Brad Thor
This is the nineteenth entry in the international espionage saga featuring the exploits of Scot Harvath an ex- Navy SEAL, Secret Service Agent and later a covert counterterrorism agent. Russians come after Scot in a way few have ever dared. But they are confident that the United States can’t prove it was them. Cut off from any and all support, Harvath must battle his way out. But survival isn’t enough, he wants his revenge and goes after those who wronged him and his country.


.That’s it for this newsletter

See you next month


HBPOIN / Lou’s Views

.          • 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/

01 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


Inlet Hazard Area Workshop 01/16/20

The state Division of Coastal Management held a workshop for the Town of Holden Beach to review proposed Inlet Hazard Area boundary updates and associated Coastal Resources Commission rule amendments.

Ken Richardson –NC Division of Coastal Management

“At a Glance”
. 1. Boundary: Updated Inlet Hazard Areas
. 2.
Rule: All structures treated equally
.
Structure size: 5,000 sq. ft.
.
Density: 1 unit per 15,000 sq. ft. of land
. 3.
Rule: setback based on inlet erosion rates
. 4.
Rule: Grandfathering rules still apply

Review presentation » click here

IHA Takeaways:

  1. CRC’s Science Panel on Coastal Hazards used methodology which involve possibilities, not certainties.
  2. They seem convinced that the west end will have serious erosion issues that are influenced by the inlet
  3. The IHA is based on the worst-case scenario
  4. One has to ask: What is happening in the inlet, other than that OIB is building a terminal groin there?
  5. THB is penalized for the west end accretion in model based on a standard deviation formula
  6. Realtors and contractors both felt very strongly that this designation would be like a Scarlett Letter
  7. The change could have a significant negative impact for the entire island
  8. The word HAZARD paints too negative a picture, they should consider a change to use RISK instead
  9. Ken requested and wants community input and it would carry more weight coming from the Town
  10. He recommended that the THB send them something summarizing the communities comments
  11. The comment period closes on January 31st

There were eighty-seven (87) members of the community in attendance



Breaking News
Public Comment period on the proposed rulemaking to update IHA has been extended to March 2nd
.


BOC’s Special Meeting 01/17/20

Draft Land Use Plan » click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion on Draft Land Use Plan

Previously reported – September 2019
Land Use Plan
For more information » click here

HBPOA
What is the Land Use Plan?
“Holden Beach’s Land Use Plan provides guidance to local decision-makers seeking to achieve the community’s long-term vision. This process allows public officials, staff, and other stakeholders to be proactive rather than reactive in maintaining Holden Beach’s status as one of the finest family oriented coastal communities on the East Coast of the United States. This plan builds on the previous land use plans prepared by Holden Beach in 1980, 1985, 1990, 1997, and 2009. It encompasses all geographic areas in the community; considering issues of future land use, development, and natural resource protection. The plan is long-range in nature and looks beyond current issues to address potential future land use and environmental issues over the next 10 to 15 years and beyond.”   

Previously reported – October 2019
Agenda Packet –
As the Board of Commissioners are aware, the Land Use Plan Committee completed their work as commissioned by the Board of Commissioners. The LUP was then sent to the Holden Beach Planning and Zoning Board where a public hearing was held. The P&Z Board approved sending the completed document for review.

The P&Z Board requested that another public hearing be set before the Board of Commissioners’ meeting. They erred in this request, as only the Board of Commissioners can set their public hearings. While a second public hearing is not necessary at this time, the Board may request such if they feel the need arises.

The P&Z Board provided three recommendations:
  1.
Accept the Document and send it forward to DEQ for staff review.
.   2.
Send the Document Back to the LUP Committee with changes.
.   3.
Amend the document.

* If the document is amended any amendments will need to be reviewed by Wes McLeod and staff for compliance with the 7B statutory requirements.

It is important to understand that while the document is a guideline and a mirror of the community’s philosophies, it is not a regulatory document. It is basically a comprehensive guideline to show that the town’s future is directed towards those ideals as set forth in the Statutes.

Wes explained the procedure to get this plan adopted. It has been recommended for approval by both Boards that worked on it (Land Use Plan Committee & Planning and Zoning Board). The statuary process for this to be adopted requires it to be submitted to the Division of Coastal Management (DCM) for completeness review. After that 75-day review process we are still required to have a Public Hearing, after that it can then be adopted by the BOC’s. It then goes back to the DCM for certification.

 A decision was made – Approved unanimously
Only approved submitting proposed Land Use Plan to DCM for their review

Previously reported – December 2019
Board will coordinate their schedules to determine date of meeting

For starters, the plan merely sets guidelines which can be changed as the situation requires. What’s more it is nonbinding. Every land use or zoning decision needs a consistency statement that says whether the recommendation conforms to the LUP or not.   We can recommend something that does not conform if we state why it is in the best interest to do that.  A considerable amount of time and effort were put in to develop this plan. The BOC’s had a chance to give input on the plan, along with the rest of the Town, at the input meetings and at every LUP meeting.  All shareholders were involved in the process and contributed a significant amount of input.  It is a compromise document, no one got everything they wanted in it. Cannot imagine what value the BOC’s think that they can add to what was already submitted.

Update –
No decision was made – No action taken

* If the document is amended any amendments will need to be reviewed by Wes McLeod and staff for compliance with the 7B statutory requirements.


BOC’s Regular Meeting 01/21/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion and Possible Award of Contract for Vacuum Sewer System #3 Upgrade – Green Engineering (Public Works Director Clemmons)
a.
Ordinance 20-01, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 19-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 (Amendment No. 7)

Agenda Packet –
T.A. Loving is the recommended  contractor for the lift Station 3 upgrade (Atch 1).

The bid opening was held on December 19th. Three bids were received (Atch 2).

The budget amendment (Atch 3) in the amount of $407,088 is necessary to provide  adequate funding for award of the contract and procurement of the associated Town provided vacuum pumps/equipment (“the skid”) in addition to the System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) equipment.

If the Board of Commissioners desires to award the contract the Budget Amendment must be approved.

SUGGESTED MOTION:
”To approve the award of the contract for the upgrade of lift Station 3 to T.A. Loving in the amount of $1,622,500 and the associated Budget Amendment 20-01 in the amount of $407,088.”

Previously reported – April 2019
To be clear, this is strictly for engineering services. The Board needs to select a firm based on qualification criteria only; they selected Green Engineering for Sewer System #3 upgrade. Green Engineering will provide all engineering services required to construct a vulnerability reducing structure of Lift Station #3.
The engineer firm is responsible for the design, bid, and construct process. The Board authorized the Town Manager to negotiate a contract with the selected engineering firm.

Previously reported – June 2019
Agenda Packet –
This memo recommends and presents for the Board of Commissioners’ consideration the agreement for structural and mechanical work to sewer lift station #3 as outlined in Alterative #2 of the Holden Beach Sewer Study completed by McGill Associates in April 2017. Work to also include evaluate, design and construction of possible force main interceptor at Ocean Boulevard West and Seagull Street.

Approval of the agreement will provide all engineering services required in the amount of $311,805.

Green Engineering was awarded the $158,000 contract for Sewer System Engineering to Sewer Pump Station Number 4 in December of 2017. Green Engineering was just awarded the $311,805 contract for Sewer System Engineering to Sewer Pump Station Number 3. You may ask yourself: Why is there an additional $153,805 in cost only eighteen (18) months later? The explanation given was that this station is only sixteen (16) feet from adjacent property and will require additional acoustic engineering. Due to the station location it is different from the first project and will have a significant higher cost to build. Leo when asked how much more threw out a 25% more number just as a ballpark figure. Yikes!

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
Predicated budget based on previous sewer system upgrade
Expenses being approved are up and above what was previously budgeted

Moved funds of $407,088
From Revenue account #30.0399.0500 to Expense account#30.0810.7402

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


Green Engineering firm was awarded the contract for engineering services for both sewer system upgrades. T.A. Loving was selected as the contractor for both too.

Sewer Station #4 / $1,958,620 vs. Sewer Station #3 / $2,283,305  
Sewer Station #4 / $158,000 + $1,413,000 + $282,700 +$104,920 =  $1,958,620
Sewer Station #3 / $311,805 + $
349,000
$1,622,500 =  $2,283,305  


2. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police Patch
No news is good news
So far so good, it’s been fairly quiet
We are not experiencing any major crime wave at the moment
.


Reminder 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.


Neighborhood Watch

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

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

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


3. Discussion and Election of Chairman to the Audit Committee – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Per Section 30.26 of the Code of Ordinances. the chairman of the Audit Committee shall be elected by the Board at their first regular meeting in January.

In the same section, it states the chairman of the Audit Committee shall make a recommendation to the Board on who shall serve as public members. Based on the recommendation. the Board needs to select two – four public members, whose normal term is one year.

Tony Chavonne, Mark Fleischhauer and Tom Myers; the members who served during the 2019 term are all  interested in serving  another  term.  Their applications are included in the packet, but they are  not scheduled for interviews since they have been interviewed and served on the committee in the past. Jeff Tansill is interested in serving but is out of town and unable to interview for the position. His application is included in your packets. Jeannine Richman and Tom Inzerillo are also interested and are scheduled to be interviewed at the special meeting.

The Board can vote by ballot or verbally to fill the positions. If ballots are used. please make sure to sign your name on the ballot.

Previously reported – January 2018
The Board of Commissioners has found that establishment of an Audit Committee would improve the ability of the Board of Commissioners to perform its fiscal oversight function.

Previously reported – January 2019
§30.26 AUDIT COMMITTEE OF THE BOC
There is hereby established an Audit Committee of the BOC, which shall be comprised of: A Chairman of the BOC Audit Committee, who shall be a member of the Board of Commissioners; and not fewer than two nor more than four Public Members, as determined by the BOC at the first regular meeting in January. The Chairman of the BOC Audit Committee and each of the Public Members shall have a normal term of one year, and all shall serve at the pleasure of the BOC. The Chairman of the BOC Audit Committee shall be elected by the BOC at the first regular meeting in January.

Update –
The Board voted by ballot and selected Woody Tyner for Chairman

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


4. Discussion and Selection of Audit Committee Members – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Per Section 30.26 of the Code of Ordinances. the chairman of the Audit Committee shall be elected by the Board at their first regular meeting in January.

In the same section, it states the chairman of the Audit Committee shall make a recommendation to the Board on who shall serve as public members. Based on the recommendation, the Board needs to select two – four public members, whose normal term is one year.

Tony Chavonne, Mark Fleischhauer and Tom Myers; the members who served during the 2019 term are all  interested in serving  another  term.  Their applications are included in the packet, but they are  not scheduled for interviews since they have been interviewed and served on the committee in the past. Jeff Tansill is interested in serving but is out of town and unable to interview for the position. His application is included in your packets. Jeannine Richman and Tom Inzerillo are also interested and are scheduled to be interviewed at the special meeting.

The Board can vote by ballot or verbally to fill the positions. If ballots are used. please make sure to sign your name on the ballot.

Previously reported – January 2019
Agenda Packet –
§30.26 AUDIT COMMITTEE OF THE BOC
APPOINTMENT, TERMS
The Chairman of the BOC Audit Committee shall be elected by the BOC at the first regular meeting in January. The Chairman of the Audit Committee shall make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners on who shall serve as the Public Members. The Chairman of the BOC Audit Committee, an elected Commissioner, and each of the Public Members shall have a normal term of one year and shall serve at the pleasure of the BOC.

 Update –
The Board voted by ballot and selected the following four (4) people to be members of the Audit Committee. Mark Fleischhauer and Anthony Chavonne , current members of the Audit Committee, will be joined by the two new applicants Jeff Tansil and Jeannine Richman.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


5. Discussion and Possible Nomination of Member to Fill Alternate Member Vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Board – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
There is currently an alternate member vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Board. Tom Inzerillo and Stu Atwell  have expressed  interest  in  the  vacancy. Both are scheduled  to  be interviewed at  the special meeting.

The Board can vote by ballot or verbally to fill the position. If you vote by ballot, please make sure to sign your ballot.

Update –
The Board voted by ballot and selected Stu Atwell to fill the vacancy.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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


6. Discussion and Direction on the 2020 Draft of Suggested Rules of Procedure for the Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

 Agenda Packet –
Way too large a document (@20 pages) and too many changes to include here

Previously reported – December 2019
Agenda Packet –
The Board of Commissioners is required to adopt Rules of Procedure per the Town’s Code of Ordinances, Section 30.19.

I have included the version currently being used. Another version. the Suggested Rules of Procedure for a City Council, by the School of Government has also been used in the past. A copy of this version is also included in your packets. If the Board chooses to adopt either version for the upcoming term, the entire rules can be adopted, or amendments may be made. I suggest the Board review the materials and adopt rules at the January meeting.

The Board is required to adopt some version of Rules of Procedure each year. Heather has given them two (2) options or they can create their own new version. Pat has volunteered to review current version and make recommendations of any necessary changes. This will be on the agenda again next month so that they can adopt rules as required.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
Decided to put off discussion until the February meeting giving the Board additional time to review all the changes.

No decision was made – No action taken


7. Discussion and Possible Action on Directive for the Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners’ Requests to Advisory Boards or Committees – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
a.
Resolution 20-01, Resolution of the Town of Holden Beach, North Carolina Concerning the Process and Format for Board of Commissioners’ Requests for Recommendations from Advisory Boards/Committees and the Recommendations Received

Agenda Packet –
Directive for Town of Holden Beach (THB) Board of Commissioner Requests for Opinion / Recommendation to Advisory Boards or Committees
The Board of Commissioners (BOC) is responsible for policy making as well as decisions on administrative matters (School of Government publication “County and Municipal Government in North Carolina”, Chapter 3, County and City Governing Boards). The BOC performs its duties when convened in legal meetings, addressing items contained in the meeting agenda. There are occasions when the BOC may determine that a recommendation or opinion from a THB Advisory Board or Committee on an item related to the Town’s current operations or future development would assist the BOC in making the best possible decision for the Town. When seeking Advisory Board (AB) or Committee (AC) recommendation, the following steps shall be followed:

. 1) The directive for a recommendation/opinion from a specific Board or Committee shall be made by vote at a Board of Commissioners regular meeting;

. 2) Specific charge questions for the opinion will be finalized and agreed by vote at a Board of Commissioners meeting;

. 3) A proposed deadline for receiving the recommendation will be included in the directive.

For recommendations having potential implications on Town finance, Town capital projects, Town contracts or Town departmental processes, the AB/AC shall provide its recommendation in a report to the BOC, such report to contain:

      1. The original BOC directive and charge;
      2. The AB/AC recommendation;
      3. The AB/AC vote tally;
      4. A synopsis of the discussions leading to the recommendation of the AB/AC, said synopsis to be discussed and approved at an Advisory Board/Committee public meeting;
      5. Copies of presentations or written positions given by staff or external experts during the evaluation process;
      6. References to supporting documents or publications used in the decision­ making process;
      7. Copies of minutes of public meetings at which the directive for recommendation was discussed.
    1. In order to normalize the process and improve the quality of public records of recommendations, a form entitled “Town of Holden Beach Advisory Board/Committee Recommendation” will be used. A format is provided below.

This directive document and/or form may be amended at any regular meeting or at any properly called special meeting for which amendment of the rules is one of the meeting’s stated purposes. Any amendment to these rules must be consistent with the town charter, any relevant statutes, and generally accepted principles of parliamentary procedure. To be adopted, a motion to amend these rules must be approved by a majority of the board’s members, excluding vacant seats and counting the mayor only if the mayor may vote on all questions.

RESOLUTION 20-01
RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH,NORTH CAROLINA CONCERNING THE PROCESS AND FORMAT FOR BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS’ REQUESTS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS FROM ADVISORY BOARDS/COMMITTEES AND THE RECOMMENDATIONS RECEIVED

THE LET IT BE KNOWN THAT:

WHEREAS, the Town of Holden Beach, NC is a small barrier island community with a full-time resident population of less than one thousand people;

WHEREAS, many important tasks and functions critical to the continued successful operation of the Town’s business are performed by Town volunteers appointed by the Board of Commissioners to various Advisory Boards and Committees, whose organization and powers and duties are specified by ordinance and/or resolution;

WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners (BOC) is responsible for policy making as well as decisions on administrative matters, the BOC performing its duties when convened in legal meetings, addressing items contained in the meeting agenda;

WHEREAS, there are occasions when the BOC may determine that a recommendation from a THB Advisory Board or Committee on a specific agenda item related to the Town’s current operations or future development would assist the BOC in making the best possible decision for the Town; and

WHEREAS, in the interest of efficiency and clarity, the Board of Commissioners desires to normalize the process and improve the quality of public records of BOC requests and AB/AC recommendations.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach that from the date of approval of this resolution, the BOC shall, when seeking Advisory Board or Committee recommendation, follow the steps outlined in document “Directive  for Town of Holden Beach (THB) Board of  Commissioners’ Requests for Recommendation  to Advisory Boards  or Committees”, following the format defined in form Town of Holden  Beach Board  Advisory  Board/Committee Recommendation.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach that from the date of approval of this resolution, Advisory Boards or Committees shall, when making their recommendations to the BOC, also  follow the steps outlined in document “Directive  for Town of Holden  Beach (THB) Board  of Commissioners’ Requests  for  Recommendation  to  Advisory  Boards  or Committees”, following the format defined in form Town  of  Holden  Beach Board Advisory Board/Committee Recommendation.


Previously reported – November 2019

Town of Holden Beach Board Advisory Board/Committee

Recommendation


From the BOC to the Board / Committee

Date of BOC Meeting When Directive was Made:
Agenda Item #:
Directive to:(specify AB/AC)
Issue and Action Requested:
Background and Potential Implications:
Charge Questions:
Proposed Deadline:


To the BOC from the Board / Committee

AB/AC Recommendation:


Completed by Town clerk after BOC takes action

Date of BOC Meeting When Decision was Made
BOC Decision:
BOC Vote Tally:

ATTACHMENTS:


Pat explained that this was simply a proposal. She said that it was being put out there for review and feedback. To codify this directive, it will be issued as an administrative document adopted by resolution, not an ordinance.

No decision was made – No action taken

Previously reported – December 2019
Agenda Packet –
Noted comments from Commissioners at the November meeting: the directive should be adopted by resolution, the work opinion should be eliminated, and since there may be infrequent occasions where a request comes out of a special meeting, the statement should be altered to read “The directive for a recommendation from a specific Board or Committee will preferably be made by a vote at a BOC regular meeting.”.

Pat explained that this was just a second reading of her proposal and it was being put out there for review and feedback. They have not received any feedback yet. Next month it will be issued as an administrative document adopted by resolution, not an ordinance.

No decision was made – No action taken

Update –
This was the third time that this was on the agenda. It was put out there for review and feedback, but they did not receive any feedback. The Board is ready and willing to give this procedure a try.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


8. Discussion and Possible Action on a More Formal Procedure for the Board of Commissioners’ Requests for Actions to the Town Manager or Town Attorney – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners’ Directives for Town Manager / Attorney Action
BOC Meetings often result in directives for Town Manager or Town Attorney action. When the full ask is not clearly expressed by the Board, the result is confusion and time loss by Staff as they try to get clarity from meeting tapes or follow-up discussion with Commissioners. At times, a month can be lost if clarification requires the full BOC be involved.

A written form for BOC requests made to the Town Manager or Town Attorney that result from discussion and agreement at BOC Meetings will reduce the level of uncertainty of the directive given that sometimes results, particularly after a lengthy debate.

In order to normalize the process and improve the quality of public records of such directives, a form entitled ‘Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners’ Directives for Town Manager/Attorney Action” will be used. If an agenda item owner anticipates a BOC decision could lead to a work request (e.g., ordinance or policy change, plan of action presentation, request for an outside study, etc.), the agenda item owner should submit a form for the meeting packet with items 1, 3 and 6 already completed; if necessary, item 6 can be amended by the agenda item owner following discussion. Items 4, 5 and 8 must be clearly defined and agreed by the SOC before the vote, these items to be entered into the final form by the town clerk. Items 2 and 7 can be completed by the town clerk following the motion and vote. The form will become part of the meeting minutes as an official public record.

The format is provided below.

This directive document and/or form may be amended at any regular meeting or at any properly called special meeting for which amendment of the rules is one of the meeting’s stated purposes. Any amendment to these rules must be consistent with the town charter, any relevant statutes, and generally accepted principles of parliamentary procedure. To be adopted, a motion to amend these rules must be approved by a majority of the board’s members, excluding vacant seats and counting the mayor only if the mayor may vote on all questions.

Previously reported – November 2019
Agenda Packet –
BOC Meetings often result in requests for Town Manager or Attorney action. There are times when the full ask is not clearly expressed by the Board, leading to confusion and time loss by Staff as they try to get clarity from meeting tapes or follow-up discussion with Commissioners.

A written form for BOC requests made to the Town Manager or Town Attorney that result from discussion and agreement at BOC Meetings could reduce the level of uncertainty that sometimes results, particularly after a lengthy debate.

Below is a draft of what a form might look like.

Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioner Requests for
Town
Manager / Attorney action

    1. Date of BOC Meeting
    2. Agenda Item #
    3. Issue:
    4. Request to:
    5. Motion:
    6. Action Requested:
    7. Vote Tally:
    8. Proposed Deadline:

If an agenda item owner anticipates a BOC decision could lead to a work request (e.g., ordinance  or policy change, plan of action presentation, request for an outside study, etc.), the agenda item owner would submit a form for the meeting packet with items 1 and 3 already completed and possibly  a proposal for what they think the action could be and who the request will be made to (to be finalized after discussion and vote);Items 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 can be completed by the town clerk or BOC executive  secretary following discussion and vote. The form would become part of the meeting minutes.


Pat explained again that this was simply a proposal. She said that it was being put out there for review and feedback. The gist of her position is for them to clarify: What exactly are we asking for? The action is to develop a specific ask so it can be properly actioned

No decision was made – No action taken

Previously reported – December 2019
Pat explained that this was just a second reading of her proposal and it was being put out there for review and feedback. They have not received any feedback yet. Next month it will be issued as an administrative document adopted by resolution, not an ordinance.

No decision was made – No action taken

Update –
This was the third time that this was on the agenda too. They chose to adopt this formal procedure when they make a specific request for activity.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


9. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance for Maximum House Size Construction – Attorney Carpenter

Agenda Packet –
Attached is a presentation provided by Inspections Director Evans at a previous meeting. Based on the presentation,  the  Board directed  him  to  prepare  an  ordinance  around  his  description  for house  size limitation and provide it to the attorney before it is presented to the Board for review. The item is on the agenda for the attorney to issue comments and guidance to the Board

Previously reported – December 2018
Agenda Packet –
I would like to have the Planning and Zoning Board revisit the issue, by investigating and reporting to the Board of Commissioners on the feasibility and applicability of the measures proposed by Dare County, as follows:

    1. At last week’s Duck Town Council meeting, members considered a recommendation by the Duck Planning Board to regulate occupancy by establishing town standards for the capacity of septic systems based on lot sizes.
    2. They also scheduled for 5 a public hearing on a draft ordinance that would set a tiered approach to regulating house size based on lot size.

Dare Towns Look to Manage ‘Mega-Houses’
As Dare County municipalities try to address concerns about the proliferation of “mega-houses” and their impact on the character and environment of beach communities, the town councils in both Southern Shores and Duck met last week to explore new approaches to the issue.
Read more » click here

Update –
Planning & Inspections Director Evans poured some cold water on the discussion, by reminding them that you cannot legally regulate the number of bedrooms. That said, they would like to investigate if it is feasible to obtain the same outcome but approach it from a different way.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – June 2019
Agenda Packet –
The Planning Board has approved a proposed ordinance change for consideration by the Board of Commissioners. As you are aware, Commissioners have voiced some concerns over possible future and present issues related to homes that are so large that they pose an impact to the quality environment that the Holden Beach wishes to portray.

This ordinance has been vetted by the planning Department and is similar to other beach town regulation pertaining to the same issues.

Proposed Zoning Ordinances Changes

      • Maximum House Size of 6,000 square feet
      • Progressive Setbacks
      • Protection of Storm Water Discharge through Reduction
      • Traffic Reduction
      • Reduced Parking Density
      • Reduction of Trash refuse
      • Improve Quality of Life
      • Increase Lot Open Space
      • Decrease Potential Secondary Storm Debris

 Clear, concise, easily understood presentation by Timbo. This has been a major issue for years. He said that he attempted to be fair and equitable for everyone. Well thought out, benchmarked other beach town regulations and the Planning Board has already signed off on the proposal. Proposal would not be changing the dynamics of what has been done before; but homes will fit better on the lots now. Next step is for staff to put this into an Ordinance format.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – October 2019
Agenda Packet –
Attached is the proposed ordinance for maximum house size construction that Inspections Director Evans sent to Attorney Fox for review per the Board’s direction. Attorney Fox suggested that the new attorney selected by the Board have the opportunity to review it before action is taken. If the Board agrees a motion to send it to the new attorney should be made.

§157.060 RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT (R-1).
.   (D) Dimensional requirements R-1.

.     (1) Lot area. Minimum required:
.        (a) For a one-family dwelling,5,000 square feet.
.        (b) For a two-family dwelling, 7,500 square feet.
.    (2) Lot width. Minimum required: 50 feet.
.    (3) Front Yard Setbacks per structure size:
.         <4000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 25 Feet
.         4000 < 5000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 30 Feet
.         5000 > 6000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 35 Feet
.    (4) Side Yard Setbacks per Structure Size:
.         4000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 5 feet
.         4000 < 5000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 7 Feet
.         5000 > 6000 Square Feet Minimum Required:10 Feet
.       (a) Open porches, decks, or overhangs shall not extend into minimum setbacks
. (5) Rear Yard Setbacks Per structure S1ze
.        <4000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 20 Feet
.        4000 < 5000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 25 Feet
.        5000 > 6000 Square Feet Minimum Required: 30 Feet
. (7) Lot coverage.
.    (a) Lot coverage of main structure shall not exceed 30% of the platted lot. If structure is 4000 square feet or greater then lot coverage cannot be greater than 25 percent. If structure coverage is 5000 square feet or greater lot coverage is limited to 20 percent.
. (12) Minimum floor area of building 750 square feet of heated space.
.       (a) Maximum Structure Size of any dwelling shall be 6000 Square Feet
. (13) Open uncovered stairs, not including any deck or landing at porch level, may project up to ten feet into the required front or rear yards of structures <4000 Square Feet, but not both.

New Town attorney will work on language that is both lawful and enforceable.
Consensus of the Board is to put item on the agenda at the November Regular Meeting

Update –
Item was removed from the agenda yet again


10. Discussion on Revising, Section 72.02 (K) Parking Regulated on Public Streets and Rights-of-Way – Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet –
PARKING DISCUSSION
After due discussion and consideration, in April 2018 the Board of Commissioners voted to revise ordinance section 72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS OF WAY. The revised ordinance contains section(k) It shall be a violation of this chapter to leave standing any portion of a vehicle in a lawful parking area between the hours of 2:00am and 5:00am.

The stated purpose for the revision was a concern for the safety, privacy and property rights of the property owners of Holden Beach. Due to an increase in proactive enforcement measures of the Holden Beach Police Department related to parking in the right of way, the benefit of the revision has been questioned by some residents and visitors.

In an attempt to address the stated concerns and also protect the stated purposes of the revised ordinance, I suggest the following course of action:

    1. Suggest to rental agencies that the number of available legal spaces be included in all advertisements for rental This will give potential renters an opportunity to determine if a rental home has sufficient parking for their needs.
    2. Allow Holden Beach property owners, displaying a valid Holden Beach Vehicle Decal, to park in the right of way adjacent to their property as long as such parking is not otherwise prohibited, e. no parking on OBW or within 25 feet of an intersection. This limited exception, coupled with other ordinance provisions, should address the vast majority of complaints without expanding the potential for overcrowding and the conversion of smaller rental properties into “event” properties.

Previously reported – August 2018
Agenda Packet –
Town Ordinance 18-07- revise Section (K) or create a new section in the ordinance that clearly states the following recommended wording: Vehicles shall not be permitted to park in any beach access or any municipal designated parking areas, between the hours of 2:00am to 5:00am.

It is also recommended that signs be posted in the nine (9) municipal designated parking areas.

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH / ORDINANCE 18-07
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH CODE OF ORDINANCES, CHAPTER 72: PARKING REGULATIONS (SECTION 72.03 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY)
(K) Additional violation. It shall be a violation of this chapter to leave standing any portion of a vehicle in a lawful parking area for a period exceeding 72 consecutive hours between the hours of 2:00a.m. and 5:00a.m.

Much ado about nothing. It was the Board’s intent to not permit parking between 2:00am and 5:00am only in the nine municipal designated parking areas. All of that verbiage was not included in the Ordinance they adopted. Apparently, Wally assured them that is not the case. He indicated that a revision of the Ordinance was not required. The police department will use their discretion and enforce only in municipal designated parking areas which was the Board’s intent.

No decision was made – No action taken

Previously reported – July 2019
Joe was concerned that tickets were being written for property owner vehicles parked in the right-of-way on their own property. They discussed what was the Board’s intent and what are the ramifications if they make any changes.

Once again, they decided that a revision of the Ordinance was not required. The Police Department will use their discretion and enforce only in municipal designated parking areas which was the Board’s original intent.

No decision was made – No action taken

Minutes – July 2019
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION TO REVISE CHAPTER 72: PARKING REGULATIONS, SECTION 72.02(K)
Commissioner Butler read the current verbiage concerning parking in Section 72.02(K). He believes the Board’s intent last August was to prohibit parking in the nine municipal areas between the hours of 2:00a.m.- 5:00a.m. Commissioner Sullivan said it is specifically how the Board wanted it. The Board had the discussion whether it would be better to prohibit the parking somewhere like under the bridge, but then that person would go park by someone’s home. He said the problem when the issue was raised was that people were complaining that people were parking overnight. After all of the discussions, the Board decided that the most effective way to accomplish the goal was to have a window when you couldn’t leave your car parked. Commissioner Butler stated we have people who need to park in the rights-of-way (ROW) between the hours of 2:00a.m.- 5:00a.m. Commissioner Sullivan said this is an example of what he was talking about; the Board talks about something, passes a rule and then after it is put in place, we feel like we need to revise it. He said if we are going to allow people to parking in the ROW, we might as well just rescind the whole ordinance. Commissioner Butler said he is not in favor of that. Commissioner Sullivan said the police will not know if a car belongs to the person at a house. He asked what the Board would be accomplishing. He suggested if the Board is going to make a change, they should give more thought and decide what the ramifications of the change would be. The guy that would park under the bridge will now park in front of somebody’s house and fisherman can’t park at all. Commissioner Butler said the municipal parking areas are identified with signs that say the prohibited hours. He explained we are a family beach and want to retain that title.

Planning Director Evans clarified there is a distinction between the ROW and municipal areas. Any homeowner can stop people from parking in the ROW by putting up the legalized barriers. Commissioner Sullivan said if someone is renting a home, they won’t put up a fence because people may need to park there. It would take the problem from someone staying under the bridge and possibly move it to someone’s house. Commissioner Butler said he is glad the Board is discussing this. He had an officer bring it to his attention that it was hard to control this. Commissioner Freer stated he would leave it as it is, and it is at the discretion of the Police Department to enforce it. Commissioners Sullivan and Butler agreed.

Mayor Holden stated he bet the others aren’t getting the complaints he is getting. He provided information regarding a complaint concerning someone’s grandson who received a $75 ticket because there wasn’t anywhere to park during the night and there wasnt enough parking at the family house. The man has owned property for approximately 40 years. A friend of his looked for no parking signs and they couldn’t find any signs. Mayor Holden said this it isn’t working, and he will start sharing the complaints he receives. He asked how people are supposed to know there is no parking. He said people ask where they are supposed to park, there is nowhere to legally park. The citizen from the complaint he described said if all of the public parking is shut down and the streets are shut down, he would need to take his grandson to Walmart or somewhere to leave his car overnight.

Previously reported – August 2019
Apparently at the discretion of the Police Department meant something different to the Board and to the Police Department. The Police Department chose to enforce the ordinance and wrote twenty-three (23) tickets for vehicles parked in the right-of-way. Needless to say, Commissioner Butler was not happy with the situation. After another round of robust discussion, it was still unclear as how they planned to amend the Ordinance. They were all in agreement that it shall be a violation to leave any vehicle that is parked between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. in the nine (9) municipal public parking areas. What was not so clear, was parking in the right-of-way.

They were unable to amend ordinance because it was not on the original agenda. They asked the Police Chief to use his discretion and just focus on municipal public parking areas until they can amend ordinance at the next regular meeting.

Frankly we are making this way too complicated. On street parking should be allowed all the time. If an owner wants to restrict parking, they can use a post and rope fence. If someone parks between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. and is carrying on, then just call the Police the same way you would any other time of the day.

Previously reported – September 2019
The proposal allows owners to park four (4) additional vehicles in the right-of way on their property. The storm vehicle decals issued to each property owner is what will be used for identification. The Board asked the Town attorney to prepare a revised Ordinance.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


This is a solution in search of a problem!


Previously reported – October 2019
§72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY. (K) Additional violation. It shall be a violation of this chapter to leave standing any portion of a vehicle in a lawful parking area between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

Agenda Packet –
PARKING DISCUSSION
After due discussion and consideration, in April 2018 the Board of Commissioners voted to revise ordinance section 72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS OF WAY. The revised ordinance contains section(k) It shall be a violation of this chapter to leave standing any portion of a vehicle in a lawful parking area between the hours of 2:00am and 5:00am.

The stated purpose for the revision was a concern for the safety, privacy and property rights of the property owners of Holden Beach. Due to an increase in proactive enforcement measures of the Holden Beach Police Department related to parking in the right of way, the benefit of the revision has been questioned by some residents and visitors.

In an attempt to address the stated concerns and also protect the stated purposes of the revised ordinance, I suggest the following course of action:

1. Suggest to rental agencies that the number of available legal spaces be included in all advertisements for rental properties. This will give potential renters an opportunity to determine if a rental home has sufficient parking for their needs.

2. Allow Holden Beach property owners, displaying a valid Holden Beach Vehicle Decal, to park in the right of way adjacent to their property as long as such parking is not otherwise prohibited, i.e. no parking on OBW or within 25 feet of an intersection. This limited exception, coupled with other ordinance provisions, should address the vast majority of complaints without expanding the potential for overcrowding and the conversion of smaller rental properties into “event” properties.

New Town attorney will work on language that is both lawful and enforceable.
Consensus of the Board is to put item on the agenda at the November Regular Meeting.

Update –
Item was removed from the agenda yet again


11. Discussion of Opposition to the Proposed Inlet Hazard Area Plan

Handout –
Proposed Motion – The BOC’s for THB authorize the Town Manager and town employees to take all actions they deem necessary to prepare a response in opposition to the proposed Inlet Hazard Area plan, by the conclusion of the Public Comment Period, currently January 31, 2020, and that are permitted by NC law without further BOC’s approval.

Update –
Item was added to the agenda

Mike said this was added so people could speak at the beginning of the meeting. This was somewhat of a dubious plan since you are required to signup before the meeting if you want to speak during the early Public Comments session. The motion allows the town staff to continue what they have been doing without needing the Board’s approval each time. David spoke and said that they have voiced their concerns over a long period of time, going all the way back to 2010. Staff has attended meetings religiously and have addressed the powers that be several times already. THB workshop was well attended, and all the Commissioners were there. Currently we are working with Applied Technology and Management (ATM)  to crystalize our position against the proposed plan. In addition, the Brunswick County Manager has agreed to write a letter in opposition of the plan too.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


.
Breaking News
Public Comment period on the proposed rulemaking to update IHA has been extended to March 2nd
.


Previously reported – November 2018
Commissioner Butler made a motion to add Public Comments at BOC’s Special Meetings as an agenda item

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Sullivan and Commissioner Patricia Kwiatkowski both objected. Although both are in favor of making the change, they oppose the way it was introduced.
They have been consistent in their position as follows:

      • Process needs to be followed
      • Items need to be submitted prior to the meeting
      • Material should be provided prior to meeting so they can review and understand it
      • Information should be included in Agenda Packet
      • The public should also see material prior to meeting

This is not the first time Mike has added an agenda item despite his stated position about not doing so. Ironic, isn’t it? I agree that this item should have been added to the agenda, understand that time is of the essence. Generally speaking, I’m opposed to adding agenda items in the eleventh hour, but common sense must prevail, and this is one of those times.


12. Discussion Pertaining to the Speed Limit on Ocean Boulevard – Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet –
Holden Beach Code of Ordinances / SCHEDULE I. SPEED LIMITS.

(A)       The streets or parts of streets described in this traffic schedule shall have the speed limits designated in the following table.

(B)      In accordance with division (A) of this traffic schedule, the following speed limits shall be established for the following streets or parts of streets:

Name of StreetSpeed Limit (mph)Seasonal

Limitations

S.R. 1116 (Ocean Boulevard, East and West), from its western terminus to its eastern terminus35April 1 – September 30 (inclusive)
S.R. 1116 from a point 1.76 miles west of NC 130 (Greensboro Street) to a point 5.01 miles west of NC 130 (west end of road).45October 1 – March 31 (inclusive each year)
Delanne Street15
Dunescape Drive15
Serenity Lane15
Windswept Way15
All other streets25
And all other streets within the Holden

Beach West Subdivision

25No seasonal limitations

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

Police Chief Dixon had four (4) talking points

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

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

No decision was made – No action taken


13. Discussion and Possible Action on Classification and Pay Study and the Updated Personnel Policy Created by the Management & Personnel Services Group – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
a. Class Specifications
b.
Pay Plan
c.
Implementation of Option I
d.
Ordinance 20-02, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 19-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 (Amendment No. 8)
e.
Personnel Policy

Agenda Packet –
The attached Budget Amendment  is necessary to implement the Classification and Pay Plan per BOC direction. It has been developed in accordance with BOC direction for implementing Option 1 previously briefed to the BOC at the Special Meeting of September 17,2019. The budget amendment  totals $51k and provides implementation funding for the new pay plan to be effective for the second half of the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

Previously reported – February 2019
Commissioner Freer asked that the Town initiate a request for proposal (RFP) to do the following:

    1. Establish set job descriptions for each position, and a compensation pay range
    2. Conduct a total compensation study

Previously reported – April 2019
Town Manager Hewett said that they had already engaged the MAPS Group. The process has been started but he anticipated that it would take the better part of three to four months before they had the completed report.

The Management and Personnel Services Group – MAPS – is a team of consultants specializing in human resource management and development.
For more information » click here

Previously reported – June 2019
Evaluation of compensation package and job descriptions should be completed shortly. After Town Manager reviews report it will be presented to the BOC’s.

Previously reported – July 2019
MAPS including end of fiscal year salary rate changes is still working on the study
David should be able to present to the Board in August

Previously reported – August 2019
Agenda Packet –
The Maps Group has completed their research for the Classification and Pay Study and would like to schedule a meeting to review their findings with the Board. Becky Veazey from the MAPS Group, has provided their availability for the last week in August and for the first couple of weeks in September. Please provide Town Clerk Finnell with your schedules so we can coordinate a time to hold a special meeting. Ms. Veazey anticipates the information will take approximately one hour to present to the Board.

Heather handled; they simply need to coordinate their schedules to set meeting date.

Previously reported – September 2019
The study updates the classification and pay plan for THB as well as making recommendations concerning personnel policies and fringe benefits. Recommendations are being made for salary schedule, position classification plan, and costs for implementing the salary plan. Salary data determined by prevailing rate in geographic area as well as with employers who directly compete for the same pool of workers with those job skills. The salaries represent the local market which provides a reflection of the actual cost of living in the geographic area. Implementation strategy offered three options; the recommended option had an additional annual price tag of $80,327 in just salary cost. An additional cost of roughly 20% for benefits brings the total cost to implement at almost $100,000 annually. Interestingly, we offer significantly higher family health insurance coverage than the rest of the local market, yet we didn’t seem to get any credit for that in a total compensation package. Recommendations for THB are based on meeting the market, not leading the market. Takeaway was that we were in pretty good shape considering we hadn’t done a study in a very long time, but adjustments need to be made to stay competitive in the local market. Staying competitive in our total compensation package will allow us to recruit and retain employees. Presentation was a very pragmatic approach to the subject and clearly directs us on how to proceed.

Previously reported September 2019
The recommended option being considered had an additional annual price tag of $80,327 in just salary cost. An additional cost of roughly 20% for benefits brings the total cost to implement at almost $100,000 annually. The Board is considering adopting this option with the new personnel policy and classification and pay plan potentially beginning January 1, 2020. They have requested that the Town Manager look at how we would pay for it.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)
Commissioner Freer voted against the motion

Previously reported – October 2019
Agenda Packet –
There are several items that need to be approved in order to implement the recommendations made by the MAPS Group. The Classification and Pay Plan and corresponding budget amendment (separate memo) need to be adopted. The Board should also vote to implement Option I. the implementation strategy approved at the September 17th meeting. effective January 1, 2020. The last item the Board needs to consider is approval of the updated Personnel Policy.

Suggested motions:

    • Approve the proposed Classification and Pay Study.
    • Approve Ordinance 19-15, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 19-10. The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 (Amendment No. 5) and implement Option I effective January 1, 2020.
    • Approve the proposed Personnel Policy.

Budget Amendment for Implementation of Classification and Pay Plan
The attached Budget Amendment is necessary to implement the Classification and Pay Plan per BOC direction. It has been developed in accordance with BOC direction for implementing Option 1 previously briefed to the BOC at the Special Meeting of September 17, 2019. The budget amendment totals $51k and provides implementation funding for the new pay plan to be effective for the second half of the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

Management and Personnel Services Group
For more information » click here
For more information » click here

Three of the Commissioners took a position that this should be addressed in the next budget cycle. They also stressed that we need to address all the components of the total compensation package not just implementing the pay plan.

A decision was made – Not Approved
Commissioners Fletcher, Freer, and Butler all voted against the motion

Update –
Pat briefly reviewed the timeline on this issue. She recommended changes to the submitted Personnel Policy which David agreed with and will incorporate them into the policy. Surprisingly, there was very little discussion regarding the pay plan with an annual increase in expenses in excess of $100,000.

Moved funds of $51,351

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

I am neither for nor against moving forward after due deliberation. Frankly, I’m more likely to be for than against. Really would have liked to see a workshop for the pay plan that considers the entire compensation package – salary, benefits, time off, and advancement opportunities. This also would have allowed them to include pay plan cost increases  to be incorporated into the next budget cycle.


14. Discussion and Possible Action on Poyner Spruill Contract – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson
a. Ordinance 20-03, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 19-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 (Amendment No. 9)

Agenda Packet –
The Town  retained  Poyner Spruill  LLP in conjunction  with the  Ferguson Group for  advocacy at  the federal level over the past year.   We received their contract for 2020 (attachment 1) and the monthly retainer will  increase by $750.00 per month.  The contract states the adjustment in fees more accurately reflects the amount of work involved in fulfilling the responsibilities required for the Commissions’ needs and priorities.  This change will require a budget amendment in the amount of $4500.00 (attachment 2) to meet the contract obligation for the remainder of this fiscal year.

Scope of Engagement. We have agreed to advise and assist you with governmental matters and legal issues that arise and the Client hereby engages Poyner Spruill LLP to perform the following services in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement: working with the Client to secure federal assistance and project management regarding:(1) federal issues related to any beach nourishment opportunities  at Holden  Beach, North  Carolina,  excluding  the Brunswick  County  Beaches  Corps  of Engineers 50-year Project and (2) federal issues related to Lockwood Folly Inlet maintenance along with beach nourishment efforts for placement of beach-quality sand on the east end of Holden Beach. The Client acknowledges and agrees that Poyner Spruill LLP does not have control over third party decision makers, and, that Poyner Spruill makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees that it can achieve  any particular results. Poyner Spruill LLP shall act in good faith with the necessary due diligence in connection with its performance of the services described herein. Two local meetings with the Council and two trips to Washington, D.C., per 12-month period, as well as a monthly status report, are included in the services to be provided. Our work for this engagement will be on the federal level. It is understood that The Ferguson Group will be assisting our firm on your behalf. As the need arises for specialized assistance, such as grant writing or for legislative monitoring/research, then fees and costs incurred for such services will be billed separately to the client.

Previously reported – October 2018
It has been the Mayor’s position that we need to hire a professional consulting firm because we need representation on multiple topics at the local, state and national levels of government. McIntyre did a brief recap of presentation that was made earlier in the day on what they can do for us. The consensus appeared to be that we need someone to speak on our behalf and they can make it happen.

Questions that remained to be answered are as follows:

    1. What are we going to get?
    2. How much will it cost?

Previously reported – November 2018
Ordinance 18-17, Approval is required in order to execute either of the proposals
Option 1 which reduces the level of proposed services (5) requires funding of $52,500
Option 2 the level of proposed services (10) requires funding of $66,500

For both options the amount to fund the retainer only provides funds through the end of the fiscal year.

Move funds of $66,500
From Revenue account #50.0399.0000 to Expense account#50.0710.0400

The Board in response to the presentation made by this firm requested them to bring back a proposal. Poyner Spruill submitted two proposals with a suite of services offered. Option 2 requires a retainer of $9,500 per month or a minimum of $114,000 annually. At this point we had what could be described as a spirited discussion.

Some of the major talking points were –

  • What are our priorities?
  • Have we utilized the other options available to us?
  • Should we talk to other providers and get competitive bids?
  • What are we comfortable spending?

In the end they asked the Town Manager to approach the firm and essentially ask them to redo their proposal. The BOC’s were able to agree to narrowing our priorities down to just two subject matters – Lockwood Folly Inlet and Beach Nourishment.

Request is to specifically ask them to clarify the scope of work, basic steps, deliverables, and the chances of success

Previously reported – December 2018
Agenda Packet –
Scope of Engagement
We have agreed to advise and assist you with governmental matters and legal issues that arise and the Client hereby engages Poyner Spruill LLP to perform the following services in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement: working with the Client to secure federal assistance and project management regarding: (1) federal issues related to beach nourishment at Holden Beach, North Carolina, and (2) federal issues related to Lockwood Folly Inlet maintenance.

Retainer
The retainer for our services will be $6,975.00 per month.

Holden Beach Renourishment Project, NC:
Background, Status and Proposed Scope of Work

Status
• Securing the funding to complete the General Reevaluation Report.
• Identifying an appropriate project plan.
• Obtaining sufficient borrow material available to construct and nourish the project for 50 years.
• Determining whether the amount of borrow material necessary to construct and nourish the project for 50 years can be obtained without significant environmental impacts.

Proposed Scope of Work
Step 1. Facilitate Discussions with the Corps of Engineers
Step 2. Develop a Detailed Strategy to Get the General Reevaluation Report Back on Track
Step 3. Initiate Implementation of the Strategy.
            (Steps 1-3 should be accomplished within the first six months of the contract.)
Step 4. Ensure that the Project is Properly Scoped
Step 5. Work to Ensure that the General Reevaluation Report is Completed in a Timely Manner.
Step 6.  Help Pursue a Construction New Start.

Poyner Proposal Options –
Option A –
The level of proposed services (10) requires funding of $9,500 per month or a minimum of $114,000 annually.
Option B –
The level of proposed services (5) requires funding of $7,500 per month or a minimum of $90,000 annually.
Option C –
The level of proposed services (2) requires funding of $6,975 per month or a minimum of $83,700 annually.

Update –
Once again, they asked the Town Manager to approach the firm and essentially ask them to redo their proposal. The BOC’s were able to agree to narrowing our priorities down to just one issue Beach Nourishment.

So, let me get this straight –
We go from ten (10) proposed services to just two (2) which is an 80% reduction
But the cost goes from $9,500 to $6,975 only a 27% reduction
But wait, it gets worse …
They reduce the service request to one issue without knowing what if any reduction in cost will be

Proposal / Ordinance 18-17
Approval is required in order to execute the proposal
Move funds of $41,850
From Revenue account #50.0399.0000 to Expense account#50.0710.0400

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


I’m confused… what just happened?


It’s not obvious to me, what exactly we are getting and how much it will cost us.

We just committed to hiring a prestigious law firm with little or no experience in beach nourishment issues.

Not to mention, we did not even bother to see what other firms can do and at what cost.

Do we know if this really is the best we can do?

Previously reported – January 2019
Agenda Packet –

Scope of Engagement
We have agreed to advise and assist you with governmental matters and legal issues that arise and the Client hereby engages Poyner Spruill to perform the following services in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement: working with the Client to secure federal assistance and project management regarding:(1) federal issues related to any beach nourishment opportunities at Holden Beach, North Carolina, excluding  the Brunswick  County Beaches  Corps of Engineers 50-year Project and (2) federal issues related to Lockwood  Folly Inlet maintenance along with beach nourishment efforts for placement of beach-quality sand on the east end of Holden Beach. The Client acknowledges and agrees that Poyner Spruill does not have control over third party decision makers, and, that Poyner Spruill makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees that it can achieve any particular results. Poyner Spruill shall act in good faith with the necessary due diligence in connection with its performance of the services described herein. Two local meetings with the Council and two trips to Washington, D.C, per 12-month period, as well as a monthly status report, are included in the services to be provided. Our work for this engagement will be on the federal level. It is understood that The Ferguson Group will be assisting our firm on your behalf. As the need arises for specialized assistance, such as grant writing or for legislative monitoring/research, then fees and costs incurred for such services will be billed separately to the client.

Retainer
The retainer for our services will be $6,975.00 per month.
Poyner Spruill agreement has been executed.
It is in place and becomes effective January 1st.

Update –
Christy briefly reviewed what they did for us so far. The discussion went along the lines that things don’t happen in one year that these things take time. So, the message here is for us all to be patient. Approval is necessary to execute contract for the remainder of the budget year.

Moved funds of $4,500
From Revenue account #50.0399.0000 to Expense account#50.0710.0400

A decision was made – Approved unanimously



The retainer for their services will be $7,725 per month or a minimum of $92,700 annually a 10.7% increase.
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.
 

Poyner Spruill promoted their working on Disaster Relief Act 2019 (Law 116-20)

THB was not selected for either a study or construction in the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Investment Plan

For more study information » click here
For more construction information » click here


15. Year-to-Date Financial Report – Commissioner Tyner

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Woody discussed this with David, and they have agreed that the Town Manager would on a quarterly basis give the Board a summarized view of the budget. Brilliant!  Just so you know, that’s what we used to do.  The quarterly budget report presented a snapshot of where we stood at the end of each quarter.  David gave a simple explanation of each fund balance, comparing the budget numbers to the actual numbers. The numbers were presented in context, since we have huge seasonal fluctuations in both income and expenses.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


16. Discussion and Possible Action on Setting Board Objectives for the 2020 Calendar Year – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
The process followed for 2019, where BOC members and town staff used sticky notes to put up proposed objectives by agreed categories, can be used for 2020 if all are in agreement.  It takes 2 sessions to accomplish defining and scoring the objectives, followed by agreeing which ones will be the SOC’s priorities for 2020 at a BOCM. One of the 2 sessions can be combined with one of the town’s early 2020/2021budget meetings. The BOC should set a special meeting date for early February to start the objectives setting process.

Previously reported – January 2018
Goals & Objectives
Town Manager sorted by organizational groupings as follows:

      1. General Management
      2. Beach Nourishment / Shoreline Protection / Navigation
      3. Beach / Inlet Funding
      4. Town Facilities / Recreational Items
      5. Staffing
      6. Parking
      7. Communications
      8. Solid Waste
      9. Sewer System

Previously reported – January 2019
There would be benefit from a Board of Commissioners and Town Manager meeting to set agreed major 2019 objectives before we begin the budget process. BOC’s objective setting workshop scheduled in January.

Objectives sorted into five (5) categories

      1. Policies, procedures, and resolutions
      2. Ordinance related
      3. Financial / Budget
      4. Long term plans
      5. Advocacy

Update –
Same procedure that they used last year.
They will attempt to create a coherent list of objectives for each category.
By consensus they agreed to schedule a Special meeting to start the budget process.


17. Discussion and Possible Action to Start the Process to Determine the Town’s Future Use of the Recently Acquired 796 Ocean Boulevard West Property – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Previously reported – September 2019
Ordinance 19-15, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#3)

    • Provide funds for purchase of property at 796 OBW – approved $349,000
    • A significant portion of the cost of acquiring this property is offset by us no longer needing to do additional acoustical engineering.

 Update –
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. Town Manager basically said “No Can Do” as he reminded them that they just established protocols and that they need to submit a request per Resolution 20-01 passed tonight. Touché!

No decision was made – No action taken

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.


18. Town Manager’s Report

FEMA / Storm Events

Florence / Michael
FloMike hurricane project funds have been awarded
Florence – federal and state $15,861,220
Michael – federal and state $8,547,505
FloMike total Cat G beach nourishment funding is $24,408,725
Town staff is working daily through new digital FEMA Grants Portal
We are on our 6th Project Manager, which is like a new one every nine (9) weeks

Dorian
Federal declaration was made for Hurricane Dorian that includes coastal communities in Brunswick County. Town has estimated approximately $4.5mm for Cat G FEMA reimbursements. We spent $25,400 for surveying and engineering services to meet the Dorian depth of closure requirement. Based on recent analysis it is now estimated at approximately $12mm for Cat G FEMA reimbursements.  At the IBPB meeting this week, they said that the new estimate is now closer to $15mm for Cat G FEMA reimbursements. 

Beach Nourishment
The sand search continues.  The hydrography survey and vibracores have been completed. However, we were told that an archeological side beam scan is required, before we can submit for permit modification.  Offshore investigation is moving forward expecting that it will be completed soon.

Canal Dredging Project
Working group met recently, this is an ongoing project for the last twelve (12) years

Spoil Area
Dog park was utilized for canal dredging spoil site. We did some site ditching prior to Hurricane Dorian storm event to facilitate draining of the pond.

Intent is to reestablish pre-dredge capabilities which in order of priority are as follows:

      • Permitted primary disaster debris management area
      • Public Works lay down yard
      • Dog Park

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

Dog Park
The dog park will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Town needed to use the land at the dog park to place material from the canal dredging project as the dredge spoils area. It is unknown when it will be returned to a useable state as a dog park again. They are currently looking at other options for a dog park on the island. Meanwhile, David has asked the County to consider including a dog park in the 35-acre nature park being planned for on the mainland just across the ICW from us. The dredge spoils area has turned the dog park into a pond for the time being.

Four people spoke during the Public Comments session –
all in favor of creating a new Dog Park area

Bend Widener Navigation Maintenance Project
The LWF inlet crossing maintenance project is underway with dredging operations by Goodloe Marine. Shore pipe is in place on the beach with placement of beach compatible sand near Bendigo Street and will continue moving west. Expect operations to continue through early February.

Lockwood Folly Inlet maintenance project continues on Holden Beach
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is currently conducting the Lockwood Folly Inlet maintenance project, pumping sand from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) crossing at Lockwood Folly Inlet onto the beaches of Holden Beach. They are currently working near Avenue A, pumping sand onto the beach, and will continue to work west toward Blockade Runner. It is important to obey safety protocols during the project, which includes staying clear of the work zone. Signs and orange fencing clearly mark the work zone area. Individuals entering these designated areas can slow progress. The project should conclude in the next 3 to 4 weeks. Your cooperation is appreciated in avoiding work zones during this time.
Beacon dated January 23

Christmas Trees Recycling Project
The Town of Holden Beach participated in a Christmas tree recycling project in an effort to build the dune system. The trees were donated by three Lowes stores (Conway, Shallotte and Southport) after the season. Many thanks to Lowes, the Boy Scouts (Troop 262), the Girl Scouts (Troop 1262) from Sharon Methodist Church. Coastal Transplants used the trees as dune builders at the east end beach strand.

Editor’s Note –
Mike Pearson a member of the Inlet Beach Protection Board (IBPB) should be commended for his efforts in making this happen. Mike  and the IBPB have been working on this over a year. It is on the IBPB Agenda Meeting agenda every month and they pushed for this project. They utilized studies that showed how the trees are more effective than sand fences in dune formation, and also contribute valuable organic matter as they breakdown which enhances vegetation growth and stability.  In addition, there is a significant cost savings to the Town. The trees were placed on the east end between 166 OBW and Jordan Blvd and also between 801-843 OBW.

BAW Paving
Brunswick Avenue West Paving work will be started after Easter and should be completed before Memorial Day. 

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

Genset
Returned rental to vendor, no budget allocation for backup power generator
Right Angle working on proposal for a permanent solution

A generator set, also known as a genset, is the combination of an electrical generator and an engine mounted together to form a single piece of equipment that produces electrical power. … Generation sets are used in sites that are not connected to the power grid or to supply emergency power when the grid fails.

Previously reported – September 2019
Town Hall genset is history
Discussing options – repair cost / noise level / location are all issues being considered

Editor’s Note –
Why does the Town Hall need a genset?
Don’t we have a genset at the EOC?
Isn’t the EOC where they would be for long term outages like storm events?
These things are not cheap, and we rarely have power outages.

Public Beach Access / 289.5 OBW
Construction has been completed
CAMA grant funded; reimbursement has been applied for

Previously reported – February 2019
Governor Roy Cooper announced that Holden Beach was awarded a public access grant for $16,335 for the construction of a beach access walkway at 289.5 OBW 

Previously reported –December 2019
Public beach access walkway at 289.5 OBW is under construction

HB Chapel Repairs
Construction beginning in February lasting 6-8 weeks
The Chapel will need to use Town Hall facilities for some of their meetings
This is covered by a reciprocity agreement that we have in place with them

Run HB
Had approximately 1,050 people registered with 776 people that finished the races

Previously reported – December 2019
The sixth annual “Run Holden Beach” event is scheduled on Saturday, January 18th. Coastal Race Productions is planning a 1 mile “turtle trot”, 5K walk / run and a half marathon with all of these races starting and finishing under the bridge. This will all be followed by live music, games and an after party at the Holden Beach Pavilion.

Upcoming Town Sponsored Events
Town of Holden Beach officially established on February 14, 1969

Help us celebrate our 51st Anniversary!

You are invited to the Town’s Birthday Celebration on Friday, February 14th at noon. The event will include lunch and a ceremony to seal the time capsule. Please feel free to bring items to place into the capsule that capture life on Holden Beach today. The Town will provide the meal. Registration is required by Friday, February 7th at 5:00 p.m.
Call 910. 842.6488 to register


Receipt of Inlet and Beach Protection Board Report
Previously reported –
Ordinance 18-02 established the Inlet and Beach Protection Board
The Ordinance requires a written report from this Board

Agenda Packet –
December IBPB Meeting Update

The Inlet and Beach Protection Board (IBPB) met December 19 and the following issues and topics were discussed and addressed:

Status of the Beach and Inlets: Staff provided an overview of current and future projects, efforts  and conditions, and issues relative to the beach strand and inlets. A copy of the Assistant Town Manager’s Report to the IBPB is attached.

Other Updates: “Keep Off the Dunes” signs, which were approved in the adopted budget have arrived. It is hoped that the signs will discourage people from walking in the dunes. Additional mats have also arrived. The Town will again be collecting Christmas Trees from area vendors for placement along the dune line. The Boy Scouts will be helping.

Quarterly IBPB Newsletter: A draft of a Year-End IBPB Newsletter was reviewed and edited. It will be distributed via an emailed blast by the Town.

IBPB Meeting Schedule: The meeting schedule for the upcoming year was reviewed and approved.

Meeting Updates:

    • Brunswick County Shoreline Protection: The IBPB will be represented at the next scheduled meeting in January.
    • The next IBPB meeting will be January 23,2020.

Attachment (1): Assistant Town Manager’s Report to the IBPB, December 19, 2019

IBPB Notes

The following is the status of the inlet and beach projects:

  • Sand Search-data collection and analysis continues with ATM coordinating with subcontractors.They are looking for good weather. The magnetometer and side-scan/multi-beam efforts  will be separate due to differing requirements and transect spacing for the 500-meter hardbottom buffer.
  • Inlet Crossing/Bend Widener Project- We met with the agencies and dredge company last week.Pipe was put on the beach through the end of last week. Pumping began late Monday, December 16’h and will go through early January. They anticipate  pumping approximately 7000 cy per day with a total of a little over 200,000 cy expected from the project. This dredge is new to Goodloe Marine, as they only had it four to five months.  Production volumes may be different than expected.  They are expecting nighttime operations.
  • UNCW is planning a site visit to start collecting data. We provided a shapefile with survey lines per their request and honored a request for a gator for use while they are here for this initial trip.
  • Florence/Michael Projects- We received an award announcement for Michael in the amount of$8 million plus. We received an award announcement from Florence in the amount of $15 million plus.  We still have to receive and sign approved PWs.
  • For Dorian, the extra surveys should be complete by the end of this week and Fran will begin his analysis for an updated memo to FEMA. He expects to get that to FEMA by mid-January. We are continuing to upload data in the grants portal.
  • We are still waiting to hear about the project study selection for the 5O-year project.
  • Fran is coordinating with DCM and the Corps for permit extensions on the SDI-5 permit.

Beach & Inlet Newsletter
As 2019 comes to an end we would like to take an opportunity to update you on beach and inlet news and the status of projects.

PLANS AND REPORTS

  • An update was provided to our Oceanfront and Inlets Management Plan this year. The plan can be found at http://hbtownhall.com/files/132944795.pdf and provides a roadmap for future projects and maintenance. It will be updated annually to reflect ever-changing needs and priorities.
  • The Annual Beach Monitoring report can be found at http://hbtownhall.com/files/133141489.pdf. It is an annual report of changes to the beach as compared to the previous year and provides detailed survey maps.

 PROJECTS

Inlet Dredging
a) The Lockwood Folly (LWF) outer bar was dredged by the Merritt (side caster) for navigation purposes this fall. The cost to the Town was $37,476.00.

b) The Corps is dredging the LWF bend widener and AIWW Inlet Crossing with beneficial placement of sand on the east end in December. The cost to the Town was approximately $388,000.

Beach Renourishment
a) Florence/Michael Hurricane Renourishment Project- We received an award announcement for Michael in the amount of $8,547,506. We also received an award announcement for Florence in the amount of $15,861,220. We are in the planning and permitting stage now. Part of this process includes a sand search to identify a suitable sand source. ATM is currently working to update the permit and conduct the sand search.

OTHER NEWS
Members of the Inlet and Beach Protection Board attended the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association Conference, the NC Beach, Inlet, and Waterway Association Meeting, the Quarterly Long-term MOA Stakeholders Meeting and the Brunswick Shoreline Protection Meeting. This year’s operating budget included signs for the dunes and replacement beach mats. There were also funds provided for a collaboration with UNCW to map dune vegetation and inlet changes.

The Inlet and Beach Protection Board meets the 4th Thursday of the month at 10:00 a.m. For additional information on any of the above items, please contact Town Manager David Hewett at (910) 842-6488.


 General Comments –

Mayor Holden – was not in attendance

There were thirty (30) members of the community in attendance
    • Average attendance at meetings for 2019 was twenty-four (24)

The BOC’s Regular Meeting is scheduled on the second Tuesday of the month, February 11th

It was The Patty Show, and I mean it in the nicest way possible. She was on point, did the work, appears to be the only one doing the heavy lifting, delivered the goods, and finally managed to get a number of agenda items over the finish line. Feel that several agenda items could and should have been handled in separate workshops. The Board breezed through agenda items , with little or no discussion most of the night. Pretty disappointed that they voted in lock step and the optics were like it was just a rubber stamp formality. In June the recommended actions necessary for implementation of a revenue neutral tax rate included some expense reductions that were questioned by the Board. We had an attempt at some lastminute horse trading over some of the expense reductions but in the end, it was left to the Town Manager to make any necessary adjustments. Fast forward and six months later we just added some significant expenses to the Town’s budget. At that time, they made a big deal about how lean the budget is, yet there are three (3) budget amendments significantly  increasing expenses at this meeting alone. The pay increase approved tonight was over $100,000 by itself.  Keep in mind that each expense of approximately $134,000 annually would require a tax increase of $.010. If the budget was as lean as advertised then one has to ask: How is it possible to cover these expenses? Either the Town is really playing some sort of shell game with the numbers or we can expect a tax increase in the near future.


News & Views reports what’s happening on Holden Beach and in the surrounding area with items of interest.

Post contains the following:
.      1)
Calendar of Events
.      2)
Reminders
.      3)
Upon Further Review
.      4)
Corrections & Amplifications
.      5)
Odds and Ends
.      6)
This and That
.      7)
Factoid That May Interest Only Me
.      8)
Things I Think I Think
.       
a) Restaurant Review
.       
b) Book Review


Loose Ends –

      • Development Fees                                                              June 2018
      • Waste Ordinance Enforcement Policy                           January 2019
      • Fee Based Rollout of Containers                                     January 2019
      • Commercial District                                                          February 2019
      • Land Use Plan                                                                    October 2019
      • Parking                                                                               October 2019
      • Mega-Houses                                                                     October 2019
      • Audit Remedial Policies & Procedures                          November 2019 

Board of Commissioners’ – Scorecard

NYC Mayor Koch used to ask – How am I doing?

Imagine if the BOC’s asked you – How’d they do?

 The goal of government is to make citizens better off.


Action Taken – 2019

January

Ordinance 19-01, Chapter 151: Building and Housing Regulations
.  a)
Remove Sections in §151
.    •
Removal of impact fees verbiage / session law 2018-34
Adoption Resolution 19-01, Condemnation action to acquire perpetual easements

February
Adoption Resolution 19-02, Advertisement by electronic means for formal bidding
Adoption Resolution 19-03, Designation of Applicant’s Agent
Ordinance 19-02, Chapter 50: Solid Waste
.    •
No Action Taken

March
Ordinance 19-03,
Chapter 50: Solid Waste
Ordinance 19-04, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#5)
.    •
Provide funds to find a new sand source for beach nourishment – approved $170,000 Ordinance 19-05, Chapter 157: Zoning Code
.    •
No Action Taken

April
Ordinance 19-06, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#6)
.    • FEMA Florence reimbursement check, appropriation of the funds – $96,562.57
Ordinance 19-07, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#7)
   • Development of a cost justified water and wastewater system Development Fees Report – approved $10,000

May
Ordinance 19-08, Adopting a Supplement to the Code of Ordinances
.    •
Codifies the ordinances the Board approved since the last supplement

June     
Ordinance 19-09, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#8)
   •
Provide funds for LWF inlet dredging – approved $388,295
Ordinance 19-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance / Budget Ordinance
   • Approved the town’s $17.3 million-dollar Budget Ordinance
Approval of Contract for Sewer System Engineering Services
   • Structural and Mechanical Modifications to Vacuum Sewer Pump Station Number
   • Green Engineering was awarded the $311,805 contract

July
Ordinance 19-11, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#1)
.    • Amended Audit Contract modified fee – approved $10,000

August
Ordinance 19-12, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#2)
.    • Provide additional funds for Audit Contract – approved $16,976
Ordinance 19-13, Chapter 91: Fire Prevention
Ordinance 19-14, Chapter 154: Flood Damage Prevention

September
Adoption Resolution 19-04, Inventory Assessment Grant Application
Ordinance 19-15, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#3)
   • Provide funds for purchase of property at 796 OBW – approved $349,000

October
Adoption Resolution 19-05, Designation of Applicant’s Agent
Adoption Resolution 19-06, Honor of Veterans Day
Ordinance 19-16, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#4)
.    • Sand search approved $17,565
Ordinance 19-17, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#5)
.    • Provide funds of $51,000 for new pay plan – Not approved

November
Ordinance 19-18, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#6)
.    • Dredging Lockwood Folly Inlet town share $4,600
.       ∗ $37,476 total local share / money already in budget
.    • Dorian depth of closure requirement, $25,400 for surveying and engineering services

December
Adoption Resolution 19-07, NCDEQ Permits


Budget Calendar –
Local governments must balance their budget by a combination of the following:
. 1.
Raising taxes
. 2.
Cutting spending
. 3.
Operating more efficiently

The Town Manager’s proposed budget is due by June 1st
Commissioners must adopt budget no later than June 30th for the next fiscal year

Adopting the annual budget is a primary responsibility of the Board.

This is what I’d like to see the budget process look like starting in January –
. 1.
Monthly Meetings / Workshops
. 2.
Board Goals
. 3.
Review Capital Improvement Plan
. 4.
Staff presentations – wants / needs / revenue streams / cost cutting measures
. 5.
Review Towns current level of services provided – change /add / delete
. 6.
Review staffing and compensation package
. 7.
Line by line review of the budget
. 8.
Appropriate funds for the following:
.    
Beach Nourishment
.     • Dredging
.    
Infrastructure Reserves – Water System / Sewer System / Roads & Sidewalks


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


HBPOIN – Lou’s Views
.         • 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/