07 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 06/28/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here  NA

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion and Possible Award of Bid to the Apparent Low Bidder for the Central Reach Nourishment Project – Town Manager Hewett 

Agenda Packet –
Applied Technology & Management (ATM) provided bid results and their recommendation. The Weeks Marine base bid is the lowest and ATM recommends the Weeks Marine base bid as the preferred nourishment option.

Update –
We still do not have the required permit from USACE . Weeks Marine satisfactorily did the last project for us. They awarded the contract to Weeks Marine contingent upon LGC approval for a Special Obligation Bond.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


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

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

Public Comments –
There were no comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 06/30/21

There was not a quorum present

Editor’s Note –
Only Mayor Holden and Commissioner Kwiatkowski were in attendance
They were unable to transact any business since they did not have a quorum
The meeting was cancelled

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here NA

1. Discussion and Decision on Information and Details, of the Proposed Purchase of the Real Property Located at 441 Ocean Boulevard, Holden Beach, NC 28462, Parcel Numbers 246DB001 and 246DB002, to be Published Prior to the Already Scheduled Special Meeting of July 8, 2021 – Commissioners Kwiatkowski & Smith                                        

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

For the past few years, the Town has been granted a license by the owners to use the western most twenty (20) feet of the overall property (west of the RV park) as an emergency vehicle access point to the beach strand. The need for this type of access is important for the health and safety of everyone who uses the beach. The pier property has been listed for sale and of course the sale would include the currently licensed property. Not wanting to lose the vital access to the strand, the Board first focused on purchasing the licensed property; the eventual offer was not accepted by the seller. As a result of additional executive session discussions, a majority decision was taken by the Board to also explore purchasing the property containing the pier and building, specifically parcel 24608001. After a period of negotiation, during which the owner did not accept the Town’s offer for the licensed access, the owner offered to sell the Town the parcel on which the pier and building are situated as well as a parcel adjacent to the building and extending fifty (50) feet west (parcel 24608002). A verbal agreement on an acceptable price and due diligence and escrow amounts has been reached .

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

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

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

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

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

.   4. It is assumed that the purchase can be financed by a combination of paid parking revenue and leasing the pier and cafe If available grant monies can be obtained, the debt service will be less than the estimated $250,000 a year. However, each potential revenue stream is merely an assumption and in no way assured.

a) There is a question, based on North Carolina statute, whether paid parking can be used for debt service The Town will, as necessary, seek an exception to the statute, but an exception is not guaranteed.
b) The proposed conditions of a paid parking program on Holden Beach in 2022 are not yet settled, so currently there is not a reliable revenue estimate for the pier property parking
c) The fair market value for leasing the pier and cafe is
d) The grants, which can account for from 0% to 30% of the sale price, can only be applied for after the property is purchased, and of course there is no guarantee any grant money will be received.

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

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

Update –
NA

Editor’s Note –
The following questions are what was submitted by Lou’s Views for Public Comments. From my perspective they are basic questions that the Board should have addressed before even making any offer. Just to be clear, I’m not taking a position either way. Whatever the community wants is fine by me. Lou’s Views posted a survey to help determine what the community wants, again we attempted not to steer responses one way or the other. That said, I think it’s important that the questions are addressed. If the Board has addressed them then they should be communicating that to the public. This Board was elected to do the right thing to protect the property owners on the island. It seems to me that whether we purchase property or pass on the opportunity the Board needs to communicate to the public how they arrived at that decision.


Income

Town Properties
Sell town owned properties that we are not utilizing

      • Ten (10) properties in the 800 block of OBW
      • One (1) property at 764 OBW
      • One (1) Delanne Street
      • Two (2) cross-through rights-of-ways between OBW and BAW near Marker 55
      • One (1) house at 796 OBW

Can we sell them?

Are all the lots large enough to build on?

How much could we expect to get?

 Pier
What is the revenue generated by user fee?

 Pier building
What is the potential rental income?

Pier paid parking
How many parking spots are there?
     * Answer – approximately 70

What kind of revenue would they generate?

Other revenue streams
How much revenue do we expect from occupancy tax this year?

What percentage of occupancy tax revenue would we need to use to pay land purchase loan?

How much revenue do we expect from island wide paid parking?

What percentage of paid parking revenue would we need to use to pay land purchase loan?

Expenses

Package
Asking price?
*
Answer – $3.25 million

Cost of loan annually?
*
Answer – $250,000 per year for 15 years

Pier building
Is the building up to code?

What is the cost to have inspection made prior to purchase?

Does it meet standards required for a public building?

What is the cost to bring it up to speed?

What is the cost of insurance?

Pier

What is the cost to have inspection made prior to purchase to determine structural integrity?

What is the cost to have it meet standards required for public facilities?

What is the expected annual maintenance costs?

What is the cost of insurance?

Additional Questions –

Are we planning to do a cost-benefit analysis?

 Is this the best use of our limited financial resources?

 Is parking the highest and best use of ocean front property?                       

 Are other commercial properties like Block Q a better option for parking?

 HB Pier takes advantage of the state’s working waterfront tax break

If developed what would be the additional tax revenue?
.   a)
Fourteen (14) residential properties (2+4+6+2)
.      *
2 X 50’ lots (campground)                                          (2)
.      *
4 X 60’ lots (campground)                                          (4)
.       
Make lots 50’ and you have a 20’ right-of-way
.      *
1 X 300’ lot (center pier property)                             (6)
.      *
1 X 115’ lot (hotel property)                                       (2)
.   b)
Each assessed at one million dollars each
.   c) HB tax rate 0.20 or $200 per $100,000 of assessed value so $2,000 each
.   d)
Fourteen properties X $2,000 each = $24,000

Do we know who actually uses this facility?
.   a)
Residents
.   b)
Owners
  c)
Tourists
.   d)
Day trippers


More details emerge in Holden Beach pier purchase, special meeting called
More details have come out about how the Town of Holden Beach plans to pay for and operate its potential fishing pier purchase – which is being brokered by the mayor’s real estate company. The town will hold a special meeting on its potential purchase of the Holden Beach Fishing Pier Wednesday, June 30 at 4 p.m. in the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly. While officials previously said they weren’t sure what they’d do with the property if bought, the meeting’s agenda packet outlines plans to lease the pier and café building while using the 70-space parking lot for paid parking. “The desired outcome is for the pier, café and land they are situated on to be preserved and used much as they currently are after any necessary improvements to meet code,” the agenda read. According to the pier’s owner, Guilford Bass, the agreed upon price is around $3.25 million. The debt service for the purchase is estimated at $250,000 per year for 15 years. The town hopes to finance the purchase with the revenue generated from those operations, along with grant funding. However the plan comes with several caveats. The town will need to secure an exemption from state statues that prohibit paid parking to cover debt service payments. The grant funding – if secured – would only pay for up to 30% of the purchase and could only be applied for after the purchase has already been made. Prior to taking over ownership the pier and building would need to go through an inspection to bring the structures up to code, the cost of which is still unknown. While Mayor Alan Holden previously ruled out using property taxes to pay for the purchase, the packet states “of course there is no guarantee.” Holden has maintained there is no conflict of interest in his real estate company brokering the deal, despite admitting he is representing both parties to the sale. “Somebody has to be in this position and having been familiar with pier since it was built – the major stock holder is a friend of mine for 30-plus years – and serving on town boards and committees for 30-plus years, I pretty well understand both sides,” Holden previously told the StarNews. According to the agenda packet, the town was originally interested in buying a piece of property near the pier that it had licensed for 20 years as an emergency vehicle access point. When that was unsuccessful, negotiations shifted to the two parcels now under consideration. The town previously announced they would hold a public hearing to receive feedback on the potential purchase Thursday, July 8 at 7 p.m. at the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly, 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach.
Read more » click here

2. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-18, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 2021,  Amendment No.18 (Isaias Cat  Z) –  Commissioners Kwiatkowski & Smith

Agenda Packet –
The attached budget amendment (Attachment l ) in the amount of $198,368.73, recognizes FEMA Cat Z (Administrative) grant funds as related to Isaias. The funds will be housed in Fund 70, the special project fund for FEMA events.

Suggested MotionApproval of Budget Amendment.

Ordinance 21-18, Isaias Cat Z
Moved funds of $198,386.73
From Revenue account #70.0323.0100
To Expense account#70.0460.2701

Update –
NA


Public Comments –
There were no comments

Editor’s Note –
The comments Lou’s Views submitted will be included at the  Public Hearing


BOC’s Public Hearing 07/08/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here

Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE
Take notice that the Town of Holden Beach intends to enter into a contract to purchase real property located at 441 Ocean Boulevard, Holden Beach, NC 28462, parcel numbers 246DB001 and 246DB002. There will be a public hearing on Thursday, July 8, 2021, beginning at 7:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter, in the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly, 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach, NC 28462 to hear public comments on the contract. All interested persons are invited to attend.

1. Public Hearing–Contract to Purchase Real Property Located at 441 Ocean Boulevard (Parcels 246DB001 & 246DB002)

Alan stated that nothing has been determined yet. The discussion at the Public Hearing is to determine whether we should move forward or not. The Board gave everyone there a fair opportunity to speak. THB policy is that each speaker is allocated three (3) minutes.

 It seems that the majority of the public want to purchase the pier. The caveat being that a business plan, be fiscally responsible,  and due diligence needs to be done before rendering a decision. Clearly a significant number of people had  an emotional response as their  justification to purchase the property. Many people took a more practical approach, that the decision should be a fiscal one not an emotional one. I didn’t get  the feeling that there is that there are many people out there that are flat out against purchasing it.

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

3. Discussion and Possible Consideration of Contract to Purchase Real Property Located at 441 Ocean Boulevard (Parcels 246DB001 & 246DB002)

Motion was to present offer. Commissioner Sullivan stated that moving forward with the contract does not bind us to purchase the property. He also made it clear that he believes, as many people stated, that we should only purchase the pier if it makes fiscal sense, not based on emotions.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Public Comments –
Between Lou’s Views survey, HBPOA responses, online comments, and people that spoke at the meeting there were over two hundred (200) people that participated in the process.

They received comments from the public which are posted online at the Town’s website
For more information / Part 1 » click here
For more information / Part 2 » click here

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Well, you just can’t please all the people all the time!



Let’s put this in perspective …

.
The  cost for the Town Hall, which was completed in  2009, was three million two hundred thousand dollars ($3,200,000) .

The cost for Bridgeview Park, which was completed in 2016, was almost two million one hundred thousand dollars ($2,100,000) .

The  cost for the pier property, signed contract in  2021, is three million two hundred and fifty-nine thousand dollars ($3,250,000).


Holden Beach Mayor:
No conflict in town buying pier brokered by his real estate firm
After turning down the opportunity five years ago, the Town of Holden Beach is now looking to buy the Holden Beach Fishing Pier, listed by the mayor’s real estate company. The town will hold a public hearing to hear feedback on the potential purchase Thursday, July 8 at 7 p.m. at the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly, 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach. The pier’s owner, Guilford Bass, offered to sell the property to the town in 2016 when the property was being brokered by Cape Fear Commercial for an undisclosed amount. The 4.1-acre property is now listed under RE/MAX at the Beach, owned by Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden, at an asking price of $6,890,000. While that listing includes 8 parcels made up of the pier, RV park and campground, according to its public notice the town is only seeking to purchase the two parcels that include the pier, parking lot and adjacent building. Those two parcels total 1.9 acres and in 2018 were appraised for a combined $2.82 million, according to Brunswick County parcel records. The Town has not responded to requests for the purchase contract or the terms of the deal. While the terms are not final until the contract is approved, Bass said as of now, the agreed upon price is around $3.25 million. “I don’t think there’s any more commercial land on the beach front that they could buy,” Bass said. “Not unless they buy a couple houses and tear them down, so it’s a pretty good deal for everybody.” According to Mayor Holden, the town is pursuing the purchase now due to demand from residents and tourists for more public access to the ocean and parking. Adding the public access and parking would aid the town in applying for federal grants that take into account those factors in their allocation formulas. Holden said the contract terms and what the city may do with the pier if the purchase goes through would be discussed at the public hearing. “The primary consideration right now is just on the acquisition of the property,” Holden said. “The development use of it will be determined after studies and reviews and considering the outcry of the community and visitors to lead to a good decision on what the use would be.”

Resident concerns

According to Holden, the town is committed to using occupancy tax funds and government grants to pull off the purchase without touching property taxes. “The commissioners have no intention of adjusting the property tax rate,” he said. While town officials are confident in their ability to purchase the pier in a fiscally sound way, some residents are concerned the buy could lead to ongoing expenses or upgrade costs they’d have to finance later. Holden Beach Property Owners Association President Tom Myers said he’s frustrated residents didn’t have more notice about the purchase while commissioners were negotiating the contract terms in executive sessions. Myers is now seeking input from association members for their concerns, which include the price, future use, the pier’s overall condition and the potential conflict of interest in the mayor representing both parties in the sale. “I don’t know if it’s a conflict of interest, but the optics look weird,” Myers said. “It just doesn’t look right from my perspective. I mean who are you representing – are you trying to get the best price for the seller or the lowest price for the buyer?” Holden maintains that no conflict of interest exists in him not recusing himself and being at the table while the deal is being negotiated for his real estate client. “I’m at the table, yes, that’s where public trust comes in,” Holden said. “My job is not to do anything but to represent both parties because that’s what’s the best deal for both parties. The town wants to get the cheapest price, the owner wants to get as much as reasonably can be done and I don’t see it as a conflict at all.” According to Holden, the town is following all statues and legal guidance per the town attorney. “Somebody has to be in this position and having been familiar with pier since it was built – the major stock holder is a friend of mine for 30-plus years – and serving on town boards and committees for 30-plus years, I pretty well understand both sides,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 47 years now and I’m certainly not going to do anything in violation of any laws or anything like that.”
Read more » click here

Holden Beach looks into possible pier purchase with mayor as dual agent
Holden Beach commissioners will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. this Thursday to listen to the public and decide whether it’s of benefit for the town buy the Holden Beach Pier. The pier has gone on and off the market for the past few years. “Over the years the public has been asking if the town was ever going to buy it,” said Mayor Alan Holden, whose real estate company, Re/Max at the Beach, acquired the listing and he will be serving as dual agent. He said this wouldn’t be a conflict of interest to his knowledge. Dual agents, according to RaleighRealtyhomes.com, means the buyer and seller will work with one realty agent, entailing pros and cons. The pros are this could streamline the process and the agent may have more information on the property. The cons are conflict of interest, a chance to overlook important details and inability to negotiate list price or home inspections. As for commissions, the website states agents involved in the deal usually split the 5-6% of the sale price, but the dual agent wouldn’t have to. Holden said he has been here all his life. “And ever since the pier’s been here, I’ve been here,” he said. The mayor said the main stockholder, whom he has known for about 40 years and is a former town commissioner, wants to make sure the town has a chance to buy it. “There’s a lot of historical interest from the citizens of Holden Beach and visitors,” he said. “A lot of people don’t want to see it disappear.” He said that is why everything is being looked at whether to keep it or tear it down. He said when the pier was built 1959 was 1,000 feet long, but it currently isn’t due to previous storm damage and is still in operation. Holden said a lot of the public was in favor of the purchase while others were wondering what the town would do with it. Holden said the real estate market is aggressive right now. “It’s a record-setting year of sales activity here,” he said. He said there isn’t another similar kind of property on the island that can be purchased in the future if another group purchases the pier. “So it’s time for the town to make a decision,” he said. The property the pier sits on is commercially zoned, which could open up the area to businesses or condominiums. There are no plans on how the town will use the pier at the moment. Holden said there will be a study to decide the best use and how to pay for it. “We’re just in the beginning stages of the analyzing the pros and the cons of ownership,” Holden said. Holden said commissioners are not planning to raise the property tax rate to pay for the pier.  He said the plan is to look for financing elsewhere, such as grants or renting spaces or parking spaces. “Nothing is predetermined at this point,” Holden said. He said the main reason commissioners don’t want to raise taxes is because the public doesn’t want it. He said he hopes to hear the public’s opinion whether by email or in person Thursday.
Read more » click here

Holden Beach begins contract for pier
The Holden Beach Board of Commissioners listened to the residents Thursday evening about whether they should buy the Holden Beach Pier and later approved initiating a contract for the site at 4441 W. Ocean Blvd. That does not mean they will buy it yet. Mayor Alan Holden and his real estate company have obtained the listing from Gill Bass, whose family is the majority holder of the pier. Holden plans to be the dual agent and sell the pier to the town if the town decides to buy it. They are in the early stages of deciding and planning. All that has been said for certain is that property taxes will not go up. According to a verbal agreement, the town could purchase two lots. The first lot is about 2.25 acres and about 300 feet of ocean frontage between Ocean Boulevard and the Atlantic Ocean. The second lot is .30 of an acre, which also has 50 feet of ocean frontage. The proposed purchase price is $3.25 million with a proposed due diligence fee of $25,000. The proposed initial earnest money deposit is $25,000. The proposed due diligence is due Oct. 1, and the closing date is Oct. 29. When the mayor opened the July 8 meeting, most of the seats in the town meeting room were taken and people were still walking in. He told residents they were each going to get three minutes to speak, but this wasn’t a debate or question-and-answer session. A representative for Tom Myers, president of the Holden Beach Property Owners Association, was the first to speak. Myers had compiled numerous responses about the pier that were provided to the board and then summarized. The representative said the pier building is now being used as the office for the campground and to collect fees or people going onto to the pier. He said the café has been closed for more than a year. There are arcade games, drinks, ice, and vending machines. “If your desired outcome is to preserve everything as is, that simply means staffing someone behind the counter, collect money and oversee the vending machines,” he said. He cited the building, which was built in 1960 and is not up to date on current building code. He said there are also potential environmental issues with a grease pit and septic tanks in the front yard. He said the tax value of the building is less than $100,000 and if limited to have of that for improvement, then town won’t be able to do much, including the inability to install bathrooms. But if the plan is to have an attraction like a restaurant or a wedding venue, the building will have to be torn down. He said this would put the town into a property development and property management business. He said if the plan is to save the pier, there are other moves the town can make without buying it. He suggested incentives to private developers, tax breaks or more. “Just give them money,” he said. “Cities in North Carolina do this all the time to collect the business they want to come to their town.”
He said if the plan was to add parking, there are other properties more suited because commercial ocean front lots are the most expensive. For beach access, he suggested buying the necessary land for the access. He said if the seller won’t negotiate in good faith, the town should use its power in eminent domain, condemn it, take it, and give the seller a fair market price. He said this is the same tactic Holden Beach used on oceanfront properties that refused to sign an easement for Central Reach. “I think it’s fair to say everyone would like to keep the pier,” he said. “The question is at what cost.” He asked the town to not rush into this without knowing the future costs, such as insurance. Steve McManimen said he may never have another opportunity like this and thinks it would be in the town’s best interest to purchase the property. Another man said that the town needs the pier. He said vacationers are the island’s lifeblood. He said it would be shameful to pass on this opportunity to provide permanent town owned access to the ocean. He said the island is about 6.5 miles long and losing this means they will lose almost a mile of beach access. Lynn Holden said he used to work on the pier at 50 cents an hour. He was looking at the numbers he worked out and said to buy and maintain these properties was going to be a lot of money. “You might think also, if somebody could buy it and make money, they would have already bought it,” Holden said, adding a private enterprise could do a better job. Holden later suggested at the second time up suggested the county should pay for it. He said they are paying for taxes to the county, including for schools, but the residents don’t see anything in return. Keith Smith, who lives across from the pier, talked about his three daughters. He moved here so they can experience sand between their toes. He told his audience how they made 20 friends already this summer. Smith said his three girls deserve the pier.  He added buying the pier doesn’t make much financial sense. It will be a money pit. But so is his house.  He said he purchased it for the beach access. “It’s not always about money,” Smith said. John Pierce was in support, saying people make memories on the pier and memories are more than money. He said it was worth it. Another former pier employee, Johnny Craig, said it was incredible opportunity, but the town should also work on their existing accesses. Anita Hegarty said it gives landlocked property owners access to the beach again. Larry Blume suggested money-raising ideas such as yearly fishing licenses. Elaine Jordan said she appreciates the history but believes the town should operate within its means. She suggested the town looks at alternatives. She said she is a firm believer that private enterprises should be private. Tony Marwitz said he trusts the board, but asked, “What will it be worth in the future?” He said the worst possibility is selling the pier later. “If the town doesn’t buy it, who does?” he asked. Mike Oats said he understood both sides but couldn’t see how the town could pass on the opportunity because it is a good investment and a no-brainer. Ken Rogers said they should respect the past and plan for the future. There aren’t any more beaches being made, and they should be protected. He said buying this property is a good move, but only the first step. “Let’s do it,” he said, saying they should buy the whole strip and involve property owners. A real estate agent, Shannon Itzaina, said she loves this beach. “It’s where my soul is,” she said. But the commercial contracts worry her. She suggested the town not rush into this. Another former real estate agent, Sylvia Pate also asked for more investigation. She added she would like to see the pier stay. Bev Compton suggested a commercial investment group should buy it, but the town should still control it. Karen Dodd asked how will this benefit property owners. She asked what the debt plan is. She pointed out there is a problem with her tap water, so she doesn’t drink it. The roads have not been maintained, she said. Dodd said she just wanted more information. Brad Chaney said there needed to be a plan in place before they purchased the pier, because that’s what a good business owner does. John McEntire said it’s interesting how all the speakers gave an opinion on how to spend tax payer money when they could have all dropped a little cash and purchased the pier themselves. “If you’re not convinced it’s a good enough deal to invest your own money, then it’s kind of odd that you want to invest mine,” McEntire said. Brian Derrico pointed out the town will lose taxpayer money if they don’t buy the pier. He said they will go backwards if the town has limited beach access. The sides went back and forth. Those who were against it warned rushing into the sale. They were worried that three months to do the due diligence was too short. They were worried how the town will pay for this and if taxes will go up. The ones for it cited their memories and how beaches aren’t still being made. After the last person spoke, the public meeting was closed, and the board went into an executive session. When they came back, Commissioner Brian Murdock made a motion to purchase and contract 441 W. Ocean Blvd. Commissioner Mike Sullivan said he wanted to make it clear that this is the first step in negotiating the property, but they are not bound to it yet. He said the commissioners should only do it if it’s base on fiscal sense, not emotion. They approved the motion.
Read more » click here


Editor’s Note –
Lou’s Views conducted a survey on the proposed  pier property purchase
The following are the survey results without any analysis on our part
You may draw your own conclusions from the data

Survey – Pier Property Purchase
The Board of Commissioners are actively negotiating to purchase a portion of the pier/campground property that includes the pier building and the pier structure. We will need to borrow funds to pay for it. The obvious question to be asked is whether you, the public, think we should purchase the pier.

The justification expressed for purchasing the pier property are:

      • Some of the community consider it to be an important asset of the Town
      • Continue to provide emergency vehicle beach access
      • Continue to provide beach access for homes on several canal streets
      • Continue to provide off-street parking in the central part of the island
      • Potential to provide dining and recreational opportunities to the public
      • Potential for approximately seventy (70) paid off-street parking spots to partially offset expenses

Survey responses = 126

.   1) Do you consider the pier an important asset of the island?
.     a)
Essential to retain it                                                                   62/49%
.     b)
Non-essential but nice to have                                                  45/36%
.    c) Not important to me                                                                    19/15%
      *
Comments = 15
/
I believe the pier is an asset to the island but to the extent it is not penalizing property owners.
/
This is a difficult question for me as I do not ever tend to use the pier. However, I do realize that the pier is likely a treasured asset to many others.
/
Great indoor space Fr rec classes when weather isn’t cooperative. Central location is great.
/
Please do not let some corporate hotel or some nonsense come in and ruin the pier! I know you guys are all about the bottom dollar, but for once can you think about the impact on the locals, and the people who love Holden Beach instead of the impact on your wallets!!
/
Certainly, an icon and will add to the availability of parking spaces
/
This opportunity may not come again. We should find a way to purchase the property and even consider the entire piece. Once a plan is developed, the town can sell any portions deemed to not be needed most likely at a profit or as a long-term lease.
/
The Pier is a great land mark for judging distance on the beach or off. It gives a great perspective to the Island, sunrises, and sunsets, when viewed from the Pier, and is a really good fishing access point. It would be sorely missed by residents and day trippers alike.
/
Taxes are high enough no
/
While I am not sure how I feel about the Town being in the retail or entertainment business, I VERY much hope the Town can find in its’ budget, funds to purchase the pier and adjoining properties to include updating all of the facilities. I do not see many other potential buyers out there due to risk factors such as storm damage.
What I would really like to see is the pier building updated, the pier itself strengthened, lengthened, and enlarged. (think Johnny Mercer’s pier at Wrightsville Beach – concrete) I would like to see the pier grill brought back into service, again, updated, and modernized. I am not sure how the ongoing running of such an entity should be handled – again, the Town is really not into the retail business – but I can envision some scenario where the pier is a viable business opportunity for the town, or for the town to least out for someone else to run. It would not necessarily have to be a cash cow, but at the very least break even for the town. I do understand there are significant risks to whomever buys the pier and adjoining properties, most importantly is severe storms. I am not sure the campground/RV lots makes sense to continue as they currently are based on the economics of lot price the Town would have to pay, but it is worth investigating. My understanding is all of the land in question was zoned for condos years ago. I don’t know anyone who really wants condos there, but fiscally, there needs to be an assessment of best use versus cost of the RV, parking, and adjoining lots.Growing up in North Carolina, I fished many of the coastal piers in the State and know the cultural and historical benefits of pier life and the associated center of the community they can be, especially for a small community such as Holden Beach.
Please consider this as support for purchasing the pier and adjoining properties, subject to due diligence by the BOC and Town staff. I believe most HB residents and visitors would really like to see the pier and facilities remain and be updated. Purchasing them and NOT renovating and updating the facilities is not something I would want to support. Additional tax increases are never great, however addressed in the correct manner, it is possible to make the pier a self -sustaining financial entity I suspect. (All subject to price of the lots and facilities.)
/
If the Town Commissioners plan for the taxpayers to pay for this, they better show how it is going to benefit property owners. Another response should have been
d) No. Do not use my tax dollars to purchase something that should be private property.
/
What is the estimated life cycle costs to restore, operate, maintain, and / or demolish the facility?
Has the town performed a SWOT analysis of the potential purchase?
Has the town done a benefit cost / trade off analysis?
Has the town done a marketing/business plan for the proposed purchase?
Has the town performed a risk and uncertainty analysis on the potential purchase?
/
It is a valuable asset to Holden Beach.
/
The pier is not an asset, it is an eyesore. It is in bad shape, both the building and the pier.
/
For much needed paid parking
/
It’s just out there waiting for the next big storm. A fiscal burden the town doesn’t need. They need to concentrate any “extra” monies into resolving any sewer related problems.

.   2) Do you feel that we, the property owners on Holden Beach, have a responsibility to provide the residents and/or the general public with a  pier facility potentially offering multiple use options?
    a)
Yes                                                                                                  47/37%
.     b)
Maybe / Not sure                                                                          34/27%
.     c)
No                                                                                                   45/36%

.   3) If improvements were made to the pier property, What would you use the most?
    a)
Beach Access                                                                                12/10%
.     b) Parking                                                                                          3/2%
    c)
Pier                                                                                                 27/22%
    d)
Restaurant                                                                                    83/66%

  4) How often do you use the pier facility?
    a) Never/rarely                                                                                 67/53%
.     b)
Occasionally                                                                                 49/39%
.     c)
Regularly                                                                                       10/8%

.   5) How often does someone staying at your property use the pier facility?
    a)
Never/rarely                                                                                 52/41%
.     b)
Occasionally                                                                                 40/32%
.     c)
Regularly                                                                                       19/15%
.     d)
Don’t know                                                                                   15/12%

.   6) Who do you think uses the pier the most?
.     a)
Holden Beach – Residents/Property Owners                          3/2%
.     b)
Tourists/Renters                                                                          59/47%
    c)
Day Trippers                                                                                 63/50%

.   7) Do you feel this is a good use of our financial resources?
.     a)
Absolutely                                                                                     32/25%
    b)
Probably                                                                                        34/27%
.     c)
Not sure                                                                                         23/18%
.     d)
No the funds are better spent elsewhere                                 37/29%
.         *
Comments = 17
/
This property can be so much more! In walking distance for a majority of the island.
/
See comment above. Some of the property needs to be repurposed. This will change the survey responses.
/
If this keeps other big money interests from building large multi-story apartments/condos/hotels. Who else is interested? Off Islanders who only want to make money from this SEMI-Private Beach? This is not a Public beach!
/
We know parking is an issue for Holden. The pier area could help. The pier buildings are becoming an eyesore. If the town owns the area improvements can be made and revenue can be generated.
/
Would need to see the numbers.
/
Beach access and more parking
/
See previous comments regarding the Town being in the retail business or leasing the pier and adjoining properties. I see the RV lots as the least desirable to keep as is. The pier parking lots need to be paid public parking.
/
Why should property owners provide or subsidize day trippers? Even with paid parking and a fee to access the pier it will be years before the town outright owns the property and then there is the upkeep. Will the town replace the pier after then next hurricane destroys it? Parking on beachfront property. Make a vehicle public access for EMS and Law Enforcement and sell the lots for millions. Reduce the town debt and give property owners a tax break.
/
If the pier & camp ground are not improved & maintained, they will become an eyesore & a liability.
/
Obviously depends on the purchase price
/
There are other less expensive tracts we could buy for parking if that is the reason for purchase. This would be an ongoing expense to tax payers. The Town has no business being in the pier business
/
I believe it should be paid for by funds received from those who use it.
/
It will require a significant investment to bring into compliance, ongoing operational and maintenance costs, and resources to manage it.

.   8) Do you think the Town should purchase the pier?
.     a)
Yes, whatever it takes                                                                 28/23%
.     b)
Only if all the costs are covered from paid parking revenue and whatever revenue is generated from the pier property                                                   32/26%
.    c)
Only if the all the costs are covered from paid parking revenue, whatever revenue is generated from the pier property, and any shortages are covered from occupancy tax revenue                                                                                                    30/24%
.     d)
No, if it means an increase in my property taxes                  17/14%
.     e)
No, it’s an unnecessary expense                                                17/14%

  9) Who are you?
    a)
Island Resident/Property Owner                                              112/90%
    b)
Brunswick County Property Owner                                         10/8%
.     c)
Tourist/Renter/Day Tripper                                                        2/2%

.    10) Any other comments that you would like to share about the potential purchase of the pier
.         * Comments = 23

/
I am not a property owner on the island, but Holden is our beach. I feel the property owners would not appreciate a property tax increase. If the pier can generate revenue with no additional tax or assessment to property owners, I think the pier is a good idea.
/
We have to look to the future. The pier is an asset to all of us and helps keep our property values up. Thanks to Gill and others for making this available to us all these years. Remember, you don’t miss the water until the well is dry!
/
I am hoping that the pier parking lot, which is filled with day trippers on the weekend, can become paid parking (at least on the weekend), and generate enough revenue to assist with costs. Your question about who uses the pier the most has two answers. The pier is most likely used by residents and renters/tourists, but the parking lot is used by weekend day trippers out on the beach. They look for free parking, sometimes parking at oceanfront homes that appear vacant. If they are going to use the pier parking lot and beach consistently, they should bear some of the cost of maintaining the area/facilities. It’s awfully hard for anyone else to use the parking lot on the weekend…like renters arriving before their rental is ready, who would love to pass their wait time on the pier…thus making it appear less people are using the pier.
/
All recreation events are by the bridge. That isn’t centrally located. The rec events have expanded, and this would provide a facility. Takeout options of healthy foods would be a plus, like at our Fitness Center at home. Cups of fruit, salads, sandwiches, etc.
/
We find the money for everything else that comes up….so why not this property. I hate that the town is not purchasing all of it.
/
Needs to be maintained for the recreation area.
/
This opportunity most likely will not present itself again. The town could make this a huge asset for the community while maintaining the current family beach status. I believe this investment will be a huge asset and generate revenue for the town if done correctly for years to come. Thanks for asking
/
A pier is a great asset for any beach. It’s an invitation to the sea. It’s also an historical marker and could well be the place where the history of Holden Beach and the Brunswick coast is preserved and told. Like a lighthouse it’s a landmark which has withstood the test of time. On a practical note it’s an attraction for fishermen and tourists.
/
Purchase camping property also for parking, restrooms, and to prevent more large housing from going in there on the entire property. A store for groceries as a part of the pier also. A breakfast restaurant and snack bar would be great.
/
That Allen Holden, if he or his companies are involved in this sale, return any and all moneys made to the Town of Holden Beach! We need to know who else may be looking at this property as I have heard comments from visitors that a high rise would look great on this site! Money talks, yet there is a time to adhere to our basic principles of this being a Family Beach, not another massive commercial development.
/
Buy the Pier!!
/
selling the hotel property would help in the purchase. using the parking for paid parking would help. Renting the pier restaurant but be sure it’s updated would help. and the camp ground could be a park for kids or maybe more parking till something comes along that would be more profitable.
/
Should never use the BPART funds, better known as the “Sand” money”, which is needed in case of a storm and the beach is badly damaged. It’s being abused enough as it is.
/
The town can’t manage to build a playground for under a million. Let the private sector buy it.
/
Regarding Question #2, we, the residents, and property owners, DO NOT have a RESPONSIBILITY to provide the general public, and or non-property owners anything. It *may* be a good thing to do, but we should have and feel NO responsibility to provide for non-property owners or residents. This is also in regard to public parking as well. While it may be a good thing to do, TMK there is NO requirement to provide public parking on the island.
Originally, I was told it WAS a requirement to get certain public funds. I have since been told from second hand from David Hewitt – Town Manager – there was NO such requirement. I would like to see this verified one way or the other.
/
The town should purchase the pier property
/
One of the greatest reasons for the Town buying the pier is to keep it from being developed as a large condo type project
/
Purchase only if it presents a viable business opportunity and all operational/maintenance costs are covered by revenue from the pier property & facilities. Sale/Purchase should be contingent on this requirement with the current owner taking back the property and canceling town loan obligations if revenue/costs do not meet expectations
/
The pier purchase for a public park/beach access/restaurant would be wonderful!!!!!!
/
The sooner the better!
/
The cost to tax payers would be on going. This would a very expensive project with limited return!
/
We are a vacation beach. That means fun, fishing, and things to do. The pier says “BEACH!” If I was a vacationer, I would not go to a beach without a pier.
/
Idiotic waste of money. If it has value let private investors try to make money with it.
/
It is a very special landmark!
/
If it were possible to buy the entire property, we could use the parking lots as paid spots with good beach access and bathroom facilities. This would help equalize the use of the beach between the east and west ends and hopefully garner revenue to cover the costs of owning and operating the pier.
/
The Town needs to start selling property and stop being the buyer of last resort for derelict buildings and houses
 


BOC’s Special Meeting 07/20/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here NA


Volunteers Needed
The Town has vacancies on the Board of Adjustment, Planning & Zoning Board, and the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. Interviews for the vacancies will be held on Tuesday, July 20th at 4:45 p.m.

1. Interviews for Vacancies on Town Boards


BOC’s Regular Meeting 07/20/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Presentation of Municipal Administration Certificate to Assistant Town Manager Ferguson – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Update –
David made presentation of certificate of completion from the school of government graduate level course of study  followed by photo-op.

Editor’s Note –
The primary purpose of this certification is to strengthen the professional management skills of personnel in responsible local government administrative positions.


2. Discussion and Possible Action on Water Agreement with Brunswick County – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
Attached is the Wholesale Bulk Water Service Agreement between the Town and Brunswick County. The proposed effective date is September 1, 2021, in order to allow time for both boards to consider the agreement.

Staff recommends approval of the agreement.

Update –
John Nichols from Brunswick County joined them. The current agreement has expired, we need to ensure continued provision of water to the citizenry. David coordinated with other communities with expired agreements to develop the proposed agreement. It’s not like we have any other option, there are no other wholesale providers. Commissioner Kwiatkowski questioned what they are doing about our water quality issues. John explained they are working very hard. He went into what they are doing to prevent both the introduction and removal of pollutants into the water source.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


3. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police Patch
Jeremy started by reviewing the actions that were taken since May, he was responding to the BOC’s request for more information at the last meeting.

 

In an effort to keep weekend traffic flowing smoothly, the Police Department shut down the left turn lane at the foot of the Holden Beach Bridge from NC130 onto Ocean Boulevard. They got a lot of positive feedback. It looks like it works, and they plan to do this every weekend through Labor Day. Brilliant!


Defensive Driving
Be mindful on the road, tourists are out there and frankly many of them are not paying attention. Defensive driving is driving characterized by prudence, diligence, and reasonable cautiousness. Its aim is to reduce the risk of collision by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the actions of others.

Public Safety Announcement
The Police Department would like to remind everyone that it is important to protect your personal property. Remove all items of value from your vehicle when you are not driving it. Always lock your vehicle doors when you are not in it. Leaving items on display, whether on the dashboard or sitting on a passenger seat, is an invitation to opportunist individuals. Make sure to follow these important tips!


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


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


Pets on the beach strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20
Pets must be on a leash at all times on the island.
From May 20th through September 10th
It is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand
. * During the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm


Unattended Gear
Ordinance §94.06 was passed on September 14, 2010. All unattended beach equipment must be removed from the beach by its owner or permitted user daily. All unattended personal equipment remaining on the beach between the hours of 6PM and 7AM will be classified as abandoned property and will be disposed of by the Town.


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


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


4. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-18, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 –2021 (Amendment No. 18, Isaias Cat Z) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
The attached budget amendment (Attachment l ) in the amount of $198,368.73, recognizes FEMA Cat Z (Administrative) grant funds as related to Isaias. The funds will be housed in Fund 70, the special project fund for FEMA events.

Suggested MotionApproval of Budget Amendment.

Moved funds of $198,386.73
From Revenue account #70.0323.0100
To Expense account #70.0460.2701

Update –
This is the last FEMA project; this action makes us whole on all storms that we plan to bundle together for our fall nourishment project.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

5. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-19, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 –2021 (Amendment No. 19) – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
This amendment is retroactive to June 30th to bring the fiscal year 2021 budget for accommodations tax up to the collected amount. The resulting amount represents a 35% increase over last year’s collections due to an influx of renters in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and re-opening of the state.

 Staff recommends: Approving Ordinance 21-19

Moved funds of $362,648
From Revenue account #50.0302.0000
To Expense account #50.0401.0000
To Expense account #50.0710.1700
To Expense account #50.0710.4700

Update
An end of year housekeeping amendment which reflects our actual accommodations tax collection. The year-end closing entry simply balances revenues with expenses, which is necessary if we want a clean audit.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


6. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-20, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 –2021 (Amendment No. 20) – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
This amendment is to assure the accordance with GASB 87. GASB 87 has recently been implemented and requires accounting for ownership transferring lease purchases to be accounted for essentially as a financing purchase.

Staff recommends: Approving Ordinance 21-20

Moved funds of $323,851.95
From Revenue account #30.0380.0000
To Expense account#30.0810.7403

Update –
Another housekeeping amendment. This is required for the recent Vactor truck lease purchase. It allows us to book it to capital listing which is necessary if we want a clean audit.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


7. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-21, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21-13, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 –2022 (Amendment No. 1) – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
The attached budget amendment is prepared to provide funding for the purchase of the Pier properties currently under consideration by the Board. It proposes to fund the acquisition via a combination of loan funds in the amount of $3,000,000 and cash from BPART fund balance in the amount of $259,000.

$50,000 of the cash amount will satisfy the due diligence and earnest money requirements contained in the offer approved by the BOC last Thursday 8 July. The remaining $9,000 is to obtain a commercial appraisal for the properties which is a requirement for Joan approval by the NC Local Government Commission.

Moved funds of $3,259,000
From Revenue account #50.0348.0000
From Revenue account #50.0399.0000
To Expense account#50.0710.0903
To Expense account#50.0710.7403

Update –
Amendment is required if the pier property purchase offer is accepted. Commissioner Sullivan & Kwiatkowski broached funding for pier inspection which they stated is integral to our decision whether to purchase. Commissioner Murdock  stated that until we have a signed contract this is a futile exercise, once the contract is signed, we can allocate funds to do whatever we need to do during due diligence period.

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


8. Discussion and Possible Action to Select the Priority Board of Commissioners’ Objectives for the Upcoming Fiscal Year – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
Priorities

18        Ensure funding for hurricane related FEMA projects and proceed with necessary steps for target commencement of sand on beach in Fall 2021

17        Ensure contracting, budgeting and funding for sewer lift station 2 to allow completion in 2022

17        Make decision on and implement new THB development fees

17        Ensure funding for 2022 DOT bike lane project, including any grant money

17       Address increasing stormwater issues with a study followed by appropriate actions for recurring problem areas along Ocean Boulevard (in advance of bike lane project)

17      Request help from Brunswick County for a second water tower (after completing a needs assessment)

17        Ensure advocacy resources are given to limit expansion of the IHA

16       Support and participate in beach and inlet related advocacy efforts at local, state, and federal level

      • Become more involved in and lead where possible regional advocacy groups and committees
      • Develop advocacy strategy, plan and material for county and state efforts and implement the plan
      • Review and as appropriate amend directions to Poyner Spruill for federal advocacy; ensure funds are designated for the three-year Corps study (1.5 million total)
      • Support and participate in advocacy efforts at any level as appropriate
      • Greater involvement in coastal community advocacy

16        Ensure definition and implementation of new water rates for January 2022

16        Determine if paid parking is economically viable; if so, implement paid parking

15        Oversee progress on internal control plan for fiscal year 2021/2022 completion

14        Ensure adequate resources to undertake enforcement/compliance objectives decided by the Board (Increase enforcement of ordinances)

14        Request help from Brunswick County to establish an off-island parking and trolly/bus service to the beach 100 days or more a year

14        Purchase all or a portion of Holden Beach Pier

14        Maintain an up-to-date strategy to protect the beach and dune system and ensure adequate budget for implementation of plans, including soil sampling and plant modification where appropriate

Evergreens (mostly financial)

18        Balance the budget while preserving the minimum fund balance as defined by the Board; Balance the budget without raising taxes

18        Ensure the Town meets or exceeds annual financial budget goals

18        Work together for the good of Holden Beach

17        Raise revenues

17        Continue to support LWI access to ocean

16        Ensure the Town achieves an unmodified opinion rating on annual fiscal audit and addresses noted deficiencies

16        Ensure qualified resources are available to perform audit and accounting procedures to ensure there are no material deficiencies noted in the annual fiscal audit

14        Ensure an updated capital project budget sheet is included in final budget documents

Previously reported – June 2021
BOC Objectives for Fiscal Year 2021/2022
They have created, scored, and ranked their objectives. They now need to establish their priorities and begin to work to accomplish them in the fiscal year. Pat was asked what she recommends, and she proposed the top twenty-five (25) objectives. David said that we need to be strategic in our thinking, he recommended that they use items with a score of seventeen (17) or above which gives them twelve (12) item that are general in nature and staff can focus on accomplishing them. Pat agreed to review the list and present David with a streamlined version at next month’s meeting.

Update –
Pat stated that she is just the bookkeeper, and the Board needs to determine what their priorities will be. Most of the discussion was between Pat and David. There was no input or discussion from the other Board members. It doesn’t seem like the list was whittled down very much to me.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


9. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-22, An Ordinance Amending Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 35: Inlet & Beach Protection Board – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Delete Chapter 35: Inlet & Beach Protection Board in its entirety from the Holden Beach Code of Ordinance.

Previously reported – June 2021
Agenda Packet –
The BOC decision to authorize the 3-year Corps study led me to re-examine the remit and activities of the IBPB. A fuller evaluation of the IBPB’s purpose and benefit appears appropriate given two important BOC decisions since the formation of the IBPB that have brought significant change to the Town’s beach and inlet management approach.

The decision by the BOC to employ a lobbying firm to help us more efficiently interact with and make requests to local and federal officials has raised officials’ awareness of and responsiveness to Holden Beach needs and positions. The decision to seek an Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Storm Risk Management study was recently made with the aspiration of obtaining ACE endorsement of an optimum construction and long-term maintenance plan for the island.

Looking back at the tasks requested to the Inlet and Beach Protection Board and their outputs, which include the 2019 Oceanfront and Inlets Management Plan, the IBPB has met the main objectives initially set by the BOC . However, taking into consideration that in the near term (next 2 years) the Town’s primary beach protection activity is defined (seeing to renourishment of sands lost during hurricanes with FEMA and state funds reimbursing the Town), longer term planning will be dependent on the results of the ACE 3 year study ( tentative due date 2024), and the Town’s selected lobbying firm will continue to provide insight and assistance in managing changing federal laws, regulations and agency practices, at this time further IBPB activities do not appear to be critical to the Town meeting its beach and inlet management goals. Given that any advisory board takes Staff time and Town resource, which are currently fully focused on fulfilling FEMA renourishment and ACE projects, I consider the current relative benefit of continuing IBPB activities is low compared to using available resources to achieve the defined beach and inlet objectives.

I ask Board to consider releasing the current IBPB from further duties with thanks for their valuable contribution and that the current ordinance be suspended until such time as a future BOC determines the need for an advisory board. At the same time, I propose the Parks and Rec committee takes responsibility for “modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to public and private beach access walkways which promote protection and growth of the town’s protective dune systems” ( a responsibility in the current IBPB ordinance) and dune health and protection in general.

Previously reported – April 2018
CHAPTER 35: INLET AND BEACH PROTECTION BOARD
§35.02 POWERS AND DUTIES.

The Inlet and Beach Protection Board shall:

(A) Serve as an advisory board for the town;

(B) Prepare and recommend to the Board of Commissioners, a comprehensive long-term plan for the town’s role, if any, in the management, dredging and protection of the Lockwood Folly and Shallotte Inlets, including their respective navigational channels, and the management, protection and nourishment of the town’s ocean beaches and protective dune systems;

(C) Evaluate the feasibility and cost and benefits of proposed dredging projects (excluding canal dredging), beach and/or dune nourishment projects and protective structure projects (excluding canal dredging) to the town and to property owners within the town as a whole, and make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners with respect to such projects;

(D) With the assistance of the attorney assigned to support the Inlet and Beach Protection Board, make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for amendments or modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to the “frontal dune” and “protective dune system”;

(E) With the assistance of the attorney assigned to support the Inlet and Beach Protection Board, make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to public and private beach access walkways which promote protection and growth of the town’s protective dune systems;

(F) Serve as a link between the Board of Commissioners, Town Manager, and the community on the above-described areas; and

(G) Perform such other duties within or related to the general purview of the Inlet and Beach Protection Board which may assigned to it from time-to-time by the Board of Commissioners.

The Board decided to remove the ordinance, at least for the time being.
It was part of Parks & Rec committee and that is where it is going back to now.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

From my perspective the most important objective of the IBPB was to serve as a liaison to the Community. The Board divvied up the different shore protection groups with each person taking responsibility to cover their group’s meetings. Without this Board we only have the Town Manager’s filtered communications regarding these coastal issues. I really can’t imagine why we wouldn’t want additional eyes and ears looking at these critical issues to the island.

Update –
Delete Chapter 35 in its entirety from Code of Ordinances per the Board’s direction at the last meeting

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


10. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-23, An Ordinance Amending Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 34: Parks & Recreation Advisory Board – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
6) Make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to public and private beach access walkways which promote protection and growth of the town’s protective dune systems.

7) Make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners regarding dune health and protection.

Update –
Per the Board’s direction at the last meeting, this ordinance takes parts from IBPB and brings it over to Parks and Recreation.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


  • 11. Discussion and Possible Selection of Members to Serve on Town Boards – Town Clerk Finnell
    Agenda Packet –
    Interviews for people interested  in serving on various Town boards are scheduled  for July  201h  at 4:45p.m. Below is a breakdown of the vacancies on each board .
    .
    Parks & Recreation Advisory Board: There are three vacancies. Also, Suzannah Tucker’s term  1s expiring, however she is eligible and willing to serve another term.
    .
    Planning & Zoning Board: There are three regular member terms and one alternate member term expiring. Regular member Tracey Thomas is eligible and willing to serve another term. Alternate member Pete Pallas is also eligible and willing to serve another term. He can be moved to a regular member position if the Board desires. The other two members are not eligible to serve another term. There is also a vacant alternate position that needs to be filled.
    .
    Board of Adjustment: One regular member term is expiring. They are not eligible to serve another term. There are also two alternate member vacancies.As of agenda time, I do not have enough applications to fill all of the vacant positions. The Board may need to revisit the remaining vacancies at a future meeting. Ballots will be supplied at the meeting if the Board desires to vote by ballot.

§155.11 MEMBERSHIP AND VACANCIES
No regular member shall serve for more than two consecutive terms, and a member having served two consecutive terms shall not be eligible for reappointment until after remaining off the Board for one year.

Update –
The Board voted by ballot and selected the following candidates to fill the vacancies.

Parks & Recreation
Grace Bannerman
Melanie Champion
Mike Pearson
Suzannah Tucker

Planning & Zoning
John Cain
Wade Coleman
Mark Francis
Pete Pallas
Sylvia Pate

Board of Adjustment
Jack Lohman
Richard Roberts



I’m of the opinion that our Board term policy unnecessarily creates vacancies.

Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various Boards and Committees. If you are interested, submit application to heather@hbtownhall.com.


12. Audit Committee Debrief to Board – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Previously reported – June 2021
§30.26 AUDIT COMMITTEE OF THE BOC.
Appointment , 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 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.

Commissioner Tyner was the Chairman, but he resigned in March. We are required to have a Chairman of the Audit Committee and it is time to fill the vacant spot. Mike nominated Commissioner Kwiatkowski, she accepted and will replace Woody as Chairman of this Committee.

Update –
Pat started to have audit committee meetings again. They will  pick-up with business that was already in progress. They are also reviewing the audit committee ordinance with an eye towards making some changes. No action requested, since this was simply a report from the new Chair of the committee.


13. Discussion and Possible Action on Parking Management Services Proposals – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Parking  Management  Services Proposals  were  due to the Town on July 5th. Four companies submitted proposals: Premium Parking, Pivot Parking, Lanier Parking and Otto Connect.

Staff is requesting direction on how the Board would like to proceed.

Pivot Parking Proposal

Otto Connect Proposal

Lanier Parking Proposal

Premium Parking Services Proposal


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

Previously reported – April 2021
Brian discussed the two (2) paid parking presentations/proposals. The programs are very flexible and can be tailored to what we want. Paid parking has the potential to be a significant revenue stream for the Town and help offset the numerous costs we incur from the daily influx of day trippers. Commissioner Sullivan stated that we need to determine how this will work and then how we will communicate that to the public.

Previously reported – May 2021
The Board recognizes that there is a need for additional parking. But they do not want to burden our property owners with the cost of providing parking. Paid parking can provide a significant revenue stream and could recoup a lot of the expenses we currently incur. They acknowledged it does makes sense to pursue paid parking. A series of things need to be accomplished making it unlikely that they can get it done for this summer. They authorized the Town Manager to put out a Request for Proposal for paid parking. Currently there are restrictions on how you can spend funds if they are not off-street parking spots. Therefore they also authorized David to explore requesting special legislation in order to allow us to use street parking spots funds for other purposes then current legislation permits.

Holden Beach eyes paid parking
The Holden Beach board of commissioners met twice during the week of May 18 to discuss items such as setting up paid parking and how residents can send in complaints. Last Friday morning, they listened to Tim Hoppenrath, market president of Premium Parking, give a presentation on how paid parking can help the town and used Kure Beach as an example. “They were getting a big influx of people, probably due to COVID last year, coming to the beach,” he said. “And because it was free and what was happening, there was more damage. There was more trash.” Free parking was ended, and his business was hired for the parking contract. Now that town is making money off the parking. Kure Beach made a gross $156,000 in the first 41 days. The beach, he said, has 632 spaces, usually with 300 to 400 that are occupied on busy days. On the busiest day, they earned $8,000 with 560 sessions. He said there is zero start-up cost, and pay machines are solar powered so there is no electricity cost. The town would only have to pay for labor costs and management fees. The company makes a little money on the transaction fee, which is 35 cents for each transaction. Drivers only need to register their plates and pay the company in advance. If they can’t remember their plates, they can also do it based on a description of their car. If a car is caught in violation, the owner will receive a warning. If they are caught again, they can receive a citation and be sent to collections, Hoppenrath said, but collections would end up keeping most of the money, making that futile. The other option is to keep fining the driver. The goal, he said, isn’t to write citations. It is to keep people compliant. He added there will also be plenty of signs up to remind people to pay and use their plates, but not so much that it becomes “white noise.” One question the board had was about how renters will pay. Owners are already guaranteed two parking spots each, and renters would have to pay unless owners worked around that. The owner could give the renter a login and permit number. Golf carts were also brought up. One of the commissioners suggested rental companies purchase passes and permits to prove the golf cart is legal. Commissioner Brian Murdock said there will be a push to get cars off the sides of the road. Hoppenrath advised the town would also receive a portion of the earnings, which can be used how the town sees fit, including paying for the parking lots. He added there will be a surge of sign-ups for the first month or two, then it calms down. The board then requested the contract, not to sign yet but to look it over. Commissioner Pat Kwiatkowski said, “This is all very promising. But let’s be frank. We have one chance to roll this out properly.” Kwiatkowski said if they did something wrong, it will be hard to get confidence back from the residents. Kwiatkowski said they should start the program in the spring of 2022 and iron out all the details such as the terms, fees and more. She said all of this should be addressed so there isn’t confusion when they start the program. Kwiatkowski said the parking committee will have several months to work on this. The delay would also prevent inadvertent “goofs.” Other commissioners said they should start as soon as possible. They settled on looking into it further.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – June 2021
Agenda Packet –
Directive to:
Parking Committee

Issue and Action Requested:
In order for paid parking to be successfully rolled out in Spring pf 2022, there are a number of decisions that will need to be made by the BOC before the end of 2021. The Parking Committee is asked to develop a paid parking plan with financials covering the years 2022-2025 in line with the charge questions below.

Background
and Potential Implications:
With the continuing popularity and growth of Holden Beach and Brunswick County, parking on the island during many months of the year is increasingly problematic for both visitors and property owners. Additionally, increasing numbers of off island beach goers translate to increasing costs for the Town in terms of trash pickup, facilities maintenance, beach patrol and traffic control.
In order to better organize visitor parking and help defray seasonal costs, the decision has been made to implement a paid parking program starting in Spring 2022. It is important to have a clear description of the parking facilities and cost plus a communication plan for rollout of the paid parking program to avoid miscommunication and confusion.

Charge Questions:

1. Parking Lots (suggest the committee shows lots and spaces on a town map, color code for a, b, c)
a) What town owned lots currently exist and how many spaces are available for paid parking?
b) What town owned property is suitable for conversion to paid parking before next Spring and what is the estimated cost for conversion?
c) What properties (if any) are proposed for purchase and how many spaces will be available for paid parking? What is the estimated cost to purchase, assumed timeframe for establishing the parking lot and cost for conversion?
2. Financials
a) Rate proposal and date range for paid parking
b)
Estimated gross profit associated with 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and 2024
c) Estimated initial costs for signage and equipment (show where on map)
d) Estimated expenses associated with 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and (including personnel)
e) Estimated net profit for 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and 2024
3. Public Communication and Engagement Plan
Who, when, where

Proposed Deadline:
No later than the October BOCM.

Tasker is a formal request to the Committee. It outlines what information that they would like to be included in their report and clarifies their purpose. The intent is to get information needed so that the Board are able to make a decision. David indicated that a Request for Proposal (RFP) was advertised last week, it contains very similar items that are in the tasker. He anticipates that they should have that for BOC’s review at the July meeting.

Update –
Received proposals from four vendors, staff is looking for direction on how to proceed. Commissioner Murdock felt that the staff should be the one to make the decision since they will have to make the program work. The Board asked the Town staff to review the proposals and make a recommendation to them. David said that they would utilize a decision selection matrix and report back to them at the next scheduled meeting.

No decision was made – No action taken


    • 14. Discussion and Possible Action on Golf Cart Violation Reporting Tasker – Commissioners Kwiatkowski and Smith

      Agenda Packet –
      Request for Golf Cart Infraction Details
      Issue and Action Requested:
      Golf cart parking and moving vehicle violations have become highly visible with the increasing number of golf carts being used by renters and property owners. In order to judge whether the Town’s increased communication and police department efforts are improving golf cart “safety” and compliance, the Board needs to see golf cart infraction details.

      Background and Potential Implications:
      Golf cart safety has become a major concern of many of our residents-we see frequent cases of underage drivers, unsafe driving, seat belts not used, babies in laps, and illegal parking. One of the justifications for increasing the THB police force last year was to be able to better enforce traffic and parking rules, with golf carts acknowledged as a particular problem. It is hoped that police warnings and, when necessary, ticketing early in the rental week leads to reduced infractions as the week progresses.

      Without detailed golf cart infraction data neither the BOC or Town Staff can judge whether ongoing Town communication efforts and Police Department focused activities are reducing unsafe practices and illegal parking of golf carts. The BOC needs a report specific to golf carts that provides for all warnings and tickets. Below is a suggested list of information that would help Town Staff, the Board and our residents measure improvements and determine whether changes in education and/or enforcement activities would be appropriate.

      Violation description:

          • Parking
          • Underage driver
          • Seat belt infraction
          • Child seat infraction Unsafe driving
          • Unlicensed vehicle


      Warning or ticket

      Date and day of week
      Time of day
      Location on island

      A summary of findings would be presented at our monthly BOCM’s , suggested to start in August.

      Previously reported – June 2021

      Golf carts are supposed to be treated the same as any other automotive vehicle. Despite the educational signs and the police chiefs commitment of stepped-up enforcement I have not noticed any noticeable change in behavior. Have you? The police department say that golf carts are being addressed as a priority in order to keep people safe. Golf cart issues still appear to be out of control. Underage drivers that clearly don’t have a driver’s license, children not properly restrained, seat belts not being used, carts parked illegally  in the rights-of-way on OBW, are all safety issues that could have serious consequences.  Just to be clear, even though  we still see violations does not necessarily mean the police department has not  followed through on their commitment of stepped-up enforcement. Letting us know what they have been doing to get this issue under control would be helpful. Therefore, my recommendation is for Jeremy to include the number of warnings and tickets issued for golf cart violations in the meetings  police report.

      Update –
      Pat & Rick are asking for violation reporting from the Police Department. They are requesting details specific to golf carts to help determine what kind of impact that our stepped-up enforcement is having. The police department currently do not data track by type of vehicle. Jeremy stated he did not like the request, nor does he have the staff to comply with the request.  The police department will continue to enforce the ordinances, but this request is not going to solve anything.

      No decision was made – No action taken

      Well it’s one month later and I’m singing a different tune. The good news is there has definitely been a noticeable change in behavior. The bad news is that there still are a significant number of golf carts in violation of vehicle regulations.

    • Some progress has been made!

    • 15. Discussion and Possible Action on Golf Cart Request to Town Attorney – Commissioner Smith

      Agenda Packet –
      Action Requested:
      I would like to ask the Town Attorney if it is legal to require the golf cart rental companies to purchase a Holden Beach yearly permit/sticker and require them to complete a safety/state compliance inspection before each rental and have a rules and regulation form the renters must sign off on when they receive the rental cart.

      Also require Holden Beach residents and property owners to purchase a permanent permit/sticker and allow them to self-inspect their golf carts for safety and state requirements and sign off on the state and Holden Beach rules and regulations.

      My concern is for the safety of the people, especially the kids, that operate and ride on the golf carts at Holden Beach. We do not want anybody injured or worse.

      Update –
      The Town Attorney addressed the request, he stated that they may regulate golf carts. He also stated this is a serious safety issue and this can and should be regulated by the Town. The Board allowed Kevin a retired NCDOT enforcement officer who specialized in golf carts who also owns a golf rental company on the island to speak. He didn’t think they were going about this the right way, and he offered to work with them to develop a solution. Commissioner Sullivan stated that we already have enough regulations, this is really an enforcement issue.

      No decision was made – No action taken


      16. FEMA Gated Community Debris Pickup Update – Town Manager Hewett

      Agenda Packet – background information not provided

      Previously reported – May 2021
      Last year they had discussions about picking up debris on the west end gated community which did not qualify for FEMA reimbursement. Pat is just exploring if it is possible to get reimbursement from FEMA for our gated communities. FEMA does not normally reimburse municipalities for debris pickups made in gated communities.

      Apparently the first step is to get a written agreement from the gated communities giving the Town permission to provide this service. In order to apply for reimbursement, legal contracts are needed. Documentation would be ready in case we have to; it does not necessarily mean that the Town will provide this service. The motion is to get the contracts completed prior to the next storm event. They authorized the Town Manager to explore getting a legal contract in place.

      Item was removed from the agenda


      17. Discussion and Possible Action on Text Amendment for Swimming Pool Locations – Inspections Director Evans

      Agenda Packet –
      Staff has reviewed and recommends consideration by the Board of Commissioners the amendments to sections 157.0Gl(D)(G)(c) and 157.060(0)(7){c).

      Staff believes that the above-mentioned text amendments will help insure a healthy safe environment for the town of Holden Beach. While pools have become a staple in the rental business, most lots without exception will not accommodate pools, and it’s the staff’s beliefs that the town never intended to provide exceptions for pools in the front yard. As a matter of record staff has concluded that the ordinance allowing for such use was meant to keep clear those front yard setbacks of any such amenities to secure best-case scenarios for impervious runoff. The Town of Holden Beach has recognized in the past, and it is true currently that overflow parking is a must at most rental locations. The state of North Carolina makes it extremely hard to control the number of people located in a dwelling. The town does have a mandatory parking requirement. It is imperative that the town recognize the benefits of keeping as much space open for occupants to use for parking.

      Staff believes that there is a real danger in swimming pools located so close to the street rights-of-way as many are in the 25-foot setback area, providing direct access for an amenity that has been declared and identified as an attractive nuisance. Pools are considered so dangerous that the North Carolina Building Code has specific Safety requirements and an independent code section just for pools.

      Sections 157.061(0)(6) and 157.060(0)(7), that allows for the unintended exception can be corrected with the above-mentioned text amendment .

      This text amendment was generated by staff and supported by Commissioner Sullivan, Planning Board Chair Vicki Myers.

      Added following verbiage: pools are prohibited within the front yard setback

      Update –
      Timbo asked them to decide if they want to accept the text amendment that will prohibit pools in the front yard setback. It was not the intent of the ordinance to allow pools in the front yard setback. Unfortunately, it inadvertently allowed them creating a safety issue and is legally called an attractive nuisance. This can be corrected by the text that he submitted to them. Any changes made to the Zoning Code requires a Public Hearing.

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


      18. Town Manager’s Report

      FEMA
      Special Obligation Bonds were approved by the Local Government Commission.
      Bonds are to cover the  cost  for the Central Reach federal reimbursement sand project.
      Last week we closed on $27.7 million financing with PNC Bank. Notice of contract  award was issued to Weeks Marine for nourishment project.

      Seagull Street Paving
      Notice to proceed with surveying required for design work has been issued
      Previously reported – June 2021
      Reviewed Seagull street paving engineer’s schedule over the next eight (8) months

      Lift Station #2
      Progress meeting is scheduled for next week
      Almost ready to advertise for upgrade to this lift station


      In Case You Missed It –


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


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

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

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


      Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
      2020 Water Quality Results
      The 2020 Consumer Confidence Report is now available. Click here to read the report.


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

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

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

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


      Port-a- Johns
      The Town budgeted money from the BPART account to cover the costs of seasonal (100 days of summer) public restroom facilities and services. We will have four handicap accessible units strategically placed at three locations on the island.

      They are located as follows:

            1. Two are at the far east end
            2. One is at sewer lift station by Greensboro
            3. One is at sewer lift station just before the 800 block

      19. Board of Commissioners’ Comments

      Three Commissioners laid out their position regarding the pier property purchase.

    • Commissioner Murdock wants to purchase the pier even if we have to replace every piling.
    • Commissioner Sullivan was a bit more pragmatic and only wants to purchase if it makes fiscal sense.Commissioner Kwiatkowski was concerned about how we plan to pay for it and reviewed all the debt that we already have committed to. She strongly urged the property owners to contact them on whether they want to purchase the pier property.
      Editor’s Note –

      The public needs to participate more in the process, the Board can’t represent you without your input. The pier property purchase has an upfront price tag of $3.25 million dollars. Only 23% of those that completed Lou’s Views survey gave an unconditional YES response to purchase it. The majority 64% gave a conditional positive response. What that means is that the Board will  need to explain how they plan to pay for this property. According to the Board we have only  agreed to the terms of the contract, but it is not a done deal yet. Therefore, it’s important that the Board gets a better feel for what the community wants. This is your chance to help determine whether we purchase the property or pass on the opportunity.

      Do you think the Town should purchase the pier property?

          • Yes, whatever it takes
          • Only if it makes fiscal sense, with no added assessment or tax to  property owners
          • Only if it is shown to be self-sustaining and all the costs are covered
          • No, it’s an unnecessary expense


      I encourage all of you to send an email with where you stand on this issue

      Make sure to include your name, address, and whether this is your primary residence

      Please send comments to:

      Heather Finnell                           Town Clerk                heather@hbtownhall.com
      Alan Holden                                 Mayor                        alan@alanholdenrealty.com
      Gerald Brown                              Mayor Pro Tem        geraldbrowngb365@gmail.com
      Brian Murdock                            Commissioner          BOCmurdock@gmail.com
      Pat Kwiatkowski                         Commissioner          pattykwi@gmail.com
      Mike Sullivan                               Commissioner          sullivm4@gmail.com
      Rick Smith                                    Commissioner          rsmith9421@gmail.com

      heather@hbtownhall.com; alan@alanholdenrealty.com; geraldbrowngb365@gmail.com; BOCmurdock@gmail.com; pattykwi@gmail.com; sullivm4@gmail.com; rsmith9421@gmail.com


Glimpsing the end of the pier? Future hazy for NC coastal icons
Repeated hurricanes drive up costs and risk as developers flood beach towns, but NC fishing piers provide habitat, recreation, and economic draw.
The Oceanana Fishing Pier in Atlantic Beach lost 150 feet of boardwalk along with the Barnacle Bar in a record high tide and tidal surge during Hurricane Florence in 2018. The storm crashed into land near Wrightsville Beach then tortured the central North Carolina coast with fierce winds, devastating rain, and a record-breaking storm surge of 13 feet that submerged the Oceanana’s deck. Florence could have been a terminal blow to the 60-year-old pier, which also sustained damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011. But Trace Cooper and his family, the owners of the pier, decided to rebuild in spite of the potential for more frequent and punishing storms in the future due to climate change. According to Cooper, who also serves as Atlantic Beach’s mayor, it wasn’t an easy decision. In fact, the fate of the Oceanana and other ocean piers in North Carolina may be in peril, threatened by climate change, ebbing demand, and rising real estate values. Cooper told CPP that the cost to repair the pier is roughly $1,000 per foot. The last rebuild in 2018 and 2019 was nearly $300,000. Since the price of insurance is prohibitive, the Coopers incurred the entire cost to restore the pier. “If you do the math, if we go 15 to 20 years without a hurricane, it makes sense to rebuild,” he said. “We’ve lost the pier twice in a decade. That’s never happened before.”  In the 1990s, Bogue Banks, a 21-mile barrier island near Morehead City, once anchored seven ocean piers to its shore. Today, there are just two on the island; the 1,000-foot-long Oceanana is one of them. Two piers in Atlantic Beach, the Sportsman’s Pier, and the Triple S Pier, were razed in 2006 to make room for development. The other remaining structure, the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier in Emerald Isle, was placed on the market in July. Its future is uncertain. The asking price is $18 million. The heyday of seaside piers, Cooper said, was the 1950s and 1960s. Cooper’s grandfather A.B. Cooper built the Oceanana Fishing Pier and a motel in 1959. The 8-acre property bounded by State Road 58 on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other also includes several dozen vacation trailers whose owners lease land from the Oceanana. “For a long time, if you wanted to fish on the ocean, you had to go to a pier,” Cooper said. At the height of the pier boom, in 1980, there were 36 ocean piers along the state’s coast. Now, according to Chris Wilson, who collects recreational fishing data for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, 20 coastal piers remain in operation. Excluding the state-owned Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head on the Outer Banks and the town-operated Oak Island Pier south of Wilmington, all are private enterprises. Cooper attended college in New York and worked as an attorney in Silicon Valley. But in 2011, he returned to Atlantic Beach to operate the family’s business. Since his return, aside from a recent spike in visitation, the number of pier anglers has diminished. Cooper attributes the decline in the Oceanana’s fishing business to the relatively low cost of financing a boat. Longer loan terms and low borrowing rates have eased the purchase of oceangoing vessels and, perhaps, has made pier fishing less of an attraction. In 2015, when the Oceanana began collecting data, 20,036 people paid $10 per day (it’s now $12 per day) to fish from the pier. Walking, visiting the bar or sightseeing from the pier has no fee. In 2017, 17,171 people fished at the pier, a 14.3% decline from 2015. In 2019, only 11,369 paid to fish from the Oceanana, although storm damage and construction closures resulting from Florence, Cooper said, contributed to the decline. Wilson of the NCDMF said that since the state agency began collecting data in 2012, North Carolina piers have averaged 340,000 users per year. Casting aside 2018 and 2019, which were impacted by Hurricane Florence, Wilson said use is trending upward slightly. Still, Cooper isn’t hopeful that the Oceanana’s numbers will resurface, nor is he banking on it. According to Cooper, 25% of the revenue comes from fishing passes, bait, tackle and rod-and-reel rental, but the majority of the revenue is generated by the motel and the restaurant in the pier house. Piers that rely only on fishing may have more incentive to sell to a developer, especially if the price of scarce oceanfront property continues to rise. “The pier is an amenity for the hotel and helps us rent rooms,” he said. “We have a reason to rebuild that a stand-alone pier doesn’t.”
Providing habitat for coastal species
A primary reason that anglers are drawn to piers is that the structure orchestrates a lush habitat of marine life. Barnacles and sea urchins form on the pylons and provide a smorgasbord that feeds a range of fishes, including northern puffers, sheepshead, and Atlantic spadefish. They also attract hunter species, such as southern flounders, which visit piers seeking prey. Discarded carcasses, tossed by anglers, are a substantial food source for rays, crabs, sharks, and birds. And the elevated boardwalk provides a better vantage than the shore for saltwater anglers who pursue Spanish mackerel and spotted sea trout. According to Wilson, the biggest catches by weight from North Carolina’s ocean piers in 2019 were bluefish, Spanish mackerel, kingfish, pompano, and pufferfish. Anne Deaton, an NCDMF habitat manager, said the habitat that developed along barrier islands, such as Bogue Banks, has been transformed by humans and nature over time. Geologically speaking, barrier islands are offshore deposits of sand separated from the mainland. The sand is perpetually shifted during floods, and the dunes roll toward the mainland during storms. To protect property and counter shore erosion, beach nourishment projects have altered the marine landscape along the shore of the islands. “We’re putting sand over the shallows near the shore,” Deaton said. The result is a rising sea floor below the pier, which means that species, such as spot and croaker, are now farther from the beach. Many barrier islands also have muddy sloughs — deep, underwater troughs running parallel to the beach. Fish travel them looking for food, such as crabs or sand fleas. “Old-timers have told me that there were muddy sloughs near the surf break that attracted shrimp” and other predators at Atlantic Beach, Deaton said. But the bottom of nourished beaches can become hard from additions of mud, sand, and shells. The near-shore sloughs are often covered, making it difficult for small flounder to burrow or mullet to feed. That loss of habitat, whether caused by storms or human-made projects, is a major fisheries management concern.
Piers as an economic asset
Saltwater fishing and marine habitat, however, aren’t the only assets piers offer. Like lighthouses, they are public goods. That is, they are an economic good in which users can’t be excluded and also provide a community or civic benefit. For example, the breaking waves near the Oceanana and other piers along the eastern coast are hallowed waters for surfers. By forming sand bars, piers enhance the waves that reliably peak on either side of the structure. And while occasionally visitors may have one too many beers and tensions sometimes flare between surfers and anglers, Cooper said the Oceanana remains committed to his grandfather’s vision of building a family-friendly operation. In the ’30s and ’40s, Atlantic Beach, Cooper said, was initially developed and funded, in large part, by Eastern North Carolina tobacco money. But after World War II, the eastern end of Bogue Banks attracted middle-class farmers from Kinston, Goldsboro, Wilson, and Greenville. By the 1980s, condominium complexes rose. In the 1990s and 2000s, single-home development filled in empty spaces. Now, Cooper said, 95% of land in Atlantic Beach is developed. Predictably, multimillion-dollar homes are replacing modest beach cottages. “This town reflects the evolution of North Carolina,” Cooper said. “It’s more affluent in Eastern North Carolina than when it was primarily agricultural. What happens in Raleigh will happen here.” Based on ZIP codes, Cooper said, Wake County residents are the largest group of homeowners in Atlantic Beach. The grill fare in the Oceanana’s Pier House Restaurant also reflects the economic status of visitors to Atlantic Beach. On the menu, fresh, local seafood has supplanted hot dogs. Yet the pier has remained more pluralistic, economically speaking, than perhaps the rest of Atlantic Beach. Much like public spaces and public parks, piers may be more inclusive and a shared place because of the low entrance barriers. “Piers offer access to people from all walks of life, a wide range of income, different races and different levels of fishing ability,” said John Hadley, an economist with the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council who authored an NCDMF social and economic study of piers in 2012. “Many are also handicapped-accessible. They are pillars of the beach community. North Carolina is pretty unique in the number of ocean piers. They are one of the defining features of the North Carolina coast.” Wilson added that piers are a microcosm of fishing society. “You’ve got your tourists and cliques of regulars – the pier rats that you see over and over again. It’s a microcosm of fishing society. When one pier disappears, it’s a loss.” Indeed, a characteristic of a public good is that private parties may struggle to profit, which undermines their incentive to provide them. While some have suggested that the state should build additional public piers, such as Jennette’s Pier, not everyone is on board with that idea. “You want to maintain the public benefit and access, but at the same time, not inadvertently put other piers out of business that have been operating for decades,” said Hadley. Unexpectedly, Cooper said, after fishing resumed during phase 1 of the state’s reopening from the coronavirus pandemic this spring, the Oceanana experienced a spike in the number of anglers. “The pier was a godsend during March and April and kept our people working,” Cooper said. “It’s the first time we leaned on the fishing business in a while.” Despite the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, Cooper said he is preparing plans to redevelop the property. The outdated motel and pier house will be replaced, and owners of trailers who lease land are on notice that redevelopment is imminent. That portion of the property will be replaced by vacation rentals. While the buildings and space will get a fresh look, Cooper said the pier will remain. That is, as long as Mother Nature allows. “If a hurricane happens again this year, it wouldn’t make sense economically to rebuild the pier,” he said. “It’s all private money. We want to continue to have public access, but there’s no state or federal money to help us. There is a reason there aren’t a lot of piers left: They don’t make great businesses.”
Read more » click here


Loose Ends (3)

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


      General Comments –

    • 2021 Municipal Elections
      For more information » click here
      .
    • Filings for municipal elections complete for all races
      The filing period for municipal elections has ended.  The following candidates have officially filed for Holden Beach municipal elections before the deadline and will not face any opposition.
      .
      Holden Beach Mayor
      Alan Holden                           128 OBW                             Holden Beach        (incumbent)
    • Holden Beach Commissioner
      Pat Kwiatkowski                   1298 OBW                           Holden Beach        (incumbent)
      Rick Smith                              823 OBW                             Holden Beach
      Page Dyer                               149 Scotch Bonnet             Holden Beach
      .
      It would appear that incumbent Mike Sullivan has chosen not to run for office
      .
      Board of Commissioners Duties and Responsibilities include:

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


      Previously reported –
      June 2017

      Staggered Terms
      Appointing the members of Boards so that all the members do not change at the same time because their terms expire at different times.

      Advantage of Staggered Terms –
      Help preserve institutional memory by not allowing total rotation of the leadership at one time. Good institutional memory generally improves decision-making and promotes the continuity of good practices and programs.

      Reinstitute Staggered Terms –
      Holden Beach and Bolivia are the only Brunswick County town governments that do not have staggered terms. The Board normally would have two (2) options on how they could make change back to staggered terms. We will need to do a referendum for it to be in effect before the November 2017 elections. It will take two election cycles to fully implement. Justification given is to preserve continuity.

      Referendum –
      A general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision.

      Update –
      By unanimous vote, the Board of Commissioners approved the crafting of a resolution that would put the proposed changes to voters as a referendum on the ballot in November of 2017. If the referendum is approved the staggered terms would be implemented after the November of 2019 election. To be clear, only registered voters of Holden Beach would get to vote on the referendum.
      A decision was made – Approved unanimously

      Previously reported – July 2017
      Agenda Packet –
      ORDINANCE 17-10 / AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH TO IMPLEMENT FOUR-YEAR STAGGERED TERMS FOR THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS.

      Section 2. At the regular municipal election to be held on November 5, 2019, the three commissioner candidates who   receive the   highest number   of votes shall be elected for four-year terms, while the two commissioner candidates who receive the next highest   number   of votes shall be elected for two-year terms.  At the regular municipal election to be held in 2021, and every four years thereafter, two commissioners on the Board of Commissioners shall be elected to serve for four­ year terms. At the regular municipal election to be held in 2023, and every four years thereafter, three commissioners of the Board of Commissioners shall be elected to four-year terms.

      Previously reported – November 2017
      Referendum was approved so we will implement the four-year staggered terms beginning in 2019. 


      .
      BOC’s Meeting

      The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, August 17th
      .


      Hurricane #1 - CR

       

      Hurricane Season
      For more information » click here

      Be prepared – have a plan!

      .a.

      .

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


      THB EMERGENCY INFORMATION

      EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS

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


      Hurricane Season * Lou’s Views (lousviews.com)


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


      Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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

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

      https://lousviews.com/

07 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / July Edition


Calendar of Events –


.
.
U.S. Open
King Mackerel Fishing Tournament

September 30th – October 2nd  
Southport, NC     
For more information » click here

 



Riverfest

October 1st – 3rd
Wilmington, NC

For more information » click here


Sunset at Sunset
October 2nd
Sunset Beach, NC
For more information » click here

 


 


N.C. Oyster Festival

October 16t – 17th  
Shallotte, NC 
For more information » click here

 


N.C. Festival by the Sea
October 26th – 27th
Holden Beach, NC
For more information » click here


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


Calendar of Events Island –


Most events have either been postponed or cancelled


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


Tide Dyed Program
This family friendly event is located at the Pavilion. Tie-dye your own shirts; the cost is just $5-$10 per shirt. It takes place weekly from 2:00pm to 3:30pm every Tuesday during the summer beginning Tuesday, June 15th.

Call (910) 842-6488 for additional questions.


Turtle Talk
Two programs both are held every Wednesday during the summer at Town Hall. Children’s Turtle Time is at 4:00 p.m. with crafts, stories, and activities for children ages 3 – 6. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Turtle Talk is an educational program at 7:00 p.m. for everyone else.

Turtle Talk programs begin on Holden Beach
Wednesday night Turtle Talks share information about the Turtle Patrol, the sea turtles and how vacationers and residents can help the sea turtles that nest on Holden Beach. Several turtle artifacts will be on display and educational materials available. The 45-minute presentation includes a short video about the life cycle of the sea turtle. Members of the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol will be available to answer questions about the turtles and the program. Turtle Talk can be enjoyed by people of all ages with no admission charge. The program starts at 7 p.m. at the Holden Beach Chapel at 107 Rothschild St. Dates for Turtle Talk this year are July 7, 14, 21 and 28 and Aug. 4.

Children’s Turtle Time
The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol also offers an additional program for younger turtle enthusiasts, Children’s Turtle Time, and it will be held Wednesdays (July 7, 14, 21 and 28 and Aug. 4) from 4 to 4:45 p.m. This session features crafts, stories, and activities for children ages 3-6. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. One of the activities is for the children to dig in the sand looking for turtle eggs (really ping-pong balls) to simulate what turtle patrol members do mornings when searching for eggs when a mother turtle’s tracks have been spotted on the beach. The Turtle Patrol member assisting the children in the photo Teamwork is Char Hopkins. She is coordinating the Children’s Turtle Time program and serves on the HBTP stranding team.

Holden Beach is a Turtle Sanctuary and every year sea turtles are welcomed and protected on the beach. Founded in 1989, the Beach Turtle Watch Program (known as the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol) protects sea turtles through education, nest protection and sea turtle rescue. The Turtle Patrol operates under the authority of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Now in its 32nd year, this all-volunteer program is supported by sale of an annual T-shirt and donations. This year’s shirt will be on sale at both of these programs at the Holden Beach Chapel. For more information on Turtle Talk, the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol or how to volunteer or support, go to http://www.hbturtlewatch.org/.
Read more » click here


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


Reminders –


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

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

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

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

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

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



Pets on the Beach Strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / 90.20
From May 20th through September 10th it is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand during the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm.

 


. .

A Second Helping
Program to collect food Saturday mornings (7:00am to 12:00pm) during the summer at the Beach Mart on the Causeway.

.


.
1) Seventeenth year of the program
. 2) Food collections have now exceeded 273,000 pounds
. 3)
Collections will begin on May 29th and run through September 18th
. 4) Food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County
For more information » click here

Hunger exists everywhere in this country; join them in the fight to help end hunger in Brunswick County. Cash donations are gratefully accepted. One hundred percent (100%) of these cash donations are used to buy more food. You can be assured that the money will be very well spent.

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

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


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2021 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills.
Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

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

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



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

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

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


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

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

Recyclingstarting May 25th weekly pick-up

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



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


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, July 20th
.


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


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


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

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


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


Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard

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

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

Recall Details

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

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

For more information » click here

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

Brunswick County families sue, claiming home elevators failed, causing serious injuries
It was a terrifying experience. Two different families who survived residential elevator failures want to warn others they could be in harm’s way, too. Within the last year, there have been two separate elevator crashes in Holden Beach. One incident happened to a family vacationing at a rental home. Tressa Fortenberry was taking the elevator from the second floor to the third floor. She broke her foot when she says the elevator crashed to the ground on June 14, 2020. The other incident was more serious and happened to a local family in their own home. On December 2, 2020, Dickie and Delores Brackin say they fell three stories when the elevator they’d been using without incident for 20 years, suddenly crashed to the ground. The Brackins, who are both 70, suffered broken legs and remain unable to walk without assistance. “I looked down. I saw the bone sticking out of my leg,” Delores recalls of the morning of the accident. “I said, ‘Dickie what has happened?’ While I was laying there and asking God to please put his hand on both me and him… it was just a pain like unbelievable.” The couple, married for over 50 years, were air lifted to the hospital. Delores was hospitalized for two weeks. Dickie, who also suffered broken legs and crushed ankles, was released after four days in the hospital. “I trusted the people to put the elevator in. I trusted the people that came and inspected it every year,” Delores said. The same type of Waupaca residential elevator, which is subject to a recall, was involved in the Brackin and Fortenberry cases. An attorney, representing both families in a lawsuit against the manufacturer, estimates there are around 100 of these same recalled elevators in homes all along the Carolina coast. While researching the problem with these elevators, Attorney Joel Rhine found documented cases of the elevators crashing dating back to 1998. According to his lawsuit, 8,000 of these Custom Lift 450 and 500 elevators, built between 1976 and 2008, are at risk of failing. “I was shocked about how many there are, especially on our beaches. These vacation rentals are obviously two or three stories high; you need an elevator to get your luggage and everything up. Apparently, Waupaca was one of the largest suppliers of those elevators. They had several certified installers [in Southeastern North Carolina],” Rhine told WECT. Rhine says Waupaca knows about the problem, and he believes they are giving consumers a false sense of security that the elevators are still safe to use. Executives with the elevator company disagree. “Waupaca Elevator Company cannot comment publicly on the specifics of any ongoing litigation, including the cases currently pending in southeast North Carolina,” Waupaca Elevator Company Operations Manager Gary Ziebell told WECT. “Waupaca issued a recall of elevators in October 2018 in coordination with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Owners of those Waupaca elevators affected by the recall have been directed to not use the elevators until an overspeed safety device has been installed by an approved dealer. Some elevators affected by the recall require additional work, including a replacement of the elevator’s gearbox. After the necessary repairs have been made to the elevators, they are perfectly safe to use. If any Waupaca elevator owners have questions associated with this recall, they are welcome to visit Waupaca’s website.” Rhine’s clients relied on that information, and still got injured on Waupaca elevators. The Brackins had the elevator inspected as Waupaca recommended. According to the lawsuit, after an oil sample was taken from the Brackin’s elevator and sent to Waupaca for analysis, “the Plaintiffs were informed that their elevator had no metal shavings and thus did not need a replacement at this point.” With that in mind, the Brackins continued to use their elevator. According to Rhine’s other lawsuit against Waupaca, Plaintiff Tressa Fortenberry was using an elevator that had a high-speed braking device installed on it about seven months earlier, after a technician from Port City Elevator found signs that indicated the elevator was in danger of failing. The homeowner was informed the elevator was safe to use, but it still failed while Fortenberry was renting the home. “Our case is that [Waupaca is] telling people the wrong thing. They are not telling people about the danger. They’re telling people that this is normal wear and tear and that you can use these elevators until you have these shavings, [and that] these overspeed braking device will stop the elevator. None of that’s true, and that’s how we are bringing these lawsuits,” Rhine explained. When asked about the elevator that failed after the high-speed braking device was installed, Waupaca executives indicated it must have been an installation error. “Waupaca Elevator Company has tested the overspeed safety device extensively. Based on the results of the testing, we are confident that the overspeed safety device operates as intended, provided it is installed correctly,” Ziebell said. Rhine says this is a public safety issue and warns the public not to use these recalled elevators for anything more than transporting groceries and luggage. “One that crashed had the overspeed breaking device with it. It doesn’t work. Their remedy doesn’t work. These things are dangerous,” Rhine said. In addition to concerns about a false sense of security, the manufacturer is giving to homeowners with these recalled elevators, Rhine also noted there’s a lengthy backorder for the parts to repair the elevator if a problem is detected. “Those [replacement gear boxes] aren’t going to be available for years, there’s such a backlog. and they are telling people that you can use it in the meantime. This is dangerous,” Rhine said. Except for doctors’ appointments, the Brackins are still homebound five months after the accident. They hope their cautionary tale will serve as a warning to other homeowners and vacationers who might unknowingly trust that the residential elevator in their home is safe. They say they’re grateful to be alive, and grateful to the first responders, neighbors, local restaurants, family, and friends who helped them or sent food and cards after their accident, but they say this was a life-changing event they may never fully recover from.
Read more » 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


Coronavirus –


COVID/State of Emergency – Timeline

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

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

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

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


Gov. Cooper extends COVID-19 state of emergency in North Carolina
Governor Roy Cooper is extending North Carolina’s COVID-19 state of emergency until at least the end of July, days after some state lawmakers wrote him a letter, asking what it would take to end. On Friday, Cooper announced that he signed an Executive Order to extend a variety of measures currently in place to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic until July 30. “We are seeing tremendous improvement with fewer cases, hospitalizations, deaths and safety restrictions, but this is no time to hang up a “Mission Accomplished” banner in our fight against the pandemic,” said Gov. Cooper. “We are laser focused on getting more shots in arms, boosting our economy and protecting unvaccinated people from the virus and this Executive Order is essential for those efforts.” While the governor has consistently eased restrictions as trends have improved, a state of emergency remains in effect as North Carolina emerges from the pandemic, along with measures including:

      • State Evictions Prohibitions
      • Face covering requirements in certain settings such as public transportation, schools, health care and childcare facilities, in accordance with CDC guidance
      • Unemployment Insurance flexibility

Earlier in the week, state lawmakers wrote a letter asking what it would take for the governor to end a more-than-450-day-long state of emergency that has been in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 10, 2020, Gov. Cooper issued the initial executive order declaring a State of Emergency as part of North Carolina’s preparedness plan for COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic the following day, March 11. In a press release, legislators pointed to a recent announcement by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster that there will no longer be a state of emergency in that state related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“North Carolina has now been under a self-declared state of emergency for over 450 days,” the letter states. “In response to a question about ending your emergency order during a June 2nd press conference, you said, ‘We are still in the middle of this pandemic’ and ‘The State of Emergency needs to continue.’ We believe this is unsatisfactory.” The lawmakers say the goal of their letter is to at least get “specific details on how and when the state of emergency can be lifted.” The governor’s office says under the State of Emergency, North Carolina has easier access to federal funding including FEMA Public Assistance reimbursements, and schools can follow uniform safety guidance under the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit. The State of Emergency also reportedly allows critical regulatory flexibility for the NC Department of Health and Human Services to increase the number of people authorized to administer vaccines and COVID-19 tests and for the movement of COVID-19 patients in rehab and other facilities. The governor’s office also says under the State of Emergency, NC DHHS continues to allow temporary additional flexibility for tele-health opportunities and for out-of-state licensed workers to practice in North Carolina and for retired health care professionals, students in training and skilled volunteers to provide care. The Department also continues to allow expanded access to healthcare and Medicaid services and food and nutrition programs until the end of the State of Emergency. “The Governor and state health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s trends and review actions of other states and plan to continue lifting restrictions as more people are vaccinated and the state winds down pandemic response efforts,” a press release read.
Read more » click here


Upon Further Review –


 

 

THEY’RE BACK!

.

.
.

Rats at the Beach

The Hispid cotton rat is common and widespread across southern, central, and eastern parts of the United States. Currently, the population and range of this species continuously enlarge. This rodent has a sturdy built and extremely small cheek pouches. The grizzled coat of the animal is blackish or grayish in color, covered in stiff black guard hairs. The Hispid cotton rat is identified by its high “Roman” nose and a javelina-like color pattern, due to which the rodent is occasionally called the “javelina rat”.

The cotton rat is a hantavirus carrier, specifically the Black Creek Canal strain, that becomes a threat when it enters human habitation in rural and suburban areas. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings, or saliva. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is rare — the chance of getting the disease is 1 in 13,000,000, which is less likely than being struck by lightning.

Previously reported – September 2011
Holden Beach board talks island rats
The rats on the island are cotton rats that don’t attack humans and do feed during the daytime, not at night. However, according to comments from audience members at the Holden Beach Commissioners meeting Tuesday night, there has been a proliferation of rat sightings and of the rats themselves. “On Labor Day weekend, we had a field day with mice and rats,” said Holden Beach resident and Realtor Anne Arnold. “The kids in the community were counting the rats running across the street.” Fortunately, she said, nobody was bitten. After numerous complaints, authorities used kill trappings to determine what kind of rats are on Holden Beach. “It’s a New World rat,” Town Manager David Hewett said. “It’s not the one that caused the black plague out of Europe. They eat grass, and they especially love bird feeders and corn feeders. They live in the area between the bushes on the marsh up to your back door.” None of the trappings caught any cotton rats at night– because they are not nocturnal, he said. Jim Ericson, an environmental specialist from Mecklenburg County, said small vegetable gardens probably encourage cotton rats. Norway rats, which feed in the daytime when they’re sick or overpopulated, eat dog feces, but cotton rats don’t, he said. He thinks removal of the potentially rabid foxes on the island caused the increase in cotton rats because foxes are a major predator. Cotton rats have boom and bust cycles when there’s plenty of food and reproduction. They’re here because more than 90 percent of the island is heavily vegetated, but they pose no threat to public health, Hewett said. There have been no reports of illness or disease, he said. “You don’t need a permit to take them out of your yard,” Hewett said, and exterminators can also be hired to do that. “The cotton rat suffers a PR problem,” Ericson said. “They’re not going to attack people, and they’re not going to come in and raid your pantry.”
Read more » click here

More critters of summer—rats are roaming uninvited at the beach
Rats at the beach?! Rats have reportedly been an ongoing problem at Holden Beach, where a resident recently provided an update that dark-furred rodents are roaming the island, and they aren’t coming here to work on their tans. The rodent problem had previously been reported in the Beacon by correspondent Sarah Sue Ingram covering Holden Beach Town Council meetings. But I was hopeful the rats had worn out their welcome.
Brunswick Beacon article is no longer available

Pest Control / Management
Two years ago reported rats were out of control on Holden Beach. David Hewett, Town Manager did presentation. Jim Ericson, an environmental specialist from Mecklenburg County fielded questions.

Town Manager prepared report last year about “perceived” rat problem.

Research revealed the following –

      • Rodent called Cotton Rat native to North Carolina
      • New World rats, very different from Old World (European) Norway rats
      • Herbivores
      • Not nocturnal like other rodents
      • No threat to public health or safety
      • Only viable solution is to reduce their habitat
      • Primarily grassy areas, they move from fields to lawns and gardens

Determined that it was really just a Public Relations problem

Staff recommendation – was to undertake program to educate the public

The Town’s statement regarding Cotton Rats included the following comments: During the course of our research, we inquired as to whether we needed to take steps to remove cotton rats from our Island. We were told that, because Sigmodon Hibidus does not generally pose a threat to public health, we would be unable to obtain the depredation permit required to implement a mass extermination. What has now been proposed is a Community Supported Animal Rescue Program. The Town has decided to sponsor and administer a Feline Management Program. This program will entail placing feral cats throughout the island in small colonies. Although the stated intent is animal rescue it may be the answer to our rodent issue and effectively deal with this situation.


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


Water Rate Methodology and Rate Increase

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

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

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


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


Visitor Map
Click here to view a printable version of the Town’s Visitor Map. Click here to check out the Google Map version.  The map features public accessways, parking, handicap parking, restrooms/port-a-johns, showers, handicap accesses and parks.


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

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

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

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


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

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


    Corrections & Amplifications –

    Brunswick County makes quarter-million-dollar deal for federal lobbyist
    The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners has approved a six-figure retainer for a federal lobbying operation. Ward and Smith, the county’s firm of choice, is well-known to counties and municipalities across the state, both for its arsenal of lobbyists and land-use attorneys who represent developers in public arenas. At a board meeting last week, county leaders pushed forward on hiring Ward and Smith “to assist with obtaining federal governmental assistance and project management regarding federal issues,” with special reference to water and sewer infrastructure projects, according to the board agenda. The retainer is scheduled to last until the end of April 2023, and will cost the county $250,000 at minimum, not including expenses. Mike McIntyre — longtime Congressman-turned-lobbyist — authored the proposal of services. A Blue Dog Democrat, McIntyre served in the House of Representatives as New Hanover County’s delegate from 1997-2015. Then he retired and walked through the revolving door. McIntyre will be the point man for the contract with Brunswick County, according to county manager Randell Woodruff. His clients at the state level have included New Hanover County, Carolina Beach, the Fayetteville Public Works Commission, Southport, Robeson County, Shallotte, Surf City, and a few private companies. “With new funding for infrastructure- and pandemic-related issues becoming available and changes to discretionary spending rules, there may be future opportunities to fund water and sewer infrastructure or other essential projects for the benefit of Brunswick County’s residents,” Woodruff wrote in an email. Randy Thompson, the chairman of the board of commissioners, said the decision to hire a lobbyist was made after it became clear the current Congress might show generosity in the realm of infrastructure projects. “We realized that infrastructure projects are probably going to be the number one thing that will be discussed with the current decision-making processes going on in Washington right now,” Thompson said. With a surging population and coastal areas in need of funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Brunswick County could capitalize on the additional influence in Washington to secure funding for much-needed infrastructure projects. “They’re multi-million-dollar projects,” Thompson said. “So the amount of money that we’re spending to have someone advocate for us at a federal level would truly pay for itself by us acquiring approval for one project.” Also included in the retainer are costs for The Ferguson Group, a D.C.-based firm that can help local governments obtain federal funds and grants. The engagement letter sent by McIntyre identifies “grant research and analysis and/or legislative monitoring/research” as the services in the wheelhouse of The Ferguson Group. “It was a pretty good deal for us, if in fact things follow the course that they’re currently on, with the projected path for allocations at the federal level,” Thompson said. Ward and Smith also lobbies for Holden Beach, a quaint beach town in Brunswick County, but according to the engagement letter, that does not pose a conflict of interest. “Our work for this engagement will be on the federal level so long as such work does not conflict with Ward and Smith, P.A.’s work on behalf of the Town of Holden Beach,” McIntyre wrote in the engagement letter. “Any work on the state level will be subject to separate agreement.” McIntyre told Port City Daily that Ward and Smith’s policies prohibit him from addressing the media regarding client matters. “If you put a good team together and you put a good package together,” Thompson said, “then hopefully you’ll have a great outcome.”
    Read more » click here

    Editor’s Note –
    In January of 2021 we hired Mike McIntyre who was with Poyner Spruill at the time, he has since moved to the Ward and Smith firm. The retainer for their services is $7,725 per month or a minimum of $92,700 annually. Retainer is the minimum it will cost us. Ferguson Group services are billed separately. Additionally, we are billed monthly for all kinds of additional charges.


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2021 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills.
Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

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

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


Turtle Watch Program


Turtle Watch Program
. 1) Current nest count – 60 as of 07/23/20
.
Average annual number of nests is 39.5
. 2)
First nest of the season was on May 8th

Members of the patrol started riding the beach every morning on May 1 and will do so through October looking for signs of turtle nests.
For more information » click here

.
It’s Turtle Season on Holden Beach!
It’s official…. the turtle season has started!
Turtle Watch ATV riders are out looking for tracks of the mother turtle each morning.
Turtles usually start laying their eggs on our beach mid to late May.
It will take 55-60 days for these eggs to incubate.
They anticipate the first baby turtles on the beach in early July.

Several firsts on a Saturday afternoon
Not only did we have our first nest yesterday (May 8, 2021) it was a historic event! Our first nest of the season was laid Saturday afternoon around 2 p.m. So our turtle season has officially begun.

This nest marks a series of firsts!
1. First Kemp’s Ridley Turtle nest to be laid on our beach in Turtle Patrol History.
2. First nest in North Carolina for this season.
3. Earliest nest laid on Holden Beach

Kemp’s Ridley are the smallest of the five kinds of turtles that lay nests in North Carolina. They usually lay nests further north in the Outer Banks area. Kemp’s Ridleys are the most threatened species of turtles that nest in North Carolina. They usually nest during daylight hours (so mid-afternoon is not unusual for them). The momma climbed an escarpment and laid the nest in a safe place. Incubation for Kemp’s Ridley turtles is similar to Loggerheads, we expect to have babies from this nest in around 60 days. Their nests typically have 104 to 110 eggs.

We’re excited to have a Kemp’s Ridley nest on out beach. The turtle we see most often is the Loggerhead turtle. Riders are out each morning looking for turtle tracks (called crawls.) We’re thinking it will still be a little while before we have a Loggerhead nest….but who knows… our earliest recorded date for a Loggerhead nest on the beach was May 9, 2019.

North Carolina’s first turtle nest of 2021 season laid in Holden Beach
The sea turtle nesting season is underway in North Carolina. The first nest reported for the 2021 season was laid in Holden Beach over the weekend. The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol says the turtle that came ashore on Saturday was a very rare one — Kemp’s Ridley. It is one of the most endangered species of sea turtle so HBTP says they are going to do everything they can to make sure all hatchlings make it into the water. The incubation period is 50-60 days. Turtle experts say Kemp’s Ridley turtles weigh 50-80 pounds, and this one weighed about 60-65 pounds. The species typically nest just south of Texas in Mexico and there are usually only 3-4 nests in the United States per year.
Read more » click here

Sea turtle nest hatching on Holden Beach first in the state for season
For 17 nights, members of the Holden Beach Turtle Watch Program (HBTWP) went to the beach waiting and watching a sea turtle nest. This team had adopted Nest No. 1. They went home Tuesday night, July 13, disappointed again because there was no sign that the nest was ready to hatch. Then the phone call came early Wednesday morning, July 14. The morning rider saw hatchlings coming out of the nest. The team quickly assembled on the beach in time to assist 87 newly hatched turtles into the ocean at sunrise. Nest No. 1 was already a record-breaking nest. On May 8, it was the first nest laid in North Carolina this season and the first Kemp’s Ridley turtle to nest on Holden Beach since the HBTWP has been keeping records. Now it was the first nest to hatch in the state. These dedicated Turtle Patrol members included Mary K McGinley (nest lead), Sally Norris, Corki and Steve Jarvis, Karen Keith, and Bonita McNeill. They were under the direction of Project Coordinator Pat Cusack and assistant coordinators Karen Rice, John Cifelli and Peter Palermo. The HBTWP works under a permit from the North Carolina Department of Wildlife Resources. The duties of a team that adopts a nest begins 50 days after the nesting mother lays the eggs. The team assembles a “collar” around the nest and digs a “trench” toward the shoreline. Both of these direct the hatchling turtles toward the ocean. The team then visits the nest each evening to observe signs of hatching and talk with beachgoers. Typically, nests hatch after 50 to 60 days of incubation, but early nests usually take longer due to colder sand temperatures. Nests usually hatch as the sand cools after sunset. A morning hatching is unique. The term “boil” is used to describe what happens when a nest hatches, as many turtles begin coming to the surface of the sand at the same time, resembling bubbling, boiling water. Most of the hatchlings leave the nest during this boil, but occasionally there are additional hatchlings over the next few days. The team will continue to visit the nest each evening. On the third day, the team will dig down and inventory the nest. During this process, they look for any hatchlings that may be trapped within the nest. They also count all of the eggshells and look for any unhatched eggs. On Saturday night, with a crowd of vacationers assisting Turtle Patrol members, Nest No. 1 was inventoried. The team found 90 hatched shells. This means that three hatchlings got out on their own, either before the team got there Wednesday morning  or on one of the following evenings. They also found two unhatched eggs. After the inventory, the beach was returned to its natural state. Overall, it was a successful nest. Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are the most endangered of all the sea turtles that nest in North Carolina. They are also the smallest, weighing 70-100 pounds. Loggerhead turtles are the sea turtles that most frequently nest on Holden Beach. Holden Beach is a Sea Turtle Sanctuary and, every year, sea turtles are welcomed and protected on the beach. Founded in 1989, the HBTWP protects sea turtles through education, nest protection and sea turtle rescue. HBTWP conducts educational programs about sea turtles, remaining this season on Wednesdays, July 21, 28 and Aug. 4. Children’s Turtle Time is for 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds at 4 p.m. and Turtle Talk is at 7 p.m. for the entire family. Both events are at the Holden Beach Chapel at 107 Rothschild St. The program shares information about the Turtle Patrol, sea turtles and how vacationers and residents can help the turtles that nest on Holden Beach. The HPTP currently has 54 confirmed additional nests on the beach. Nesting mother turtles are expected for another month. In 2019, a record number of 105 nests were laid on Holden Beach. For a photo album of Nest No. 1 and more information about the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol, go to its website at http://www.hbturtlewatch.org/.
Read more » click here


Odds & Ends –


New Hanover officials at odds with vacation rental giants over taxes
NC counties want more information about local rentals from companies like Airbnb and Vrbo. So far, the companies have largely refused.
Once a month, America’s most popular rental companies deliver checks to New Hanover County. These payments are meant to cover room occupancy taxes, the added fees municipalities charge guests who stay – for less than 90 days – in hotels, motels, and, with increasing frequency, vacation rentals. In a county dense with tourism travel, occupancy taxes draw in more than $12 million a year. As online rental platforms have exploded in popularity, online rental companies have assumed greater roles in collecting this tax. In recent years, the two industry leaders – Airbnb and Vrbo – struck undisclosed deals with the state to start collecting and remitting tax dollars themselves to municipalities statewide. But from large counties like New Hanover to small towns like Blowing Rock, local officials have issues with this arrangement. For while they recognize having these companies collect the tax has, in some ways, been more convenient, they want the rental behemoths to provide something beyond money: They want information. Major rental companies attach little context to the tax dollars they deliver – few if any details on where the rentals are located, how many nights are booked, and how many properties are operating in total. Christopher McLaughlin of the UNC School of Government compared the checks rental companies give to “a black box.” “Airbnb is going to write us a check, and we don’t know what their records shows,” said Lisa Wutzbacher, the chief financial officer for New Hanover County. “We don’t know what’s included in that payment.” Local officials have reached out to the companies for this data, but they said these requests have generally been met with resistance. “We have (asked), and they’ve been unwilling to do so,” Wutzbacher said. “We don’t have that issue with other property management companies, those that are physical companies here locally. It’s just the online companies that we’re missing information on.” Getting these rental details, county, and city leaders from across the state argued, would help ensure all residents are paying their fair share of taxes. They also pointed out the data would provide clearer pictures of how prevalent vacation rentals had become in their communities. But with resources and staffs limited, officials felt they have little recourse to get the massive, out-of-state rental companies to budge.

A hard tax to collect
In 1983, the North Carolina General Assembly permitted local governments to begin levying occupancy taxes. Since then, revenues from these taxes have steadily risen, surpassing $250 million in 2019. Most counties have their own occupancy tax rates, and most of these tax dollars – at times controversially – go to local tourism development authorities. Many cities and towns levy additional occupancy taxes that help promote tourism and fund the public services – like trash collection, road maintenance, and law enforcement – that get strained by influxes of tourists. While guests pay occupancy taxes, rental owners are responsible for remitting the tax dollars. However, in the past, local governments found it tricky to get this money. As online platforms helped turn ordinary houses into short-term rental properties, local officials struggled to keep tabs on which homes were operating as rentals. While hotels and motels have obvious, centralized locations, pinpointing these new and dispersed rentals proved challenging. The rise of Airbnb and Vrbo also helped more homeowners become first-time rental operators, and some did not realize they were responsible for collecting and remitting occupancy tax. Over the years, local officials took informal steps to identify rentals – like driving by homes and looking out for out-of-state license plates – but many acknowledged properties were going unnoticed, and taxes weren’t going unpaid. “All of those things are ineffective means of trying to keep track of the numerous rental places that there are,” Wurtzbacher said. The rental companies, officials noted, didn’t make it easy to find rental properties. Maps on Airbnb’s website and phone apps don’t reveal properties’ exact locations until after reservations are made, and local government officials said requests they made to discover rental locations were unsuccessful. “Airbnb wasn’t going to tell us (where they were) either,” said Cindy Johnson, a tax collection specialist for Craven County in Eastern North Carolina.

A new kind of agreement
In 2015, North Carolina entered what’s called a voluntary collection agreement, or VCA, with Airbnb. Under the VCA, the San Francisco-based company began collecting occupancy taxes themselves, charging guests an additional fee upon booking. Airbnb then delivered monthly lump sum payments to local governments. In 2019, Vrbo reached its own agreement with the state to collect and remit occupancy and sales taxes. Together, the two companies hold upwards of 75% of the state’s vacation rental market according to the analytics firm AllTheRooms. In an email to the USA Today Network, Airbnb spokesperson Laura Rillos wrote, “Platform collection helps streamline the tax collection process for our community, many of whom are everyday people sharing their homes to earn meaningful income and helps ensure that communities are receiving critical tax revenue.” Local officials recognized the convenience of having the rental companies handle tax collection and remittance. Several subsequently saw a clear uptick in their revenues. Still, officials argued it would be beneficial if the companies divulged the data behind the tax bill. The USA Today Network spoke with county managers, tax collectors, and finance directors in eight North Carolina counties, and while none had specific reasons to believe the lump sums rental companies send each month are inaccurate, they pointed out there are few ways of knowing for sure. “We like to know that we’re getting what we’re supposed to be getting, not more, not less,” said Samantha Reynolds, Henderson County’s finance director. “We’d like to know, when they send us a check for x-thousands of dollars, which houses that was for and which weeks that was for so that we can follow up.” said Dare County Manager Bobby Outten. In the western town of Blowing Rock, finance officer Nicole Norman said Vrbo representatives did, when asked, provide information about their rentals but that Airbnb representatives, citing the company’s voluntary collection agreement with the state, declined to share details regarding the tax payments. In an email, Airbnb spokesperson Laura Rillos wrote, “Airbnb complies with all applicable laws with regards to collection and remittance of relevant tourism tax and provides all information required for tax verification purposes.” The tax agreements companies have with the state are far from public. Citing the state’s taxpayer secrecy law, North Carolina Department of Revenue spokesperson Schorr Johnson declined to confirm the existence of an agreement between Airbnb and the state, let alone the specifics of any agreement. Airbnb representatives did not provide a copy of its VCA with the North Carolina. Vrbo representatives did not respond to emails inquiring about its agreement with the state or its policies for providing rental data to municipalities. Though Rillos didn’t detail why Airbnb reserves rental data from local governments, concerns this information could help local governments enact vacation rental restrictions may be one reason said UNC’s Christopher McLaughlin, coauthor of the 2019 book Regulation and Taxation of Short-Term Rentals. “Clearly Airbnb opposes additional local regulations on STRs (short-term rentals) and it’s true that hiding the location of STRs makes it more difficult for local governments to regulate those (rentals),” he said.Without data from the major rental companies, municipalities have, at best, incomplete pictures of their vacation rental markets. Officials added that knowing rental locations and quantities could inform how they respond to this booming industry. “It could affect some land use requirements that we have within the county,” said Steve Dozier, chair of the Henderson County Planning Board. “In Buncombe, we do not know how many units are operating as short-term rentals,” Buncombe’s tax collector Jennifer Pike said. “I think there’s always some concerns about just an awareness of what’s going on in our communities.”

Lawsuits and audits
North Carolina isn’t the only state with which Airbnb has a voluntary collection agreement; the rental company has agreements to collect and remit taxes in 47 other states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories. Last year, a handful of Georgia municipalities filed a class action lawsuit against the company, alleging it “failed to remit occupancy taxes to local governments…” This year, a collection of local governments in South Carolina sued Airbnb and other major rental platforms for similar reasons. In its latest annual financial report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Airbnb explained: “We are currently involved in a number of lawsuits brought be certain states and localities involving the payment of lodging taxes… These lawsuits are in various stages, and we continue to vigorously defend these claims.” To make sure they’re getting the correct amount of money, some North Carolina counties have considered auditing the major rental companies. Yet, local officials felt their departments lacked the manpower and money to thoroughly examine the books of the short-term rental giants, who are headquartered in other states and valued in the tens of billions of dollars. “With a company as large as Airbnb or Vrbo, I don’t know how easy that would be to accomplish (an audit),” said Lisa Wurtzbacher, who mentioned her New Hanover department only has one staff member dedicated to occupancy tax collection. “Just from personal experience that we’ve had, even trying to get in contact with the right person (to speak to at these companies) has been a bit of a challenge.” In recent years, New Hanover has contracted with a company called Host Compliance to track local short-term properties. While the data Host Compliance offers has helped the county create a tax payment portal, the information isn’t as comprehensive as the records Wurtzbacher believes the rental companies could provide. This leaves her, like many of her counterparts, wanting more from Airbnb’s and Vrbo’s monthly checks. To her, this money leaves too many questions unanswered.
Read more » click here


Staying safe at the beach: Rip currents, jellyfish, sharks, and other hazards

A trip to the beach can turn deadly (or painful) due to natural hazards but being aware of risks and mitigating hazards is a good way to prevent problems.
Picture this: warm weather, blue skies, and your toes in the sand — it sounds like a perfect lazy summer day at the beach. Maybe you decide to cool down in the ocean and find yourself bobbing around when suddenly you realize you are a little too far out. As panic sinks in and you start to swim towards dry land you realize your efforts are in vain and your whole body is getting tired, all the while you are drifting further into the Atlantic — you have gotten stuck in a rip current. It’s not the only potential danger in the ocean, though. There are also sharks. And, of course, there are some things on shore that ruin your day at the beach, too, including stepping on jellyfish and, of course, good old-fashioned sunburn.

Rip currents
According to the U.S. Lifesaving Association (USLA), 80 percent of all ocean rescues are related to rip currents and annually more than 100 fatalities across the country are due to rip currents. While it is obvious that swimming at a beach with lifeguards is one of the safer options, there are plenty of area beaches that lack lifeguards or maybe ocean rescue season has not started just yet. So, what is the best course of action for surviving a rip current? According to the National Weather Service, there are several things swimmers should keep in mind when dealing with these often-unseen dangers.

  • Relax. Rip currents don’t pull you under.
  • A rip current is a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second — faster than an Olympic swimmer. Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; energy you need to survive and escape the rip current.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: If in doubt, don’t go out!
  • If at all possible, only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
  • If you choose to swim on beaches without a lifeguard, never swim alone. Take a friend and have that person take a cell phone so he or she can call 911 for help.
    .
    Sharks
    Sharks are a fear on most every swimmer’s mind, regardless of the actual dangers posed by the large predatory fish. “NOAA states that while shark attacks are rare, they are most likely to occur near shore, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars where sharks can be trapped by low tide, and near steep drop-offs where sharks’ prey gather. While the risks are small, it’s important to be aware of how to avoid an attack,” according to previous reporting.

Suggestions from NOAA for reducing the risk of a shark attack include:

  • Don’t swim too far from shore.
  • Stay in groups – sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.
  • Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight when sharks are most active.
  • Don’t go in the water if bleeding from a wound – sharks have a very acute sense of smell.
  • Leave the shiny jewelry at home – the reflected light resembles fish scales.
  • Avoid brightly-colored swimwear – sharks see contrast particularly well..
    .
    Sunburns
    Most everyone has experienced a sunburn at one point in their life and while not often thought as a major concern for many, overexposure to UV light can cause serious long-term problems including skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using at least S.P.F. 15 sunscreen at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Wearing a hat, long sleeves, and other protective clothing is also recommended to keep skin protected.

Jellyfish
Jellyfish and Portuguese Man of War have been spotted along the beaches of New Hanover County and surrounding area beaches already this season and the little floating creatures can pack a punch. Often times beachgoers will spot them washed up on shore and other times they can be spotted in the water, but it is best to avoid them when you can. “While all jellyfish sting, not all contain poison that hurts humans. Be careful of jellies that wash up on shore, as some can still sting if tentacles are wet. NOAA recommends that if you are stung by a jellyfish to first seek a lifeguard to give first aid. If no lifeguards are present, wash the wound with vinegar or rubbing alcohol,” NOAA suggests. And what about that … other method of treating stings? Turns out, it’s a myth. In fact, urine can actually aggravate the stinging cells of jellyfish, making things worse. These cells, which detach and stick into the skin of prey, can continue to inject venom. Urine, as well as fresh water, can cause an imbalance to the salt solution surrounding the stinging cells, causing them to continue to fire. According to Scientific American, if you don’t have vinegar or rubbing alcohol, rinsing with salt water may be your best bet.
Read more » click here

Jellyfish Guide * Lou’s Views (lousviews.com)

Why are there no lifeguards in Brunswick County?
Brunswick County saw its first drowning death of the year last week. Allen Whitley, a father from Mount Gilead died saving his 11-year-old daughter and another child stuck in a rip current in Holden Beach. The tragic accident has renewed a call to add protections to area beaches. “There’s no lifeguards here, it’s just…. there’s no flags that warn you how rough the water is, there’s nothing. All you can do is call 911 and pray,” said mother Charity Dalton. Dalton’s son, Thomas, was one of the children Whitley rescued from the rip current last week. She was one of three adults that jumped in the water to save the children as the current pulled them further from the shore. None of the beach towns in Brunswick County have lifeguards. Horry County beaches have them to the south, and New Hanover County beaches have them to the north, but Brunswick County towns have decided to go in another direction with their beach safety programs. There have been talks of adding lifeguards to the strand in the past. The last big discussion happened in 2013 in the Brunswick Beach Consortium, a group made up of representatives from each town. The proposal came up after a spike in drownings. One person in favor of adding lifeguards was the mayor of Sunset Beach at the time, Rich Cerrato. Representatives from Wrightsville Beach came down to give a presentation about their lifeguard program, but at the end of the day, the idea never went anywhere. “I was hoping that it would foster further study to see whether lifeguards should be implemented in Sunset Beach and in Brunswick County, but it never caught on fire. It was apparently — it just evaporated, but the concern is still there,” said Cerrato. “I think they have a responsibility to study the issue. Just to study it and come up with the information so people can be informed.” No study or formal investigation into adding lifeguards was ever commissioned by the group. Cerrato believes a combination of price concerns and liability concerns had a lot to do with why no changes were ever made. Meeting minutes from 2013 reveal the discussion was tabled until they got more information from legislators about a bill that could have put a liability cap on municipalities. The Brunswick Beach Consortium split in 2015. If you ask each town, though, the exact obstacles to adding lifeguards vary.

Holden Beach
Beach Patrol: In the past, code enforcement has patrolled beaches
Water rescue: Town contracts with Tri- Beach Fire to provide water rescue services
Flag System: No
Signage: Yes
Flotation Devices: No

There’s no guarantee that having lifeguards would have saved the life of victims like Allen Whitley, but the people who were there that day can only hope for more protections in the future. “For the next family, it’s something they need,” added Dalton. At this time, none of the municipalities I spoke with for this story are aware of any discussions about adding lifeguards to the strand.
Read more » click here


Previously reported –
No lifeguards on duty in Brunswick
Beach towns say policy remains ‘Swim at your own risk’
North Carolina’s tourist season is off to a tragic start. So far, at least eight people have drowned along the state’s coast, which ties the number of surf zone drowning deaths reported statewide in 2018. According to the National Weather Service, at least six of the deaths this year were caused by rip currents, while another one was attributed to high surf. With the official start of summer still weeks away, many more visitors will make their way to the ocean in search of fun. But many aren’t aware of the danger and end up in distress. On Memorial Day weekend, lifeguards pulled 31 swimmers from rip currents along New Hanover County’s beaches. But what happens when there’s no lifeguard on duty? At Brunswick County’s beaches, that’s the case every day. None of the county’s six beach towns employ lifeguards. Pender County’s beaches also don’t have lifeguards, while all of New Hanover County’s beach towns employ them. According to Caswell Beach Town Administrator Chad Hicks, several of the Brunswick beach towns came together four years ago and considered employing lifeguards. He noted the move came at the urging of Rich Cerrato, who at the time served as Sunset Beach’s mayor. Hicks recalled that as the towns examined the figures, all deemed it would be too costly. “We’ve got such a tiny budget,” he said of Caswell Beach. “I don’t remember the exact figures, but it was more than we took in for accommodations tax.” One reason for the high cost is the amount of ground to cover. Brunswick County has more than 50 miles of coastline. While that land is divided between the six beach towns — Bald Head Island, Caswell Beach, Oak Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach — some would be responsible for stationing lifeguards along 10 miles of beaches.

Some safety steps
Though they don’t have lifeguards, beach town officials say they do have some water safety programs in place. Sunset Beach Town Administrator Hiram Marziano said the town has a beach patrol offered through the fire department. “We do have a beach patrol that monitors safety, but they aren’t responsible for life safety,” Marziano said. “They help out if they can and if they are trained.” He said the town’s fire chief had recently developed a program to station life rings at all the town’s beach accesses. “That way, if someone’s in trouble, they can throw that out to assist them until help arrives,” Marziano said. In Caswell Beach, the police department patrols the beach several times throughout the day. Hicks said all police officers and some public works employees carry flotation boards that can be thrown to assist distressed swimmers. The town also posts rip current warnings on an electronic message board near the police station. “That sign has come in handy, and it has helped a lot,” Hicks said. In addition, Caswell Beach is served by the Southport Fire Department, which has a water rescue division. Hicks recalled that recently the department used its boat to assist kayakers trapped in the marsh.

‘Swim at your own risk’
Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach also have water rescue programs. In Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle Beach, the programs are coordinated through the fire department, and in Oak Island it is a nonprofit, volunteer organization with about 20 members. According to Holden Beach Town Manager David Hewett, the town doesn’t have a formal beach patrol or water rescue program, but it does post signs warning beachgoers about rip currents at the beach accesses. Aside from these efforts, officials at all beach towns say when it comes to safety, it’s the responsibility of the swimmer. “Our formal policy is swim at your risk,” Hewett said.
Read more » click here


Carolina Beach and Holden Beach exceeded EPA standards last year
In 1972, the Clean Water Act set a nationwide goal of making all waterways safe for swimming. But thanks to runoff pollution and sewage overflows, beaches in North Carolina are still falling short of that target.
Last summer, Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center commenced its annual analysis of bacteria testing. Each week, beaches and rivers across the state were tested for E. coli, a bacteria found in human and animal feces. The results were then compared to recreational water quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Based on the bacteria levels, researchers in this year’s Safe for Swimming report found that 87 beaches were considered potentially unsafe for swimming at least one day in 2020. Seven beaches were considered potentially unsafe at least a quarter of the days tested, including Carolina Beach and Holden Beach. Other North Carolina beaches found potentially unsafe for swimming at least once in 2020 were Pamlico River at Havens Gardens Park, Pamlico River at the railroad trestle in Beaufort County, Beach by Vandemere Creek, Jockey’s Ridge Beach, Beach at Pantego Creek, Beach at Union Point, Hancock Creek and Lennoxville Boat Ramp in Beaufort. Environment NC added that swimmers could also be at risk at additional beaches where no bacterial testing was conducted or available.

According to the EPA’s website, the agency “recommends E. coli as the best indicator of health risk from water contact in recreational waters.”

“When people come into contact with water during recreational activities like fishing, swimming, wading, with waters of high levels of E. coli fecal contamination — it’s a public health issue.” Jill Howell

 Jill Howell is the Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper with Sound Rivers, a nonprofit that monitors river watersheds. And she explains that exposure to fecal bacteria doesn’t just sound gross, but can result in gastrointestinal illness, respiratory disease, ear and eye infections, and skin rashes.

 So, the million-dollar question: why is there poop in the water?

“We see this contamination coming from sources like leaking septic systems and properly functioning wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff, and industrial animal agriculture operations,” says Howell. The Safe for Swimming report lists a few key ways to avoid further contamination at beaches: reduce urban runoff pollution, reduce sewage pollution, and reduce manure pollution. But researchers note that the issue is preventable. And thanks to ever-evolving technology, there are now countless stormwater runoff prevention possibilities. Permeable pavement is just one example. Meanwhile, this year the state Department of Transportation is undergoing a major stormwater design manual update, which will focus on implementing sustainable solutions for reducing runoff statewide. Manure pollution could be a more significant hurdle. According to environmental nonprofits — who protested the state’s now-official Farm Act of 2021 — pollution from industrial hog operations continues to pollute waterways and the air. Environmental NC also recommends more education and outreach — including the use of the EPA’s most protective “Beach Action Value” bacteria standard for posting beach advisories and implementing systems for same-day water testing and warnings. And, of course — more water testing requires funding. If you’re concerned about the water quality at the beach near you, you can check out theswimguide.org to see bacteria levels at specific beaches — and possibly prevent your daycation from turning into a total crapshoot. Read the full 2021 report here.
Read more » click here

Holden Beach lays down beach rules
As a reminder for locals and visitors, here are Holden Beach’s rules for being on the strand.

According to town rules, walking over the dunes is prohibited. Public walkways are marked with “CAMA” signs; others are private.

Emergency and official town staff vehicles are the only ones allowed on the beach.

There are no lifeguards when swimming, and the rules remind readers riptides can kill. Check with town hall at (910) 842-6488 to see if riptides are present. If caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until free of the current.

There is dangerous under-water debris at the east end of McCray Street; call town hall if dangerous debris is noticed.

Jet Skis cannot be operated outside of 500 feet from the shoreline and also cannot be ridden on the beach. They will be monitored.

Alcohol is not allowed on the beach or public areas.

Do not litter; trash cans are placed along the beach.

Pets are not allowed on the beach between May 20 and Sept. 10 except between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. and must be kept on a leash at all times.

Surfboards will not be carried, pushed, wheeled, ridden or otherwise on the beach or adjacent waters within 500 feet of any fi shing pear on town limits.

Do not dig in the beach deeper than 12 inches or leave it unattended. It will also have to be filled in prior to leaving.

The town has island-wide ordinances stating no parking on Ocean Boulevard to McCray Street except at the northern end of McCray. The largest parking lot, along with public restrooms, is under the bridge. An unloading and pedestrian drop-off area is near Capt. Pete’s Apartments. Parking is available along Brunswick Avenue. Do not block driveways or fire hydrants. Rollerblades, bicycles, and pedestrians need to share the sidewalk.

Rollerblades are not permitted on Ocean Boulevard.

Fireworks, except sparklers, are not allowed and will be confiscated by Holden Beach police.
Beacon


Shark bite to child reported Sunday in Ocean Isle Beach
Around 11 a.m. Sunday, a call came in that a shark bit a 7-year-old girl in shallow water at Ocean Isle Beach. The incident was reported near the Concord Street beach access. Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith said it was believed to be a small shark bite and the girl may have had a few stitches for what are reported to have been minor injuries after she was taken to the hospital by emergency responders. “It probably mistook her little leg for food,” Smith said, adding sharks aren’t known to attack humans. She said there have been no other sightings since that day, though beach patrol alerted people in the area and monitored the water for shark sightings, according to a Facebook post. She said, “And there were a lot of people on the beach and a lot of people in the water.” Smith said shark bites are very uncommon and she believes the last one may have been four or five years ao. In June 2019, 19-year-old surfer Austin Reed of Ocean Isle Beach was taken to the hospital after he was apparently bitten by a shark near the Beaufort Street beach access. Reed’s brothers, Gavin, and Ethan said he was seated and paddling on his surfboard with a friend about 50 feet offshore when he felt something bite his foot. Austin Reed returned to shore with fellow surfer Tyler Hucks where his mom, Kimberly Reed, a registered nurse, wrapped his foot tightly in a towel as emergency personnel were summoned. Gavin Reed said his brother was bleeding but overall seemed “nonchalant” as he stated he had just been bitten by a shark. A family member said there were gashes on either side of Austin’s right foot. Smith said if anyone sees sharks in the water, to play it safe and get out of their way. “That’s their natural habitat,” she said. But they aren’t predators to humans — sometimes they just get mistaken,she said.
Read more » click here

Massive great white shark spotted off NC coast
A nearly 1,000-pound great white shark was hanging out along the Eastern Carolina coast Monday morning. According to Ocearch, “Ironbound” measures at about 12 feet 4 inches long and weighs 998 lbs. A tracker pinged the shark known as “Ironbound” out past the Outer Banks, in the vicinity of Hatteras Canyon. If you swim in the ocean, experts recommend swimming with a buddy and staying close to shore. It’s best not to go in the water at dawn or dusk. Experts also say you avoid swimming if you see fish or seals around.
Read more » click here

How to stay safe from shark attacks this summer
As you hit the beach this Fourth of July weekend, remember to be mindful of sharks. Just this week, shark attacks were reported in North Carolina, Southern California and Northern California. There were 33 unprovoked shark attacks on humans in the United States last year, including three which were fatal, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. The fatalities took place in California, Hawaii, and Maine. The majority of the unprovoked attacks — 16 — occurred in Florida. Here are some tips for how to stay safe, according to former Green Beret and survival expert Terry Schappert.

Stay calm
If you see a shark, don’t thrash or scream, Schappert told ABC News in 2015. Just turn around, get out of the water, and tell everyone else to get out, he said. Sharks pick up vibrations and smells, but they can’t see you most of the time, Schappert said. “The more you flail around … [the sharks] are very attracted to that,” he added.

Have a plan
Every beachgoer should have an evacuation plan, which includes knowing where the closest hospital is, Schappert said. “Just think in your head, what would happen … if someone you love just got bit? What now?” he said. “Don’t be paranoid but have a procedure. Think about how you’d get out of the water, then think about … the chain of what would happen next.” “Try not to freak out,” Schappert added. “But know it’s a possibility.”

Know first-aid
Most shark bites are on the limbs, according to Schappert, and when a shark’s mouth hits a swimmer’s arm or leg, “it’s bound to sever an artery.” “Shark bites are not smooth — they’re jagged — which makes the wound worse,” he said. And the more jagged the wound, the more it will bleed, so it’s important to know first-aid. “The best thing you can do for that person is to stop the bleeding,” Schappert said, which, if the victim is bit on a limb, means applying a tourniquet.

Schappert took ABC News’ chief national correspondent Matt Gutman swimming in waters teeming with sharks near the Bahamas in 2014. To properly learn how to fend off sharks, Gutman pulled on 15 pounds of chain mail armor, and then put clothes on top to simulate people finding themselves in such waters after a plane or a boat crash. Gutman and Schappert then did what experts say not to do: flapping around in waters where sharks were feeding. While they were in the water, Schappert’s advice to Gutman was to:

Slow down your movements
Fast movements give off the signal of prey, he said. Also conserving energy is key to survival in the above scenario.

Team up
If there are two people in the water, Schappert recommended treading water back-to-back to limit the spheres of control by half, to 180 degrees each.

Fight back
If the sharks begin attacking, fight them off, Schappert said. He recommended striking the sharks using quick, downward punching motions. “All you can do is fight and let them know, ‘I am not going down easy,’” Schappert told Gutman.
Read more » click here

Sharks of North Carolina
Read more » click here

Shark Attack
The chances of being attacked by a shark are exceedingly 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 and That –


Brunswick County Connections Stronger To New Hanover For MSA
In recent findings submitted to the Census Bureau, area officials say Brunswick County has a stronger worker connection to New Hanover County than South Carolina, a fact they say lends support for Brunswick’s return to the Wilmington MSA. Leaders with Business Alliance for a Sound Economy (BASE) and those from UNCW sent letters last week to the federal agency to add input to the rulemaking process that will help guide the new MSA designations. The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce and Cape Fear Collective were also partners in the effort. BASE and its partners have been focused on the 2020 Census and the MSA designations since Brunswick County was removed from the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and placed into an MSA with Myrtle Beach in 2013, pushing for Brunswick’s return. With the local 2020 Census data anticipated to be released soon, federal officials will start looking at the information and other rules to draw metropolitan lines. Local officials submitted data and their insight as part of the Census Bureau’s public comment period on the proposed rules, which concluded May 20. “In addition to the natural growth, commuting patterns are one of the ways that urban areas are being defined in the 2020 Census,” said Tyler Newman, president and CEO of BASE, in an email Monday. “Thanks to UNCW and Cape Fear Collective, we were able to analyze commuting pattern data and show the strong tie between Brunswick County and Wilmington. Of Brunswick County’s workforce, 27% commute to New Hanover County daily versus 3% to Horry. Between the natural growth of eastern Brunswick County and the strong commuting pattern tie (compared to Myrtle Beach), we feel like it is pretty clear that Brunswick County should be returned to Wilmington when the urban areas are drawn and MSA delineations are set,” Newman said. Since the urban area criteria standards were released, BASE has been working with the University of North Carolina Wilmington and local nonprofit Cape Fear Collective to analyze the rules that guide the designations and model how the area’s population growth may be impacted by the proposed rules, Newman wrote in his letter to the Census Bureau last week. In their findings, the organizations point to housing density and commuting patterns as two areas that could support Brunswick County’s swing back into the Wilmington MSA. Household and employment data shows the flow of Brunswick County residents between Brunswick and New Hanover counties for work, Newman said in his letter. A model produced by Cape Fear Collective (shown above) and sent to the Census Bureau indicates: 42.1% of Brunswick residents work in Brunswick County; 26.8% of Brunswick residents work in New Hanover County; 3% of Brunswick residents work in Horry County; 27.3% of Brunswick residents work in a North Carolina county other than New Hanover or Brunswick counties; and 0.9% of Brunswick residents work in a South Carolina county other than Horry, according to Newman’s letter. The organizations are also making a recommendation to support adding a rulemaking addition to include ferries, such as the state-funded Southport/Fort-Fisher ferry route, as a commuting connection. “We feel very strongly that Brunswick County is in the Wilmington MSA and the growth, commuting patterns prove it. Enhancing the ‘noncontiguous territory separated by exempted territory’ (commuting pattern) provisions to account for water-borne commuters would further refine and enhance the final output and better reflect the situation on the ground,” Newman said in his letter. “As we saw last time, once the MSA delineations are set, it can be many years before an opportunity arises to fix it and make it right,” he continued. In addition to the information sent to the Census Bureau from BASE, UNCW also submitted a letter in an email last week. Mark Lanier, assistant to UNCW Chancellor Jose Sartarelli, and assistant secretary to the UNCW Board of Trustees, noted that there are connections to the university, as well. “In March of 2020, there were 2,734 UNCW alumni residing in Brunswick County. In addition, in a typical semester, there are over 450 current UNCW students residing in Brunswick County. UNCW and Brunswick Community College (BCC) have a strong partnership, with 30 to 35 additional transfer students per semester from BCC enrolling at UNCW to complete their four-year degree. “As part of the worker flow data, there are approximately 125 permanent or temporary UNCW employees residing in Brunswick County. Moreover, these numbers are increasing as the northern and eastern sections of Brunswick County grow and provide more affordable housing. All of these numbers are in addition to the Brunswick County residents who come to UNCW for cultural events, athletic events, continuing adult education, various professional services, and more,” Lanier said in his letter. He also noted that population estimates indicate northern Brunswick County growing more quickly than the southern portion of the county. The university, he said, is in support of Brunswick County returning to the Wilmington MSA. Lanier also noted the university’s support in the proposed rules for increased emphasis on worker flow data, the ferry system being included in commuting patterns and housing density, as well as “proper consideration of connections between state institutions” such as those between Brunswick Community College and UNCW. “In summary, the connections between Brunswick and New Hanover counties are much stronger than Brunswick’s connections to South Carolina. This lends support to methodologies and rules that will return Brunswick County to the Wilmington MSA,” he said.
Read more » click here


Brunswick County In The Know

Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing counties in the entire nation! Our county commissioners have offered to do an educational meet and greet. Brunswick Commissioners Frank Williams and Mike Forte have offered their time to address an audience on general (non-political) topics such as county organization and structure, what the commissioners do, and most importantly what activities are going on now to ensure Brunswick County is ready for the expansion and growth coming our way.

Informational “Meet and Greets” will be offered on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 6:00 pm until 7:30 pm at the Lockwood Folly Country Club, River room on the second floor.

Topics including but not limited to:
. * Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Response
. * Board of Education and Charter School issues
. * Election Integrity
. * Economic Development – Brunswick Vision 2040

Mark your calendar for 3rd Thursday’s!
Be informed!
Get answers to frequently asked questions!
Make your concerns heard!
They are our elected officials…they work for US!

For more information e-mail: info@BrunscoInTheKnow.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/brunscointheknow/permalink/143030657846824/


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Vacation Home Sales Skyrocket as a Result of Pandemic
Key Highlights

    • In 2020, vacation home sales rose 16.4%, outpacing the growth in total existing-home sales of 5.6%.
    • In 2020, the median existing-home sales price typically rose by 14.2% in vacation home counties, compared to 10.1% in non-vacation home counties.
    • In 2020, the top 10 vacation home counties were in the states of Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and North Carolina.
      For more information » click here

The National Association of Realtors’ 2021 Vacation Home Counties report provides the data to prove what’s been anecdotally evident for months: 2020 was the year of the vacation home.

Island Homes Sold – 2021 * Lou’s Views (lousviews.com)

Island Land Sold – 2021 * Lou’s Views (lousviews.com)


How NC’s wind energy plans could be thwarted by Brunswick County
Brunswick County beach towns that thrive on tourism are banding together to oppose the installation of wind turbines off their shores. In the last few months Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Caswell Beach, and the Village of Bald Head Island have all passed resolutions taking issue with wind turbines that could be seen from their beaches, asking for them to be positioned at least 24 nautical miles away.
Oak Island Mayor Ken Thomas said the town will be working on a similar ordinance soon. “I’m not against wind energy, or solar or any other kind of energy, but it doesn’t need to be stuck in your face,” Thomas said. “You didn’t buy a vacation home at the beach to look at a wind turbine. They need to be off in the ocean where we don’t see them.” While each of the resolutions cited the effect the turbines would have on tourism and were not opposed to wind energy,  if the turbines are forced to be at least 24 nautical miles off the coast, it could effectively shut down the prospects for new offshore wind energy in North Carolina. Last month, Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order aimed at accelerating wind energy production off the North Carolina coast before a federal moratorium prohibiting offshore leasing for energy production takes effect in July 2022. The order sets a goal for the state to develop 2.8 gigawatts of offshore wind energy resources by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040. In order for the state to get more offshore leases in place before the moratorium takes effect, a bi-partisan group of N.C. lawmakers wrote a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management urging the federal agency to “expeditiously” begin leasing existing wind energy areas. “We respectfully urge the BOEM to take swift action to hold lease sales for two of our existing WEAs – Wilmington East and Wilmington West – so that lease agreements can be executed in advance of the July 1 deadline,” the letter read. The Wilmington West wind energy area consists of about 51,595 acres starting around 11.5 nautical miles from shore, while the Wilmington East area starts 15.5 miles from shore and is about 133,590 acres. In order to get leases for wind energy production to take effect before the moratorium, the state would likely have to use the two designated wind energy area off the coast of Brunswick County, only a small sliver of which is outside of 24 nautical miles. Next week the Bureau of Energy Management will meet with stakeholders to discuss their approach for possible leasing in the area. The agency has granted other jurisdictions, like the state of Virginia, a 24 nautical mile buffer from the shore. “I think we need to go on record as having concerns,” Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith said at their meeting passing the wind turbine resolution. “And we need to follow up and keep that pressure if it has any meaning whatsoever.” 
Read more » click here


Road Rage, ‘Zipper Merging’ and a Stress-Free Path Through Traffic
Experts love the zipper merge, but drivers are just as likely to see it as others rudely cutting their turn in line.
You’re approaching a construction zone and a sign tells you the left lane will end several miles ahead. Traffic is heavy, but you see an opening and move to the right lane. As you inch along, drivers to your left keep zipping by. Miles ahead, you finally reach the merge point, and the left-lane drivers make their move. Your pulse quickens. You pull up tight on the car in front of you and refuse to let anyone in. Are you in the right, or are you fortunate that nothing escalated? In light traffic, the merge is easy. But moving over early when an opening first appears fails in moderate to heavy traffic, where greater efficiency can be achieved by using both lanes as long as possible. Simple, right? Not at all. Traffic experts largely agree that the best way to combine two busy lanes is a technique called the zipper merge. Drivers use both lanes until just before one ends, then merge like the teeth of a zipper coming together: one from this side, one from that side, hopefully with minimal slowdown. When this expert-approved pattern is put to the test on highways, the outcomes are decidedly mixed. More states, however, are encouraging zipper merging and educating drivers — or even making it the law. Driving is a complex task requiring focus. When things along the way — traffic lights, road conditions, weather — work to our advantage, all is well. When they get in our way, stress is the likely result. And when another driver is the source of that stress, it can turn to rage. We call it road rage, and it’s a serious problem, leading to accidents and even violence. It can spring from something simple like someone’s tailgating us, braking too hard, honking, flashing lights to pass or neglecting to use a turn signal. But few things on the road seem as enraging as the merging described above. Merging difficulties account for over half of major auto-related causes of stress, according to research by the Texas Transportation Institute. I posted a description of the zipper merge in a Facebook auto enthusiast group, along with a video illustrating the technique and asked for public comments. Many said they would move into the through lane as soon as possible and were angered when others sped along until the last moment. Some vowed that they would run off the road anyone who took this route. One respondent said the best argument against the zipper merge in the United States was that too many dangerous fools carried pistols and were willing to use them. Traffic experts are enthusiastic about zipper merging, and they have statistics to back it up. The Minnesota Department of Transportation cites four benefits: It reduces differences in speeds between the two lanes, shortens traffic backups by as much as 40 percent, eases congestion at interchanges and creates a sense that lanes are moving more equitably. The Texas Transportation Institute found that a zipper merge strategy delayed the onset of congestion at the merge point by about 14 minutes and cut the maximum line of cars by 1,800 feet. Some states have made zippering the law. In 2020, Illinois mandated that its Rules of the Road handbook include the zipper merge. Violators who impede others from merging are subject to a fine. “The law specifically states that each driver shall reduce speed and/or position to allow a person to actually merge,” said Sgt. Delila Garcia of the Illinois State Police. The North Carolina House passed a bill that would mandate the zipper merge when lanes merged into one. The bill, which has yet to pass the Senate, would also require that driver’s license and driver education handbooks include the zipper merge. Representative Brian Turner, a Democrat, sponsored the bill. He commutes more than 200 miles from Asheville to Raleigh every week and spends a lot of time on North Carolina highways. “Anybody who travels any great distance to get to Raleigh knows that the most frustrating thing on the road is someone going slow in the left lane,” Mr. Turner told a House committee, as quoted in The Citizen-Times of Asheville. “The second most frustrating thing is when we merge from two lanes into one and everyone backs up in one lane.” If the bill becomes law, it may be difficult to enforce. But even without penalties, it might at least encourage drivers to employ the zipper merge. For all these efforts, the behavior is still considered rude by many. They feel that drivers who continue in the closing lane are cutting in front of them, and many angrily refuse to make room, shaking a fist or even brandishing a weapon. There is potential for worse. According to the American Psychological Association, 30 killings annually are linked to road rage. Road signs asking motorists to use both lanes to the merge point can help guide drivers to better behavior. The Colorado Department of Transportation found that drivers merged correctly before construction sites only when a number of informational signs were put up both well before the work area and at the merge point. One read, “Use Both Lanes to Merge Point.” Other states have begun to add signs as well. Lance Aldrich, a Michigan writer who has railed against those who refuse to get in line early, said: “Americans are fiercely protective of their property rights. They see someone who slides in at the last moment as a trespasser trying to steal something that is rightfully theirs. Perhaps if the zipper method were taught from a very early age and shown to be for the common good it might work. But otherwise don’t even think about squeezing in ahead of me.”
Read more » click here


. .

A Second Helping
Program to collect food Saturday mornings (7:00am to 12:00pm) during the summer at the Beach Mart on the Causeway.

.


.
1) Seventeenth year of the program
. 2) Food collections have now exceeded 273,000 pounds
. 3)
Collections will begin on May 29th and run through September 18th
. 4) Food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County
For more information » click here

Hunger exists everywhere in this country; join them in the fight to help end hunger in Brunswick County. Cash donations are gratefully accepted. One hundred percent (100%) of these cash donations are used to buy more food. You can be assured that the money will be very well spent.

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

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

A Second Helping collects leftover items from vacationers leaving Brunswick County beaches
Have you ever reached the end of your vacation and realized that you have a lot of extra food or non-food items like soaps, paper plates, or paper towels? Several beaches in Brunswick County have volunteer organizations called A Second Helping that collects those items and donates them back to the community. “We’ve got all these tourists that come in town — why not leave your food with us on your way back home,” said Rebecca Powell, co-founder of A Second Helping OIB. “It’s a way to pay it forward in the community.” A Second Helping in Ocean Isle Beach has grown from a very small group of people to now around 50 volunteers and three different drop stations. Doug Cottrell, who organizes A Second Helping in Holden Beach, said they have also seen growth since it was founded by Bill Spier back in 2005. “It’s grown from an idea to an average of a thousand, 12-hundred pounds each Saturday morning,” he said. “The idea that Mr. Spier had in the beginning was that people would leave when the houses turn on Saturdays and didn’t have anything to do with their leftovers.” He says about two-thirds of what they collect is food. “We get tremendous amount of condiments, hot dogs, hamburgers, lots of wonderful produce—it’s amazing how much products we get,” Cottrell said. “It’s a little bit of everything that you’d buy to have in your refrigerator when you’re on vacation.” The other third are items like soaps, Ziplock bags, or aluminum foil. The volunteer organization at Holden Beach has a close relationship with the rental companies in the area. One house in particular has been known for its donations after visitors spend a long week at the beach. “We have a house that’s 15 bedrooms and sometimes they’ll show up here with an SUV and truck full of stuff and then have to go home and pack up to leave and we’ll get over 100 pounds out of one house of people on vacation,” Cottrell said. A Second Helping in Holden Beach donates its food items to Loaves and Fishes pantry of Brunswick Islands Baptist Church. It’s non-food items go to the Brunswick Christian Recovery Center. A Second Helping OIB donates what it collects to Brunswick Family Assistance. “We are very blessed to live on an island but at the same time there’s other parts of this pocket of the county that are not so fortunate, and we need to remember them,” Powell said. “I don’t think anyone should go to bed hungry at night.” “Not too far off the beach there’s a considerable amount of poverty and people in need and a pantry to support that,” Cottrell said. “What we gather we take to the pantry and then they have a two-day a week open facility for people to go in a receive what we donate.” There is A Second Helping organization in Holden, Ocean Isle and Sunset Beaches. Saturday kicked off the season for each location, and they will collect goods every Saturday morning through Labor Day weekend. Click here for more information on drop-off sites for each location.
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


U.S. has entered unprecedented climate territory, EPA warns
The Trump administration delayed the report, which cites urban heat waves and permafrost loss as signs of global warming, for three years

For years, President Donald Trump and his deputies played down the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and delayed the release of an Environmental Protection Agency report detailing climate-related damage. But on Wednesday, the EPA released a detailed and disturbing account of the startling changes that Earth’s warming had on parts of the United States during Trump’s presidency. The destruction of year-round permafrost in Alaska, loss of winter ice on the Great Lakes and spike in summer heat waves in U.S. cities all signal that climate change is intensifying, the EPA said in its report. The assessment, which languished under the Trump administration for three years, marks the first time the agency has said such changes are being driven at least in part by human-caused global warming. As it launched an updated webpage to inform the public on how climate change is upending communities throughout the country, the Biden administration gave the agency’s imprimatur to a growing body of evidence that climate effects are happening faster and becoming more extreme than when EPA last published its “Climate Indicators” data in 2016.
Read more »
click here


.

Development Fees
For more information » click here
.
.


Draft System Development Fees Report
Calculation of Water and Sewer System Development Fees for FY2022
Prepared by Raftelis in accordance with HB 436.


.

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 October 1, 2020, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to September 30, 2021.

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


Coastal Connection: Risk Rating 2.0 will change the entire flood industry
When FEMA announced the transformation of the National Flood Insurance Program with updated and modernized rating dubbed Risk Rating 2.0, questions and concerns were raised from various industries such as insurance agents and real estate professionals. As FEMA begins to release details around Risk Rating 2.0, it’s clear that the National Flood Insurance Program transformation will not just impact insurance rating, it will impact the entire flood industry. From private flood insurance companies to floodplain managers, each stakeholder will be influenced by Risk Rating 2.0’s implementation. FEMA has branded Risk Rating 2.0 as Equity in Action since the coming changes will make the National Flood Insurance Program rates more fair and easier to understand. Equity in Action replaces the current binary “in versus out” of a high-risk flood zone pricing methodology. Rather, it uses “graduated” rating, which is a pricing methodology based on factors such as distance to water, types of flood exposure, and other advanced elements. Equity in Action will also bring more equity to National Flood Insurance Program policyholders by basing rates off of the building’s replacement cost.  The higher the building’s replacement cost, the more expensive the premium, and vice versa. In April, FEMA issued a press release on Equity in Action and state fact sheets showing projected rate changes:   

    • 11% of NFIP policyholders will see a premium increase of over $120 per year.
    • 63% of policyholders will see premium increases of $0 to $100 a year.
    • 23% of NFIP policyholders will see a premium decrease.    

The changes in the new National Flood Insurance Program rating methodology will have impacts throughout the entire insurance industry. For example, once Equity in Action takes effect, private flood insurers may find expanded or changed opportunities to sell policies that will close the insurance gap. Overall, what FEMA will accomplish in the transformation is making the National Flood Insurance Program part of a rapidly evolving and competitive flood insurance environment where insureds ask to see a quote from multiple carriers, one of them being the National Flood Insurance Program. Changes under Equity in Action are not limited to the world of insurance. The impacts and benefits of mitigation options, such as the elevation of a home, have been difficult to clearly communicate, and are not always viable. The coming changes to the National Flood Insurance Program bring better solutions and easier communication for mitigation options. Under Equity in Action, premium credits will now be given for the elevation of mechanical equipment, currently not a creditable mitigation activity under the National Flood Insurance Program. The NFIP is changing how home elevation premium reductions are calculated. Currently, premium discounts max out when a building is elevated 4 feet above the base flood elevation. But with Equity in Action, the higher you go, the less the premium will be. Importantly, mitigation credits will apply everywhere, not just for those properties in the high-risk flood zone.  These changes will also enhance the flood resilience of our communities. As the financial benefit of mitigation grows, so will the elevation and mitigation of buildings. Essentially, the mitigation elements of Equity in Action will have a trickledown effect that benefits many other stakeholders. In April of this year, House Financial Services introduced a discussion draft of a National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization and reform bill. The bill, among its other elements, proposes to lower the annual increase cap on National Flood Insurance Program premiums from 18% to 9%. Since FEMA notes that policy premiums will increase up to the maximum statutory cap under Equity in Action, this was a clear reaction from Congress. While there are still legislative issues and priorities to tackle, Equity in Action will address long standing programmatic issues that Congress may no longer need to address in forthcoming flood reform such as using replacement cost when determining rates. In early 2021, a media storm followed the release of information about potential impacts of Risk Rating 2.0.  For the first time, those who never heard of or cared about flood risk began to talk about the topic and Equity in Action will make flood risk easier to communicate. Equally important is to understand that the change that FEMA is planning will impact far more stakeholders than just those that interact with National Flood Insurance Program insurance. Equity in Action modernizes the National Flood Insurance Program in a way that has not been seen in the 53-year history of the program. Whether stakeholders involved appreciate the changes or not, Risk Rating 2.0 will change the landscape of insuring against and communicating flood risk.
Read more » click her


 

GenX
For more information » click here
..
.

.
GenX and your health:
What we know 4 years after the toxin was found in Wilmington’s drinking water
Scientists have established that people in the Cape Fear region have extremely high amounts of PFAS in their blood, but little is known about these compounds
For decades, thousands of North Carolinians drank contaminated water from the Cape Fear River. The pollution has been brought under control, but in the aftermath, fear over what the toxins have done to people’s bodies has arisen.  Unknown to most until 2017, Chemours and before them DuPont, two chemical manufacturers, polluted the Cape Fear River with harmful chemicals for more than 30 years. Since the 1980s, dangerously high levels of PFAS, including one called GenX, leaked uncontrollably into the river, which serves as the drinking water source to more than 300,000 people. In 2017, a StarNews investigation identified the Fayetteville Works plant outside Fayetteville as the primary source, but Kemp Burdette, the Cape Fear River riverkeeper, said there are many more PFAS polluters out there. All this pollution has a human cost. For decades, Burdette, his family and hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians drank the water from their facets, unaware of the risk. Now many are left wondering what will happen to them.  “You talk to people in Wilmington and everybody knows somebody that has died of kidney cancer, liver cancer, has thyroid issues or any number of things that are very definitely linked to PFAS,” Burdette said. Scientists are trying to provide answers, but various challenges are creating roadblocks. Scientists in North Carolina have established that the populations in the Cape Fear region have extremely high amounts of PFAS in their blood, but little is known about these compounds and researching them is complex and takes time.  Jane Hoppin and her colleagues at the GenX Exposure Study have been studying PFAS in North Carolina since the crisis began four years ago. The group has taken blood samples from affected residents and is now embarking on a larger five-year study to examine the long-term health effects of exposure to PFAS, which is short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. In Wilmington, researchers estimate residents ingested approximately 700 parts per trillion of PFAS every day for more than 30 years, said Hoppin, who’s the principal investigator of the project. That exposure is five times the exposure goal set by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “We still don’t know whether there’s a unique fingerprint to health risks for people who live in Wilmington (and Fayetteville),” said Hoppin, a professor at North Carolina State University. “We may never know because the kinds of things that PFAS are most strongly related to in animal studies aren’t super unique.” Animal testing done on PFAS in general reveals the chemicals can cause liver damage that could lead to cancer or tumors, according to Jamie DeWitt, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine. PFAS exposure can also lead to kidney, testicular and other cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute, however it’s unknown if the types of PFAS North Carolinians were exposed to cause the same illnesses.  “There’s several reasons toxicologists like me are concerned about PFAS,” DeWitt said. “One of the main reasons is that they’re persistent. They last for an indefinite period of time in the environment, which means that living organisms are going to be continually exposed for generations.” 
What more do we know? 
Since 2017, the GenX Exposure Study has collected blood samples from more than 300 people in the Cape Fear region to measure how much of the chemicals have been absorbed into people’s bodies.  The results took researchers by surprise, Hoppin said. The team found numerous types of PFAS in participants’ blood, including legacy PFAS at levels above the 95th percentile compared to the U.S. population.  Studying PFAS is a challenge, partly because there’s no “charismatic tragic illness” felt by the masses to inspire action, Hoppin said. Also, many of the potential health outcomes, such as cancer, can be caused by a multitude of factors, complicating the job of trying to identify how the toxin affects people. Researchers are making some progress, but traditionally scientists study one compound individually, which can be very time and labor intensive, said Carrie McDonough, an assistant professor and environmental chemist at Stony Brook University. “You can imagine when we have thousands of these compounds, we have new ones all the time that are getting discovered. It’s really hard to keep up with these kinds of toxicological studies,” McDonough said.  Scientists have few human population studies to judge the effects of PFAS, according to Alan Ducatman, professor emeritus at West Virginia University. The few population studies out there also might not be relevant to North Carolina because compounds are distinct, meaning outcomes could be different. Ducatman served as principal investigator for the C8 Health Project, a population study convened after DuPont released a PFAS called C8, the precursor to GenX, into the mid-Ohio Valley contaminating the drinking water of more than 80,000 people. After decades of polluting the valley, DuPont paid out hundreds of millions to affected residents and later decided to replace C8 with a new substance called GenX. That new compound was supposed to be safer and would be manufactured by a spinoff business named Chemours outside Fayetteville.
In your blood 
While the bloodwork done by the GenX Exposure Study found new PFAS in North Carolinians’ blood, it’s not getting a complete picture about how many manmade chemicals are in a person’s body, DeWitt said. Researchers only measured the blood, which excludes any buildup in a person’s organs where there could be more.  The chemicals measured in participants’ blood four years ago are likely still there, DeWitt said. Depending on the half-life of the specific compound, it could take years or even a lifetime for the chemical to breakdown and exit the body, and that’s if new exposure ends.  Measurable amounts of GenX, PFOA and PFOS, all PFAS compounds, continue to be found in the Cape Fear River both leaving the Fayetteville Works Plant and entering the drinking water source of Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, according to water sampling done by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. While the amounts are below state recommended health levels, North Carolinians continue to be exposed to the PFAS chemicals.  “You never are really going to fully get rid of what you have in your body because you have continuous exposure,” DeWitt said. “What little bit gets left behind gets added to by the new amounts that you take into your body.” It’s likely nearly everyone who drank the contaminated water in the Cape Fear region will have detectable levels of PFAS in their bodies, DeWitt said. Detectable levels don’t mean a person will develop cancer or another disease linked to PFAS, it just means that they are at an increased risk. Scientists still have a lot to learn about how PFAS interact in the bloodstream, but from what they know now, it’s clear the chemicals behave differently than other toxins, McDonough said.  Because the chemicals behave differently and are novel substances there’s a steep learning curve for researchers, McDonough said, but from what scientists already understand the news doesn’t seem encouraging.
What happens from here? 
From what Ducatman observed in West Virginia with C8, it didn’t take long for signs of exposure to start showing up in the community. Scientists could quickly see some of the effects in children.  By adolescence, scientists could measure a noticeable difference in lipids between children exposed to high levels of C8 and those who weren’t, Ducatman said. Researchers also found children who were exposed to C8 had vaccine uptake issues, meaning their bodies didn’t fully absorb immunizations as well as those who weren’t affected by the  manmade compounds. Much of the research on the populations affected by the C8 contamination, including the C8 Science Panel, were carried out as part of the legal settlement between DuPont and the victims of the exposure. Scientists, as part of the C8 Science Panel, would go on to establish probable links between C8 and kidney and testicular cancer, pregnancy induced hypertension, ulcerative colitis and thyroid disease.  No such agreement exists in North Carolina, and thus Hoppin’s team is being supported by grant funding, making it harder to gather as much data as what was achieved in West Virginia.  Nonetheless, the five-year study being conducted by Hoppin and others will build off what was learned in West Virginia, Hoppin said.  The study is currently recruiting participants in the Fayetteville area, but will start looking for Wilmington residents this fall, Hoppin said. Hoppin hopes to have between 1,200-1,400 participants.  Because taxpayers are paying for the study, the examination will focus on health outcomes that will impact people over the course of their lifetimes, Hoppin said. Hoppin added it’s hard for researchers to examine cancer in relation to PFAS in North Carolina because Wilmington’s population has grown so quickly, and the disease generally has a 20-year latency period, meaning it can take up to 20 years for cancer to form as a result of PFAS exposure. “There are a million questions out there that people want to know the answers to, and I think that as researchers we need to focus on the ones that we are skilled to answer,” Hoppin said.
Chemours’ proximity to Cape Fear, Wilmington
Chemours’ Fayetteville Works plant is located along the Cape Fear River approximately 20 miles southeast of Fayetteville and roughly 100 miles upstream from Wilmington.
Read more » click here


  •  

    Homeowners Insurance
    For more information » click here
    .

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

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

Commissioner Causey postpones homeowners’ insurance rate hearing
The hearing scheduled for the insurance industry’s proposed statewide average 24.5% homeowners’ insurance rate increase has been extended six weeks from Sept. 20 to Nov.1. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey says he needs the additional time to review the documents filed by the North Carolina Rate Bureau. “There is a pervasive lack of documentation, explanation and justification of both the data used, as well as the procedures and methodologies used in the filing,” Commissioner Causey said. “The proposed rates appear to be excessive and unfairly discriminatory, and I want more time to study the data to ensure our consumers are treated fairly. ”The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in the Second Floor Hearing Room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh. The hearing will be held unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Rate Bureau are able to negotiate a settlement before that date. The Department of Insurance and the NCRB can settle the proposed rate increase at any time during litigation. The NCRB, which is not a part of the N.C. Department of Insurance, represents insurers that write the state’s homeowners policies. The NCRB also represents automobile and workers’ compensation insurance companies. The NCRB filed the average 24.5% homeowners increase Nov. 9, 2020. The filing covers insurance for residential property, tenants, and condominiums at varying rates around the state. The last NCRB home-owners rate filing was in 2018 that resulted in a settlement of 4%, which took effect May 1, 2020.
Beacon



  • .
    Hurricane Season

    For more information » click here
    .


NOAA predicts another active Atlantic hurricane season
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.

For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

Last month, NOAA updated the statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the latest climate record. Based on this update an average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which 7 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. [Watch this video summary of the Outlook.]

El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral phase, with the possibility of the return of La Nina later in the hurricane season. “ENSO-neutral and La Nina support the conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity.” Scientists at NOAA also continue to study how climate change is impacting the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones.

Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. “The forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are well-prepared with significant upgrades to our computer models, emerging observation techniques, and the expertise to deliver the life-saving forecasts that we all depend on during this, and every, hurricane season.”

In an effort to continuously enhance hurricane forecasting, NOAA made several updates to products and services that will improve hurricane forecasting during the 2021 season.

Last year’s record-breaking season serves as a reminder to all residents in coastal regions or areas prone to inland flooding from rainfall to be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season.

“With hurricane season starting on June 1, now is the time to get ready and advance disaster resilience in our communities,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Visit Ready.gov and Listo.gov to learn and take the steps to prepare yourself and others in your household. Download the FEMA app to sign-up for a variety of alerts and to access preparedness information. Purchase flood insurance to protect your greatest asset, your home. And, please encourage your neighbors, friends and coworkers to also get ready for the upcoming season.”

NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the Eastern and Central Pacific basins, and will provide an update to the Atlantic outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

Visit FEMA’s Ready.gov to be prepared for the start of hurricane season and the National Hurricane Center’s website at hurricanes.gov throughout the season to stay current on watches and warnings.
Read more » click here


.

Lockwood Folly Inlet
For more information » click here
.


Lockwood Folly Inlet reaches danger point
Brunswick County, Oak Island and Holden Beach have made significant financial commitments in their draft 2022 budgets for maintenance dredging of the badly shoaled Lockwood Folly Inlet. The hope is that other regulatory agencies will solve the immediate issue and regularly schedule the work to avoid potentially hazardous situations like the one on the water today. “We’re in an emergency” said Cane Faircloth, president of the Lockwood Folly Association. Faircloth, a charter captain, said he could not safely transit the inlet in his boat that draws three feet of water. Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard issued an “urgent bulletin” to mariners, warning the inlet was as shallow as two feet at mean low tide. The Coast Guard also removed remaining navigational buoys, stating that they no longer offered realistic assistance to boaters. Brennan Dooley of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Brunswick Shoreline Protection group last Wednesday that the situation “does not look very good,” with the throat of the inlet badly shoaled, according to a survey last week. “It’s a tough situation as you all know,” he said. “We don’t have a definitive plan yet.” The use of a hopper dredge in 2019 opened the channel and added sand to Oak Island’s west beach. Hopper dredges have claws that reach downward to scoop the sand. They cannot operate in extremely shallow waters, even if a dredge is available. The Corps relies on the Merritt, a sidecast dredge that works more like a lawn mower, pulling sand through a pipe and blasting the sand/water mix to the side. This clears the channel but does not move sediments out of the dynamic inlet system that can quickly shoal. Faircloth said his fear was that if shoaling continued unabated, the Corps may not be able to employ the sidecast dredge Merritt to clear even a marginal channel. Commercial anglers, crabbers, shrimp boats, charter fishermen and recreational boaters all depend on the Lockwood Folly inlet for ready access to the ocean and Long Bay. Dooley said it would be at least 30 days before he expected the Merritt to be here. Members of the group, an intergovernmental ad hoc committee, asked the Corps for an estimate on the costs for annual dredging, which can happen once or twice a year, depending on conditions, budgets and the availability of dredges. Dooley said it would be 2022 before any hopper dredge would be available for Lockwood Folly, which spans the gap between Holden Beach and Oak Island. Dooley said the next available sand from Lockwood Folly, including an inlet widening project, would go to Holden Beach. Masons Creek, Brown Inlet and Snows Cut will also see dredging. The state’s Shallow Draft Inlet Fund picks up most of the costs. Brunswick County will pay half of the “local share.” Oak Island and Holden Beach will split the remaining 25-percent each of the local match, according to Meagan Kaescak, county spokeswoman. Holden Beach has committed $383,000; Brunswick County will contribute $200,000 and Oak Island’s share is $100,000. If the three local government units agree to their draft budgets, “the county will take the lead … in the funding process,” Kaescak stated.
Read more » click here


Lockwood Folly Inlet reaches danger point
Brunswick County, Oak Island and Holden Beach have made significant financial commitments in their draft 2022 budgets for maintenance dredging of the badly shoaled Lockwood Folly Inlet. The hope is that other regulatory agencies will solve the immediate issue and regularly schedule the work to avoid potentially hazardous situations like the one on the water today. “We’re in an emergency” said Cane Faircloth, president of the Lockwood Folly Association. Faircloth, a charter captain, said he could not safely transit the inlet in his boat that draws three feet of water. Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard issued an “urgent bulletin” to mariners, warning the inlet was as shallow as two feet at mean low tide. The Coast Guard also removed remaining navigational buoys, stating that they no longer offered realistic assistance to boaters. Brennan Dooley of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Brunswick Shoreline Protection group last Wednesday that the situation “does not look very good,” with the throat of the inlet badly shoaled, according to a survey last week. “It’s a tough situation as you all know,” he said. “We don’t have a definitive plan yet.” The use of a hopper dredge in 2019 opened the channel and added sand to Oak Island’s west beach. Hopper dredges have claws that reach downward to scoop the sand. They cannot operate in extremely shallow waters, even if a dredge is available. The Corps relies on the Merritt, a sidecast dredge that works more like a lawn mower, pulling sand through a pipe and blasting the sand/water mix to the side. This clears the channel but does not move sediments out of the dynamic inlet system that can quickly shoal. Faircloth said his fear was that if shoaling continued unabated, the Corps may not be able to employ the sidecast dredge Merritt to clear even a marginal channel. Commercial anglers, crabbers, shrimp boats, charter fishermen and recreational boaters all depend on the Lockwood Folly inlet for ready access to the ocean and Long Bay. Dooley said it would be at least 30 days before he expected the Merritt to be here. Members of the group, an intergovernmental ad hoc committee, asked the Corps for an estimate on the costs for annual dredging, which can happen once or twice a year, depending on conditions, budgets and the availability of dredges. Dooley said it would be 2022 before any hopper dredge would be available for Lockwood Folly, which spans the gap between Holden Beach and Oak Island. Dooley said the next available sand from Lockwood Folly, including an inlet widening project, would go to Holden Beach. Masons Creek, Brown Inlet and Snows Cut will also see dredging. The state’s Shallow Draft Inlet Fund picks up most of the costs. Brunswick County will pay half of the “local share.” Oak Island and Holden Beach will split the remaining 25-percent each of the local match, according to Meagan Kaescak, county spokeswoman. Holden Beach has committed $383,000; Brunswick County will contribute $200,000 and Oak Island’s share is $100,000. If the three local government units agree to their draft budgets, “the county will take the lead … in the funding process,” Kaescak stated.
Read more » click here

‘People are going to die’: Lockwood Folly Inlet dangerously shallow
As summer approaches, the Lockwood Folly Inlet is reaching the danger zone with alarmingly shallow waters. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ latest survey of the inlet reveals the inlet is severely shoaled, meaning it’s very shallow. According to a bulletin from the Coast Guard, the waters are less than two feet deep at low tide. Lockwood Inlet Association President Captain Cane Faircloth says the inlet is in peril and if something is not done soon visitors who use the inlet may be in danger as well. “People are going to be in the inlet in rougher conditions in their boats who are not from the area, not familiar with this area, and they’re going to get in trouble,” Faircloth said. “Boats are going to capsize, and people are going to die.” The captain draws an analogy to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to explain the inlet’s condition. “You can imagine if you tried to go across the bridge and there was half a lane and some cars were just falling off into the water,” Faircloth said. “That’s where we’re at with this infrastructure right now.” It’s not just an environmental concern, but public safety and economic one. Faircloth says not only are boaters at risk of grounding, but people getting caught in rip currents at Oak Island and Holden Beach who depend on water rescue teams who use the inlet and not lifeguards to keep swimmers safe, fishermen, and more all depend on the inlet. “In Tubbs Inlet, the oysters and the clams are starting to die because the inlet does not flow well. It’s really clogged up and lost probably forever,” Faircloth said. “We do not want to see Lockwood go the same route. If we let that inlet close up, the Lockwood Folly River is not going to flow correctly, and all the oysters, clams, and fish are going to start dying.” So what is the solution? Faircloth says the inlet needs another dredging project immediately. Ideally with a hopper dredge vessel. The last time a hopper was used, Faircloth says the channel lasted a year. Although, the only hopper available has prior commitments right now. The Corps of Engineers is working to complete a new survey of the inlet before beginning a new dredge project using the Merritt, a side caster dredge vessel. “It does an okay job, but ideally the hopper dredge is the one that can go in there really remove the sand and create a good long-lasting channel,” Faircloth said. The USACE survey could be completed as early as Thursday. If USACE does not need additional funds from Brunswick County to begin a new project, a spokesman says they will be able to start very soon. If they do need more funding, it could be weeks before they are able to start. Meagan Kascsak, a spokeswoman for Brunswick County, shared the following statement concerning funding for the project. “Brunswick County’s recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2022 contains another appropriation to the Shoreline Reserve of $200,000, which is the same amount the County appropriated to the reserve the past few years. The reserve has a positive balance at this time and will have enough funds available to support the County’s portion (50% of local match) of an annual project with USACE for the Lockwood Folly Inlet Navigation Channel. It is our understanding that the Towns of Oak Island and Holden Beach also plan to recommend their respective portions (25% each of local match) of such a project for FY22. If all three budget plans are approved as recommended, the County will take the lead with USACE and the NCDEQ Division of Water Resources in the funding process.”
Read more » click here

Follow up: Lockwood Folly Inlet still dangerously shallow
Lockwood Folly Inlet is reaching the danger zone with alarmingly shallow waters. The depth is still decreasing, and the danger is increasing. According to Oak Island Water Rescue a boat capsized in the inlet last weekend. No injuries were reported. Oak Island Water Rescue is advising boaters against using the inlet; especially during low tide. Some areas of the inlet are only two feet deep.

It’s gut wrenching,’
Lockwood Folly Inlet reaches critical level as dredging project sees delays
Lockwood Folly Inlet has a history of filling up with sand and creating a dangerous situation for people on the water, but leaders say they’ve never seen it this bad before. The inlet between Oak Island and Holden Beach has already seen one boat flip this week. While no one was hurt in the crash, Captain Cane Faircloth, the president of the Lockwood Inlet Association, says it’s only a matter of time before it happens again. “It’s gut wrenching to watch people come in and out of it, especially when there’s a swell to watch boats get hung up, you’re just waiting for that moment for the next one to capsize,” said Faircloth. The $600,000 project is already paid for by the Shallow Draft Inlet Fund, the town of Holden Beach, the town of Oak Island, and Brunswick County. The issue is the US Army Corps of Engineers says it’s going to be July before they can get a dredge out there. During the pandemic, dredging ceased, and crews haven’t been able to keep up with the workload since then, explained Faircloth. ”We were hoping there would be a cycle in March, and from March, it got pushed to April. And from April, got pushed to May. In May, we were told in 30 days the dredge should be here,” explained Faircloth. “We’re failing as a state to protect the tourism and the tourists that come to the beach and protecting their lives by giving water rescue a chance to save them.” The inlet is just 1-2 feet deep at low tide, a level so dangerous the Coast Guard removed its navigation buoys and deemed the inlet unsafe. Oak Island Water Rescue Chief Tony Young says they know people are still using the inlet and he’s concerned about safely accessing the area to save someone in trouble. “We would hate to have someone be hurt and waiting for us to get to them and we can’t get there because there’s no safe way for us to approach them,” said Tony Young. “Somebody goes through there at a high speed, and there’s only a foot and a half of water and the motor hits the bottom, that stops the boat. It can go aground or strand them on the sandbar and turn sideways into the waves, and then they roll over — and now there’s a potential for people under a boat or separate from the boat in the breakers. There’s all kinds of bad things that happen in that situation — none of it’s good for the boaters or for the rescuers.” It’s an area that’s historically troublesome, but experts say they’ve never seen it this bad, and they’re pleading with leaders to keep Lockwood Folly Inlet at the top of the priority list to avoid a tragedy. Faircloth is asking people to write to congressional leaders to bring more attention to the issue. ”We’re at the point that we’re going to start losing lives. Is it gonna take a family of six dying out there this weekend to maybe get them to pay attention? Let’s save a life, let’s do what’s right,” added Faircloth. Both organizations and the Coast Guard are warning people to avoid the inlet until the work is complete.
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.
/////
Dinner Club outings have been on hold since March 2020

Dining Guide – Guests

Dining Guide – Local

Restaurant Reviews – North

Restaurant Reviews – South


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

Dining Guide – Local
Old places, New faces
Name:              Macie & Ethel’s Kitchen
Location:        3219 Holden Beach Road, Supply NC
The Seafood Barn  has permanently closed. Macie & Ethel’s Kitchen  is a family-style southern food and southern hospitality restaurant that recently opened at this location.

Look for Southern hospitality, family-style food, at new BC restaurant
The newly opened Macie & Ethel’s Kitchen at 3219 Holden Beach Road S.W. in Holden Beach wanted to offer the beach community a different kind of restaurant experience. “There are lots of good seafood places,” said manager Jamie Gunsallus. “But not many where you can get great Southern food, and Southern hospitality.” Diners have the choice of getting that hospitality, and food, family style. A highlight of the menu is an option to get a full chicken dinner for a group. It includes a choice of a large serving platter of Ethel’s Classic Fried Chicken, Macie’s Spicy Fried Chicken or Pa’s Herb Roasted Chicken, accompanied by 20-ounce servings of sides – you choose four of the eight on the menu. “And if you want a second helping, you just let us know,” she said.  The meal also includes fresh biscuits made in house, and a scoop of ice cream for the kids at the table.
Read more » click here


Rx Restaurant & Bar has a new open-air, all season dining room
“We have a brand new, open-air, all season dining room, which features radiant floor heating for cold nights and a pleasant cross breeze, ceiling fans, and oscillating fans for warmer nights. The space is lined with louvered hurricane shutters and features an art installation from local wire sculptor Michael Van Hout.”
Read more » click here

/////
Name:                  Rx Restaurant and Bar
Cuisine:               Southern Comfort
Location:            421 Castle Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:              910.399.3080 / https://www.rxwilmington.com

Food:                    Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:               Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:          Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:                     Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:                Three Stars
Rx is located in downtown Wilmington on the corner of Fifth and Castle; in a residential neighborhood, away from any other downtown eatery. The name Rx pays homage to the building’s heritage, occupying the old Hall’s Drug Store. Rx offers an upscale version of Southern comfort food alongside traditional American favorites in a comfortable relaxed environment. The locally sourced menu is ingredient driven and changes daily in order to bring in the freshest ingredients that they can. I now know what all the hype is about. They could easily become one of my favorite restaurants. I’d put it on your short-list of must try Wilmington restaurants.

OpenTable, a provider of online restaurant reservations, recently released its list of the 50 Best Southern Cuisine Restaurants in America for 2018 and RX Restaurant and Bar is on it.


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


THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY
by Matt Haig
Nora Seed is depressed and decides to end everything. Between life and death is a library in which each book represents a version of her life where she made different choices. Each time she steps into an alternate reality, she learns some very key lessons along the way. As she travels through the library, she explores what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
.


  • .That’s it for this newsletter

    See you next month


    Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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

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

    https://lousviews.com/



06 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


Budget Message 05/27/21

Notice is hereby given that the Budget proposed for the Fiscal Year, beginning July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2022, has been submitted to the Board of Commissioners. Click here to view a copy of the budget message.

A public hearing on the proposed Budget will be held by the Board of Commissioners at 5:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter on Friday, June 4, 2021, in the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly, 110 Rothschild Street. Oral and written comments will be received at the hearing from any interested person.

Key Takeaways

    • Satisfies Town’s total Fiscal Year debt obligations of $2,937,471
    • Maintains the current tax rate of 20 cents per hundred dollars of valuation
    • Construction  four FEMA storm damage mitigation projects totaling $45.7 million
    • Transferring $500,000 from Unassigned General Fund Balance to the Beach & Inlet Capital Reserve Fund
    • Increasing the Sewer Assessment from $370 to $385
    • Engineering, construction, and financing of upgrades for Lift Station #2
    • Maintaining an estimated Unassigned General Fund Balance of 41%
    • Police Department –
      1. Convert one (1) part time administrative specialist to full time
      2.
      Procurement of two (2) vehicles
      3.
      Launch “Central Square” automated dispatch system
    • Planning & Inspections Department –
      1. Add one (1) Development Services position
      2.
      Procurement of one (1) vehicle
      3.
      Deployment of drone operations capability  
    • Appropriations for a Second Water Tower evaluation
    • Appropriations for a Water/Sewer Rate Study
    • Ensuring Canal Subdivision’s navigability
    • USACE Coastal Storm Damage Reduction study – provide $500,000 local share
    • Lockwood Folly Inlet maintenance dredging funds – provide $383,000
    • Continued beach , inlet, and waterways advocacy
    • Funding 3% merit pay performance pool
    • Implement modifications to trash pail rollback services and recycling program
    • Appropriation of $700,000 grant share for construction OBW bike path
    • Administer $194,000 American Recovery Plan funds
    • Upgrade fire hydrant maintenance program for an annual cost of $20,000
    • Update Capital Improvement Plan

BOC’s Special Meeting 06/04/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here 

1. Public Comment

There were no comments

2. Public Hearing – Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 –2022

Agenda Packet – Budget Message

Proposed Budget by Fund
                                                                  2019                      2020                      2021
General                                                    $3,446,793           $3,631,081            $4,331,174
Water & Sewer                                       $5,320,990           $5,066,429            $5,434,420
BPART                                                      $3,078,146           $28,305,961          $4,465,043
Canal Dredging                                      $2,167,214           $2,708,552            $3,006,670
American Recovery Plan                                                                                   $194,000
FEMA Capital Projects Fund                                                                             $45,745,632
Capital Reserve Fund Water                                                                             $113,276
Capital Reserve Fund Sewer                                                                             $106,623
Capital Reserve Fund Beach               $3,255,657            $2,393,242            $2,694,372
Total All Funds                                     $17,268,800         $42,105,266          $66,091,210

The Board is required to hold a Public Hearing prior to adopting  the budget.  The proposed budget sets forth four (4) main governmental funds – General, Water & Sewer, BPART (Beach Preservation / Access & Recreation / Tourism), and Canal Dredging. It also includes three (3) Capital Reserve Funds – Beach Nourishment, Water, and Sewer. The total budget is $66,091,210David stated the budget was prepared as directed by the Board. He went over the budget highlights; they were listed as key takeaways from the Budget Message. Commissioners must adopt budget no later than July 1st for the next fiscal year.

3. Discussion and Possible Approval of Agreement between the Town and Green Engineering for Engineering Services for Structural and Mechanical Modifications to Vacuum Sewer Pump Station Number 2 – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
The engineer has proposed an aggressive schedule for the project as reflected in the proposed contract. The total for engineering services is
$255,990. The agreement appears standard and sufficient funds are currently budgeted to allow for its execution. Staff recommends approval of the agreement.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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

No decision was made – No action taken


Holden Beach covers proposed budget, engineering contract
The Holden Beach Board of Commissioners met June 4 for a public hearing about the upcoming fiscal year and also spoke with an engineer about his proposal for modifications for a sewer pump. Town Manager David Hewett presented the adjusted $66,091,210 budget after previous budget workshops. Hewett said the budget satisfies the town’s total debt obligations of $2,937,471 for the fiscal year.  It also maintains the town’s current ad valorem tax rate of 20 cents per $100 of valuation. The budget includes $45.7 million toward building the town’s four FEMA storm damage mitigation projects and increases the sewer assessment from $370 to $385 to cover the interest payment on an anticipated $4 million debt issuance for sewer lift stations 2 and 3 upfits. It also provides for a part-time Holden Beach police administrative specialist to become full time, replaces two police cars and the launch of “Central Square,” an automated dispatch system. Hewett said the amended budget provides funds for a second water tower evaluation and a water/sewer rate study. It also covers upgrade to the fire hydrant maintenance program and update the capital improvement plan. It will set aside $145,000 for paving Seagull Street and replace a $100,000 sanitation dump truck among more. The general fund consists of $4,331,174. The general fund goes to the governing body, police, administration, sanitation, inspections, public works for streets, buildings, and grounds. Water and sewer are budgeted at $5,434,420. The Holden Beach Harbor canal dredging special revenue fund is $14,082,625 while the Heritage Harbor canal dredging special revenue is budgeted at $746,640.
The budget was placed on the board’s regular agenda for final adoption June 15. Commissioners had no questions or comment, so Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden ended the public hearing. No motions can be made until the June 15 meeting. Town public works director Chris Clemmons spoke about the engineering agreement for modifications done to sewer pump station 2. Commissioner Brian Murdock asked Green Engineering’s Chief Executive Officer and company president E. Leo Green, about the design phase of the bid. He asked if this lift station was the same or similar to the last one Green Engineering worked on. Murdock said he is a house contractor himself and knows if he owns the plans to the house, he can reuse it in future home builds, which will cause the price to drop. He expected a similar situation to happen in this situation. “I see that it’s cheaper, but I was expecting it to be a little bit cheaper than that, if indeed it is the same,” Murdock said. He said the $116,000 is a lot of money if “we are building the same animal here.” Green said it looks the same, but internally it’s not the same. He listed off a few features that have changed between the two pumps. He said the design has to start from scratch. He said the guts and performance of the design will be different than the other pump. Green said in the past, his company has worked with a good contractor for the town. He said they have a good working relationship with that contractor and hopes to be working with him again for this pump or someone as good. He said if they work with a different contractor, it could be a nightmare. Green said he also doesn’t think there is another engineer in the state that can work with their schedule. “This thing will be on next May,” he said. He added in order to do get the work done, staff has to be added to get the work done in time. He is also aware there will be price increases, which was not put in the budget to cover the negotiation to get the project cost back down in a month. “Hopefully, you won’t have to buy much wood,” Mayor Pro Tem Gerald Brown joked. He said to Green the commissioners understand about the cost. He said Green gave the answer they were looking for. Commissioners then approved the agreement.
Read more » click here


Previously reported – May 2021
Brunswick town responds to backlash over live stream issues
After a year of complaints about a lack of transparency, Holden Beach officials have reopened their meetings to the public this month and are hoping it will make past criticism of their live streams water under the bridge. Since the start of the pandemic, the town of Holden Beach has responded to in-person meeting restrictions by live streaming their Board of Commissioners meeting on Facebook and later posting the audio to YouTube. But during virtually every one of those meetings, resident comments pop up throughout the stream complaining of inadequate audio that leaves them unable to follow the meeting. Residents were also frustrated that the video stream does not show the commissioners, or any presentations given at the meeting, instead focusing the camera at the town’s official seal. “We were thinking they were eventually going to get the hang of it and get better,” said Tom Myers, president of the Holden Beach Property Owners Association. “Everybody else kind of worked out the kinks and got really, really good at virtual meetings but here it never really changed.” Myers said over the past year he’s received too many complaints to count, leading him to send a letter to the board in October calling on them to consistently use microphones, position the camera toward the commissioners, have speakers say their name before commenting, and to take roll call votes, among other suggestions. In the letter, the association also offered to purchase a tripod or camera for the town to use to ensure all speakers and presentations could be seen by the public. After resending the request to the town in February, the letter was read into the record, but the board did not comment on it. Other than that, Myers said, he’s received no response or acknowledgement from town officials. Commissioner Brian Murdock acknowledged the town has received numerous complaints about their meeting but said they we’re not in a position financially to make the necessary changes. “Sure everybody’s written and complaining that they can’t hear, but that’s not really in our wheelhouse,” Murdock said. “We’re not in charge of any of that, that’s handled by staff. I just show up for the meeting and do what I can.” According to Town Manager David Hewitt, the town does not have the personnel or IT capabilities to make use of the camera or tripod, even if the donation allowed them to upgrade from an iPhone to a camera. “We’re not set up for and don’t have the manpower to really do live stream stuff,” Hewitt said. “We were just trying to get by and accommodate as best we could with the circumstances presented by COVID, and it worked to varying degrees for people.” But even after using noise cancelling headphones and following up with staff on unclear items, Myers said it hasn’t been working for association members. He said people fed up with being unable to follow the meetings have tuned out, pointing to a recent meeting in which parking recommendations were to be discussed as an example. After the association emailed members about the upcoming item, the board received more than 200 emails from a town of just over 500 residents. “That to me was a big wake up call,” Myers said. “It’s like, wow, everybody’s really concerned about this, and they had no clue this was going down because they couldn’t follow the meetings and the discussions.” However, other residents like Ralph Gallo, who previously left critical posts under the live stream, now say they are ready to move forward. “They are back to letting the public attend the meetings. Tonight was the first night back. So what’s past is now a mute subject,” Gallo said in a Facebook message. According to Hewitt, as of now the town plans to discontinue their live streams and remain fully in-person. What effect the change has on public participation remains to be seen. “I think the proof is in the pudding: Now that the doors are opened back up how many people are going to come to the meeting anyway?” he said. “Last night there were 5 or 6 people there, what does that tell you?”
Read more » click here

VIDEO: Holden Beach special meeting
The Town of Holden Beach is holding a special meeting tonight at 5 p.m. that will be livestreamed on the StarNews’ Brunswick Today Facebook page. When in-person access to public meetings was limited at the onset of the pandemic, the town broadcasted proceedings on its Facebook page. However, residents have recently complained – to no avail – that the audio is hard to hear, and that video only points at the town’s seal, leaving people unable to see who’s talking or follow any of the presentations. The Holden Beach Property Owners Association offered to donate equipment and services to have the meeting livestreamed in a way that will let people know what’s going on. But according to Holden Beach Town Manager David Hewitt, the town does not have the personnel or IT capabilities to take them up on that offer. Holden Beach meetings are now open for in-person public participation, “As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier. People need to participate and understand what’s going on,” Holden Beach Commissioner Brian Murdock said after their last meeting. “There’s plenty of empty seats in the meeting last night and somebody can fill them up.”
Read more » click here


BOC’s Public Hearing / Regular Meeting 06/15/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


BOC’s Public Hearing

PUBLIC HEARING:
Ordinance 21-10, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances to Comply with Requirements of Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes

Update –
Timbo explained that state legislation requires us to make changes to our ordinances. The staff has made the necessary changes to comply.

 Public Comments –
There were no comments


BOC’s Regular Meeting

1. Public Comments on Agenda Items

They received just three (3) comments which are posted online at the Town’s website
For more information » click here


2. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-13, Fiscal Year 2021 – 2022 Budget Ordinance – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet – (Pages 22 – 45)
Ordinance 21-13
Town of Holden Beach Fiscal Year 2021/2022 Budget Ordinance
An Ordinance to appropriate revenues and authorize expenses for the Fiscal Year beginning 1July 2021 and ending 30 June 2022 .  BE IT ORDAINED by the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach North Carolina that revenues and expenses for the Fiscal Year 2020/2021 are authorized as set out below:

PART VII. TAX RATE, VALUATION,COLLECTION RATE AND TAX BASE
An Ad Valorem Tax Rate of twenty cents ($.20) per one hundred dollars ($100) at full valuation is levied for Fiscal Year 2021/2022. The Ad Valorem Tax Collection rate used to calculate the estimated ad valorem tax revenue is ninety-eight point seven four zero percent (98.74%) based on collection rate results from the fiscal year ended 30 June 2020. The total valuation for the new fiscal year is estimated to be one billion three hundred sixty-eight million three hundred twenty-four thousand four hundred and fifty-six dollars ($1,368,324,456).

Ad Valorem Tax

Total Valuation =  $1,368,324,456
Ad Valorem Taxes = $2,702,167  
A penny generates $135,115 of tax revenue

Estimated 2021 tax base is $1,368,324,456
.       a) $1,368,324,456 % 100 = $1,368,324
.         *  $100 of asessed value
.       b) $1,368,324 X $.20 = $2,736,648
        * Tax
rate of $.20 per $100 of assessed value
      c) $2,736,648 X .9874 = $2,702,167
.         * Tax collection rate of 98.74%
.       d) $2,702,167 % 20 = $135,115
.         * Value of each penny

PART VII. BUDGET ADMINISTRATION
This Budget Ordinance shall be the financial plan for the Holden Beach Municipal Government during the fiscal year beginning 1July 2021 and ending 30 June 2022. The Board of Commissioners shall approve all reallocations of budgeted funds between Funds and may amend the Budget Ordinance at any time so long as the Budget Ordinance, as amended, satisfies the requirements of North Carolina General Statutes 159-8 and 159-13 . The Budget Officer shall administer and shall insure operating officials are provided guidance and sufficient details to implement their appropriate portion of the budget. In accordance with North Carolina General Statute 159-15 and 26, the Budget Officer may reallocate budgeted funds within a Fund without limitation and shall establish/maintain an accounting system designed to show in detail the Town’s assets, liabilities, equities, revenues, and expenditures. The Town of Holden Beach Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Years 2021 through 2028 is hereby incorporated for reference at Atch 1.

Update –
State law defines an annual budget as “a proposed plan for raising and spending money for specified programs, functions, activities or objectives during a fiscal year.” Local governments must balance their budget. Ensuring that government commitments are in line with available resources is an essential element of good governance. Town Manager Hewett briefly reviewed the process to develop the spending plan.

Proposed budget balanced with revenues equaling expenses. Commissioners must adopt budget no later than July 1st for the next fiscal year. Adopting the annual budget is a primary responsibility of the Board. BOC’s approved the town’s budget ordinance as submitted for the upcoming fiscal year.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


3. Discussion and Possible Approval of FEMA Special Obligation Bond – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson, Scott Leo, Parker Poe Adams and Bernstein & Andrew Carter, DEC Associates
a. Bond Order for Issuance of Special Obligation Bonds – Beach Nourishment
   b.
Resolution 21-10, Resolution for Issuance of Special Obligation Bonds – Beach Nourishment

Agenda Packet – (Pages 46 – 74)
The attached bond order (Attachment I ), prepared by our bond attorney firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP, is a necessary component for the application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) and the issuance of the special obligation bonds to obtain financing for the upcoming beach renourishment project. The project will mitigate sand losses incurred during four storm events: Florence, Michael, Dorian, and Isaias. The bond order authorizes issuance of special obligation bonds of the Town of Holden Beach and the pledge of the FEMA and the State reimbursement amounts to repay the special obligation bonds.

Attachment  l : Bond Order

Suggested Motion:  Approval of the attached bond order related to the issuance of special obligation bonds for the Town of Holden Beach.


The attached resolution (Attachment 1), prepared by our bond attorney firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP, is a necessary component for the application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) and the issuance of the special obligation bonds to obtain financing for the upcoming beach renourishrnent project. The project will mitigate sand losses incurred during four storm events: Florence, Michael, Dorian, and Isaias. The resolution sets the terms of the special obligation bonds of the Town of Holden Beach reflecting the terms of the proposal by PNC Bank to purchase the special obligations bonds from the LGC and the Town.

Attachment I : Resolution

Suggested Motion: Approval of Resolution # 21-10, setting forth the terms of special obligation bonds to be issued by the Town of Holden Beach.

Previously reported – May 2021
Agenda Packet –
The attached resolution (Attachment l ), prepared by our bond attorney firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP, is necessary to direct application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) for approval of a special obligation bond and requesting LGC approval of the town’s special obligation bond and certain related matters. The FEMA reimbursement grant for storm damage repair for four storms: Florence, Michael, Dorian, and Isaias is administered to the town on a reimbursement basis. The town will need to obtain bridge loan financing to construct the project and then make submissions for reimbursement through FEMA. This financing effort necessitates LGC approval.

RESOLUTION  21-09
RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA, DIRECTING THE APPLICATION TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION FOR APPROVAL OF A SPECIAL OBLIGATION BOND, REQUESTING LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE TOWN’S SPECIAL OBLIGATION BOND AND CERTAIN RELATED MATTERS

Suggested Motion: Approval of Resolution #21-09, directing application to the Local Government Commission for approval of a special obligation bond, requesting Local Government Commission approval of a special obligation bond and certain related matters.

For the four (4) storm events, FEMA does a reimbursement for the storm damage repair project. That means that we will need to obtain a special obligation bond, which is essentially a bridge loan, for the interim.        This also requires the Local Government Commission approval. This resolution is just part of the process to do that.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –

Bond Order
David said that this is one of the last administrative steps needed for us to move forward and he can’t go to Local Government Commission (LGC) for approval without it.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Resolution 21-10
Commissioner Sullivan asked several questions clarifying the terms of the agreement.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-10, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances to Comply with Requirements of Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes – Inspections Director Evans

Agenda Packet –
Ordinance 21-10

The new Chapter 160D of the NC General Statutes consolidates current city- and county-enabling statutes for development regulations (now in Chapters 153A and 160A) into a single, unified chapter . Chapter 160D places these statutes into a more logical, coherent organization. While the new law does not make major policy changes or shifts in the scope of authority granted to local governments, it does provide many clarifying amendments and consensus reforms that will need to be incorporated into local development regulations.

Chapter 160D is effective now, but local governments have until July 1, 2021 for the development, consideration, and adoption of necessary amendments to conform local ordinances to this new law. All city and county zoning, subdivision, and other development regulations, including unified-development ordinances, will need to be updated by that date to conform to the new law. Cities and counties that have zoning ordinances must have an up-to-date comprehensive plan or land use plan by July 1, 2022.

Town of Holden Beach Planning & Zoning Board
Statement of Consistency and Zoning Recommendation

The Town of Holden Beach Planning & Zoning Board has reviewed and hereby recommends approval of amendments to Chapter 157 of the Zoning Ordinance as required by NC General Statutes Chapter 160D, S.L. 2019-111 and as amended by S.L. 2020-25.

After review, the Planning and Zoning Board has found that the recommended amendment is consistent with the adopted CAMA Land Use Plan and is considered reasonable and in the public interest for the following reasons.

    • The amendment is Chapter 160D is effective now, but local governments have until July 1, 2021, for the development, consideration , and adoption of necessary amendments to conform local ordinances to the new law.
    • Chapter 5: Land Use and Growth and Chapter 6: Tools for Development of the adopted Plan references the Town of Holden Beach Zoning Code and Subdivision Regulations which are further clarified in Chapter 160D.
    • It will promote public health, safety, and general welfare within our community by clarifying conflicts of interest for staff, the governing board, and the appointed

Upon approval by the Board of Commissioners the Comprehensive Plan will be deemed amended and shall not require any additional request or application for amendment.

The statement and motion were adopted by a 5-0 vote this 27th day of April 2021.

Vicki Myers – Chair

Timbo explained that the legislation makes development regulation more uniform across the state. Staff has made the necessary changes to comply. It was already submitted and approved by both our town attorney and the Planning & Zoning Board. A Public Hearing needs to be scheduled before ordinance can be adopted. They scheduled the Public Hearing prior to the next Regular Meeting.

Update –
Legislation created a zoning law consolidation statute establishing uniform development rules. We made changes to our ordinances  to be in compliance. Timbo briefly reviewed steps required and taken to get to this point.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


5. Discussion and Possible Action on Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 95.05, Street Rights-of-Way – Mayor Pro Tem Brown

Agenda Packet –
§95.05 STREET RIGHTS-OF-WAY.

(A) The purpose of this regulation is to establish what may be placed in street rights-of-way which are cleared by installation or repair of utilities, streets, or walkways. This regulation is not intended to remove or destroy landscaping or structures which are presently in place. Landscaping in street rights-of-way:

(1) Must not present a safety hazard;

(2) Must not impede traffic;

(3) Is placed at the risk of the individual; and

(4) Is encouraged.

(’85 Code, § 14-2)

(B) The ten feet of rights-of-way nearest the pavement or road bed shall remain clear of all items with the following exceptions:

(1) Mailboxes, newspaper boxes, post and rope not to exceed 24 inches from grade.

(2) Grass, an approved pervious product, or vegetation not to exceed one foot in height.

(3) The properties located at 1189, 1190, 1191 and 1192 Ocean Boulevard West may install or place a fence within the right-of-way.

(‘85 Code, § 14-2.1)

(C) The area of the rights-of-way beyond ten feet of the pavement or road bed:

(1) May be landscaped by the abutting property owner provided § 157.081 of the zoning code is complied with.

(2) Shall be kept clear of all other manmade structures not used in landscaping with the exception of fences.

(‘85 Code, § 14-2.2)

(D) The town has no responsibility to protect any items, authorized or unauthorized, which are placed in street rights-of-way. Improvements are made at the owners risk and may be destroyed or damaged during walkway, street, and utility installation or maintenance. Items deemed to be a safety hazard or to impede traffic will be removed by the town.

(E) All existing concrete within the right-of-way that is removed for any reason cannot be replaced.

Previously reported – April 2018
Parking for Implementation Prior to the 2018 Beach Season
Revise the Town Ordinance 95.05 to accommodate the recommendation for property owners to have an option to preserve their landscaping and irrigation systems by installing a post and rope in the right­ of-way not to exceed 24″ in grade.

This came out of the parking committee. At the time, the original intent was to eliminate all rightsof-way parking. However, not allowing any parking in the rights-of-way creates its own set of problems. Instead of outright banning parking in the rights-of-way they gave the property owner an option to use post and rope. This was a reasonable accommodation to prevent parking on your property.

Update –
Timbo had pictures and a video to show what property owners have put up in the rights-of-way. Many were not in compliance with the ordinance. (Question: So why hasn’t he enforced any ordinance noncompliance?) Commissioner Sullivan & Kwiatkowski explained how we came to have an ordinance that allowed post and rope in their rights-of-way, it was an accommodation and it achieved what the majority of our residents wanted. Commissioner Murdock said that the property owners do not want people parking in their yard, we need to eliminate parking in the rights-of-way. We need to find a solution to the parking problem, an alternative to rights-of-way parking by providing a reasonable number of parking spots. They decided to wait and see what the Parking Committee presents as their recommendations to the Board. In the meantime, noncompliance can be dealt with on a regularity basis. No decision to change the ordinance was made so the ordinance will remain in effect as currently written.

No decision was made – No action taken

I personally object to parking in the rights-of-way, but the post and rope solution was what was offered as a meet them halfway compromise. Just so you know, the public can legally park their vehicles in the rights-of-way excluding regulated areas listed in the ordinance. So let me get this straight, you spend big bucks to landscape your property and put in an irrigation system, but the public can park on your property trashing your landscaping and irrigation system. In what universe does this make any sense?

Instead of eliminating this option, maybe we should try getting compliance with the ordinance first.

The ordinance as written states:
1) “must not present a safety hazard” so we can address any safety issues without any changes
2)
“post and rope not to exceed 24 inches from grade” so we can enforce any noncompliance

Eliminating the  post and rope option does not mean eliminating them from properties that are currently  in compliance with the ordinance since it is my understanding that  they would be grandfathered in.

The Ordinance is vague, if it stands as is written then perhaps, we should clarify exactly what can be done
1) Size of posts used
2)
Minimum setback from the street


6. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police Patch

 

 

.
Filled last vacant position, officer is currently in our field training program
We are now at budgeted full staff of ten (10) members of the police department
Reminded everyone its Hurricane Season – be prepared, have a plan!
Fireworks are illegal on the island and are a class 2 misdemeanor
Golf carts is being addressed as a priority in order to keep people safe
                  


Drowning at Holden Beach
Holden Beach Police said a 47-year-old has drowned. Police said around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, emergency responders from the Tri-Beach Fire Department, Holden Beach Police Department and Brunswick County EMS responded to the 600 block of Ocean Blvd. West for a water rescue. Van Whitley, 47, of Mt. Gilead, NC died on scene.  He tried to save two children caught in a rip current and didn’t make it out safely. Police said the death is being ruled an accidental drowning.


Memorial Day Message from Chief Dixon – abridged version
Ensure all occupants of your vehicle are belted, to include properly installed child restraints. Remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way at all intersections, driveways and marked crosswalks. Pedestrians are reminded to check both directions and make sure that motor vehicles have come to a complete stop before proceeding into the roadway. Remember that “golf carts” operated on the roadways in Holden Beach are registered low speed motor vehicles. You must have tags, insurance, and a driver’s license to operate a “golf cart” anywhere within the town limits of Holden Beach. All motor vehicle laws including but not limited to seat belts, child restraints, driving while impaired and parking violations apply to “golf carts”. This increased traffic enforcement is designed to increase safety and save lives. Your safety is our priority


Golf carts are supposed to be treated the same as any other automotive vehicle. Despite the educational signs and the police chiefs commitment of stepped-up enforcement I have not noticed any noticeable change in behavior. Have you? The police department say that golf carts are being addressed as a priority in order to keep people safe. Golf cart issues still appear to be out of control. Underage drivers that clearly don’t have a driver’s license, children not properly restrained, seat belts not being used, carts parked illegally  in the rights-of-way on OBW, are all safety issues that could have serious consequences.  Just to be clear, even though  we still see violations does not necessarily mean the police department has not  followed through on their commitment of stepped-up enforcement. Letting us know what they have been doing to get this issue under control would be helpful. Therefore, my recommendation is for Jeremy to include the number of warnings and tickets issued for golf cart violations in the meetings  police report.


Educational Sign
The Town has put a  flashing educational sign at the bottom of the bridge on the island side and another one by the PAR course. The intent is to educate people about some of the Town ordinances. It has been the most effective communication medium used to date.

Defensive Driving
Be mindful on the road, tourists are out there and frankly many of them are not paying attention. Defensive driving is driving characterized by prudence, diligence, and reasonable cautiousness. Its aim is to reduce the risk of collision by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the actions of others.

Public Safety Announcement
The Police Department would like to remind everyone that it is important to protect your personal property. Remove all items of value from your vehicle when you are not driving it. Always lock your vehicle doors when you are not in it. Leaving items on display, whether on the dashboard or sitting on a passenger seat, is an invitation to opportunist individuals. Make sure to follow these important tips!


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


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


Pets on the beach strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20
Pets must be on a leash at all times on the island.
From May 20th through September 10th
It is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand
. * During the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm


Unattended Gear
Ordinance §94.06 was passed on September 14, 2010. All unattended beach equipment must be removed from the beach by its owner or permitted user daily. All unattended personal equipment remaining on the beach between the hours of 6PM and 7AM will be classified as abandoned property and will be disposed of by the Town.


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


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


7. Discussion and Possible Action on the Draft System Development Fees Report – Town Clerk Finnell
a. Resolution 21-11, Resolution Adopting the System Development Fees Report

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

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

Recommended motion: Approval of Resolution 21-l l , Resolution Adopting the System Development Fees Report .

Previously reported – February 2021
Draft System Development Fees Report
Calculation of Water and Sewer System Development Fees for FY2022
Agenda Packet –
The System Development Report herein has been developed by Raftelis in accordance with Board direction to develop an update prior to the expiration of its five-year shelf life. Representatives from Raftelis will provide an introductory review of the report for the Board in addition to outlining the statutory process for consideration and adoption.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Previously reported – April 2021
Agenda Packet –
Draft System Development Fees Report Public Hearing
The draft System Development Fees Report has been published for comments for a period of 45 days as required by law. Input was solicited via the Town’s Electronic Newsletter on February 23rd and March 23rd. Prior to considering the adoption the report, the Board must hold a public hearing.

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Development Fees

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

David said there are three issues that potentially will impact this issue. The Town staff will need additional time to develop a recommended fee structure. They can approve the report but should not consider an effective date until October. The Board decided to put it on the June meeting agenda at which time they will consider approving the report.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – May 2021
Agenda Packet –

Draft SDF Report

Draft System Development Fees Report Public Hearing
The required public hearing for the Draft System Development Fees Report is scheduled for the start of the May Regular Meeting.

Due to the requirements that we are currently following for public hearings, the Board needs to wait 24 hours from the date/time of the public hearing prior to adopting the report. Once the 24 hours expires, the Board can consider adopting the proposed report.

The report does not determine the rates the Town charges for the fees. It establishes the maximum rates the Town is able to charge. After the report is adopted, the Board can decide if they would like to amend the rates currently in place.

If the Board desires to consider adopting the proposed report, staff recommends it be placed on the June agenda.


BOC’s Public Hearing 05/18/21

PUBLIC HEARING: Draft System Development Fees Report

Draft SDF Report

Raftelis representative that prepared the analysis briefly explained why they did it the way they did it. She pointed out that this was the maximum amount allowed, the Board determines what fees they choose to adopt. The System Development Fee is a onetime fee for new customers only and is calculated based on the number of bedrooms.

Public Comments –
Elaine Jordan, general counsel for The Coastal Companies, questioned the methodology that they used

Update –
The Board approved adopting the Draft System Development Fees Report only. The report establishes the maximum rates the Town is allowed to charge. Just to be clear, the Board still needs to determine the fees that we will charge.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


8. Evaluation and Discussion of the Current Need for the Inlet & Beach Protection Board Due to Changed Circumstances and Possible Action on Inlet & Beach Protection Board Status – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
The BOC decision to authorize the 3-year Corps study led me to re-examine the remit and activities of the IBPB. A fuller evaluation of the IBPB’s purpose and benefit appears appropriate given two important BOC decisions since the formation of the IBPB that have brought significant change to the Town’s beach and inlet management approach.

The decision by the BOC to employ a lobbying firm to help us more efficiently interact with and make requests to local and federal officials has raised officials’ awareness of and responsiveness to Holden Beach needs and positions. The decision to seek an Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Storm Risk Management study was recently made with the aspiration of obtaining ACE endorsement of an optimum construction and long-term maintenance plan for the island.

Looking back at the tasks requested to the Inlet and Beach Protection Board and their outputs, which include the 2019 Oceanfront and Inlets Management Plan, the IBPB has met the main objectives initially set by the BOC . However, taking into consideration that in the near term (next 2 years) the Town’s primary beach protection activity is defined (seeing to renourishment of sands lost during hurricanes with FEMA and state funds reimbursing the Town), longer term planning will be dependent on the results of the ACE 3 year study ( tentative due date 2024), and the Town’s selected lobbying firm will continue to provide insight and assistance in managing changing federal laws, regulations and agency practices, at this time further IBPB activities do not appear to be critical to the Town meeting its beach and inlet management goals. Given that any advisory board takes Staff time and Town resource, which are currently fully focused on fulfilling FEMA renourishment and ACE projects, I consider the current relative benefit of continuing IBPB activities is low compared to using available resources to achieve the defined beach and inlet objectives.

I ask Board to consider releasing the current IBPB from further duties with thanks for their valuable contribution and that the current ordinance be suspended until such time as a future BOC determines the need for an advisory board. At the same time, I propose the Parks and Rec committee takes responsibility for “modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to public and private beach access walkways which promote protection and growth of the town’s protective dune systems” ( a responsibility in the current IBPB ordinance) and dune health and protection in general.

Previously reported – April 2018      
CHAPTER 35:  INLET AND BEACH PROTECTION BOARD
§35.02  POWERS AND DUTIES.

   The Inlet and Beach Protection Board shall:

   (A)   Serve as an advisory board for the town;

   (B)   Prepare and recommend to the Board of Commissioners, a comprehensive long-term plan for the town’s role, if any, in the management, dredging and protection of the Lockwood Folly and Shallotte Inlets, including their respective navigational channels, and the management, protection and nourishment of the town’s ocean beaches and protective dune systems;

   (C)   Evaluate the feasibility and cost and benefits of proposed dredging projects (excluding canal dredging), beach and/or dune nourishment projects and protective structure projects (excluding canal dredging) to the town and to property owners within the town as a whole, and make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners with respect to such projects;

   (D)   With the assistance of the attorney assigned to support the Inlet and Beach Protection Board, make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for amendments or modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to the “frontal dune” and “protective dune system”;

   (E)   With the assistance of the attorney assigned to support the Inlet and Beach Protection Board, make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to public and private beach access walkways which promote protection and growth of the town’s protective dune systems;

   (F)   Serve as a link between the Board of Commissioners, Town Manager, and the community on the above-described areas; and

   (G)   Perform such other duties within or related to the general purview of the Inlet and Beach Protection Board which may assigned to it from time-to-time by the Board of Commissioners.

(Ord. 18-02, passed 4-17-18)

 IBPDoutstanding tasker

Previously reported – February 2020
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 –
The Board decided to remove the ordinance, at least for the time being.
It was part of Parks & Rec committee and that is where it is going back to now.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

From my perspective the most important objective of the IBPB was to serve as a liaison to the Community. The Board divvied up the different shore protection groups with each person taking responsibility to cover their group’s meetings. Without this Board we only have the Town Manager’s filtered communications regarding these coastal issues. I really can’t imagine why we wouldn’t want additional eyes and ears looking at these critical issues to the island.


9. Discussion and Possible Setting of a Date to Hold Interviews for Vacancies on Town Boards and Committees – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
There are terms expiring on Town boards in July. I recommend the Board hold interviews on July 20th at 4:45 p.m. for people interested in filling vacant terms.

Update –
Agreed to hold interviews before the next BOC’s Regular July meeting          

Volunteers Needed
The Town has vacancies on the Board of Adjustment, Planning & Zoning Board, and the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. Interviews for the vacancies will be held on Tuesday, July 20th at 4:45 p.m. Click here to access an application if you are interested in applying to serve. Completed applications can be emailed to heather@hbtownhall.com or dropped off at Town Hall.


10. Discussion and Possible Approval of Budget Amendments – Town Manager Hewett
.    a) Ordinance 21-14, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 14)
.    b)
Ordinance 21-15, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 15)
.    c)
Ordinance 21-16, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 16)
.    d)
Ordinance 21-17, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 17)

Item was added to the agenda, background information was not provided

Ordinance 21-14, Sewer Use Charge
Moved funds of $244,134
From Revenue account #30.0372.0000
To Expense account#30.0810.7000 & #30.0810.1601

Ordinance 21-15, Water Use Charge
Moved funds of $331,627
From Revenue account #30.0371.0000
To Expense account#30.0810.4800 & #30.0810.1800

Ordinance 21-16, Recycling
Moved funds of $5,309
From Revenue account #10.0335.0500
To Expense account#10.0580.4501 & #10.0410.9200

Ordinance 21-14, Sewer Capacity Charge
Moved funds of $25,600
From Revenue account #30.0366.0000
To Expense account#30.0810.9302

From Revenue account #40.0130.0000
To Expense account#40.0490.5700

Housecleaning items, due to increased expenses, that needed to be handled prior to end of the fiscal year. The budget amendments are needed in order to be in accordance with Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) requirements. Approved all four ordinances as they were submitted.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


11. Discussion and Possible Selection of a Chairperson for the Audit Committee – Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet –
§ 30.26 AUDIT COMMITTEE OF THE BOC.
Appointment , 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 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 –
Commissioner Tyner was the Chairman, but he resigned in March. We are required to have a Chairman of the Audit Committee and it is time to fill the vacant spot. Mike nominated Commissioner Kwiatkowski, she accepted and will replace Woody as Chairman of this Committee.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


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

    1. Parking Lots (suggest the committee shows lots and spaces on a town map, color code for a, b, c)
      a) What town owned lots currently exist and how many spaces are available for paid parking?
      b) What town owned property is suitable for conversion to paid parking before next Spring and what is the estimated cost for conversion?
      c) What properties (if any) are proposed for purchase and how many spaces will be available for paid parking? What is the estimated cost to purchase, assumed timeframe for establishing the parking lot and cost for conversion?
    2. Financials
      a) Rate proposal and date range for paid parking
      b)
      Estimated gross profit associated with 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and

    2024
        c) Estimated initial costs for signage and equipment (show where on map)
       d) Estimated expenses associated with 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and (including personnel)
        e) Estimated net profit for 1a, 1b and 1c for 2022, 2023 and 2024
    3. Public Communication and Engagement Plan
    Who, when, where

    Proposed Deadline:
    No later than the October BOCM.

    Update –
    Tasker is a formal request to the Committee. It outlines what information that they would like to be included in their report and clarifies their purpose. The intent is to get information needed so that the Board are able to make a decision. David indicated that a Request for Proposal (RFP) was advertised last week, it contains very similar items that are in the tasker. He anticipates that they should have that for BOC’s review at the July meeting.

  • A decision was made – Approved unanimously

    13. Discussion and Possible Action to Select the Priority Board of Commissioners’ Objectives for the Upcoming Fiscal Year – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

    Agenda Packet –
    BOC Objectives for Fiscal Year 2021/2022

    18        Balance the budget while preserving the minimum fund balance as defined by the Board; Balance the budget without raising taxes

    18        Ensure funding for hurricane related FEMA projects and proceed with necessary steps for target commencement of sand on beach starting in Fall 2021

    18        Ensure the Town meets or exceeds annual financial budget goals

    18        Work together for the good of Holden Beach


    17        Ensure contracting, funding and budgeting for sewer lift station 2 to allow completion in 2022

    17        Assuming a positive decision on DOT’s bike lane proposal, ensure funding for 2022 DOT activity, including any grant money; Fund bike lanes

    17        Make decision on and implement new THB development fees following an acceptance of a final systems fee report according to the mandated process; Establish development fee rate

    17        Raise revenues

    17        Address increasing stormwater issues with consideration of a study for recurring problem areas along Ocean Boulevard

    17        Continue to support LWI access to ocean

    17        Request help from Brunswick County for a second water tower

    17        Ensure advocacy resources are given to limit expansion of the IHA


    16        Ensure definition and implementation of new water rates as appropriate once final county water rate decisions are communicated; Establish new water rate

    16        Ensure the Town achieves an unmodified opinion rating on annual fiscal audit and addresses noted deficiencies

  • 16        Ensure qualified resources are available to perform audit and accounting procedures to ensure there are no material deficiencies noted in the annual fiscal audit16        Assuming a positive decision on pursuing a Corps’ beach construction and maintenance program, ensure funds are designated for the three-year study cost {$1.5 million total)16        Determine if paid parking is economically viable; Implement Paid Parking16        Support and participate in beach and inlet related advocacy efforts at local, state, and federal level

    • Become more involved in and lead where possible regional advocacy groups and committees
    • Develop advocacy strategy, plan and material for county and state efforts and implement the plan
    • Review and as appropriate amend directions to Poyner Spruill for federal advocacy
    • Support and participate in advocacy efforts at any level as appropriate
    • Greater involvement in coastal community advocacy

    15        Oversee progress on internal control plan for end calendar year 2021 completion


    14        Ensure adequate resources to undertake enforcement/compliance objectives decided by the Board (see ordinance related)

    14        Ensure an updated capital project budget sheet is included in final budget documents

    14        Maintain an up-to-date strategy to protect the beach and dune system and ensure adequate budget for implementation of plans, including soil sampling and plant modification where appropriate

    14        Request help from Brunswick County to establish an off-island parking and trolly/bus service to the beach 100 days or more a year

    14        Purchase all or a portion of Holden Beach Pier


    13        Request help from Brunswick County Sheriff’s Department to patrol Ocean Boulevard so we can have HBPD patrol beach daily


    12        Ensure budget message document upgrade to include more charts/visual presentations of data

    12        Increase reserves

    12        Complete a needs assessment for a second water tower; Study need for second water tower

    12       Clarification on FEMA or the Corps for taking care of beach strand

    12       In collaboration with staff, determine and monitor enforcement/compliance  priority programs across departments that address concerns being expressed by owners and commissioners

    12        Increases enforcement of ordinances

    12        Evaluate excess and needed Town property; Purchase property for paid parking and sell all unnecessary property and use parking income to pay for property

    12        Limit meeting time


    11        Work with DOT to ensure all legal crosswalks are appropriately marked to protect residents and visitors as allowed based on the Board speed limit decision


    10        Review current personnel policy for possible modifications to clarify part-time employee definitions and benefits access

    10        Livestream public meetings

    10        Require public access locations on the west end of the island or eliminate free public services or charge for them

    10       Examine and upgrade if possible basic rules of commissions, boards, agencies, and authorities established by ordinance or under the authority of the BOC to enable non-voting participation by commissioners and standardize member and chair term limitations as practicable


    9          Reduce tax rate

    9          Establish a golf cart safety ordinance and enforce it

    9          Update Audit Committee Charter


    8          Develop and track various financial ratios to flag any negative trends


    7          Fill open position on Police force


    Update –
    They have created, scored, and ranked their objectives. They now need to establish their priorities and begin to work to accomplish them in the fiscal year. Pat was asked what she recommends, and she proposed the top twenty-five (25) objectives. David said that we need to be strategic in our thinking, he recommended that they use items with a score of seventeen (17) or above which gives them twelve (12) item that are general in nature and staff can focus on accomplishing them. Pat agreed to review the list and present David with a streamlined version at next month’s meeting.


14. Town Manager’s Report

Auditor
Already on site to begin working on audit for fiscal year ending  June 30, 2021

Street Paving
Reviewed Seagull street paving engineer’s schedule over the next eight (8) months

Paid Parking
Request for Proposal (RFP) was advertised last week, should have for the BOC’s review at the July meeting

FEMA
We are still waiting approval for one last FEMA Project Worksheet (PW)
Moving forward with Local Government Commission financing package

LWF Inlet Crossing Maintenance Project
Contacted again By USACE to gauge interest about the next dredging cycle of sand from the project that is coming to Holden Beach this year. Reaffirmed Town’s intent to participate, indicated that we already have approved a budget appropriation. USACE  plans to make contract award at the end of  July.

Previously reported – April 2021
Contacted about next dredging cycle of sand from the project that is coming to Holden Beach this year. Details of cost and sand volume are unknown at this time. USACE  tentatively plans to make contract award at the end of  July.

LWF Inlet Navigation Maintenance
Three (3) weeks after last project completion that placed the sand on Oak Island the  Lockwood Inlet Association reported it to be in “the worst shape ever”. Our position has been that the sand needs to be placed on Holden Beach instead of Oak Island to prevent that from happening.

Vegetation
Contractor making good progress, currently around 350 OBW
Only planting Sea Oats at this time

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

Parks & Recreation Master Plan
Update is almost completed, should have for BOC’s review at the July meeting

Previously reported – April 2021
They have gotten a good response rate from a wide variety of participants
They are pleased that they will have a solid baseline on the served population

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

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

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

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


In Case You Missed It –



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

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

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


Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
2020 Water Quality Results
The 2020 Consumer Confidence Report is now available. Click here
to read the report.


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

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

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

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


Port-a- Johns
The Town budgeted money from the BPART account to cover the costs of seasonal (100 days of summer) public restroom facilities and services. We will have four handicap accessible units strategically placed at three locations on the island.

They are located as follows:

        1. Two are at the far east end
        2. One is at sewer lift station by Greensboro
        3. One is at sewer lift station just before the 800 block

15. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(5),To Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price and Terms of a Contract Concerning the Acquisition of Real Property – Mayor Pro Tem Brown & Commissioner Kwiatkowski and North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(3), To Consult with the Attorney (Attorney Madon)

No decision was made – No action taken


 


Survey – Pier Property Purchase

.

Survey – Pier Property Purchase * Lou’s Views (lousviews.com)


Paid Parking –

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

Previously reported – April 2021
Brian discussed the two (2) paid parking presentations/proposals. The programs are very flexible and can be tailored to what we want. Paid parking has the potential to be a significant revenue stream for the Town and help offset the numerous costs we incur from the daily influx of day trippers. Commissioner Sullivan stated that we need to determine how this will work and then how we will  communicate that to the public.

Premium Parking Presentation
For more information
»
click here

Otto Connect Presentation
For more information
»
click here

Previously reported – May 2021
The Board recognizes that there is a need for additional parking. But they do not want to burden our property owners with the cost of providing parking. Paid parking can provide a significant revenue stream and could recoup a lot of the expenses we currently incur. They acknowledged it does makes sense to pursue paid parking. A series of things need to be accomplished making it unlikely that they can get it done for this summer. They authorized the Town Manager to put out a Request for Proposal for paid parking. Currently there are restrictions on how you can spend funds if they are not off-street parking spots. Therefore they also authorized David to explore requesting special legislation in order to allow us to use street parking spots funds for other purposes then current legislation permits.

BOC’s Special Meeting 05/20/21
Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here

Holden Beach eyes paid parking
The Holden Beach board of commissioners met twice during the week of May 18 to discuss items such as setting up paid parking and how residents can send in complaints. Last Friday morning, they listened to Tim Hoppenrath, market president of Premium Parking, give a presentation on how paid parking can help the town and used Kure Beach as an example. “They were getting a big influx of people, probably due to COVID last year, coming to the beach,” he said.  “And because it was free and what was happening, there was more damage. There was more trash.” Free parking was ended, and his business was hired for the parking contract. Now that town is making money off the parking. Kure Beach made a gross $156,000 in the first 41 days. The beach, he said, has 632 spaces, usually with 300 to 400 that are occupied on busy days. On the busiest day, they earned $8,000 with 560 sessions. He said there is zero start-up cost, and pay machines are solar powered so there is no electricity cost. The town would only have to pay for labor costs and management fees. The company makes a little money on the transaction fee, which is 35 cents for each transaction. Drivers only need to register their plates and pay the company in advance. If they can’t remember their plates, they can also do it based on a description of their car. If a car is caught in violation, the owner will receive a warning. If they are caught again, they can receive a citation and be sent to collections, Hoppenrath said, but collections would end up keeping most of the money, making that futile. The other option is to keep fining the driver. The goal, he said, isn’t to write citations. It is to keep people compliant. He added there will also be plenty of signs up to remind people to pay and use their plates, but not so much that it becomes “white noise.” One question the board had was about how renters will pay.  Owners are already guaranteed two parking spots each, and renters would have to pay unless owners worked around that. The owner could give the renter a login and permit number. Golf carts were also brought up. One of the commissioners suggested rental companies purchase passes and permits to prove the golf cart is legal. Commissioner Brian Murdock said there will be a push to get cars off the sides of the road. Hoppenrath advised the town would also receive a portion of the earnings, which can be used how the town sees fit, including paying for the parking lots. He added there will be a surge of sign-ups for the first month or two, then it calms down. The board then requested the contract, not to sign yet but to look it over. Commissioner Pat Kwiatkowski said, “This is all very promising. But let’s be frank. We have one chance to roll this out properly.” Kwiatkowski said if they did something wrong, it will be hard to get confidence back from the residents. Kwiatkowski said they should start the program in the spring of 2022 and iron out all the details such as the terms, fees and more.  She said all of this should be addressed so there isn’t confusion when they start the program. Kwiatkowski said the parking committee will have several months to work on this. The delay would also prevent inadvertent “goofs.” Other commissioners said they should start as soon as possible. They settled on looking into it further.
Read more » click here

Update –
Parking Committee Meeting 06/04/21
Parking Committee Meeting Agenda Packet » click here
Audio Recording » click here  


Loose Ends (3)

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

General Comments –

Following new CDC guidance on face coverings, Governor Cooper has lifted gathering limits and social distancing requirements. Based on his guidance, seating at the Board of Commissioners’ meeting will no longer be limited.


.
BOC’s Meeting

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


Hurricane #1 - CR

 

Hurricane Season
For more information » click here

Be prepared – have a plan!

.a


No matter what a storm outlook is for a given year,

vigilance and preparedness is urged.


THB EMERGENCY INFORMATION

EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS

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


Ana forms in the Atlanic, becoming the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season
Subtropical Storm Ana formed early Saturday morning, becoming the first named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. This now marks the seventh year in a row in which at least one named storm has formed prior to the start of Atlantic hurricane season which officially begins June 1.
Read more » click here

NOAA predicts another active Atlantic hurricane season
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020. 

For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30. 

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

Last month, NOAA updated the statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the latest climate record. Based on this update an average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which 7 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. [Watch this video summary of the Outlook.]

El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral phase, with the possibility of the return of La Nina later in the hurricane season. “ENSO-neutral and La Nina support the conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity.” Scientists at NOAA also continue to study how climate change is impacting the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones.  

Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. “The forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are well-prepared with significant upgrades to our computer models, emerging observation techniques, and the expertise to deliver the life-saving forecasts that we all depend on during this, and every, hurricane season.”

In an effort to continuously enhance hurricane forecasting, NOAA made several updates to products and services that will improve hurricane forecasting during the 2021 season.

Last year’s record-breaking season serves as a reminder to all residents in coastal regions or areas prone to inland flooding from rainfall to be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season. 

“With hurricane season starting on June 1, now is the time to get ready and advance disaster resilience in our communities,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Visit Ready.gov and Listo.gov to learn and take the steps to prepare yourself and others in your household. Download the FEMA app to sign-up for a variety of alerts and to access preparedness information. Purchase flood insurance to protect your greatest asset, your home. And, please encourage your neighbors, friends and coworkers to also get ready for the upcoming season.”

NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the Eastern and Central Pacific basins, and will provide an update to the Atlantic outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

Visit FEMA’s Ready.gov to be prepared for the start of hurricane season and the National Hurricane Center’s website at hurricanes.gov throughout the season to stay current on watches and warnings.
Read more » click here
 


Hurricane Season * Lou’s Views (lousviews.com)


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


Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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

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

https://lousviews.com/

 

06 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / June Edition


Calendar of Events –


Conway Riverfest - CRRiverfest Celebration
June 26th
Conway, SC


Held along the Waccamaw River in downtown Conway the festival
celebrates Independence Day with music and events for the entire family.
For more information » click here


4th of July Southport - CR 190
N.C. 4th of July Festival

July 4th
Southport, NC

.
The patriotic spirit of America is alive and well in the City of Southport. For over 200 years this small maritime community has celebrated our nation’s independence in a big way. Incorporated as the N.C. 4th of July Festival in 1972 the festival committee strives to keep the focus of the festival on honoring our nation’s birthday with a little fun thrown in.

For more information » click here



Battleship Blast
4th of July Celebration
July 4th
Wilmington, NC

 

Annual 4th of July Celebration at Riverfront Park in downtown Wilmington. Featured entertainment will perform from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, followed by fireworks at 9:05 PM launched from a barge in the Cape Fear River adjacent to the USS North Carolina Battleship. The only place you need to be this holiday is downtown Wilmington for the best view of fireworks.
For more information » click here


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


Calendar of Events Island –


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

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled


Tide Dyed Program
This family friendly event is located at the Pavilion. Tie-dye your own shirts; the cost is just $5-$10 per shirt. It takes place weekly from 2:00pm to 3:30pm every Tuesday during the summer beginning Tuesday, June 15th

Call (910) 842-6488 for additional questions.


Stimulate Your Retirement
Stimulate Your Retirement blends life planning activities with time-tested financial strategies to help you make the most of your retirement. Hosted by Brunswick Community College and offered by First Financial Education Centers, instructors for this course are qualified financial professionals who can answer your questions and relate the course material to real life examples. The course will be held at the Holden Beach Chapel. Click here to view the flyer to see dates, cost, and details on how to sign up.
 

When:
Tuesday, June 22nd  from 10:00am to 12:00pm
Tuesday, June 29th  from 2:00pm to 4:00pm


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


Reminders –


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

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

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

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

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

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



Pets on the Beach Strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / 90.20
From May 20th through September 10th it is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand during the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm.

 


. .

A Second Helping
Program to collect food Saturday mornings (7:00am to 12:00pm) during the summer at the Beach Mart on the Causeway.

.


.
1) Seventeenth year of the program
. 2) Food collections have now exceeded 273,000 pounds
. 3)
Collections will begin on May 29th and run through September 18th
. 4) Food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County
For more information » click here

Hunger exists everywhere in this country; join them in the fight to help end hunger in Brunswick County. Cash donations are gratefully accepted. One hundred percent (100%) of these cash donations are used to buy more food. You can be assured that the money will be very well spent.

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

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


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2021 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills.
Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

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

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



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

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

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


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

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

Recyclingstarting May 25th weekly pick-up

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



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


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, July 20th
.


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


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


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

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

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

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


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


Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard

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

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

Recall Details

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

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

For more information » click here

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

Brunswick County families sue, claiming home elevators failed, causing serious injuries
It was a terrifying experience. Two different families who survived residential elevator failures want to warn others they could be in harm’s way, too. Within the last year, there have been two separate elevator crashes in Holden Beach. One incident happened to a family vacationing at a rental home. Tressa Fortenberry was taking the elevator from the second floor to the third floor. She broke her foot when she says the elevator crashed to the ground on June 14, 2020. The other incident was more serious and happened to a local family in their own home. On December 2, 2020, Dickie and Delores Brackin say they fell three stories when the elevator they’d been using without incident for 20 years, suddenly crashed to the ground. The Brackins, who are both 70, suffered broken legs and remain unable to walk without assistance. “I looked down. I saw the bone sticking out of my leg,” Delores recalls of the morning of the accident. “I said, ‘Dickie what has happened?’ While I was laying there and asking God to please put his hand on both me and him… it was just a pain like unbelievable.” The couple, married for over 50 years, were air lifted to the hospital. Delores was hospitalized for two weeks. Dickie, who also suffered broken legs and crushed ankles, was released after four days in the hospital. “I trusted the people to put the elevator in. I trusted the people that came and inspected it every year,” Delores said. The same type of Waupaca residential elevator, which is subject to a recall, was involved in the Brackin and Fortenberry cases. An attorney, representing both families in a lawsuit against the manufacturer, estimates there are around 100 of these same recalled elevators in homes all along the Carolina coast. While researching the problem with these elevators, Attorney Joel Rhine found documented cases of the elevators crashing dating back to 1998. According to his lawsuit, 8,000 of these Custom Lift 450 and 500 elevators, built between 1976 and 2008, are at risk of failing. “I was shocked about how many there are, especially on our beaches. These vacation rentals are obviously two or three stories high; you need an elevator to get your luggage and everything up. Apparently, Waupaca was one of the largest suppliers of those elevators. They had several certified installers [in Southeastern North Carolina],” Rhine told WECT. Rhine says Waupaca knows about the problem, and he believes they are giving consumers a false sense of security that the elevators are still safe to use. Executives with the elevator company disagree. “Waupaca Elevator Company cannot comment publicly on the specifics of any ongoing litigation, including the cases currently pending in southeast North Carolina,” Waupaca Elevator Company Operations Manager Gary Ziebell told WECT. “Waupaca issued a recall of elevators in October 2018 in coordination with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Owners of those Waupaca elevators affected by the recall have been directed to not use the elevators until an overspeed safety device has been installed by an approved dealer. Some elevators affected by the recall require additional work, including a replacement of the elevator’s gearbox. After the necessary repairs have been made to the elevators, they are perfectly safe to use. If any Waupaca elevator owners have questions associated with this recall, they are welcome to visit Waupaca’s website.” Rhine’s clients relied on that information, and still got injured on Waupaca elevators. The Brackins had the elevator inspected as Waupaca recommended. According to the lawsuit, after an oil sample was taken from the Brackin’s elevator and sent to Waupaca for analysis, “the Plaintiffs were informed that their elevator had no metal shavings and thus did not need a replacement at this point.” With that in mind, the Brackins continued to use their elevator. According to Rhine’s other lawsuit against Waupaca, Plaintiff Tressa Fortenberry was using an elevator that had a high-speed braking device installed on it about seven months earlier, after a technician from Port City Elevator found signs that indicated the elevator was in danger of failing. The homeowner was informed the elevator was safe to use, but it still failed while Fortenberry was renting the home. “Our case is that [Waupaca is] telling people the wrong thing. They are not telling people about the danger. They’re telling people that this is normal wear and tear and that you can use these elevators until you have these shavings, [and that] these overspeed braking device will stop the elevator. None of that’s true, and that’s how we are bringing these lawsuits,” Rhine explained. When asked about the elevator that failed after the high-speed braking device was installed, Waupaca executives indicated it must have been an installation error. “Waupaca Elevator Company has tested the overspeed safety device extensively. Based on the results of the testing, we are confident that the overspeed safety device operates as intended, provided it is installed correctly,” Ziebell said. Rhine says this is a public safety issue and warns the public not to use these recalled elevators for anything more than transporting groceries and luggage. “One that crashed had the overspeed breaking device with it. It doesn’t work. Their remedy doesn’t work. These things are dangerous,” Rhine said. In addition to concerns about a false sense of security, the manufacturer is giving to homeowners with these recalled elevators, Rhine also noted there’s a lengthy backorder for the parts to repair the elevator if a problem is detected. “Those [replacement gear boxes] aren’t going to be available for years, there’s such a backlog. and they are telling people that you can use it in the meantime. This is dangerous,” Rhine said. Except for doctors’ appointments, the Brackins are still homebound five months after the accident. They hope their cautionary tale will serve as a warning to other homeowners and vacationers who might unknowingly trust that the residential elevator in their home is safe. They say they’re grateful to be alive, and grateful to the first responders, neighbors, local restaurants, family, and friends who helped them or sent food and cards after their accident, but they say this was a life-changing event they may never fully recover from.
Read more » 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


Coronavirus –


COVID/State of Emergency – Timeline

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

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

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

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


Gov. Cooper extends COVID-19 state of emergency in North Carolina
Governor Roy Cooper is extending North Carolina’s COVID-19 state of emergency until at least the end of July, days after some state lawmakers wrote him a letter, asking what it would take to end. On Friday, Cooper announced that he signed an Executive Order to extend a variety of measures currently in place to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic until July 30. “We are seeing tremendous improvement with fewer cases, hospitalizations, deaths and safety restrictions, but this is no time to hang up a “Mission Accomplished” banner in our fight against the pandemic,” said Gov. Cooper. “We are laser focused on getting more shots in arms, boosting our economy and protecting unvaccinated people from the virus and this Executive Order is essential for those efforts.” While the governor has consistently eased restrictions as trends have improved, a state of emergency remains in effect as North Carolina emerges from the pandemic, along with measures including:

      • State Evictions Prohibitions
      • Face covering requirements in certain settings such as public transportation, schools, health care and childcare facilities, in accordance with CDC guidance
      • Unemployment Insurance flexibility

Earlier in the week, state lawmakers wrote a letter asking what it would take for the governor to end a more-than-450-day-long state of emergency that has been in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 10, 2020, Gov. Cooper issued the initial executive order declaring a State of Emergency as part of North Carolina’s preparedness plan for COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic the following day, March 11. In a press release, legislators pointed to a recent announcement by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster that there will no longer be a state of emergency in that state related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“North Carolina has now been under a self-declared state of emergency for over 450 days,” the letter states. “In response to a question about ending your emergency order during a June 2nd press conference, you said, ‘We are still in the middle of this pandemic’ and ‘The State of Emergency needs to continue.’ We believe this is unsatisfactory.” The lawmakers say the goal of their letter is to at least get “specific details on how and when the state of emergency can be lifted.” The governor’s office says under the State of Emergency, North Carolina has easier access to federal funding including FEMA Public Assistance reimbursements, and schools can follow uniform safety guidance under the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit. The State of Emergency also reportedly allows critical regulatory flexibility for the NC Department of Health and Human Services to increase the number of people authorized to administer vaccines and COVID-19 tests and for the movement of COVID-19 patients in rehab and other facilities. The governor’s office also says under the State of Emergency, NC DHHS continues to allow temporary additional flexibility for tele-health opportunities and for out-of-state licensed workers to practice in North Carolina and for retired health care professionals, students in training and skilled volunteers to provide care. The Department also continues to allow expanded access to healthcare and Medicaid services and food and nutrition programs until the end of the State of Emergency. “The Governor and state health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s trends and review actions of other states and plan to continue lifting restrictions as more people are vaccinated and the state winds down pandemic response efforts,” a press release read.
Read more » click here


Coronavirus Information
Brunswick County has developed a dedicated webpage for community assistance. Click here to view their website. Remember to seek the most verified information from sources likes the CDC, NC DHHS and the county regarding the coronavirus.

You can contact the Brunswick County Public Health Call Line at (910) 253-2339 Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

You can also email them at coronavirus@brunswickcountync.gov.
The NC Public Health Call Line can be reached at 866-462-3821 (open 24/7).

The situation is serious; take it seriously!

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


Upon Further Review –


 

 

THEY’RE BACK!

.

.
.

Rats at the Beach

The Hispid cotton rat is common and widespread across southern, central, and eastern parts of the United States. Currently, the population and range of this species continuously enlarge. This rodent has a sturdy built and extremely small cheek pouches. The grizzled coat of the animal is blackish or grayish in color, covered in stiff black guard hairs. The Hispid cotton rat is identified by its high “Roman” nose and a javelina-like color pattern, due to which the rodent is occasionally called the “javelina rat”.

The cotton rat is a hantavirus carrier, specifically the Black Creek Canal strain, that becomes a threat when it enters human habitation in rural and suburban areas. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings, or saliva. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is rare — the chance of getting the disease is 1 in 13,000,000, which is less likely than being struck by lightning.

Previously reported – September 2011
Holden Beach board talks island rats
The rats on the island are cotton rats that don’t attack humans and do feed during the daytime, not at night. However, according to comments from audience members at the Holden Beach Commissioners meeting Tuesday night, there has been a proliferation of rat sightings and of the rats themselves. “On Labor Day weekend, we had a field day with mice and rats,” said Holden Beach resident and Realtor Anne Arnold. “The kids in the community were counting the rats running across the street.” Fortunately, she said, nobody was bitten. After numerous complaints, authorities used kill trappings to determine what kind of rats are on Holden Beach. “It’s a New World rat,” Town Manager David Hewett said. “It’s not the one that caused the black plague out of Europe. They eat grass, and they especially love bird feeders and corn feeders. They live in the area between the bushes on the marsh up to your back door.” None of the trappings caught any cotton rats at night– because they are not nocturnal, he said. Jim Ericson, an environmental specialist from Mecklenburg County, said small vegetable gardens probably encourage cotton rats. Norway rats, which feed in the daytime when they’re sick or overpopulated, eat dog feces, but cotton rats don’t, he said. He thinks removal of the potentially rabid foxes on the island caused the increase in cotton rats because foxes are a major predator. Cotton rats have boom and bust cycles when there’s plenty of food and reproduction. They’re here because more than 90 percent of the island is heavily vegetated, but they pose no threat to public health, Hewett said. There have been no reports of illness or disease, he said. “You don’t need a permit to take them out of your yard,” Hewett said, and exterminators can also be hired to do that. “The cotton rat suffers a PR problem,” Ericson said. “They’re not going to attack people, and they’re not going to come in and raid your pantry.”
Read more » click here

More critters of summer—rats are roaming uninvited at the beach
Rats at the beach?! Rats have reportedly been an ongoing problem at Holden Beach, where a resident recently provided an update that dark-furred rodents are roaming the island, and they aren’t coming here to work on their tans. The rodent problem had previously been reported in the Beacon by correspondent Sarah Sue Ingram covering Holden Beach Town Council meetings. But I was hopeful the rats had worn out their welcome.
Brunswick Beacon article is no longer available

Pest Control / Management
Two years ago reported rats were out of control on Holden Beach. David Hewett, Town Manager did presentation. Jim Ericson, an environmental specialist from Mecklenburg County fielded questions.

Town Manager prepared report last year about “perceived” rat problem.

Research revealed the following –

      • Rodent called Cotton Rat native to North Carolina
      • New World rats, very different from Old World (European) Norway rats
      • Herbivores
      • Not nocturnal like other rodents
      • No threat to public health or safety
      • Only viable solution is to reduce their habitat
      • Primarily grassy areas, they move from fields to lawns and gardens

 Determined that it was really just a Public Relations problem

Staff recommendation – was to undertake program to educate the public

 The Town’s statement regarding Cotton Rats included the following comments:  During the course of our research, we inquired as to whether we needed to take steps to remove cotton rats from our Island.  We were told that, because Sigmodon Hibidus does not generally pose a threat to public health, we would be unable to obtain the depredation permit required to implement a mass extermination.  What has now been proposed is a Community Supported Animal Rescue Program.  The Town has decided to sponsor and administer a Feline Management Program. This program will entail placing feral cats throughout the island in small colonies.  Although the stated intent is animal rescue it may be the answer to our rodent issue and effectively deal with this situation.

Editor’s Note –
Feline Management Program didn’t work out very well. Bobcats and coyotes took out the cats and then started to eliminate the rabbits and rats.


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


Water Rate Methodology and Rate Increase

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

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

    For more information » click here

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


    Corrections & Amplifications –

    Brunswick County makes quarter-million-dollar deal for federal lobbyist
    The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners has approved a six-figure retainer for a federal lobbying operation. Ward and Smith, the county’s firm of choice, is well-known to counties and municipalities across the state, both for its arsenal of lobbyists and land-use attorneys who represent developers in public arenas. At a board meeting last week, county leaders pushed forward on hiring Ward and Smith “to assist with obtaining federal governmental assistance and project management regarding federal issues,” with special reference to water and sewer infrastructure projects, according to the board agenda. The retainer is scheduled to last until the end of April 2023, and will cost the county $250,000 at minimum, not including expenses. Mike McIntyre — longtime Congressman-turned-lobbyist — authored the proposal of services. A Blue Dog Democrat, McIntyre served in the House of Representatives as New Hanover County’s delegate from 1997-2015. Then he retired and walked through the revolving door. McIntyre will be the point man for the contract with Brunswick County, according to county manager Randell Woodruff. His clients at the state level have included New Hanover County, Carolina Beach, the Fayetteville Public Works Commission, Southport, Robeson County, Shallotte, Surf City, and a few private companies. “With new funding for infrastructure- and pandemic-related issues becoming available and changes to discretionary spending rules, there may be future opportunities to fund water and sewer infrastructure or other essential projects for the benefit of Brunswick County’s residents,” Woodruff wrote in an email. Randy Thompson, the chairman of the board of commissioners, said the decision to hire a lobbyist was made after it became clear the current Congress might show generosity in the realm of infrastructure projects. “We realized that infrastructure projects are probably going to be the number one thing that will be discussed with the current decision-making processes going on in Washington right now,” Thompson said. With a surging population and coastal areas in need of funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Brunswick County could capitalize on the additional influence in Washington to secure funding for much-needed infrastructure projects. “They’re multi-million-dollar projects,” Thompson said. “So the amount of money that we’re spending to have someone advocate for us at a federal level would truly pay for itself by us acquiring approval for one project.”  Also included in the retainer are costs for The Ferguson Group, a D.C.-based firm that can help local governments obtain federal funds and grants. The engagement letter sent by McIntyre identifies “grant research and analysis and/or legislative monitoring/research” as the services in the wheelhouse of The Ferguson Group. “It was a pretty good deal for us, if in fact things follow the course that they’re currently on, with the projected path for allocations at the federal level,” Thompson said. Ward and Smith also lobbies for Holden Beach, a quaint beach town in Brunswick County, but according to the engagement letter, that does not pose a conflict of interest. “Our work for this engagement will be on the federal level so long as such work does not conflict with Ward and Smith, P.A.’s work on behalf of the Town of Holden Beach,” McIntyre wrote in the engagement letter. “Any work on the state level will be subject to separate agreement.” McIntyre told Port City Daily that Ward and Smith’s policies prohibit him from addressing the media regarding client matters. “If you put a good team together and you put a good package together,” Thompson said, “then hopefully you’ll have a great outcome.”
    Read more » click here

    Editor’s Note –
    In January of  2021 we hired Mike McIntyre who was with Poyner Spruill at the time, he has since moved to the Ward and Smith firm. The retainer for their services is $7,725 per month or a minimum of $92,700 annually. Retainer is the minimum it will cost us. Ferguson Group services are billed separately. Additionally, we are billed monthly for all kinds of additional charges.


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2021 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills.
Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

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

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


Turtle Watch Program


Turtle Watch Program
. 1) Current nest count – 22 as of 06/20/20
.
Average annual number of nests is 39.5
. 2)
First nest of the season was on May 8th

Members of the patrol started riding the beach every morning on May 1 and will do so through October looking for signs of turtle nests.
For more information » click here

.
It’s Turtle Season on Holden Beach!
It’s official…. the turtle season has started!
Turtle Watch ATV riders are out looking for tracks of the mother turtle each morning.
Turtles usually start laying their eggs on our beach mid to late May.
It will take 55-60 days for these eggs to incubate.
They anticipate the first baby turtles on the beach in early July.

Several firsts on a Saturday afternoon
Not only did we have our first nest yesterday (May 8, 2021) it was a historic event! Our first nest of the season was laid Saturday afternoon around 2 p.m. So our turtle season has officially begun.

This nest marks a series of firsts!
1. First Kemp’s Ridley Turtle nest to be laid on our beach in Turtle Patrol History.
2. First nest in North Carolina for this season.
3. Earliest nest laid on Holden Beach

Kemp’s Ridley are the smallest of the five kinds of turtles that lay nests in North Carolina. They usually lay nests further north in the Outer Banks area. Kemp’s Ridleys are the most threatened species of turtles that nest in North Carolina. They usually nest during daylight hours (so mid-afternoon is not unusual for them). The momma climbed an escarpment and laid the nest in a safe place. Incubation for Kemp’s Ridley turtles is similar to Loggerheads, we expect to have babies from this nest in around 60 days. Their nests typically have 104 to 110 eggs.

We’re excited to have a Kemp’s Ridley nest on out beach. The turtle we see most often is the Loggerhead turtle. Riders are out each morning looking for turtle tracks (called crawls.) We’re thinking it will still be a little while before we have a Loggerhead nest….but who knows… our earliest recorded date for a Loggerhead nest on the beach was May 9, 2019.

North Carolina’s first turtle nest of 2021 season laid in Holden Beach
The sea turtle nesting season is underway in North Carolina. The first nest reported for the 2021 season was laid in Holden Beach over the weekend. The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol says the turtle that came ashore on Saturday was a very rare one — Kemp’s Ridley. It is one of the most endangered species of sea turtle so HBTP says they are going to do everything they can to make sure all hatchlings make it into the water. The incubation period is 50-60 days. Turtle experts say Kemp’s Ridley turtles weigh 50-80 pounds, and this one weighed about 60-65 pounds. The species typically nest just south of Texas in Mexico and there are usually only 3-4 nests in the United States per year.
Read more » click here


Odds & Ends –


New Hanover officials at odds with vacation rental giants over taxes
NC counties want more information about local rentals from companies like Airbnb and Vrbo. So far, the companies have largely refused.
Once a month, America’s most popular rental companies deliver checks to New Hanover County. These payments are meant to cover room occupancy taxes, the added fees municipalities charge guests who stay – for less than 90 days – in hotels, motels, and, with increasing frequency, vacation rentals. In a county dense with tourism travel, occupancy taxes draw in more than $12 million a year. As online rental platforms have exploded in popularity, online rental companies have assumed greater roles in collecting this tax. In recent years, the two industry leaders – Airbnb and Vrbo – struck undisclosed deals with the state to start collecting and remitting tax dollars themselves to municipalities statewide. But from large counties like New Hanover to small towns like Blowing Rock, local officials have issues with this arrangement. For while they recognize having these companies collect the tax has, in some ways, been more convenient, they want the rental behemoths to provide something beyond money: They want information. Major rental companies attach little context to the tax dollars they deliver – few if any details on where the rentals are located, how many nights are booked, and how many properties are operating in total. Christopher McLaughlin of the UNC School of Government compared the checks rental companies give to “a black box.” “Airbnb is going to write us a check, and we don’t know what their records shows,” said Lisa Wutzbacher, the chief financial officer for New Hanover County. “We don’t know what’s included in that payment.” Local officials have reached out to the companies for this data, but they said these requests have generally been met with resistance. “We have (asked), and they’ve been unwilling to do so,” Wutzbacher said. “We don’t have that issue with other property management companies, those that are physical companies here locally. It’s just the online companies that we’re missing information on.” Getting these rental details, county, and city leaders from across the state argued, would help ensure all residents are paying their fair share of taxes. They also pointed out the data would provide clearer pictures of how prevalent vacation rentals had become in their communities. But with resources and staffs limited, officials felt they have little recourse to get the massive, out-of-state rental companies to budge.

A hard tax to collect
In 1983, the North Carolina General Assembly permitted local governments to begin levying occupancy taxes. Since then, revenues from these taxes have steadily risen, surpassing $250 million in 2019. Most counties have their own occupancy tax rates, and most of these tax dollars – at times controversially – go to local tourism development authorities. Many cities and towns levy additional occupancy taxes that help promote tourism and fund the public services – like trash collection, road maintenance, and law enforcement – that get strained by influxes of tourists. While guests pay occupancy taxes, rental owners are responsible for remitting the tax dollars. However, in the past, local governments found it tricky to get this money.  As online platforms helped turn ordinary houses into short-term rental properties, local officials struggled to keep tabs on which homes were operating as rentals. While hotels and motels have obvious, centralized locations, pinpointing these new and dispersed rentals proved challenging. The rise of Airbnb and Vrbo also helped more homeowners become first-time rental operators, and some did not realize they were responsible for collecting and remitting occupancy tax. Over the years, local officials took informal steps to identify rentals – like driving by homes and looking out for out-of-state license plates – but many acknowledged properties were going unnoticed, and taxes weren’t going unpaid. “All of those things are ineffective means of trying to keep track of the numerous rental places that there are,” Wurtzbacher said. The rental companies, officials noted, didn’t make it easy to find rental properties. Maps on Airbnb’s website and phone apps don’t reveal properties’ exact locations until after reservations are made, and local government officials said requests they made to discover rental locations were unsuccessful. “Airbnb wasn’t going to tell us (where they were) either,” said Cindy Johnson, a tax collection specialist for Craven County in Eastern North Carolina.

A new kind of agreement
In 2015, North Carolina entered what’s called a voluntary collection agreement, or VCA, with Airbnb. Under the VCA, the San Francisco-based company began collecting occupancy taxes themselves, charging guests an additional fee upon booking. Airbnb then delivered monthly lump sum payments to local governments. In 2019, Vrbo reached its own agreement with the state to collect and remit occupancy and sales taxes. Together, the two companies hold upwards of 75% of the state’s vacation rental market according to the analytics firm AllTheRooms. In an email to the USA Today Network, Airbnb spokesperson Laura Rillos wrote, “Platform collection helps streamline the tax collection process for our community, many of whom are everyday people sharing their homes to earn meaningful income and helps ensure that communities are receiving critical tax revenue.” Local officials recognized the convenience of having the rental companies handle tax collection and remittance. Several subsequently saw a clear uptick in their revenues. Still, officials argued it would be beneficial if the companies divulged the data behind the tax bill. The USA Today Network spoke with county managers, tax collectors, and finance directors in eight North Carolina counties, and while none had specific reasons to believe the lump sums rental companies send each month are inaccurate, they pointed out there are few ways of knowing for sure. “We like to know that we’re getting what we’re supposed to be getting, not more, not less,” said Samantha Reynolds, Henderson County’s finance director. “We’d like to know, when they send us a check for x-thousands of dollars, which houses that was for and which weeks that was for so that we can follow up.” said Dare County Manager Bobby Outten. In the western town of Blowing Rock, finance officer Nicole Norman said Vrbo representatives did, when asked, provide information about their rentals but that Airbnb representatives, citing the company’s voluntary collection agreement with the state, declined to share details regarding the tax payments. In an email, Airbnb spokesperson Laura Rillos wrote, “Airbnb complies with all applicable laws with regards to collection and remittance of relevant tourism tax and provides all information required for tax verification purposes.” The tax agreements companies have with the state are far from public. Citing the state’s taxpayer secrecy law, North Carolina Department of Revenue spokesperson Schorr Johnson declined to confirm the existence of an agreement between Airbnb and the state, let alone the specifics of any agreement. Airbnb representatives did not provide a copy of its VCA with the North Carolina. Vrbo representatives did not respond to emails inquiring about its agreement with the state or its policies for providing rental data to municipalities. Though Rillos didn’t detail why Airbnb reserves rental data from local governments, concerns this information could help local governments enact vacation rental restrictions may be one reason said UNC’s Christopher McLaughlin, coauthor of the 2019 book Regulation and Taxation of Short-Term Rentals. “Clearly Airbnb opposes additional local regulations on STRs (short-term rentals) and it’s true that hiding the location of STRs makes it more difficult for local governments to regulate those (rentals),” he said.Without data from the major rental companies, municipalities have, at best, incomplete pictures of their vacation rental markets. Officials added that knowing rental locations and quantities could inform how they respond to this booming industry. “It could affect some land use requirements that we have within the county,” said Steve Dozier, chair of the Henderson County Planning Board. “In Buncombe, we do not know how many units are operating as short-term rentals,” Buncombe’s tax collector Jennifer Pike said. “I think there’s always some concerns about just an awareness of what’s going on in our communities.”

Lawsuits and audits
North Carolina isn’t the only state with which Airbnb has a voluntary collection agreement; the rental company has agreements to collect and remit taxes in 47 other states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories. Last year, a handful of Georgia municipalities filed a class action lawsuit against the company, alleging it “failed to remit occupancy taxes to local governments…” This year, a collection of local governments in South Carolina sued Airbnb and other major rental platforms for similar reasons. In its latest annual financial report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Airbnb explained: “We are currently involved in a number of lawsuits brought be certain states and localities involving the payment of lodging taxes… These lawsuits are in various stages, and we continue to vigorously defend these claims.” To make sure they’re getting the correct amount of money, some North Carolina counties have considered auditing the major rental companies. Yet, local officials felt their departments lacked the manpower and money to thoroughly examine the books of the short-term rental giants, who are headquartered in other states and valued in the tens of billions of dollars. “With a company as large as Airbnb or Vrbo, I don’t know how easy that would be to accomplish (an audit),” said Lisa Wurtzbacher, who mentioned her New Hanover department only has one staff member dedicated to occupancy tax collection. “Just from personal experience that we’ve had, even trying to get in contact with the right person (to speak to at these companies) has been a bit of a challenge.” In recent years, New Hanover has contracted with a company called Host Compliance to track local short-term properties. While the data Host Compliance offers has helped the county create a tax payment portal, the information isn’t as comprehensive as the records Wurtzbacher believes the rental companies could provide. This leaves her, like many of her counterparts, wanting more from Airbnb’s and Vrbo’s monthly checks. To her, this money leaves too many questions unanswered.
Read more » click here 


Staying safe at the beach: Rip currents, jellyfish, sharks, and other hazards

A trip to the beach can turn deadly (or painful) due to natural hazards but being aware of risks and mitigating hazards is a good way to prevent problems.
Picture this: warm weather, blue skies, and your toes in the sand — it sounds like a perfect lazy summer day at the beach. Maybe you decide to cool down in the ocean and find yourself bobbing around when suddenly you realize you are a little too far out. As panic sinks in and you start to swim towards dry land you realize your efforts are in vain and your whole body is getting tired, all the while you are drifting further into the Atlantic — you have gotten stuck in a rip current. It’s not the only potential danger in the ocean, though. There are also sharks. And, of course, there are some things on shore that ruin your day at the beach, too, including stepping on jellyfish and, of course, good old-fashioned sunburn.

Rip currents
According to the U.S. Lifesaving Association (USLA), 80 percent of all ocean rescues are related to rip currents and annually more than 100 fatalities across the country are due to rip currents. While it is obvious that swimming at a beach with lifeguards is one of the safer options, there are plenty of area beaches that lack lifeguards or maybe ocean rescue season has not started just yet. So, what is the best course of action for surviving a rip current? According to the National Weather Service, there are several things swimmers should keep in mind when dealing with these often-unseen dangers.

  • Relax. Rip currents don’t pull you under.
  • A rip current is a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second — faster than an Olympic swimmer. Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; energy you need to survive and escape the rip current.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: If in doubt, don’t go out!
  • If at all possible, only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
  • If you choose to swim on beaches without a lifeguard, never swim alone. Take a friend and have that person take a cell phone so he or she can call 911 for help.
    .
    Sharks
    Sharks are a fear on most every swimmer’s mind, regardless of the actual dangers posed by the large predatory fish. “NOAA states that while shark attacks are rare, they are most likely to occur near shore, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars where sharks can be trapped by low tide, and near steep drop-offs where sharks’ prey gather. While the risks are small, it’s important to be aware of how to avoid an attack,” according to previous reporting.

Suggestions from NOAA for reducing the risk of a shark attack include:

  • Don’t swim too far from shore.
  • Stay in groups – sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.
  • Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight when sharks are most active.
  • Don’t go in the water if bleeding from a wound – sharks have a very acute sense of smell.
  • Leave the shiny jewelry at home – the reflected light resembles fish scales.
  • Avoid brightly-colored swimwear – sharks see contrast particularly well..
    .
    Sunburns
    Most everyone has experienced a sunburn at one point in their life and while not often thought as a major concern for many, overexposure to UV light can cause serious long-term problems including skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using at least S.P.F. 15 sunscreen at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Wearing a hat, long sleeves, and other protective clothing is also recommended to keep skin protected.

Jellyfish
Jellyfish and Portuguese Man of War have been spotted along the beaches of New Hanover County and surrounding area beaches already this season and the little floating creatures can pack a punch. Often times beachgoers will spot them washed up on shore and other times they can be spotted in the water, but it is best to avoid them when you can. “While all jellyfish sting, not all contain poison that hurts humans. Be careful of jellies that wash up on shore, as some can still sting if tentacles are wet. NOAA recommends that if you are stung by a jellyfish to first seek a lifeguard to give first aid. If no lifeguards are present, wash the wound with vinegar or rubbing alcohol,” NOAA suggests. And what about that … other method of treating stings? Turns out, it’s a myth. In fact, urine can actually aggravate the stinging cells of jellyfish, making things worse. These cells, which detach and stick into the skin of prey, can continue to inject venom. Urine, as well as fresh water, can cause an imbalance to the salt solution surrounding the stinging cells, causing them to continue to fire. According to Scientific American, if you don’t have vinegar or rubbing alcohol, rinsing with salt water may be your best bet.
Read more » click here

Jellyfish Guide * Lou’s Views (lousviews.com)

Why are there no lifeguards in Brunswick County?
Brunswick County saw its first drowning death of the year last week. Allen Whitley, a father from Mount Gilead died saving his 11-year-old daughter and another child stuck in a rip current in Holden Beach. The tragic accident has renewed a call to add protections to area beaches. “There’s no lifeguards here, it’s just…. there’s no flags that warn you how rough the water is, there’s nothing. All you can do is call 911 and pray,” said mother Charity Dalton. Dalton’s son, Thomas, was one of the children Whitley rescued from the rip current last week. She was one of three adults that jumped in the water to save the children as the current pulled them further from the shore. None of the beach towns in Brunswick County have lifeguards. Horry County beaches have them to the south, and New Hanover County beaches have them to the north, but Brunswick County towns have decided to go in another direction with their beach safety programs. There have been talks of adding lifeguards to the strand in the past. The last big discussion happened in 2013 in the Brunswick Beach Consortium, a group made up of representatives from each town. The proposal came up after a spike in drownings. One person in favor of adding lifeguards was the mayor of Sunset Beach at the time, Rich Cerrato. Representatives from Wrightsville Beach came down to give a presentation about their lifeguard program, but at the end of the day, the idea never went anywhere. “I was hoping that it would foster further study to see whether lifeguards should be implemented in Sunset Beach and in Brunswick County, but it never caught on fire. It was apparently — it just evaporated, but the concern is still there,” said Cerrato. “I think they have a responsibility to study the issue. Just to study it and come up with the information so people can be informed.” No study or formal investigation into adding lifeguards was ever commissioned by the group. Cerrato believes a combination of price concerns and liability concerns had a lot to do with why no changes were ever made. Meeting minutes from 2013 reveal the discussion was tabled until they got more information from legislators about a bill that could have put a liability cap on municipalities. The Brunswick Beach Consortium split in 2015. If you ask each town, though, the exact obstacles to adding lifeguards vary.

Holden Beach
Beach Patrol: In the past, code enforcement has patrolled beaches
Water rescue: Town contracts with Tri- Beach Fire to provide water rescue services
Flag System: No
Signage: Yes
Flotation Devices: No

There’s no guarantee that having lifeguards would have saved the life of victims like Allen Whitley, but the people who were there that day can only hope for more protections in the future. “For the next family, it’s something they need,” added Dalton. At this time, none of the municipalities I spoke with for this story are aware of any discussions about adding lifeguards to the strand.
Read more » click here 


This and That –


Brunswick County Connections Stronger To New Hanover For MSA
In recent findings submitted to the Census Bureau, area officials say Brunswick County has a stronger worker connection to New Hanover County than South Carolina, a fact they say lends support for Brunswick’s return to the Wilmington MSA. Leaders with Business Alliance for a Sound Economy (BASE) and those from UNCW sent letters last week to the federal agency to add input to the rulemaking process that will help guide the new MSA designations. The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce and Cape Fear Collective were also partners in the effort. BASE and its partners have been focused on the 2020 Census and the MSA designations since Brunswick County was removed from the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and placed into an MSA with Myrtle Beach in 2013, pushing for Brunswick’s return. With the local 2020 Census data anticipated to be released soon, federal officials will start looking at the information and other rules to draw metropolitan lines. Local officials submitted data and their insight as part of the Census Bureau’s public comment period on the proposed rules, which concluded May 20. “In addition to the natural growth, commuting patterns are one of the ways that urban areas are being defined in the 2020 Census,” said Tyler Newman, president and CEO of BASE, in an email Monday. “Thanks to UNCW and Cape Fear Collective, we were able to analyze commuting pattern data and show the strong tie between Brunswick County and Wilmington. Of Brunswick County’s workforce, 27% commute to New Hanover County daily versus 3% to Horry. Between the natural growth of eastern Brunswick County and the strong commuting pattern tie (compared to Myrtle Beach), we feel like it is pretty clear that Brunswick County should be returned to Wilmington when the urban areas are drawn and MSA delineations are set,” Newman said. Since the urban area criteria standards were released, BASE has been working with the University of North Carolina Wilmington and local nonprofit Cape Fear Collective to analyze the rules that guide the designations and model how the area’s population growth may be impacted by the proposed rules, Newman wrote in his letter to the Census Bureau last week. In their findings, the organizations point to housing density and commuting patterns as two areas that could support Brunswick County’s swing back into the Wilmington MSA. Household and employment data shows the flow of Brunswick County residents between Brunswick and New Hanover counties for work, Newman said in his letter. A model produced by Cape Fear Collective (shown above) and sent to the Census Bureau indicates: 42.1% of Brunswick residents work in Brunswick County; 26.8% of Brunswick residents work in New Hanover County; 3% of Brunswick residents work in Horry County; 27.3% of Brunswick residents work in a North Carolina county other than New Hanover or Brunswick counties; and 0.9% of Brunswick residents work in a South Carolina county other than Horry, according to Newman’s letter. The organizations are also making a recommendation to support adding a rulemaking addition to include ferries, such as the state-funded Southport/Fort-Fisher ferry route, as a commuting connection. “We feel very strongly that Brunswick County is in the Wilmington MSA and the growth, commuting patterns prove it. Enhancing the ‘noncontiguous territory separated by exempted territory’ (commuting pattern) provisions to account for water-borne commuters would further refine and enhance the final output and better reflect the situation on the ground,” Newman said in his letter. “As we saw last time, once the MSA delineations are set, it can be many years before an opportunity arises to fix it and make it right,” he continued. In addition to the information sent to the Census Bureau from BASE, UNCW also submitted a letter in an email last week. Mark Lanier, assistant to UNCW Chancellor Jose Sartarelli, and assistant secretary to the UNCW Board of Trustees, noted that there are connections to the university, as well. “In March of 2020, there were 2,734 UNCW alumni residing in Brunswick County. In addition, in a typical semester, there are over 450 current UNCW students residing in Brunswick County. UNCW and Brunswick Community College (BCC) have a strong partnership, with 30 to 35 additional transfer students per semester from BCC enrolling at UNCW to complete their four-year degree. “As part of the worker flow data, there are approximately 125 permanent or temporary UNCW employees residing in Brunswick County.  Moreover, these numbers are increasing as the northern and eastern sections of Brunswick County grow and provide more affordable housing.  All of these numbers are in addition to the Brunswick County residents who come to UNCW for cultural events, athletic events, continuing adult education, various professional services, and more,” Lanier said in his letter. He also noted that population estimates indicate northern Brunswick County growing more quickly than the southern portion of the county. The university, he said, is in support of Brunswick County returning to the Wilmington MSA. Lanier also noted the university’s support in the proposed rules for increased emphasis on worker flow data, the ferry system being included in commuting patterns and housing density, as well as “proper consideration of connections between state institutions” such as those between Brunswick Community College and UNCW.  “In summary, the connections between Brunswick and New Hanover counties are much stronger than Brunswick’s connections to South Carolina. This lends support to methodologies and rules that will return Brunswick County to the Wilmington MSA,” he said.
Read more » click here


Brunswick County In The Know

Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing counties in the entire nation! Our county commissioners have offered to do an educational meet and greet. Brunswick Commissioners Frank Williams and Mike Forte have offered their time to address an audience on general (non-political) topics such as county organization and structure, what the commissioners do, and most importantly what activities are going on now to ensure Brunswick County is ready for the expansion and growth coming our way.

Informational “Meet and Greets” will be offered on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 6:00 pm until 7:30 pm at the Lockwood Folly Country Club, River room on the second floor.

Topics including but not limited to:
. * Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Response
. * Board of Education and Charter School issues
. * Election Integrity
. * Economic Development – Brunswick Vision 2040

Mark your calendar for 3rd Thursday’s!
Be informed!
Get answers to frequently asked questions!
Make your concerns heard!
They are our elected officials…they work for US!

For more information e-mail: info@BrunscoInTheKnow.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/brunscointheknow/permalink/143030657846824/


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


. .

A Second Helping
Program to collect food Saturday mornings (7:00am to 12:00pm) during the summer at the Beach Mart on the Causeway.

.


.
1) Seventeenth year of the program
. 2) Food collections have now exceeded 273,000 pounds
. 3)
Collections will begin on May 29th and run through September 18th
. 4) Food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County
For more information » click here

Hunger exists everywhere in this country; join them in the fight to help end hunger in Brunswick County. Cash donations are gratefully accepted. One hundred percent (100%) of these cash donations are used to buy more food. You can be assured that the money will be very well spent.

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

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

A Second Helping collects leftover items from vacationers leaving Brunswick County beaches
Have you ever reached the end of your vacation and realized that you have a lot of extra food or non-food items like soaps, paper plates, or paper towels? Several beaches in Brunswick County have volunteer organizations called A Second Helping that collects those items and donates them back to the community. “We’ve got all these tourists that come in town — why not leave your food with us on your way back home,” said Rebecca Powell, co-founder of A Second Helping OIB. “It’s a way to pay it forward in the community.” A Second Helping in Ocean Isle Beach has grown from a very small group of people to now around 50 volunteers and three different drop stations. Doug Cottrell, who organizes A Second Helping in Holden Beach, said they have also seen growth since it was founded by Bill Spier back in 2005. “It’s grown from an idea to an average of a thousand, 12-hundred pounds each Saturday morning,” he said. “The idea that Mr. Spier had in the beginning was that people would leave when the houses turn on Saturdays and didn’t have anything to do with their leftovers.” He says about two-thirds of what they collect is food. “We get tremendous amount of condiments, hot dogs, hamburgers, lots of wonderful produce—it’s amazing how much products we get,” Cottrell said. “It’s a little bit of everything that you’d buy to have in your refrigerator when you’re on vacation.” The other third are items like soaps, Ziplock bags, or aluminum foil. The volunteer organization at Holden Beach has a close relationship with the rental companies in the area. One house in particular has been known for its donations after visitors spend a long week at the beach. “We have a house that’s 15 bedrooms and sometimes they’ll show up here with an SUV and truck full of stuff and then have to go home and pack up to leave and we’ll get over 100 pounds out of one house of people on vacation,” Cottrell said. A Second Helping in Holden Beach donates its food items to Loaves and Fishes pantry of Brunswick Islands Baptist Church. It’s non-food items go to the Brunswick Christian Recovery Center. A Second Helping OIB donates what it collects to Brunswick Family Assistance. “We are very blessed to live on an island but at the same time there’s other parts of this pocket of the county that are not so fortunate, and we need to remember them,” Powell said. “I don’t think anyone should go to bed hungry at night.” “Not too far off the beach there’s a considerable amount of poverty and people in need and a pantry to support that,” Cottrell said. “What we gather we take to the pantry and then they have a two-day a week open facility for people to go in a receive what we donate.” There is A Second Helping organization in Holden, Ocean Isle and Sunset Beaches. Saturday kicked off the season for each location, and they will collect goods every Saturday morning through Labor Day weekend. Click here for more information on drop-off sites for each location.
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


The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence and Proof
Definitive answers to the big questions.

Read more » click here

U.S. has entered unprecedented climate territory, EPA warns
The Trump administration delayed the report, which cites urban heat waves and permafrost loss as signs of global warming, for three years

For years, President Donald Trump and his deputies played down the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and delayed the release of an Environmental Protection Agency report detailing climate-related damage. But on Wednesday, the EPA released a detailed and disturbing account of the startling changes that Earth’s warming had on parts of the United States during Trump’s presidency. The destruction of year-round permafrost in Alaska, loss of winter ice on the Great Lakes and spike in summer heat waves in U.S. cities all signal that climate change is intensifying, the EPA said in its report. The assessment, which languished under the Trump administration for three years, marks the first time the agency has said such changes are being driven at least in part by human-caused global warming. As it launched an updated webpage to inform the public on how climate change is upending communities throughout the country, the Biden administration gave the agency’s imprimatur to a growing body of evidence that climate effects are happening faster and becoming more extreme than when EPA last published its “Climate Indicators” data in 2016.
Read more »
click here


.

Development Fees
For more information » click here
.
.


Draft System Development Fees Report
Calculation of Water and Sewer System Development Fees for FY2022
Prepared by Raftelis in accordance with HB 436.


.

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 October 1, 2020, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to September 30, 2021.

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


U.S. rolls out first update to flood insurance pricing in 50 years
Hundreds of thousands of Americans will pay significantly more to insure their homes in coastal areas and flood zones under new rules released on Thursday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the first major update to its pricing system in half a century. The agency said that, over the coming year, it will phase in a price-setting method that marks an epochal shift in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which was set up in 1968 to cover property in flood-prone areas. New premiums will be based on a property’s value, risk of flooding and other factors, rather than simply on a property’s elevation in a flood zone. They will take effect on Oct. 1, 2021, for new policies and April 1, 2022, for the rest, FEMA said. The NFIP currently provides $1.3 trillion in coverage through more than 5 million policies in the U.S. but has been losing money for years and is currently $20.5 billion in debt. The new rules will mean hefty increases for expensive properties in wealthy coastal enclaves, said Jeremy Porter, head of research and development at First Street Foundation, a Brooklyn-New York based nonprofit that studies flood risk. Current flood zone-based pricing was “basically a subsidy to people,” Porter said. Under FEMA’s new system, “pricing is based on your insurance risk.” FEMA said it expects 4%, or more than 200,000 policies, will see significant premium increases, while about 1.15 million will see decreases, noting the change makes prices “more equitable.” In a study released in February of flood-prone properties rather than policies, First Street determined that more than 4 million would face increases and the average premium in flood zones would be $7,895 a year. The numbers in First Street’s study are higher than FEMA’s because only about 30% of flood-prone properties carry NFIP coverage, Porter noted. The changes mark the first update to FEMA’s pricing methods in 50 years and are based on updated technology and FEMA’s evolving knowledge of flood risk, the agency said.
Read more » click here

Millions to see rate hikes under new flood insurance plan
More than 1 million people who buy flood insurance from the federal government will see their premiums drop next year under a new system that will end decades of overpayments by making insurance rates more accurately reflect a property’s flood risk, officials said yesterday. At the same time, premiums charged by the National Flood Insurance Program will rise sharply for about 200,000 policyholders, many of whom own expensive homes in high-risk flood zones and have been paying too little, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said. The vast majority of NFIP policyholders — roughly 3.7 million people — will see moderate rate increases, according to FEMA projections released yesterday. “This will address inequity that has built up over time and must be corrected,” said David Maurstad, who runs the flood insurance program for FEMA. “Property owners with lower-value homes are paying more than they should, and those with higher-value homes are paying less.” Many owners of lower-valued homes have been “paying way more than their fair share,” Maurstad added. The NFIP is the nation’s main provider of flood insurance, which is not included in standard homeowners’ insurance policies. It insures 5 million properties, mostly along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The overhaul in FEMA’s flood insurance rates could generate opposition from some lawmakers, particularly those from the Northeast, where a large number of people will see rate hikes. A 2019 bill by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is now the Senate majority leader, would have barred FEMA from raising anyone’s insurance rate by more than 9% a year. New York and New Jersey will be two of the hardest-hit states under FEMA’s new system. In New York, 14% of the state’s NFIP policyholders will see their premiums increase by at least $120 a year, according to FEMA projections. In New Jersey, 15% of the policyholders will see premiums rise by $120 a year or more. “FEMA shouldn’t be rushing to overhaul their process and risk dramatically increasing premiums on middle-class and working-class families without first consulting with Congress and the communities at greatest risk to the effects of climate change,” Schumer spokesperson Alex Nguyen said in a recent statement. “Congress and the Biden administration must work together in a collaborative and transparent process.” By contrast, the percentage of policyholders facing at least a $120-a-year increase is 7% in Texas, 9% in Alabama and North Carolina, and 10% in Louisiana. In Florida, where more people buy NFIP coverage than any other state, 12% of the state’s policyholders will see a rate increase of at least $120 a year. Some policyholders will face the annual rate hikes for only a few years, while others who have been paying too little for insurance for a long time will see rate hikes for a decade or longer. The new rates will begin to take effect next April for people who are renewing policies. For new policyholders, the new premiums will take effect in October. FEMA’s announcement yesterday drew praise from environmental advocates. “This isn’t just a minor improvement but a quantitative and qualitative leap forward in more accurately pricing risk,” said Forbes Tompkins, head of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ resilient infrastructure program. Shana Udvardy, a climate resilience analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said FEMA’s new insurance rates “could go a long way in helping homeowners better understand their risk, ensuring they can make informed decisions to protect themselves and their property.” The new insurance rates are the result of a yearslong process FEMA has undertaken to refine its analysis of flood risk. Under the new system, called Risk Rating 2.0, FEMA uses the latest technology and data to estimate both the risk of an individual home being flooded and the cost to replace each home. For decades, FEMA has used a crude analysis that puts homes into large geographic groupings and charges the owners the same insurance premium, ignoring distinctions that make some of the homes riskier than others. “It’s like going from a standard-definition TV to HD-quality resolution,” Tompkins said. Incorporating replacement costs into insurance premiums would result in generally higher rates in regions such as the Northeast and the West Coast, where labor and materials are more expensive than in the rest of the country. Maurstad of FEMA said he expects the new pricing would increase the number of people who have flood insurance by making the rates fairer and easier for homeowners and insurance agents to understand. “It will result in greater value and trust in the program. As a result, folks that maybe didn’t think they were at much of a risk of flooding will now know that they are, and it will be harder for them to ignore it,” Maurstad said during a news briefing yesterday. Federal law requires people to have flood insurance if they own a property that is located in a flood zone and is secured by a federally backed mortgage. But millions of people ignore the requirement, and in some cases face financial ruin when their homes are flooded and they have no insurance.
E&E News


 

GenX
For more information » click here
..
.


  •  

    Homeowners Insurance
    For more information » click here
    .

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

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

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

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



  • .
    Hurricane Season

    For more information » click here
    .


NOAA predicts 6th consecutive above-average hurricane season
The Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t officially begin for another 12 days, but the early signs are it may end up being yet another very busy one. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued it’s seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecast Thursday afternoon. The forecast calls for 13-20 total named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). All of those categories are above the average of 14 total named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and NOAA is just one of more than a dozen academic institutions, government agencies and private forecasting companies that put out seasonal projections. “Seasonal forecasts from nearly all universities and private agencies are predicting that 2021 will be an above-average season once again,” CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said. Another highly respected forecaster is Colorado State University, which was the first entity to issue a seasonal tropical forecast. Experts there issued their forecast back on April 8 indicating 17 total named storms, eight of which are expected to be hurricanes. “There aren’t any big outliers this year, while the (European model) was pretty low last year,” said Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist at CSU. Klotzbach noted that the strong consensus between seasonal forecast groups is likely due to the shared observation of features that usually trigger a very active season.
Read more » click here

Ana forms in the Atlantic, becoming the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season
Subtropical Storm Ana formed early Saturday morning, becoming the first named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. This now marks the seventh year in a row in which at least one named storm has formed prior to the start of Atlantic hurricane season which officially begins June 1.
Read more » click here 

NOAA predicts another active Atlantic hurricane season
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.

For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

Last month, NOAA updated the statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the latest climate record. Based on this update an average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which 7 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. [Watch this video summary of the Outlook.]

El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral phase, with the possibility of the return of La Nina later in the hurricane season. “ENSO-neutral and La Nina support the conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity.” Scientists at NOAA also continue to study how climate change is impacting the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones.

Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. “The forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are well-prepared with significant upgrades to our computer models, emerging observation techniques, and the expertise to deliver the life-saving forecasts that we all depend on during this, and every, hurricane season.”

In an effort to continuously enhance hurricane forecasting, NOAA made several updates to products and services that will improve hurricane forecasting during the 2021 season.

Last year’s record-breaking season serves as a reminder to all residents in coastal regions or areas prone to inland flooding from rainfall to be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season.

“With hurricane season starting on June 1, now is the time to get ready and advance disaster resilience in our communities,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Visit Ready.gov and Listo.gov to learn and take the steps to prepare yourself and others in your household. Download the FEMA app to sign-up for a variety of alerts and to access preparedness information. Purchase flood insurance to protect your greatest asset, your home. And, please encourage your neighbors, friends and coworkers to also get ready for the upcoming season.”

NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the Eastern and Central Pacific basins, and will provide an update to the Atlantic outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

Visit FEMA’s Ready.gov to be prepared for the start of hurricane season and the National Hurricane Center’s website at hurricanes.gov throughout the season to stay current on watches and warnings.
Read more » click here


.

Lockwood Folly Inlet
For more information » click here
.


Lockwood Folly Inlet reaches danger point
Brunswick County, Oak Island and Holden Beach have made significant financial commitments in their draft 2022 budgets for maintenance dredging of the badly shoaled Lockwood Folly Inlet. The hope is that other regulatory agencies will solve the immediate issue and regularly schedule the work to avoid potentially hazardous situations like the one on the water today. “We’re in an emergency” said Cane Faircloth, president of the Lockwood Folly Association. Faircloth, a charter captain, said he could not safely transit the inlet in his boat that draws three feet of water. Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard issued an “urgent bulletin” to mariners, warning the inlet was as shallow as two feet at mean low tide. The Coast Guard also removed remaining navigational buoys, stating that they no longer offered realistic assistance to boaters. Brennan Dooley of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Brunswick Shoreline Protection group last Wednesday that the situation “does not look very good,” with the throat of the inlet badly shoaled, according to a survey last week. “It’s a tough situation as you all know,” he said. “We don’t have a definitive plan yet.” The use of a hopper dredge in 2019 opened the channel and added sand to Oak Island’s west beach. Hopper dredges have claws that reach downward to scoop the sand. They cannot operate in extremely shallow waters, even if a dredge is available. The Corps relies on the Merritt, a sidecast dredge that works more like a lawn mower, pulling sand through a pipe and blasting the sand/water mix to the side. This clears the channel but does not move sediments out of the dynamic inlet system that can quickly shoal. Faircloth said his fear was that if shoaling continued unabated, the Corps may not be able to employ the sidecast dredge Merritt to clear even a marginal channel. Commercial anglers, crabbers, shrimp boats, charter fishermen and recreational boaters all depend on the Lockwood Folly inlet for ready access to the ocean and Long Bay. Dooley said it would be at least 30 days before he expected the Merritt to be here. Members of the group, an intergovernmental ad hoc committee, asked the Corps for an estimate on the costs for annual dredging, which can happen once or twice a year, depending on conditions, budgets and the availability of dredges. Dooley said it would be 2022 before any hopper dredge would be available for Lockwood Folly, which spans the gap between Holden Beach and Oak Island. Dooley said the next available sand from Lockwood Folly, including an inlet widening project, would go to Holden Beach. Masons Creek, Brown Inlet and Snows Cut will also see dredging. The state’s Shallow Draft Inlet Fund picks up most of the costs. Brunswick County will pay half of the “local share.” Oak Island and Holden Beach will split the remaining 25-percent each of the local match, according to Meagan Kaescak, county spokeswoman. Holden Beach has committed $383,000; Brunswick County will contribute $200,000 and Oak Island’s share is $100,000. If the three local government units agree to their draft budgets, “the county will take the lead … in the funding process,” Kaescak stated.
Read more » click here


Lockwood Folly Inlet reaches danger point
Brunswick County, Oak Island and Holden Beach have made significant financial commitments in their draft 2022 budgets for maintenance dredging of the badly shoaled Lockwood Folly Inlet. The hope is that other regulatory agencies will solve the immediate issue and regularly schedule the work to avoid potentially hazardous situations like the one on the water today. “We’re in an emergency” said Cane Faircloth, president of the Lockwood Folly Association. Faircloth, a charter captain, said he could not safely transit the inlet in his boat that draws three feet of water. Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard issued an “urgent bulletin” to mariners, warning the inlet was as shallow as two feet at mean low tide. The Coast Guard also removed remaining navigational buoys, stating that they no longer offered realistic assistance to boaters. Brennan Dooley of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Brunswick Shoreline Protection group last Wednesday that the situation “does not look very good,” with the throat of the inlet badly shoaled, according to a survey last week. “It’s a tough situation as you all know,” he said. “We don’t have a definitive plan yet.” The use of a hopper dredge in 2019 opened the channel and added sand to Oak Island’s west beach. Hopper dredges have claws that reach downward to scoop the sand. They cannot operate in extremely shallow waters, even if a dredge is available. The Corps relies on the Merritt, a sidecast dredge that works more like a lawn mower, pulling sand through a pipe and blasting the sand/water mix to the side. This clears the channel but does not move sediments out of the dynamic inlet system that can quickly shoal. Faircloth said his fear was that if shoaling continued unabated, the Corps may not be able to employ the sidecast dredge Merritt to clear even a marginal channel. Commercial anglers, crabbers, shrimp boats, charter fishermen and recreational boaters all depend on the Lockwood Folly inlet for ready access to the ocean and Long Bay. Dooley said it would be at least 30 days before he expected the Merritt to be here. Members of the group, an intergovernmental ad hoc committee, asked the Corps for an estimate on the costs for annual dredging, which can happen once or twice a year, depending on conditions, budgets and the availability of dredges. Dooley said it would be 2022 before any hopper dredge would be available for Lockwood Folly, which spans the gap between Holden Beach and Oak Island. Dooley said the next available sand from Lockwood Folly, including an inlet widening project, would go to Holden Beach. Masons Creek, Brown Inlet and Snows Cut will also see dredging. The state’s Shallow Draft Inlet Fund picks up most of the costs. Brunswick County will pay half of the “local share.” Oak Island and Holden Beach will split the remaining 25-percent each of the local match, according to Meagan Kaescak, county spokeswoman. Holden Beach has committed $383,000; Brunswick County will contribute $200,000 and Oak Island’s share is $100,000. If the three local government units agree to their draft budgets, “the county will take the lead … in the funding process,” Kaescak stated.
Read more » click here

‘People are going to die’: Lockwood Folly Inlet dangerously shallow
As summer approaches, the Lockwood Folly Inlet is reaching the danger zone with alarmingly shallow waters. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ latest survey of the inlet reveals the inlet is severely shoaled, meaning it’s very shallow. According to a bulletin from the Coast Guard, the waters are less than two feet deep at low tide. Lockwood Inlet Association President Captain Cane Faircloth says the inlet is in peril and if something is not done soon visitors who use the inlet may be in danger as well. “People are going to be in the inlet in rougher conditions in their boats who are not from the area, not familiar with this area, and they’re going to get in trouble,” Faircloth said. “Boats are going to capsize, and people are going to die.” The captain draws an analogy to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to explain the inlet’s condition. “You can imagine if you tried to go across the bridge and there was half a lane and some cars were just falling off into the water,” Faircloth said. “That’s where we’re at with this infrastructure right now.” It’s not just an environmental concern, but public safety and economic one. Faircloth says not only are boaters at risk of grounding, but people getting caught in rip currents at Oak Island and Holden Beach who depend on water rescue teams who use the inlet and not lifeguards to keep swimmers safe, fishermen, and more all depend on the inlet. “In Tubbs Inlet, the oysters and the clams are starting to die because the inlet does not flow well. It’s really clogged up and lost probably forever,” Faircloth said. “We do not want to see Lockwood go the same route. If we let that inlet close up, the Lockwood Folly River is not going to flow correctly, and all the oysters, clams, and fish are going to start dying.” So what is the solution? Faircloth says the inlet needs another dredging project immediately. Ideally with a hopper dredge vessel. The last time a hopper was used, Faircloth says the channel lasted a year. Although, the only hopper available has prior commitments right now. The Corps of Engineers is working to complete a new survey of the inlet before beginning a new dredge project using the Merritt, a side caster dredge vessel. “It does an okay job, but ideally the hopper dredge is the one that can go in there really remove the sand and create a good long-lasting channel,” Faircloth said. The USACE survey could be completed as early as Thursday. If USACE does not need additional funds from Brunswick County to begin a new project, a spokesman says they will be able to start very soon. If they do need more funding, it could be weeks before they are able to start. Meagan Kascsak, a spokeswoman for Brunswick County, shared the following statement concerning funding for the project. “Brunswick County’s recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2022 contains another appropriation to the Shoreline Reserve of $200,000, which is the same amount the County appropriated to the reserve the past few years. The reserve has a positive balance at this time and will have enough funds available to support the County’s portion (50% of local match) of an annual project with USACE for the Lockwood Folly Inlet Navigation Channel. It is our understanding that the Towns of Oak Island and Holden Beach also plan to recommend their respective portions (25% each of local match) of such a project for FY22. If all three budget plans are approved as recommended, the County will take the lead with USACE and the NCDEQ Division of Water Resources in the funding process.”
Read more » click here

Follow up: Lockwood Folly Inlet still dangerously shallow
Lockwood Folly Inlet is reaching the danger zone with alarmingly shallow waters. The depth is still decreasing, and the danger is increasing. According to Oak Island Water Rescue a boat capsized in the inlet last weekend. No injuries were reported. Oak Island Water Rescue is advising boaters against using the inlet; especially during low tide. Some areas of the inlet are only two feet deep.

It’s gut wrenching,’
Lockwood Folly Inlet reaches critical level as dredging project sees delays
Lockwood Folly Inlet has a history of filling up with sand and creating a dangerous situation for people on the water, but leaders say they’ve never seen it this bad before. The inlet between Oak Island and Holden Beach has already seen one boat flip this week. While no one was hurt in the crash, Captain Cane Faircloth, the president of the Lockwood Inlet Association, says it’s only a matter of time before it happens again. “It’s gut wrenching to watch people come in and out of it, especially when there’s a swell to watch boats get hung up, you’re just waiting for that moment for the next one to capsize,” said Faircloth. The $600,000 project is already paid for by the Shallow Draft Inlet Fund, the town of Holden Beach, the town of Oak Island, and Brunswick County. The issue is the US Army Corps of Engineers says it’s going to be July before they can get a dredge out there. During the pandemic, dredging ceased, and crews haven’t been able to keep up with the workload since then, explained Faircloth. ”We were hoping there would be a cycle in March, and from March, it got pushed to April. And from April, got pushed to May. In May, we were told in 30 days the dredge should be here,” explained Faircloth. “We’re failing as a state to protect the tourism and the tourists that come to the beach and protecting their lives by giving water rescue a chance to save them.” The inlet is just 1-2 feet deep at low tide, a level so dangerous the Coast Guard removed its navigation buoys and deemed the inlet unsafe. Oak Island Water Rescue Chief Tony Young says they know people are still using the inlet and he’s concerned about safely accessing the area to save someone in trouble. “We would hate to have someone be hurt and waiting for us to get to them and we can’t get there because there’s no safe way for us to approach them,” said Tony Young. “Somebody goes through there at a high speed, and there’s only a foot and a half of water and the motor hits the bottom, that stops the boat. It can go aground or strand them on the sandbar and turn sideways into the waves, and then they roll over — and now there’s a potential for people under a boat or separate from the boat in the breakers. There’s all kinds of bad things that happen in that situation — none of it’s good for the boaters or for the rescuers.” It’s an area that’s historically troublesome, but experts say they’ve never seen it this bad, and they’re pleading with leaders to keep Lockwood Folly Inlet at the top of the priority list to avoid a tragedy. Faircloth is asking people to write to congressional leaders to bring more attention to the issue. ”We’re at the point that we’re going to start losing lives. Is it gonna take a family of six dying out there this weekend to maybe get them to pay attention? Let’s save a life, let’s do what’s right,” added Faircloth. Both organizations and the Coast Guard are warning people to avoid the inlet until the work is complete.
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.
/////
Dinner Club outings have been on hold since March 2020

Dining Guide – Guests

Dining Guide – Local

Restaurant Reviews – North

Restaurant Reviews – South


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


Rx Restaurant & Bar has a new open-air, all season dining room
“We have a brand new, open-air, all season dining room, which features radiant floor heating for cold nights and a pleasant cross breeze, ceiling fans, and oscillating fans for warmer nights. The space is lined with louvered hurricane shutters and features an art installation from local wire sculptor Michael Van Hout.”
Read more » click here

/////
Name:              Rx Restaurant and Bar
Cuisine:           Southern Comfort
Location:        421 Castle Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:          910.399.3080 / https://www.rxwilmington.com

Food:                Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:           Efficient / Proficient / Professional   / Expert
Ambience:      Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:                 Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:            Three Stars
Rx is located in downtown Wilmington on the corner of Fifth and Castle; in a residential neighborhood, away from any other downtown eatery. The name Rx pays homage to the building’s heritage, occupying the old Hall’s Drug Store. Rx offers an upscale version of Southern comfort food alongside traditional American favorites in a comfortable relaxed environment. The locally sourced menu is ingredient driven and changes daily in order to bring in the freshest ingredients that they can. I now know what all the hype is about. They could easily become one of my favorite restaurants. I’d put it on your short-list of must try Wilmington restaurants. 


OpenTable
, a provider of online restaurant reservations, recently released its list of the 50 Best Southern Cuisine Restaurants in America for 2018 and RX Restaurant and Bar is on it.


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

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V.E. Schwab
The novel centers on the bargain a desperate Addie LaRue makes to avoid an arranged marriage. She makes a deal with Luc, the god of darkness, who grants Addie immortality and liberty in exchange for her soul. Addie soon learns the consequences of dealing with darkness. The story takes place in multiple timelines as it follows the life of Addie from the French country side in the early 1700s to New York City in 2014. As Addie moves through history the story traces her long life, learning the rules of her curse and the whims of her captor.


  • .That’s it for this newsletter

    See you next month


    Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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

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

    https://lousviews.com/



05 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 05/07/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 21-06, Assessment Resolution to Improve the Existing Soil Roadway of Seagull Drive

Formal step, action required to move forward with the paving of Seagull Drive

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

2. Budget Workshop

Budget Timeline
May                            Budget Message
June                            Public Hearing
June                            Regular BOC’s Meeting Adopt Budget
June                            Budget adopted no later than July 1st 

Local governments must balance their budget. Ensuring that government commitments are in line with available resources is an essential element of good governance.


BOC’s Special Meeting 05/20/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here

1. Presentation & Possible Action on Paid Parking – Mayor Pro Tem Brown and Commissioner Murdock

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

Previously reported – April 2021
Agenda Packet –
Parking Committee Meeting 03/05/21
PAID PARKING SOLUTIONS PRESENTATIONS
The committee listened to a presentation from Jim Varner and Emily Irons of Otto Connect. Mr. Varner answered questions from the committee. Mr. Varner said he could prepare estimates/pricing model for the committee. Inspections Director Evans said there are 219 -226 permanent spaces. Some of those are in the DOT ROW and not on Town property. Commissioner Murdock wants to know what number of spaces makes it viable to utilize paid parking. Mr. Varner talked about required parking for receiving federal funds for beach nourishment.

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

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

Premium Parking Presentation
For more information » click here

Otto Connect Presentation
For more information » click here

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

No decision was made – No action taken

Update –
The Board recognizes that there is a need for additional parking. But they do not want to burden our property owners with the cost of providing parking. Paid parking can provide a significant revenue stream and could recoup a lot of the expenses we currently incur. They acknowledged it does makes sense to pursue paid parking. A series of things need to be accomplished making it unlikely that they can get it done for this summer. They authorized the Town Manager to put out a Request for Proposal for paid parking. Currently there are restrictions on how you can spend funds if they are not off-street parking spots. Therefore they also authorized David to explore requesting special legislation in order to allow us to use street parking spots funds for other purposes then current legislation permits.


BOC’s Special Meeting 05/21/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here

1. Budget Workshop

Major takeaways –
Plan to address standing water issues on OBW before DOT bike lane project starts

Police Chief can either upgrade communications network or integrate car and body camera equipment

Bike lanes included in Capital Improvement Plan as well as in the budget

The Town Manager’s proposed budget is due by June 1st
Commissioners must adopt budget no later than July 1st for the next fiscal year
Adopting the annual budget is a primary responsibility of the Board.


BOC’s Public Hearing / Regular Meeting 05/18/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


BOC’s Public Hearing

PUBLIC HEARING: Draft System Development Fees Report

Draft SDF Report

Raftelis representative that prepared the analysis briefly explained why they did it the way they did it.  She pointed out that this was the maximum amount allowed, the Board determines what fees  they choose to adopt. The System Development Fee is a onetime fee for new customers only and is calculated based on the number of bedrooms.

Public Comments –
Elaine Jordan, general counsel for The Coastal Companies, questioned the methodology that they used


BOC’s Regular Meeting 


1. Public Comments on Agenda/General Items

They received just two (2) comments which are posted online at the Town’s website
For more information » click here


2. Discussion and Possible Action on the Draft System Development Fees Report (Cannot Adopt until 24 hours after Public Hearing) – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –

Draft SDF Report

Draft System Development Fees Report Public Hearing
The required public hearing for the Draft System Development Fees Report is scheduled for the start of the May Regular Meeting.

Due to the requirements that we are currently following for public hearings, the Board needs to wait 24 hours from the date/time of the public hearing prior to adopting the report. Once the 24 hours expires, the Board can consider adopting the proposed report.

The report does not determine the rates the Town charges for the fees. It establishes the maximum rates the Town is able to charge. After the report is adopted, the Board can decide if they would like to amend the rates currently in place.

If the Board desires to consider adopting the proposed report, staff recommends it be placed on the June agenda.

Commissioner Kwiatkowski submitted the following comparisons:

Below are some single-family dwelling development fees for nearby municipalities
.     • from current fee schedules posted on town websites

Shallotte: ERU defined as 3 BR
Water System: $1,212

Sewer System: $4,550

This is approximately 56% of the maximum allowable ($10,229 combined) based on their 2018 McGill report

Oak Island:
Water System: based on tap size; $592 for ¾”, capacity factor based on maximum flow criteria of the AWWA

Sewer System: $2,642 for first 4 BR, $1,500 for each habitable room after

Ocean Isle: assuming ERU of 3 BR
Water System: 4.42 GPD, equivalent to $1,769 assuming demand of 400GPD

Sewer System: 2.03 GPD, equivalent to $732 assuming demand of 360GPD

This is approximately 60% of the maximum allowable ($4,165 combined; $2,948 W, $1,217 S) based on their 2018 McGill report

Previously reported – February 2021
Draft System Development Fees Report
Calculation of Water and Sewer System Development Fees for FY2022
Agenda Packet –
The System Development Report herein has been developed by Raftelis in accordance with Board direction to develop an update prior to the expiration of its five-year shelf life. Representatives from Raftelis will provide an introductory review of the report for the Board in addition to outlining the statutory process for consideration and adoption.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Previously reported – April 2021
Agenda Packet –
Draft System Development Fees Report Public Hearing
The draft System Development Fees Report has been published for comments for a period of 45 days as required by law. Input was solicited via the Town’s Electronic Newsletter on February 23rd and March 23rd. Prior to considering the adoption the report, the Board must hold a public hearing.

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Development Fees

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

Update –
David said there are three issues that potentially will impact this issue. The Town staff will need additional time to develop a recommended fee structure. They can approve the report but should not consider an effective date until October. The Board decided to put it on the June meeting agenda at which time they will consider approving the report.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


3. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police Patch
Memorial Day is the official kickoff for the 100 fun days of summer
Briefly reviewed applicable seasonal ordinances
Reminded everyone its Hurricane Season – be prepared, have a plan!
G
olf carts is being addressed as a priority in order to keep people safe


Public Safety Announcement
The Police Department would like to remind everyone that it is important to protect your personal property. Remove all items of value from your vehicle when you are not driving it. Always lock your vehicle doors when you are not in it. Leaving items on display, whether on the dashboard or sitting on a passenger seat, is an invitation to opportunist individuals. Make sure to follow these important tips!


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


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


Pets on the beach strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20
Pets must be on a leash at all times on the island.
From May 20th through September 10th
It is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand
. * During the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm


Unattended Gear
Ordinance §94.06 was passed on September 14, 2010. All unattended beach equipment must be removed from the beach by its owner or permitted user daily. All unattended personal equipment remaining on the beach between the hours of 6PM and 7AM will be classified as abandoned property and will be disposed of by the Town.


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


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


4. Discussion and Possible Selection of Members for the Parking Committee –Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
The Board agreed to add two volunteers to the Parking Committee at the April Meeting. The following people are interested in serving on the committee.

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.

There were fifteen (15) applicants to fill the two (2) additional members added to the parking committee last meeting. Three people wound up with the same number of votes. The Board decided to add three (3) positions to the committee. The Board voted by ballot and selected Page Dyer, Rick Paarfus, and Dina Hamad-Smitherman to join the parking committee.

Pleasantly surprised that fifteen (15) people volunteered to be on this committee


5. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-10, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances to Comply with Requirements of Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes – Inspections Director Evans
  a.
Scheduling of a Date to Hold a Public Hearing

Agenda Packet –
Ordinance 21-10

The new Chapter 160D of the NC General Statutes consolidates current city- and county-enabling statutes for development regulations (now in Chapters 153A and 160A) into a single, unified chapter . Chapter 160D places these statutes into a more logical, coherent organization. While the new law does not make major policy changes or shifts in the scope of authority granted to local governments, it does provide many clarifying amendments and consensus reforms that will need to be incorporated into local development regulations.

Chapter 160D is effective now, but local governments have until July 1, 2021 for the development, consideration, and adoption of necessary amendments to conform local ordinances to this new law. All city and county zoning, subdivision, and other development regulations, including unified-development ordinances, will need to be updated by that date to conform to the new law. Cities and counties that have zoning ordinances must have an up-to-date comprehensive plan or land use plan by July 1, 2022.

Town of Holden Beach Planning & Zoning Board
Statement of Consistency and Zoning Recommendation

 The Town of Holden Beach Planning & Zoning Board has reviewed and hereby recommends approval of amendments to Chapter 157 of the Zoning Ordinance as required by NC General Statutes Chapter 160D, S.L. 2019-111 and as amended by S.L. 2020-25.

After review, the Planning and Zoning Board has found that the recommended amendment is consistent with the adopted CAMA Land Use Plan and is considered reasonable and in the public interest for the following reasons.

    • The amendment is Chapter 160D is effective now, but local governments have until July 1, 2021, for the development, consideration , and adoption of necessary amendments to conform local ordinances to the new law.
    • Chapter 5: Land Use and Growth and Chapter 6: Tools for Development of the adopted Plan  references the Town of Holden Beach Zoning Code and Subdivision Regulations which are further clarified in Chapter   160D.
    • It will promote public health, safety, and general welfare within our community by clarifying conflicts of interest for staff, the governing board, and the appointed

Upon approval by the Board of Commissioners the Comprehensive Plan will be deemed amended and shall not require any additional request or application  for amendment.

The statement and motion were adopted by a 5-0 vote this 27th day of April 2021.

Vicki Myers – Chair

Update –
Timbo explained that the  legislation makes development regulation more uniform across the state. Staff has made the necessary changes to comply. It was already submitted and approved by both our town attorney and the Planning & Zoning Board. A Public Hearing needs to be scheduled before ordinance can be adopted. They scheduled the Public Hearing prior to the next Regular Meeting.


6. Discussion and Possible Selection of Engineering Firm for Engineering Design and Construction Management Services of the Vacuum Sewer System Station #2 Upgrade – Public Works Director Clemmons

Agenda Packet –
The Town solicited Statements of Qualifications for the planning, design, permitting, bidding, and construction services related to the improvements to Lift Station 2.

Statements of Qualifications  were due on May 7th. We received  one from Green Engineering  (Attachment I ). According to Article 3D, Section l43-64.31 of the  North Carolina General Statutes, firms should be selected based on being qualified to provide services on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualification  for the type of professional  services needed.

Green Engineering is the engineering firm the Town used for the two previously completed lift stations. Staff feels they meet the requirements in Article 3D and recommend  the Board approve selecting Green Engineering for engineering services for Lift Station 2. A contract would be negotiated after selection of a firm.

Update –
Chris stated he was satisfied with Green Engineering who completed the last two lift station upgrades and recommended selecting them for this project too. The Board approved selecting Green Engineering.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


7. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-12, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 –2021 (Amendment No. 13) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
Division Coastal Management (DCM) added native beach and large sediment sampling criteria to its beach nourishment rules and regulations. Following the announcement of the change, the Town worked with DCM to apply for grant funding. We received notification of funding in the amount of $6,000 and a fully executed contract from the state. We need to recognize the funds in this budget year as the sampling is now a permit condition in the recently issued CAMA permit for the upcoming project.

Suggested Motion: Approval of Budget Amendment 21-12, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 -2021 (Amendment No. 13).

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


8. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 21-11, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 –2021 (Amendment No. 12, Isaias) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
The attached budget amendment (Attachment I ) in the amount of $3,838,038, recognizes FEMA Cat G (Recreation/Beach) grant funds as related to Isaias. The storm caused a loss of approximately 67,438 cy of sand; 320,000 dune plants and 24,000 feet of sand fence. The funds will be housed in Fund 70, the special project fund for FEMA events.

Suggested Motion: Approval of Budget Amendment 21-11, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 -2021 (Amendment No. 12).

Moved funds of $3,838,038
From Revenue account #70.0323.0000 to Expense account#70.0460.2700

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


9. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution 21-09, Resolution Directing the Application to the Local Government Commission for Approval of a Special Obligation Bond, Requesting Local Government Approval of the Town’s Special Obligation Bond, and Certain Related Matters–Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
The attached resolution (Attachment l ), prepared by our bond attorney firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP, is necessary to direct application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) for approval of a special obligation bond and requesting LGC approval of the town’s special obligation bond and certain related matters. The FEMA reimbursement grant for storm damage repair for four storms: Florence, Michael, Dorian, and Isaias is administered to the town on a reimbursement basis. The town will need to obtain bridge loan financing to construct the project and then make submissions for reimbursement through FEMA. This financing effort necessitates LGC approval.

RESOLUTION  21-09
RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA, DIRECTING THE APPLICATION TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION FOR APPROVAL OF A SPECIAL OBLIGATION BOND, REQUESTING LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE TOWN’S SPECIAL OBLIGATION BOND AND CERTAIN RELATED MATTERS

Suggested Motion: Approval of Resolution #21-09, directing application to the Local Government Commission for approval of a special obligation bond, requesting Local Government Commission approval of a special obligation bond and certain related matters.

Update –
For the four (4) storm events, FEMA does a reimbursement for the storm damage repair project. That means that we will need to obtain a special obligation bond, which is essentially a bridge loan, for the interim. This also requires the Local Government Commission approval. This resolution is just part of the process to do that.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


10. Discussion and Possible Action on Post Disaster FEMA Debris Pickup in Gated Communities –Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
FEMA requires the Applicant to monitor all contracted debris operations to ensure that the quantities and work claimed are accurate and eligible. This includes documenting debris quantities by types, quantities reduced, reduction methods, and pickup and disposal locations. If the Applicant does not monitor contracted debris removal operations, it jeopardizes its PA funding for that work.

The Applicant may use force account resources (including temporary hires), contractors, or a combination of these for monitoring. It is not necessary, or cost-effective, to have Professional Engineers or other certified professionals perform debris monitoring duties. FEMA considers costs unreasonable when associated with the use of staff that are more highly qualified than necessary for the associated work. If the Applicant uses staff with professional qualifications to conduct debris monitoring, it must document the reason it needed staff with those qualifications .

FEMA provides training to the Applicant’s force account debris monitors (including its temporary hires) upon request.

Eligible activities associated with debris monitoring include, but are not limited to:

    • Field supervisory oversight ;
    • Monitoring contracted debris removal at both the loading and disposal sites
    • Compiling documentation, such as load tickets and monitor reports, to substantiate eligible debris; and
    • Training debris monitors on debris removal operations, monitoring responsibilities and documentation processes, and FEMA debris eligibility

Debris Removal from Private Property
Debris removal from private property (PPDR) is the responsibility of the property owner and is usually ineligible under the PA Program. In limited circumstances, based on the severity of the impact of an incident and whether debris on private property is so widespread that it threatens public health and safety or the economic recovery of the community, FEMA may determine that debris removal from private property is eligible under the PA Program. In such cases, FEMA works with the SLTT governments to designate specific areas where debris removal from private property, including private waterways, is eligible. The debris removal must be in the public interest, not merely benefiting an individual or a limited group of individuals. Figure 11. Debris on Private Property is an example of the level of debris impacts that may warrant FEMA assistance for PPDR.

Approval Process
The Applicant must submit a written request to FEMA identifying the specific properties or areas of properties where private property debris removal activities will occur. Once FEMA receives the request, it engages with the Recipient and Applicant to review the request and conduct site inspections. With exception of debris removal from commercial property, the Applicant does not need to wait for FEMA approval to start work. However, for the Applicant to receive PA funding, FEMA must determine that the PPDR work at each property is eligible.

FEMA only approves PA funding for PPDR if the Applicant demonstrates all of the following with sufficient  documentation:

    • Legal Authority and Indemnification
    • Public Interest

FEMA evaluates the submission to determine if it concurs that PPDR is in the public interest and provides a written response specifying any properties or area of properties for which it approves funding for debris removal.

Removal from Private Roads
Private roads are those that are not owned or operated by or otherwise the legal responsibility of a Federal or SLTT entity (including orphan roads, roads in gated communities, homeowners’ association roads, etc.). If the public has unrestricted access (no locks, gates, or guards) and frequently uses the private road, then removal and disposal of the debris, including debris placed at the curbside by residents, is in the public interest and the Applicant is not required to submit documentation demonstrating the debris removal is in the public interest. This does not include debris on private driveways or parking lots. It also does not include removal and disposal activities from private roads in areas with restricted access (roads behind locks, gates, or guards) or private roads that are unrestricted but rarely used by the public. The Applicant must provide further documentation to establish that removal is in the public interest in these areas and, though not required, Applicants should consider obtaining approval from FEMA prior to starting removal and disposal. Debris clearance (push or cut and toss) for emergency access may be eligible as Category B work if it meets the criteria in Chapter 7:11.J.Emergency Access.

 Removal from Private Residential Property
Debris removal from residential property is usually not in the public interest because the debris does not typically present an immediate health and safety threat to the general public. If the incident generates debris quantities and/or types of debris on residential property that is so widespread or of such magnitude that it creates an immediate threat to public health and safety, debris removal may be in the public interest. To determine if removal of debris from private residential property is in the public interest, FEMA evaluates the public health determination (see Chapter 7:1.E.l(b). Public  Interest, and will  consider:

    • Whether the debris is located in open areas accessible to the public (e.g., in a yard with no fence barrier next to a public sidewalk), located in maintained areas, or creating a health and safety hazard (such as a rodent infestation);
    • Volume of debris;
    • Height of debris;
    • Number of houses and blocks with large volumes of debris; and
    • Amount of the public population affected.

Given these additional considerations, Applicants should consider obtaining approval from FEMA prior to starting work.

Removal from Commercial Property (Requires FEMA’s Pre-approval)
Removal of debris from commercial properties, such as industrial parks, golf courses, cemeteries, apartments, condominiums, and trailer parks is generally ineligible because commercial enterprises are expected to retain insurance that covers debris removal. In very limited, extraordinary circumstances, FEMA may provide an exception . In such cases, the Applicant must meet the requirements of Chapter 7:1.E.l . Approval Process and FEMA must approve the work prior to the Applicant removing the debris.

Duplication of Benefits
The Applicant needs to work with private property owners to pursue and recover insurance proceeds and credit FEMA the Federal share of any insurance proceeds received. In some circumstances, FEMA may provide IA assistance to individuals for debris removal; consequently, FEMA PA staff coordinate closely with IA staff to ensure FEMA does not fund the same work under both programs.

Update –
Last year they had discussions about picking up debris on the west end gated community which did not qualify for FEMA reimbursement. Pat is just exploring if it is possible to get reimbursement from FEMA for our gated communities. FEMA does not normally reimburse municipalities for debris pickups made in gated communities. Apparently the first step is to get a written agreement from the gated communities giving the Town permission to provide this service. In order to apply for reimbursement, legal contracts are needed. Documentation would be ready in case we have to; it does not necessarily mean that the Town will provide this service. The motion is to get the contracts completed prior to the next storm event. They authorized the Town Manager to explore getting a legal contract in place.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


11. Discussion and Possible Action on What Comprises a Citizen Complaint Based on Holden Beach Code of Ordinances Chapters 50 (Solid Waste), 72 (Parking Regulations), 92 (Nuisances), 94 (Beach Regulations) and Sections 95.05 (Street Rights-of-Way), 157.081 (Visibility at Intersections) and 130.30 –130.31 (Littering Provisions)

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Update –
Pat asked that they clarify protocols for a citizen complaint on the above listed ordinances. She wants the public to understand what they need to do and when they can expect a response. The Town Manager said that complaints are handled at the discretion of the department heads. The instruction given to the community is to send all complaints to the Town Clerk Heather Finell at heather@hbtownhall.com; she acts as the clearing house for all of these. They did say that they are servicing the community without the need to fill out the complaint form. All complaints are investigated, and proper action taken after the investigation. Just to be clear, investigating the complaint doesn’t necessarily mean that there may be some sort of enforcement. It is not always necessary to fill out the complaint form, but on occasions they request a written report. The Complaint Form is available online to use.

Asked but not answered was when can a person filing a complaint can expect a response. I believe what she was asking for is to establish protocols, that is the complaint is acknowledged as being received with follow-up that has an explanation of action taken that is sent in a timely manner.


12. Discussion and Possible Scheduling of a Date to Hold a Public Hearing on the Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2021–2022 – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
The Board is required to hold a public hearing prior to adopting the budget. Staff recommends the Board schedule the public hearing to be held on June 4th at 5:00 p.m.

Acknowledged staff recommendation and scheduled a Public Hearing

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


13. Town Manager’s Report

Making application for special obligation bond financing for approval by the Local Government Commission

CAMA permit is in hand
Solicitation for dredgers is on the street
Time table for construction project date is possibly either this winter or next winter
Now have an increased turbidity monitoring requirement

Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by large numbers of individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in air. The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality.


In Case You Missed It –

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

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

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

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


Waste Industries Service
Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule starting May 29th  twice a week
Recyclingstarting May 25th weekly pick-up

Port-a- Johns
The Town budgeted money from the BPART account to cover the costs of seasonal (100 days of summer) public restroom facilities and services. We will have four handicap accessible units strategically placed at three locations on the island.

They are located as follows:

        1. Two are at the far east end
        2. One is at sewer lift station by Greensboro
        3. One is at sewer lift station just before the 800 block

14. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(5),To Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price and Terms of a Contract Concerning the Acquisition of Real Property – Mayor Pro Tem Brown & Commissioner Kwiatkowski and North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(3), To Consult with the Attorney (Attorney Madon)

No decision was made – No action taken


Loose Ends (3)

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

General Comments –

Following new CDC guidance on face coverings, Governor Cooper has lifted gathering limits and social distancing requirements. Based on his guidance, seating at the May Board of Commissioners’ meeting will no longer be limited.

Brunswick town responds to backlash over live stream issues
After a year of complaints about a lack of transparency, Holden Beach officials have reopened their meetings to the public this month and are hoping it will make past criticism of their live streams water under the bridge. Since the start of the pandemic, the town of Holden Beach has responded to in-person meeting restrictions by live streaming their Board of Commissioners meeting on Facebook and later posting the audio to YouTube. But during virtually every one of those meetings, resident comments pop up throughout the stream complaining of inadequate audio that leaves them unable to follow the meeting. Residents were also frustrated that the video stream does not show the commissioners, or any presentations given at the meeting, instead focusing the camera at the town’s official seal. “We were thinking they were eventually going to get the hang of it and get better,” said Tom Myers, president of the Holden Beach Property Owners Association. “Everybody else kind of worked out the kinks and got really, really good at virtual meetings but here it never really changed.” Myers said over the past year he’s received too many complaints to count, leading him to send a letter to the board in October calling on them to consistently use microphones, position the camera toward the commissioners, have speakers say their name before commenting, and to take roll call votes, among other suggestions. In the letter, the association also offered to purchase a tripod or camera for the town to use to ensure all speakers and presentations could be seen by the public. After resending the request to the town in February, the letter was read into the record, but the board did not comment on it. Other than that, Myers said, he’s received no response or acknowledgement from town officials. Commissioner Brian Murdock acknowledged the town has received numerous complaints about their meeting but said they we’re not in a position financially to make the necessary changes. “Sure everybody’s written and complaining that they can’t hear, but that’s not really in our wheelhouse,” Murdock said. “We’re not in charge of any of that, that’s handled by staff. I just show up for the meeting and do what I can.” According to Town Manager David Hewitt, the town does not have the personnel or IT capabilities to make use of the camera or tripod, even if the donation allowed them to upgrade from an iPhone to a camera. “We’re not set up for and don’t have the manpower to really do live stream stuff,” Hewitt said. “We were just trying to get by and accommodate as best we could with the circumstances presented by COVID, and it worked to varying degrees for people.” But even after using noise cancelling headphones and following up with staff on unclear items, Myers said it hasn’t been working for association members. He said people fed up with being unable to follow the meetings have tuned out, pointing to a recent meeting in which parking recommendations were to be discussed as an example. After the association emailed members about the upcoming item, the board received more than 200 emails from a town of just over 500 residents. “That to me was a big wake up call,” Myers said. “It’s like, wow, everybody’s really concerned about this and they had no clue this was going down because they couldn’t follow the meetings and the discussions.” However, other residents like Ralph Gallo, who previously left critical posts under the live stream, now say they are ready to move forward. “They are back to letting the public attend the meetings. Tonight was the first night back. So what’s past is now a mute subject,” Gallo said in a Facebook message. According to Hewitt, as of now the town plans to discontinue their live streams and remain fully in-person. What effect the change has on public participation remains to be seen. “I think the proof is in the pudding: Now that the doors are opened back up how many people are going to come to the meeting anyway?” he said. “Last night there were 5 or 6 people there, what does that tell you?”
Read more » click here


.
BOC’s Meeting

The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, June 15th
.


Hurricane #1 - CR

 

Hurricane Season
For more information » click here

Be prepared – have a plan!

.a


Hurricane Season * Lou’s Views (lousviews.com)

Get Ready: It’s Hurricane Preparedness Week
Gov. Roy Cooper has joined the national effort to make people more aware of the dangers of hurricanes by declaring this week Hurricane Preparedness Week. Hurricane Preparedness Week, which began Sunday and ends Saturday, is to remind residents to prepare for severe tropical weather common in North Carolina during hurricane season, which is June 1 through Nov. 30. “All North Carolinians should take this time to prepare for the possible impacts of a hurricane or other severe weather by updating their family emergency plans and supply kits,” Cooper said. “Having a plan and supplies will help you to survive through a hurricane and to recover faster should one adversely affect your home.” The state is currently recovering from the devastating effects of multiple storms including Hurricane Isaias and the remnants of Hurricane Eta in 2020, Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Hurricane Florence as well as Tropical Storms Michael and Alberto in 2018, and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. “There are things everyone can do to prepare for severe weather long before it hits, such as having flood insurance and knowing if you live in a coastal evacuation zone,” said Mike Sprayberry, executive director of the state Emergency Management and the Office of Recovery and Resiliency. The 20 North Carolina coastal counties have established predetermined evacuation zones, based on the threats of storm surge and river flooding. Residents can find out if they live in one of these zones by visiting KnowYourZone.nc.gov. Residents should learn their zone and watch or listen for it if evacuations are ordered before or after a storm. “I also encourage everyone to lookout for one another, especially for those who may be more vulnerable such as the elderly,” said Sprayberry. “It is easier get through a disaster by helping your friends and neighbors and working together.”

An emergency plan should include details on a meeting place and family phone numbers. Officials recommend writing down the emergency plan and gathering important documents, such as copy of driver’s license, insurance policies, medical records, and prescriptions, and make sure they’re quickly accessible in case of emergency.

Officials also encourage residents to review and update homeowners or renters’ insurance policies to ensure they are current and include adequate coverage for your current situation. Assemble an emergency supplies kit that includes enough nonperishable food and water to last each family member three to seven days. Other essential items include the following:

    • First-aid kit
    • Weather radio and batteries
    • Prescription medicines
    • Sleeping bag or blankets
    • Changes of clothes
    • Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and deodorant
    • Cash
    • Pet supplies including food, water, bedding, leashes, muzzle, and vaccination records
    • Face masks and hand-sanitizer

Residents should pay attention to weather and evacuation information on local media stations and have a battery-powered radio in case there is a power outage. If asked to evacuate, residents should follow evacuation instructions. To help mitigate damage from severe weather, residents can trim trees, cover windows and secure loose outdoor items before severe weather strikes. More information on hurricanes and overall emergency preparedness is online at ReadyNC.org. Read the governor’s proclamation.
Read more » click here
  

NOAA predicts 6th consecutive above-average hurricane season
The Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t officially begin for another 12 days, but the early signs are it may end up being yet another very busy one. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued it’s seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecast Thursday afternoon. The forecast calls for 13-20 total named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). All of those categories are above the average of 14 total named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and NOAA is just one of more than a dozen academic institutions, government agencies and private forecasting companies that put out seasonal projections. “Seasonal forecasts from nearly all universities and private agencies are predicting that 2021 will be an above-average season once again,” CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said. Another highly respected forecaster is Colorado State University, which was the first entity to issue a seasonal tropical forecast. Experts there issued their forecast back on April 8 indicating 17 total named storms, eight of which are expected to be hurricanes. “There aren’t any big outliers this year, while the (European model) was pretty low last year,” said Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist at CSU. Klotzbach noted that the strong consensus between seasonal forecast groups is likely due to the shared observation of features that usually trigger a very active season.
Read more » click here
 


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


Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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

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

https://lousviews.com/