March 14, 2011

Ocracoke News Roundup:  Noise ordinance, fireworks, ABC store


The Hyde County commissioners expect to have a noise ordinance in place before the summer.

Now in its third draft, the ordinance will focus on allowable decibel levels and time frames for outdoor music on Ocracoke and the mainland.

Hyde County manager Mazie Smith and the commissioners are working on how the ordinance will be enforced, which will involve decibel meters and training personnel in their proper use.

Several Ocracoke residents gave their opinions to the commissioners at their Jan. 19 meeting.

The draft is available to view and to make comments at

ABC Finances

Hyde commissioners are still trying to get a handle on the ABC finances to help the two stores in the county stay profitable.

New legislation mandates that ABC stores must be profitable or the state will take them away, noted Commissioner Barry Swindell at the March 7 meeting.

The current group of county commissioners is trying to keep a close eye on operations because the county pays for the buildings that house the stores in Swan Quarter and Ocracoke.

Darlene Styron, county commissioner for Ocracoke, explained that the state mandates the cost of the liquor to the stores and how much the stores can charge over cost.

She has been asking questions about the accounting methods and business practices of the stores since last summer, noting that there are many business practices that can be used to boost efficiency and improve profits.

“Our hands are tied unless you operate your business efficiently,” she said.

A joint meeting of the county commissioners and ABC board is scheduled for March 14 in Swan Quarter.

July 4 Fireworks

Fred Westervelt, who is on the Fourth of July Committee of Ocracoke’s Civic and Business Association, reported that a fireworks display on Ocracoke on July 4 is a tentative “go.”

He said that the North Carolina Ferry Division has agreed to lend Ocracoke a barge from which to launch fireworks out in the Pamlico Sound.

However, several details have to be confirmed in the next few weeks, including funding for the fireworks.

He had noted that an informal e-mail poll he conducted about whether fireworks should be part of the celebration showed a few more people were in favor of fireworks than against it.

He also noted that the committee wants to again have skydivers from the Airborne Infantry as part of the island’s day-long celebration.

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