Hyde commissioners approve July 3 fireworks for Ocracoke
By CONNIE LEINBACH
The Ocracoke Observer
With little fanfare, the Hyde County commissioners on Monday night,
Jan. 4, voted unanimously to approve a fireworks display July 3 on
Rich, Hyde County manager, said the Occupancy Tax Board on Dec. 22
approved the $20,000 expenditure for an 18-minute display. Money for
the show will come out of occupancy tax funds. The county will be
the contracting organization and insurance certificate holder.
Rich said the county received 25 letters on the subject, with two of those against it.The
show will be put on by Pyrotecnico of Columbia, S.C., according to a
proposal explained at both the Occupancy Tax Board meeting and the
Ocracoke Civic and Business Association meeting.
The show is planned for July 3 because it's the only date the company,
which also does the Avon fireworks, could do it. It's hoped that
next year, the company can do both shows on July 4.
Sundae Horn, OCBA travel and tourism director, had explained that
Darlene Styron and Teresa O’Neal contacted David Hallac, superintendent
of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Hallac was very interested in
making this happen on Ocracoke, Horn said, and the group decided that
the best location would be at the end of the NPS base parking lot in
the grassy area beside the public boat launch area.
a business owner, it’s fantastic,” said Jason Wells, owner of Jason’s
Restaurant, after the Occupancy Tax Board meeting. “Over the last
several years, business has dropped over July 3 to 5. As a
parent, my son has never seen fireworks. So I’m excited for the kids to
year’s event will be the first time a fireworks show has happened on
the island since an accident July 4, 2009, in which four fireworks
company employees were killed when an explosion occurred while they
were unloading the truck in the early morning.
in recent discussions in the last few years about reviving fireworks
have almost split down the middle with some islanders for bringing them
back and others still wary about the safety as well as the fiscal
responsibility of spending a large sum for something that doesn’t
directly benefit the community.
In other business, the commissioners agreed to further investigate modifying the current Ocracoke noise ordinance.
Will Doerfer, special assistant county manager, submitted a report
about his recent decibel meter readings in the village, the report
findings were not discussed. Doerfer’s report can be viewed here.
ordinance was enacted a few years ago to control the level and duration
of outside music and noise. According to the ordinance, amplified music
can be played only to 70 decibels and only until 10 p.m.
10 p.m. to 7 a.m. the ordinance only says that “noise” must be indoors
and/or contained on one’s property. To read the ordinance, click here then scroll down to page 8.
proposed changes include setting a decibel level maximum after 10 p.m.
of 43, which Doerfer’s research showed is “a quiet office environment.”
the first public comment period, islander Jim Borland, said he reviewed
the proposed ordinance changes and suggested that noise from
“aquaculture” jobs be included in the exceptions. He also
suggested that the commissioners consider different sound levels
in different areas of the island, which is what the town of Oriental
Some of the island’s natural sounds are higher than 43 decibels.
cricket is pretty close to 40,” he said. “Sound carries more around
water than on the mainland. We need to research this more before we
jump into anything.”
Death, who owns the Ocracoke Bar & Grille, asked to be put on the
agenda, and Earl Pugh Jr., board chairman, said he would when the board
votes on the ordinance.
Harrell, who owns Gaffer’s Sports Pub with her husband Red, said
uncertainty about the noise ordinance is holding up her plans to book
“If this 43 decibels happens, I’ll be out of business,” she said.
Commissioner John Fletcher said there’s never going to be agreement on the ordinance, and to set it and be done with it.
Tourists come here to have a good time, he said.
idea of closing the island down at 10 p.m. might go over at Cross Creek
(a nursing home on the mainland), but not with the business people
here,” he said. “If it’s too quiet it will be a death knell to
pussy-footing around, and say what it’s gonna be and let’s act like
grown folk,” he continued. “For summertime, this beach needs to rock.”
for the large mallard duck population on the island, Doerfer said he is
still gathering community support about humanely removing them, which
involves getting permits from several government agencies.
a man (who wasn’t named) on the mainland open to sheltering them, but
when Fletcher asked about who is paying for feeding them, Doerfer
didn’t have an answer but said he still looking into all the costs.
unofficial estimate is that there are about 300 ducks in and around the
heart of the village near Community Square. In addition to their
droppings possibly creating health hazards, some fear that in spring,
when courtship resumes, this number will triple.
commissioners also appointed three islanders to three vacant seats on
the Ocracoke Development Ordinance Board of Adjustment. They are Jake
Johnson, Bill Monticone and Daphne Bennink.
and scroll to the bottom of the page to answer a poll on noise on
Ocracoke. For more news and features about Ocracoke, go to www.ocracokeobserver.com.)