Dare County Board of Commissioners (BOC) heard from the public on a
wide range of issues at a well-attended community meeting on Tuesday
casual forum enabled folks to step up to the microphone to bring issues
or questions to the commissioners’ attention, and topics ranged from
beach nourishment in Buxton and along Ocean View Drive in Avon, to a
potential indoor swimming pool for Hatteras Island.
The following topics were discussed by community members and the BOC during the Fessenden Center meeting.
nourishment was one of the big topics of the night, with several people
commenting on the need for nourishment in Avon, possible alternatives
to nourishment, and other related issues. An Avon homeowner and
transportation project manager for more than 30 years urged the BOC to
think about nourishment along Ocean View Drive in Avon as an investment
versus an expense, and asked about initiating a study to see if the
project was viable.
board is all about beach nourishment,” said Commissioner Chairman Bob
Woodard, noting that the county had spent roughly $100 million dollars
in nourishment projects over the past 10 years.
Manager Bobby Outten also noted that Avon nourishment had been
discussed in detail, but that currently, county funds designated for
nourishment were already tied to existing projects.
Avon, that’s about a $20 million dollar project, and knowing that we
don’t have the funds now for the project – and not knowing when the
funds would be available – any study we did would be outdated by the
time we are ready,” he said.
board also said that they were appealing to state legislatures about a
recently formed state Beach Nourishment Fund. As of now, the state fund
has been created, however it has not been determined how it will be
the first time in quite a few years that they’ve even had beach
nourishment in the state budget,” said Commissioner Steve House, “and
we’re fighting hard [for funds] – we do take it to heart.”
members also wondered about the success of the Buxton beach nourishment
project after the series of March storms. Commissioner Danny Couch
reported that the contractor for the project, Coastal Science &
Engineering, was currently at the Buxton site examining the impact of
the wave of bad weather, and that the data on how the beach held up was
Woodard also noted that once a site is an engineered beach, or
replenished with beach nourishment, it was also eligible for FEMA
funds, in case all the sand washed away.
you have an engineered beach, it’s not a guarantee, but we have the
potential to cover that with FEMA [funds], and get a portion of that
money back,” he said.
community members commented on the need for leash laws on Hatteras
Island, noting that most of the towns in Dare County had some sort of
ordinance in place. A number of residents noted that unleashed and
roaming dogs caused damage to pets, kids, and yards, and that there was
currently no recourse.
leash law poses no threat, but a lack of a leash law poses many,” said
a Buxton resident who proposed initiating a fine for free roaming dogs.
“In Fayetteville, you are charged $1,000 for your third offense.”
speaker also cited examples of dogs killing pets, farm animals, and
hanging around the drop off area at the Cape Hatteras Elementary
School. “All of these things have happened, and nothing has been done
Jackson of Dare County Social Services brought up the need for better
transportation for the growing elderly population on Hatteras Island,
noting that residents currently needed to call 48 hours in advance for
trips up the beach, and that transportation to local destinations like
grocery stores and doctors’ offices was lacking.
need to figure out a way to get these folks around locally,” she said.
“We do a good job of taking care of each other here, but we need help.”
Community Swimming Pool
Bills of Frisco commented on the need for a public pool on Hatteras
Island, and outlined the extensive research that a small team of
community members have done on the project. She listed several 4-5 acre
properties that would work well as a site for an indoor pool, and
explained how having a pool would help the elderly in need of low
impact exercise, keep local kids engaged, and could even help build a
school swim team.
specific examples of potential sites, and list of ways that a pool
could benefit the community, were appreciated by the board who said
they would assist with the project.
listening and we’ll do what we can,” said Commissioner Couch. “You’re
on your way – get us some more facts and figures, and we’ll do whatever
BOC was thanked by Cap. Ernie Foster for their work on Hatteras Inlet,
and Commissioner Vice Chairman Wally Overman provided an update on the
ongoing dredging, noting that the dredge arrived today to start work on
the Connecting Channel.
last storm actually helped the Connecting Channel,” he said, “and they
think they can complete the dredging in less time now.”
was also noted by Commissioner Jim Tobin that once the dredge Merritt
was back in service, the dredge Currituck would be out of commission
for a while for maintenance. “When the Merritt comes back, the
Currituck is going out of service,” he said. “Every inlet [in North
Carolina] is struggling over it – it’s not good news, but it’s a fact.”
Peele Kennedy asked the board to continue their fight on behalf of the
commercial fishing industry, noting that it was essential to protect
the cultural and historical heritage of local working watermen.
Commissioner House responded that the board was working with
legislators to get a “state proclamation together saluting local
fishermen, which will help us later on” when it comes to potential
Tobin also noted that vigilance was key with changing restrictions,
stating that “we need to scope this situation on a daily basis.”
Drugs on Hatteras Island
also commented on the drug issue on Hatteras Island, and urged board
members to help stop any “licensed drug dealers” who doled out and sold
Overman noted that the issue of drugs in Dare County was “something we
have been working on for a while,” and confirmed that PORT Health
Services would be coming to set up shop in the Hatteras Medical Center
sometime in the summer. He also noted that the recently passed STOP
act, a new state law aimed at curbing the misuse and abuse of opioids,
would help limit the number of opioids prescribed.
got to be happy with baby steps,” he said, “because there are no giant
steps… Everybody is working as hard as we can to deal with a problem
that we’re behind the eight ball on.”
the end of the meeting, the commissioners thanked the commenters,
noting that it was enlightening and helpful to have the public speak
out on a range of issues.
“Making a community better involves everyone,” said Commissioner House.
“Please [continue to] take part, and be active, and to contact us,” said Commissioner Tobin.
“Creature” Coulter, who had the last public comment of the evening,
echoed this sentiment and advised the community members to continue to
work with the BOC. “I’m here to tell you that if you help these
commissioners, and get involved, you can get things done.”