The Dare County Board of Commissioners (BOC) covered a wide range of issues at their February 5 meeting in Manteo.
Topics which pertained to the island and / or the local community included the following.
John Griffin, President of the Chicamacomico Historical Association, provided an overview of the events planned this year to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the rescue of the British oil tanker, the S.S. Mirlo, which took place on August 16, 1918. For information, visit www.chicamacomico.org.
Update from NCDOT
Jerry Jennings from NCDOT provided an update on transportation projects throughout Dare County. He reported that NCDOT anticipates that the new Bonner Bridge will be open to traffic by the end of this year with demolition of the old bridge by late 2019.
The Division Engineer explained that the Pea Island Bridge is now complete except for demobilization and will be named in honor of Captain Richard Etheridge at a dedication ceremony planned for February 20.
Commissioners were also briefed on the structure known as the Rodanthe “jug handle bridge” which is scheduled to be under construction later this year
Included in the report were NCDOT’s efforts to rehabilitate the Alligator River Bridge and the Wright Memorial Bridge along with road projects planned for West Kitty Hawk Road and Colington Road.
Commissioners Adopt Updated Resolution Expressing Continued Opposition to Offshore Drilling and Seismic Testing
The Dare County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution reflecting the Board’s long-standing opposition to offshore drilling and seismic testing off North Carolina’s coast. This is the fifth resolution passed by the Dare County Board of Commissioners since 1998 because of the potential damage that could occur to our environment and tourism economy.
The resolution was presented by Chairman Woodard following a report about his recent meeting in Raleigh with Governor Roy Cooper and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to discuss the risks associated offshore drilling and testing. Woodard reported that Secretary Zinke has agreed to consider a request to extend the public comment period and add additional public hearings in coastal communities, including Dare County.
Governor Cooper has requested an official exemption for North Carolina, similar to the exemption recently granted to Florida based on the importance of tourism to the state’s coastal economy. The North Carolina Governor has encouraged people to call the Interior Department at 202.208.3100 to share their feedback. Public comments may also be submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management through March 9 at http://bit.ly/DrillingComments.
Support for LME/MCO Services in North Carolina
Commissioners adopted a resolution in support of the system that is currently in place to provide services to those with mental health problems, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders. The resolution asks the North Carolina Legislature to continue the Local Management Entities that serve as Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCO’s) rather than considering privatized, for-profit enterprises to serve these vulnerable populations.
Land Use Plan
Planning Director Donna Creef reported that it is time to begin work on updating the County’s Land Use Plan, a policy document that is required by all coastal counties to guide development and ensure compliance with Coastal Area Management Act regulations. Following the presentation, Commissioners instructed staff to begin initial plans for developing a Public Participation Plan and an on-line questionnaire. Creef was designated as the Planner in Charge for the project and the Planning Board as the steering committee.
Commissioners voted to execute a contract with Potter & Company to perform the County’s annual audit for the next four years. Independent Audits are required by NC State Statute to evaluate the performance local government entities and ensure compliance with all Federal and State agency regulations.
Next Meeting of the Board of Commissioners
The Board of Commissioners’ next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 20 at 5:00 p.m. For more information about the Dare County Board of Commissioners, including full agenda packets and the video of entire meetings, visit darenc.com/boc.