The Dare County Board of Commissioners (BOC) covered a wide range of Hatteras Island-related issues at their February 22 meeting in Manteo.
Topics which pertained to the island and / or the local community included the following.
Proposed Zoning Amendments for Food Stands
Following a presentation from Planning Director Donna Creef, the Board of Commissioners scheduled a public hearing on Monday, March 19 at 5:30 p.m. to receive input regarding the proposed changes affecting food stands or food trucks in the unincorporated areas of the County.
The proposal includes amending six older zoning districts to add food stands, amending the current food service definitions to be more consistent with State health regulations, and adding a new section of review procedures for food stands and mobile food carts, including several conditions.
Update from the National Park Service, Outer Banks Group
Superintendent Dave Hallac reported that over 3.2 million people visited local Park Service attractions and facilities last year.
Statistics show that there were 65,000 overnight camping stays in the 4 campgrounds and 39,000 off road vehicle permits issued.
Other highlights from the past year included the formation of Shelly Island off Cape Point and a record 94% of Off Road Vehicle routes were open last summer.
Hallac spoke of the strong partnerships that have been formed with local organizations to establish beneficial programs. He announced that the newly-renovated Visitors Center at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills is scheduled to open late summer.
Continued Support for Commercial Fishing Industry
Commissioner Steve House reported that the NC Marine Fisheries Commission voted to redefine qualifications for a commercial fisherman at their meeting last week and the proposal will now move to the state legislature for consideration. Although some of the originally proposed qualifications were changed, House said it would still be detrimental to the commercial fishing industry. The Board supported a resolution opposing any adverse change to the definition of a commercial fisherman. In addition, they adopted a resolution asking the Governor to examine the membership of the Marine Fisheries Commission and make whatever changes may be needed to ensure that the Commission functions as intended.
Hatteras – Ocracoke Passenger Ferry
Jed Dixon, Deputy Director of the NC Ferry System, briefed the Board about the passenger ferry service that will begin operating this summer between Hatteras Village and Ocracoke Island. The passenger service will operate on a reservation basis and is designed to reduce wait times. The new service will supplement the existing car ferry provided by NCDOT. Commissioners also approved a resolution to name the new passenger ferry vessel the “Ocracoke Express.”
Report from the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce
Bob Peele, Chairman and Karen Brown, President and CEO of the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, provided information about the Community Housing Initiative Committee that has recently formed to address the housing crisis. A number of local organizations and concerned citizens are involved including the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, Outer Banks Home Builders Association, Outer Banks Restaurant Association, and County and Town officials. The Committee is working with all stakeholders to find solutions and encourages involvement by anyone with an interest. For more information, contact the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce at 252.441.8144.
Certificate of Appreciation Presented to Gail and Angelo Sonesso of Gentle Expert Memorycare (GEM)
Gail and Angelo Sonnesso of Gentle Expert Memorycare or GEM were recognized for their leadership in providing a vital community service helping families dealing with memory loss. During the presentation, Chairman Woodard stated that Gail and Angelo have been “caring and compassionate angels of mercy that have helped families impacted by dementia and have been a driving force advocating for memory care services, education, and support.”
Next Meeting of the Board of Commissioners
The Board of Commissioners’ next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 5 at 9:00 a.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.