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June Town Board Meeting
Microbrewery, Budget, and Police Hire
June 8, 2017

O
riental is closer to having its own microbrewery as well as its own police officer. Those were among the items the Oriental Town Board addressed at its June meeting Tuesday night.

Town Manager Diane Miller announced in the session that the Town had offered the open police officer position to Nic Blayney. Blayney has worked in law enforcement for the past six years and is currently serving as a Pamlico County Sheriff’s Deputy – he is the School Resource Officer at Pamlico County High School.

The Town Manager said she is hoping Blayney can be on duty in time for Croakerfest in several weeks. At the moment, he is awaiting paperwork to be approved at the state level. Blayney was raised in Oriental and is the son of Angie Propst.

In time, Oriental could have another police officer. The budget passed on Tuesday night delays the hire of a second officer until December. In the discussion about the budget, it emerged that the Town would have to pay $20,000 more than when the previous officers were employed. This is because the former full-time officer, Dwaine Moore, was retired military and did not require health coverage.

The budget for the fiscal year of July 1st, 2017 – June 30th, 2018, passed 5 – 0, and did not include any new property taxes nor hikes in the water bill and trash pickup.

SUPs For MIcro Brew, Short Term Rental
There were two public hearings for Special Use Permits and the public raised no objections to either.

June Town Meeting
Frank and Lili Bacon after getting the necessary SUP from Town Hall, standing on Church St. across from the future home of their microbrewery. They hope to be open for Croakerfest.

The Commissioners approved the SUP for Frank and Lili Bacon’s microbrewery and taproom at 702 Broad Street, across the street from Town Hall. Before they can open, they have one more big permit to obtain – from the NC Alcohol Beverage Control Commission. They aim to be open for Croakerfest, featuring brews from other NC breweries and hope to be serving their own sometime in August.

This is the Bacon’s second SUP application for the microbrewery and taproom. They had received one in February to locate the brewery near the post office, but changed their minds. The Board, Tuesday night, revoked the SUP for that previous location, 807 Broad St. The revocation was an unusual step; once granted, SUPs usually stay with the location and not the person who applied for it. But because the Bacons never did use the location for the use for which they sought the first SUP, the Board was in a position to revoke it.

The subject of the other SUP Tuesday night was for a short-term rental application at 405 High St – in one of Oriental’s R2-zoned residential neighborhoods. The Board unanimously granted the SUP. A letter written by the applicant, Alecia Johnson, says she only plans to rent it out five times a year.

Whittaker Creek
In other actions, the Board agreed to act as administrator of funds for the Whittaker Creek Dredging Project. This means that the Town will receive the funds, hold the funds, and disburse them. Among other improvements, the dredging project is expected to reduce the number of grounded boats in the now often filled-in channels of Whittaker Creek.

June Town Meeting
The Oriental Town Board on Tuesday night.

On a related note, two Commissioners, Charlie Overcash and David White, spoke about a presentation they had recently seen by resident Jim Blackerby about nearby Whittaker Point, the several acres of low lying land that stands between the Neuse and the creek. They said that Blackerby, a certified geoscientist, and member of the harbor waterfronts advisory committee, illustrated the degree of erosion and damage to the Point by recent hurricanes.

Efforts by current owners, the Whittaker Pointe Marina Owner’s Association, to bolster the land were rejected by regulators. The principles of the Owner’s Association are considering donating the land to the town in an effort to help preserve Whittaker Point and the protection it provides to the channel. The Board first wants to make sure it can get grants to finance such a restoration before proceeding.

Bike Path Update
Town Manager Diane Miller reported that the town had been paid an impromptu visit by Betsy Kane from the North Carolina Department of Transportation regarding the proposed bike path between White Farm Road and the rest of town. She brought her bike and her camera, spoke with several Commissioners about the project, and then rode the length of Hwy 55 to Straight Rd. and on down to Dolphin Point. Miller said that in doing that, Kane was able to experience the road as residents do.

Miller said Kane also gave information about grants and improving future grant applications for building the bike path. She indicated that letters from a previous writing campaign were excellent, but lacked one important detail: safety concerns about riding on the state road. (Another chance to make that case would be in a few months during the next application round.)

Town Hall Offices To Close Hour Earlier
In other comments, Miller has also asked that Town Hall try to enforce “Quiet Hours”, beginning in July. This would allow the staff to close the office one hour earlier, at 4 pm, Monday – Thursday. This would allow them, she said, an uninterrupted stretch of time to work on longer and more detailed projects. The Board agreed to a trial run, beginning July 1st. At that time, Town Hall will be open to the public from Monday to Thursday, 8a – 4p, and Friday from 8a – 3p.

Fulcher’s Point Project
A new plan for Chris Fulcher’s trawler wash-down, sandblasting and painting facility on Oriental’s harbor was made public. The change in that plan moves the outdoor wash-down pad to the Neuse River side of the existing roofless building at the entrance to Oriental’s harbor. When the Board granted Fulcher an SUP last October, the concrete pad was going to be adjacent to the dock for the 300 ton, 45 foot tall TravLift that would haul 100+ foot long trawlers from the harbor.

The changed placement of the pad does not reopen the SUP process, but it is subject to review and is scheduled for discussion at the Planning Board’s next meeting on Wednesday June 21 at 3p (and for discussion at the next Town Board meeting.)

(The project would also still need CAMA appproval regarding, among other things, setbacks from the river.)

Get Juiced
Oriental will soon be home to two new charging stations for electric cars. The exact date of the installation is to be determined. The charging stations will be at Town Hall and the public restrooms near the second Town Dock on the harbor.

The July meeting, originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday, July 4th, has been rescheduled to accommodate the holiday and so the July meeting will take place on June 28th at 7p.

Posted Thursday June 8, 2017 by Allison DeWeese


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