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Town Board Meeting December 2017
New Commissioners sworn in, retiring commissioners honored
December 7, 2017

newly elected Board of Commissioners was sworn in. Two outgoing commissioners were honored. Dog park construction makes progress, SUP requests scheduled and suspended, Fulcher’s agent seeks trees for potential parking lot.

Commissioners Venturi and Winfrey step down
town hall signCommissioners Barb Venturi and Sandy Winfrey did not seek reelection for the 2018-2020 term. Mayor Sally Belangia honored them both with plaques commemorating their time on the board.

Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tempore Barb Venturi
Town Hall December 2017Barb Venturi served on Oriental’s Board of Commissioners for 12 years, but not contiguously. At one point, she was undone by a flower pot. During her terms, Venturi served as Mayor Pro Tempore and Board liaison to several other Town Boards including Parks and Recreation, Tourism, Tree Board, Harbor Waterfronts.

She also worked with committees for long-term planning, GMO creation and revision, CAMA land use plans, emergency services work, the Pamlico Chamber of Commerce, and the Pamlico Community College.

Commissioner Sandy Winfrey
Sandy Winfrey served as a Commissioner from 2013 – 2017. He worked with the Parks and Recreation Board and helped design and build the public restrooms at the end of South Avenue.

“I really am honored that I’ve been able to do this. I have learned so much. It’s like coming into adolescence and you think you know everything. And the best thing that happens to you is when you realize you don’t know anything at all. It’s really been an honor and I have enjoyed it.”

Town Manager Diane Miller read a statement from Officer Blayney, who was away on vacation. Officer Blayney’s first action on his first day was to escort Commissioner Winfrey to the Town Board Meeting in handcuffs. Blayney regretted he was unable to escort Winfrey off the property at the end of his term. He decided to honor him another way and unofficially deputize him as the head of the Community Watch Program.

Town Hall December 2017
Commissioner Sandy Winfrey with a parting gift.
“I am honored to present him with his new badge and gun and handcuffs to help him police the streets of Oriental. Mr. Winfrey will now be responsible for enforcing the very town ordinances that he helped put in place.” Winfrey was presented with a shadow box containing a toy gun, handcuffs and keys, and a sheriff’s badge.

Newly Elected Commissioners Sworn In
Mayor Belangia and the remaining Commissioners, Charlie Overcash, David White, and Allen Price, were sworn in by Town Manager Miller for their new term. Newly elected Commissioners Eric Dammeyer and Dianne Simmons were sworn in last, taking their place at opposite ends of the dais.

Town Hall December 2017Town Hall December 2017
Eric Dammeyer is sworn in and Dianne Simmons signs her oath of office.
The Board elected David White as the new Mayor Pro Tempore.

The departure of Commissioners Venturi and Winfrey left several empty positions of liaison to various committees and Boards. Members chose to take up those positions as follows:

Mayor Pro Tempore – Commissioner White
Harbor Waterfronts Advisory Committee – Commissioners White & Simmons
Parks and Rec – Commissioners Overcash & Dammeyer
Planning Board – Commissioners Overcash & White
Tourism Board – Commissioner Simmons
Tree Board – Commissioner Price
Water Advisory Committee – Commissioner Price
Check Signing – Commissioners White, Overcash, & Simmons
Eastern Carolina Council on Government – Commissioner Price
Human Resources – Commissioner White
Monthly Bank Statements – Commissioner Price

Town Hall December 2017
Newly Elected Town Board: Eric Dammeyer, Charlie Overcash, David White, Sally Belangia, Allen Price, Dianne Simmons.
Public Comment Period
Bill Hines said Oriental is a bird sanctuary. He asked for signs at each of town that said as much. Hines also invited the Board to a meeting about offshore seismic blasting Wednesday, December 7th at 6p at Brantley’s.

SUPs: one hearing set, one suspended indefinitely
Sharpe Short-Term Rental SUP
Mr. Daniel Sharpe is seeking a short-term rental for his property at 309 High Street. As this permit will go before the Board at Wednesday’s rescheduled Planning Board meeting, Miller requested the Board set a public hearing for the SUP at the Town Board’s next meeting on January 2nd.

Dutton SUP
Mr. Dutton was seeking an SUP for the house he renovated on Seahorse Landing. He has suspended the SUP indefinitely. Miller said, “Mr. Dutton’s wife came and visited Oriental and he does not believe any longer that they will be renting out their house because his wife wants to stay in their house.”

Town Projects – Updates
Dog Park
Town Manager Miller says the posts for the new dog park are installed. The park is between the fire station and the gravel parking lot on Straight Road.

There will be two areas: one for small dogs and one for big dogs. A larger fence will enclose the two smaller areas. There will be a simple registration process at Town Hall. Registration procedures will be released to the public in January after the park is complete.

Safe Sidewalks
Contracts for repair work have been signed and repair work will begin after January 1st.

Pierce Creek Dredging Project
Lisa Thompson reports the dredging project is complete.

Miller Responds to GMO change on Manufactured Homes
At November’s meeting, Jim Barton had objected to the Town Board’s move to ban manufactured homes other than Class A . In his objections, Barton cited UNC School of Government Professor David Owens as an authority.

Tuesday night, Town Manager Diane Miller told the Board that she attends the School of Government monthly and that Professor Owens is one of her instructors. She approached him on the matter. She related that hey were in agreement as to why to exclude all but the Class A manufactured homes.

She pointed to the flooding that hit the town of Princeville after a hurricane, “That was the little community during Floyd that the most vulnerable population was in the least well-constructed homes in the worst elevation that they could possibly be in. So when the entire community was wiped out, they had no insurance to rebuild. They lived in FEMA trailers forever. And so the Planning Board had this conversation during the GMO [Growth Management Ordinance] revision about why would we allow the most vulnerable population to be in the worst built homes.”

Miller said she and Owens discussed a way to bring the GMO back into compliance without excluding classes of manufactured homes: it can require minimum standards for manufactured homes and strike the language about classes. Miller is submitting those changes to the Planning Board for their meeting, Wednesday the 7th at 3p.

Police Report
The row boat reported stolen at November’s meeting has been recovered. It was found half-sunk on the other side of Smith Creek. There was no sign of the person who took it.

A visitor at the Town Dock had a medical emergency last week, suffering stroke as he crossed Hodges on his way to The Bean. He was given medical attention and taken to the hospital. His boat remained for several days at the Town Dock. Diane Miller said he called Town Hall to let them know he was well and would be returning shortly.

Miller and the Board said the visitor may remain at the Town’s free dock through the Spirit of Christmas while he recuperates.

Officer Blayney, via written statement read by Miller, “wanted to encourage citizens to be extra vigilant as we are in the holiday season. Some of those who are not as upstanding citizens do their Christmas shopping from other people’s homes. So make sure when you leave, you lock your doors and make sure that everything is secure and taken care of.” Miller said, “The things that we all learned living in the big city that we threw away when we got here.”

Manager’s Report
Fulcher Parking Lot
Mr. Dennis Fornes, the agent for Chris Fulcher, has been in touch with the Town about plans for a parking lot. No application has been submitted, however Mr. Fornes is gathering information for what is required and just received the list of preferred trees, shrubbery, and ground covers from Dr. Bob Miller on the Tree Board.

Second Officer for Oriental
The Town is working on securing its second officer for Oriental. June’s Town Board Meeting delayed the hiring of a second officer until December, though they did budget for one.

Miller is waiting until the candidate passes his state exams and makes it through the state paperwork before the Town makes a public announcement.

Town Manager Miller said, “I have every faith and confidence that we will be securing an officer that will complement everything that officer Blayney brings us. They are very different gentlemen. One’s strength is the other’s weakness and the other way around. And I think that will be the best service that we could ask for in Oriental.”

Town Hall Holiday Closing
Town Hall will close Friday, December 22nd at 3:30p. Miller said residents that need help should not wait until the end of the day as there will be limited staff available. Will be closed Monday December 25th and Tuesday, December 26th.

“Late fees, by ordinance, are applied at the close of business the 25th. Obviously, if we are not here, that does not happen. So the close of the next business day will be the 27th.” Late fees will be applied on the close of business Wednesday, 27th. Payments can be left in the drop box if no one is here to take their payment.

The next Town Board Meeting will be held Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018.

Related Information

Posted Thursday December 7, 2017 by Allison DeWeese

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