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Town Board Meeting January 2020
Whittaker Creek updates, Brewery SUP, Mobile Licensing cut
January 10, 2020

useday’s town hall meeting set a public hearing for February, had updates on both Whittaker Creek Projects, and a report of two December incidents from the Oriental police department.

Pilings going in at Whittaker Creek Yacht Harbor
town hall sign Lew Smith was the sole speaker during Public Comments; he lives near Whittaker Creek Yacht Harbor, owned by Knute Bysheim.

The Whittaker Creek Marina is not under sole ownership. The Whittaker Creek Yacht Owners Association owns half the club house (closest to Deaton’s Yacht Service), the pool area, and the docks on the east and west sides. Whittaker Creek Yacht Harbor, owned by Bysheim, includes the original fuel docks, and the other half of the club where the pilings are being placed. The property is subdivided in a way where it is not always clear which entity is which.

Smith said construction began late last week on the Whittaker Creek Yacht Harbor side, with pilings being being placed “to support their travel lift.” Smith called the county inspector asking if there were plans filed for a building permit and was told there were none required.

Town Manager Diane Miller said Bysheim had been granted a special use permit (SUP) as there had been “no evidence supporting not granting it.” Oriental does not conduct building inspections; that is under the purview of the county. Any permits required, she said, came through the town and through CAMA; Bysheim is currently in compliance with both ordinances.

Commissioner Charlie Overcash invited Smith to look at the SUP file and Smith accepted. Smith asked Manager Miller to question the county as to why a building permit for the lift is not required, when one is required for other projects. Miller said she would and added that the town’s permitting process ended at the water.

Whittaker Creek Dredging Update
The clearing of the Sea Harbour Yacht Club spoil site is nearly complete. King Dredging was awarded the contract to clear part of the site of old spoils and prepare it to receive the new spoils from the Whittaker Creek dredge. The town has leased the spoil site from Sea Harbour for this project.

The spoil site must have a permit to receive the dredging spoils. It expired Dec 31, 2019. Manager Millers said a new spoil site permit is in process through CAMA.

Whittaker Point Restoration Update
“Permits have been received and the bid paperwork is prepared,” said Manager Miller. She and the project engineer have discussed “removing the planting portion and the oyster seeding/bagging portion” and bidding those separately. Miller said she and the engineer would prefer that firms who do this work on a regular basis be in charge of the projects rather than have the work subcontracted out through a construction manager.

The rock placement project is going to bid this week, Miller said. Commissioner David White asked when the project might be done. Miller replied, “I would think they’re going to be done sometime in the spring, if we can get a quarry that has enough [rock] all in one place.”

Draft Flood Ordinance up for county revision
The county planning board will meet on the 28th @ 7p to go through proposed changes. Oriental agreed to “allow the building inspector to enforce county’s building’s ordinance here” (which is why the ordinance is under review at the county.) The file attached below has the State suggested revisions as well as those from the Town of Oriental.

The ordinance will result in several buildings being lifted out of the flood plain in town. Miller cautioned that residents should not drop their flood insurance as a result of this ordinance – she said the preliminary maps used for the determination of the floodplain do not contain data from Hurricane Irene or Florence.

Mobile Licensing Trailer down to two visits a year
A mobile licensing trailer use to visit Bayboro twice a month; the North Carolina Department of Transportation has cut those services down to twice a year, citing a lack of use of the service, a lack of bandwith for their equipment, and excessive cost to send an examiner from Washington.

The county has to prove at least 85 people use the facility every month in order to keep the service. Manager Miller argues there were several circumstances causing low use: storms had displaced parts of the population, and Real IDs were required this year and could not be had at the trailer, forcing customers to travel to the next county to renew their identification.

County Manager Tim Buck asked people to contact NCDOT about the issue if they are displeased with the reduced schedule. The contact information is in the attached files below.

New State Laws Effective 2020
Manager Miller said “Session Law 2019 is a budget amendment” allocating money for Hurricane Florence and Dorian damage and mitigation efforts. It also grants additional funds for smaller municipalities; the Powell Bill, a program to help with road maintenance, will get an additional $7 million

There are also new boat registration mandates, though no guidance on enforcement: boat validation decals are now required on both sides of a vessel.

Bacon SUP and upcoming Public Hearings
Frank and Lili Bacon, owners of New Village Brewery, have asked for a Special Use Permit (SUP) to demolish and rebuild the garage on the Brewery’s property. Hurricanes Dorian and Florence damaged the building and they seek to rebuild the same structure, only elevated.

The building is non-conforming to current building codes, but the “building cannot remain on the property and be in compliance,” says Manager Miller.

Their SUP will go before the Planning Board on Wednesday, January 15. A public hearing has been set for the February 11 Town Board meeting. The SUP request is attached in the files below.

Appointment Approval
Bonnie Crosser has been appointed to the Parks and Recreation Board. The is currently one member on the board. Commissioner Barrow asked her to join and review past outstanding projects like the bike path project connecting Dolphin Point to the rest of Oriental.

Police Report
An ordinance for Law Enforcement appreciation was passed, listing the ways citizens can show their support for law enforcement. Officer Wichrowski commented on two incidents during the month of December.

According to Officer Wichrowski: The first incident occurred on Kershaw Road two days before Christmas and “began as a hostage situation.” The unnamed suspect escaped that night, came back to the same house a day later and escaped again. He was caught several days later in a neighboring county. Officer Wichrowski said “the whole event – no matter how big it ended up getting – was based on misdemeanor crimes – there was no need for too much alarm.” The suspect is out on bond.

A machete was involved in the second event, a family dispute.“One individual has less fingers than he had when he began,” said Officer Wichrowski, “that individual has not been apprehended. Again, there is no reason that anyone needs to be alarmed, this was a fight among relatives.”

Officer Wichrowski reported that other than those incidents, December police activity was relatively quiet.

Manager’s Report

• Manager Miller will be out of town February 4-7 for continuing education.
FEMA reimbursement is still outstanding.
• Town Hall will be closed Monday, February 3. Staff is encouraged to take time off in winter as a group.
• Draft solar ordinance still needs work done to it at January 15 planning board meeting. The draft is attached in the Auxiliary Board Reports.
• The board should expect to see an SUP request from Village Hardware for their new building.

Commissioner Comments
Commissioner Martin Barrow has been working on the flooding on Highway 55 at Hodges St. NCDOT has agreed to send out a surveyor to map the intersection.

Commissioner David White reminded the board that it is time for Town Manager Miller’s annual performance review. Miller received a 10% raise at her March 2019 review.

Commissioner White also said that the Town is working on legislation to get a town law through this year’s legislative session granting Oriental control over the harbor. A survey of the harbor has been completed as part of the project. Manager Miller said Harbor Waterfronts Committee has been working on this project for over a year.

Dates to Know
• The next Town Board Meeting Has been from February 4 to February 11, at 7p.
• The County Planning Board Meeting (to review the Flood Ordinance Draft) is January 28, at 7p.
•  The first Quarterly agenda meeting is January 30, 2020, at 8a.
• Town Hall is closed Monday, February 3.
• The Planning Board meets Wednesday, January 15, to review the draft Solar Ordinance.

Related Information

January Agenda
December Meeting Minutes
Flood Ordinance Revision
NCDOT License Service Change
Planning Board Minutes Revision
Ethics Training for Commissioners Ordinance
Bacon SUP for New Village Brewery
New State Laws for 2020
Law Enforcement Appreciation Resolution
Manager’s Report
Auxiliary Board Reports

Posted Friday January 10, 2020 by Allison DeWeese

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