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Town Board Meeting October 2017
Piggly Wiggly petitions for annexation, trash collection takeover, new Fulcher application to CAMA
October 7, 2017

able of Permissible Uses update is sent back for reevaluation, Gilgo will be paved at the water tower, and Billy Flockhart seeks annexation for the Piggly Wiggly. October’s Town Board meeting had high attendance; residents spoke on several topics.

Public hearing on changes to the GMO Permissible Use Table
town hall signIn July, the Planning Board called a public meeting to discuss the Fulcher Point project. The aim was to help draft the Town’s response, as the adjacent property owner, to CAMA. The meeting was well attended, and the majority of the comments were opposed to the revisions of the project citing environmental concerns and the inadequate response times of DEQ personnel when problems arose. Due to these concerns, the Planning Board held weekly meetings in September to reevaluate the GMO Permissible Uses Table to bring it in line with the interests and wishes of Oriental’s residents.

Tuesday night, members of the Planning Board were present to discuss some of those changes. At this time, the Planning Board has only addressed sections one up to 10 in the table. The most significant changes were to the definitions. The Board brought the description of halfway house in line with NC code and the Federal Fair Housing Act, allowing for people with defined disabilities but not for persons representing a direct threat to the health and safety of others. They also clearly defined industry into three categories: light, medium, and heavy.

Town Manager Diane Miller says Oriental does not currently have any Heavy Industrial businesses. The definition, as put forth by the Planning Board, restricts this type of industry in the town and particularly along the waterfront.

Marinas and boat yards were also defined and assigned to industry categories. Only Industrial Boat/Ship Yards are defined as Heavy Industrial. In July, residents named Jarret Bay Boatworks as the case of what they did not want Oriental to become. Planning Board members used the example when crafting these definitions.

The proposal called for putting a limit on light cranes and commercial travel lifts at operating heights of 30’ and light cranes with a lift capacity of 20 tons. The limit raised concerns for Knute Bysheim and Greg Bohmert. The Board told Mr. Bysheim the SUP for his lift is grandfathered in.

Mr. Bohmert, who is running for Town Commissioner, was concerned about the height limits as well as the painting and scaling requirements saying, “those two items seem very counterproductive…if you’re looking to preserve the skyline, you need to adjust the GMO to reflect that.” The Planning Board left it to the Town Board to specify whether paint by sprayer would be allowed for new facilities, not existing. The discussion then turned to whether painting done in yards is ok with a roller and not a sprayer. The end goal is to limit the volume of air pollution from these services. The Town Board sent it back to the Planning Board to gather more information.

Residential Changes
Changes to the Permissible Use Table included allowing schools, religious institutions, libraries, and museums into R1 residential areas by obtaining an SUP (Special Use Permit). Bonnie Knapp spoke as an individual member of the Planning Board. She said she agreed with changes made by her colleagues regarding the environmental concerns, but disagreed with changes to R1. “The effort to revise the Permissible Use Table was instigated by community members who wanted to restrict what was going on at the waterfront. They wanted to protect our waterfront. There was nothing about relaxing restrictions in R1.”

Madeline Sutter and Rick Knapp both agreed that R1 should remain unchanged. Mr. Knapp said residents research these areas before they buy, looking for restricted residential neighborhoods. The infrastructure is not there to allow R1 to have these institutions; the neighborhoods are not designed to handle the traffic the establishments would bring. “It’s not fair to change the game in the middle of it and impact the people who are already investing in these properties.” R1 is a residential neighborhood that requires the most land build on and are low-density, low traffic areas. Link Lane and Dolphin Point are designated R1.

Commissioner White countered that “the change to R1 is not inconsistent with the use of R1. The SUP process allows for the discussion to happen, but not always the process.” One of the conditions of the SUP process is that the use is in harmony with the surrounding area. However, Mr. Knapp said, “It does not say zoned for your protection unless the SUP du jour falls on favorable terms.” With an SUP, it is up to the public and neighboring property holders to provide evidence of negative impact.

Commissioner Overcash concluded the public hearing saying, “Commissioner White and myself served as advisors to the Planning Board and a lot of this, most of this, was done to address the environmental welfare of the town and the harbor. We tried to put that foremost. I see there’s some areas we need to tweak, but please believe that was our driving force in what was done here. And the Planning Board did a lot of work, and that’s why the public hearing is here, to find out what we missed.” The Town Board agreed to table the changes until the Planning Board could revisit the areas of concern and adjust those items. The Planning Board will hold their next meeting on October 18th.

New Fulcher Project:Town crafts response to CAMA
Chris Fulcher applied Septemer 18th for a major permit for a bulkhead project on his part of the waterfront. Dennis Fornes, his agent, had included in the paperwork talk of a boat lift. That turned out to be incorrect as the agent used paperwork from a previous application. After questioning by Town Manager Miller, Mr. Fornes resubmitted the paperwork just before 4p on Tuesday with the correct documentation. The current application does not include a boat lift, boat wash, or any new buildings.

The current proposal is for the removal of dilapidated bulkheads and docks and installation of new ones. Some dredging of the waterfront will be required. As the adjacent property owner to the project, the Town is creating a response to CAMA listing any objection or concerns.

At this time, Town Manager Miller has no objection to the project. However, the Town does have concerns. The response to CAMA raises issues about obtaining proper permits, posting correct signage (No Sewer Discharge), and the dredging of the channel and its effects on the Oriental Yacht Club directly across from the project. Additionally, the Town notes specific stormwater permits are necessary for Point Pride Seafood yet, “we have seen no stormwater containment, visible adequate secondary barriers of the existing fuel to contamination, evidence of monitoring of stormwater on the property.”

The Town asks if sampling has been completed, and is continuing to be collected, in compliance with Stormwater Management Strategy. Additionally, the project needs to request an LUP (Land Use Permit) for a zoning compliance certificate. None has been requested or issued at this time.

The Board approved the response. The Town sent its official response to CAMA on October 4th.

Piggly Wiggly petitions for annexation
Billy Flockhart has requested the annexation of the Piggly Wiggly, building and lot, into the Oriental town limits. Public hearings for this and the ongoing Dutton SUP at Seahorse Landing are scheduled for November.

While the Piggly WIggly doesn’t connect on Highway 55, it does connect to the water tower at the back of the property. It is unknown what taxes it will bring to the Town as the previous business held an entirely different inventory. Miller gave Mr. Flockhart a ballpark figure between $1,200 and $3,000 a year and asked if he still wanted to do this. “He said absolutely. He absolutely already considers himself a part of this town. Now he wants to sell liquor at 10am.”

Mr. Flockhart is also in the process of installing a generator in case another storm like Hurricane Matthew knocks out power for an extended period. Miller said this will make a difference for all of Oriental when another storm hits.

In a related issue, Miller told the Town board the NC DOT has instituted a plan for a traffic study on Highway 55 between Oriental and the Piggly Wiggly. The intent is to extend the 35 mph zone so residents on bikes and golf carts can travel safely.

New garbage provider takes over
Waste Industries has purchased GDS Industries, taking over the trash collection for Oriental. Their representative, Ms. Norma Yanez, was present to talk to the Town and residents about their services. Ms. Yanez told those present that her company is buying new trucks to service the area. The new vehicles are comparable in weight to the current ones and should not be hazardous to the roads. Waste Industries also has a public call number that goes straight to the New Bern office rather than being routed to a call center, an announcement that met with applause. “You’ll see very little change except the names of the trucks and hopefully the drivers will be a little more courteous.”

The new trucks will be automated. Ms. Yanez said, “It’s safety reasons… anytime we have an employee out to move around, he’s in so much danger. We’ve lost employees that way.”

Town Manager Miller requested approval from the board to roll the current contract with GDS Industries over to Waste Industries until the end of the original contract period, fiscal year end 2019. The Board approved.

Paving of Gilgo
Maintenance crews have been at work by the water tower (currently shrouded and undergoing repainting), replacing a sewer pipe and digging up the road. Currently, they’ve placed gravel at the curve, widening the road. Residents have requested making the temporary gravel road permanent for safety reasons. Town Manager Miller presented the request to the Board with a financial breakdown of cost of the gravel and for paving the road. Paving it would not interfere with drainage in that area.

Town Board Meeting September 5th, 2017
Painting on the water tower has begun.

Madeline Sutter stood and asked that the road go back to the size it was before, also for safety reasons. She says she was almost hit when someone tried to pass her on the corner. It was one of several times she spoke at the meeting, commenting earlier that easements were a mess due to use by maintenance crews. Commissioner Barbara Venturi suggested painting double lines into and out of the curve to help with safety.

The Board approved the paving of Gilgo with lines added after the road cures.

Noise Ordinance
Town Manager Miller asks the board to change the existing Noise Ordinance “to make it consistent with itself.” It will change the ordinance from 11p to 9p. Nine pm is stated earlier in the ordinance as the beginning hour for noise restrictions unless a permit is in place.

Manager Miller also asked to remove the words ‘Chief of Police’ and use instead ‘Oriental police officer’ to make the ordinance consistent with other ordinances. The Board approved.

Project Ordinances
Town Manager Miller asked the Board to create a Project Ordinance allowing the Town to track project monies without it affecting the Town budget. Two of three current projects will go beyond the fiscal year. The projects are the Whittaker Creek Dredging Grant, the Pierce Creek Dredging Grant, and the Raccoon Creek Flood Abatement project. The Town is only the administrator of the grant funds and does not use Town money for the projects.

There will be a public hearing to gather input on the problems causing and caused by Raccoon Creek Flooding. In earlier Town Board Meetings, the flooding abatement project was referred to as the study of flooding on Hodges St.

Budget amendment and CDBG funds
There has been an unexpected expense for the tourism fund: folding blue maps. Several requests from along the seaboard have depleted Town supplies. Town Manager Miller requests an amendment to move funds from reserve to pay for the printing of more maps, noting that the Town did not pay for the design. Instead, they were designed by students at East Carolina Design School. The Board approved.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) will allow lower-income residents to access funds to help raise their homes out of the floodplain. This money would be in addition to FEMA. Town Manager Miller requests permission to sign the papers for the grant, giving Oriental representation in the fund. The Board approved.

Street Closing for Waterfront Celebration
A Waterfront Celebration will take place on October 19th at Town Dock 1 on Hodges St. The celebration will run from 12:30p to 2:30p with hot dogs from the Piggly Wiggly and music from The Quebe Sisters band on the porch of The Bean. Per legal advice, “if we are encouraging a gathering in the street, we should close the street.” The Board agrees. Hodges St. will be closed to vehicular traffic from South Water St. to Main St from 12:30p to 3p on October 19th.
Manager’s Report
  • Flood insurance rate increased for the Town. The premium went from $1,508 to $4,848. After sending in the new elevation certificates, the amount dropped to half. However, The Hartford still could not explain the reason for the increase. The Town is seeking a new flood insurance provider.
Police Report

The next Town Board Meeting will be Wednesday, November 8th at 7p as elections will be held November 7th.

Related Information

Posted Saturday October 7, 2017 by Allison DeWeese

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