OBAR Legislative Briefing

June 30, 2015 Legislative Briefing

Town/County Updates
Fourth of July Festivities/Fireworks Schedule

In Dare County, information on this weekend’s fireworks displays
For Currituck County weekend fireworks displays

Dare County – On June 17th, Dare Commissioners adopted the County Manager’s Proposed Budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year which begins July 1. The General Fund budget, totaling $101.8 million, keeps the property tax rate at 43 cents per $100 of valuation and maintains current service levels. An allocation of approximately $3.5 million was included in the budget for inlet maintenance. The budget was adjusted to provide $400,000 in additional school funding to cover anticipated pay raises for new teachers, as mandated by the state of North Carolina. This brings the total local funding for school operations to almost $22 million not including approximately $10.9 million that will be paid next year in debt service to cover the cost of previous school construction projects. “This Board is committed to funding quality education for our students,” said Chairman Robert L. “Bob” Woodard, Sr. “The ‘five on five’ year-round meetings that have involved five representatives from the school system and five from Dare County have resulted in improved communication between our Boards and enabled us to work together more closely, earlier in the process, to iron out details and agree on a funding plan that benefits local education not only this year, but also in years to come.” County Manager Bobby Outten described the budget process as thorough and methodical and expressed the need to address the fund deficit in the Insurance Fund and to continue making progress in increasing the fund balance of the General Fund. “This budget meets the Board’s priorities and maintains our current level of service while working within existing revenue sources,” said Outten. “Moving forward we will work to reach the target goal for fund balance and address the Insurance Fund deficit to maintain positive debt ratings.”
Outten expressed appreciation to the Board of Commissioners for including a cost of living pay adjustment (COLA) in the amount of $1,000 per full-time employee, the first COLA for employees since 2013.

Duck – Traffic Reminder: The Town of Duck will hold its 11th Annual 4th of July Parade and Community Celebration this Friday, July 3rd at 9 a.m. Please plan accordingly.  Businesses are asked to advise staff and any delivery vehicles of the anticipated congestion and potential delays.  Traffic may be more congested than usual between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. The parade is expected to last for one hour and draw between 5,000-7,000 attendees. No part of the parade will be on Duck Road (NC 12) and the road will remain open. The annual one-mile parade route begins at the crest of the hill on Scarborough Lane, travels east towards the ocean, turns left onto Ocean Way, and then continues onto Christopher Drive to end at Pamela Court.  Be aware that there will be increased numbers of pedestrians along and crossing Duck Road (NC 12) and slow moving vehicles entering and exiting the parade route and staging areas at Scarborough Lane and Christopher Drive.
A Community Celebration will be held immediately following the parade at the Duck Town Park, 1200 Duck Road.  The celebration will feature music by Just Playn’ Dixieland, cold refreshments, and the awarding of parade trophies.

Town Council meets this Wednesday and will hold two public hearings to consider the following:
• A Conditional Use Permit application by Village Square, Inc., property owner, for a conditional use permit to add a seasonal outdoor seating/entertainment area for Red Sky Café in the south side yard at 1197 Duck Road.
• An Ordinance updating standards for Wireless Telecommunications Systems consistent with recent changes in State and Federal laws.

Southern Shores – Town Council will hold a public hearing at its meeting on July 7th at 5:30 p.m. to consider a prioritized capital street improvement plan for fiscal year 2015-16. The plan is posted on the Town’s website or a copy may be picked up at the Southern Shores Town Hall.

Nags Head – The Board of Commissioners meet this Wednesday and will hold three public hearings to consider the following:
• A zoning ordinance text amendment formulated by the Nags Head Local Business Committee to amend Town Code Section 48-129, Nonconforming Sign and Sign Structure, to increase the threshold for compliance from 25% to 50% of the signs value when damage is incurred through storm events and/or by no fault of the sign owner.
• Ordinance amendments related to regulating structures within the Public Trust Beach Area.
The Town currently has an ordinance which prohibits the issuance of development permits for structures located within this area. There is also an ordinance which declares these structures a nuisance because of their location. The purpose of these ordinances is to eliminate public safety hazards created by structures on the beach. The current ordinance requires staff to inspect the location of any oceanfront structure before a permit is issued which adds considerable time to the permitting process, often for simple permits including trade permits – replacing a heat pump, etc.  Recent court cases regarding these ordinances have concluded that the Town lacks the authority to regulate the location of structures in the public trust area of the beach since this is under state jurisdiction. The ordinance amendments eliminate the need for an inspection and zoning permit.
• A zoning ordinance text amendment as it relates to the use of turfstone and other permeable pavement systems and the calculation of lot coverage. The Town allows a lot coverage bonus in each zoning district when permeable pavement is utilized. In the R-2 zoning district, the lot coverage allowance is 33 percent; however, this may be increased to 40 percent with the use of permeable pavement. The ordinance does not currently specify a minimum amount of permeable pavement that must be used in order to receive the bonus. Therefore, it is possible to add a minor amount of permeable pavement to receive the full bonus and then apply the remainder to non-permeable surfaces. The ordinance amendment clarifies the intent of the ordinance which is to allow the bonus only for permeable surfaces. As in the case of the R-2 zoning district, any coverage beyond 33 percent will need to consist of approved permeable materials. All other ordinance provisions related to lot coverage will remain the same.

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