Legislative Briefing ~ 3.1.18

Legislative Briefing ~ 3.1.18

Election News

Noon on Wednesday, February 28th was the deadline to file as a candidate for County/State offices. Here’s a rundown of who will be on the Primary ballot on May 8th and/or the General Election ballot in November:

US House of Representatives District 3
Walter B Jones (Rep) – incumbent
Phil Law (Rep)
Scott Dacey (Rep)

NC State Senate District 1
Bob Steinburg (Rep)
Clark Twiddy ( Rep)
Richard S. (Steve) James (Dem)
D. Cold Phelps (Dem)
Incumbent Senator Bill Cook is not seeking re-election.

NC House of Representatives District 6
Beverly Boswell (Rep) – incumbent
Bobby Hanig (Rep)
Tess Judge (Dem)

Currituck County Board of Commissioners
At-Large
Mike Hall (Rep) – incumbent
Kevin McCord (Rep)
Joe Payne (Dem)

District 3
Mike Payment (Rep)

District 6
Marion Gilbert (Rep) – incumbent
Fred Whiteman (Rep)
J. Owen Etheridge (Rep)

Currituck County Sheriff
Matt Beickert (Rep)
Bob Douros (Rep)

Dare County Board of Commissioners
District 1
Jim Tobin (Rep) – incumbent
Rosemarie Doshier (Dem)

District 2
Rob Ross (Rep) – incumbent
Ronnie Merrell (Rep)

At-Large
Anne Petera (Rep)
Ed Danko (Rep)
Ervin Bateman (Dem)
Incumbent Jack Shea (Rep) did not file to run for re-election.

Dare County Sheriff
J.D. (Doug) Doughtie (Rep)

The deadline to register to vote in the May 8th Primary is Friday, April 13th. To register, complete and return the NC Voter Registration Application to the Dare or Currituck Board of Elections office. You can also find the voter registration applications at the library, town hall offices and various public assistance agencies.
PARTY AFFILIATION – When you register, you will need to declare your party affiliation. You may register with any recognized party in the State of North Carolina which is Republican, Democrat, or Unaffiliated. Party affiliation determines the Primary in which you are eligible to vote. An Unaffiliated voter is currently allowed to vote in the Democratic or Republican Primary. The individual party has the authority to permit Unaffiliated voters to vote in its primary. On Election Day, the unaffiliated voter must state the political party with which he affiliates and in whose primary he wishes to vote.

Economic Development Survey

The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce and Dare County are partners in Economic Development. The link below will take you to a 2018 Business Retention Survey. All those who complete the survey by April 30, 2018 and provide contact information will be entered into a drawing for several gift cards from area businesses.
The survey only takes about 10 minutes to complete.
The Chamber and Dare County thanks you for helping make the Outer Banks a great place to do business!

Off-Shore Oil Drilling Comment Period Ends on March 9th

The deadline to comment on off-shore oil drilling is fast approaching.
Governor Roy Cooper has requested an official exemption for North Carolina, similar to the exemption recently granted to Florida based on the importance of tourism to the state’s coastal economy. He has encouraged people to call the Interior Department at 202.208.3100 to share their feedback. Public comments may also be submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management through March 9 here.
Coverage on Outer Banks Voice

Comment on Proposed Dwelling Policy Rate Changes

The NC Department of Insurance received a Dwelling insurance rate filing from the N.C. Rate Bureau last month. While the Rate Bureau is requesting a statewide average rate increase of 18.9 percent for dwelling policies with a requested effective date of Oct. 1, 2018, the filing includes a requested increase of almost 60% for extended coverage (wind) policies here in Dare and Currituck Counties.

Dwelling insurance policies are not homeowner’s insurance policies. Dwelling policies typically cover non-owner-occupied residences of no more than four units, including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full-time by the property owner.

The Rate Bureau has also requested revisions to the current geographic rating territories. The proposed territory revisions are the same territory definitions applicable to homeowners’ policies.

The filing will be reviewed by Department of Insurance experts to determine what, if any, rate adjustments are warranted. If NCDOI and the Rate Bureau do not initially agree on the proposed rate changes, a public hearing will be called in which both parties would present their cases to a hearing officer, who would then determine the appropriate rate level.

The filing is available for public review on the Department of Insurance website and the SERFF Filing Access. Enter the SERFF Tracking Number NCRI-131370773.

You can comment on the rate request in one of three ways:
1) In person during a public comment forum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, March 23, 2018, in the Second Floor Hearing Room at the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.
2) By email sent to: 2018DwellingandFire@ncdoi.gov. Comments will be accepted through March 23, 2018.
3) By mail sent to: N.C. Department of Insurance, Attn. Tricia Ford, Legal Division, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201.

OBAR and OBHBA are in the process of reviewing the filing and compiling Talking Points. They will be distributed soon with a Call for Action.

For more information:
Territories and Rates
2018 Dwelling Filing

Alligator River Bridge on U.S. 64 to Close for Repairs March 14-21

Beginning Wednesday, March 14, the NC DOT will close the Alligator River Bridge between Tyrrell and Dare counties for one week. The closure will allow crews to complete major renovation work on the bridge’s swing-span drawbridge.

The bridge will be closed to all vehicle traffic at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14 and is expected to reopen by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. The drawbridge will also be closed to boat navigation. During the closure, crews will complete the electrical and mechanical swing span repairs that were started during the previous bridge closure Jan. 10-17.

The work is part of an extensive renovation project designed to extend the life of the 58-year-old bridge. The $16.7 million contract was awarded to Flatiron Constructors of Morrisville, NC back in March 2017.
During the closure, NCDOT will have detour signage and variable message signs in place to guide motorists through the following detour routes:
• Motorists traveling east from Columbia should use N.C. 94 South to U.S. 264 East to U.S. 64.
• Motorists traveling west from Dare County to Columbia should use U.S. 264 West to N.C. 94 North to U.S. 64.
• Motorists traveling to the Outer Banks from areas west of Williamston should use U.S. 17 North to U.S. 158 East.
• Motorists traveling from the Outer Banks to points west of Williamston should use U.S. 158 West to U.S. 17 South to U.S. 64 West.
No additional bridge closures are expected during the renovation project.

Town/County Updates

Currituck County – The Board of Commissioners meet on Monday, March 5th and will vote a second time on a proposed ordinance that would establish a permitting system for beach parking in the four-wheel drive area of the Currituck Outer Banks beginning in May of this year. The proposed ordinance would allow for a $50, 10-day parking pass system to be put in place after May 1st of this year. The first vote on the ordinance took place at the Commissioners’ February 19th meeting and a unanimous voted was necessary for it to pass. One Commissioner voted against it therefore forcing a second vote. A majority vote is needed for passage of the ordinance at Monday’s meeting.

Dare County – At the last Dare Board of Commissioners meeting, Jed Dixon, Deputy Director of the NC Ferry System, briefed the Board about the passenger ferry service that will begin operating this summer between Hatteras Village and Ocracoke Island. The passenger service will operate on a reservation basis and is designed to reduce wait times. The new service will supplement the existing car ferry provided by NCDOT. Commissioners also approved a resolution to name the new passenger ferry vessel the “Ocracoke Express.”

Southern Shores – On Tuesday March 6th from 3 to 5 p.m., Ken Newell of Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects and architect for the Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. performing the design of that organization’s potential new fire station, will display his design drawings and be available for public inspection, questions, and comments in the Pitts Center at the Southern Shores Town Hall Complex.

Town Council meets at 5:30 p.m. also on Tuesday, March 6th and will hold a public hearing on a zoning text amendment on Wireless Telecommunications Sites and Towers. Adoption of the text amendment will bring the Town into compliance with recently passed state legislation on small cell wireless facilities.
The applications and related materials are available for public inspection here. or during regular office hours at Town Hall. For additional information or questions, please contact Town Hall at (252) 261-2394 or email whaskett@southernshores-nc.gov.

Kill Devil Hills – A representative from Holland Consulting Planners attended last week’s Kill Devil Hills Planning Board meeting and provided an overview of what was to come in the development of the Town’s 2018 Land Use Plan. Highlighted were details about what will be addressed in the Land Use Plan, public participation/engagement opportunities and a timeline for the completion of the Plan. The next meeting scheduled is a Planning Board worksession on April 18th.
To learn more about the process, information is posted on the Town’s new Land Use Plan website.

Nags Head – Commissioners met last week and discussed options regarding concerns the Board has with preliminary flood maps that show base flood elevations going down up to 4 feet and many properties being removed altogether from the special flood hazard area when the maps become effective. The preliminary maps show several oceanfront properties moving from a VE zone to an X zone in which no flood insurance is required and a property owner could build slab on grade. Andy Garman, Nags Head Planning Director and Assistant Town Manager, outlined the efforts of a partnership between Dare County’s six Towns, Dare County and the Outer Banks Home Builders Association to develop base elevation standards which are higher than those shown on the preliminary maps and would be used for development and re-development purposes. The maps, expected to be effective in February of 2019, would be used for rating flood insurance policies.
Commissioners were very receptive to the suggestions of the partnership but felt a higher elevation standard was needed in different parts of the Town. More to come.

Upcoming Meetings

Monday, March 5
9:00 a.m. – Dare Board of Commissioners
6:00 p.m. – Currituck Board of Commissioners
6:00 p.m. – Kitty Hawk Town Council

Tuesday, March 6
3 to 5 p.m. – Pitts Center, Southern Shores, Fire Station Presentation
5:30 p.m. – Southern Shores Town Council

Wednesday, March 7
9:00 a.m. – Nags Head Board of Commissioners
7:00 p.m. – Duck Town Council

Monday, March 12
5:30 p.m. – Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners
6:00 p.m. – Dare Planning Board
7:00 p.m. – Dare County Waterways

Tuesday, March 13
9:00 a.m. – OBAR Legislative Committee
9:30 a.m. – Oregon Inlet Task Force
7:00 p.m. – Currituck Planning Board

In the News

Drilling Opponents Pack Hilton to Protest

Navigation Channel to Periodically Close During Bonner Bridge Construction

Hundreds from NC Coast Travel to Raleigh to Oppose Drilling

Views Clash at Public Hearing on Drilling

Advocacy, Legislative Briefing