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Southern Shores Town Council hears workforce housing presentation

The Feb. 6 Southern Shores Town Council meeting was a special night for Police Officer Brad T. Eilert. Making a presentation early in the meeting Police Chief David Kole congratulated Eilert on his recent successful completion of a Traffic Enforcement and Investigation Certificate Program at the North Carolina Justice Academy.

According to Kole, Eilert has been with Southern Shores for five years and came to the Town with previous experience in Virginia, and more recently, with 12 years with the Nags Head Police Department. Kole added that Eilert comes from a family with a long list of police service including his father, who is a retired chief of police, a sister, and a brother.

Eilert is one of 283 officers to receive the certificate that requires 500 hours of training with a focus on traffic enforcement and investigation.

The North Carolina Justice Academy, located in Salemburg and Edneyville, develops and conducts training courses for local and state law enforcement professionals. The Justice Academy provides training programs and technical assistance for law enforcement professionals through the five centers of the Training Division: Tactical/Traffic; Investigations; Legal; Management; Commission/In-Service. The Justice Academy is a division of the North Carolina Department of Justice under the administration of Attorney General Josh Stein.

Also recognized during the meeting was the Town’s new Public Works Director, David Bradley, who started Jan. 10. As Public Works Director Bradley will oversee maintenance of about 40 miles of Town streets in addition to the Town’s multi-purpose paths.

“David is an East Carolina University graduate with a degree in construction management,” said Town Manager Peter Rascoe. “We are happy to have David on board as director.”

Providing a different presentation, Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce chairman of the Board Bob Peele and Karen S. Brown, Chamber President, spoke on the behalf of the Chamber’s new Community Housing Initiative Committee.

“We send out a business survey,” explained Peele, “and every year the biggest or second biggest issue is housing. Every year.”

Peele went on to say the problem is not just a seasonal one and that a wide range of businesses and other agencies are impacted.

During a slide presentation, Peele explained that the term “Workforce Housing” has been used but the real focus is on providing affordable housing, but there is no simple answer.

The Chamber was trying to get representatives from different groups together and discuss possible solutions to providing affordable housing.

“That’s why we are here,” Peele concluded. “The solution will require cooperation among various different stakeholders along with some innovative thinking and we’re asking that Southern Shores be an active part of the initiative.”

Adding to Peele’s comments, Brown advised that it’s not a problem unique to the Outer Banks and she is in contact with other areas also working on solutions.

Already part of the Chamber’s Initiative Committee are Realtors, homebuilders and Restaurant Association representatives, County and Town Officials from both Dare and Currituck counties, several private business owners and managers as well as some concerned citizens.

Moving on to regular session business, Council sped through a Public Hearing and designation for Clarke Cottage at 156 Wax Myrtle Trail as a Historic Landmark. Viewed as a prime candidate, the designation request came with a NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources letter advising that the structure is a fine, intact example of mid-20th century Flat Top beach cottages constructed mainly in the Southern Shores community and made popular by local artist and developer Frank Stick.

Included as part of previous Southern Shores Flat Top Tours, the Clarke Cottage built in 1954 needed only a brief application review before Council gave it a stamp of approval.

There was less than smooth sailing for a request to establish new lot coverage requirements.

Mayor Pro Tem Chris Nason listed several changes he felt would help encourage better stormwater practices including:

*Pervious materials and turfstone/pavers for driveways and parking areas that contribute 50 percent to lot coverage.

*Gravel or grass driveways and walkways with a pervious base shall not contribute to lot coverage.

* The outermost four feet of eaves not contribute to lot coverage.

* The water area of swimming pool not contribute to lot coverage for pools up to 500 square feet.

Speaking in opposition to the change, Council Member Gary McDonald maintained the issue had already been handled and called the motion out of order. It was a position he maintained even while Town Attorney Ben Gallop was providing an explanation why the motion was a proper one.

Council then discussed the proposed changes and, when the vote was called, a motion to approve passed on a 3-2 vote with McDonald and Fred Newberry voting against it.

In other Council action with unanimous approval was a resolution in opposition to a U.S. Department of Energy’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing program, approval of a Consent Agenda once comments made by Newberry at a previous meeting are included.

Following a closed session, a motion by McDonald was unanimously approved to create a new position in the 2018-2019 budget year of Deputy Town Manager and Planner/Code Enforcement Department Head with a salary range between $63,741 and $95,607.

The next Town Council meeting is an all-day planning session with Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department Board set for Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 9 a.m.

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