Some folks angry about reentry decisions for Hatteras and Frisco
Published 4:44 pm Sunday, September 22, 2019
On Monday, Sept. 16, 11 Hatteras Islanders spoke to the Dare County Board of Commissioners about reentry decisions made by the Dare County Control Group after Hurricane Dorian.
Some were displeased, angry; others offered suggestions for improving the process; some wanted a Hatteras Island seat at the control group.
On Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m., Bulletin No. 16 from the Dare County Joint Information Center announced that unrestricted access to the Hatteras Island villages of Frisco and Hatteras would begin at noon the next day, Thursday, Sept. 12.
Tina Gartelman told the commissioners local workers did not have time to get homes fixed. “Where is there safety for us?”
Bret Barley echoed the request for more time between letting in residents and sending in visitors. He said the villages of Frisco and Hatteras were not ready for visitors at noon on Thursday. He suggested at least 24 to 36 hours from the time of the announcement.
Barley said “we need our own control group.”
Jason Collier said people “need to feel they’ve got a seat on that committee that’s making decisions.”
John Head initially raised the issue of a Hatteras Island Emergency Operations Center. He had downloaded and read the county’s emergency operations plan. The plan written in 2007 referred numerous times to a Hatteras EOC.
Emergency manager Drew Pearson said the plan was in the updating process now that additional staff is aboard. “It is the plan that is in place,” said Pearson.
County manager Robert L. Outten reported the plan hasn’t been followed for seven years. “I’m pulling it off the website.”
Commenter Elaine Hooper passed the first time around, reiterated the “not ready” information. She also asked for a sheriff’s deputy at the Frisco Volunteer Fire Department. She feared someone getting killed on NC 12 at the recovery center that’s based at the fire department.
At the start of the meeting before public comment, Robert L. Woodard, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, called making reentry decisions “a delicate balancing act.” Said Woodard, “somebody is unhappy at every reentry . . . It is not possible to satisfy all.”
Commissioner Danny Couch from Hatteras Island, at the end of the meeting, said “it’s a tough, tough call.” Couch, who does not have a vote on the Control Group, attended every meeting in person or via telephone.
Couch, along with Woodard, thanked the Emergency Operations staff. Couch praised the volunteer groups working to help folks on Hatteras Island. Initially, 333 houses were on the “need help” list. After two days, 114 homes were off the list.
Timeline of Hurricane Dorian announcements from Dare County
Sept. 2. Dare County issued a State of Emergency
Sept. 3. Mandatory evacuation for visitors announced for noon by Bulletin 1 issued at 3 p.m., Sept. 2.
Sept. 4. Mandatory evacuation for everyone at 6 a.m., Sept. 4 by Bulletin 1 issued at 3 p.m., Sept. 2
Sept 5-6. Various bulletins regarding safety, weather and government closings were published.
Sept. 7. At 9 a.m., reentry at noon announced at 9 a.m. for permanent residents and essential personnel for critical businesses for areas north of Oregon Inlet. Hatteras Island remained closed.
Sept. 7. At 7:45 p.m. For areas south of Oregon Inlet (Hatteras Island), Priority Two reentry started immediately. Priority Two includes permanent residents and essential personnel for critical businesses. For areas north of Oregon Inlet, Priority Three reentry was effective immediately. Priority Three includes non-resident property owners and employees of non-critical businesses
Sept. 8. At 6 a.m., unrestricted access for areas north of Oregon Inlet, including all incorporated towns, Roanoke Island and Dare mainland, set for 4 p.m.
For areas south of Oregon Inlet (Hatteras Island), Priority Three reentry effective at noon. Priority Three includes non-resident property owners and employees of non-critical businesses.
Sept. 8. At 6:20 p.m., unrestricted access to the villages of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo on Hatteras Island started at noon, Tuesday, Sept. 10.
Sept. 10. At 5:15 p.m., unrestricted access to the village of Avon and northern areas of Buxton started at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 11.
An updated bulletin reported: “The Dare County Control Group met Tuesday afternoon to consider reentry guidelines for Frisco and Hatteras Village and have determined these areas are not ready to receive visitors. The Control Group will meet again on Wednesday afternoon to assess conditions. The next update will be provided on Wednesday by 6 p.m.”
Sept. 11. At 5:30 p.m., Bulletin 16 announced unrestricted access to the villages of Frisco and Hatteras Village would start at noon on Thursday, Sept. 12.