Southern Shores to hire beach consultant

Published 11:50 pm Thursday, October 10, 2019

On a typical 3-2 vote during the Tuesday, October 1 regular session Town Council meeting, Southern Shores authorized spending $35,000 to contract with DEC Associates, Inc. for financial planning help on a beach nourishment project.

As a follow-up to a September report from Aptim Coastal Planning & Engineering of North Carolina, Inc. recommending the town choose between two beach-nourishment plan options, Mayor Tom Bennett advised he saw Tuesday’s vote to hire a consultant as an important next step in the process.

“The first step,” said Bennett, “is to make sure someone is selected to advise and direct us on how to pay for the project if we decide to go forward with nourishment.”

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Bennett then added that, as suggested by Paul A. Borzellino during public comments, the vote also sends a message to Dare County that Southern Shores is moving toward consideration of a beach nourishment project.

According to the Aptim report, a 10,000-foot area of beach in the central part of town between 3rd Avenue and Chicahauk Trail needs little – if any – sand, but the northern and southern sections that touch Duck and Kitty Hawk town lines do need additional sand at a cost of $14 to $16 million.

Dare County has established a Beach Nourishment Fund from lodging rental taxes collected with up to $7 million available on a first come, first serve basis. If Southern Shores commits to a beach nourishment project, it would have to come up with the remaining $7 to $9 million difference.

In February, Doug and Andrew Carter, the father-son team with Charlotte-based DEC Associates, made a presentation to council on how it provides advice related to financial management and raising capital. During a planning session, council was told that they would charge $35-$40,000 to develop a financial plan, set up a “beach fund,” and decide what monies would go into the beach fund (i.e., do the “planning”); and then another $30,000 to work on finding the financing.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councilman Fred Newberry also wanted to know if anyone has talked with other towns about their financing experiences and councilman Gary McDonald said he felt town staff could “run the numbers.”

“Has anybody looked to see what a $14 or $16 million project would do as far as a tax breakdown for Southern Shores?” asked McDonald. “It’s pretty simple to see. And will it be straight across the board or will we have districts?”

“That’s what the consultant will do,” said Bennett while assuring Newberry that he had talked with other municipal and county leaders and all had used and recommended the consultant.

After agreeing that a presentation from Dare County officials would help understand some of the financing options, the vote to hire DEC Associates passed with Bennett, Chris Nason and Jim Conners in favor. Newberry and McDonald were opposed.

In other action for the night, interim town manager Wes Haskett advised that Hurricane Dorian debris removal began September 24 with two trucks currently working in town.

“As of Monday,” explained Haskett, “the daily reports indicate there have been 68 truck loads for 3,461 cubic yards of vegetative debris picked up and hauled to the landfill in Manns Harbor.”

Haskett went on to say the debris contractor and the monitoring contractor have both indicated that debris removal will take longer than first anticipated due in part to the two-hour round trip required for trucks to deposit their loads. He then added to that is that there is more debris here than what the contractor estimated.

“We gave them what I would say is a very good number estimate to consider,” said Haskett. “They went substantially lower than that. I think they are realizing now that our estimate was a lot more accurate. We are asking everybody to please be patient as pick-up continues and trucks move through town. Anyone with questions or concerns should call Town Hall.”

During a discussion on any street schedule, McDonald said he talked with one of the contractors when they picked up on his street and they advised that within the next week, six more trucks are coming. They also pick up randomly where they see a large amount of debris so they don’t have to move so often.

During public comments, Tommy Karole held a brief discussion with council on his attempt have a diverse membership on his traffic study committee. Working to get a true cross-section of people with varying ideas he is also looking for members from different parts of town.

During the discussion, Nason suggested Karole even include people who might think there is no solution and Conners recommended talking with the business community for their input on how to get around the area on weekends.

At the end of the night’s regular agenda items, council entered a brief closed session to approve prior closed session minutes.

The next Town Council meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6.



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