Lifesaving efforts recognized at Duck Town Council meet

Published 1:25 am Tuesday, November 12, 2019

One of the first actions during the November 7 Duck Town Council meeting was the recognition of two town police officers for their lifesaving efforts on May 25.

According to Police Chief John Cueto, officers Chuck Edwards and Tammy Bybee responded to a call for assistance on Sprigtail Drive, where they removed a male subject from a pool and began emergency lifesaving techniques. Cueto said their timely and effective response, coupled with both rapid and efficient teamwork, resulted in the life of a visitor being saved.

Digging into the evening’s regular agenda, council took a look at changes for the town’s Village Commercial Development Option.

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According to director of community development Joe Heard, council currently has considerable discretion under the VCDO to allow exceptions for land use developments. Earlier this year, council asked the Planning Board to work with town staff and the town attorney to evaluate and recommend improvements to the VCDO. After its review, the Planning Board came up with a set of standards that include approval criteria, review guidelines and limitations on the amount of relief granted.

Although the overall proposal was well received, the lack of leniency for any existing violations troubled some council members. With Chuck Burdick out of town and not at the meeting, the issue was sent back to the Planning Board for additional work in an effort to avoid a possible split vote.

There was less concern with four other town code changes, as each passed on unanimous 4-0 votes.

Each revision deals with firearm possession and the overall goal was to bring Duck into compliance with the current State Law. North Carolina law allows Town Code violations to be a civil penalty, a criminal penalty or both. Town attorney Robert Hobbs explained that since Duck was incorporated (in 2002), the state has enacted several firearms related statutory changes that preempt many of Duck’s regulations.

During discussion, it was noted that current town code is overly broad and the changes considered narrow the scope to areas the town is authorized to regulate. Overall, the changes approved consolidate all firearms provisions into one section, remove a number of inconsistencies with state law, and make almost all criminal sanctions and penalties for town code violations civil penalties.

When asked what the financial impact would be, since money collected for criminal violations goes to the local School Board and civil penalties are kept by the town, town manager Chris Layton advised that there would be none since there is no record of the town ever imposing a criminal or civil penalty.

Moving to new business, an unrelated code change amending town standards for gravel parking surfaces at commercial properties was also approved.

The revision is for gravel parking surfaces, which offer greater permeability than asphalt and concrete surfaces, but were not given the same reduction in lot coverage that was offered to residential properties.

The approved ordinance amended the lot coverage definition in Town Code Section 156.002 and excludes gravel driveways, parking aisles and parking spaces from lot coverage calculations and sets standards for commercial gravel parking surfaces.

According to Heard, commercial parking lots are different from residential lots in that they have a higher volume of traffic with a wide range of vehicle types. To meet the different need, the commercial are open-ended to allow engineers some latitude in their design solutions.

In other business for the evening, Layton was named as the primary agent for a N.C. Department of Public Safety Disaster Assistance Agreement authorized to file applications for state and federal assistance for Hurricane Dorian damages and Heard was named the secondary agent.

Layton was also authorized to contract with RPC Contracting, Inc. for Duck Trail improvements from Four Seasons Lane south to Plover Drive and from Station Bay Drive south approximately 225 feet.



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