Draft hazard mitigation plan out for review

Published 1:57 pm Monday, January 27, 2020

A draft of the 2020 Hazardous Mitigation Plan for Dare and Currituck counties is now out for review and public comment.

The plan includes the incorporated towns in Dare County.

“This planning process is required to remain eligible for FEMA disaster funding and to help the Outer Banks region to become more disaster-resistant through implementation of sound mitigation projects,” states a media release from Dare County.

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The plan is rewritten every five years.

Public comment on the plan is due by Jan. 31, 2020 to www.obx-hmp.com.

In Section 7 of the plan, mitigation action plans by county are detailed. For Dare County, 31 actions and for Currituck, 29 actions are listed for implementation during the ensuing five years.

For Dare’s incorporated towns, Duck lists 27 actions; Kill Devil Hills 27; Kitty Hawk 15, Manteo 22, Nags Head 25 and Southern Shores 24.

The actions are divided into five sectors: Prevention, Property Protection, Natural Resource Protection, Structural Projects and Public Education and Awareness.

Each action is designated by Hazard Addressed, Goal Addressed, Priority, Lead Agency/Department, Potential Funding Source, Implementation Timeline, 2020 Status and Comments. Some actions are carried over from the previous plan.

Under Priority, the actions are in three categories:

High Risk – Widespread potential impact. This ranking carries a high threat to the general population and/or built environment. The potential for damage is widespread. For Dare County, 21 actions are considered high priority; for Currituck, 16 are high priority.

Medium Risk – Moderate potential impact. This ranking carries a moderate threat level to the general population and/or built environment. Here the potential damage is more isolated and less costly than a more widespread disaster. Seven actions are rated medium in Dare’s list; 13 are rated moderate priority in Currituck’s.

Low Risk – Minimal potential impact. The occurrence and potential cost of damage to life and property is negligible or nonexistent. This is not a priority hazard for mitigation projects

In the Dare plan, three low priority actions are included. The Currituck plan has no low priority actions.

As to funding actions for Dare County, the General Fund would be tapped for 15 actions, grants would fund seven actions and a combination of grants and general fund monies would address nine actions.

For Currituck County, the General Fund would pay for 19 actions, a combination of grant and general fund monies would address four actions and a grant would fund one. Other sources would be occupancy tax, NCDOT and Turnpike Authority.

The action plan assigns lead agencies for addressing each action. For Dare County, the planning department is the lead department on 13 actions and emergency management on nine actions. Other departments involved are the Dare County Sheriff’s Office, information technology, fire marshal, Soil and Water Conservation Board, water department. Outside agencies with assignment include National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, N.C. Forestry Service, NCDOT and National Weather Service.

For Currituck County, the planning department is the lead agency on 16 actions; emergency management on six; public safety agencies on three; and fire marshal, social services, public works and engineering on one each.

For a copy of the draft plan and to make comment, go to http://www.obx.hmp.com.

Comments are due at the close of business Jan. 31, 2020.


Dare County High Priorities:

  • Identify funding to improve stormwater drainage and land management preparation for flooding.
  • Update Dare County’s 2001 comprehensive stormwater management plan.
  • Prioritize and fund critical drainage projects that improve stormwater drainage and land management preparation for flooding.
  • Take action on the results of the Moffit-Nicholas/NCDOT Northern Roanoke Island drainage study.
  • Work with all landowners including federal, state and private to ensure proper maintenance and use of existing drainage systems to minimize impacts and reduce standing water on all property.
  • Grow Local Emergency Planning Committee membership by expanding industry participation while fully implementing community right to know reporting requirements to enhance knowledge of hazardous material risk across the region.
  • Utilize existing post-storm information and GIS mapping to identify the most vulnerable structures in the county.
  • Become a FIREWISE Community that is able to protect people, property and natural resources from wildland fire.
  • Maintain or increase the number of flood insurance policies in place across Dare County when new flood hazard maps become effective and many properties are reclassified as Shaded X and/or X zone no longer requiring flood insurance associated with a federally insured mortgage.
  • Pursue the installation of flood gauges at all towns and villages. Have those gauges tied into the county alert and notification system allowing users to be alerted to changing conditions as they occur.
  • Complete a cybersecurity risk assessment from an external subject matter expert. Based on risk assessment outcomes, develop and require all employees, volunteers and elected officials to complete cybersecurity awareness training before being given access to county information technology systems. Develop and offer cybersecurity awareness training for citizens. Develop and conduct cybersecurity exercises.
  • Protect transportation routes and improve traffic flow along NC 12. Improve NC 12 to a two-lane road and coordinate traffic signals.
  • Advocate the replacement of the Lindsey Warren (Alligator River) Bridge.
  • Improve water supply and delivery systems to save water and reduce drought impacts by eliminating breaks and leaks. Encourage drought-tolerant landscape design to reduce dependence on irrigation. Encourage permeable driveways and surfaces to reduce runoff and promote groundwater recharge.
  • Acquire generators or other forms of redundant power supply to ensure that critical facilities and infrastructure remain operational where normal power supply is not available.
  • Study and identify all key secondary roadways used by workforce that flood routinely and develop plans to mitigate flood hazards. These are transit corridors that support year-round resident populations like Colington Road, NC 345 and Kitty Hawk Road.
  • Expand hazardous weather awareness to include tornados and winter storms by expanding NWS partnership opportunities to include SKYWARN training and community forums.
  • Increase the use of the NWS alert feature of the county mass notification system so that residents and visitors have direct access to all issued weather alerts.
  • Expand the “Love The Beach Respect The Ocean” beach safety campaign by expanding participation with the Chamber of Commerce, property managers, as well as hotel, restaurant and beach equipment rental companies.
  • Take actions needed to ensure equipment and personnel are readily available to implement the Dare County Emergency Pumping Plan at multiple locations simultaneously.

Dare County Medium Actions

  • Expand the number of lifeguarded beaches in unincorporated Dare to bring lifeguards to all villages in addition to ocean rescue response personnel.
  • Expand involvement with the North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center to ensure actionable intelligence on immediate and emerging threats to the region are identified and shared with first responders, private sector, emergency management, local law enforcement and other partner agencies in a timely manner.
  • Encourage the use of natural barriers over hard structure to control shoreline erosion and protect built infrastructure.
  • Protect natural floodplain function and resilient areas as open space to provide flood and coastal hazard risk reduction and potentially increase CRS 420 open space credit.
  • Establish secondary water supplies/points for fire protection efforts.
  • Coordinate with NC Floodplain Mapping on public dissemination of updated floodplain maps.
  • Lobby state legislators to require Realtors to disclose flood zones.

Dare County Low Priorities

  • Complete commodity flow study to identify hazardous materials routinely transported across region.
  • Study and document soundside erosion rates and water level changes.
  • Complete physical security assessment of public facilities and large crowd (500+) gathering venues and events. Based on results, make physical security improvements and/or implement measures to protect lives from likely threats.

Currituck County High Priorities

  • Establish appropriate buffers/setbacks between critical facilities and other uses that may be incompatible.
  • Direct development away from high-risk and vulnerable areas and establish redevelopment standards that decrease hazard risk.
  • Evaluate allocating a portion of occupancy tax toward the dune protection program and shoreline restoration.
  • Identify bridges for retrofitting.
  • Secure funding, design and construct an EOC/Public Safety Facility. Public Safety Center slated for completion late 2020.
  • Maintain and work to improve radio communications and technology throughout public safety programs.
  • Provide continuous training and information for first responders in hazard response.
  • Coordinate response to bridge incidents for the Wright Memorial Bridge.
  • Educate the public and inform them of the benefits of participation in the FIREWISE program.
  • Develop a joint public outreach document that addresses all hazards (published by the planning and emergency management departments).
  • Evaluate effectiveness of Currituck’s warning systems.
  • Educate and assist vulnerable populations in developing personal preparedness plans.
  • Partner with other county departments, state, local agencies to educate and inform vulnerable populations about special needs registry with Social Services through community outreach (survey, website, social media, water bill).
  • Create curriculums for all hazards preparedness to better educate the public.
  • Continue to educate elected officials and the public on the need for and benefits of sustained shoreline management strategies.
  • Develop outreach materials and offer training on Low Impact Development (LID) best management practices that can be distributed to the public and engineering communities.

Currituck Moderate Priorities

  • Maintain partnerships with adjacent counties and municipalities to leverage and share resources.
  • Encourage clustering of residential lots outside of hazard areas in subdivision design/review and discourage development intensity and infrastructure improvements in known hazard areas.
  • Preserve natural environmental features to naturally absorb water run-off and serve as wind buffers.
  • Retain vegetation and require buffers in areas adjacent to wetlands, water bodies and maritime forests.
  • Work in conjunction with the Division of Coastal Management and the GIS coordinator to track the extent of local beach erosion and annually produce a “State of the Beach” report.
  • Create maps reflecting the historical migration of the marsh to track erosion.
  • Seek funding for public hazard mitigation projects.
  • Continue to support efforts for planning, design and construction of the mid-county bridge project.
  • Educate homeowners and builders on the benefits of sprinkler systems in residential structures.
  • Increase public awareness and understanding of the locations and proper way to dispose of hazardous waste.
  • Periodically survey the public to evaluate if public outreach efforts are effective in identifying potential flood hazards, public concern and ways to mitigate against hazards.
  • Educate property owners on the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains, watersheds and other natural/coastal areas.
  • Educate the development and agricultural communities as well as the public on the impacts of turbidity on floodplain/natural areas and mitigating best management practices



Dare commissioners take action; receive two proposals