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Duck police officers earn Advanced Law Enforcement certificates

The February 5 Duck Town Council meeting opened with Police Chief John Cueto presenting Advanced Law Enforcement certificates to two of his officers.

While making the presentations to Timothy M. Armstrong and Justin L. Naquin, Cueto explained that the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission certificates were earned through a combination of formal education, law enforcement training and actual on the job experience as a police officer.

Cueto went on to say Armstrong earned an associate degree in criminal justice at Pitt Community College and worked in Winterville from 2008 to 2012 when he joined the Nags Head Police Department. He has been with Duck about two years.

In January 2008, Naquin started with the Greensboro Police Department and during his career was a member of his department’s Street Crimes Unit with a substantial number of priority one offense arrests, served as an instructor and eventually promoted to detective. In 2017, he brought his experience and training to Nags Head and then came to Duck the following year.

Cueto added that both officers are assets to the Town of Duck Police Department.

Seen as a positive move for Duck, after careful consideration, council approved a text amendment request to expand the area for construction of elevated swimming pools.

According to community development director Joe Heard, following the impact of Hurricane Sandy that left several oceanfront property pools out in the open as potential beach hazards, the Town of Duck has required all pools within CAMA’s Ocean Hazard Setback area to be constructed flush with the adjacent grade of the property.

The Ocean Hazard Setback is an oceanfront area determined by complex calculations that include both the size of development and the shoreline erosion rate. The top of any pool structure within that zone would have to be flush with the adjacent grade and not be supported on a piling foundation.

As explained, the proposed change would allow for swimming pools in areas above the regulatory flood protection elevation to be installed at an elevation higher than the adjacent grade. Any pools below the regulatory flood protection elevation must still be constructed flush with the adjacent grade of the property.

During discussions, Marc Murray with Finch and Company, Inc., explained that allowing pools within the broader Ocean Erodible Area above the adjacent property grade offers greater flexibility for property owners when considering the location of an above-ground pool.

“This change adds an incentive to build further west,” said Murray.

“If we can do anything to incentivize building further west, it is a good thing,” commented Nancy Caviness.

Convinced that the request is in line with the intent of the original ordinance and that it does not permit elevated or pile-supported pools within the primary dune line, council – minus Mayor Pro Tem Monica Thibodeau, who was out of town – gave a unanimous 4-0 vote of support for the amendment change.

Before moving on, council then directed the Planning Board to look at any other sections of the code that might need updating.

In other business for the evening, council authorized a $138,085 contract with VHB Engineering NC for services related implementing Phase IV of the town’s Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan Improvements and accepted 2019 fiscal year audit report by Lisa Murphy with the Kitty Hawk accounting firm of Johnson, Mizelle, Straub and Murphy.

During a summary presentation, Murphy advised that after a thorough review, Duck has received an Unmodified Opinion, the highest rating available, on the town’s financial transaction for the year.

According to Murphy, the total net position for Duck increased by $697,366 with a reported ending fund balance of $8,495,635, a net increase of $268,170 over the previous year. In addition, Duck ended its fiscal year with $1,731,612 less debt.

Council also reviewed a draft agenda to the board’s Feb. 19-20 planning retreat before entering a closed session with the town attorney to discuss pending Hovey v. Sand Dollar Shores Homeowners Association, Inc. and Hovey v. Town of Duck legal actions.

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