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Dare commissioners adopt land use amendments, create special revenue funds

Dare County Board of Commissioners has adopted a series of amendments to six ordinances that govern land use in unincorporated portions of the county.

The updates to Dare County’s Code of Ordinances are required by legislation passed by the state’s General Assembly. All local governments in North Carolina are dealing with the legislative changes.

The legislation makes changes to North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 160D dealing with land use regulation. Some changes in the various ordinances were suggested after ordinances were reviewed.

Dare County’s Planning Board carefully examined the changes and recommended Board of Commissioners approval.

On May 21, 2021, planning director Donna Creef reported that six ordinances are affected by the required changes. Those ordinances are Chapter 150 Airport; Chapter 151 Flood Prevention Ordinance; Chapter 152 Planning and Development; Chapter 153 Subdivision Ordinance; Chapter 158 Signs addressing roof signs and digital display signs; Chapter 158 Zoning Ordinance where the legislation now references “special use” rather than the current “conditional use” as well as substantive changes.

Changes also address administrative procedures along with conflict of interest requirements for advisory boards and staff.

During discussion, board Vice Chairman Wally Overman asked about digital display signs which, under the new rules, can change images once every 60 minutes. The rule effectively stops running distracting videos on screens along roadways.

Commissioner Ervin Bateman asked about the brightness of digital signage, which “can be really, really bright.”

County manager Robert L. Outten responded that the administration will return to the Planning Board to examine intensity of such signage.

Outten also told the board that the vast majority of the changes are mandated by the legislation and that Dare County has “no choice” but to make the changes.

After a public hearing with no participants, Dare’s commissioners adopted the changes unanimously. The commissioners voted 6-0 to approve the changes. Commissioners thanked Creef for producing the adopted document.

Finance director David Clawson purposefully waited until the last meeting of the fiscal year to ask the commissioners to create three special revenue funds.

“I don’t agree with what we’re having to do,” said Clawson. The changes are required by the state’s Local Government Commission to comply with two standards from the Government Accounting Standards Board.

The special revenue funds created and budgeted are:

– Deeds of Trust Fund. Dare County is required to collect a state conveyance fee. The new fund will hold revenue collected by the Register of Deeds office and remit to the state. The budget is $1.8 million.

– Fines and Forfeitures. Court fines and forfeitures are required by statute to be forwarded to school systems. The amount varies from year to year. The budget is $500,000.

– Representative Payee Fund. The county’s Division of Social Services is sometimes appointed trustee of individuals. The county has always handled these funds in a trust account. Creating this fund creates a “real problem” because the division does not know what’s coming, said Clawson. The budget is $350,000.

The commissioners agreed to retain the architecture firm Oakley Collier Architects from Rocky Mount to provide services for projects under $50,000. A Request for Qualifications was issued; three responses were received.

In the Consent Agenda, the commissioners approved:

– a budget amendment for holiday and comp time payout distributed to county departments and paid in payroll checks issued June 4. The amendment totaled $778,650.

– reimbursement resolutions for fiscal year 2022 for vehicle and equipment financing in the amount of $2.98 million and fiscal year 2022 public works equipment financing in the amount of $1.39 million.

– North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality grant and budget amendment to cover additional expenses for sediment sampling and testing on the Dredge Material Permitting Project. The initial contract is amended by $138,000 with Dare County paying $45,996 and the state’s Shallow Draft Navigation Fund paying $92,004.

– Avon Property Owners Association July Fourth Celebration was approved for a fireworks display on July 4.

– a Sheriff’s Department grant application approved to apply for a human trafficking grant in a partnership with Outer Banks Hotline Crisis Intervention and Prevention Center. This grant will completely fund a deputy sheriff to partner with Currituck, Camden and Pasquotank counties to create a task force to investigate human trafficking in the four county area.

– a three-party right-of-way encroachment request with NCDOT, Outer Banks Dare Challenge, Inc. and Dare County Water Department to install a fire hydrant on the east NC 345, about 3,700 feet north from the intersection of NC 345 and Baumtown Road in front of Dare Challenge.

The board of commissioners made the following appointments:

Game and Wildlife Commission. Board Chairman Robert L. Woodward announced a vote by individual. The board unanimously reappointed Buddy Shelton, Phil Haywood and Andrew Horne and reappointed Harvey Scarborough by a 4-2 vote with Woodard and Overman opposing.

Wanchese Community Center Board. Reappointed Tina Sherrod, Bill Wilson, Sally DeFosse, Becky Beacham and Joseph Lee Willis.

East Lake Community Center Road. Reappointed Rosemarie Doshier.

Outten brought several items to the board.

Dare Challenge has been clearing property and asked to use spoil material from the Shallowbag pit to fill holes created by removing trees. Dare’s commissioners declared the spoil material an asset and approved transfer to Dare Challenge, which is aware that the material must be tested.

College of The Albemarle Foundation requested some changes in the memorandum of understanding about the county’s Dare Guarantee Scholarship.

Initially, the scholarship was available to Dare County residents within two years from graduating from a Dare County high school. The commissioners agreed to drop the time period as some applicants are older and asking for scholarships to change careers or complete course work.

The commissioners agreed to an increase in the foundation’s administrative fee.

Outten asked for and gained approval for entering a contract with Granicus for “website redesign and implementation of gov delivery for messaging.” The new website will launch in fall 2022. It’s a five-year contract then renewable on an annual basis. The one-time fee is $28,250. Annual subscriptions total $28,125.

Outten reported on the NC 12 Task Force subcommittee recent meeting. The next meeting is set for July 13. Members will take a bus trip down NC 12.

The manager reported on the 18-bedroom house fire in Kill Devil Hills.

“Everybody got out,” said Outten, who commended firefighters.

Reportedly, at least 42 people were in the house that was completely destroyed by fire and eight people were evacuated from two adjoining buildings.

Dare County opened Rec Park for shelter and a place for the American Red Cross to operate. Dare County vans were used to transport people to the Norfolk airport to obtain rental cars. By 1 p.m., every person was taken care of.

“Our crew did a remarkable job,” said Outten.

Dare County commissioners will next meet Monday, July 19 at 5 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room attached to the Dare County Administration Building, located at 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr. in Manteo.

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