Manteo commissioners take up transportation

Published 2:31 pm Wednesday, June 1, 2022

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Manteo’s Board of Commissioners delved into transportation planning, adopted a couple of resolutions and held a closed session at its mid-May meeting.

Town manager Melissa Dickerson delivered an expository presentation about transportation planning process, the Albemarle Rural Planning Organization and project funding.

In January, the commissioners asked the Planning Board to review a 2006 transportation document adopted by the town but not Dare County. The document contained 17 Roanoke Island projects, eight of which were in or nearby the Town of Manteo. At least one of the projects was accomplished, the Uppowoc Avenue extension.

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Dickerson pointed to a suggestion in the 2006 document for timing NCDOT traffic signals for traffic to move smoothly through the town. Roundabouts suggested in the plan were not implemented. Dickerson said she remembered controversy about that recommendation.

Dickerson explained the role of the Albemarle Rural Planning Organization in ranking suggested projects for inclusion in the North Carolina State Transportation Improvement Plan. The current plan allocates project funding for 2020 through 2029. All local governments in NCDOT Division 1 participate in the process through planning staff and elected officials. The organization meets quarterly.

Funding is allocated 40% to statewide projects like interstates, 30% to regional and 30% to divisions. The local rural planning organizations do not participate in statewide project selections, only the regional and division projects.

In addition to that process, the state carried out planning comprehensive transportation plans for all counties and all transportation modes. The Dare County comprehensive plan was completed in 2015. Midway intersection where U.S. 64, NC 345 and bypass U.S. 64 come together is addressed. According to the plan, a flyover was turned down. The plan recommended further study.

A board transportation committee was suggested.

At the meeting’s outset, the commissioners adopted a resolution declaring Safe Boating Week, May 21 through 27. The resolution states, that on average, 650 deaths occur in boating-related accidents in the United States annually. States the resolution: “the vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error or poor judgment and not by the boat, equipment or environmental factors; and … a significant number of boaters who lose their lives by drowning each year would be alive today had they worn their life jackets;”

The second resolution addresses the new proposal for a tribute museum for the Wright Brothers at the site of the Aycock Brown Welcome Center and the Monument to a Century of Flight in Kitty Hawk.

The resolution asks the State of North Carolina to accept the vision of Ken Hyde of the Wright Experience and Bill Cress of Access Aerospace, LLC and other private donors to establish the Wright Brothers Tribute Museum and Observatory on state-owned land at 5230 North Croatan Highway, Kitty Hawk.

At public comment, Jenna Hurdle inquired about the lease for the Magnolia Pavilion.

At a public hearing on the fiscal year 2023 budget, Bob Keeney spoke about three ideas he shared that were not in the draft budget: traffic radar devices to reduce speeding; a town plan for parks and recreation starting with a needs assessment; and installing four-way stops at intersections where it is difficult to see on-coming traffic.

The board set a public hearing for July 6 on the town’s proposed Coastal Area Management Plan.

The board conducted a closed session:

– to “establish, or to instruct staff or negotiating agents concerning the position to be taken in negotiating (i) the price and other material terms of a contract or proposed contract for the acquisition of real property by purchase, option, exchange, or lease of the real property located at 304 Sir Walter Raleigh Street” on which is an old style 1920 house;

– to consult with the town attorney under attorney-client privilege;

– and to prevent premature disclosure of an honorary degree, scholarship, prize or similar award.

The board also learned during department reports that Matt Farmer began working on Tuesday, May 10 as the new town planner.

At this meeting, the board also received department updates.

Absent from the May 18, 2022 meeting were Mayor Pro Tem Betty Selby and commissioner Eddie Mann.

The Manteo Board of Commissioners next meets June 1, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.