Duck hears about fire department promotion, updates facility use policy

Published 2:55 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

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Board of Adjustment appointments, a facility use policy update and fire department promotion were among the top Duck Town Council agenda items February 7.

Following council’s consent agenda approval with December 6, January 3 and January 17 meeting minutes, Duck Fire Chief Donna Black formally announced that Cameron Whitaker had recently been promoted to the rank of fire engineer.

Black said Whitaker, a member of the department for the past five years, has been a proven leader as a master firefighter for some time. In addition to filling in for Captain Smith during his recent absence, Whitaker was instrumental in bringing some specialty fire training opportunities to Dare County and continues to do so.

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A couple of Board of Adjustment position changes required council fill the resulting vacancies.

When Board of Adjustment alternate Kevin Lingard was elected to a Town Council seat, that opened up an alternate vacancy. Then, at the January 3 meeting, Bob Webb was appointed to the Planning Board, creating a regular seat vacancy.

Taking up the full member seat first, current Board of Adjustment alternate Tim McKeithan was recommended and then elected to fill Webb’s seat as a full member.

In separate votes, Daniel Snyder and then Miriam Rollin were selected to fill the two open alternate positions. Alternates are only called to attend meetings and hearings where one or more regular members are absent or unable to attend for any reason.

After a brief introduction and explanation of proposed changes by town clerk Lori Ackerman, council gave unanimous approval to the recommendations. According to Ackerman, the facility use policy was put into place for different groups to rent town facilities and not been changed since 2012. Staff realized over time updating was needed due to some groups abusing the rules or using rooms they did not pay for.

Among the changes are:
■ replace manager with clerk
■ designate that weddings are not permitted
■ adjustment to available times
■ removed audio visual availability since it has never been requested
■ specify that vaping is prohibited
■ limited some kitchen uses
■ clarified parking guidelines
■ added and required emergency contact information
■ require a monitor and monitor information sheet
■ added a release of indemnity
■ fee schedule terminology

During a discussion on the policy changes, town manager Drew Havens explained that the stage, picnic area and Town Park are not part of the facility use agreement and are not rented. As such, they are public areas and not reserved with the understanding that anyone else may also use the areas, although the town does have priority use.

The next scheduled Duck Town Council meeting is a Wednesday and Thursday retreat on February 21 and 22 at 9 a.m.