We have extended an offer to a Town Manager and she has accepted! Mrs. Alice Derian is coming to us from South Carolina and will be starting mid October. The staff and the board are very excited!
It sure is nice to see work progressing on the Town Hall!
- Roof installation near completion
- Interior work progressing as well with the completion of the floors, paint and AC is working properly. Technology work is underway. Doors and countertops arriving soon.
911 Stair Climb
All of us want to send a special thank you to everyone that planned, participated, and donated to the stair climb event. It will always be a day on remembering the sacrifices made on this day. Thank you to the guys and girls from southwest VFD, Jacksonville fire, OCEMS and OCS. The event was a huge success! Never forget! Special thanks to Pat and John Jackson and St. Regis resort for holding the event. It was fantastic to see the community pull together!
The rollout of paid parking for NTB has been very successful. To date, we have exceeded $1 million in year-to-date revenues. The NTB share of that revenue is over $675,000.
Shoreline Protection update
FEMA projects: Sea oats planting to re-vegetate the restored dune sections in the FEMA Hurricane Florence Category B dune restoration project in Phases 2-3 should have started by the time you read my report. Currently, the plan is to plant all the restored dune sections this fall, then continue again next summer for the final sections of dunes that will be restored this winter. Workers will not disturb sea turtle nests.
The contractor has been stockpiling sand at the sand mine for the remaining sections of dunes in the project area that were not restored this past winter. The final 1.8 miles of dune restoration work will re-start on November 16th once turtle season ends.
Planning and permitting continues with the Division of Coastal Management (DCM) for the upcoming FEMA Hurricane Florence Category G engineered beach restoration work in the Phase 5 section of Town. Bids for contractor service to truck haul and place sand on the beach are going out soon with an intended start date of November 16th or soon after as the contractor can mobilize and start hauling sand.
· Sand placement will be onto the beach rather than into the dune line such that the beach in Phase 5 should be anywhere from 100 -150 feet wide once the project is completed over the next two winters.
· Access for delivery of the sand will probably be the Myrtle Parking Lot, so please do not expect to be able to use this parking area this winter or next.
Critical habitat for the rufa Red Knot: The Board of Aldermen at their September 2 board meeting passed a resolution to oppose the US Fish and Wild Service proposed rule (FWS-R5-ES-2021-0032-0001) that would designate as ‘critical habitat’ all of Topsail Island in proposed NC-5 Map Unit for this migrating shorebird. One possible outcome if the proposed rule is accepted could be the closing of the north-end Inlet Permissible Driving area during periods of bird migration.
Although the public comment period has ended, the Topsail Island Shoreline Protection Commission asked our Congressional Delegation to extend the comment period so that methodology, data used, and exclusions proposed can be evaluated for further public comment. Senator Tillis and Senator Burr in the Senate and Rep Rouzer and Rep Murphy in the House recently co-signed a memorandum to US Fish and Wildlife requesting such an extension.
New River Inlet Management Master Plan update: The Army Corps of Engineers have received the technical review of the Engineer’s Report with comments associated with the Environment Impact Statement process.
As mentioned in my last “Mayor’s Desk Report,” next up on their EIS agenda is an interagency scoping meeting to look at alternatives, modeling, and affected environment. Also as a reminder, a public comment window will open tentatively on December 2 and close on January 1, 2022 for those who have reviewed the yet to be published preliminary draft of the EIS and want to comment on its contents. When the preliminary draft report is available, I will provide you with the link to the report on the US Army Corps website.
Although a lot of citizens have strong opinions one way or another about the possibility of the Town constructing a terminal groin as the preferred option from the EIS report, the Board views this EIS process as a way to learn and evaluate the alternatives in the Engineer’s report to slow the erosion rate at the north-end beach and inlet area. Thus, no decision one way or the other has been made by the Board. Also please note that the EIS process and possible court challenges to it will probably take at least 5-7 more years before the Board has their decision to make.
Regional Beach Access #4 update: The dune breach that occurred as a result of Hurricane Florence at the county’s BA#4 parking and access area has been a subject of discussion between myself and the county manager over the past many months. A portion of this discussion included a historic meeting of the NTB Board of Alderman and the Onslow County Board of Commissioners back in July. As a result of that meeting, the county appropriated funds and asked N. Topsail Beach to administer the scope of work and construction restoration of the dune breach. Bids are in for the truck-hauled sand as well as for subsequent sea oats planting that follows the scope of work provided by ATM, our coastal engineering firm for this project. Once the final agreement with the county is in place, work can proceed and is expected to take less than a week to complete.
DEQ-DWR US Army Corps Long-term MOA (of interest to boaters): The quarterly meeting of the Division of Water Resources (DWR) and the Army Corps of Engineers for the long-term agreement that allows dredging of the shallow draft inlets in NC along with certain sections of the ICW waterway was held with stakeholders last week. The quarterly meeting agenda included an update from DWR on the current status of the Shallow Draft Fund ($11 million available this year) along with the current inlet projects. The Army Corps then reviewed the dredging work accomplished in the last quarter which is normally extensive. For the New River Inlet the Merritt, a side-cast dredge, worked the inlet for 2 days at the beginning of the month to widen the channel at the mouth of Cedar Bush Cut. The rest of the inlet channel has remained fairly stable out across the bar since the last dredge work back in February. Both state and federal funds are committed for this fiscal year to dredge the inlet as needed.
Coastal Resources Commission (CRC): The CRC, the rule setting body for CAMA (Coastal Area Management Act) held its quarterly meeting last week as well. Commissioner Douglas Medlin, Mayor of Surf City, represents Topsail Island on the commission.
Topics covered included
· Inlet Hazard Areas where the commission rules no longer allow bulldozing to make dunes in inlet hazard areas.
· Floating Structures where the commission has tasked the Division of Coastal Management (DCM) with a long-term study to consider proposed rules for floating structures that would help North Carolina watermen become more competitive in the shellfish aquafarming industry. Of most concern to NTB property owners would be the visual impairment of floating fish houses to the beautiful vistas we see in our marshes and bays.
· Structural Boat Covers proposed rules were considered in addition to boat houses on a single-family lot with waterfront. The commission considered specific requirements for the permanent boat covers and their spacing on the waterfront from nearby boathouses. The DCM will bring a recommendation back to the commission at the next quarterly meeting.
· Innovative Stormwater Approaches was another agenda item in which a private vendor described a new system for underground storage of storm water as it percolates down to the water table. The commission instructed DCM to continue looking at this innovation and others that might be permissible under CAMA in the future.
Please email me with your shoreline protection questions for my next Mayor’s Report.
Upcoming Events – Mark your Calendars!
OCEAN FEST celebrates Surf City, NC’s wave-riding heritage while providing a fun, free event where everyone can enjoy live music, food, drink, and learn about ways to protect our favorite thing in the world: THE OCEAN.
The 32nd Autumn with Topsail Festival is just around the corner! The festival takes place, rain or shine, October 15th, 16th and 17th on the grounds of the Historic Assembly Building, 720 Channel Boulevard, Topsail Beach, NC. Admission is $6 for adults, or $10 for an adult two-day pass. A new feature this year is on-line ticket sales. Purchase your admission tickets in advance to avoid the ticket lines. Just go to www.autumnwithtopsail.com or the Event webpage https://www.eventeny.com/events/ticket/?id=1259 to make your purchase. Children 12 and under and active-duty military with an ID are free. Visit www.autumnwithtopsail.com for more information.
Next Board of Alderman Meeting
Thursday, October 7th at 6:30
Library in Sneads Ferry
Of course, it will be available online as well.
If you have ever spoken to me personally about my thoughts on election day… You will know my response… Please vote. In such a small community, your vote truly does count. Please take the time to meet your candidates and please take the time to vote!