USACOE Federal Project / Legislative Efforts
We continue to await the return of an approved Project Partnership Agreement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters. In the meantime, we continue to seek alternatives to the right-of-way parking demands of the Corps to meet peak demand for public beach access. Ms. Hill has requested Onslow GIS to supply a map outlining existing and proposed parking to submit to the Corps for approval. The bill to increase our occupancy tax from 3% to 4% has been introduced in the General Assembly, with the strong support of state Representative Shepard and state Senator Lazzara.
Capital Improvement/Fire Station
Becker Morgan has supplied us with proposed square footage for each department. A zoom conference was held March 29th with their representatives and both Chiefs to review and adjust some of the proposed dimensions of the building and its office and living space. The issue of an additional bay to accommodate DPW equipment was also raised. Next – Becker Morgan will provide us a “floor plan” diagram for review.
The weather forecast finally allowed for work to begin on the roof of the Town Hall, with workers appearing up there on March 29th. Roof shingles will be removed, plywood replaced as necessary, and a metal roof installed.
Preparations have been made to allow for the use of our “Jenkins” parking lot for beach access when the contractor is ready to move north of the Seaview Pier. Following several delays the contractor assures us that they will be making the move on Wednesday, 3/31. In response to requests from the Mayor the contractor has reverted to his plan to work from both ends of the remaining project area, thereby addressing the areas with the greatest need.
Onslow County has now opened vaccination availability to anyone over 16 years old. Appointments are still required.
While the county never responded to our offer to have the truck haul contractor rebuild the protective dune, work has begun at the county beach access to remove the unauthorized decking and hopefully to restore the parking lot, beach access ramps, and, hopefully, the dune line which protects their property and our park. At this time it does not look like dune restoration is part of their plan, with the Hatteras Ramp currently extending out onto the beach berm over flat sand. DPW is investigating possible methods we may use to protect the park in the event of overwash.
Corps of Engineers: ICW Crossing and Channel to Jacksonville Dredging Inlet Dredge
Dredged material is now finally being placed in the “placement area.” It is unclear how far the sand will extend as part of this navigation project, but the Corps of Engineers made an effort to extend their “Environmental Window” in order to complete the channel to Jacksonville dredging. Their original window closed 3/31, but they have received an extension of two weeks.
Corps of Engineers: Terminal Groin
A scoping meeting was held on Facebook Live Thursday, March 25th, at 6:00PM. Stakeholders have the opportunity to provide comments on the proposed project Environmental Impact Statement over the next few weeks. The final EIS will include those comments and address various solutions to the north end erosion problem.
Paid Parking rolled out effective March 1, 2021. As expected there have been some glitches with the technology, but the vendor has been very responsive in resolving issues as they come up. Anyone still experiencing problems can contact the vendor at 910-202-6001 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preliminary budget figures were developed, and department managers were able to address their needs with the Board of Aldermen at the annual Planning Retreat on March 24th. Work refining the budget numbers will continue until all are confident we have achieved a workable final product.