6/29/18: INACCURATE OBX SENTINEL ARTICLE ABOUT NO-LEFT-TURN TRIAL SHOCKS & DISMAYS; After Setting Record Straight, I Give You List of Recommended Priority Capital Infrastructure Projects for FY 2018-19

 

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I planned to give you a preview of the Southern Shores Town Council’s agenda for its July 10 meeting today, before I steal away for a few days of R&R, but I got distracted by a story published online by The Outer Banks Sentinel about the June 23-24 no-left-turn trial. I frankly was appalled by the article’s factually inaccurate headlines, “Southern Shores’ left turn ban produces no breakthrough: Slightly reduces S. Dogwood traffic, while adding congestion on other roads,” which were based on Police Chief David Kole’s highly negative and biased assessment of the weekend turn ban.

In an online comment responding to the article, I wrote, “This is nonsense. It couldn’t be further from the truth.” I then referred The Sentinel and Chief Kole to the real-time reports posted by Southern Shores residents, whom I don’t personally know, to The Beacon’s Facebook page, as well as the article I posted to this blog on June 25.

I live on a highly traveled cut-through street near South Dogwood Trail, and I made a point of driving throughout Southern Shores over the June 23-24 weekend to observe traffic. The residential roads, including my Hickory Trail and the Dogwoods, were very lightly traveled. I even drove at the speed limit on a usually congested section of NC 12 on Sunday afternoon, during the peak tourist-arrival time. The traffic flowed smoothly. We had a quiet, peaceful, and safe weekend.

“I was wondering if I was on a different planet last weekend after reading the [Sentinel] article!” wrote Lori Harrell Worthington, who lives on the north end of Sea Oats Trail, today on The Beacon’s Facebook page.

Mary Ann Gouzie Hurd called the article “fake news” and posted, “I live on the most heavily traveled cut through . . . Sea Oats Trail We had NO backups either Saturday or Sunday. Actually had very little traffic.”

This is all I’m going to say about the Sentinel’s article. My online reports speak for themselves. I know what I saw, as do Beacon traffic monitors who biked and drove throughout the town. I understand from Sentinel editor Mark Jurkowitz that there will be a follow-up to the article, based on reader response.

NOW, RETURNING TO THE JULY 10 AGENDA . . . I would like to remind you that there will be two public hearings on zoning text amendments, one of which concerns the highly important issue of lot coverage and how it is calculated and the other of which pertains to the anticipated new fire station; and a second reading of ZTA 18-07, which is comprehensively designed to stop the creation and development of nonconforming 50-foot-wide lots in town.

The Beacon reported April 20, 2018, in detail, on the lot coverage ZTA, which is a second attempt by a three-member majority on the Town Council to change the regulations, and has reported extensively in several blog posts on the nonconforming lots ZTA, which received a favorable 3-2 vote at the first reading June 5, when a 4/5 majority was required for passage.

Another important item on the Southern Shores Town Council’s July agenda, which is also scheduled for a public hearing, but has received less attention, is the Council’s adoption of a Capital Infrastructure Improvement Plan for fiscal year 2018-19.

CAPITAL INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PLAN

I publish below the plan recommended April 4, 2018 to the Town Council by the Capital Infrastructure Improvement Plan Committee, which is chaired by Mayor Tom Bennett and Councilman Jim Conners. The plan prioritizes infrastructure projects and is available on the Town website, if you would like to click links. I thought I’d make it easier for you here, by reproducing the list without links.

Southern Shores Town Manager Peter Rascoe, who attends CIIP Committee meetings, volunteered during a recent meeting that I had with him that the CIIP priority list is driven by “squeaky wheels.” So, if your street is not on the list, maybe you haven’t squeaked loudly or often enough.

The infrastructure project “targets,” in order of priority, are:

GROUP A, “Recommended” Targets:

1. YAUPON TRAIL—Phase 1 (north end): 700 linear feet, plus or minus (+/-) and all remaining bulkheading

2. YAUPON TRAIL—Phase 2 (south end): 1,000 LF (+/-)

3. JUNIPER TRAIL—Remaining segment: 2,447 LF (+/-)

GROUP B, in order of priority subsequent to completion of Group A

4. CLAMSHELL TRAIL—Otter Slide east to Chicahauk: 3,440 LF (+/-)

5. GINGUITE TRAIL—southern segment: 2,000 LF

6. HILLCREST DRIVE—Hickory Trail intersection to SSCA tennis courts: 3,700 LF

7. GINGUITE TRAIL—northern segment: 1,800 LF

8. CHICAHAUK TRAIL—N.C. Hwy 12 to Trinitie Trail intersection

9. SEA OATS TRAIL—11th Avenue north to Sea Oats Court

10. BAYBERRY TRAIL—entire length: 1,775 LF, incl. Dewberry Ln., 230 LF

11. WEST HOLLY TRAIL—entire length: 830 LF

12. WAX MYRTLE TRAIL—East Dogwood Trail south to end, 2,720 LF

Including DOLPHIN RUN, 410 LF

Including PORPOISE RUN, 425 LF

GROUP C, “Other”

13. SOUTH DOGWOOD TRAIL—entire length: 12,408 LF

14. SPINDRIFT TRAIL/HIGH DUNE LOOP/WILD PONY LANE intersection.: 160 LF

15. EAST DOGWOOD TRAIL—entire length (excl. prev. rebuild segment): 5,000 LF

16. WAX MYRTLE AND HICKORY TRAIL intersection: 170 LF

17. PINTAIL TRAIL—entire length: 750 LF

18. LAND FALL LOOP—entire length, 330 LF

19. HAPPY INDIAN LANE CUL-DE-SAC: 320 LF

20. TEAL COURT—South Dogwood Trail to cul-de-sac: 275 LF

21. NORTH DOGWOOD TRAIL—entire length: 5,966 LF

22. TURTLE POND COURT—entire length: 470 LF

23. TRINITIE TRAIL (s/w impr. Emphasis)—CLAM SHELL int. to CPOA PARK: Design only

For the minutes of the CIIP committee’s April 4 meeting, see https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/CIIP-Apr-4-2018-Meeting-Minutes.pdf.

The Town’s FY 2018-19 operational budget includes an appropriation of $654,870 for capital infrastructure projects. In order to balance the budget, which projects $6,355,402 in expenditures, Mr. Rascoe and Finance Officer Bonnie Swain transferred $282,828 from the Capital Reserve Fund for Capital Projects to Revenues. These monies, they confirmed in the meeting to which I earlier alluded, must be used for capital projects.

***

UPDATE ON RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS: I am working hard on an update to my June 20, 2018 blog post about restrictive covenants, talking with Town staff and SSCA officials and conducting more research in the Register of Deeds office. I have other people to contact and more research to do. I will write a followup as soon as I can.

Happy 4th of July, everyone.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, June 29, 2018

(Sorry about the technical difficulties! I had trouble with the traffic cone.)

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2 thoughts on “6/29/18: INACCURATE OBX SENTINEL ARTICLE ABOUT NO-LEFT-TURN TRIAL SHOCKS & DISMAYS; After Setting Record Straight, I Give You List of Recommended Priority Capital Infrastructure Projects for FY 2018-19

  1. As a 19-year, full-time resident of Southern Shores on Hickory Trail, I was pleased with the results of the no-left-turn experiment. Yes, there was still increased traffic; but there was no bumper-to-bumper stopped traffic as in previous summer weekends. Yet Chief Kole says it had no effect. Actually that’s not surprising because one must consider the source. He has thwarted most efforts throughout his years here to do anything productive about our traffic issues, whether related to speeding, ignored stop signs, or increased traffic flows. I gave up speaking about these issues at Town meetings after several years because I finally realized that between Chief Kole and Town Manager Peter Rascoe nothing proactive was going to be done. Last weekend’s “experiment” was done on a one-time basis to pacify those still with hope that something will be done. This Fourth of July weekend would have been a better choice, but a success on that weekend might have really gotten the citizenry’s attention. And we certainly cannot have anything upsetting the arrogant sense of superiority consistently displayed by some in our Town’s leadership!

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