Tomorrow is the deadline for submitting your comments by email or U.S. mail in the Town Council’s beach nourishment survey. The Town Council will hold a public hearing during its workshop meeting next Tuesday on whether or not to move forward with a beach nourishment project in 2022.
The Tuesday, June 16, meeting will be held at 9 a.m. in the Pitts Center and will be open to attendance by the public, who will be required to comply with social-distancing guidelines for mitigating the potential spread of COVID-19. Seating will be limited.
You also may participate in the meeting via Zoom.
Please send your email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to the Town of Southern Shores, 5375 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Southern Shores, NC 27949. Make sure you include your property address(es) with your written remarks.
According to the Tuesday meeting agenda, emails will be forwarded to Town Council members at the close of business tomorrow:
The Beacon has been reporting on the continuing beach nourishment story for more than 15 months. For background, we refer you to blogs posted 2/28/19, 9/17/19, 9/20/19 (in this report, local oceanographers question the Town’s coastal engineering consultant’s “limited data”), and 1/19/20.
In a notice mailed to all Southern Shores property owners, the Town described a potential 2022 beach nourishment project as being funded possibly “through tax assessments which may include Municipal Service Districts and/or a Town-wide assessment that could potentially range from an additional $100 to around $3,000 to your tax bill depending on the value of your property, the location of your property, and its proximity to the ocean.”
What this means is that the Town is considering paying for its share of the estimated $14-$16.5 million project—Dare County would contribute monies, as well—through a special property tax assessment that imposes different rates on properties according to where they are located. The town would be divided into different designated “municipal service districts” for this assessment.
No formal analysis or report of the Town’s MSDs and tax rates has been done. The financial data upon which the Town is currently relying is strictly preliminary and for “discussion purposes only.” The Town cannot know how much your annual tax bill would increase.
The Beacon does not support the beach nourishment project, as proposed. We do not believe that all—or even most of the—3.7 miles of the Southern Shores coastline need additional sand fill.
We also believe that Southern Shores, which differs substantially from other beach towns because of its strong dune system, its lack of commercial property on the oceanfront, and its layout, should settle the beach nourishment question by referendum and its funding by a general obligation bond.
Much of Southern Shores is “proximate” to the oceanfront. That is a primary reason why people bought land here and built homes.
TRAFFIC COUNT DATA FROM APRIL, MAY, AND LAST WEEKEND
In addition to the public hearing on beach nourishment Tuesday, the Town Council will resume its discussion of the three no-left-turn weekends this summer that it approved, 4-1, at its June 1 regular meeting.
You may find of interest traffic-count data compiled in weekly increments by Police Chief David Kole from March 30 to June 7, and included in the Council’s meeting packet.
Until the week of May 25-31, vehicles on N.C. Hwy. 12 and the South Dogwood Trail cut-through route apparently were being counted at 12 different locations. During the June 1-7 week, a thirteenth location on Juniper Trail was added.
We believe the data, if accurate, speak for themselves. Assumptions as to why traffic may have increased on a given Saturday are not evidence-based and should not be made. There is no way for Chief Kole or anyone else to know why people come to, and leave the Outer Banks when they do. Speculation is inappropriate.
The Chief highlights in red on his data sheets those traffic-count numbers that may be erroneous because of a problem with the counter. While they are not many, they do call into question the reliability of this technology.
You may be interested to know that last Saturday, when the cut-through traffic was hideous, 10,002 vehicles were counted traveling north on N.C. 12 at the Skyline Road counter; 2,121 were counted going north at the South Dogwood Trail counter; and 2,472 were counted, going north on Seat Oats Trail, at 332 Sea Oats Trail, which is just north of the Hillcrest Drive-Sea Oats Trail intersection.
It would appear that Sea Oats Trail is the convergence point for traffic because the count last Saturday at 55 Hickory Trail (going north) was just 1,284, nearly 50 percent fewer vehicles than those counted at 332 Sea Oats Trail. Drivers appear to be jumping off of Wax Myrtle Trail, Hillcrest Drive, and Sea Oats Trail between East Dogwood Trail and Hillcrest Drive.
More counters are necessary to get a full picture of the traffic flow.
The data, as presented, do not distinguish between northbound and southbound traffic on the dunes roads or on Juniper Trail. So we checked the roadside counters themselves, which also register the speed of the passing vehicles. They are all positioned to count northbound traffic.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 6/11/20