I’m getting personal messages and emails from residents about today’s cut-thru traffic. For that reason, I am publishing this post so that folks can share their comments with others and document traffic conditions.
After spending my morning writing the update on new COVID-19 cases in Dare County, I hit the street with my dog and saw what I’ve seen throughout the summer when the left-turn ban at U.S. Hwy. 158 and South Dogwood Trail and the local-traffic-only barriers have been in effect, to wit:
The flow of traffic traveling north on South Dogwood Trail and turning right on East Dogwood Trail is steady and constant, albeit of a lower volume than I see when the left turn at U.S. Hwy. 158 is permissible.
The overwhelming majority of northbound drivers do not stop at the stop sign at South Dogwood-East Dogwood, and many pick up speed on East Dogwood as they race across the Dick White Bridge. Some are already speeding when they careen through the stop sign.
The overwhelming majority then turn left on Hickory Trail, despite the local-traffic-only barrier, and even, sometimes, when a vehicle is coming from the opposite direction.
I received reports last weekend of a fender bender at the East Dogwood-Hickory intersection caused by a driver trying to turn left at Hickory Trail into oncoming traffic, then backing up and colliding with the vehicle behind him/her. I saw a narrow aversion of a head-on collision earlier today when a northbound driver turned left into an oncoming car and barely managed to skim past it.
Oncoming traffic on Hickory Trail is not clearly visible to drivers stopped at the eastbound East Dogwood Trail stop sign. I know. I’ve made that turn hundreds of times in the past 23 years, and I always stop and take it slowly. Sometimes oncoming drivers will take both lanes of the road, casually assuming that that they have the road to themselves–or having just given a wide berth to a dog walker.
Please feel free to add to today’s conversation. Enjoy your weekend.
In a striking departure from a practice it initiated in mid-May to report new COVID-19 cases on a weekly, rather than a daily basis, the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services yesterday reported 103 new COVID-19 cases in just the past three days.
Of those 103, 65 (63 percent) are Dare County residents, and 38 (37 percent) are nonresidents.
These percentages are similar to those derived from the July 20-July 27 new case total of 83 that the DCDHHS reported in its weekly update on Tuesday. Fifty-one, or 61 percent, of Tuesday’s new cases were Dare County residents, and 32, or 39 percent, were nonresidents.
(See The Beacon, 7/28/21.)
Since Tuesday’s update, another Dare County resident has been hospitalized for the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to the DCDHHS COVID-19 dashboard, bringing the total to two persons. A nonresident also has been transferred from Dare County and hospitalized.
On 7/28/21, we reported that, after four consecutive weeks of COVID-19 case increases, Dare County is now in the “high” red category of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s level of community transmission of COVID-19.
According to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, Currituck County is also an area of high community transmission of the disease.
Although a genomic sequencing analysis has yet to confirm that the highly contagious and more severe Delta variant of COVID-19 is in Dare County—at least, not as reported—the DCDHHS has long maintained that it is “prevalent.”
“Epidemiological data,” according to the DCDHHS’s July reports, indicate that both the State of North Carolina and Dare County are at the beginning of a “surge” in COVID-19 infections, driven by the Delta variant.
The N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services reported more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday (3,268) and Friday (3,199), according to The Raleigh News and Observer—higher daily case totals than have been recorded in months.
The NCDHHS updates its COVID-19 metrics dashboard Monday through Friday.
We reported earlier this week that 51—or 61 percent—of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County during the week of July 20-27 were between the ages of 25 and 49; and all but 13 (16 percent) were under the age of 50. Only three were age 65 or older.
Yesterday’s age-data breakdown differs markedly from this analysis, in that only 47 percent—48 of the 103—of the new cases were of people between the ages of 25 and 49, and 26 of them, or 25 percent, were age 50 or older. Nine of the 103 cases were people age 65 or older. Of those, only two were Dare County residents.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky yesterday squarely blamed unvaccinated people who have refused to wear face masks for the recent uncontrolled spread of the Delta variant throughout the country, according to The News & Observer.
“Our guidance in May said that fully vaccinated people could take off their masks safely, and that unvaccinated people should continue to wear them,” Dr. Walensky said in a telephone interview with Michael Wilner, the Senior National Security and White House Correspondent for McClatchy, which owns the Raleigh newspaper.
“Unfortunately, that’s not how it played out. Unvaccinated people took off their masks as well. And that’s what led us to where we are today.”
About 80 percent of the counties nationwide that have the most disease, Dr. Walensky told the McClatchy reporter, have less than 40 percent of their residents vaccinated.
With new scientific data suggesting that vaccinated people can spread COVID-19 as easily as those who have not been vaccinated, the CDC last week advised fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in public places if they are in a community, such as Dare County, with a high or “substantial” rate of viral transmission.
In light of this change in guidance, Dr. Walensky stressed in her interview with Mr. Wilner that the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are still working at “90-percent protection against symptomatic disease.”
This means, she said, that “if you know 10 people who’ve been vaccinated, one of them may be a breakthrough case.”
It has long been reported that the breakthrough case would experience milder symptoms than an infected unvaccinated person would.
According to a recent study in “The England Journal of Medicine” cited by Dr. Walensky that was based on Israeli trial data, a number of vaccinated people who experienced breakthrough cases actually had suffered from “long COVID,” which is characterized by symptoms that last for weeks or months and can come and go.
We believe it is safe to say that data about breakthrough cases are still emerging.
The CDC is continuously examining data from clinical trials worldwide, from vaccine manufacturers, and from the United States’ international partners and is likely to change its guidance again as the science evolves.
Dr. Walensky declined to predict in her interview how long Americans will be advised to wear masks going forward.
The Southern Shores Exploratory Committee for a Potential Branch Library will meet tomorrow at 5:30 p.m., and the Southern Shores Town Council will meet next Tuesday (Aug. 3) at 5:30 p.m., both meetings to be held in the Pitts Center behind Town Hall.
The Council’s meeting will be live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/ user/TownofSouthernShores. A videotape will be available for viewing on You Tube after the meeting.
Before the coronavirus pandemic up-ended local government last year, the library exploratory committee had made great strides in organizing and seeking Dare County funding for a branch library in Southern Shores.
According to committee member/spokesperson Lilias Morrison, who updated the Town Council on the status of the venture at its June meeting, TowneBank’s offer to rent for $1.00/year a building that it owns on Juniper Trail to house the library still stands.
The committee will be assessing the library project at tomorrow’s meeting, which is open to all members of the public.
As for the Town Council, its regular August meeting is usually light on business, and next Tuesday’s session is no exception. Most noteworthy on the agenda is Town Attorney Cliff Ogburn’s report, which will include updates on:
the cut-through traffic and mitigation efforts;
the 2022 beach nourishment project;
an application for a Building Resilient Infrastructures and Communities (BRIC) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); and
an application for a future tourism impact grant from the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.
We are particularly pleased that the Town Manager will be discussing a possible BRIC grant application. We support all hazard-mitigation efforts that shift some of the financial burden for disaster-risk reduction and shoreline management away from local taxpayers and that promote partnerships within and among local communities.
BRIC is a new FEMA pre-disaster hazard mitigation program. We first heard about it from mayoral candidate Rod McCaughey, who informed us that the Town of Duck had received a $1.8 million BRIC grant.
According to the FEMA website, as of today, Duck’s “living shoreline and N.C. 12 resiliency” project was “selected for further review.” The grant, which is reportedly for $1,849,197.37, has not been awarded yet, according to FEMA’s online update.
Duck’s resiliency project was described in the spring/summer 2021 issue of the town’s newsletter, “Duck Tales,” as “infrastructure improvements in a quarter-mile stretch of Duck Road adjoining the Currituck Sound in the northern section of Duck Village.”
The “main components” of the project, according to “Duck Tales,” include a “living shoreline (marsh restoration/shoreline stabilization), sidewalk/bike lanes, and elevation of Duck Road (with associated stormwater management improvements) in that area.”
QUICK ACTION TO PREVENT POSSIBLE SUBDIVISION TREND
The Town Council also will hold a public hearing on a Town Code Amendment (TCA) that aspires to put the finishing touches on quick action taken by the Council to prevent the possibility of allowing through subdivision the creation of a new buildable lot that does not have frontage on a public street.
At its June 1 meeting, the Town Council conditionally approved a preliminary subdivision plat submitted by the homeowners at 279 Hillcrest Drive to subdivide their single large lot into two lots, the second of which would be behind the first, and would not front on a public or private street.
Town Code sec. 36-95, which pertains to lot access, allows a lot to be developed provided it has 30 feet of frontage on a public road, private street, or an easement. (The wording of this zoning ordinance is phrased in the negative and is not easy to understand.)
According to this ordinance, therefore, the homeowners at 279 Hillcrest Drive could subdivide their property in a back-to-front fashion, rather than side-to-side, if they created 30 feet of easement frontage for the back end of the property, which is currently inaccessible by road.
In addition to conditionally approving the homeowners’ preliminary plat in June, the Town Council asked the Planning Board to recommend a Town Code Amendment that would eliminate the possibility of subdividing property in such a manner as to create lots that only front on easements.
In its first attempt at amending the Code, the Planning Board sought to eliminate the word “easement” from a reference in sec. 36-95 to frontage on “a public right-of-way or a private street or easement.” It did this through Zoning Text Amendment 21-07, which it unanimously recommended to the Town Council.
The Town Council took no action on ZTA 21-07 at its July meeting, however, because, after further review, it was determined that the ZTA would “render existing lots with frontage on an easement nonconforming,” according to Planning Director/Deputy Town Manager Wes Haskett’s report for next Tuesday’s meeting.
In place of ZTA 21-07, the Planning Board came back with TCA 21-06, which will be the subject of the Council’s hearing on Tuesday. This amendment changes general requirements within the Town’s subdivision ordinance, so that all new lots created by subdivision must front upon a public road. Neither private roads nor access easements are acceptable.
TCA 21-06 also clarifies that proposed roads in subdivisions that are “obviously in alignment with existing roads shall be given the same name” and that no new road name can duplicate an existing name or be phonetically similar to an existing name.
While The Beacon applauds the Planning Board and the Town Council for acting quickly to “nip in the bud” a possible subdivision trend toward creating buildable lots that only front on easements, we are not comfortable with leaving the lot-access ordinance, sec. 36-95, as it is. We would clean it up.
There will be two public-comment periods during the Town Council meeting during which each speaker may speak for three minutes.
The first period occurs after the staff reports and before the Council takes up “old” and “new” business, and the second occurs after all business has been concluded, shortly before adjournment.
The Town Council is no longer accepting emailed or mailed public comments, only comments presented in person.
To speak, you must sign up on a comment sheet in the back of the meeting room before Mayor Tom Bennett calls the meeting to order.
There are times when the Mayor will allow people to speak even though they have not signed up in advance, but it is always a good idea to arrive early and get your name on the comments sheet to be certain of your opportunity.
The number of new COVID-19 cases last week in Dare County increased by 54 percent over the previous week, as the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services yesterday reported 83 new cases, 32 of them—or 39 percent—nonresidents.
The DCDHHS also reported a positivity rate of 13 percent for the week of July 20-27, up from 12.1 percent during the previous week.
(See The Beacon, 7/21/21 and 7/14/21, for previous reports.)
After four consecutive weeks of COVID-19 case increases, Dare County is now in the “high” red category of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s level of community transmission of the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Also yesterday, the CDC advised all vaccinated individuals in an area of “substantial” or “high” transmission of COVID-19 to wear a mask indoors in public areas in order to “maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others.”
Although the Delta variant of the virus has not been determined by genomic sequencing to be infecting people in Dare County, the DCDHHS considers it to be “prevalent” here.
According to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, both Dare and Currituck counties are areas of high community transmission of COVID-19.
(See the CDC’s COVID tracker to ascertain the level of community transmission in any county in the country: CDC COVID Data Tracker. Counties reporting sufficient data are rated as high, substantial, moderate, or low in transmission level.)
The DCDHHS broke down the COVID-19 data for July 20-27 as follows:
*Sixty-three of the 83 cases (76 percent) were symptomatic;
*Forty-eight (58 percent) acquired the virus by direct contact with unvaccinated people who tested positive for COVID-19;
*Twenty-six (31 percent) did not know how they acquired the virus;
*Twenty-two (27 percent) were breakthrough cases (five had the J&J vaccine; 11 had Moderna; and six had Pfizer-BioNTech)
The DCDHHS said in its report that since the week of April 12, there have been 50 identified breakthrough cases in Dare County—about 10 percent of the total number (481) of positive cases—most of whom had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic, and none of whom was hospitalized.
The 10 percent figure is substantially higher than the estimated 1 percent of breakthrough cases among the total number of positive COVID-19 cases nationwide, as reported by the CDC.
According to data posted yesterday on the DCDHHS’s dashboard, 51—or 61 percent—of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 locally during the week of July 20-27 were between the ages of 25 and 49. All but 13 were under the age of 50. Only three were age 65 or older.
The DCDHHS continues to stress that epidemiological evidence indicates that both the State of North Carolina and Dare County are at the beginning of a “surge” in COVID-19 infections.
Besides getting vaccinated, the DCDHHS advises people to protect themselves by limiting “prolonged direct contact with unvaccinated individuals who do not live in your household, wearing a mask when in large crowds, especially indoors, and washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer.”
It also echoes the CDC’s advice, saying that “given the high level of community transmission in Dare County, . . . vaccinated individuals may also want to wear a mask when they are gathered among unvaccinated individuals or in an environment where vaccination status is unknown.”
Dare currently has 59 active cases of COVID-19 infection, according to the DCDHHS. One person is hospitalized with what the health department describes as “complications” of the disease.
We are receiving emails from readers that the cut-through traffic on the residential roads today is nightmarish, despite the left-turn ban at U.S. 158 and South Dogwood Trail and the “local-traffic-only” barriers at entrances to Hickory Trail, Hillcrest Drive, Sea Oats Trail, and Wax Myrtle Trail.
Please feel free to post your observations and comments about the traffic here, so that we may preserve a real-time record of the road conditions.
We welcome comments from people who live along the South Dogwood cut-through route, as well as people who live in Chicahauk, Sea Crest Village, and those who live in the “low-traffic area” of Ocean Boulevard, which is the stretch of road between the cell tower and Hickory Trail.
Heck, we would like to hear from everyone. How’s your Saturday going?
Last Saturday I reported upon my candidacy for the Southern Shores Town Council, along with my two opponents’, in a blog post that led with the news of former SSCA President Rod McCaughey filing for Mayor. I promised in that post to issue a statement this week. This is that statement.
(See The Beacon, 7/17/21.)
I started The Beacon in April 2018 because I did not believe people who live and work, and otherwise have an interest, in Southern Shores were being adequately informed by the then-Town Council or the then-Town Hall. I believed the information flow between the Town government and the public was insufficient, and that transparency in government action was often lacking.
I also strongly believed, and still do, that the public deserves a press watchdog to ensure accountability by local government officials in both their decision-making and behavior and in the processes by which these officials govern.
While I would like all voters to be informed about this year’s Town Council race, I have a strong bias in favor of one candidate. I cannot be truly objective in evaluating the candidates, nor do I wish to use The Beacon as a political tool for myself. It exists because of me, but it also has its own identity.
For these reasons, I will not be covering the Town Council election in The Beacon.
You will be able to learn about my candidacy and me through a campaign website, gatherings at which you may meet me and ask questions that are important to you, a public debate with my opponents (assuming a COVID-19 resurgence does not force its cancellation), and other communications.
My opponents will similarly manage their campaigns as they see fit. I will not run a negative campaign and seek to discredit them or their candidacies. Anyone who runs for public office in order to represent the interests of a constituency is to be commended.
I do anticipate, however, reporting in The Beacon, whenever possible, upon events involving the two mayoral candidates, Mr. McCaughey and Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Morey, and making an endorsement of one of the candidates. I also aspire to sending each a questionnaire from The Beacon to solicit his/her viewpoints.
We have many issues to address in Southern Shores as the town continues to grow and change and our quality of life is sometimes challenged. I will not politick about them here, but I hope you will join me in conversations elsewhere during the three months leading up to Nov. 2.
Dare County today reported a 35-percent increase in new COVID-19 cases for the past week over the previous week’s new-case total—from 40 cases to 54 cases—marking the third consecutive week that the number of people who tested positive locally for the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has increased.
The percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 among the total tests administered during the week of July 13-20—the so-called positivity rate—also increased, rising to 12.1 percent from the previous week’s 11.3 percent.
(See The Beacon, 7/14/21.)
Dare County residents accounted for 47, or 87 percent, of the 54 new cases, and seven nonresidents accounted for the remaining 13 percent, according to an online update posted today by the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services, which also announced two County-sponsored “back-to-school” vaccination clinics next week for persons age 12 and older.
The County will administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved for use in adolescents and requires two doses, the second one of which is given three weeks after the first.
“Epidemiological data,” the DCDHHS said in today’s update, indicate that both the State of North Carolina and Dare County are “at the beginning of another surge in COVID-19 infections.” The DCDHHS did not elaborate further on this data, however.
The Delta variant of the virus, which is “significantly more contagious” than other variants and is marked by the onset of different symptoms, “is believed to be prevalent in Dare County,” the DCDHHS said, although prevalence has not yet confirmed. (See The Beacon, 7/14/21.)
In last week’s update, the health department said that the results of genomic sequencing of local virus samples sent to the State for analysis had not yet been received. The DCDHHS did not report any sequencing results today.
Of the 54 new COVID-19 cases, according to the DCDHHS, 80 percent were symptomatic; 94 percent acquired the virus by direct contact with people who were not vaccinated and tested positive for COVID-19; and 17 percent were “breakthrough cases,” meaning they acquired the virus despite being vaccinated against it.
Of the nine breakthrough cases, three people received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine; three received the Moderna vaccine; and three received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
So far, 28 breakthrough cases have been reported in Dare County since “the onset of providing vaccinations,” the DCDHHS said in its update.
As was true of the previous week’s 40 new COVID-19 cases, this week’s 54 cases run the gamut in age—from the 17-and-under age group to the 65-and-older age group—although the majority (37 of 54) were under age 50.
Eight people age 17-and-under, all residents, tested positive for COVID-19, as did four Dare residents who are age 65-and-older.
The DCDHHS continues to promote vaccinations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reports that 60 percent of Dare’s population was fully vaccinated as of July 18. It reported the same figure last week: Fewer than 100 more locals became fully vaccinated during the week of July 12-18.
The DCDHHS will offer two back-to-school vaccination clinics this month, the first on Thursday, July 29, from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Buxton, and the second in Nags Head from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Town Planning Board yesterday considered site plans for a 24,000-square-foot, “off-price” Marshalls department store to be built in the Marketplace at Southern Shores next door to the CVS Pharmacy.
The plans, submitted by “Southern Shores Owner, LLC,” which is represented by developer Ashton Properties of Charlotte, call for the demolition of all buildings to the west of CVS—up to and including the space rented by Coastal Rehab—and the redevelopment and reconfiguration of the parking area.
According to a project narrative by Ashton Properties, which has owned the Marketplace since 2014, the redevelopment would demolish 19,775 square feet of existing shops and “reconfigure” about two acres of existing parking lot, adding 27 new parking spaces.
Next to the Marshalls, Ashton’s Vice President of Construction and Development, L. Karen Partee, told the Planning Board at its regular meeting yesterday, the developer also would construct at the same time a 6,000-square-foot retail outlet.
The smaller shop does not yet have a lessee, Ms. Partee said, but Ashton has a “national soft goods retailer” in mind for the space.
Ms. Partee also said that Ashton would help Coastal Rehab to relocate.
At 24,000 square feet, the proposed Marshalls is considered a “junior box” store, according to Southern Shores Owner, LLC’s application to the Town for building permits and a site plan review.
Marshalls “mega” stores, which were once more commonly known as “big box” stores, also exist. The descriptor of “off-price” is now favored over “discount” by commercial developers and retail store owners.
According to Internet sources, Marshalls, which is owned by TJX Companies—the parent company of T.J. Maxx and Home Goods—has more than 1,000 stores in the United States and 61 stores in Canada. The U.S. stores are reportedly in 42 states and Puerto Rico.
There are three Marshalls stores in the Hampton Roads area, including one in Chesapeake.
There are five Marshalls stores in North Carolina, the closest one to the Outer Banks being in Wilson.
The off-price department store sells clothing, shoes, cosmetics, jewelry, and an assortment of home products, including bedding and some furniture, according to the Marshalls and TJX Companies websites.
According to Ms. Partee, the Marshalls project is “phase one of trying to get the center where it needs to be.” Ashton intends to do a “good bit of redevelopment,” she told the Planning Board, to “upgrade” and “right-size” the Marketplace, which has “far too many” small shops, many of which are currently vacant.
If the Town and Ashton come to terms on the project, demolition could start as early as the end of this year, Ms. Partee told The Beacon after the meeting.
She projected a tentative opening date for the Marshalls store of spring 2023.
Ashton’s plans must be reviewed first by the Planning Board, which either recommends them or not, before the Town Council considers them for approval.
The Board expressed concerns yesterday about increased stormwater runoff into the canal behind the Marketplace caused by the construction, which will increase ground coverage by roughly 10,000 square feet.
Board member Robert McClendon said he would like “to see some infiltration system before water goes into the canal.”
Board member Ed Lawler agreed, saying “We shouldn’t be straight-piping any water straight into the canal.”
“Straight-piping”–into the same pipes that were installed in 1987 when the Marketplace was built–is what is currently occurring with stormwater runoff around the shopping center.
Ms. Partee said that Ashton has not integrated a new stormwater-runoff treatment plan into its project, but it is looking at using permeable surface in the parking area.
“If stormwater changes get put on top of this project,” she said, “it could cripple it.”
In response to a Board question about the appearance of the Marshalls department store and the adjacent 6,000-square-foot shop, Ms. Partee said that the developer would not try to “match up” the new facades with existing building facades. She said the single-story structures would most resemble the appearance of Food Lion.
Ashton will make a full presentation about its Marketplace redevelopment plan at the Planning Board’s Aug. 16 meeting.
OVERHAUL OF TOWN ORDINANCES ON SOLID WASTE
In other business last evening, Vice Chairperson Tony DiBernardo announced that the Planning Board had been given the go-ahead by the Town Council, before whom he appeared on July 6, to revise and bring up to date the Town Code chapter on solid waste, which was enacted in 1988.
Mr. DiBernardo addressed in particular revising Town Code Chapter 26 so that it addresses problems that have arisen with trash and recycling receptacles, many of them caused by confusion and neglect among renters at vacation homes.
Just trying to figure out which receptacle at a rental home is for trash and which is for recycling can be a challenge for renters, because of the many different colors of the cans.
Among the concerns Mr. DiBernardo highlighted yesterday are:
Placing and removing receptacles from the right-of-way in an appropriate and timely fashion (The current Town ordinance specifies that receptacles “should,” not shall, be moved out of the right-of-way within 24 hours after collection.);
Maintaining a sufficient number of receptacles at vacation rental homes, based on occupancy;
Ensuring that recycling and trash items put out for pickup are not overflowing and creating litter; and
Educating people about which items are recyclable and which are not.
The Beacon applauds this initiative, which will involve the Planning Board, the Public Works department, other Town staff, and perhaps members of the public.
We daresay no one living in Southern Shores likes to see litter strewn on the side of the road; to encounter toppled receptacles in the roadway; and to experience other eyesores and hazards caused by misuse or neglect of trash and recycling receptacles.
During the seven years that we have been regularly attending Town Council meetings, we have heard numerous homeowners complain about the receptacles. We are glad someone is finally taking action.
2021-22 OFFICER ELECTION: The Planning Board unanimously reelected Andy Ward as its chairperson and Mr. DiBernardo as its vice chairperson. Planning Board officers serve one-year terms, which coincide with the fiscal year.
Other members of the five-person board, which also serves as the Town Board of Adjustment, include Lynda Burek, Robert McClendon, and Ed Lawler. Jan Collins is the Board’s first alternate.
There has been a vacancy for the position of second alternate for months. If you would like to apply for this voluntary position, please see:
Rod McCaughey, the immediate past president of the Southern Shores Civic Assn., filed Thursday to run for mayor of Southern Shores. He will face Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Morey in the Nov. 2 municipal election.
(See The Beacon, 7/3/21, for an announcement of Ms. Morey’s candidacy.)
Mr. McCaughey has been active in the SSCA since he and his wife, Betsy, retired to Southern Shores eight years ago, moving into a home that they built on Eleventh Avenue.
Mr. McCaughey volunteered to serve on the SSCA’s Architectural Review Board soon after his arrival. He went on to lead the revitalization of the SSCA’s Sea Oats Park and the restoration of its North Marina, among other improvement efforts, and to serve two years as SSCA president. He currently is involved in bringing pickleball courts to the Hillcrest Beach.
Before his retirement to Southern Shores, Mr. McCaughey told The Beacon that he had two successful careers as a business entrepreneur.
He first started a medical-industrial gas company, which he eventually sold to British Oxygen Co., for whom he worked as marketing manager for the Northeast after the sale.
When his employment contract with BOC expired, Mr. McCaughey, who is a native New Yorker, returned to school and earned his M.B.A. in London. He went on to a second career as a partner in a regional mortgage banking business.
In his bid for mayor, Mr. McCaughey said he hopes to “fairly represent the interests of all homeowners in Southern Shores while guiding and managing growth in the community.”
The term of office for the Southern Shores mayor is four years; the position is compensated with a small annual salary.
2021 TOWN COUNCIL ELECTION
Three Southern Shores homeowners filed their candidacies yesterday at the Dare County Board of Elections for the Town Council seat that current Councilman Jim Conners will be vacating. They are Ann Sjoerdsma, Paula Sherlock, and John Carter.
Yesterday was the last day for candidates in Dare County to file with the BOE for the November municipal election.
The term of office for a Southern Shores Town Council member is also four years, and this position, too, is compensated with a small annual salary.
Southern Shores has five Town Council members, including the Mayor. Elections are held in odd-numbered years and are staggered so that the Mayor and one Council member are elected in one year, and three Council members are elected two years later.
Inasmuch as The Beacon has a decided bias in favor of one candidate in the Town Council member election, we will not be covering it like we expect to cover the mayor’s race. We will issue a statement next week about how we plan to move forward.
We would like to say now, however, that we are pleased that the voters of Southern Shores will have a choice of candidates in both of our local elections.
A TRAFFIC REMINDER: The left-turn ban this weekend at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 158 and South Dogwood Trail is in effect from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow. There will be eight local-traffic-only barricades in place on residential streets north of East Dogwood Trail, but there will be no road closures.
Town Manager Cliff Ogburn has decided not to close Hickory Trail this weekend and to keep the median on East Dogwood Trail, which was blocked to left-turning northbound traffic by chains last Saturday, open to all traffic.
The left-turn prohibition at U.S. Hwy. 158 and South Dogwood Trail will be in effect on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mr. Ogburn told The Beacon today.
In explaining his decision to reverse an earlier one to close Hickory Trail to all traffic this weekend, and to continue using chained barricades, the Town Manager said in a release posted today on the Town website that “We are getting mixed feedback [from residents about] the closure of the median along East Dogwood Trail.
“Clearly,” he continued, “any steps we take to re-route the cut-through traffic results in varying impacts to different parts of town.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Ogburn told The Beacon that he had received “mixed responses” from residents, some of them angry, about the chains that were drawn last weekend across the East Dogwood Trail median at the intersections of Hillcrest Drive, Sea Oats Trail, and Wax Myrtle Trail. He also told us that he was rethinking his decision to close Hickory Trail this weekend.
(See The Beacon, 7/13/21.)
According to his statement today, local-traffic-only barricades will continue in place this weekend at eight locations: Four off of East Dogwood Trail at Hickory Trail, Hillcrest Drive, Sea Oats Trail, and Wax Myrtle Trail, for all traffic going north; three off of Hickory Trail at Hillcrest Drive, Sea Oats Trail, and Wax Myrtle Trail, for all northbound traffic; and one on Hillcrest Drive for all traffic going north on Sea Oats Trail.
According to Mr. Ogburn’s release, the Town’s traffic count data show that 93 more vehicles passed through Southern Shores via South and East Dogwood trails last Saturday, when the median was blocked by chains, than did on Saturday, June 26, when the left-turn ban was in effect, but the median was open.
Mr. Ogburn cites in his release some percentage increases and decreases of traffic, between June 26 and last Saturday, on the side streets off of East Dogwood Trail.
According to traffic count data, he said, both Hickory Trail (149 percent more) and Wax Myrtle Trail (143 percent more) experienced increased traffic because of the median barricades, while Hillcrest Drive (30 percent fewer) and Sea Oats Trail (35 percent fewer in 200 block; 14 percent in 300 block) had a decline.
“The negative impacts taken from the traffic data,” Mr. Ogburn observed, “indicate that those on Wax Myrtle Trail and Hickory Trail received a negative impact disproportionate to the benefits of those on Sea Oats Trail and Hillcrest Drive.”
This corresponds to feedback that the Town Manager received from residents, as well as to comments posted on The Beacon blog and Facebook pages.
Traffic driving through Chicahauk on Juniper Trail increased 25 percent last Saturday over the June 26 volume, Mr. Ogburn added, noting that the Town is keeping track of spillover traffic from South Dogwood Trail to Juniper/Trinitie trails.
There currently is “no plan to continue the median closures along East Dogwood Trail or [to close] off Hickory Trail at either East Dogwood Trail or Hillcrest Drive,” Mr. Ogburn concluded.
Closing the median on East Dogwood Trail “will require a more permanent and secure measure, otherwise vehicles will plow right through,” Mr. Ogburn told The Beacon today in an email. Indeed, last Saturday, someone did drive through one of the chains.
Mr. Ogburn thanked residents for their “patience while we continue to explore options to mitigate traffic while also trying to limit the impacts on year-round residents and on those that need to come through Southern Shores for work purposes.”
On average, more than 11,000 vehicles drive through Southern Shores each weekend, he said.