10/16/21: PLANNING BOARD TO MEET MONDAY; TOWN COUNCIL TO TAKE UP OPTIONS FOR 10-YEAR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN AT TUESDAY WORKSHOP.

Vehicle load contributes to some of the distress that the Town’s road-pavement surveyor observed during its evaluation.

The Town Planning Board will resume its discussion about the proposed new sign ordinance (Zoning Text Amendment 21-08, now revised); address amendments to the ordinance on maximum lot coverage (Town Code sec. 36-202(d)(6), as it pertains to oceanfront property; and possibly consider requirements for produce stands in the commercial district when it meets Monday in the Pitts Center at 5 p.m.

The next day, the Town Council will convene for a 9 a.m. workshop, also in the Pitts Center, to continue its discussion about contractor SEPI Engineering and Construction’s pavement condition survey of Southern Shores’ 37-mile road network, which was finalized earlier this month, and recommendations for a 10-year capital improvement plan (CIP) that include two options offered by SEPI and two prepared by the Town staff.

For background materials on the Planning Board agenda, see Planning Board will meet on October 18, 2021 | Town of Southern Shores, NC (southernshores-nc.gov)

For the Town Council’s workshop agenda, Town Manager Cliff Ogburn’s evaluation of the four CIP options, and materials pertaining to options three and four, below, see MEET-Packet-80044fe6d58c4fc2b414f2e2454c272f.pdf (usgovcloudapi.net).

SEPI’s final report is accessible at https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Southern-Shores-PCS-CIP-Final-Report-v2.pdf.

According to Mr. Ogburn’s agenda item summary, the four CIP options are:

  • Option one: spending about $675,000 annually on pavement maintenance, which would improve the road system from about 27 percent good/excellent condition, according to SEPI’s pavement condition indexes, to 53 percent good/excellent condition. (One of SEPI’s two options.)
  • Option two: spending about $1 million annually, which would improve the road system to 99 percent good/excellent condition. (SEPI’s second option.)
  • Option three: spending about $800,000 annually on improving the system and setting aside an additional $200,000 for “construction contingency.” (An option suggested by the Town Council.)
  • Option four: spending $675,000 on pavement maintenance and $400,000 on “defined construction projects.” (An option prepared by the Town staff.)

Mr. Ogburn recommends that option three be adopted, explaining that it “recognizes the need to spread the maintenance and repair dollars along a greater portion of the Town’s streets while still reserving funding to address construction needs of build in a Capital Reserve Street Fund.”

Please see the Town Manager’s agenda item summary for more details about what he considers to be the advantages of this option.

Under option three, Mr. Ogburn says, the road system would be improved to 73 percent good/excellent pavement condition and 27 percent fair. There would be no deterioration of roads to a poor state, as there would be under option one.

As The Beacon has previously reported, SEPI’s pavement condition survey found that all of the Town’s 37 miles of roads are in fair, good or excellent condition, as follows:

  • 4.41 miles of streets, or 12 percent of the total, are in excellent condition
  • 5.44 miles of streets, or 15 percent, are in good condition
  • 26.81 miles of streets, or 73 percent, are in fair condition

Overall, SEPI stated in its report, the street system is in a “fair but aging condition and is well suited for preservation and minor rehabilitation repair treatments.”

Treating the roads for preservation and minor rehabilitation represents a different approach to street maintenance than the approach that the Town has taken to date, which has been to repair and reconstruct specific roads on an as-needed basis.

The top three “distresses” observed during the survey, according to SEPI, were fatigue cracking, surface distresses, and transverse cracking. We refer you to the contractor’s report for a detailed description of these structural problems and photographs of roads in Southern Shores that have them.

The Town asks all meeting attendees to wear face masks, in accordance with recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The meetings will be live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/TownofSouthernShores.

PROPOSED NORTHERN DARE COUNTY BRANCH LIBRARY

Because of other commitments, we have been unable to return to the subject of the proposed Northern Dare County Branch Library in Southern Shores, as we said we would and as we would like. See The Beacon, 10/6/21.

Comments by Town Council members and the Town Manager at the Oct. 5 Council meeting made clear that Dare County does not currently support financing a new branch library in the legislative district that serves Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, and Duck.

Equally clear, however, was the determination that chairperson Michael Fletcher and key member Lilias Morrison of the Town’s Exploratory Committee for a Potential Branch Library in Northern Dare County expressed at the Council meeting to keep the library vision alive, even if it means starting out small with private funding, rather than with public funding.

According to Mr. Fletcher, the Hatteras branch of the Dare County Library System started in a resident’s garage. It grew into a popular enterprise that Dare County considered worthy of public funding.

On a personal note, I have been involved in the startup of a non-profit educational center that came into existence because of creative brainstorming, networking, hard work, and some grant and “angel” monies. I have long believed that where there is a will, there is a way–provided people think creatively and allow a project’s development to occur gradually. Just some observations . . .

We promise that after the Nov. 2 election we will give the library project and the committee’s vision their due.

Have a wonderful weekend! A cold front is coming.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 10/16/21

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