Above, a yard sign displayed in Chicahauk in 2021. The Planning Board has recommended approval of ZTA 21-08, which rewrites the Town’s sign regulations. The Town Council will hold a public hearing on the ZTA at its Tuesday meeting.

The Town Council will meet Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center for its regular monthly meeting. The Council’s agenda and meeting materials should be posted on the Town website later today. We will publish a preview of that meeting over the weekend.  

(9/30 UPDATE: The Oct. 4 meeting agenda and materials were posted on the Town website late yesterday. See https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/soshoresnc-pubu/MEET-Packet-1c431a287a554b44a46b5b80c993864c.pdf.)

In the meanwhile, we offer the following report on the Town Council’s Sept. 20 workshop session about the first quarter of the Town budget in fiscal year 2022-23 and planned and anticipated capital improvements. We were unable to cover this meeting last week, so we are catching up. The meeting highlights included:

*A highly favorable report by Town Finance Director Bonnie Swain regarding the Town’s revenues and expenses for July-September 2022. Ms. Swain reported that the Town’s shared revenues with the other Dare County towns in FY 2021-22, which will be accounted for this month, increased 2% because of the beach-nourishment tax levy.

Among the expenses that have increased in the budget during the first quarter is overtime pay for police officers. According to Ms. Swain, the police department is “five officers out,” with three vacancies and two officers on leave.   

The Town Council will consider at its meeting next Tuesday a budget amendment of $10,000 to pay for new financial reporting software ($5,000) and advertising and medical testing ($4,500) for the three vacant police officer positions.

Ms. Swain also reported:

1) The interest revenue for the Town in FY 22-23 is projected to be $225,000, a considerable increase from the $15,265 that the Town received in FY 21-22. In the pandemic year of FY 20-21, the Town only received $1,351 in interest income.

2) The Town’s unassigned fund balance, which the Town Council has resolved must maintain a minimum reserve of $3 million for emergencies, is projected to be $6.5 million at the end of FY 21-22. The Town’s auditor will provide an accounting of the fund balance in her fiscal 21-22 year-end report to the Town Council at its Tuesday meeting.

For more financial details about the Town’s quarterly budget report, please see the meeting materials at https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/soshoresnc-pubu/MEET-Packet-48b27117a02a46218d05052e56f22eab.pdf.


*Town Manager Cliff Ogburn, who proposed a five-year capital improvement plan, instead of the customary 10-year plan, discussed the major capital improvements that are currently under consideration, or in the works, and sought prioritization from the Town Council of each. The $3.5 million “surplus” in the unassigned fund balance may be used for capital project expenses.

TRINITIE BRIDGE: A top priority is replacement of the Juniper Trail/Trinitie Trail culvert at the Trinitie Trail Bridge. Civil engineer Andrew Phillips of Kimley-Horn, a planning, engineering, and surveying firm based in Raleigh, outlined for the Council three construction options for the bridge replacement. The Town Council selected a cored slab design, which Mr. Phillips described as involving concrete units that are pre-cast in Chesapeake, Va., rather than on-site, and are “very durable in a corrosive environment.”

Relative to the other two design methods—flat slab and pre-cast arch—the cored slab would be “very quick” and “painless,” he said.

Regardless of which design is used, Southern Shores residents can expect the bridge to be closed for between six months and a year, Mr. Phillips said. The acquisition of permits before construction can begin will probably take the same amount of time, he said. 

The new bridge would have a life expectancy of 50 to 75 years, the engineer said, provided it is regularly maintained.

To view Mr. Phillips’s presentation, which had a number of helpful representational photos to illustrate proposed changes, please see: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Town-of-Southern-Shores-Conceptual-Bridge-Replacement-Presentation-NC.pdf.

The Kimley-Horn engineer said that the construction would raise the roadway one to two feet on the south end of the bridge and about three feet on the north end, so that drivers will be able to see oncoming traffic. Nearby driveways also would be raised, thereby improving the sight lines for drivers exiting on them.

As we understand it, the construction would increase the width of the canal under the bridge.

We leave the many engineering details to the experts. If you are such an expert, we suggest you view the meeting videotape and listen to Mr. Phillips’s explanation of the project. As the project progresses, we will expand upon our reporting.

The cored slab design replacement of the bridge/culvert would cost between $800,000 and $1.265 million, Mr. Phillips said.

SIDEWALK ON DUCK ROAD FROM TRIANGLE PARK TO EAST DOGWOOD TRAIL: The Town Council has previously indicated that construction of a sidewalk on the east side of Duck Road from Triangle Park, at the Duck Road split, to East Dogwood Trail is a high priority for the Town. At the Sept. 20 meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Matt Neal expressed an interest in focusing on this “more dangerous stretch” of roadway and delaying construction of a sidewalk in the dunes on Hillcrest Drive, Sea Oats Trail, or elsewhere.

Construction of the Duck Road sidewalk is estimated to cost $180,000. The Town Manager plans to seek a grant of up to $100,000 from the Dare County Tourism Bureau and funding from other sources to finance it.

RENOVATION OF THE PUBLIC WORKS BUILDING: The Town has already budgeted $150,000 in FY 22-23 to renovate the public works building, which is located on Pintail Trail behind the fire station. Both the Pitts Center and the Town Hall also need improvements and renovations, but the Town Council did not pursue this budgetary expense at the meeting. A previous Town Council received extensive design plans for options to renovate the town buildings, but that Council, as well as subsequent ones, have placed any action on the back burner.    

GINGUITE TRAIL STORMWATER PROJECT: Already in the works is a stormwater drainage improvement project on Ginguite Trail, whose estimated cost will be established by construction bids that the Town receives. As of Sept. 20, the project was out for bid. (9/30 Update: The Town has received two bids. The Council will discuss these bids and the awarding of a contract at its meeting next week. Town staff is recommending that the Council approve a bid from Envirotech Unlimited Construction Services of $38,599.69, which is the lower of the two bids.)

CHICAHAUK SIDEWALK IMPROVEMENT: Mr. Ogburn brought up improving some of the sidewalks in Chicahauk so that they are removed from the edge of the roadway. No one on the Town Council commented on this construction or use of funds. There is no line item in the adopted FY 22-23 budget for such construction.

STREET MAINTENANCE: The Town still has $1 million in the FY 22-23 budget for street pavement work because the construction that was done in August and September was paid for by monies from the last fiscal year budget. Members of the Town Council—only four of whom attended the Sept. 20 meeting, with Councilman Mark Batenic absent again—agreed to work with the Town Manager to determine how to “move forward” with street maintenance now, as Mr. Ogburn said.

In an email after the meeting, Mr. Ogburn told The Beacon that he would like to “look at the streets scheduled for paving this year and the next couple of years to see where we need to adjust the 10-year plan. There were some lessons learned after the first year of the plan, and I want to make sure we incorporate those before moving forward.”

Mr. Ogburn also would like to “revisit” stormwater plans for the Town, he said at the Sept. 20 meeting, including what he called “one-off projects.” Members of the Town Council, only two of whom can meet without the open-meeting law applying, also agreed to assist in this effort.

Mr. Ogburn clarified with The Beacon that “It has been several years since the town revisited three plans that were put together back when we were experiencing so much rain and high water tables. Several of the projects in those reports were addressed, but I would like to have staff meet with a couple of Council members to see what we need to do to make sure we are keeping a focus on stormwater projects and that we have a plan to address issues that we can start to apply funding/grants, too.”


The Town Planning Board unanimously recommended approval, with some changes, the latest version of Zoning Text Amendment 21-08, which rewrites the Town’s regulations on signs, at its Sept. 19 meeting.

The Beacon neither attended this meeting nor viewed the videotape of it, except to confirm that the Board spent most of its nearly two-hour meeting discussing provisions of ZTA 21-08, which has now been under consideration by the Town for more than a year, and also that it approved a version of ZTA 21-08.

A chief area of interest and debate has been the time-place-manner regulation of temporary yard signs, including those for political candidates.

We aspire to review the version of ZTA 21-08 recommended by the Planning Board before the Town Council’s Tuesday meeting, during which a public hearing will be held on the measure and the Council will vote on its possible enactment.

The Planning Board decided to carry over until its next regular meeting, which is on Oct. 17, a discussion of commercial design standards. We detected from our brief review of the Board’s meeting videotape that it may be uncertain as to which commercial buildings it may regulate. Although existing buildings were not subject to Town design standards, they may be demolished, renovated or improved.

We trust that by the Board’s next meeting, it will have clarified the scope of its discussion about commercial design standards. We compliment the Board for being proactive in its vision.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 9/29/22


The Southern Shores Police Dept. has identified Kenneth Budd, 56, of Lancaster, Pa., as the person who died in the ultra-light glider crash Wednesday morning in the ocean off of Southern Shores.

Mr. Budd was piloting the aircraft, according to police. Police identified the passenger who survived the crash as Steve William Fisher, 36, also of Lancaster, Pa.

Police have referred the incident to the National Transportation Safety Board for any further investigation.

THE BEACON, 9/24/22


One person died and another person was rescued yesterday after the ultra-light glider in which they were riding crashed into the ocean near 120 Ocean Blvd. in Southern Shores, according to news releases by the Town of Southern Shores.

The Town reported that the aircraft malfunctioned and crashed around 10 a.m. yesterday. One of its passengers was rescued and safely brought to shore soon after it fell into the ocean, the Town said. The body of the second passenger was recovered yesterday about 3 p.m.

Neither of the glider passengers is being identified at this time.

Some television media sources reported that the rescued passenger was injured in the crash. They described the aircraft alternately as a hang glider.

In April 2020 a Kill Devil Hills man drowned after his motorized paraglider crashed into the ocean near Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills, and he became entangled in his harness.

Numerous first responders participated in yesterday’s search, rescue, and recovery, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Dept., the Southern Shores Ocean Rescue, the Duck Fire and Rescue, the Southern Shores Police Dept., and the Kill Devil Hills Surf Rescue, according to the Town. Survey boats being used in the nearby beach nourishment effort were also employed.


Weeks Marine crews started laying the dredge discharge pipe, also known as the sub-line, on Tuesday near 60 Ocean Blvd. Dredges will come close to the shore, hook up to this line, and start pumping sand that was collected at another location farther south and offshore. Pumping will start after Hurricane Fiona passes offshore, according to the Town.

Weeks Marine will section off the active construction area. Beachgoers will be able to access the oceanfront on either side of this area.

The Town will provide periodic updates on the beach nourishment project on the Town website. The sand pumping in the 60 Ocean Blvd. sub-line will proceed south and tie in at the town line with the Kitty Hawk project.

(We regret that we have not been in Southern Shores this week to report on this news firsthand.)

THE BEACON, 9/22/22


Equipment on the beach at the Trout Run access awaits deployment for the nourishment project.

The Town Council will receive an extensive quarterly budget review from Town staff at its Tuesday morning meeting that, according to meeting materials posted on the Town website just yesterday, will include discussion of an updated capital improvement plan, assessment/analysis of the Town’s unassigned fund balance, and an overview of the Town’s current financial status and upcoming major capital expenses.

This review is described in those materials by Town Manager Cliff Ogburn as the “initial” quarterly review in a budget update reporting framework requested by the Town Council. Mr. Ogburn is proposing that next year’s reviews be held in January, April, and October.

The Town Council, which adopts its new fiscal-year budget in June after a mandatory public hearing, will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Pitts Center. 

See the meeting materials here: https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/soshoresnc-pubu/MEET-Packet-48b27117a02a46218d05052e56f22eab.pdf.

We consider it regrettable that the Council meeting agenda notice, which was published Sept. 13—a week before the meeting date—made no mention of a quarterly budget review and that Mr. Ogburn did not refer to such a review when he gave notice of Tuesday’s meeting at the Town Council’s Sept. 6 meeting.

The agenda says only, “Budget Items for Discussion,” and lists three broad topics, without context; Mr. Ogburn only alluded publicly to budget issues. The meeting materials were posted on the Town website a day later than such materials are customarily posted.

As we noted in our 9/15/22 post, we are unable to cover the Tuesday meeting, as well as the Planning Board meeting on Monday, but we will watch the Town Council meeting videotape and report to the Southern Shores public as soon as possible about significant budget news.   

We encourage you to attend this important meeting or to live-stream it at https://www.youtube/com/user/TownofSouthernShores.


We commend to your attention now the Town’s proposed capital improvement plan, which has been reduced from 10 years to five years. You will find it on pages 45-48 of the meeting materials.

Residents will find proposed future sidewalk construction, which has been mentioned only in passing in Town Council meetings, of substantial interest. The Town has prioritized what it calls “future path segments” as follows:

Priority 1A: Ocean Boulevard, from the cell tower Triangle to East Dogwood Trail

Priority 1B: Ocean Boulevard, from East Dogwood Trail to Hickory Trail

Priority 2A: Hickory Trail, from East Dogwood Trail to N.C. Hwy. 12 (Duck Road)

Priority 2B: Hickory Trail, from Duck Road to the beach access

Priority 3: Hillcrest Drive, from Hickory Trail to Duck Road

Priority 4A: Sea Oats Trail, from East Dogwood Trail to Hillcrest Drive

Priority 4B: Sea Oats Trail, from Hillcrest Drive to Duck Road

Priority 5: Wax Myrtle Trail, from East Dogwood Trail to Hillcrest Drive

Priority 6: Chicahauk Trail, from the cul-de-sac to Trinite Trail

Priority 7: Skyline Drive: entire length

Priority 8A: N.C. Hwy 12, from U.S. Hwy. 158 to East Dogwood Trail

Priority 8B: N.C. Hwy 12, from East Dogwood Trail to 13th Avenue

According to the meeting materials, if all of these sidewalks were five feet wide and four inches thick, their total estimated construction cost would be $524,462.40. If the proposed sidewalks were eight feet wide and six inches thick—and, therefore, constitute multi-use pathways—their total estimated construction cost would be $1,198,538.88.

The Town has already committed to spending $1 million per fiscal year for at least 10 fiscal years to the street pavement maintenance plan, which started this fiscal year, although the work done in August and this month was originally scheduled for 2021.

At the Sept. 6 meeting, Mr. Ogburn raised the possibility of continuing with the pavement work scheduled for 2022, which was to be year two, in this fiscal year, and, thus, spending more than what was budgeted in FY 2022-23 for this purpose.

We refer you to the street-by-street pavement maintenance schedule that appears on pages 49-60 of the meeting materials so that you may know when your street will be serviced.

The Town did an excellent job of previewing this work and publicizing the maintenance schedule, including holding a public forum with the contractor, but residents were still caught unaware when construction started in August. We encourage you to sign up for the Town’s newsletter so you will be informed about public works projects and other public services. (NOTE: The seasonal Friday garbage collection has been suspended. Trash is now being collected only on Monday.)

The Town Council has made no secret of the need to raise property taxes in FY 2023-24. If you peruse the capital improvement plan, you will be reminded of some of the Town’s continuing capital obligations and learn of proposed additional spending. Among the former are the annual $1,202,939 debt for beach nourishment over the next five fiscal years and the annual $314,020 obligation for the 30-year loan that funded the fire station construction. Twenty-five years remain on this debt service.

Besides a request for additional funding for the streets in FY 22-23, Town staff is also seeking approval of a new budget appropriation of about $1 million to pay for replacement of the Trinitie Trail Culvert at the Trinitie Trail Bridge in Chicahauk.

Personnel from Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., a surveying, engineering, and planning/design firm based in Raleigh with whom the Town contracted, will present their findings regarding options for replacing the existing aluminum pipe arch culvert at the bridge before the Town Council discusses budgetary matters. These options are detailed in the meeting materials.

Staff also seeks an increase in the annual appropriation for canal dredging and maintenance—from $20,000 to $50,000—and a one-time “contribution” for such maintenance this fiscal year of $100,000.


In another financial hit, the Town of Southern Shores is being required to refund some of the monies that it received from Dare County in its distribution of occupancy taxes because Dare incorrectly collected occupancy taxes from campgrounds which, by N.C. statute, are not required to remit them.

Occupancy taxes are typically paid by any lodging property that also pays sales tax, such as hotels and motels, bed-and-breakfasts, and short-term rental homes, including Airbnb housing. We would be curious to know why Dare thought they should be applied to campgrounds, which don’t rent out rooms.

According to a meeting agenda item summary by Mr. Ogburn, the Town may be liable for a maximum refund of $165,000 and a minimum refund of $50,000, depending on the statute of limitations applied for the overpayments. The minimum would apply, he explains, if the statute of limitations is only three years.

The Town Council will likely approve Tuesday a resolution that authorizes the Town Manager to refund the Town’s share of the overpayments of occupancy taxes. This resolution appears in the meeting materials on page two. (Resolution 2022-09-03.)

If three years is the minimum statute of limitations being considered and the Town faces a maximum exposure of $165,000, Dare County clearly was in ignorance of the state law for far longer than any competent county government should be.

Dare County shares occupancy tax revenues with all six municipalities and the Dare County Tourism Bureau and uses a percentage of these taxes to finance its Beach Nourishment Fund.



Furniture is acceptable for pickup, but should be placed roadside.

The fall bulk trash collection will be Friday, Oct. 7. The Town asks that you not place items in a street right-of-way for pickup before Friday, Sept. 30.

For details about what is and is not approved for pickup, and where you may dispose of unapproved items, see:


The items most often mistakenly put out for collection, and rejected, are building materials, including lumber, lumber scraps, roofing, doors, windows, screens, stairs, cabinets, and demolition debris. Carpets, rugs, televisions, water heaters, and toilets are also unacceptable.

All yard waste/vegetative debris must be bagged in clear or brown paper bags for it to be collected.


The Town Planning Board will meet Monday at 5 p.m., and the Town Council will meet Tuesday at 9 a.m., both in the Pitts Center.

The Beacon will not be covering these meetings.

Heading the Planning Board agenda is continued consideration of Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 21-08, which is a rewrite of Town Code sections pertaining to the regulation of signs. Former Town Attorney Ben Gallop was to do a final legal review of the ZTA before the Board signed off on the Code changes.

You may access ZTA 21-08 here: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/9-12-22-ZTA-21-08-Signage.pdf.

The Planning Board also will take up a new ZTA submitted by Town staff to bring the Town Code language on how to measure building height in new mixed-use group commercial-residential developments into conformity with the Code language on building-height measurements in all other zoning districts. This is ZTA 22-10: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/ZTA-22-10-Mixed-Use-Group-Development-Building-Height.pdf.

This is basically a housekeeping ZTA. The maximum building height in town is 35 feet.

The most interesting agenda item before the Planning Board is a discussion of potential design standards for new commercial construction and, perhaps, for remodeled and substantially improved commercial buildings. The Board has not yet defined its focus.

No commercial design standards currently exist. The Board has expressed an interest in creating some in the wake of the Town Council’s approval of mixed-use commercial-residential developments in the commercial district.

The principal issue on the Town Council’s agenda for its Tuesday morning meeting is the budget.

For the Planning Board’s agenda and supporting materials, see https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/planning-board-will-meet-on-september-19/.

For the Town Council’s agenda, see https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/soshoresnc-pubu/MEET-Agenda-48b27117a02a46218d05052e56f22eab.pdf.

THE BEACON, 9/15/22


Weeks Marine, the Town’s beach nourishment contractor, will begin delivering construction equipment to the Trout Run beach access tomorrow, and plans to have its crews set the pipe for pumping sand onshore at 60 Ocean Blvd. as early as Thursday or Friday, the Town of Southern Shores announced this afternoon.  

Project sand pumping could start at 60 Ocean Blvd. as early as Saturday and head south to the Southern Shores-Kitty Hawk town limit, the announcement said.

The Trout Run beach access, which is next to 168 Ocean Blvd., will remain open unless Weeks Marines crews are actively using it to load and unload equipment, the Town said.

Town Manager Cliff Ogburn has previously reported that there will be three dredging “sub-lines” in Southern Shores, two in addition to the 60 Ocean Blvd. sub-line.

At the Sept. 6 Town Council meeting, Mr. Ogburn said that Weeks Marine was going to try to move a crew up from Kitty Hawk to this area in mid-September to start the project. Sand pumping will occur elsewhere in town when crews are available.

THE BEACON, 9/13/22


Weekend barricades on the residential cut-through routes will no longer be used this year.

The Town Council unanimously approved dance and group fitness establishments as permissible businesses in the Town’s general commercial district and the installation of a crosswalk at 10th Avenue and N.C. Hwy. 12 (Duck Road) in a meeting last night that lasted about an hour.

The Council also unanimously approved a preliminary subdivision plat submitted by the property owners of 267 Hillcrest Drive to divide their 122,376 square-foot lot into two lots, both of which would meet Town zoning requirements.

(See The Beacon, 9/2/22, for background on the meeting agenda.)   

All of these actions were expected and, in the case of the dance/fitness studio addition to the permissible uses of property in the commercial district (Zoning Text Amendment 22-09) and the subdivision plat, were recommended unanimously by the Town Planning Board. (See The Beacon, 8/11/22 and 8/16/22.) The N.C. Dept. of Transportation recommended the 10th Avenue crosswalk.

The only “wrinkle” in the approval process occurred when Mila Smith, the owner/operator of Atlantic Dance in Kill Devil Hills, informed the Council during remarks she made in the public hearing for ZTA 22-09, that she would not be moving her studio to Southern Shores after all. When questioned by Councilwoman Paula Sherlock about the change in her plans, Ms. Smith, who submitted the application for ZTA 22-09, revealed that the commercial space “we had our hearts set on” had been leased.

Although Ms. Smith never identified the prospective location for Atlantic Dance, Deputy Town Manager/Planning Director Wes Haskett told The Beacon at the Aug. 15 Planning Board meeting that it was a space in the Southern Shores Crossing. He said the same last night in response to a query from the Council.

The ZTA, which the Town Council enthusiastically approved, adds “group fitness, aerobics, dance, karate, yoga, gym, and/or weight training” to the list of permissible service establishments in the commercial district. (See Town Code 36-207(b)(3).)

Also yesterday, Town Manager Cliff Ogburn announced that the probable starting date for the Town’s beach nourishment project, which is expected to take 43 days, is now Oct. 2 and that the street paving work that was slated for the first year of the Town’s new 10-year paving maintenance plan is done.

Although some of the street work may look like “a patchwork quilt,” Mr. Ogburn explained–as he has previously–that all streets will eventually have a smooth overlay on them.

Mr. Ogburn referred the Council and residents, many of whom apparently have complained to him about how some of the streets look, to Hickory Trail, east of Duck Road; Soundview Trail; and Chicahauk Trail as examples of how all the streets will look when the overlays are complete.

The Town Manager also reported that last weekend was the last time this year that the road barricades will be used on the residential cut-through routes.  

In his update, Mr. Haskett reported that since May, when the changes in the Town’s solid waste ordinance took effect, the Town has issued 63 warning citations to property owners of ordinance violations, the majority of them on Ocean Boulevard and Duck Road. He did not detail the nature of the warnings. 


In public comments last night, Tony DiBernardo, who lives on Ninth Avenue, which NCDOT also considered for a crosswalk on Duck Road, complained about the condition of the walkway on the east side of the thoroughfare, calling it “atrocious.”

Mr. DiBernardo, who also serves as vice chair on the Planning Board, said he has been writing to Town Council members for the past six years about repairing and improving the walkway, but has received little response. He exhorted the current Council to put some budgetary dollars into maintaining the walkway—before it authorizes the construction of a walkway on the west side.

In other comments, homeowner Len Schmitz, of Wax Myrtle Trail, addressed the Town Council’s recent decision to ask NCDOT to lower the speed limit on N.C. Hwy. 12 to 35 mph, year-round. Citing the potential use of the road by “golf carts,” Mr. Schmitz noted safety concerns with such vehicles and expressed a preference for a 40 mph speed limit on the thoroughfare.

Currently, the speed limit on N.C. 12 is 45 mph, except from May 15 through Sept. 15 when the speed limit drops to 35 mph from the Kitty Hawk town line north to Trout Run.

As The Beacon reported 8/3/22, the Town Council’s unanimous approval of a year-round 35 mph speed limit on N.C. 12 cleared the way for low-speed vehicle (LSV) drivers to use the thoroughfare at all times, a consequence that elected officials did not discuss during their deliberations.

No one on the Town Council responded to Mr. Schmitz. 

LSVs are motorized electric or gasoline-powered four-wheeled vehicles that generally do not travel at more than 25 mph. Regular golf carts are not LSVs, but there are LSV golf carts.  

LSVs must meet State of North Carolina requirements and be licensed in order for them to be street legal.

According to N.C. General Statutes sec. 20-121.1(1) low-speed vehicles may be operated only on roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or lower.

Mr. Schmitz clarified with The Beacon today through Facebook that he would maintain the higher speed on Duck Road year-round and support the lower 35 mph limit only for the section of Ocean Boulevard between the Kitty Hawk town line and the cell tower/Duck Road split. (We hope we got that right!)

We agree in part with Mr. Schmitz. We support a 40 mph speed limit on N.C. 12, except from May 15 through Sept. 15, when we favor a 35 mph limit on the entire stretch of the road, not just in the Ocean Boulevard area.

OCTOBER MAYOR’S CHAT: Mayor Elizabeth Morey announced that she will hold another Mayor’s Chat on Wed., Oct. 19, at 4 p.m.

The Planning Board next meets on Sept. 19 at 5 p.m.; and the Town Council will hold a morning session on Sept. 20 at 9 a.m., to discuss budgetary issues and the next phase in the street paving maintenance plan. The Beacon will preview the agenda for each of these meetings.

All of the meetings will be held in the Pitts Center.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 9/7/22


The intersection of 10th Avenue and Duck Road.

The Town Council will consider at its regular meeting Tuesday approving the installation of a crosswalk on Duck Road (N.C. Hwy. 12) at 10th Avenue, an action endorsed by the N.C. Dept. of Transportation after a traffic safety study recommended one.

The NCDOT would pay for the crosswalk installation, while the Town of Southern Shores would cover the cost for overhead solar lights up to $4,000, according to an agenda item prepared by Town Manager Cliff Ogburn for the meeting.

The Council will meet Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center behind Town Hall.

The Council’s meeting agenda is remarkably light for its first post-summer session. Besides a discussion of the 10th Avenue crosswalk, the Council will hold public hearings on two matters that The Beacon covered last month in Planning Board reports:

1) a preliminary subdivision plat submitted by the property owners of 267 Hillcrest Drive, which is a 122,376 square-foot lot that they propose to divide into two lots; and

2) a Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA 22-09) to amend the applicable Town Code sections to allow dance and assorted fitness establishments in the Town’s commercial district.

For background on the subdivision plat, which the Planning Board unanimously approved, and ZTA 22-09, which was introduced by Mila Smith, the owner of Atlantic Dance in Kill Devil Hills, and unanimously recommended for approval by the Board with amended language that would allow establishments for “fitness, aerobics, dance, karate, yoga, gym, and/or weight training,” see The Beacon, 8/16/22 and 8/11/22.

You may access both the plat and the ZTA in the Council’s meeting materials at https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/soshoresnc-pubu/MEET-Packet-e1c33f30c6c24b3b82242b2a4aac7f7f.pdf.

Proposed ZTA 22-09 is on pages 33-36.

Lest there be any confusion—which we have heard expressed—we would like to emphasize that ZTA 22-09 applies only to the commercial district and not to any residential districts. If the zoning change is approved, Ms. Smith will not be able to operate her dance studio or a gym or any other fitness business next door to your home or on your residential block.

The Town currently permits residents to operate “small-scale” home-based businesses, but it strictly controls them to ensure that their conduct is “subordinate” to neighbors’ “property right of quiet enjoyment.” (See Town Code secs. 36-239 to -42.)     

Also Tuesday, Mr. Ogburn will give updates on the beach nourishment project and the street paving maintenance schedule. At the Council’s August meeting, Mr. Ogburn reported a projected start for beach dredging of mid- to late-September. We expect that timing to be delayed.


The proposed new crosswalk has come about because residents who live on the west side of the northern end of Duck Road approached the Town Manager about the installation of an additional crosswalk. He responded to their request.  

According to Mr. Ogburn’s agenda item, the State Traffic Safety Engineer and a consultant from VNB Engineering evaluated the Town’s crosswalks in a “cursory review” and recommended that one be installed at Duck Road and 10th Avenue on the southern leg. Crosswalks at Duck Road and west-side 9th and 12th avenues, which, like 10th Avenue, dead-end into cul de sacs, were also considered.

There is already a crosswalk at Duck Road and 11th Avenue, which intersects with Sea Oats Trail on its west end, although there is no traffic light control at this intersection. Traffic light-controlled intersections exist at Hillcrest Trail, which is just south of 9th Avenue, and at Sea Oats Trail, which becomes 13th Avenue on the east side. The Duck town line is just north of 13th Avenue.

It would appear from meeting agenda materials that the reason 10th Avenue was selected for a crosswalk instead of 9th Avenue or 12th Avenue is because of its distance from the traffic-controlled intersections. A 12th Avenue crosswalk, according to remarks in the materials, is of “lesser priority” because of the avenue’s “proximity” to the 13th Avenue crosswalk, from which it is 448 feet away.

Ninth Avenue is reportedly just 415 feet from the Hillcrest Trail intersection, whereas 10th Avenue is 883 feet from the Hillcrest intersection and 1393 feet from the Sea Oats intersection. It is 485 feet from the 11th Avenue crosswalk, but this crossing, as stated, is not traffic-controlled.

It seems to us that all residents on the west side of these avenues are deserving of crosswalks, especially in light of the fact that there is no sidewalk on their side of Duck Road. The approved reduction of the speed limit on all of N.C. Hwy 12 from 45 mph to 35 mph, year-round, will help make all pedestrian crossings on Duck Road easier and safer.    


We conclude our preview of the Town Council’s upcoming meeting with mention of a rather unusual document that appears in the Town Council’s consent agenda.

The consent agenda is rarely discussed by Council members, who typically approve it perfunctorily at the beginning of their meeting.

The unusual document in next week’s consent agenda is titled “Town of Southern Shores Resolution in Support of Legislation Concerning Digging Dangerous Holes on the Beach,” and it “expresses” support of “state legislation [that] would increase our capacity to address the incredibly dangerous issue of holes on the beach.”

The whereas clauses of the resolution outline the dangers of “large beach holes,” including the possibility of their collapse resulting in the deaths of people and “marine life” (sea turtles are very vulnerable) trapped in them, as well as damage to vehicles driven on the beach by people who cannot see them, and conclude with a request that the State of North Carolina enact legislation that would “provide stronger enforcement mechanisms” than are available in local ordinances for their prevention.

In May, the Town of Kill Devil Hills issued a public plea to beachgoers about the dangers of digging deep holes on the oceanfront, just hours before an 18-year-old man was reported to have died when he became trapped in a hole he and his sister were digging on a New Jersey beach.

At that time KDH released a photograph of an Ocean Rescue supervisor standing in an abandoned deep beach hole, with his arms outstretched and a look of frustration on his face, and characterized such holes as a common hazard.

The proposed resolution mentions the N.J. fatality as well as data from a Harvard medical professor who studied sand-hole collapses and reported 52 cases in the United States from 1997 to 2007. We recall the death of a man in Salvo in 2014 who was trapped when sand collapsed on him while he was reportedly tunneling between two six-foot-deep holes he had dug.

The Town of Southern Shores makes “unlawful” the “excessive digging or mounding of sand” that “presents a present, dangerous condition [or is] left for any period of time . . .” Town Code sec. 35-55(b)(3). We would be curious to know the history of this ordinance’s enforcement and why the Town believes it needs State involvement to prevent this danger from occurring on its beaches.

GARBAGE WILL BE PICKED UP ON LABOR DAY: Town-wide trash collection will occur Monday, as usual, but please note that today is the last day for a trash pickup on Friday. The recycling collection day will not change: It will continue to be Friday.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 9/2/22