Dredging contractor Weeks Marine will finish the job on the northern beaches of Southern Shores in March when it returns for the Duck beach nourishment project, according to Town Manager Cliff Ogburn who reported the “good news” at the Town Council meeting last night.  

Weeks will place an additional 37,500 cubic feet of sand on the beaches north of 5th Avenue, Mr. Ogburn said, a deposit that ensures the area receives the agreed-upon 22 cubic yards of sand per linear foot to meet the goal of creating a “sufficiently wide useable beach.”

In a Nov. 30 meeting with Ken Willson of Coastal Protection Engineering, who managed the project for all of the Dare County towns, and representatives from Weeks Marine, it was revealed that the northern Southern Shores beaches only received 13 cubic yards of sand per linear foot.

Mr. Ogburn promised at the Town Council’s Dec. 6 meeting that “I’m going to do everything I can do make sure we get what we should have gotten, and that there’s a remedy to this.”

(The Town Manager identified 5th Avenue as the dividing line between the northern section of the beaches and the central section, whereas Mr. Willson cited 4th Avenue. In past beach surveys, 3rd Avenue has served as a cut-off line.

(It has been known for years that the northern section has a better beach profile, with a more-than-adequate volume of sand, than the sections south of it—regardless of what the visible beach looks like. There was considerable discussion among the Council members who approved the project about omitting this area.)

Mayor Pro Tem Matt Neal praised the Town Manager last night for his persistent, round-the-clock effort in the past month to promote the resolution—which was reached among Weeks Marine, CPE, and Dare County—and Mr. Ogburn, in turn, credited Mr. Neal and Mayor Elizabeth Morey with doing the “heavy lifting” to “mak[e] sure that we were made whole.”

“It took a team effort,” the Mayor modestly said, adding that anyone who has any “follow-up questions” about what is to happen should email Mr. Ogburn, Mr. Neal, or herself.

The remediation effort in March will be done without further cost, Mr. Ogburn said.

The Beacon congratulates and thanks all those involved in bringing about this swift and equitable resolution.

(For background on the beach nourishment shortfall, see The Beacon, 11/28/22, 11/30/22, 12/1/22, and 12/30/22.)

IN OTHER ACTION, the Town Council, as expected, unanimously approved 1) the special use permit application submitted by the engineering firm tasked with building a new EMS/fire station at 28 East Dogwood Trail and 2) the Town Code Amendment (22-04) that adds a section on conflicts of interest (COI) to the Code. (See The Beacon, 12/30/22, for background.)

The language of the COI ordinance, which will be codified as section 1-13, is the same language as currently appears in the N.C. General Statutes, Deputy Town Manager/Planning Director Wes Haskett confirmed last night. In past instances of suggested conflicts, former Town Attorney Ben Gallop relied on this State language to make decisions. Although the Town has not had its own ordinance, it has not been without legal guidance.

LAND USE PLAN UPDATE SURVEY: We remind you again that if you have not yet completed the Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) Land Use Plan update public survey, you have until Friday to do so. You will find the survey at https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/planning/page/land-use-plan-update-public-survey. Your views on future planning in Southern Shores are vital to preserving the environment that we have, as well as improving it.

The survey is also accessible by clicking on a link at the top of the Town website home page. As long as the Christmas tree disposal link is at the top, however, you will have to click on the right arrow to advance to the survey link.

According to Mr. Haskett, as of yesterday, only 354 people had completed the survey, which is open to people who live or work in Southern Shores, full- or part-time; all property owners; “frequent or long-term” visitors who do not live here, but would like to; and people who otherwise “relate” to the town.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the year-round population of Southern Shores is 3,107.

Asked by Mayor Morey whether Friday’s deadline was a firm one that could not be changed, Mr. Haskett indicated it was. (We would not be surprised if it were extended.)

For background on the Town land use plan, the plan update process, and the public survey, see The Beacon, 11/12/22, 12/7/22, and 12/9/22.

We will try to provide more details about last night’s meeting, which lasted about 80 minutes, on the weekend. You may view the meeting videotape at https://www.youtube.com/@SouthernShores/streams.       

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 1/4/23


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