Weeks Marine will return in May to place 37,500 cubic feet of sand on the beaches north of 5th Avenue, according to Town Manager Cliff Ogburn, who presented a timeline for the contractor’s springtime work in Duck and Southern Shores at last night’s Town Council meeting.

Mr. Ogburn had previously indicated that the remaining sand fill on the northern Southern Shores beaches would occur in March, when Weeks returns to perform the nourishment project in Duck that had to be postponed from last year. (See The Beacon, 1/4/23.)

Weeks’s equipment mobilization is set to start in March and will take seven days, Mr. Ogburn said last night, without mentioning where the mobilization will occur. We consider this a significant omission.

Presumably, the contractor will use the Hillcrest Beach, which is owned by the Southern Shores Civic Assn., for its access to Duck’s beaches, as well as the northern beaches.

According to The Beacon’s informed sources, the SSCA Board of Directors had not been keen on allowing the Hillcrest Beach to be occupied by equipment for months in the springtime, but that apparently is what will occur. We believe Mr. Ogburn or Mayor Elizabeth Morey should have clarified these circumstances.  

Mr. Ogburn said the contractor will give the Town a week’s notice before it mobilizes.

Once mobilization is complete, Weeks will go “straight to Duck,” he explained, to do the project there, and then return to Southern Shores in May to start the demobilization process and place the additional sand on the northern beaches.

Weeks must be “out of here” by “no later than June 15,” Mr. Ogburn said. That is its “drop dead” date.

The 37,500 cubic feet of sand that the contractor deposits will ensure that the northern section of Southern Shores’ beaches receives the agreed-upon 22 cubic yards of sand per linear foot considered necessary to meet the project goal of creating a “sufficiently wide useable beach” in this area.

YES, WE’RE ON HIATUS . . . We are acutely aware that we announced last week that we were taking a hiatus, and, indeed, we are. Ordinarily, we would do further reporting on the above news item and check in with the SSCA. We currently do not have time to do so, but we do think it is of value to residents to know Weeks Marine’s timetable, as presented by the Town Manager. Hence, this blog post.

We also would like to report that, as expected, the Town Council appointed Planning Board First Alternate Jan Collins as a regular member of the Board, to complete the unexpired term of Lynda Burek, who resigned on Jan. 16.

Ms. Burek’s three-year term began on July 1, 2022 and will end on June 30, 2025.

Currently, the Town has no volunteer applications on file from which to choose someone to serve out Ms. Collins’s term as a Board alternate, which runs until June 30, 2024. Second Alternate Dan Fink will likely be promoted to First Alternate, so the new appointee will be behind him in seniority.

We strongly encourage residents to consider applying for a position on the Planning Bord or the Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC). Deputy Town Manager/Planning Director Wes Haskett confirmed last night that an opening exists on the HLC. The Town’s Jan. 27 newsletter alluded to vacancies on both boards, but did not provide details.

The Planning Board has become more proactive during the past year—an approach we welcome—and will “begin discussing additional requirements for accessory structures that contain living space,” according to Mr. Haskett in a preview last night of the Board’s Feb. 22 meeting, which will be held at 5 p.m. in the Pitts Center.

The Board has already embarked on a discussion of potential commercial design standards and is integrally involved in the update of the Land Use Plan.

We encourage anyone who is interested in applying for a Planning Board position to attend or live-stream this meeting. The Board’s work is exceptionally important to the developmental and zoning regulatory future of the town.

You may learn about both the Planning Board and the HLC, and find a volunteer application, at https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/city_council/page/2485/10-14-16-board-volunteer-application.pdf.

Finally, we note that Councilwoman Paula Sherlock did not attend last night’s meeting and was formally excused by a unanimous vote of the Council. Mayor Elizabeth Morey explained that Ms. Sherlock had a scheduling conflict, but she did not explain why a formal vote of excusal was taken. We are unaware of any requirement for such an unusual action—it had nothing to do with the Council’s voting—and would have appreciated an explanation.

Ms. Sherlock also missed the December Town Council meeting because of family medical concerns. Both she and Councilmen Mark Batenic and Leo Holland missed meetings last year, during which no formal vote of excusal was taken.

We do not mean to criticize Ms. Sherlock. Rather, we believe that Ms. Sherlock’s absence leaves a critical void on the Town Council, which tends to be rather tight-lipped. In our opinion, the Town Council too often does not adequately represent the public by asking the questions that the public wants asked and answered. We appreciate the questions that Ms. Sherlock asks. She might have inquired about the Hillcrest Beach.

That’s all, folks. Enjoy your Wednesday.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 2/8/23                                                            


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