The No-Thru-Traffic resolution that the Town Council will consider at its Tuesday meeting consists of 16 whereas clauses and two paragraphs of operative clauses, which read:
“Now, therefore be it resolved, the Town has approved implementation of No Thru Traffic at the intersections of all Town streets and NC158 and NC12 from the Friday before Memorial Day and Labor Day.
“Now, therefore be it further resolved, all users of Town streets, neighboring jurisdictions and mapping and traffic application providers are hereby provided notice of the above referenced No Thru Traffic so that they act accordingly.”
The Beacon first reported yesterday on what appears to be a breakthrough commitment by the Town to prevent summertime cut-thru traffic on residential streets. See The Beacon, 4/27/23.
According to the agenda posted online yesterday, the resolution, which is no. 2023.05.02, will be considered at the meeting in the course of a discussion about seasonal traffic mitigation, led by Town Manager Cliff Ogburn. It is “new business” that will be taken up between the two public-comment periods, so residents will be able to comment on any actions taken by the Council.
The Town Council meets Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center. The meeting will be live-streamed on the Town’s You Tube site.
See the agenda and resolution at https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/soshoresnc-pubu/MEET-Packet-2830a2e5a90f47999906658e5c18b40c.pdf. The resolution starts on p. 5.
In other important meeting business, Mr. Ogburn will present his recommended budget for fiscal year 2023-2024, which begins July 1, 2023, for the Town Council’s review and discussion. The FY 2023-24 budget is not currently online for public review. The public hearing on the budget will be held during the Council’s June 6 meeting.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The first thing you might notice about the resolution’s operative wording is that the time period for the “implementation of No Thru Traffic” needs correction. It should be “from the Friday before Memorial” until or through “Labor Day,” or alternatively between “the Friday before Memorial Day and Labor Day.”
You next might ask: What does it mean to “implement” No Thru Traffic?
We expect this question will be elaborated upon at the meeting, with Police Chief David Kole participating.
Resolutions are not ordinances; they are not laws. We leave to Town representatives the task of explaining how the resolution, which is titled “Resolution of the Town Council of the Town of Southern Shores, North Carolina Providing Notice of Traffic Control on Certain Streets and Specific Days during the Summer of 2020 [sic],” will be implemented and enforced, if at all. (The year needs correction to 2023.)
If the resolution is designed simply to serve notice to WAYZ, Google, and other “mapping and traffic application providers” that they are not to direct motorists to residential streets in order for them to avoid congestion on U.S. Hwy. 158 and N.C. 12, then we believe its effect will be very limited.
The 16 whereas clauses, which are the resolution’s “preamble” or “preambular clauses,” effectively describe the Town’s authority in regulating the use of its roads, the road conditions that lead to the excessive amount of traffic upon residential streets during the summer vacation season, the hazards and problems that the cut-thru traffic causes residents, the uncertain future of the Mid-Currituck Bridge “which will not begin to alleviate the substantial traffic through the Town for multiple future Summer Seasons,” and much more. They all coalesce into the 16th preambular clause, which states:
“WHEREAS, it is in the interest of the public’s health, safety, morals and general welfare that the Town of Southern Shores execute upon a plan to provide for No Thru Traffic during the Summer Season and provide notice of the change in traffic pattern to third parties and appropriate authorities.”
What that “plan” may be is not clear from the resolution.
The residential streets that intersect with either U.S. Hwy. 158 or N.C. 12 and that may be used as cut-thru roads by summertime motorists are South Dogwood Trail, Juniper Trail, Chicahauk Trail, Ocean Boulevard north of the cell tower, Porpoise Run, Trout Run, Dolphin Run, East Dogwood Trail, Periwinkle Place, Hickory Trail, Hillcrest Drive, 11th Avenue, and Sea Oats Trail.
South Dogwood Trail is the main artery that both arriving and departing vacationers use to drive around the congestion on the State-owned roads, 158 and 12.
We believe the principal operative clause of the resolution, which speaks to an approval of implementation of No Thru Traffic, could and should be strengthened, but we refrain from saying more until we hear Tuesday about the Town’s intent and potential enforcement means.
We encourage all residents to attend Tuesday’s meeting and to show in number how critical it is to you—to your safety, your health, and your general welfare, and that of your family—for the Town to take additional measures to prevent summertime cut-thru traffic.
Regrettably, we will be unable to attend the meeting or to live-stream it because of preexisting commitments out of town. We will report on it as soon as we can.
ANN G. SJOERDSMA, 4/28/23