OCRACOKE CIVIC AND BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
Monthly meeting 7 p.m. Jan. 13, 2016 Ocracoke Community Center
Call to Order
Election of additional new at-large board members:
- Approval of December regular meeting and special meeting minutes
- Treasurer’s report
–Approval to pay $300 to Frank Brown for his work on organizing the OCBA’s Quickbooks
- Travel & Tourism Director report (Sundae Horn)
- President’s report
- County Manager’s report (Bill Rich)
- As-needed reports:
National Park Service
County Commissioner (John Fletcher)
- Old Business
- New business
–Shall we have a candidates night at the February or March meeting? (NC primary is March 15)
–CHNS Superintendent David Hallac wants to meet about the NPS Centennial this year. He also said the NPS would be willing to have its “marching lighthouse” float in our July 4 parade. The Ferry Division said it, too, would be happy to have its float in as well.
— Rep. John Torbett, who is the chair of the House Transportation Committee, needs islanders to attend meeting Jan. 25 at Lake Mattamuskeet Lodge in Swan Quarter to explain how tolls on the Hatteras Ferry will negatively impact the island. Kris Noble is having a legislative meeting there that day to drum up support and several legislators will be there. This is our chance to be in front of legislators who haven’t heard the Ocracoke message, and Torbett is fighting to eliminate all ferry tolls.
Note: Meetings are held the second Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m. in the Ocracoke Community Center (unless otherwise stated). 2016 meetings will be: Jan. 13, Feb. 10, March 9, April 13, May 11, June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, Sept. 14, Oct. 12, Nov. 9, Dec. 14.
Ocracoke Civic and Business Association
Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. Ocracoke Community Center
Meeting was called to order by Rudy Austin at 7:04 p.m. Board members present: Connie Leinbach and Jim Borland.
Others present: Sundae Horn, Arleen Burley, Darlene Styron, Corky Pentz, Ashley Harrell, Janey Jacoby and Shane Bryan for the NPS. Bill Rich attended by telephone conferencing.
Minutes: Of the November meeting were approved.
Treasurer’s report: Connie Leinbach reported in lieu of Kenny Ballance. Beginning checking account balance as of Oct. 31 was $15,069.86. Deposits: $22,655.50, which are membership dues and walking map/web advertising. (Some dues/fees are still coming in.) Checks written: $839.13. Ending checking account balance as of Nov. 30 was $36,886.23. The CD renewed as of Nov. 11. That amount is $34,095.35. This is a board designated fund for public restrooms. Connie sent a request letter to Hyde County for reimbursement from Occupancy Tax funds of $20,560, which covers expenses this year of $9,642.01 for July 4 events; $8,969.02 for the Fig Fest and $2,000 for the British Cemetery ceremony. That check should arrive soon.
Travel & Tourism Director’s report: Sundae Horn reported that money is coming in for dues, the 2016 Walking map and web ads. This expanded brochure should be out in March. Members who haven’t gotten their dues/fees in need to so ASAP.
Kevin Cox, a filmmaker who did a drone video for the Pirate Jamboree, proposes doing a one- to two-minute video for OCBA for $100. Shane Bryan pointed out that since drones are prohibited in national parks, it should not include any such footage. The group approved the purchase of two-minutes pending a review of the completed video.
Sundae is working on a request for proposal (RFP) for our website redesign to go out before the holidays with the redesign completed by March. Sundae also reported that the Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree committee met Tuesday for three hours to discuss the 2016 event. Several committees were formed and we will get that info out to the membership soon so that anyone who wants to help can do so. Connie said that, while the accounting is still incomplete, this year’s event realized about a $14,000 profit, up from about $10,000 last year.
Election of board members and officers for 2016: Rudy Austin, president; Justin LeBlanc, vice-president; Connie Leinbach, secretary-assistant treasurer; Ashley Harrell, treasurer. The by-laws require the board composition to be not fewer than 4 and no more than 9 members. So, there are slots for up to five more board members. Rudy said a person in the community he is talking to is considering a position.
According to the by-laws, board members are elected for two-year terms and officers for one-year terms. Board terms should be staggered, Darlene said. Connie will research this for the next meeting. Jim Borland agreed to stay on until another member is found.
A motion to approve the 2016 officer slate as presented was made by Sundae Horn and seconded by Janey Jacoby. Motion approved and carried.
County manager’s report:
Trash: Bill Rich said David’s Trash has picked up their game a bit, but they still have not come up with another company to buy out their contract. Their company is not equipped to handle the island. So the county will put trash pickup out to bid to the entire trash industry Jan. 1. David’s will remain until a new company is on board.
Feral ducks in the village: Bill said he has had a lot of residents and business owners calling about the growing mallard population (about 300 now, but which could increase to 900 or 1,200 by spring) around Community Square and British Cemetery Road. “People have been trapped in their rooms,” he said about folks hesitant to venture into parking lots covered in duck droppings. The Hyde County Health Department has sent him a letter on this as well. He and Will Doerfer, special assistant county manager, have been working on how to humanely remove the ducks, which requires special state and federal permits since the ducks cannot just be released into the wild. They have to be contained on a private property. Bill said they have found a place to take the ducks and a person to trap them.
He said business owners need to send him letters detailing their concerns, and that these ducks are costing them business.
NOTE: Hyde County stresses that all should refrain from feeding the ducks. This will help control their population if their human-supplied food source is removed. OCBA will work on creating signage to this effect and also signage alerting people to the lost-and-found box at the Hyde County Sheriff’s office. A motion for OCBA approval of the permitting process and Hyde County’s relocation of the feral ducks was made by Jim Borland and seconded by Corky Pentz. Motion approved and carried.
Ferry tolling: Bill said he attended the Dare County commissioners Nov. 16 meeting and asked them to rescind the vote they took at their Oct. meeting when they approved the concept of tolling the Hatteras Ferry. However, they voted 5-2 not to rescind their vote. Bill said, however, that Currituck and Tyrell counties are with us and he feels that, should this come up at the January Albemarle Regional Planning Organization (ARPO) meeting, it would not be voted on. At their last meeting, this group agreed to let the Legislature try in the spring to get funding for car ferry replacement out of the ARPO pot of money. He said Rep. John Torbett, who is chair of the House Transportation Appropriations Committee, will send the ARPO a letter about this.
Rudy pointed out that it was Dare County in the first place (mid-last century) who put in the bill for a Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry and said it would be a free ferry. Melvin Daniels of Elizabeth City had introduced that bill. This action by Dare is dismaying since Hyde County supported them in dredging and the Southern flounder restrictions. Shane said the NPS is not happy that Dare is in favor of tolling the Hatteras ferry.
The monthly meeting with Ferry Division officials will be at 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14, in the Community Center.
Noise ordinance: Will Doerfer will come to the island next week to take decibel readings. Noise levels on Ocracoke depend on the wind, also humidity, Shane noted. The ordinance guidelines from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. are vague and enforcement of this time period is difficult because of the lack of guidelines. “All we’re trying to do is make it easier on our deputies to enforce it based on what they hear,” Bill said. What do we want as a community? Guidelines are difficult because of the scattered nature of business in the community. The group agreed to discuss this further at the Jan. 13, 2016, meeting.
National Park Service report: Shane showed a map of where a new beach-access ramp 63, which will be located between the Pony Pens and Scrag Cedar Road. It will be 30 feet wide and packed with a clay/sand mix. Construction will take three months once all the approvals are done. The Park Service sold 190 weekly permits from Nov. 1 to Dec. 7 and 5 annual 2016 permits. Permits for 2016 can be purchased as of Dec. 1. As for the public boat launch off the NPS parking lot, someone is coming down to look at it.
Old business: The second vote to approve OCBA sponsorship for $1,500 of the 5K/10K April 23, 2016. A motion to approve this expenditure was made by Jim Borland and seconded by Janey Jacoby. Motion approved and carried.
Christmas lights/decorations: Ocracoke School junior Matteus Gilbert finished refurbishing 27 of the Xmas lights and has done about half of them and the Ocracoke School shop class worked on three. (There are 30 total.)
The OCBA thanks Matteus and the Ocracoke School for their hard work on these lights, and also the following for their help in getting the community Christmas trees/decorations to the island, including installation: Bill Rich, Pat & Rudy Austin, Jennifer Rich, Julia O’Neal, Tommy Hutcherson and the Variety Store crew, Chris Williams on the mainland for obtaining the trees and Kris Noble.
Announcements: The Community Christmas Concert, sponsored by OCBA, will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 in the Community Center.
Meeting adjourned at 8:14 p.m.
The next meeting is Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Ocracoke Community Center.
Meetings are held the second Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m. in the Ocracoke Community Center (unless otherwise stated).
2016 meetings will be: Jan. 13, Feb. 10, March 9, April 13, May 11, June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, Sept. 14, Oct. 12, Nov. 9 and Dec. 14.
Connie Leinbach, secretary
Ocracoke Civic and Business Association
Special meeting regarding fireworks held Monday Dec. 14, 2015. 12:30 p.m. Ocracoke Community Center
Meeting was called to order by Rudy Austin at 12:32 p.m. Board members present: Connie Leinbach, Jim Borland and Justin LeBlanc.
Others present: Sundae Horn, Darlene Styron, Janey Jacoby, Teresa O’Neal, Peter Vankevich, Ward Garrish, Ed Fuller for the NPS.
Purpose of the meeting was to approve the island’s work toward having fireworks during the July 4 holiday 2016.
Darlene, Sundae and Teresa O’Neal have worked on this idea since the OCBA a couple of months ago decided to drop it.
Darlene explained that the island’s July 4 tourist attendance has been dwindling in recent years.
She said they worked with Justin Pruett of Pyrotecnico of Columbia, S.C., to come up with a less expensive plan than their previous proposal and the National Park Service to find a suitable location from which to launch. Working with Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent David Hallac and Ed Fuller, they decided on the end of the park service public parking area near the boat launch. She said the NPS was willing to do whatever they can to help make this happen.
This spot would be in the center of a large enough setback area from the launch site. To wit: for each inch of fireworks shell, there must be 100 feet of clearance. The company’s shells are one inches to eight inches. So, five-inch shells would require a 500-foot safety circle, which is doable at this site. 500-foot shells, the largest used for this show, would rise about three times higher than the Ocracoke water tower. All buildings within the 500-foot circle would have to be vacated during the show, including NPS housing, the DOT overnight housing and kiosk at the ferry dock, the OPS museum building and the parking lot. The boat launch area would also be closed to traffic during that time, possibly during the day, depending on the final site for the shells.
This company carries $10 million in liability insurance, which is higher than what North Carolina requires ($2 million).
OVFD Fire Chief Albert O’Neal is OK with this plan. Ed Fuller said fire prevention is the main concern and this site is the best spot.
Hyde County commissioners already agreed to be the insurance certificate holder and OCBA would be an additional insured.
Pyrotecnico is doing fireworks in Avon on July 4 and so they would have to launch ours on July 3. The crew would set up on July 2; bring the explosives on July 3; leave after the show and come back July 5 to remove the set-up. This is the best they can do given the timeline, and, if we establish a relationship with them this year, they can possibly commit to providing a show for us in 2017 on July 4. July 3, 2016, is on a Sunday, which allows folks coming in that weekend to see the show and folks checking out on Saturday to possibly stay another day.
Cost of an 18-minute show (which is industry standard) would be $20,000, which is what the island paid in 2009, the last year we had fireworks.
There are a number of other logistical details that have to be included, such as informing various agencies: the NC Ferry Division, Coast Guard, Marine Fisheries and others, but part of the price of the show is Pyrotecnico obtaining all of the necessary permits. Also, there are wind-safety and weather cancellation clauses in the contract. If weather prompts a postponement, the show
can be done within six months with an additional $5,000 payment. If it’s canceled, we still pay 75 percent of the contract. These contingency costs typical business procedures.
A level-three fire marshal from Dare County would have to sign off on this plan as well.
Connie noted that she received an email from David Senseney against having fireworks because of the lingering pain over the 2009 accident. Fred Westervelt sent an email in favor of fireworks.
While Hyde County would be the sponsor, the OCBA would be the facilitating organization.
A motion to approve this plan and send a letter to the Ocracoke Occupancy Tax Board to request funding for it was made by Justin LeBlanc and seconded by Jim Borland. Motion approved and carried.
Meeting adjourned at 1 p.m.
Connie Leinbach, Secretary