December 11, 2005

Nags Head gets down to business


New mayor rolls up her sleeves
BY CHARLEY BUNYEA, SENTINEL STAFF

Nags Head moving forward with beach nourishment project

Recently elected Nags Head Mayor Renee Cahoon, after being sworn in Wednesday, recognized outgoing board members, Mayor Bob Muller and Commissioner Brant Murray for their service to the town and then jumped right into a full business agenda.

Also sworn in at the meeting were Commissioners Anna Sadler and Doug Remaley. Sadler held on to her seat in the last election, and Remaley bested incumbent Murray with just a couple of votes.

Beach nourishment was a prime topic for the new board.

Town Manager Seth Lawless presented information he obtained after attending conferences conducted by the NC Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association (BIWAY) and the Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District Office.

According to Lawless, the conferences dealt directly with the Town's proposed beach nourishment project. At the BIWAY conference, Tom Campbell, with the firm Coastal Planning and Engineering, gave a presentation about communities that constructed local beach nourishment projects while waiting on appropriations from a federal project.

Bogue Banks in Carteret County, several communities on Fire Island in New York and most of Delaware beach towns all successfully completed local projects, said Lawless.

"This was extremely relevant to the Nags Head situation, given the Army Corps of Engineers hesitation to endorse the Town's efforts for a local project," said Lawless. "Each town listed had completed a local project without jeopardizing the status of planned federal projects."

The projects were stand-alone efforts without any joint participation from neighboring beaches. After completing the local projects, the nourished beach is then considered "infrastructure" and becomes available for reimbursement from FEMA if damaged in a storm or hurricane event.

Lawless also suggested that Nags Head further investigate Captiva Island, Anna Marie Island and Palm Beach County, all in Florida, and all of which were slated for future federal beach nourishment projects but constructed them on their own. Each town will be able to complete its project through reimbursement from the '206' program, a federal funding program in which communities are reimbursed for their contract by the government.

Commissioner Wayne Gray said that public involvement and support is a must. "We need to schedule public hearings giving the public an in depth education on what the town is doing with beach nourishment," said Gray.

The board unanimously agreed that the meetings should be scheduled in the first of the year and conducted in an informal matter.

"The meetings should be more of a workshop instead of a public hearing," said Commissioner Bob Oakes.

According to Lawless, the purpose of the Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District meeting was to present details of the Nags Head project to the Corps in preparation for a briefing scheduled between the Corps and the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

"I've come to learn that the Corps has serious concerns that the local project would put the Dare County project back into general reevaluation, a process that could cause an additional 24-month delay," said Lawless.

Discussion of a federal project is still in speculation and the Corps hopes to receive an endorsement from OMB by May of 2006, allowing for a budget request for construction funds in fiscal year 2008.

Oaks expressed his concern that doing nothing to the beach may end up to be just as costly as moving forward.

Gray also restated his previous concern that the referendum vote to decide the possible repeal of the 1-cent sales tax will be the determining factor in whether the public will accept beach nourishment.

In response, Sadler said, "When I moved here in 1968, and through the years that followed, I found that there wasn't really anyone who had a problem with beach nourishment, but when all of a sudden the issue their pockets there is an outcry."

"I think the board is all in agreement on a locally-funded beach nourishment project here, but we have to come up with a plan for what to do if the referendum falls through," said Gray.

"Here we are, making all these plans for a local project when we don't even know if the public is going to be for it," he added

But Cahoon expressed more confidence of public support. "I think the community desires to protect their economy which is our beach."

Next step in the process is a meeting that outgoing mayor Bob Muller organized that is slated for Dec. 14. Corps staff, Howard Marlow of Marlow & Associates, and Dare County, Nags Head and Kitty Hawk representatives will be in attendance.">The Outer Banks Sentinel: "Top Stories
New mayor rolls up her sleeves
BY CHARLEY BUNYEA, SENTINEL STAFF

Nags Head moving forward with beach nourishment project

Recently elected Nags Head Mayor Renee Cahoon, after being sworn in Wednesday, recognized outgoing board members, Mayor Bob Muller and Commissioner Brant Murray for their service to the town and then jumped right into a full business agenda.

Also sworn in at the meeting were Commissioners Anna Sadler and Doug Remaley. Sadler held on to her seat in the last election, and Remaley bested incumbent Murray with just a couple of votes.

Beach nourishment was a prime topic for the new board.

Town Manager Seth Lawless presented information he obtained after attending conferences conducted by the NC Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association (BIWAY) and the Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District Office.

According to Lawless, the conferences dealt directly with the Town's proposed beach nourishment project. At the BIWAY conference, Tom Campbell, with the firm Coastal Planning and Engineering, gave a presentation about communities that constructed local beach nourishment projects while waiting on appropriations from a federal project.

Bogue Banks in Carteret County, several communities on Fire Island in New York and most of Delaware beach towns all successfully completed local projects, said Lawless.

'This was extremely relevant to the Nags Head situation, given the Army Corps of Engineers hesitation to endorse the Town's efforts for a local project,' said Lawless. 'Each town listed had completed a local project without jeopardizing the status of planned federal projects.'

The projects were stand-alone efforts without any joint participation from neighboring beaches. After completing the local projects, the nourished beach is then considered 'infrastructure' and becomes available for reimbursement from FEMA if damaged in a storm or hurricane event.

Lawless also suggested that Nags Head further investigate Captiva Island, Anna Marie Island and Palm Beach County, all in Florida, and all of which were slated for future federal beach nourishment projects but constructed them on their own. Each town will be able to complete its project through reimbursement from the '206' program, a federal funding program in which communities are reimbursed for their contract by the government.

Commissioner Wayne Gray said that public involvement and support is a must. 'We need to schedule public hearings giving the public an in depth education on what the town is doing with beach nourishment,' said Gray.

The board unanimously agreed that the meetings should be scheduled in the first of the year and conducted in an informal matter.

'The meetings should be more of a workshop instead of a public hearing,' said Commissioner Bob Oakes.

According to Lawless, the purpose of the Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District meeting was to present details of the Nags Head project to the Corps in preparation for a briefing scheduled between the Corps and the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

'I've come to learn that the Corps has serious concerns that the local project would put the Dare County project back into general reevaluation, a process that could cause an additional 24-month delay,' said Lawless.

Discussion of a federal project is still in speculation and the Corps hopes to receive an endorsement from OMB by May of 2006, allowing for a budget request for construction funds in fiscal year 2008.

Oaks expressed his concern that doing nothing to the beach may end up to be just as costly as moving forward.

Gray also restated his previous concern that the referendum vote to decide the possible repeal of the 1-cent sales tax will be the determining factor in whether the public will accept beach nourishment.

In response, Sadler said, 'When I moved here in 1968, and through the years that followed, I found that there wasn't really anyone who had a problem with beach nourishment, but when all of a sudden the issue their pockets there is an outcry.'

'I think the board is all in agreement on a locally-funded beach nourishment project here, but we have to come up with a plan for what to do if the referendum falls through,' said Gray.

'Here we are, making all these plans for a local project when we don't even know if the public is going to be for it,' he added

But Cahoon expressed more confidence of public support. 'I think the community desires to protect their economy which is our beach.'

Next step in the process is a meeting that outgoing mayor Bob Muller organized that is slated for Dec. 14. Corps staff, Howard Marlow of Marlow & Associates, and Dare County, Nags Head and Kitty Hawk representatives will be in attendance."

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