December 12, 2008

A Nags Head Revival (of a sort)

Last night at the Nags Head Church, the next saga of Nags Head's battle with its beaches began. The topic was a presentation by consultant Peter Ravella about how he approaches developing a funding formula for beach restoration projects but the real story was the clear assumption that Nags Head has a viable beach nourishment project that it expects to implement in the next couple of years. Ravella wants the job of figuring out how to pay for, I wish him well. (see disclaimer below)
The town has continued to pursue permits for the $30 million project the Town's voters rejected in 2006 . The plans are locked in permitting purgatory and it is not clear what catechism the Town will have to invoke to move towards Heaven (or Hell depending on your view). The religous metaphor is an apt on for the evening with Ravella playing the revival preacher singing psalms of salvation to an congregation of eager believers.
From my perspective Ravella's sermon didn't cover much new ground. He did provide some interesting paralells to the size and impact of the Outer Banks Economy. Ever think that we're bigger than the NFL, he thinks we are.
Ravella's process revolves around intense community involvement in developing the financing plan that fits the communities balanace of values. What he did not address was how to deal the the figurative agnostics and atheisists who don't accept that divine nature of the beach nourishment crusade. In Ravella's model the only relevant discussion is how to share the cost. The coming salvation is accepted as a matter of faith.
It is not clear what, if anything has changed in Nags Head's plans or politics that would change the outcome of another ballot. Ravella certainly didn't offer any insights beyond the message that the town board remains on the road to redemption.

Disclaimer - The author chaired the group that developed the funding plan for the failed referendum in 2006. He also chaired the referendum committee that worked to pass the referendum. He is heavily invested in the last effort. His observations are colored by this experience. Caveat Emptor

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