Beaufort to approve park service accord - News-Times: News

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Beaufort to approve park service accord

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Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013 11:55 pm

BEAUFORT — Commissioners of this town are expected to approve on Monday an agreement with the National Parks Service to accommodate visitors heading over to Cape Lookout National Seashore.

The item, which includes designating 80 parking spaces for use by those traveling to the seashore by ferry, is included in the board’s consent agenda, which will be voted on early in the meeting. That meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the train depot on Broad Street.

Currently, private ferry companies take passengers over to the seashore, which includes the lighthouse setting and Shackleford Banks. However, that will all change next year. The NPS is setting up two points where customers can get a ferry, one in Beaufort and the other at the Cape Lookout Visitor’s Center on Harkers Island. Rather than allow all ferries to bring guests over, the NPS will contract with just one.

Tickets for the ferry in Beaufort will be sold from town hall, located at the corner of Front and Pollock streets. Three boat slips at Grayden Paul Park will be used by the ferry operator. 

While parking – or lack thereof – is an oft-discussed topic in Beaufort, county manager Charlie Burgess didn’t expect the NPS’s parking request to have much of an impact. The NPS wants its customers to be able to use 70 spaces on Front Street from Queen to Live Oak streets and another 10 on Pollock Street.

However, the spaces won’t be dedicated solely to NPS customers. Anyone will be able to use them. The difference is that ferry customers will receive a window hanger for their vehicle, which will allow them to stay in the space for longer. Vehicles are currently allowed to park in a space in that area for up to five hours.

Mr. Burgess said ferry customers are more likely to travel early in the day. “Most folks are going to be back by the afternoon,” he said.

Also, private ferries are already running trips to Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks from Beaufort farther west of the Grayden Paul Park location. The new location will only shift that need for parking to the east.

“We think the spaces are going to be there,” Mr. Burgess said.

Also at the meeting, the board will again consider moving forward with awarding a contract to construct a satellite fire station down Highway 101, near the N.C. Forest Service building.

Commissioners considered the request in January, but decided to table it to get some feedback from the county.

While the town is tackling the project and will keep its equipment at the station when complete, the funding is coming from the county. That’s because the majority of residents who will benefit from the new station will be outside of town limits, in the county’s unincorporated area.

In addition to receiving better fire protection, residents in a six-mile vicinity of the station will also benefit financially from the new station, as fire insurance ratings will drop in the area.

The county added a 1.5-cent per $100 fire tax rate to residents in that area to generate the money.

So far the county has collected about $353,000 to go toward the project. The low bid to conduct the work is about $474,000, leaving an outstanding balance of about $160,000.

The town wants to put money it has toward the project so it can start now and have the county pay it back with the revenue generated from the 1.5-cent tax rate. However, the county hasn’t yet said whether it would be inclined to pay back the money, which could leave the town holding the bill.

If the town board doesn’t come to a decision Monday, it may hold a special meting Jan. 19, one day after the County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to discuss the topic.

Other items on Monday’s agenda include the following:

·                The board will hold a public hearing to consider the voluntary annexation for 5.94 acres on Lennoxville Road and Chadwick Road.

·                The board will consider the voluntary annexation for 8.24 acres on Highway 70.

·                Commissioners will consider a special event application for the Beaufort Boat Building Challenge May 4 in the West Parking Lot on Front Street.

·                Commissioners will consider a special event application for the Beaufort Artist Expo July 4-6 in the Town Park beside the Dockhouse.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • francis posted at 9:30 am on Sun, Feb 17, 2013.

    francis Posts: 2900

    No alcohol on federal property. Hey, isn't the white house on federal property ? All those state dinners with their hospitality tables. It's ok for them but not for Joe Six pack on a sunny weekend afternoon. Yeah, after working all week and sending his taxes to Washington for them to waste , he can't enjoy a cold one on a beach that he owns, by the way.

  • justrite posted at 6:58 pm on Sat, Feb 16, 2013.

    justrite Posts: 206

    imo I see the parking service foot patrolling shack this summer to gather "data" while enforcing no alcohol on federal property and people enjoying the summer time.

  • francis posted at 8:30 am on Sat, Feb 16, 2013.

    francis Posts: 2900

    Just another intrusion by govt. Just another way to squeeze more money from the folks. Govt ferries require govt. employees to run them and so on and so on. More employees means a bigger budget and the supervisors will get a pay grade jump because they will be supervising more people. Here we grow ---again. [sad]

  • MARINER MOM posted at 11:59 am on Wed, Feb 13, 2013.

    MARINER MOM Posts: 24

    How about instead of the town putting money towards this project, why don't they get started on the much needed repairs to the Fire Department? It is in terrible shape and something needs to be done. These guys are risking their lives for the citizens of Beaufort and they deserve a decent place to be in for 24 hours.

  • clammerhead posted at 9:41 pm on Tue, Feb 12, 2013.

    clammerhead Posts: 768

    morehood city res,

    You mean an olive branch like not getting involved in the first place and leaving things the way they were?

    Remember, they are here to help us.........


  • morehood city res posted at 8:30 am on Tue, Feb 12, 2013.

    morehood city res Posts: 392

    this is not a cape hatteras like scenario where it needs to be regulated to death, where millions of wankers come down and drive like hillbillys hopped up on goofballs all over everything making it suck for everyone else, causing everyone to pay for a beach driving permit..and eventually leading to a max. capacity of vehicles. this is so different, an island only accessible by boat, this is a chance for the park service to extend an olive branch to the local community/ferry operaters and at least grant them the opportunity to make some money in the summer. was this plan hatched in D.C. or in the regional office for NPS in Manteo or god forbid out on shell point. sad state of affairs here, sad sad sad...[thumbdown]

  • clammerhead posted at 11:01 pm on Mon, Feb 11, 2013.

    clammerhead Posts: 768



  • move4ward posted at 7:19 pm on Mon, Feb 11, 2013.

    move4ward Posts: 20

    This plan is so sad. It was so much fun going to Cape Lookout on skiffs from Harkers Island with friendly, local guides. There isn't enough parking as it is in Beaufort to enjoy the shops, restaurants, and waterfront ~ so this plan may backfire and hurt businesses.

  • justrite posted at 10:05 am on Mon, Feb 11, 2013.

    justrite Posts: 206

    I say cut all funds and disassemble the U. S. parking service. Anyone left standing and wanting a job with the gov., transfer them to the post office, they need help! The government has no right to knock out private business and open their own, then charge people to support themselves which we are already funding thru rising taxes!

  • morehood city res posted at 8:55 am on Mon, Feb 11, 2013.

    morehood city res Posts: 392

    this is not good for anyone, basically the park is too lazy to get out and do the work of educating park visitors on the banks once they arrive, instead they want to control where they leave from thinking this will do the trick but only making access to the park more difficult. they could work with the numerous ferry businesses (which already do a good job of educating park visitors) by making a visitor kiosk at each location with the do's and don'ts expressing the fines involved with violaors. what about park visitors that have their own boat? will we have to get a permit to anchor at wades shore or any where else at the park? or have to leave from a designated boat ramp?

  • johnny_39 posted at 10:47 pm on Sun, Feb 10, 2013.

    johnny_39 Posts: 10

    Another good way of the government trying to tell me what is best for me. How about having numerous companies to keep competition, which keeps prices down and make jobs. It is not like we have had anything bad happen with these ferries, like people getting hurt.


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