Michelle Eitner

EMERALD ISLE — Emerald Isle officials announced Wednesday they have hired Atlantic Beach Planning Director Michelle Eitner as the town’s new planning director, replacing Josh Edmondson, who resigned last month after serving in the post since April 2015.

In a press release, Emerald Isle officials said Ms. Eitner will start work on July 1.

“Mr. Edmondson will conclude his position with the town in late May before moving on to a new position elsewhere. The town’s Planning and Inspections Department will be fully staffed leading up to the new planning director’s arrival,” the Emerald Isle press release states.

Ms. Eitner, originally from Greenville, attended East Carolina University and graduated magna cum laude in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in geography with a minor in planning, according to the release. She continued her education at UNC Wilmington and received a Master of Science degree in coastal and ocean policy in 2015.

She has been planning director in Atlantic Beach since 2016.

"I am excited and appreciative for the opportunity to serve the residents and visitors of Emerald Isle,” she said in the release. “The town of Emerald Isle has a stellar reputation because of the citizens, town staff and elected officials.

“My time in Atlantic Beach was, without a doubt, fulfilling career-wise, because of the people I had the opportunity to work with in many different capacities. It was an honor to be selected to serve in this new role and continue to be part of the success of another wonderful Bogue Banks community.”

In an email Wednesday, Emerald Isle Manager Matt Zapp said, “The town of Emerald Isle looks forward to the arrival of Michelle to our team. Her education, training, certifications and local coastal experience make her an exceptional fit for our organization. We truly appreciate the wonderful work she accomplished in Atlantic Beach.”

Atlantic Beach Town Manager David Walker said Ms. Eitner has been a great planning director for his town.

“We hate to lose her, but we understand this is a career move for her, and we certainly wish her well,” he said.

Mr. Walker said the town has another planner, Elizabeth Webster, who can fill Ms. Eitner’s duties and is welcome to apply for the vacancy. He added that the town will advertise the position and hopes to fill the vacancy before the end of this summer.

In his official resignation letter to Mr. Zapp last month, Mr. Edmondson said, “This was not an easy decision to come to as working for Emerald Isle was a dream of mine since I can remember. I do feel, however, that this chapter of my career is closing and the next awaits.”

He has not yet said what his new job is. His annual salary in Emerald Isle was about $75,000. Ms. Eitner’s salary, according to Mr. Zapp, will be $80,000 per year.

In Emerald Isle, Ms. Eitner joins a planning staff that includes Jeff Hall who earlier this spring was hired to assist with field work and verification.

Mr. Hall holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from N.C. State University and is a certified best management practice inspection and maintenance professional through N.C.S.U. Bio and Agricultural Engineering.

He also is a certified erosion, sediment and stormwater inspector, reflecting the town’s ongoing efforts to address stormwater and flooding problems.

He began his work in local government in 2008 with the Cary Public Works Department. In 2016, he assumed a role in the stormwater department in Cary prior to accepting the position at Emerald Isle.

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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