Morehead City Council paves way for helipad construction to commence on former armory property

The Morehead City Council rezoned this property at 3413 Bridges St., which used to house a National Guard armory, to the medical arts district so Carteret Health Care can continue with plans to build a helipad there. (Elise Clouser photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — Plans to construct a helipad on land across the street from Carteret Health Care can continue thanks to the Morehead City Council’s recent decision to rezone the former National Guard property on which the helipad will be built.

The roughly 5-acre property at 3413 Bridges St.  had been zoned for the R5 residential district, a zoning that allowed the National Guard to operate there as a special government use for decades. The N.C. National Guard recently shuttered the armory as part of a statewide consolidation effort and reverted the land back to Morehead City ownership.

In turn, Morehead City sold the land to CHC, vis-à-vis Carteret County, so the hospital can build a helipad to launch and land patient-transport helicopters. The hospital had been using the property to do so for some years, but officials want to build a permanent structure to enhance safety and operations of the hospital.

To proceed, the property had to be rezoned to the medical arts (MA) district, a request the city council fielded during its monthly meeting Nov. 9 at the city hall on Bridges Street.  One nearby resident, Craig Weber, spoke during a public hearing on the request to bring up some concerns, particularly related to noise pollution created by helicopters launching and landing near residences.

“It rattles my house, it rattles everyone’s house, that’s a depreciation of value,” he said. “...I don’t want to complain, but is there a way, a solid way, to bring the noise down?”

Engineer Ron Cullipher with The Cullipher Group, which is helping the hospital on the helipad plans, said vegetative buffering would be required, but it likely wouldn’t significantly reduce noise levels.

“We can encourage (buffering), but the first priority if we get the zoning is the helipad,” he said. “...The hospital is ready to move forward in their best interest.”

Council members acknowledged Mr. Weber’s concerns, but recognized the rezoning was necessary to allow the helipad project to continue. The rezoning request was approved 4-0, with Councilwoman Keri McCann absent.

In other business, the city council also approved the consent agenda for the Nov. 9 meeting, which included the following items:

  • Approved the minutes of the Oct. 6 council workshop, Oct. 12 regular meeting and Oct. 20 special meeting.
  • Accepted the finance director and tax collector’s report.
  • Accepted notice of tax overpayments in the amount of $833.56 for month of October.
  • Approved requests for refund of tax overpayments in the amount of $1,431.41.
  • Accepted the quarterly financial report.
  • Authorized staff working in conjunction with consultants to file formal application for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Building Resilient Infrastructures and Community grant for a Sugarloaf Island study.
  • Adopted an amended resolution of support for the Raleigh King Mackerel Tournament approving a rain date of Friday to Monday, Dec. 3-6.
  • Adopted a resolution accepting the retention and disposition schedule for records.

The council also approved two items that had originally been included on the consent agenda but were pulled for further discussion, including:

  • Accepted the fiscal 2021-22 paving plan.
  • Adopted budget ordinance amendment 2021-29, governmental capital project budget ordinance 2021-30 and water/sewer capital project ordinance 2021-31.

At the request of Councilman David Horton, the council tabled approval of the 2022 council meeting schedule until December when Councilman-elect Harvey Walker, who prevailed over Ms. McCann in the Nov. 2 municipal election, takes his seat on the board.

 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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