EI board not expected to vote on beach parking, driving changes Tuesday

Emerald Isle commissioners are not expected to vote on new beach access parking and beach driving regulations during their meeting Tuesday. (Brad Rich photo)

EMERALD ISLE — Town commissioners Tuesday night will not make final decisions on draft changes to beach access parking fees and the time period during which driving on the beach is allowed.

Also, according to Emerald Isle Town Manager Matt Zapp’s memo to the board for the meeting, the commission is not requested to decide on proposed changes to yard waste pickup rules, which would reduce or eliminate pickups for commercially generated yard debris, during Tuesday’s meeting.

To join the virtual session on GoToWebinar, visit register.gotowebinar.com/rt/345335023403173392 or call 1-562-247-8422 and enter access code 359-740-443 when prompted.

If the issues are discussed other than by residents during the public comment period, it would be during Mr. Zapp’s monthly report at the end of the meeting.

In his memo, Mr. Zapp said the board could address the beach access parking regulation changes as early as February, as the town this month is seeking proposals to automate the parking fee collection system at the eastern and western ocean regional access facilities by spring.

The draft proposed parking fee under discussion would change from a flat fee of $10 per day on weekends and holidays to an hourly fee, likely payable through phones, every day. The season currently runs from late May to early September, but the proposal would extend the season from mid-April through early September.

The concept, discussed by commissioners in a goal-setting meeting in early December, has generated a lot of discussion by residents in Emerald Isle and elsewhere in Carteret County.

Mr. Zapp said late last month he believes it would result in cost savings to most users of the two major accesses.

The fees help pay for lifeguard service and other beach safety efforts, plus maintenance of the facilities.

As for the beach driving regulation changes, Mr. Zapp’s memo said they could be addressed in February and March. The draft change would alter the start date of season from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1 and the end date from April 30 to March 15. This proposal has also generated much discussion. The fee for a driving permit would remain $50 for town residents and $100 for others.

The manager said the proposal is designed to increase beach safety during the early and late portions of the spring and fall “shoulder” seasons. The fees, Mr. Zapp said, help offset beach patrol policing efforts, sanitation costs and maintenance of the vehicular access areas.

The board could, however, vote Tuesday on changes to the ordinance that regulates golf carts and golf cart fees. The changes would specifically address “low-speed vehicles,” which are designed and manufactured for operation on streets and roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

An LSV is considered a motor vehicle and therefore may not be registered by the town, but must be registered through the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

The ordinance rewrite would also address “modified utility vehicles,” which are designed for use on streets and highways with a speed limit of 55 mph or less. Like an LSV, an MUV is considered a motor vehicle and must be registered through NCDMV.

 

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

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