PINE KNOLL SHORES — Town officials are seeking public input on potential pedestrian projects and priorities in Pine Knoll Shores.
The matter arose during the town planning board meeting Tuesday in the town hall boardroom at 100 Municipal Circle. The meeting was also held virtually.
Mayor John Brodman informed the board town manager Brian Kramer has reconvened the town’s pedestrian planning group to create a questionnaire for residents and property owners on what infrastructure improvements they think the town should focus on.
“There’s some alternatives to outright sidewalks that we’re looking at,” Mayor Brodman said. “We all know we have pedestrians, people on bicycles and dog walkers on Oakleaf (Drive), on what’s a rather narrow road.”
The mayor said in order to facilitate residents and visitors who like to walk or bike, town officials are considering creating a non-paved nature trail to connect with the walking trail at the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area. Mr. Kramer confirmed this in a Wednesday interview with the News-Times, saying the trail is being proposed along a route previously considered for a sidewalk, from the town’s public safety building to The Inn at Pine Knoll Shores, then extending into the natural area.
“The pedestrian planning group is likely to recommend we do this,” Mr. Kramer said, noting town officials would likely use the Fort Macon State Park nature trail as a model.
Mayor Brodman said the town intends to send the questionnaire out sometime this summer.
“It’s simply a tool we’re using to be better informed when we’re talking about sidewalks,” he said.
Planning board member George Greene said the last time a similar questionnaire was sent out to gauge public interest, it was helpful to include the estimated cost of projects. The mayor said while they don’t have cost estimates on any potential pedestrian projects as of Tuesday, they might include an estimated range.
Pedestrian plans weren’t the only matter that came up at Tuesday’s planning board meeting. While receiving reports from town planner Kevin Reed and Commissioner Clark Edwards, the matter of public knowledge, or lack thereof, of development regulations was raised.
During Mr. Reed’s planner’s report, Mr. Greene brought up the issue of keeping residents and property owners informed of the town’s development regulations. He said the matter came to his attention when he spoke with a neighbor, who was about to put in a concrete driveway on his property. Mr. Greene found out his neighbor had neglected to get a landscaping permit for the project and reportedly wasn’t aware a permit was required.
“Invariably, it can happen,” Mr. Reed said. “Contractors in town generally know what’s needed…after 30 years in this business, I can say there will always be people who don’t know the rules.”
When Mr. Edwards asked what would happen if a property owner built something that required a permit without getting one, Mr. Reed said they’d be required to get a permit “after the fact” and to comply with the town’s ordinances. This means anything built that didn’t meet regulation would have to be brought into compliance.
Mr. Edwards said he found it “troubling” to think a property owner or developer could build something without realizing they needed a permit first.
Board member Doug Browne said the requirement for permits to install driveways is “relatively new” in Pine Knoll Shores.
“Maybe there wasn’t enough effort to get the word out to the community,” he said.
The board seemed interested in ensuring residents and property owners are aware of current building and development regulations. Board member Bob Holman suggested making use of The Shoreline, the town’s community newsletter. Board member Michelle Powers, meanwhile, suggested working with realtors to ensure anyone who buys property is provided with the information.
The town has a booklet with such information, created in 2005, and Mr. Reed said staff is updating it.
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.