BEAUFORT — The Carteret County Board of Commissioners approved a slew of text amendments to a variety of county ordinances last week, including one removing extra buffer requirements Down East.
The board held public hearings on the amendments during its regular meeting Sept. 21 at the administration complex in Beaufort. The first hearing pertained to an amendment to the Down East Conservation Ordinance to eliminate the additional 20-foot buffer requirement.
According to County Planning Director Gene Foxworth, the Coastal Area Management Act imposes a 30-foot buffer on all buildings within the Area of Environmental Concern, designated by the N.C. Coastal Resource Commission. The DECO adds an extra 20-foot buffer on top of that, a requirement many people seek a variance from.
During the September County Planning Commission meeting, in which the panel recommended approval of the proposed text amendment, Mr. Foxworth said Commissioner Chris Chadwick approached him about removing the extra buffer requirement to make setbacks uniform throughout the county.
One person, Mark Hooper, of Smyrna, spoke during the public hearing Sept. 21 in opposition to removing the additional requirement. He said it was added in the mid-2000s to prevent overdevelopment Down East.
“At that point in time there was a group called Down East Tomorrow that had a pretty big following and came before this commission a number of times to try to get some protection for that area, as we were afraid of some development coming very quickly, and (we) were not prepared,” he said.
Mr. Hooper requested the county look at data about variance requests and other information before making a decision to remove the additional buffer. However, after some back-and-forth with Mr. Hooper, commissioners voted 6-0, with Commissioner Mark Mansfield abstaining, to approve the amendment.
Nobody spoke during a second public hearing on a series of text amendments to the DECO; Electronic Gaming Operations Ordinance; Group Housing Ordinance; Manufactured Homes, Manufactured Home Parks and Recreational Vehicle Parks Ordinance; Solar Ordinance; Tall Structures Ordinance; and subdivision regulations to bring them into compliance with the new Chapter 160D of N.C. general statutes. The board unanimously approved the amendments with little discussion.
“It’s pretty much housekeeping items to comply with (Chapter) 160D,” Mr. Foxworth explained.
The board also approved the consent agenda for the Sept. 21 meeting, which included the following items:
- Approval of Aug. 17 meeting minutes.
- Tax releases and refunds.
- Approval to furnish $1.3 million in pass-through funds from the National Park Service to the N.C. Division of Water Resources for dredging a series of waterways serving South Core Banks and the Cape Lookout Bight, and approval of corresponding budget amendment.
- Approval to deny a waiver of greenbox fees for Paul Kelly for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019.
- Approval of resolution and no conflict of interest certification for the east Taylors Creek dredging project.
- Approval of the county’s proposed N.C. Association of County Commissioners legislative goals and approval for chairperson to sign letter in support.
- Approval of budget amendment in support of the appropriation of the Governor’s Crime Commission grant for the sheriff’s office in the amount of $24,849.
- Approval of revitalization of Carteret Emergency Communications.
- Donation of a hazardous material trailer to Mill Creek Fire and EMS Department.
- Approval to write off old DMV uncollected taxes.
- Request to accept funding agreement addendum No. 543 ELC enhancing detection activities, COVID-19 and approval of corresponding amendment in the amount of $164,853.
- Approval of airport hurricane proceeds budget amendment: in the amount of $1,050,000.
- Approval of occupancy tax penalty waivers to SIG Management Inc. for the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in the amount of $11,596.51; Anthony and Nicole Howell in the amount of $109.63; JESSMARC Properties Inc. in the amount of $48.94.
- Approval of budget amendment for the sheriff’s office to appropriate drug funds to purchase a vehicle and equipment in the amount of $10,566.
- Approval of Federal Emergency Management Agency funding and roll-forward budget amendment in the amount of $125,730.
- Approval of budget amendment to roll forward dredging funds and beach nourishment phase two funds in the amount of $2,723,163.
- Approval of budget amendment appropriating federal HAVA and CARES Act grant funding for the elections department in the amount of $106,424.
- Approval of budget amendment to roll forward funds for uncompleted capital school projects in the amount of $524,260.
- Approval of proclamation declaring Sunday, Oct. 4 as Commercial Fishing Day in honor of former Commissioner Jonathan Robinson.
- Reapproval of conflict of interest policy for Old Ferry Channel Complex dredging project.
- Approval of resolution in support of the interlocal cooperation agreement with Newport for the provision of GIS services.
Contact Elise Clouser at firstname.lastname@example.org; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.