EMERALD ISLE — Emerald Isle commissioners April 13 unanimously approved a plan for improvements designed to alleviate traffic congestion on Highway 58 near Emerald Isle Realty at peak arrival and departure times for weekend vacationers.
The board approved the company’s plan during its monthly meeting in town hall and virtually via GoToWebinar. The Emerald Isle Planning Board had already recommended approval of the plan for the business at 7501 Highway 58.
According to town planning director Josh Edmondson in a memo to the board, “During peak check in/out times, traffic on the property as well as overflow stacking on Emerald Drive is an issue.”
The plan, Mr. Edmondson said, “includes adding one-way travel lanes on the vacant piece of property owned by Emerald Isle Realty adjacent to their existing facility.”
Emerald Isle Realty, on the south side of the highway, developed four parcels totaling about 50,800 square feet, according to the planning director.
The new one-way lanes are to connect to the existing adjacent asphalt parking lot, merging down to one lane as it curves to connect back to the adjacent parking lot.
Also, Mr. Edmondson said the company plans to do some landscaping and will install an open gazebo with outdoor picnic seating around it. Emerald Isle Realty will keep natural vegetation intact to comply with screening requirements for the residential area to the south.
Commissioners praised the business for undertaking the project.
“If it relieves some traffic, great,” Commissioner Steve Finch said.
“It will take traffic off the road,” Commissioner Jim Normile added. “Thanks for doing it.”
Also during the meeting, the board amended the town’s noise ordinance to use a decibel meter to investigate violations.
In his memo and presentation to the board, Police Chief Tony Reese said the existing ordinance generally prohibited “any unreasonably loud or disturbing noises in the town,” but did not clearly set standards, so issuing a citation was up to an arbitrary and capricious decision by the officer responding to a complaint.
The amendment states sound measurements will be taken from the edge of the property line from which the noise emanates, at a point closest to the adjacent property or public right-of-way. It must be averaged over a period of at least one minute for purposes of determining the sound level. Sound levels may not exceed the prescribed level by more than 3 decibels at any time during the measurement period.
Any such sound or noise that exceeds the permissible level more than two times in a minute shall be deemed to be in violation.
The amendment sets varying decibel levels that can constitute a violation at differing times, and those are more stringent between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The change, town officials say, comes amid “increasing concerns regarding noise.”
There are differing penalties for first violations and subsequent ones.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.