Shooting The Breeze


Hi, and welcome to my "Editor's Blog"! In this space I'll be attempting to keep our readers informed on fast-breaking news and issues affecting our islands. Visit often. There's a lot going on!

Enjoy the Island Free Press and, even more importantly, enjoy our wonderful barrier island!!!




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Clean up the clutter on Highway 12 by enforcing the sign laws….WITH A READER POLL

Thursday 24 February 2011 at 3:49 pm

Dare County has had a zoning ordinance governing signs at commercial establishments since 1975.

That was back when there were many fewer businesses on Hatteras Island than there are today and almost all of them were located along Highway 12.

As time passed, businesses proliferated and began to open on the roads off the highway. Signs also multiplied – with businesses that broke the rules with more than one sign at a business, off-premises signs, and such attention getting devices as sandwich boards, magnetic signs, flags, and pennants.

Along with this explosive growth in businesses came an explosion in the clutter along the island’s only main road, Highway 12.

During those years, the sign ordinance was seldom enforced or spottily enforced and, in fact, many businesses got permits for non-conforming signs that violated the regulations.

Many people, including county officials, felt the highway was becoming cluttered and junky, not what visitors wanted to see when they come to the pristine and naturally beautiful seashore.

In 2001, the county Planning Department, with the backing of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, began a “beautification” campaign on Hatteras and began an effort to start enforcing the sign regulations already in place.

After doing an “inventory” of signs, the department sent notices to more than 90 businesses that were not in compliance.

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Infrastructure improvements required under FEIS will need another environmental study

Friday 18 February 2011 at 3:29 pm

My blog last week on the National Park Service’s economic impacts of its Final Environmental Impact Statement has generated some interesting comments and a good discussion.

I wrote last week that the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce is seeking businesses that participated in an economic survey on impacts.  The businesses contacted by RTI International were kept confidential, and the chamber would really like to know more about them.

You might be interested to know that the chamber has heard from one business that confirmed it participated, and two that think maybe they did, that someone called them a long time ago and asked economic questions.

Maybe more will surface.

The discussion on the blog eventually branched out to include how the Park Service will pay for the new infrastructure that is required under the FEIS – new ramps, parking areas, pedestrian trails, soundside accesses, and interdunal roads.

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Chamber of Commerce is seeking businesses that responded to NPS economic survey

Friday 11 February 2011 at 4:57 pm

The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce wants you to contact them if you were one of the 72 businesses on the Outer Banks that responded to a National Park Service survey on the economic impacts of beach closures in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The economic study was conducted by RTI International of Research Triangle Park in North Carolina from June 1, 2009 until Aug. 31, 2009. In addition to the business survey, the report includes traffic counts at the seashore’s ORV ramps and an intercept survey with visitors on the beaches, not necessarily in ORV areas.

It was part of an environmental study by the Park Service to choose an alternative for off-road vehicle rulemaking on the seashore.

“As part of its continuing effort to obtain a fair resolution to the beach access issue, particularly as it relates to the economies of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, the chamber is seeking information from businesses that were surveyed by the company hired by the National Park Service,” the chamber said in a media release this week. “The report issued by the company claims minimal impact to area businesses. The chamber strongly disagrees. It is important for us to know the locations of those businesses that received surveys and responded.”


The business survey conducted 72 phone interviews on the Outer Banks.  Fifty-six of them were businesses in the eight villages in the seashore, and 16 were with businesses north of the seashore.

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Access advocates are exploring all options to soften NPS selected alternative

Friday 04 February 2011 at 4:13 pm

Advocates of more reasonable beach access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore are anxiously waiting for the National Park Service’s proposed rule for off-road vehicles at the seashore.

They are probably going to have to wait a while longer.

The Park Service released its 2010 annual reports this week, as it is required to do under the 2008 consent decree that settled a lawsuit against the seashore by environmental groups.

The reports cover protected species of birds and sea turtles at the seashore and also provide an update on the park’s off-road vehicle management plan.

In the reports, the park again said that it would not be able to meet the April 1 deadline for a final rule.  The U.S. attorney for the Park Service made this clear in a status hearing on the consent decree in the courtroom of federal Judge Terrence Boyle in December.  Also, Superintendent Mike Murray followed up on the delay in a meeting with reporters in mid-December.

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