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Shooting The Breeze

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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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william turner (What on Earth is …): i live in De and have 2 of them closes to me 1 is a residents in HOUSTON DE And the oTher one is at …
Hondo7 (What on Earth is …): it took 25 years for the Bonner bridge replacement with all the lawsuits and permits, based on that, …
alien thinking (What on Earth is …): I’d like to see it go. It’s a pile of junk surrounded by acres of junk and piles of excavated sand, e…
Salvo Jimmy (Hurricanes: Our r…): Another thing to consider, and Isabel is a good example, is storm surge does not fall off like wind s…
Bud (Rip Currents, Mis…): Folks need to realize that these are not swimming beaches. Proven every season with multiple lives lo…
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Tying up loose ends: Updates from Hatteras Island villages

Friday 28 November 2014 at 6:16 pm

Three of my blogs this fall were on topics that need some updating.  They all were about issues in Hatteras Island's villages -- the possibility of zoning for the tri-villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo, beach restoration in Buxton, and the question of whether the Hatteras Village Tax District should purchase oceanfront property.

I've done relatively short updates on these topics for this week's blog, and readers who want more information can go back and read what I wrote before -- and what the readers have commented on each of them.

ZONING IN THE TRI-VILLAGES    

An ad hoc group of residents and business owners in Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo have launched a campaign to begin exploring use-specific zoning for those villages.

In a blog on Sept. 19, I wrote a blog that updated the county's efforts to get Waterfall Park cleaned up and its initial exploration of zoning in the tri-villages.

In a Sept. 2 meeting of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, chairman Warren Judge said the county had received a letter from the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Civic Association, asking to start the planning process for use-specific zoning in the tri-villages.

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The Park Service wants to hear from you on a proposed new regulation

Friday 21 November 2014 at 4:52 pm

National Park Service officials want to hear from you about a new regulation they are proposing that would prohibit leaving personal items overnight on the beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The draft of the regulation would prohibit unattended property -- such as tents, canopies, umbrellas, awnings, chairs, and such sports items as volleyball nets -- on the ocean beaches between sunset and sunrise daily.

It would also require that all holes dug on the beach be filled in before beachgoers leave the area.

The reason for the regulation is that equipment left on the beach after dark and holes not filled in are not only public safety issues, but also pose a hazard to protected sea turtles.

The proliferation of tents, awnings, chairs and other items left on the beach seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon. Perhaps the equipment is more readily available and more affordable than before.

But for whatever reason, you can go to the beach any summer day and see it lined with the tents and canopies, some tied together to make large encampments. Many groups set up makeshift volleyball courts and such things as pits for horseshoes. They might set up grills and tables for serving food.

And that's all well and good -- at least during daylight hours.

Most of these groups take all their beach "stuff" with them when they leave at the end of the day, but an increasing number do not.  They leave it set up on the beach for the duration of their week's vacation.

And after dark, these items become safety hazards for emergency personnel and for pedestrians.

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An opportunity for Hatteras village

Friday 14 November 2014 at 5:52 pm

Three years ago this month, in an article in the Island Free Press, Eric Kaplan announced his plans for the Hatteras Island Ocean Center.

It was a grand plan that included not only an ocean pier and pier house but also such things as an event venue, a restaurant, shops, a playground, parking, a beach access with bathhouse, and education components, including classes and exhibits.

He envisioned that locals and visitors would come together at the Ocean Center for fishing, swimming, kiteboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, bird watching, live music, and learning about the marine environment, island history, wildlife, and commercial fishing.

And he also believed that the economy of southern Hatteras Island, which has struggled since Hurricane Isabel in 2003, badly needed a shot in the arm. What Hatteras village needed, he said, was a nine-month economy instead of a three-month economy.

At this point, it should be noted that Kaplan also said he was not launching the Ocean Center project to make money -- at least not for himself. He envisioned Hatteras business owners profiting from whatever retail or rental opportunities that became available.

He created a non-profit, 501(c) 3 with its own board to run the center. He bought two pieces of property -- one on the oceanside and one on the soundside of Highway 12 in Hatteras village. Later, he bought another property with retail buildings on it on the soundside of the road, and then received a donation of some land next to the marsh.

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Buxton beach restoration: Still not soon enough for some

Friday 07 November 2014 at 5:12 pm

A small but vocal group of islanders gathered at the Shipwreck Grill in Buxton on Monday to continue their campaign to get the beach on the northern edge of the village nourished with sand now -- not in the summer of 2016.

About 20 people attended the meeting, organized by Carol Dawson, a Buxton resident and owner of several properties in an area threatened now in even minor weather events by the encroaching Atlantic Ocean.

Just the day before the meeting, Dawson and some friends and family were working to get piles of sand left by ocean overwash during a weekend northeaster removed from the parking lots of the businesses.   

Even as the meeting started, there were puddles of saltwater in the restaurant parking lot, and N.C. Department of Transportation bulldozers and smaller pieces of privately owned equipment worked to move sand.

Owners of homes and businesses in north Buxton have been fighting back the ocean with increasing regularity, especially this fall.

It's obvious by now that they are fed up, overwhelmed, and increasingly anxious about their future.

Warren Judge, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, and Kym Hall, acting superintendent of the National Park Service's Outer Banks Group also attended the meeting.

Both officials got an earful from the people in the room.

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