Learn about Village Projects

Below are a few projects and initiatives that are taking place on Bald Head Island. Information about these projects will be updated as the status changes. Shoreline protection project information can be found HERE.

If you have a question about any of these projects or are not finding the information you need, please contact public.information@villagebhi.org.

Storm Debris Management – Mulching of storm debris from Hurricane Isaias has been completed and the Village received a final inspection from a FEMA debris monitor. Mulch is now available for pick-up at the Swan’s Quarter site FOR FREE (Swan’s Quarter is located next to the Bald Head Island Club).

Right-of-Way Maintenance – In October 2020, the Village had tree removal contractors on the island to clean up the medians and right-of-ways. The contractors are expected to return in January/February 2021 to finish the remainder of the island.

Drone Flights – Bald Head Island Conservancy will be doing drone flights throughout the fall to map locations of beach vitex. They hope to complete the flights before the holidays. They plan to be out 3 times a week for about 1-2 hours.  They expect to start at Beach Access 1 and wrap around to the West, then do South Beach.  For the most part, the drone will fly high and will be unnoticed.  The pilot is required to have a line of sight with the drone at all times and it will not be flown over water, in windy conditions, or in heavy rain.   For more information about beach vitex and the Conservancy’s efforts to eradicate it on the island, view their video HERE and their blog HERE. Photos of homes will be kept confidential.

New Cell Tower – Crown Castle owns the current cell tower on the island and started constructing a new one in summer 2020. The new cell tower will be next to the old cell tower which will be taken down during the off-season.  The new tower will be 60 feet higher and will result in improved cellular service on the island.  It will also enhance the Public Safety Department’s VIPER communication system allowing for improved line of sight on areas of the island such as near the dune line.

Crown Castle was expected to complete construction by the end of July 2020, unfortunately, there were several delays including an unknown impediment preventing the driving of the piles all the way down. Crown Castle intended to remove the friction piles and start driving them in a few feet over to avoid the obstruction but experienced more setbacks. The project has been on hold while they consult with their engineers on additional installation options.

Crown Castle returned to BHI the week of Monday, November 2, 2020, to perform drilling operations and to perform soil testing. They are hoping to have engineering designs made in order to start construction during the first quarter of 2021. The Village will update this page as we receive more information from Crown Castle.

Please note that the installation of the service provider equipment (AT&T, US Cellular, Verizon) will be phased over from the old tower to the new one once the island’s population is reduced. The Village will post updates as they become available.

Will the new tower have T-mobile? Here is the answer the Village received from Crown Castle: “Currently T-mobile/Sprint is not on the current tower.  When we went to construct the new tower we reached out to their RF department and they declined to go on the new tower.  After the merger of the two companies they might express interest down the road.”

Is this costing the Village anything? No, there are no public funds being used to construct the cell tower. All financial obligations are on Crown Castle.

Contractor Services Improvements – In October 2019, the Village Manager reported that Village Staff is moving forward with initial efforts on improvements to the Contractor Services lot. There will be a phased approach which includes clearing out the existing Contractor Service building and old and dilapidated storage units while relocating others for temporary use until new storage units are constructed.  The preliminary work is estimated to cost $175,000 with most of the cost associated with relocating the fuel pump/gas dispenser. 

Contractor Services staff and Development Services staff have relocated their offices to a mobile office while improvements progress. The mobile office is located near the entrance to the Public Works complex.

The relocation of the old storage units (CONEX boxes) is complete. Construction drawings are complete and will be available for prospective contractors to submit bids for consideration.  Site clearing, grading, and installation of concrete slabs are currently underway.

What is going on with all the flags on the side of the road?
Some folks may have noticed that these flags have been around the island for quite some time.  They are marking various utility lines for the infrastructure projects that have been on-going for several years (first the broadband fiber project and more recently the Duke Energy project).   Please do not remove them.

At some point ALL the flags will be removed, but not until all projects are completed.  The Duke Energy project is almost complete, but the Village has a few other major projects that will be starting this year such as the installation of the new cell tower and the Village’s stormwater management infrastructure
projects. 

When all projects are completed the Village can focus on removal of the flags, which we agree, are not the most attractive sight on the island, but are necessary to bring forth these planned improvements with minimal delay.

Fall Street Maintenance (postponed) – Fall street maintenance has been postponed to Spring 2021. Barnhill paving is booked up on the mainland and will not be able to make it out until spring (winter temperatures drop too low to pave). The budget for this project is $454,500 and the Village will be refining its prioritization plan to determine which roads need to be paved this cycle. 

Marina Park Dock & Pier – The Marina Park dock and pier was severely damaged during Hurricane Isaias. The Village is currently working with the Division of Coastal Management to receive a major permit to rebuild it. At this time, the Village is planning to relocate the structure so that there is more direct access from the park to pier so that it does not protrude as far into the creek as the old pier, and design it as a “T” dock with the same number of slips. These plans are subject to change as the Village proceeds with the permitting process.

What’s going on with the damaged old dock? The Village has permission from the State to remove the old dock, but has to wait until FEMA comes to inspect it as part of the Village’s public assistance application. Until it is removed, the Village has blocked off access to the dock so that folks are not injured. If you see anyone on the dock that should not be there, please call 911.

Duke Energy – Duke Energy continues to bore down Federal Road to replace a section of cable through to the area of the BHI Conservancy. After the job is complete there should be some redundancy to the area of the Conservancy and Shoals Club. The Village estimates that Duke has spent approximately $10 million on its recent improvements on the island.

Corner of Muscadine & S. Bald Head Wynd – Duke Energy contractors have used this Village-owned lot to place the excess dirt and spoils from the boring. As the material dries out, they have been working to remove some of the excess dirt and will bring the lot back to a more presentable state. Some of this lot is used for beach access parking.

IPC/Post Office Improvements – Staff is looking at potential alternatives for structural changes to improve operational efficiencies.  The Village has drawings for a few options to expand storage space both externally and possibly internally as heated/conditioned space.  Staff will be looking at a number of other areas including IT software improvements to the Point of Sale system and inventory control for processing of packages. The Village is also looking to update existing contracts with USPS, UPS, and FedEx for potential increases in revenue as the prices per package (and our FTE costs to handle USPS mail) have remained stagnant (without even CPI increases) while expenses to run the operations have increased with demand.  Hours of operation will be revisited in terms of processing packages upon delivery from the Deep Point warehouse and notifications to island residents & businesses for pickup to free up staff time for processing of packages and not be required to manage the IPC counter and USPS window.  Better communications need to be established between the USPS and the BHIT warehouse to get more consistent delivery times. Inventory control systems integration would certainly help in this area. Additional staffing is also being considered. UPDATE: Effective Saturday, October 11, 2020 the IPC/PO hours are 10 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Stormwater Management – The Hurricane Florence Task Force provided Village staff with several recommendations regarding stormwater management. This resulted in several projects that have been budgeted and some are yet to be completed. For instance, Island Contracting will be working with BHI Club this fall/winter to redirect water flow and improve the connection between a few of the lagoons and repair a swale that has silted in over time. One of the actions the Village has regularly taken is monitoring the water levels and letting off as much water as possible off the island. This is accomplished through opening the weir gate at the stormwater outfall. While releasing water off the island the gate is typically closed two hours before and after high tide. The Village does not have the capability to install pumps everywhere they are needed, cannot pump on private property, and is only authorized to pump when certain conditions exist.

At the October 23, 2020, Council meeting the Village Manager indicated that the Village will be working with a contractor to make improvements to the bypass weir gate.  The BHI Club is expected to install new pipes to connect Lagoons 3A and 3B to Lagoon 6 and 7 this winter. Survey crews were able to locate the end of the pipe from Lagoon 8 and that line will hopefully need to be cleared out versus requiring boring and replacement.

At the November 20, 2020, Council meeting the Village Manager reported that BHI Club had redirected the irrigation dump valve from Lagoon 7 to the bypass lagoon. The Village is already observing the benefits from this modification as it has increased the amount of water pressure going through the bypass and off the island.

Handicap Access – The Village has received a Division of Coastal Management (DCM) beach access grant to purchase and improve a vacant oceanfront lot. The Village will be installing a new handicap access on the purchased property located near the Bald Head Island Club between public beach access #15 and #17 which is near the entrance to the Bald Head Island Club.

Sandpiper Trail Road Relocation Effort – Land Management Group (LMG) completed a preliminary wetland delineation of the “common areas” between the lots on Sandpiper Trail and the right-of-way.  The preliminary finding is that they are non-jurisdictional wetlands and being less than 1-acre could potentially be filled.  Staff will need to follow up w/LMG to get the preliminary delineation approved by the Corps.

Wildlife Management – Deer: Over the last several years the Village has sub-contracted services to the Bald Head Island Conservancy to assist with Deer Herd Management which utilizes an immuno-contraception program. Updates on the program are posted on the Conservancy’s website at; https://www.bhic.org/deer/. Read the 2020 Darting Season report HERE.

Coyote: During the 2019 turtle season, the Conservancy reported that coyotes were disturbing turtle nests and eating the eggs. Several non-lethal methods were used to deter the coyotes with little success. After consulting wildlife biologists about the viability of trapping coyotes, the Village and the Conservancy worked together to obtain a depredation permit. At this time, the Village currently has no plans in place to renew or use the permit. Please see the latest efforts the Conservancy is making in studying predator behavior on the shoreline HERE.