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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 was put on hold while they consult with their engineers on additional installation options.
Crown Castle returned to BHI in November to perform drilling operations and to perform soil testing. They completed the new design which was reviewed by the Village’s development services administrator. Bidders were on the island the week of 1/11/21.
Crown Castle and its contractors resumed construction on or near April 19th. The crane was removed on 5/4/21 and the crew is expected to leave the site on 5/6/21 for three weeks. Before they leave they will set up caution tape, barricades, and NO TRESPASSING signs on the site. The second phase of the project will begin on June 1, 2021 (tentatively).
The Village will update this page as we receive updates 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. The timing of the installation for each provider is yet to be determined. 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.
Drone Flights – The Bald Head Island Conservancy will be conducting drone flights to image beach vitex during the growing season (when it’s green). Their timeline is to start mid-May and to have the imaging complete by the first day of June. They will be starting on the west side of the island and will work their way east. Flights will be conducted around mid-day. For more information, please view THIS information sheet.
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. The concrete building pad for the Contractor Services project office spaces & storage units for the 1st building is complete. A concrete base for the Village’s 400Mhz intra-island radio system has been installed as well ( this was recommended by the Hurricane Florence Task Force). The tower & radio system will be another means of communications around the island during EOC events in addition to other communications needs (i.e. traffic control) for various projects around the island throughout the year.
Construction drawings were completed and put out for bids. The first advertisement received no bids. The bid opening for the second advertisement was on February 11, 2021. There was one responsive bid. The bid amount exceeded the funds available. At the February 19, 2021, special meeting the Village Council indicated that the Village will negotiate for a lower price with the responsive bidder. The Village Council negotiated the price down to a not-to-exceed amount of $788,000 and formally awarded the contract to Henson Construction at its February 24, 2021, special meeting. Construction is expected to begin in early March and must be completed by July 1, 2021.
Why was so much vegetation cleared between the new Contractor Services pad and Federal Road? The State’s stormwater permit required a stormwater basin and required some clearing. Caution was given to minimize the amount of vegetation removed with the usual emphasis on the protection of the larger live oaks. The plan is to let the vegetation (understory) grow back to the extent that it will offer some buffer in the long-term. This project is still in progress and the current condition is not what the Village expects the area to look like in the long-term.
Click HERE to view a copy of the site plan. The stormwater basin is indicated in red.
UPDATE: At the April 16, 2021 Village Council meeting a series of slides were shared showing the 2016 plans and the current plans which require basins for stormwater which are required from the NC Division of Water Quality (DWQ) to handle the stormwater in this area which has a high-density area of impervious surface located near Bald Head Creek. The Village Manager explained that the area needed to be cleared of small vegetation to be able to see the terrain and delineate the basin perimeter to work around the large live oaks, some palms were moved, and this careful design plan has resulted in odd-shaped basins. Similar basins were installed at the Public Safety Building, these were also required by DWQ. Staff is looking into the possibility of using the dirt removed from the basin areas to establish a berm along Federal Road, there is not a lot of land to work with, but if there is, this berm will be planted with plants that grow quickly. The Village Manager emphasized that this project is still a work in progress and that the vegetation removal did not occur within the boundaries of the maritime forest. The slides which include plans and maps can be viewed HERE.
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
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 was postponed to Spring 2021. Barnhill was booked up on the mainland and was not be able to make it out until spring (winter temperatures drop too low to pave). The contract was executed the week of 2/10/2021 and the Village will be coordinating the work schedule and notifying Islanders of any road closures. The budget for this project is $454,500. Barnhill is expected to begin work on or near June 7, 2021, details on road/lane closures and/or detours will be announced as this date approaches.
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.
Duke Energy will be providing updates to the Village as they continue to make improvements on BHI. Those updates can be found HERE.
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 when Duke is finished with its temporary use of this lot. 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.
At the January 15, 2021, Council meeting the Village Manager reported that staff will be meeting with contractors to finalize the plans for improving the bypass lagoon. The plans are to replace the 24 inch pipe with a 36 inch pipe. Plans are also in place to improve the connection from 3A to 6 and 7 lagoons by cutting in a swale. The objective is to get both tasks completed in the February/March timeframe.
At the April 16, 2021, Village Council meeting the Village Manager reported that the Village has received cost proposals for the planned stormwater updates to include lagoon connection. The Village will be reaching out to property owners in the vicinity of lagoons 3 A/B and 6/7 (adjacent to Nightshade Court and Fort Holmes Trail) which will be connected as part of this project. The Village Council provided consensus for staff to proceed with this project.
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. As of early February 2021, the land had been surveyed and the ramp is in the design phase.
NOTE: In anticipation of the new beach access being built a few lots away, beach access #15 has been modified and is no longer a handicapped access. Until this new access is complete, the emergency vehicle accesses can be used (#11, #24B, #35, #42). BA #42 would be the shortest path to the beach.
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. They are waiting on the Corps to certify the wetland delineation (which is not expected to be completed until April 2021). They will then work on access to the parcels with a max of two accesses for ingress/egress, per Bald Head Association’s request. The topography will be a factor. The 911 emergency access is expected to be maintained.
As of April 16, 2021, the Village is still waiting to receive the wetlands delineation from the Army Corps of Engineers. The Village still aims to utilize the access at Sandpiper (BA #11) as a vehicle access as it is used as an emergency entrance for vehicles and heavily utilized during shoreline projects. Village Council provided feedback on Bald Head Association’s preference allowing for only one entrance from West Bald Head Wynd. Council indicated that the suggested loop road would make trash pick-up difficult and it would be preferable to have direct access from West Bald Head Wynd to each lot instead
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.
What are the green plastic safety fences in the maritime forest? These are exclosures to protect vegetation from deer. See more information about these on the BHI Conservancy website HERE. Several were damaged from recent hurricanes and staff with the Bald Head Woods Reserve are aware of this and are evaluating options (repair/replace/remove).
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.