In this issue:
- Recap of Village Council regular meeting.
- Federal transportation mask mandate lifted by court order on April 18.
- Duke Energy will be testing outdoor warning sirens during the week of April 26.
- Grilling safety tips and ordinance reminder.
- Check your deck!
- An update from Duke Energy.
REMINDERS: Village Council Special Meeting/Budget Workshop on 4/29, beach bonfire season ends on 4/30, N-95 masks available at Village Hall, free at-home COVID-19 tests available, IPC/PO remains closed on Saturdays.
Regular Council Meeting – The Village Council conducted its regular meeting on Thursday, April 14, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. Here is a summary of the information shared and the actions that were taken at this meeting:
The meeting kicked off with the presentation of a ceremonial check in the amount of $447,000 which comes from the proceeds of all the fundraising events held over the past few months for the Village’s Department of Public Safety to purchase a new ladder truck. Volunteers from the Public Service Auxiliary presented the check. The Village Council followed up with the adoption of a resolution accepting cash donations for the fire ladder truck.
Next, during the public comment period, George Corvin gave a presentation. Mr. Corvin is a representative of a study committee made up of both full-time and part-time property owners on the island tasked with clarifying issues and discussing directions the community can take to include the voice of all Island stakeholders. Mr. Corvin shared the group’s early observations, data gathering objectives, and a proposed survey. The next steps are for the survey to be finalized and sent out, data compiled and reviewed by the study committee, and a draft set of recommendations presented to the Mayor and Council for consideration.
The Village Council unanimously passed the consent agenda which included the appointment of Chris Webb to serve as an alternate on the Planning Board. Under old business, the Council adopted an ordinance to regulate the use of combustible landscaping materials (see the Village’s announcement HERE for more info). The Council conducted a public hearing on the closure of a portion of Lighthouse Wynd. After receiving public comments, the Village Council adopted an order permanently closing a portion of Lighthouse Wynd between the intersection with Timber Bridge and the intersection with Ballast Stone Alley. This section of road will be closed to vehicular traffic in the near future however, pedestrian traffic will still be allowed. The street closure was requested by Mark and Robin Prak, Old Ballast Stone, LLC, the Old Baldy Foundation, The Village Chapel, Bald Head Island Limited, LLC, and the Bald Head Association as part of its plans to expand Old Baldy Foundation’s campus over the area of road that is closed and onto the property that was purchased by the Praks. Preliminary plans were discussed with the Village at the last few Council retreats (the 2022 version can be viewed HERE).
Under new business, the Village Council awarded the bid for the Public Safety ladder truck to Fire Connections, Inc and authorized the Village Manager to execute the purchase agreement. Delivery of the truck is expected to take 1 ½ to 2 years. The Village Council also created a capital project fund ordinance for the fire truck donations and approved the BHI Transportation Emergency Services agreement which is an annual agreement with Bald Head Island Transportation, Inc. to provide emergency services to the Village to transport injured or ill individuals off-island.
The Assistant Village Manager, Jae Kim, provided some updates here are a few:
Marina Channel Maintenance – Coastal Dredging completed the dredging portion of the work, the channel depth was verified by the ferry captains, and they were expected to demobilize by Friday, April 15, 2022.
Funding Opportunities – Mr. Kim reported that he is consulting with Ms. Schulteis at GT Law on the next steps for submitting Congressionally Directed Funds (CDF). If awarded and received these funds need to be obligated within 12 months. The likely scenario would be that the Village would receive funds in the Spring of 2023 to then be obligated by Spring 2024. The Village is looking at requests for the 100’ ladder truck and engine/pumper truck, wastewater treatment plant expansion, and road paving. Village staff will be meeting with congressional and senate delegation representatives to discuss funding over the next month.
NC Government Finance Officers Association – Mr. Kim announced that Zack Hewett, Finance Director, has been appointed to the North Carolina Government Finance Officers Association Board of Directors for a term of eight years.
South Beach Artifact – The Village has received approval to remove the shipwreck from the shoreline and will be coordinating the work through Island Contracting. The current plan is to excavate and remove the wreckage in sections and then relocate it temporarily at which point Tidewater Atlantic Research, Inc. will do the cultural resources investigation to identify the artifact. This work is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
In the meantime, the Village has asked folks to be cautious when walking in this area and to not allow children to walk in the area unsupervised. Please let your family members, visitor, and guests know to be careful out there.
Duke Energy – Mr. McCall reported that Village staff met with representatives from Duke Energy to get an update on the multi-year project. Some additional boring had to be done after discovering an area of line had been severed. Once the 7,000 feet is completed Duke was confident that the boring portion of the project will be over and the spoil site at the end of Muscadine will be cleaned up. Then it is a matter of pulling new cable through the conduit and making connections and then installing the new switchgear. This next phase will mean smaller crews and fewer ICE vehicles on the roads.
County Funding – Mayor Quinn reported that he had a meeting with Brunswick County Commissioner Pat Sykes to discuss the funding the Village receives from the County. The County contributes $298,000 annually to the Village’s emergency services through their budget process and the Village is approaching the County for additional funds to supplement the cost of the ladder truck. Sykes advised the Village to do its homework prior to submitting the funding request. Mr. McCall indicated that the Finance Director has determined with the percent increase of new homes built and the increased tax value, the County has seen an increase in revenue over the last five years.
NCUC Complaint – Mayor Pro Tem Gardner gave an update on the Village’s complaint to the NC Utilities Commission to regulate parking and the barge. The Village’s petition was filed in February and BHI Limited responded at the end of March with a petition to dismiss. The Village has until April 22, 2022 (tomorrow) to respond to the request to dismiss and respond to other issues that Limited provided in their order to dismiss and response to the Village’s complaint. That will be submitted by the Village tomorrow. Islanders who wish to follow this topic can view the information on the NCUC website HERE.
A full account of these meetings can be found in the minutes which are posted HERE. Typically, minutes are posted with the agenda of the next month’s meeting (ex. If you want to read the February meeting minutes, they can be found under the March regular meeting agenda).
Siren Testing – Duke Energy recently announced that it will be testing outdoor warning sirens around the Brunswick Nuclear Plant during the week of April 26. This testing is necessary for Duke to close out its recent upgrade project on the sirens. Select sirens will be tested using both the short 20-second test and the longer three-minute test. The tests will occur between April 26 and April 29 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. No public action is required.
Mask Mandate – On April 18, 2022, a federal court struck down the federal transportation mask mandate. The White House announced it is suspending enforcement pending legal review. Pursuant to the court’s order and White House suspension, Bald Head Island Transportation, Inc. (BHIT) said it will no longer be requiring mask wear in the ferry cabin nor in any spaces within the ferry terminals. The BHIT website and signage throughout the facility and on the vessels were updated to reflect this change.
Grilling Safety – Outdoor grilling is one of the best activities of spring and summer and it is one of the most popular ways to cook food. A grill that is placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. Hot grills can also cause burn injuries. Medical and fire emergencies are two things we all want to avoid on Bald Head Island.
The Village’s Fire Prevention Ordinance (Section 12-53) states:
Cooking fires contained within a commercially available, solid-fuel burning, portable, outdoor cooking appliance, but only to the extent that such portable appliance shall be located at least ten (10) feet from any structure and within twenty-five (25) feet of a permanent water source connected to a hose that is able to reach the location of the appliance, and shall not be located upon any wood or composite deck or balcony attached to such structure or underneath any roofed structure, including any porch, awning, or balcony overhang of a structure.
Following the Village’s ordinance will reduce fire emergencies and property damage caused by grills and ensures that islanders can quickly respond to any mishaps that may occur when grilling out. Violating this ordinance could result in a $500 fine.
Here are a few grilling tips from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA):
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
For more information about grilling safety and other fire safety topics go to nfpa.org/education. Also, check out the Village of Bald Head Island YouTube channel for a short grilling safety video.
Check Your Deck! – The corrosive nature of the coastal environment can take a heavy toll on wood and fasteners, and it is important to routinely inspect the condition of your property and take any necessary corrective action. There are many licensed general contractors and home inspectors that would be happy to assist.
In accordance with North Carolina law, the Village inspects any new construction and significant repairs or renovations at the time the work is completed but does not engage in routine, periodic inspections. This responsibility ultimately falls on the property owner, although the Village’s building inspector will inspect any property for which a specific complaint is received. To assist our property owners, Village staff has prepared a simple, helpful Citizen’s Guide to Deck Safety. This flyer includes a graphic illustrating typical deck construction along with illustrations of common problems and other helpful tips.
Additionally, it is important for everyone (property owners and visitors) to be mindful of the number of people gathered on a particular deck or section of deck.
If you have questions or need additional information or assistance, please contact the Village’s Development Services Administrator Stephen Boyett at (910) 457-9700 ext. 1004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update from Duke Energy (submitted by Duke Energy)– Duke Energy is working hard to complete a multi-year power grid improvement project that will help harden our system serving Bald Head Island to storms and allow for isolation of outages and remote automatic repairs.
While a lot of the visible work on the island is wrapping up, there are important updates to our operating systems taking place now so we can fully leverage these upgrades in the near future.
You may continue to see our Duke team and contractors working in the following areas:
- Fort Homes Trail area – Underground boring scope added to the project this year to complete back feeding option to enhance the overall project
- South and West Baldhead Wynd areas – Cable pulling rigs and testing continue in this area
- BHI Clubhouse – Switchgear upgrade and underground boring work
We are also anticipating the need for some small, isolated planned outages as we configure the new equipment. We will work to communicate this in advance to impacted customers.
We appreciate the community’s patience and support as we continue this work in 2022.
If you have questions or feedback, you are welcome to contact Danielle Peoples at Danielle.Peoples@duke-energy.com.
The Village receives regular updates from Duke Energy which will be shared with our e-newsletter subscribers and posted on the Village’s “Village Projects” webpage HERE.
Budget Workshop – The Village Council will be having a Special Meeting/Budget Workshop on Friday, April 29, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. Zoom information to listen in online can be found HERE. The agenda will be posted HERE.
Beach Bonfire Season – Beach bonfire season ends on 4/30 as turtle nesting season begins on May 1st each year. In addition to ceasing the issuance of beach bonfire permits, another regulation comes into effect at this time regarding dogs on the beach. Dog owners must have their dogs on a leash while on the beach from sundown to sunrise.
Please also remind your visitors and guests to fill in holes, knock down sandcastles, and remove beach equipment from the shoreline daily. Here is a one-page flyer with this information and other useful info for experiencing BHI.
Free N95 Masks – Federally provided N95 masks are available at Village Hall, as supplies last. These supplies do not include child-sized masks at this time. Brunswick County Health and Human Services dispersed its full allocation of N95 masks to several of its municipal and senior center partners to improve access countywide. Learn more about N95 and other types of masks HERE. To learn more about where to find free N95 masks in Brunswick County go HERE.
Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests – Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. Order your tests now so you have them when you need them. Order your tests through the United States Postal Service (USPS) at covidtests.gov. Find local testing sites HERE.
IPC/PO is closed on Saturdays – The Island Package Center & Post Office remains closed on Saturdays. First-class mail will be delivered to post office boxes every Saturday. We apologize for the inconvenience.