Showing posts with label boating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boating. Show all posts

Monday, September 8, 2014

Oriental New Town Dock - What Might Have Been

Three years ago, the Town of Oriental submitted a grant proposal for Federal Boating Infrastructure funds to build a pier for transient recreational boats at the end of South Avenue.

The plans show six boat slips and a width on the water of 80 feet. Plenty of room for visiting boats to go around other boats to get alongside either side of the dock.

Just take a look here, download the proposal, and compare the proposal to what we have.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Observations By Tony Tharp

I thought I would post without comment a link to Tony Tharp's most recent comments about Oriental here.

Bear in mind he is writing from the wilds of Lake Okeechobee, not far south of the Okeefenokee Swamp, from the decks of S/V Yoknapatawpha II.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Schedule Of Boat Registration Fees

Our State Senator, Norman Sanderson, is sponsoring a bill to increase boat registration fees. If the bill passes, the new fee schedule will be as follows:

(a1)      Fees. – The fees for certificates of number are as set out in this subsection:
(1)        The fee for a certificate of number for a one‑year period is:
a.         Fifteen dollars ($15.00) for a vessel that is less than 14 feet in length.
b.         Twenty‑five dollars ($25.00) for a vessel that is 14 feet or more in length but less than 20 feet in length.
c.         Fifty dollars ($50.00) for a vessel that is 20 feet or more in length but less than 26 feet in length.
d.         One hundred dollars ($100.00) for a vessel that is 26 feet or more in length but less than 40 feet in length.
e.         One hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) for a vessel that is more than 40 feet in length.
(2)        The fee for a certificate of number for a three‑year period is:
a.         Forty‑five dollars ($45.00) for a vessel that is less than 14 feet in length.
b.         Seventy‑five dollars ($75.00) for a vessel that is 14 feet or more in length but less than 20 feet in length.
c.         One hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) for a vessel that is 20 feet or more in length but less than 26 feet in length.
d.         Three hundred dollars ($300.00) for a vessel that is 26 feet or more in length but less than 40 feet in length.
e.         Four hundred fifty dollars ($450.00) for a vessel that is more than 40 feet in length.
(b)        Reciprocity. – The owner of any vessel already covered by a number in full force and effect pursuant to federal law or a federally approved numbering system of another state shall record the identification number prior to operating the vessel on the waters of this State in excess of the 90‑day reciprocity period provided for in G.S. 75A‑7(a)(1). The recordation shall be made pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, except that no additional or substitute identification number shall be issued.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Boat Names

Who would name a boat Yoknapatawpha? And why? A good brief essay on boat naming, history and literature explains.

Monday, May 14, 2012

South Avenue Procedure

I understand from Town that the Town of Oriental may hold a meeting Thursday, May 17 to hear public comments on the proposed contract with Chris Fulcher.

There are some chicken and egg issues involved here.

Before the town can complete the contract by closing streets, it must hold public hearings. Those hearings require public notice at least four weeks in advance. Here are the relevant provisions from North Carolina General Statutes:

§ 160A‑299.  Procedure for permanently closing streets and alleys.
(a)        When a city proposes to permanently close any street or public alley, the council shall first adopt a resolution declaring its intent to close the street or alley and calling a public hearing on the question.  The resolution shall be published once a week for four successive weeks prior to the hearing, a copy thereof shall be sent by registered or certified mail to all owners of property adjoining the street or alley as shown on the county tax records, and a notice of the closing and public hearing shall be prominently posted in at least two places along the street or alley.  If the street or alley is under the authority and control of the Department of Transportation, a copy of the resolution shall be mailed to the Department of Transportation. At the hearing, any person may be heard on the question of whether or not the closing would be detrimental to the public interest, or the property rights of any individualIf it appears to the satisfaction of the council after the hearing that closing the street or alley is not contrary to the public interest, and that no individual owning property in the vicinity of the street or alley or in the subdivision in which it is located would thereby be deprived of reasonable means of ingress and egress to his property, the council may adopt an order closing the street or alley.  A certified copy of the order (or judgment of the court) shall be filed in the office of the register of deeds of the county in which the street, or any portion thereof, is located.
(b)        Any person aggrieved by the closing of any street or alley including the Department of Transportation if the street or alley is under its authority and control, may appeal the council's order to the General Court of Justice within 30 days after its adoption.  In appeals of streets closed under this section, all facts and issues shall be heard and decided by a judge sitting without a jury.  In addition to determining whether procedural requirements were complied with, the court shall determine whether, on the record as presented to the city council, the council's decision to close the street was in accordance with the statutory standards of subsection (a) of this section and any other applicable requirements of local law or ordinance.
     No cause of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of any proceedings taken in closing any street or alley may be asserted, nor shall the validity of the order be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding begun within 30 days after the order is adopted. The failure to send notice by registered or certified mail shall not invalidate any ordinance adopted prior to January 1, 1989.
(c)        Upon the closing of a street or alley in accordance with this section, subject to the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, all right, title, and interest in the right‑of‑way shall be conclusively presumed to be vested in those persons owning lots or parcels of land adjacent to the street or alley, and the title of such adjoining landowners, for the width of the abutting land owned by them, shall extend to the centerline of the street or alley.
The provisions of this subsection regarding division of right‑of‑way in street or alley closings may be altered as to a particular street or alley closing by the assent of all property owners taking title to a closed street or alley by the filing of a plat which shows the street or alley closing and the portion of the closed street or alley to be taken by each such owner.  The plat shall be signed by each property owner who, under this section, has an ownership right in the closed street or alley.
(d)       This section shall apply to any street or public alley within a city or its extraterritorial jurisdiction that has been irrevocably dedicated to the public, without regard to whether it has actually been opened.  This section also applies to unopened streets or public alleys that are shown on plats but that have not been accepted or maintained by the city, provided that this section shall not abrogate the rights of a dedicator, or those claiming under a dedicator, pursuant to G.S. 136‑96.
(e)        No street or alley under the control of the Department of Transportation may be closed unless the Department of Transportation consents thereto.
(f)        A city may reserve its right, title, and interest in any utility improvement or easement within a street closed pursuant to this section. Such reservation shall be stated in the order of closing.  Such reservation also extends to utility improvements or easements owned by private utilities which at the time of the street closing have a utility agreement or franchise with the city.
(g)        The city may retain utility easements, both public and private, in cases of streets withdrawn under G.S. 136‑96.  To retain such easements, the city council shall, after public hearing, approve a "declaration of retention of utility easements" specifically describing such easements.  Notice by certified or registered mail shall be provided to the party withdrawing the street from dedication under G.S. 136‑96 at least five days prior to the hearing.  The declaration must be passed prior to filing of any plat or map or declaration of withdrawal with the register of deeds.  Any property owner filing such plats, maps, or declarations shall include the city declaration with the declaration of withdrawal and shall show the utilities retained on any map or plat showing the withdrawal. (1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1973, c. 426, s. 47; c. 507, s. 5; 1977, c. 464, s. 34; 1981, c. 401; c. 402, ss. 1, 2; 1989, c. 254; 1993, c. 149, s. 1.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Oriental Boat Show

Looks like a good weekend for the Oriental Boat Show. In addition to local boaters, the harbor has also filled up with cruising sailors headed north in the annual migration.

We even have a few shrimp boats in the harbor. Soon we should be back to normal.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Water, Water Everywhere

Once again at last night's county commissioner meeting, one of the commissioners bragged that NC-20, the lobbying organization funded in part by taxpayers of the 20 coastal counties, had successfully persuaded the Coastal Resources Commission not to adopt the report of the CRC science committee forecasting a sea level rise of as much as one meter (39 inches) by 2100.

She explained that adopting the report might withdraw 1.3 million acres in Eastern North Carolina from future use. She also explained that it might raise insurance rates.

My problem with that is, I am about to raise my house 36 inches. Before doing so, I would like access to the best available scientific assessment of sea level rise. That extra three inches could be crucial, if not to me personally, at least to my heirs.

Is ignorance better than knowledge? I don't think so.

If we build on 1.3 million acres that shouldn't be developed, who pays the damages when the water rises? Is NC-20 going to pick up the tab?

I don't think so. The rest of us will.

Yesterday's New York Times printed a very illuminating article about sea level rise, hurricane damage and the outer banks. Read it here.

Whenever a significant hurricane hits the banks, it makes new channels across the islands, severing roads and destroying bridges.

One sensible suggestion by scientists (who keep telling us that the outer banks aren't stable) is to replace the bridges with ferries.

It would be cheaper and more reliable.

By the way, there is no bridge to Okracoke and the tourist industry there does just fine.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thoughts On South Avenue

I've been checking into the limits imposed by Neuse River Buffer, CAMA and our own Growth Management Ordinance. It looks like, if the proposed exchange goes through, there may be enough room on the lot for a 20'x30' building and about four parking places.

There is much talk about what could be built there, but it would help to see some sketches.

In the meantime, a number of residents have sent letters to, published here.

We have not yet learned how the Board plans to deal with possible legal obstacles.

Friday, February 10, 2012

South Avenue Deal

This evening, the Oriental Town Board of Commissioners by a unanimous vote of the four commissioners in attendance approved "in principal" to accept a counter offer by Mr. Chris Fulcher concerning the exchange of property. Details to be negotiated in a contract to be reviewed by the board. Public hearing to be held on the issue of vacating public rights of way currently owned by the town. The proposed map:

This is somewhat better than the earlier proposal here, but there still may be devils in the details. Lawyers for the two sides will negotiate.

Some commissioners, responding to skeptical comments by attendees, emphasized that the rights of way the town is giving up are "worth nothing." I think the truth is more complicated. To be sure, the town cannot sell the rights of way, because the town is not the owner of the underlying fee. But, if abandoned, there is clearly a tangible value to the land freed for sale, transfer or use by the fee owner. To truly understand the value to the recipient, it might be of interest to have a valuation of the real estate value of the land being abandoned by the town. Clearly it is not "nothing."

Earlier this week, the mayor spent a long time talking about the "intangible" benefits of the negotiation. I think the benefits to the public of public access to the water are a concrete benefit of living in the Town of Oriental, not just an "intangible" benefit. It is why people move here.

There were options open to the town had the Board wanted to use the existing South Avenue right of way to build a welcome center, public rest rooms, a museum, or any other purpose associated with public access to the water. It could, for example, have offered to purchase the underlying fee from the fee owner, either through negotiation or by exercising eminent domain. It might have been difficult and costly, but it would have been possible.

As it is, there will be building restrictions due to the fact that about half of the area to be donated to the town is within the 50 foot Neuse River Buffer and subject to building restrictions. It would be interesting to know what can be built there within those constraints.

A major advantage to the public of a dedicated and accepted right of way is that it cannot be sold, only abandoned. This provides better protection of the public interest than if the same property were owned outright. The town's governing body has the legal right to purchase and sell property at will. I would be happier if the property to be donated in this case were dedicated to the public for the purpose of public access to the water, including building of appropriate facilities to support public access. An example of a restricted donation to the town is Lou-Mac Park. We should look at this model.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What's The All-Fired Rush?

Just received the following:

"From: <>
Date: Wed, Feb 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM
Subject: Special Meeting Called
Cc: Pamlico News <>, Jeff <>, Melinda <>, Charlie Hall <>

I hereby call a special meeting of the Oriental Town Board of Commissioners for 4:00 PM on Friday, February 10, 2012, at First Baptist Church fellowship hall for the purpose of considering terms of property acquisition transaction at Raccoon Creek.

Bill Sage, Mayor"

This sounds like something may be happening, but it isn't clear what. If I find out more, I'll share more thoughts.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fulcher Proposal Plan View

Here is the drawing that Mr. Chris Fulcher submitted to the town with his proposal for the town to close South Avenue and Avenue A, in return for which he would donate to the town 5,001.17 square feet of property as outlined in the bold marks. Included in that 5,001.17 square feet are 890 square feet within the South Avenue right of way (which, under his proposal would no longer be a public right of way).

Note that if the dock under construction were to become the new town dock, it would be very constraining for boaters on the southwest side of the dock. It would be much more comfortable for boaters if the distance from the dock to the edge of the property were the same to the southwest as it would be to the northeast.

By comparison, if the town were to build a dock centered on the South Avenue terminus, even taking into account the mandatory CAMA setback of 15 feet from adjacent riparian property owners, the town would have approximately 64 feet to work with. Even if the dock were to be 10 feet wide, that would leave 27 feet on each side for boaters to use without encroaching on the buffer, much less on the riparian boundary.

In short, Mr. Fulcher's proposal looks like a tight squeeze.

Another set of considerations relates to the effect of the town abandoning the South Avenue right of way on public access to the parcel Mr. Fulcher proposes to donate. The proposal appears to allow only a 20 foot access from the remaining public right of way into the parcel leading to the dock. Is this enough? What about parking? What about access needed to load boats?

A lot of things to consider.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

South Avenue Survey

To help understand what the town is being asked to transfer to Chris Fulcher, it may help to see this 1995 survey by Dennis Fornes:


Mr. Fulcher now owns all of the property on the south side of South Avenue and west of Wall Street, as well as all property on the north side of South Avenue west of Toucan Grill and the Oriental Marina and Inn. He proposes that the town close "South Avenue and its subsequent appendage of First Avenue [sic - presumably he means Avenue A] where the private property on both sides of the right-of-way are owned by me or to which I have controlling interest." He goes on to say, "It is my understanding that with such a closure, the then previous right-of-way would become under my sole possession and control."

The town's existing South Avenue right-of-way intersects the Raccoon Creek harbor at A-B on the survey. The straight line distance between A and B is approximately 94 feet.

In return for the town abandoning the existing right-of-way, Mr. Fulcher proposes to donate to the town ownership of a 5,000 square foot lot 46.47' wide at water's edge with certain waterside improvements already completed or in progress.

The town board is considering how to respond to the proposal.