Showing posts with label navigation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label navigation. Show all posts

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lifebuoy: B.O.

In recognition that it was a bit foggy this morning, Town Dock posted a link to the audio sound of a fog horn.

In all honesty, Town Dock's fog horn was a bit wimpy. But it called to mind a more robust fog horn that sounded on the radio during the 30's and 40's along with a public service announcement. Well, you could call it that, at least back in the days when people took baths at least once a week whether they needed it or not.

Here's the announcement.

If you prefer just a robust fog horn, here's a different link without the "public service."

Safe navigating!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


A lovely home built gaffer tied up at Town Dock today. Nicely rigged, complete with baggywrinkle.  The owner says he has sailed her 23,000 miles.

If I can ever figure out how to upload from my iphone, I'll put up a photo. Here it is.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Panama Canal Expansion

During a senate debate on the Panama Canal Treaty in 1978, United States Senator S. I. Hayakawa of California argued, "We should keep the Panama Canal. After all, we stole it fair and square."

One argument opponents of the treaty used was the claim that Panama would never be able to manage the canal effectively.

That was then. Now, under the auspices of Panama, a massive project to triple the cargo capacity of the original canal is halfway completed. It is scheduled to open in 2015.

The project is truly international. "The 16 lock gates," The Washington Post reports,  "some weighing 4,000 tons, were designed by the Dutch and built by Italians. Beginning next month, they will be lifted onto a barge by Belgians and shipped by South Koreans to Panama in a project managed by the French."

The United States is almost nowhere to be seen. Which doesn't mean we will be unaffected. Ports on the US East Coast, including New York City, Baltimore, Norfolk and possibly Savannah and Miami are being modernized to handle the larger ship sizes allowed by the expansion.

The modernization may even improve mobility of the U.S. Navy. Since completion of the USS Essex class of aircraft carriers at the end of WWII, aircraft carriers have been too wide to transit the canal. This will no longer be a problem after adding new channels 180 feet wide.

The expanded canal is expected to open in April 2015, The original canal opened in 1914, a bit more than a century earlier. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Standard Time Again

I really don't like the twice yearly ritual of changing clocks. It is totally irrational.

Daylight Saving Time doesn't. We have exactly the same amount of daylight today one way or the other. Here is a link to my earlier post suggesting we go back to the system before railroads - every place has its own local time based on the sundial.

Computers can handle that.

Another approach to Oriental Standard Time has already been implemented by some local citizens - abolish clocks and wrist watches.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More On The South Avenue Deal

Today's Parks and Rec meeting was good, because attendees asked a number of probing and worthwhile questions. Those interested in taking another look might want to review some earlier observations I made here.

I think my previous post covers most of the issues. I'd be happy to answer any questions anyone may have. Contact me at:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tolling The Ferries

Monday night, February 20 at 7:00, the Pamlico County Board of Commissioners will discuss and consider possible action on Ferry Tolls. This was triggered, at least in part, by the disclosure at last week's DOT hearing that there is a provision in North Carolina General Statutes against converting "any segment" of the nontolled State Highway system to a toll facility. The provision is as follows:

"G.S. 136-89.187  Page 1
§ 136-89.187.  Conversion of free highways prohibited.
The  Authority  Board  is  prohibited  from  converting  any  segment  of  the  nontolled  State
Highway  System  to  a  toll  facility,  except  for  a  segment  of  N.C.  540  under  construction  as  of
July 1, 2006, located in Wake County and extending from the N.C. 54 exit on N.C. 540 to the
N.C. 55 exit on N.C. 540. No segment may be converted to a toll route pursuant to this section
unless  first  approved  by  the  Metropolitan  Planning  Organization  (MPO)  or  Rural  Planning
Organization (RPO) of the area in which that segment is located.  (2002-133, s. 1; 2006-228, s.
3; 2008-225, s. 5.)"

Examination of the map of the state transportation system made available to attendees make it plain that both the Minnesott ferry and the Aurora ferry are segments of state highway 306.

Unfortunately, the "Authority Board" mentioned in the law is the North Carolina Turnpike Authority board, not the state legislature.

So we need to review the North Carolina Constitution with a fine-tooth comb. I have a couple of ideas, but they aren't ready for prime time yet.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Appeasement in Oriental?

There were some curious aspects to last night's meeting of the Oriental Town Board.

1. Although many members of the public attended, apparently hoping to learn more about South Avenue property negotiations, only two members of the public commented during the comment period. Neither appeared to be enthusiastic supporters of the proposal as it apparently exists. Grace Evans reminded the Board that back in the 1980's when she served on the Board, the Board adopted a policy not to transfer any more street ends to private ownership.

2. Perhaps one of the reasons more members of the public did not speak is that the proposal received from Mr. Fulcher has never been introduced at a business meeting of the Town Board nor was it tabled at Tuesday's meeting. Neither has it been posted on the Town's official web site. Following the public comment period, the mayor gave an exposition of his views of the issue, but there was no explanation of the procedure to be followed in considering the proposal, and the facts provided were sketchy at best.

3. Comments by the mayor and a few by members of the board seemed to constitute a discussion, but No Motion Had Been Made. There should be no discussion without a motion. The board did vote on a motion to go into closed session to deliberate on negotiating strategy. But we still have no official introduction of the matter to be negotiated.

4. Most curious, the mayor spent about fifteen minutes (I didn't time it) explaining that an important benefit of the proposal is the intangible benefit of improved relations with the Fulchers and the Henrys. He implied that a history of strained relations between the Town and Mr. Fulcher and the Town and Mr. Henry was caused by the Town Board's insensitivity to the concerns of both families.

I think it is a mistake to personalize policy disagreements. It is the duty of the Town Board, acting as our governing body, to protect and defend the long term interests of the residents, acting in accordance with state law. To that end, the Town has adopted a zoning ordinance (GMO) and has accepted responsibility for public rights of way established under North Carolina law. These laws apply to everyone in the town. Equally.

I wasn't here at the beginning of policy conflict between the Town of Oriental and Mr. Fulcher or the conflict over right-of-way law with Mr. Henry. But I have read the files. The conflicts weren't personal - they were business.

Both Mr. Fulcher and Mr. Henry have been successful businessmen. There was a time when businessmen were seen as "hard-nosed," meaning rational in action, making decisions on the basis of cold, hard fact. And on the basis of both personal and business interests. It would be good for the Town Board to assume this is still true.

I hope the Town Board will pursue negotiations concerning South Avenue in the same spirit - that is, in a rational effort to pursue the best long-term interests of the citizens of Oriental, protecting public access and use of the water.

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.