February 20 BOC Meeting Highlights
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The Echoes of Heritage Honored
In continued celebration of Black History Month, the acapella group Echoes of Heritage was recognized for the exemplary way they have musically carried the torch of their ancestors by preserving the heritage of African-American spirituals in Dare County. Under the direction of Doris Creecy, The Echoes of Heritage have used their voices to preserve a legacy and inspire our community. Prior to the presentation of the certificate of appreciation by Chairman Woodard, the group shared several musical selections.
Request to Name the New Pea Island Bridge In Honor of Captain Richard Etheridge
The Dare County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution and letter requesting the North Carolina Department of Transportation to dedicate the Pea Island Bridge, currently under construction, in honor of Captain Richard Etheridge. Born a slave, Etheridge grew up to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War and later became the first African American to command a lifesaving station. Under his leadership, the Pea Island Lifesaving Station had a crew that consisted of all African Americans who are credited with bravely saving lives off the shores of the Outer Banks. The life of Captain Etheridge was one of dedication to duty and service to others. With the new bridge being so geographically close to where Etheridge saved lives, Commissioners believe naming the bridge in his honor would be a lasting tribute to serve as an educational beacon for generations to come.
Commissioner Margarette Umphlett Resigns Effective March 31
During Commissioner’s Comments at the end of the meeting, Commissioner Margarette Umphlett announced her resignation as a County Commissioner representing District One, effective March 31. Umphlett said that it has been an honor to serve with the other Board members and that her decision was due to personal reasons.
Opposition to Marine Fisheries Commission Decision on Shrimping
Following passionate concerns from Board members regarding the recent decision by the Marine Fisheries Commission to approve a petition that will adversely affect shrimpers, the Board voted to send a letter to state legislative leaders expressing their concerns and offering solutions that will help our commercial fishermen.
Construction Services Contract Approved for Hatteras Inlet Dredging
Commissioners approved a construction services contract with Coastal Planning and Engineering of North Carolina in support of the maintenance dredging project of the “Connector Channel” near Hatteras Inlet.
Public Hearing Regarding Minimum Lot Size in Wanchese
The Board of Commissioners held a public hearing regarding a zoning amendment that would allow for a reduction in the minimum lot size from 20,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet for lots in Wanchese served by a central water supply. 2 speakers expressed support for the amendment. Following the hearing, the Board adopted the change as presented.
Possible Merger of Chicamacomico Banks and Salvo Volunteer Fire Departments
Chicamacomico Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Dougherty and Salvo Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Ervin Gaskins, along with Dare County Fire Marshal Steve Kovacs, presented information about a merger of the two departments that will enhance fire protection services for the communities of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo. The merger process has been underway for a couple of years and is expected to be approved at the annual meeting for the Chicamacomico Banks Volunteer Fire Department in April. Representatives will come back to the Board with an update and with a request for Commissioners to approve the new fire insurance district.
Quarterly Update from Dare Soil and Water Conservation District
Ann Daisey, County Conservationist, updated the Board about community outreach efforts, district cost share programs, and Hurricane Matthew stream clean up debris efforts. Daisey announced that $190,000 was awarded for Mainland Dare/Highway 64 and $117,500 was awarded to the Town of Kitty for removal of vegetation and storm damage. During the second phase of submissions, requests for funding assistance are being made for Stumpy Point, Manns Harbor/Mashoes, Avon/Rodanthe, Buxton/Frisco/Hatteras, and the Town of Southern Shores.
Request for a Navy Federal Credit Union Branch on the Outer Banks
In steadfast support of veterans, the Dare County Board of Commissioners approved a letter that will be sent to Vice Admiral Dawson, President and CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union, requesting that a branch be opened in Dare County to serve both resident and visiting veterans, and also create employment opportunities in our community.
Next Meeting of the Board of Commissioners
The Board of Commissioners’ next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 6 at 9 a.m. For more information about the Dare County Board of Commissioners, including full agenda packets and the video of entire meetings, visit darenc.com/boc.