NEWSLETTER # 108 MAY 2004 POBOX 155, BEAUFORT, NC 28516 www.carteretcrossroads.org 252-728-3885
Land Use Planning.
The new Land Use Planning process is well underway in most of the communities in the county. We hope that you have been attending some of the sessions for your community. Crossroads has been represented at all the meetings of the County Planning Commission as they work on the new plan for the county. To date, most of the work has been involved with the demographics of the county, present land use, etc. We sympathize with the members as they attempt to assimilate a lot of data.
The part of the process that is of most interest to citizens will be coming up when the Commission considers the policies and land classification parts of the plan. These define how the citizens want their county to develop. It is our best chance to plan the type and extent of development in our communities.
The Commission usually meets on the second Monday of every month at6:00 pm. This is the regular meeting time for the Planning Commission and if there is a big regular agenda, they usually select a special meeting night for the Land Use Plan (LUP) work. They will be starting to discuss existing policies in May and in June are scheduled to hold an Open House for citizens to review work completed on the LUP and to express support or offer suggestions for change. This is an important meeting. Please watch for it and plan to attend. Serious work on new policies will probably start after this meeting. The agenda for the Planning Commission meeting on the LUP can be found on the county website under the Planning Department section. The News-Times also lists meetings in their Coastal Log section.
Phase II—will it ever get here?
As you know from previous newsletters, Phase II rules from the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) have been repeatedly rejected by the Rules Review Commission. State lawsuits have been filed by the EMC and by environmental groups challenging the action and also the constitutionality of the Rules Review Commission. This is an extremely important issue and we will try to keep you informed of the results of these lawsuits.
Meanwhile, Crossroads has been urging communities to work on stormwater runoff problems. We feel that the most efficient way for a community to do this is to form a stormwater utility to consider problems of flooding and to go through the Phase II permit process for control of stormwater runoff. This is the route followed byWashington,NCand byWilmington. A major advantage is that it gets a professional department in place to work on water problems.
Crossroads has always attempted to bring to its members information they can use in interpreting events affecting the environment. We have tried to have a positive impact on environmental issues, bringing our view to the attention of local and state government officials. This is still our major mission: educating government and citizens to problems and opportunities regarding the environment.
At the same time, we want to reemphasize the fact that we are not anti-development. We know that growth and development are inevitable. We believe that growth and development can occur without harm to the environment and without diminishing the economic progress of our county. It just takes a lot of concern for the big picture and the ability to think about long-range effects when planning development. Thus, we believe that our mission includes emphasizing the importance of considering environmental and long-range consequences of development.
To be effective, we must make our voice heard. And that is where we need more assistance from you, our members. We need more members and we need them to take an active role in emphasizing an environmental viewpoint. Over the years, we have asked you to indicate on your membership forms whether or not you would contact a local or state official to help us get our message across. A lot of you have agreed to do so. However, we have been remiss lately in not following up very often with calls for action from you members.
To make it easy to keep you informed of actions that we would like you to participate in, we are setting up an e-mail Action Alert system. If we have your e-mail address and you agree to contact an official occasionally, we will send you requests—with information on the issue—to take action. If you would like to be included, please let us have your current e-mail address by sending me an e-mail at: email@example.com and I will list you in our e-mail alert group.
Another way to help is to encourage your friends and neighbors to join Crossroads. Our effectiveness is in direct proportion to our membership numbers. If you find someone interested, send us his mailing address and we will put him on the list for five free newsletters—giving the individual a chance to see what we are doing and decide without pressure if it is of interest.
We also want everyone to take a good look at their label. There are a lot of “Complimentary Copy”, “Dues for 2004 are Due” and “Free Copy of Newsletter” statements. We hope that everyone reads the newsletter and finds it useful. Also, we hope you find the newsletter so useful that you will support Crossroads by joining. It seems as if every volunteer organization is having trouble keeping its membership but we hope you will help Crossroads continue to be a force in the community by joining.
One of the things that Crossroads needs is more publicity. If any of our members would like to help by writing press releases, letters to the editor, contacting media, etc. with news of what we are doing, it would be a big help. A lot of people who have never heard of Crossroads are interested once they learn of us. Let us know if you can help.
Miscellany—a few points of interest.
The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy has issued a draft report after spending 21/2 years studying coastal areas, theGreat Lakesand 4.4 million square miles of ocean. They recommend a new “ecosystem-based way of managing the resource”. The report recommends creation of a $5 billion federal ocean trust fund from oil and gas royalties. Chairman James Watkins said “fundamentally, the message is: The oceans and coasts are in trouble and we need to change the way we manage them.” For information see: http://oceancommission.gov.
Read a good book lately? An excellent one is “Reason for Hope” by Jane Goodall, widely known for her studies on chimpanzees in their native environment. It is a fascinating story of her life, work and religious belief. It is heartening that, given her concern for the welfare of animals and humans, she remains hopeful for a better world for us all.
Interested in rare or endangered plants or animals? The NC natural Heritage Program has a listing of rare species by county or quadrangle at: www.ncsparks.net/nhp/search.html.
The News-Times on April 2, 2004 in their “Good Old Days” section noted that twenty-five years ago a Citizen Action and Awareness Group was formed “of informed people able to help the community adjust to change and protect itself from irresponsible modification of the current quality of life.” It is interesting to note that concerns included the “a propane storage facility on Radio Island, proposed location of an oil refinery at Core Creek, the county’s inability to move ahead with a 201 sewage treatment plan, fisheries regulation pertaining to clam kicking, status of the county’s land use plan, public access to water and the need to recognize good deeds, large and small, which benefit the environment.” After 25 years Crossroads is still going strong.
We welcome new Board member, Joe Ramus. Joe is returning to the Board after serving for several years some time ago. Joe has been active on several wastewater task forces and is very interested in land use planning. He is a professor at Duke University Marine Lab and has been involved with a number of projects of direct environmental interest such as the FerryMon project usingPamlico Soundferries as monitoring stations.
We also received a very generous donation from the estate of Mildred Kerr, who died recently. Mildred and her husband Tom, who died a few years ago, were long-time residents ofPineKnollShoresand supported Crossroads generously over the years. We were happy to learn that Mildred included a bequest for Crossroads in her will.
Thanks to long-time supporters Pat and Frank Osborn for their Life Membership. We appreciate your continuing support over the years.
Please look carefully at your mailing label. We have had some problems with our database and if you are incorrectly credited for dues paid, let us know. If your dues are due, please renew. We usually give you a little extra time before “Last Free Newsletter”. We don’t want to lose anyone but we do not want to send mail if you are not interested.