Crossroads

NEWSLETTER # 112      MARCH, 2005          

POBOX 155, BEAUFORT, NC 28516        www.carteretcrossroads.org       252-728-3885

 



Crossroads 25th Annual Meeting.

 

           Crossroads celebrated over 25 years of volunteer effort to preserve and enhance the environment of our area at the Civic Center February 24th. It was a gala celebration with fellowship, cookies, and a silent auction of beautiful arts and crafts donated by board members and friends and a great program.

           Our President, Don Hoss recognized Board members and local officials; then briefly discussed the growth of Crossroads from a meeting of citizens concerned about natural gas storage on Radio Island (the first one in 1979) to the present. Many of the important issues discussed by Crossroads have been crises; now it seems that more of the issues are long-range and not as exciting—but just as important. A lot of effort goes into various aspects of land use planning, which we feel is vital to a continuing healthy environment and economy.

           The featured speaker was Bob Vogel, Superintendent of the Cape Lookout National Seashore who discussed “Gateway Communities and Scenic Byways”. His hope is to encourage communities to become more attractive to tourists, improving the local economy and the tourist experience at the Seashore and helping preserve the “down east way of life”, which is itself a tourist attraction.

           He hopes to work with local organizations and citizens to accomplish this goal. Secrets of success include a shared vision involving the local citizens, creation of an inventory of local resources, minimal regulations, building on local initiatives such as paddle trails, cooperation with other public land managers, cooperation with non-governmental organizations such as the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, providing opportunities for local leaders to emerge, and paying attention to the aesthetics of any developments.

           It is encouraging that funding sources are available and there are many ideas of ways to implement these general plans. He encourages anyone with an interest to talk to him or other members of the loose organization developing around these ideas.

           It was a stimulating talk and we hope that these ideas will be followed up. It should be a win-win situation for the Seashore and for all the “down east” communities.

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The following article was contributed by Mike Wagoner, President,CountyChamber of Commerce. It arose from discussion of my previous Newsletter article on the Economic Summit.--Editor.

 

A “Sense of Place”.

 
           “As an outgrowth of September’s Economic Summit presentations, the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce is seeking to spearhead two community initiatives that are designed to enhanceCarteretCounty’s “sense of place.”

           “It’s vitally important that the community build on the wonderful display of enthusiasm that was generated by the Economic Summit,” said Marlene Anderson, Past Chair of the Carteret County Chamber’s Board of Directors. “The Chamber wants to help push forward with some of the ideas that surfaced at theSummitgathering.”

           One project will be the establishment of an annual awards program to recognize businesses, developers, contractors and entrepreneurs withinCarteretCountywhose building construction and improvement projects contribute to an improved quality of community life for area residents.

           “Through the creation of the Awards of Merit for Development, we hope to encourage commercial building construction and renovations that will enhance and preserve – rather than detract from and diminish – our community character,”Andersonsaid

It’s envisioned that five awards will be presented annually, recognizing new construction as well as improvements to existing structures. The first group of award winners will be recognized at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting in January 2006.           “We will be working with all the planning departments in the county to solicit projects that are eligible for consideration and then use a professional judging panel to make the selections,”Andersonsaid. “This is going to require a lot of coordination, so we want to build in sufficient lead time.”

           The second initiative is to compile a “visual inventory” of what citizens care about inCarteretCounty, said Chamber President Mike Wagoner. 

           “In order to sustain the momentum on ‘Community Character’ issues, the Chamber is seeking to partner with the local business associations in the county to launch a venture that will solicit photo images from citizens that capture the essence of our own brand of ‘Community Character,’” Wagoner said.

           “We will be inviting citizens to submit pictures of those sights and scenes that have special meaning in their lives. The images gathered will form a permanent collection that will be available for public viewing and comment and be shared with those government officials who have responsibility for planning and development functions in their localities.”

           The community photo project is expected to get under way in earnest during the spring of 2005, with the deadline for submitting photos to be sometime in the fall.

           Anyone who is interested in working with the Chamber on either of these initiatives should contact Mike Wagoner at 726-6350. “

 

           The editor’s earlier comments were intended to emphasize the importance of environmental planning and especially, stormwater runoff control, in achieving a community of which we can all be proud. It still seems to me that we are not taking enough account of runoff and the harmful effects on our waters in our planning and development. The project to recognize and reward outstanding development projects is an excellent one—it is our hope that environmental excellence will be a major factor in the judging of projects.

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CountyLand Use Planning.

 

           The process of writing a new Land Use Plan (LUP) for the county is approaching the end of the process. Planning Commission members are now considering the final draft of the Policies section of the LUP. The final major task is to prepare a Land Classification Map indicating where and how development should take place for orderly County growth.

           It has been an interesting experience to watch the Commission struggle with what is a complicated, difficult process. I am happy to report that, in my estimation, they are valiantly trying to develop a LUP that will provide for economic development and will also protect our environment. The most encouraging part is that they have recognized the need to change zoning, subdivision and other land use ordinances to limit density of development in sensitive areas, will consider reducing impervious surface limits in areas adjacent to shellfishing waters and will consider an ordinance to control post-construction runoff for new and re-development. They are also recommending the adoption of the principles of Low Impact Development through ordinances.

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Congratulations, Beaufort!

 

           Recently, Beaufort Commissioners approved an engineering study of the Town Creek drainage basin at a projected cost of $41,000. The study will identify drainage problems and possible solutions. Town officials acknowledged the importance of improving stormwater runoff. We sincerely hope this study will provide the basis for controlling stormwater runoff in the rapidly developing areas of the Town and surrounding areas.

           After the completion of the study, the Town might want to consider establishing a Stormwater Utility, as has been done in many towns with flooding and runoff problems.

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Crossroads news.

 

           We have slightly changed our dues structure, effective at the end of March. Our new dues are: Single membership, $15; Family membership, $20; Patron, $50; and Life membership, $200.

           Our thanks go to new Life Members Bob Coles and Joe Ramus; new Patron members David and Elizabeth Gray, and Al Fox; and contributions beyond membership by Katie and Bruce Ethridge.

           We also want to thank members who contributed art for the Silent Auction at the Annual Meeting and those who purchased the items. This very successful project was a big part of our successful Annual Meeting.

           We still have a vacancy on the Board of Directors. If anyone is interested, please let us know and we will be happy to consider you. It is an interesting job with a good group of folks who are really

Interested in keeping our county a great place to live and work.

           We always need new members. It would be great if every member would mention Crossroads to a friend. Send us their name and we will enter a free subscription to our newsletter so they can see just what we are trying to do.

           Also, please send us a new e-mail address if you change. We found many unusable addresses when we sent out a recent e-mail about the annual meeting. It is the cheapest way to keep in touch but we have to have a good address for it to work.

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Logo contest.

 

There is still time to enter the logo contest for a new logo for Crossroads. We need a simple logo to use in our publications and literature. Send your ideas to Crossroads atPO Box155, Beaufort or to our president by e-mail at: dhoss@ec.rr.com. Keep it simple and we will find a lot of use for it.