NEWSLETTER # 116 JANUARY 2006 PO BOX 155, BEAUFORT, NC 28516 252-728-3885

Crossroads' 26th Annual Meeting will be Thursday, March 2, 2006 at Joslyn Hall.

Come at 6:30, pay your dues, have refreshments, participate in a silent auction, meet friends and enjoy the program which will start at 7:00 pm:

Promises and Perils of Coastal Development: Can We Save Our Waters and Ourselves?

Panelists include:

John DeLucia, Albemarle & Associates

Pete Peterson, UNC-IMS

Tom Reeder, NC Division of Water Quality, DENR

Joe Ramus, Duke Marine Lab., Moderator

We look forward to an interesting discussion. We have all seen the effects of Katrina on the Gulf Coast and the concerns about over-development in our county. Can we plan and develop in such a way as to minimize destruction from a major hurricane? Can we plan for development that will not destroy the way of life and the economy of our coastal communities?

Our panel will be discussing these questions. Come and take part in a discussion of the most pressing problems facing our community. Bring your neighbors!

Down East development.

The prospect of intense development "down east" has enlivened the debate about how we can have growth and still preserve the quality of life that makes Carteret County so unique and enjoyable. In an extension of the hurried pace of ìcondo buildingî that is going on all over our county, several large developments are planned for down eastóand many of the residents are worried that they will lose their culture, heritage and water quality.

Generally speaking, expensive new housing on the water includes marinas, often at the expense of dock space and harbors that have traditionally served the local fishing industry, both commercial and recreational.

The rising value of land and homes in the path of development has put an increasing burden on the homeowner in the form of rising land valuation and increasing taxation.

The thoughts of dozens or hundreds of folks with a different culture joining their communities worries many who trace their ancestors back through generations of hard-working folks who made a living from the productive waters of our sounds and estuaries.

Alarmed citizens are asking: how can we control growth and preserve our communities? They have been looking to the local government and wondering what help they can get form the planning functions of the county. The county response: a series of meetings down east to explore zoning or incorporation to other ways in which citizens can influence the way their community grows and develops.

These meetings have been well attended by an interested, questioning audience. There is a lot of questioning about why the Land Use Plan does not do more to protect the environment and culture of an area. Also, questions were asked about the makeup of the Planning Commission, the role of CAMA and the possibility of strengthening the draft LUP, which is currently under state review.

To sum it up, the down east population is very concerned about the changes that large-scale development may bring and is looking for ways to have an influence on the outcome.

Land Use Planning.

A topic closely related to the previous one concerns Land Use Planning (LUP). We all know that the Coastal Area Management Act requires periodic updates of a LUP by the coastal counties. We are nearing the end of the current update process. The draft plan adopted by the County Commissioners is being reviewed by state agencies. Comments will be returned to the county soon and the county will then adopt a final plan after making changes of their choosing and holding a public hearing. This will be the last chance for citizens to influence the LUP. If you are a newsletter reader, you know that Crossroads has attempted to improve the LUP with little effect. Letís take a moment to consider why.

A problem with the LUP process is that the local government writes the plan. And all too often, the local government is more interested in growth and development (read profits and increased tax base) in the short term than in the long term benefits of environmental protection and enhancement. The prevailing attitude of our local government seems to be ìwe hate regulations and we do not want to constrain developmentóstate-required minimums are good enoughî.

As a result, the LUP is a minimum document with virtually no real planning component. It is occasionally used to control some proposed egregious misuse of the land or water, in contrast to highly-touted planning documents like the Carteret County Comprehensive Plan or the previous ìStrategic Planîóboth of which took a lot of money and citizen time and resulted in documents that have been ignored.

A wider view.

Let's take a little wider view of the environment. What are the chances that our children will have a livable world? The results are mixed. Here are a few examples.

Our petroleum reserves are dwindling but there is a lot of good science and engineering going into renewable energy such as solar, wind and biomass. We have a test windmill down east looking to see if wind energy can be economically developed on our coastal plain.

Our marshes and wetlands are decreasing but there is increasing realization that marshes can be a major protection against storms like Katrina. Efforts are underway to remodel the lower Mississippi River to reestablish marshes and wetlands, which continue to be lost. It remains to be seen if we have the wisdom and commitment on the part of government agencies to carry out these plans.

Global warming is being increasingly accepted as a fact and as a result, in part, of human activity. Northeastern states have formed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to establish a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions. North Carolina has established a Commission to look into the subject of global warming and measures that we can take to combat it.

In Kenya, Professor Wangari Maathai won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prizeóthe first African woman and the first environmentalist to do so. The ìTree Ladyî as she is known has also been made Kenyaís Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources.

In a recent newsletter article we reported that the US did poorly on the Environmental Sustainability Index from Yale and Columbia Universitiesóranking 45th. The 2006 study with somewhat different criteria ranked the US 28th. The current study is intended to measure more closely what governments are doing with the conditions that exist. For more information on this interesting study see:

Crossroads news.

Thanks to our newest Life Member, I. J. Won. We appreciate your support and confidence in us.

Please note that 2006 dues are now due. The mailing label on your newsletter shows the status of your membership. Since we have no other source of income other than our membership, please be prompt with your dues.

Anyone out there interested in doing some writing? After over 20 years of writing this newsletter, with a brief respite a few years ago, I would like some help in writing and editing this newsletter.

So please, if you have an interest and some time, let me know. You can email me at It is a fun job and there must be someone out there who would enjoy it as much as I have. I will be available for as much help as you want so you will not have to face it all alone.

For more information contact a Board member:

Bob Austin, 729-8101

Dick Bierly, 726-6663

Bob Coles, 247-2101

Bruce Ethridge, V. P. 728-2600

Al Fox, 393-7315

Billy Harvey, 728-7740

Irv Hooper, Treas., NL Editor., 728-5117

Mark Hooper, Secy. 729-2521

Don Hoss, Pres. 728-3885

Joe Ramus, 728-7725 (H), 504-7617 (W)

John Young, 728-2715 (H), 728-7166 (W)

Our webmaster is Sally Anger.

The Board usually meets at Duke Marine Lab Auditorium at 7:30 PM the second Thursday of each month. Members are welcome.

We invite you to join Crossroads. Tax-deductible dues are per year: Individual $15, Family $20, Patron $50 or $200 for a lifetime membership. Please return this form to: Crossroads, PO Box 155, Beaufort, NC 28516.

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