Crossroads

 

NEWSLETTER # 120       NOVEMBER, 2006           PO BOX 155, BEAUFORT, NC 28516             www.carteretcrossroads.org             252-729-2521

 


Crossroads News

 

            Usually this section comes last in the newsletter but we want your attention! Please look at your mailing label! A lot of members have not paid since 2005. Your label says “Dues are Due”. We do not want to lose you and as a bonus for renewing, we will credit any dues received to 2007. We continue to try to enlarge our readership by adding names of those who, we think, will find our newsletter useful. If you are among those with “Free Newsletter” on your label, please consider joining. 

            Currently, more than half of the newsletters go to “Complimentary Copy” folks because we send copies to local government officials, Planning Board members, local members of regulatory agencies, etc. If you are in this category and appreciate our efforts, please consider becoming a member. Of course, any dues received will be applied to 2007. Thanks for your support.

            As noted in the report below we are sending the newsletter to all members of the Tree Awareness Group. Please support your group and Crossroads by joining.

            Our only support comes from members who pay dues. We want to continue to work for a better environment, a better land use plan, a better future for everyone in Carteret County. If you share our goals, we need your support!

 

Tree Awareness Group.

           

            At the last Crossroads Board Meeting, CC-TAG asked to be incorporated into Crossroads and the Board approved. We welcome the members of the CC-TAG group and hope that jointly we will be even more effective in accomplishing our goals. To give us a better understanding of the work of CC-TAG, the following was provided by Sandy Kunkle, President of CC-TAG.

 

            An acre of trees disappears from the United States every five seconds. Although there is no documentation for tree loss in Carteret County, it is apparent that we too have lost considerable canopy through storm damage, clearing and development. Does it matter?  To many citizens of this county it does matter and out of such concern was born the Carteret County Tree Awareness Group. The mission of the group is to provide education on the benefits of trees, promote tree preservation ordinances and serve as a resource for citizens and governments of Carteret County.

            Why does the loss of trees matter? To begin at the beginning and this is undoubtedly a prime case of preaching to the choir, trees offer enormous benefits to our health, to our local economy and to our environment.

            A single large tree provides one day’s oxygen for four people. This exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that we learned about in elementary school is just one benefit trees offer to our health. Some studies even suggest that trees reduce human stress and speed recovery times of patients. At the very least, trees nourish our sense of well being. 

            Trees attract visitors, businesses and residents, all of whom contribute to the local economy. Houses on treed lots sell faster and for higher prices. Each large front yard tree adds 1% to resale value and large specimen trees can add up to 10%. An increase in property values up to 12% has been cited in a study for the National Home Builders Association. Clearly trees are a good investment for the homeowner. 

            Economic values of trees to homeowners also come from a savings in the cost of heating and air conditioning. Three trees, properly placed, can reduce heating and cooling costs by 40% or between $100 and $250 per year. The cooling effect of one young tree equals ten room air conditioners operating 20 hours per day.

            Carteret County Crossroads, along with other groups, has long advocated rules and regulations to minimize storm water runoff. Storm water runoff increases as more of our county is paved for houses, roads, parking lots, driveways and businesses. Trees are not a complete solution to the problems of storm water runoff, but they can be an effective partial solution. Just one hundred mature trees can intercept about 100,000 gallons of rainfall per year in their crowns, reducing the need for storm water controls and at the same time providing cleaner water. Preserving and then increasing the existing tree canopy by 5% results in 2% less storm water runoff.  Cleaner water with less storm water runoff is important to our fishing and tourist industries making a positive connection between the environment and the economy.

            Trees are also good carbon traps. One tree can store thirteen pounds of carbon annually. In one year; an acre of trees can clean the same amount of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as is produced by one car driving 26,000 miles or 50 cars operating for 12 hours. Tree roots absorb pollutants and render them inert.  Recently the city of High Point planted trees on a 163 acre site of a former landfill to target the clean up of 1,4-Dioxane, a solvent that is difficult to remove by other means. Wells were drilled and the contaminated water was used to irrigate the trees. Preliminary data shows good results.

            With benefits such as these, is it any wonder that we need to be concerned about preserving and planting trees in Carteret County?  A tree ordinance is the strongest means available to a community for protecting trees. Used correctly, ordinances can help provide a high quality environment without causing undue hardship on homeowners, businesses or developers.

            The Tree Awareness Group has written a model tree ordinance that will be presented to the County Commissioners in January. Please offer your support to this endeavor. For more information call Sandy Kunkle at 240-2433.  Details of the model tree ordinance will appear in the next issue of this newsletter.           Sandy Kunkle

 

Atlantic Beach Stormwater and Wastewater Management Initiative.

 

            The following article was prepared by Joe Ramus, a member of the Crossroads Board. He has a long history of involvement with county-wide wastewater and stormwater treatment and also with the specific problems of Atlantic Beach.  He was heavily involved in the county-wide sewer study and in the previous Atlantic beach proposal which involved disposal of treated wastewater as irrigation on Open grounds Farms          

 

            Atlantic Beach is “built out” and redevelopment is inevitable. Beginning as a beach resort in the late 1880’s, Atlantic Beach developed most rapidly in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, and without a master plan. It needs to be emphasized that the development of Atlantic Beach is not unlike much of Carteret County. Wastewater management (collection, treatment and disposal) in Atlantic Beach is entirely on-site, ranging from septic tanks (ca. 2800, some are 55 gallon drums) serving single homes to package treatment plants (ca. 10) serving condos and hotels. In many cases treatment and disposal are inadequate. The soil conditions are categorized as “severe” for the siting of septic tanks.

            Rapid development with constructed impervious surfaces (dredge and fill sites, roofs, roadways and parking lots) took place piecemeal and without regard for natural drainage, and has resulted in street flooding and stormwater runoff into shellfish waters. Stormwater runoff and septic tank leachate can combine when soils are saturated. Large tracts of Atlantic Beach’s soundside waters are closed to shellfishing because of persistent fecal coliform contamination. And the contamination is not likely to decrease until both stormwater runoff and septic tank leachate are controlled. The redevelopment challenges which now confront Atlantic Beach will confront the rest of the County in the near future, if they have not already.

            The Mayor and Town Council have initiated a two part program to meet the redevelopment challenges. A draft updated CAMA Land Use Plan to manage growth has been produced by the town Planning Board (see http://www.atlanticbeach nc.com/town_budget/cama_land_use_plan.asp). And a Stormwater and Wastewater Master Planning Study (see http://www.atlanticbeach-nc.com/Sewer.asp) has been initiated with a consulting engineer. A public meeting was held on October 28 to apprise the public of the initiatives and to seek stakeholder comment. The meeting was well attended (ca. 250 persons), and ca. 60 speakers voiced their concerns which will appear on the town website.

            “We want to do it right” is the intent expressed by the Mayor and Council. This includes density controls, phased development, stormwater controls, advanced wastewater treatment and reuse within the town limits. The Mayor and Council have asked Carteret County Crossroads and the North Carolina Coastal Federation, as well as other environmental organizations, “to be part of the solution”. It’s a worthy request.  .         Joe Ramus

 

Down East

 

            The Down East Conservation Ordinance has gone into effect. It is regarded by local citizens and environmental groups as being much too weak to protect the healthy waters of the down east area. It is of interest that the agenda for the next Planning Commission meeting (as this is being written) includes a request for a variance from the additional twenty foot buffer required by the ordinance. It appears that a weak ordinance may, in practice, be even weaker. It does not look good for the future of our waters.

 

Watch for news of the next

Crossroads Annual Meeting!