|Weather Underground map on the evening of March 4 for the Outer Banks|
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Thus does the weatherman make liars of us all.
Last week I wrote that the last cold snap--two weeks ago--appeared to be the last one of the season. OK. I was wrong. But I plead ignorance fueled by erroneous weather forecasts.
This last blast may have been the most miserable yet--howling winds, sleet and freezing rain. And as a special tease, on Sunday the only clouds in the sky were wispy tendrils of white with temperatures were in the mid 60s.
With all of the statistical information indicating the forecasters have been getting the Outer Banks weather consistently wrong, it seems dangerous to say that for the next week or so, the weather looks pretty nice. . . . but we’ll say it anyway. Really, it does look as though things are improving.
Regardless of the short term forecast, in a month it will be April and rental properties are going to begin to fill up for Spring Break. After that the trend continues right on into the summer.
Although we’re not weather forecasters (which for the Outer Banks make give us added legitimacy), here at Brindley Beach Vacations we do know the Outer Banks market and we can safely forecast almost 100% occupancy during the summer. Which is a reminder to call us and reserve your family’s vacation home as soon as possible.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
|Gale Warning Station 34 Nags Head, oil by Don Bryan|
Don Bryan was one of those people who managed to do a lot of everything and do it all well. He passed away last November but his legacy lives on in a number of different ways.
His name is coming up now because there is a retrospective of his paintings this week at Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery down in Nags Head, and that is how most people know him on the Outer Banks--as a remarkably talented artist.
Having had a chance to get to know him over the past year, I suspect he would be ok with that. He and his wife founded the Don and Catherine Bryan Cultural Series specifically to bring the arts to the Outer Banks and the organization has been very successful at that.
As well known as his artwork is, though, his Outer Banks political career was almost as well remembered--especially in Nags Head where he was the mayor throughout the 1980s.
And here’s the part that so many people do not know about Don Bryan--he had a 30 year career in the military. He started out as a machine gunner on a B17 in WWII, transferred to the Air Force when it formed and learned to fly jets. When he retired in 1972 he was Colonel Don Bryan serving in the Pentagon.
His intelligence was incisive, almost daunting; his ability to weave a tale wonderful and he retained a marvelous sense of humor. On being turned out of office by Nags Head voters in 1991. “I thought I was doing fine and didn’t need a vacation. The voters felt otherwise.”
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
|Horses on the beach. Photo Corolla Wild Horse Fund|
It looks like one last cold snap--and this one really is just a snap--and then the weather will be moderating on the Outer Banks. Sort of that old saying about March coming in like a lion . . .
So this is probably a good time to remind readers about a couple of things that are part of the Outer Banks timeline.
Summer is when most or our visitors find their way to the Outer Banks, but it is not the only time. Spring has become an increasingly popular time to visit, especially for retired couples and families with children who are not yet in school. There is also a spring break coming up. That varies by state and sometimes by school district, but it is almost always the two weeks surrounding Easter Sunday.
The reason we mention this is to remind vacationers and visitor about a couple of things. First of all, there is more than one time that a visit to the Outer Banks can be marvelous. Also, this is our chance to point out that, from about the second week in June through August, the Outer Banks is at 100% occupancy. And that season may be a little shorter this year with all the time schools will have to make up after a very difficult summer.
Therefore--call us at Brindley Beach Vacations and finalize your summer plans as soon as possible.
Property owners--if you have not already done so, take a hard, objective look at your property, make a list of what needs to be done, and get moving.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
|Mayor Bennett of Southern Shores explaining the town's position on the "quick take" resolution.|
With the quick take resolution just passed by the Southern Shores town council and the concept of eminent domain on everyone’s mind--certainly in Southern Shores it’s on everyone’s mind--a brief recap of where the concept came from may be helpful.
The concept, in fact, for the legal framework for eminent domain is in our constitution in the fifth amendment. “...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." As a nation we have benefited from this concept; it is how we built our transportation network, as an example.
However, there is a concern that what constitutes public use and public benefit has become an increasingly blurred line, and there is considerable debate on all levels of government about how broad the power to condemn property for eminent domain should be.
The power to use eminent domain is primarily granted through the legislative process, and it’s very important to note this in understanding why the Southern Shores town council passed the resolution asking the state legislature for quick take eminent domain power. Without legislative approval, the town cannot use the quick take provisions they are requesting.
That does not preclude the town from condemning property for access to the beach if the town should decide to pursue beach mitigation or nourishment. There is a compelling argument to be made that maintaining the shoreline of a town that relies on the beach to bring revenue to municipal coffers is in the public interest. What will change is the process to gain access--a process that is far more time consuming in a regular eminent domain hearing.
Friday, February 21, 2014
|Jonny Waters and Company at Freedman's Colony Blues Jam.|
Sometimes we get so caught up in reporting the nuts and bolts of what’s happening on the Outer Banks, that we forget at the heart of any community is the quality of life--the value that the people who live and work in the towns that make up the Outer Banks put in this place we call home.
That quality of life is not easily defined or readily apparent, yet it is very real. It is an important part of why so many people visit the Outer Banks every year; it is so very important to those of us who live here.
Here are the things that go into that feeling. It is a physically beautiful place to live . . . or visit. The schools in Dare and Currituck Counties (the two main counties of the Outer Banks) are as good as any schools anywhere. Proof of that comes this weekend with a group of First Flight High School students volunteering their weekend to participate in a Model UN competition in Norfolk. Luckily, none of them have to represent North Korea.
Even in February the event calendar keeps going. The 10th Annual Freedman’s Blues Jam is this Friday at the COA auditorium in Manteo--a cooperative effort between the Freedman’s Colony and the Dare County Arts Council. Saturday night the John Brown Trio will perform at the FFHS auditorium courtesy of the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts.
And next weekend there’s more of the same--more great stuff for kids to do in association with the schools; more participation from the arts; and the sense that this truly is a great place to live, work or visit.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
It’s no secret that the Outer Banks is tied together by a series of bridges. There’s the Wright Brothers Memorial Bridge connecting the northern Outer Banks with the rest of the world; the Virginia Dare Bridge connects Manteo with roads from the west; the only way to get to Hatteras Island is via the Bonner Bridge, which, if NCDOT is successful in defending their decision in court, will be replaced with a newer span 300 yards to the west.
And now joining the lineup will be the 2.7 mile Pea Island Bridge spanning the area around the temporary bridge that was put in place when Hurricane Irene created a new inlet--an inlet that has subsequently closed.
Construction is about to begin on the $79.6 million project. Engineers held a planning meeting last Thursday and if the weather holds, construction will begin next week.
The placement of the bridge was predicted in planning documents submitted in the Environmental Impact Statement for the Bonner Bridge. The replacement is two or three years earlier than anticipated, but study authors correctly identified the New Inlet area as inherently unstable.
The contract calls for construction to be completed in 800 days, or a little over two years.
In other Outer Banks bridge news, the Wright Brothers Memorial Bridge resurfacing project on the outbound span seems to be on schedule. Before January and February weather forced a halt to work, the project was slightly ahead of schedule. Under any circumstances, the bridge will be ready to be reopened by mid May.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
|Southern Shores Mayor Pro-Tem Jodi Hess explaining that one property owner who refused access for beach nourishment could stop the whole process.|
A contentious, perhaps argumentative Southern Shores town council meeting earlier this month. At the heart of the debate was a town council resolution that would allow quick take of property if beach nourishment was required. A quick take provision allows for the immediate condemnation of a property for eminent domain use. Although a property owner has the right to appeal, generally the government is able to use the property during the appeals process.
The town council felt the resolution was a necessary first step in preparing the town for beach nourishment. Although Southern Shores does not appear to need beach nourishment on its beaches at this time, council members pointed out that every other town on the northern Outer Banks has needed it. They repeatedly expressed concerns that if it is needed in the future the legislation they were requesting was essential.
For more than an hour, property owners spoke in opposition to the resolution, repeatedly expressing the fear of losing property rights, the right to appeal and government overreach.
Council members noted that if an extended area of the beach needed nourishment, three or four property owners who refused access to their beach could could significantly alter the effectiveness of beach mitigation and potentially damage property.
After the public hearing, the council voted unanimously to pass the resolution.
The resolution does not have the force of law; it is a request for the state legislature to enact enabling legislation.