Kelley J. Macchio / 252.305.6974

Community News & Events

New Settlement Agreement released regarding Bonner Bridge & N.C. 12


RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have finalized a settlement agreement with Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, allowing NCDOT to replace the aging Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet with a new parallel bridge. Under the agreement, NCDOT will also consider options that would move vulnerable portions of N.C. Highway 12 out of the southern half of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and into Pamlico Sound. The Bonner Bridge is in frequent need of repair and maintenance and the replacement is needed for the safety of drivers and the economic vitality of the Outer Banks.

“We appreciate the efforts of all parties to agree on a viable solution that best serves the people and interests of North Carolina,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “The settlement agreement will allow NCDOT to provide a safe and reliable bridge for thousands of residents who rely on this lifeline to get to work, school, and healthcare and for millions of visitors who travel to the Outer Banks every year.”

“We are pleased that NCDOT and its partner agencies will consider additional options for N.C. 12 that will provide safe, reliable transportation by avoiding the areas where erosion and washouts shut down the road in its current location. This is a win-win for the Refuge and everyone who relies on N.C. 12,” said Julie Youngman, senior attorney with SELC, who represented the conservation groups.

Under the settlement agreement, after certain tasks are complete including ceasing work on a 2.4-mile bridge within the Refuge, the conservation groups will dismiss both federal and State Bonner Bridge-related lawsuits. NCDOT will move forward with construction of a new bridge parallel to the existing Bonner Bridge and will study options for Pamlico Sound structures to address the Mirlo Beach area and the Pea Island inlet created by Hurricane Irene. NCDOT will complete this entire process collaboratively with the Merger Team, composed of state and federal resource and regulatory agencies. During the study period, NCDOT will implement interim measures on Pea Island to provide safe and reliable transportation through this area. In September 2014, NCDOT suspended construction on a permanent Pea Island Bridge as part of the settlement process.

*** NCDOT ***

We did it again!

Cape Hatteras is among the Top 10 in Dr. Beach's rankings and this YouTube video from shows you why.

Flood Insurance Update

You may have noticed that flood insurance is a hot topic on the Outer Banks.   The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 has had everyone on edge because it drastically changed the rate and premium structure of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Last week, President Obama signed into law H.R.3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.  This is great news because it amends several provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

Check out the YouTube video below where Willo Kelly, the legislative affairs point person from the Outer Banks Association of Realtors and the Outer Banks Homebuilders Association, points out the major highlights of H.R. 3370.

For more information visit This Link for an Issue Brief from the National Association of Realtors®

And now some good news on the flood insurance front
By Russ Lay on March 18, 2014
Reprinted with permission from The Outer Banks Voice

On Feb. 13, Willo Kelly, the legislative affairs point person from the Outer Banks Association of Realtors and the Outer Banks Homebuilders Association gave a public presentation on the new flood insurance maps, which are created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The accompanying video program is both informative and humorous and should provide some cheer to the areas beleaguered real estate market, if only for a short time.

Dare County has been on an insurance roller coast ride for the past two years.

At the state level, property insurers are seeking state approval for the second round of significant premium increases in as many years.

Public hearings are slated for those requests.

At the federal level, the Biggert-Waters Act, passed in 2012, promised huge increases in federal flood insurance rates which were set to be implemented this year. It also created new flood maps that added higher risk flood zones and re-mapped many properties into higher risk zones, including some that had never been in a defined flood zone before and never experienced flood damage or claims.

Recently, both houses of Congress sent a bill to President Obama essentially gutting much of Biggert-Waters.

The reform bill re-classifies many of these properties to lower risk zones once again, which translates to good news for coastal property owners.

However, the reform bill still fails to address the premium shortfalls and losses experienced by the national flood program, which means a future Congress is likely to be forced to deal with this financial black hole at some future time.

Preliminary Floodplain Mapping Update

Kelley Macchio
Source: Outer Banks Association of Realtors
March 8, 2014

North Carolina flood maps are in the process of being updated with the release dates of the new maps varying by county.  Preliminary data pertinent to Dare County was presented by Kenneth Ashe, Assistant Program Director with the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Office, at a Coastal Resources Commission meeting in Nags Head last week.  Mr. Ashe informed the Commission that:

  • Flood maps for Dare County, along with Beaufort, Hyde and Tyrell Counties, are due to be released at the end of the year in 2014 per FEMA approval.

A chart was shown at the meeting that compared  the present number of structures in VE and AE zones the number based on the new preliminary map data.  For Dare County, the chart revealed:

  • The number of structures that are currently in the VE zone is 4,872.  The new preliminary map data reduces the number of structures in the VE zone to 862.
  • The number of structures that are currently in the AE zone is 28,252.  The new preliminary map data reduces the number of structures in the AE zone to 9,773.

This is potentially good news for property owners in Dare County, especially considering the changes to the National Flood Insurance Program looming since the passing of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

Update from NCDOT

"Dredging Update: The Alaska finished dredging last night. We did another sonar scan this morning and sent divers down to take a look at the situation with the sand. The newly-deposited sand around the pilings needs to settle and compact, so we will be monitoring the situation and will do another scan and diver inspection on Wednesday."

Gov. McCrory gets first hand look at Bonner Bridge

By Sam Walker
The Outer Banks Voice, December 6, 2013

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory stood atop the Bonner Bridge on Friday to survey the situation that led to the closing of the bridge earlier this week, and then called on residents to increase pressure on environmental groups that have blocked a replacement span over Oregon Inlet.

“Tell these groups to get of our way and do what’s good for the public interest of North Carolina and the safety of our citizens,” McCrory said to a gathering inside the ships store at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center.

The first term Republican said he will join more then 7,000 people who have signed an online petition calling on the Southern Environmental Law Center to drop their lawsuit blocking construction of a replacement bridge...
See Entire Article from The Outer Banks Voice


Outer Banks Angling: The Blitz

By: Rob Alderman
Island Free Press, November 21, 2013

The puppy drum continue to charge the beaches. Without a doubt, they are the talk of the town.

The puppy drum bite has been epic and those taking the time to pier, surf, or boat fish for them have been rewarded in a big way. These fish have been caught on bait and lures alike and at times--I've seen two pups on one bottom rig or double trout rig.

What more could an angler ask for in November?

Some are not that impressed by these fish, because there is a one fish per person limit, but most anglers have had no issue with this and have spent many a day recently chasing them.

It was also an epic season in the sound and backwaters for the puppy drum.

I personally punished them from May to October in my kayak and with guide clients. The inshore boaters, kayakers, and waders hammered them all season long, and they were an excellent class of slot-limit fish.

Now, cooler fall temps have forced those fish out of the sound and backwaters and into the surf zone from Kitty Hawk to Ocracoke.

Te weather has been funky as of late. I've seen it referred to best online by a friend, who said he had worn both insulated boots and flip flops in the same week. While the weather has leaned more towards a cold and blustery status most of the month, we are still seeing days top out in the 70s.

This weather has really helped to do what I had hoped for and kept these fish close and biting hard.  See more...


Hatteras Village  2013 Christmas Parade

UPDATE: The parade was postponed due to weather conditions and has been rescheduled for Saturday, December 21 at 2PM.

The annual Christmas Parade in Hatteras Village will be on December 14th at 2PM.  The parade route starts at Teach's Lair Marina and ends at the Hatterasman Drive-In.  Afterwards, an awards ceremony and refreshments will be offered at the Hatteras Community Building adjacent to the library and Post Office.  The parade is a great opportunity to get out and visit with your neighbors and community so we hope to see you there!

Shipwrecked Sailboats on Pea Island are Drawing the Curious
Island Free Press, November 11, 2013

By Catherine Kozak

With its mast visible over the dunes, a damaged sailboat stranded for weeks on a Pea Island beach is attracting numerous curious passers-by and concerned local residents who want to help. 

The Belle, a 30-foot vessel from Miller Place, N.Y., and another sailboat that was towing it ran aground about Oct. 20. The Belle is now sitting on the dry sand, listing dramatically to the west.

Only a few pieces remain of the other vessel, which was cut up and hauled away.

 “There’s always someone here,” Theresa Lauder, a Salvo property owner from Portsmouth, Va. said, standing near the sad-looking Belle before sunset on Saturday. “So it seems like it’s a tourist stop.” ...(more from Island Free Press)