Holden Beach Property Owners Association

Representing the property owners of Holden Beach, NC

January 17, 2022
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Pier Purchase Information

Front door area

The Town’s Pier Plan, summarized here, is to restore the building and pier to a safe operating condition without any significant upgrades, and to continue to operate it as a fishing pier, restaurant, and retail establishment by leasing it to business providers.  Total capital cost is estimated at $4.3 million, financed by  $3.3 million in public debt with the remainder to be paid from BPART. 

The Plan the Commissioners approved last month was found to have errors and a new Pier Plan is in this month’s Meeting Packet, beginning on page 123.  The Town’s expectation is the property can be repaired, maintained, and operated without an increase in property taxes or special assessments.  

The HBPOA’s assessment of this plan concludes the pier will cost about $300,000 per year in excess of reasonably projected net revenues, representing an average cost of about $130 per household per year.  The deficit is expected to be made up from BPART funds.

The HBPOA assessment also concluded:

  1. Rental of the pier building as a restaurant is simply not likely. Click here for the analysis.
  2. The Town will be taking on significant insurance and replacement risks since they would be obligated to rebuild the building to current codes if it was destroyed by fire or flood, which would cost significantly more than the replacement value insurance proceeds for the existing structure.
  3. The pier structure will not be insured for flood/major storm damage, but the loan documents require it to be rebuilt. There is no estimate of what it would cost to rebuild the pier, but the plan suggests the Town might be eligible for FEMA grant relief.
  4. The Town’s Plan carves off the expenses of purchasing the 50′ parcel that will be used for access.
  5. The Town is taking on an environmental abatement risk due to the unlined grease pit on the property.
  6. The Town’s plan for the Pier is very limited and may not be attractive to many homeowners and renters since it merely restores the derelict building and the derelict pier to minimum code without any significant upgrades, additions, or cosmetic improvements, making the pier more-or-less as it was 10 years ago.

There will be a required Public Hearing on the $3,300,000 financing contract on Tuesday, January 18, at 5:00 PM.  During the Commissioner’s Meeting immediately following the Public Hearing the Board will vote to adopt their revised plan.  Comments for the meeting or Public Hearing should be sent to Heather@hbtownhall.com.

January 16, 2022
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The topic of Paid Parking was discussed at yesterday’s HBPOA meeting.  As promised, below are pictures showing the locations of the proposed paid public parking zones based on the maps contained in the BOC’s meeting packet, as best we can determine.  Please refer to Tables 1 & 2 (last photo) for a more detailed description of the location and the number and type of parking spaces being proposed in each zone.  In the photos below, the red box is roughly the parking area, and the white box gives the Parking Zone Number  Refer to the Parking Zone Number in the chart (last photo) to determine how many spots are planned, if they are on one side of the street or both, and whether they are Compact or Regular spots.

Click here for the handout from the meeting with the Parking Summary and Impacts for Property Owners.

The BOC will be voting on this proposal at their meeting on Tuesday.   If you want to comment at the meeting you need to sign up prior to the start of the meeting.  If you are emailing comments send them to heather@hbtownhall.com.  Feel free to copy HBPOA at HBPOA@hotmail.com.

January 14, 2022
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HBPOA Meeting Saturday and Commissioners’ Meeting

The pier purchase and the implementation of paid public parking are two critical topics that have become very intertwined since the revenue from paid parking is needed to cover the costs of the pier and avoid a property tax increase.

We will be discussing these two topics at our HBPOA meeting on Saturday at 10 AM in the Chapel Fellowship room.  We plan to provide a virtual option if you can’t attend in person.  Here is a link to the Zoom meeting.

The Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, January 18th for their regular monthly meeting.  Highlights include:

  • Public Hearing related to the pier financing.
  • Updated Pier Plan with revised parking revenue estimates and adding a micro-RV-Park.
  • Proceeding with the paid parking plan from Otto, which identified 935 public parking spaces on the island and significant changes to current ordinances.  This includes the elimination of Post and Rope.
  • Converting the Town-owned marsh-side areas in the 800 block to parking lots.
  • Changing the lighting ordinances – several changes including no lights seaward of beachfront homes.

Click here for the meeting packet which includes the details on the above items.

We realize the majority of property owners will not be able to attend the Commissioners’ meeting, so if you would like to provide input, please send your comments to heather@hbtownhall.com.  If you would like us to read your comments at the meeting, please include a statement saying “I authorize a representative of the HBPOA to read this email during the comment period since I will not be able to attend in person” and send us a copy at hbpoa@hotmail.com.

January 10, 2022
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Meeting This Saturday!

The HBPOA will have a membership meeting this

Saturday, January 15th

at 10AM in the Chapel Fellowship room. 

The primary purpose of this meeting is to discuss the Town’s plan for the pier property.  

At our Labor Day meeting, we adopted a position to withhold support for the pier purchase until the plans and associated costs for the property were known.  At their meeting on December 21st, the Town Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a plan for the pier property.  Click here to view the plan and resolution from the meeting packet.  Click here to view our summary of the key points and assumptions contained in the Town’s plan. Now that a plan has been developed, the HBPOA will be polling property owners to find out if they support it.

We have carefully reviewed the adopted plan and raised questions about assumptions #9 and #10 related to paid parking revenues since they didn’t match the numbers from the Parking Committee.  We have been told by a Commissioner that the projections in the December Plan are not correct, and a revised version of the plan will be available in the BOC’s January Meeting Packet this Thursday.  We will post and distribute the revised version once it is available.

December 14, 2021
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Opinion Survey

Survey Results

The results of the 2021 HBPOA Survey are linked below.  The survey remained open for one month, during which time 768 people participated, the largest response we have ever had.  Most of the survey questions gave an opportunity for comments or open-ended responses.  The Final Report contains all the charts, comments, and open-ended responses and is 179 pages long.  Because of the length of the document we also created a shorter version.  The “charts only” version contains only the key charts.   Click here for the PDF of the Charts Only version.  Click here to see the full report with comments.

We appreciate the time and effort you spent in providing opinions regarding critical Town issues.  The survey results will be forwarded to the Town Commissioners and Mayor.  We sincerely hope they give your input serious consideration as they make decisions on these issues.

Survey Tool and Approach

Survey Monkey was selected as the opinion software based on its reputation and the ability to create totally anonymous surveys.  To help ensure the integrity of the survey, the link to take the survey was protected behind a password.  An HBPOA postcard with the password was mailed via USPS to ALL property owners.  In addition, an email with the link was sent to all property owners for which we have an email address.  The goal was to hear from ALL Holden Beach property owners, not only our members.  It was also to limit, as much as possible,  participation by people who do not own property on the island.

Survey Method

We used a 5-point Likert scale for most of our answer options.  Likert scales are one of the most reliable ways to measure opinions, perceptions, and behaviors without bias. Given this method and the statistically significant number of participants relative to property owners on the island (i.e., the population sample size), the confidence level of the survey results is 95% with a plus-or-minus 3% margin of error.  The confidence level indicates how much you can expect the survey results to reflect the view of the overall population.

November 30, 2021
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Potential Land Purchase Falls Through

We have been contacted by numerous members asking about the $850,000 purchase of land approved after the Executive Session at the last Commissioners’ Meeting.  The parcels were never publicly disclosed, however, it was rumored to be parcels near the bridge to be used for public paid parking.  Apparently, the purchase fell through.  They approved Budget Amendment 21-33 to take $850,000 from the BPART Fund to pay for it, then later approved Budget Amendment 21-34 to replace the funds – essentially reversing the first Budget Amendment.

Please note: this is NOT the Pier purchase.  The Due Diligence period concluded on November 19 without the Town withdrawing the offer.  It is scheduled to close in February.

November 20, 2021
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November Board of Commissioners’ Meeting Follow Up



TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2021 – 5:00 P.M.

Please note that the results of the Executive Session at the end of the meeting were to spend $850,000 for additional property and to RECESS the meeting until Friday, November 19 at 2:00PM. See item #24.

1.    Invocation

2.    Call to Order/ Welcome

3.    Pledge of Allegiance

4.    Agenda Approval Approved

5.    Approval of Minutes Approved

a.         Minutes of the Regular Meeting of October 19, 2021
6.    Public Comments on Agenda Items  Five people spoke at the meeting and additional comments are on the website.

7.    Presentation of Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 Audit Results – Elsa Watts, Martin Starnes and Associates (Town Manager Hewett) Town received a clean audit. 

8.    Discussion/Question and Answer on the Audit Committee Message on the External Audit Report to the Board of Commissioners – Commissioner Kwiatkowski Audit Committee reviewed the audit. 

9.    Annual Monitoring Report – Fran Way, ATM (Assistant Town Manager Ferguson) Beach gained sand overall.  Great year with no storms.  Renourishment of Central Reach area and Eastern Reach to happen this winter.

10. Discussion and Possible Action on Audit Committee Proposed Revised Ordinance 30.26, Audit Committee (Ordinance 21-32) – Commissioner Kwiatkowski Changed ordinance establishing Audit Committee.  Approved 3-2 with Commissioners Brown and Smith voting No.

11. Discussion and Possible Action on Request for Beer Garden and Signage for Run HB – Johnna Terragna (Assistant Town Manager Ferguson). Approved unanimously.

12. Police Report – Chief Dixon Not a lot of crime discussed.  Hunting season underway which is usually an issue on Western part of island (hunting not allowed on Island).  Scams such as gift cards and grandchildren bail are proliferating – Be aware!

13. Parking  Committee’s  Summary  in  Response  to  the  Board  of  Commissioners’  Tasker  – Commissioners Murdock & Smith. Otto Connect, the selected parking vendor/consultant, gave a presentation at the Parking Committee Meeting.  Read it here.  Town owns 221 spots and is actively looking at purchasing more property.  Proposed rate is $4/Hr, $20/day and would run March through October.  Golf carts would pay same, vehicles with trailers would pay $30/day.  Annual permits would be available.  Commissioner Murdock would like to eliminate Right of Way parking after the Town has enough spots and eliminate Post and Rope for some areas.  They do not envision having the 1092 parking spots outlined in the report.

14. Update on Revision of Oceanfront Lighting Ordinance – Attorney Madon (Commissioner Smith). Turtle Patrol supports further lighting restrictions.  Information was forwarded to Town Attorney to revise the ordinance.

15. Discussion and Possible Action on Updated Water Fee Schedule – Public Works Director Clemmons. Beginning January 1, 2022 rates will increase (82%) to cover increase from County.    Approved unanimously.

16. Discussion and Possible Action on Staff Compensation (Resolution 21-16, Providing COVID-19 Performance Bonuses to Town Staff) – Board of Commissioners.  $750 per employee Covid Bonus for staff.  Passed unanimously.

17. Discussion and Possible Action on a Request for Parks & Recreation Committee Suggestions for the Town-Owned 796 Ocean Boulevard West Property – Commissioner Kwiatkowski. Sent tasker to Parks And Rec. Committee to suggest what to do with town-owned house at 796 OBW.  Passed unanimously.

18. Property Purchase Update  &  Request  for  Public  Opinion  –  Commissioners  Sullivan  & Kwiatkowski. No response from seller regarding $500K price reduction for repairs, another month needed.  The requested deliverables have not been received.  Motion to extend the Due Diligence period until December 17 to allow response from seller with a response needed by this Friday or the Town would withdraw offer.  Failed 3-2 with Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski voting in favor. New motion to not include the withdrawal of offer passed. 

19. Public Comments on General Items  Five people spoke regarding parking and the Pier purchase.

20. Town Manager’s Report Paving of Seagull St. is moving ahead for this spring.  The sand source for this winter’s renourishment has been accepted by DCM as compatible.  The plan at the completion of the beach nourishment this winter would be one continuous project from 262 OBE to 871 OBW, to cover an area 5.1 miles long, 8’ tall and 100’ wide.  He doesn’t know exactly when the work will begin but be prepared for loud work 24-7.  The Turkey Trot will be Thanksgiving Day and the Tree Lighting will be December 3. 

21. Mayor’s Comments. The Mayor met with our state representative.  The state is participating in removal of the abandoned shrimp boats across the waterway.  The Veteran’s Appreciation Luncheon was successful. 

22. Board of Commissioners’ Comments. Commissioner Brown said he would not raise taxes to cover the pier purchase.  Commissioner Smith thanked the Police for their work on the successful Festival.  Commissioner Murdock discussed the Parking Report and feels like 500-600 spots are needed.  He also said he would not raise taxes for the Pier.  Commissioner Sullivan noted that this was his last meeting as he did not run again.  He thanked his colleagues, the staff and the residents for the opportunity to serve.  Commissioner Kwiatkowski emphasized that the BOC needs to get more information in writing and into the meeting packet.  The County is having an open house on the Land Use Plan/Parks and Rec Plan and invited all to attend.

23. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(5), To Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price and Terms of Contracts Concerning the Acquisition of Real Properties – Commissioners Murdock & Smith. Voted to spend $850K for additional property.  The location has not been disclosed. 

24.Adjournment.   The meeting was NOT adjourned, but recessed until 2:00pm Friday, November 19, 2021

November 13, 2021
Comments Off on Commissioners November Meeting

Commissioners November Meeting

The Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners will meet Tuesday, November 16, at 5:00PM for their regular monthly meeting.  Highlights include:

  • Annual Beach Monitoring Report
  • Annual Audit
  • More information on paid parking
  • Covid bonuses for Town staff
  • 82% increase in water rates to match the wholesale rate from the County

The agenda is below.  Click here for the meeting packet.

In addition, Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski have asked all property owners to share their opinions on the Pier purchase with the Commissioners.  Their update to citizens on the Pier begins on page 38 of the meeting packet.  Please send your opinion to heather@hbtownhall.com to be forwarded to all the Commissioners.

October 20, 2021
Comments Off on Pier Structure Report Released

Pier Structure Report Released

The report on the Pier structure from the Town’s Beach Engineer, ATM, was released.  You can read it here.  Here is a summary of the report findings:

Applied Technology & Management (ATM) completed the due diligence assessment of the pier structure. The underwater inspection was very limited due to the sea state at the time of inspection (-3 to 5ft breaking waves) making it not feasible or safe to perform diving operations.  The assessment was also limited by the fact there were no plans or structural details, design criteria, technical and performance specifications, shop drawings, as-builts, geotechnical information, or wind/wave studies that could be located.

Overall,  the pier has likely surpassed its remaining service life considering it was constructed in 1957, which is ~64 years old. Most fixed timber pier structures are constructed for a 50-year life span with regular maintenance. Without maintenance records it is difficult to ascertain when key components such as the pilings were replaced.

  • Five pilings are in critical condition and require immediate action.
  • Handrails are in poor condition are a severe safety risk. There is one critical section of handrail on the east side nearshore that exhibited excessive movement when pushed upon.
  • The plumbing and electrical may be out of compliance and would likely require replacement in order to comply with current codes. Some electrical connections are exposed and are considered a recognized safety hazard.
  • In absence of the piling as-built elevations and installation records, ATM could not ascertain the top elevation, overall length, or pile embedment. Pile embedment information is critical in determining the structural capacity of the piles.
  • Most of the pile bents (cross beams) are in good condition, but some are exhibiting wood rot at the ends and are in poor condition.
  • The stringers appear to be in fair condition. In several locations there was no apparent connection between the stringers and the pile bents. Therefore, their condition is unknown. The connection hardware was inconsistent overall, and in many cases, they exhibited moderate to extreme corrosion.
  • The decking is in fair condition and appears to be maintained with no tripping hazards observed.  The structure has a few notable areas where deflection and rotation are apparent on the decking surface. The variation in the surface is consistent with locations where piles were leaning significantly or broken.

Immediate repairs to the pier to extend the service life to a reasonable period of time (10-15 years) is estimated to be on the order of $500,000 to $750,000. This would include replacement or significant repair of the three damaged piles, replacement of the damaged pile caps, installation of new cross bracing and total replacement of corroded fasteners and connections. This estimate assumes that significant material such as decking and stringers can be salvaged, and the construction can be completed by land-based equipment (i.e., no mobilization of barges or water-based equipment).

One of the key concerns observed during the inspection was the heavily corroded and missing/damaged connection hardware throughout the pier structure. Nearly all visible connections are in critical condition and will require replacement.  A majority of the horizontal and vertical cross-braces are either missing, detached, or broken which is a critical condition for the structure.