TOWN OF DUCK
MUNICIPAL PROPERTY MASTER PLAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
January 30, 2007
The Municipal Property Master Plan Advisory Committee for the Town of Duck convened at the Duck Municipal Offices at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 30, 2007.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Paul Keller, Charlie Pratt (via conference call), Donna Black, Town Manager and Town Clerk Christopher Layton and VHB Project Manager Chris Dewitt.
MEMBERS ABSENT: Avery Harrison.
OTHERS PRESENT: Deputy Town Clerk Lori Kopec.
OTHERS ABSENT: None.
Chairman Keller called the meeting to order at 9:31 a.m. and noted that Avery Harrison was absent from the meeting due to her children being ill.
APPROVAL OF SEPTMBER 12, 2006 MINUTES
Donna Black moved to approve the September 12, 2006 minutes as presented. Charlie Pratt seconded.
Motion approved 2-0. Chairman Keller was not at the previous meeting and could not vote on this approval.
UPDATE ON PHASE I CONSTRUCTION
Chris Dewitt stated that Phase I construction has proceeded nicely. He stated that the gravelpave looks great and is functioning well. He stated that Coinjock Farms has done an outstanding job with the Phase I construction. He stated that he has been trying to help the proposed improvements fit on the site but it may not always be easy. He stated that the parking area has been shifted slightly to save a berm and some live oak trees. He stated that the alignment and the grading of the access road changed slightly to preserve the existing topography and vegetation.
Town Manager Layton stated that the only thing left to do on the site with regard to Phase I is the striping of the concrete. He stated that a three (3) sided fence will also be erected around the cemetery that will connect to a berm.
Chairman Keller stated that the Committee is pleased with VHB’s work and Chris Dewitt’s cooperation with Coinjock Farms. He felt that the ruggedness of the guardrails and the naturalness of the site was exactly what the Committee was looking for. He stated that saving trees was more important than saving parking spaces.
Donna Black echoed Chairman Keller’s comments.
Town Manager Layton stated that there were a couple of add ons – the drainage swale, some unanticipated bulkheads and the berm and fencing around the cemetery – which added to the cost. However, everything else was right within the budget.
Chris Dewitt stated that there were some savings achieved over the long term in that there was originally going to be only one (1) parking bay, but when Coinjock Farms ordered the gravelpave, they realized they could save a substantial amount of money by ordering all of the material at one time.
Chairman Keller pointed out that the grading eliminated the standing water, but thought there should be a dry well put in. Town Manager Layton stated that a swale was put in. Chris Dewitt stated that the idea for the swale was to put it in and see how it functioned. He stated that there is still room to extend the swale if needed. Town Manager Layton stated that the swale is definitely working.
Charlie Pratt stated he was happy to know the drainage solution is working. He stated that he was glad that the cemetery will be well protected and felt it deserved a lot of respect since it was a part of the village atmosphere at the park.
UPDATE ON PHASE II BIDDING
Chris Dewitt stated that the Town received bids for Phase II construction on January 29, 2007. He stated that Phase II consists of the boardwalk along the sound with the observation platforms, the access pier from the parking area to the canoe and kayak launch and including the launch, the trails, the playground, picnic shelter and gazebo. He stated that seven (7) bids were received. Some were partial bids but most included everything. He stated that the bid costs ranged from $500,000 to just over $1,000,000. He stated that most of them were in the $600,000 to $800,000 range. He stated that they had hoped and anticipated that totals would be closer to $500,000, so the bids were higher than expected. He thought they could bring the bids closer to the Town’s budget with some modifications.
Chris Dewitt stated that a detailed landscaping plan was provided for in the bid documents. He stated that the bids for it ranged from $30,000 to $100,000. He felt that given what is contracted in the grant and the way the Town is approaching the construction, some or all of the landscaping can be held while other improvements are put in.
Chris Dewitt stated that rebidding will be done by taking out the landscaping cost and rebidding the boardwalk based on revised specifications. He stated that with the bids so high, a good handful should come in at the target the Town is looking for.
Chairman Keller asked how long the rebid process would take. Chris Dewitt stated it would only be a week or two.
Town Manager Layton stated that they hoped to have information ready for the bidders within a week to get them to rebid.
Chairman Keller asked if the bidders had to use a subcontractor for what they are bidding. Chris Dewitt stated that the contractors would contact material suppliers but that some may or may not use subcontractors.
Donna Black asked if there was a specific timeframe. Chris Dewitt stated that they originally thought there would be a time of year restriction for driving of the pilings and to jet the pilings in. He stated that after discussions with the contractors, he contacted CAMA and was told it would not be part of the CAMA permit, meaning no time restriction for installing the pilings.
Charlie Pratt asked if CAMA or Fish and Wildlife had put the restrictions on the work. He asked if the Town received clearance from one or both agencies to proceed. Chris Dewitt stated that Fish & Wildlife made the comments; CAMA was onsite and did not contradict them. He stated that CAMA has chosen not to put the restrictions in.
Chairman Keller asked if there were any changes functionally to the boardwalk. Chris Dewitt stated that functionally there weren’t any changes. He stated that one suggestion was to go to a ten (10) foot wide decking that would somewhat reduce the clear zone. He stated they may or may not accept all of the proposed changes to the specifications. Chairman Keller asked if it would be eight (8) or eight and one half (8½) feet instead of ten (10). Mr. Dewitt stated he was correct. Chairman Keller asked if the boardwalk to the willow swamp had changed. Mr. Dewitt stated it had not.
Donna Black asked if the bidders were people that have completed similar projects in the past. Chris Dewitt stated she was correct. He stated there were a good handful of quality builders to select from.
Charlie Pratt asked for Donna Black’s input on the reduction of the boardwalk with regard to it affecting medical response. Chris Dewitt pointed out that the boardwalk will not be designed to support any vehicle loading. He stated that reducing the width doesn’t kick out the possibility of having a vehicle drive on it.
Chairman Keller clarified that there will not be any changes to the dock launching. Chris Dewitt stated he was correct.
Chairman Keller clarified that bids would be received in approximately two (2) weeks with a decision shortly thereafter. Chris Dewitt stated he was correct.
UPDATE ON CAMA MAJOR PERMIT
Town Manager Layton stated that the permit was submitted on July 5, 2006. Chris Dewitt stated that they have had numerous field meetings with CAMA and other agencies. He stated that part of the overall permitting process is stormwater permitting through the Department of Water Quality. He stated that that is the hold up on the permit. He stated that CAMA is ready to issue the permit but is waiting on DWQ. He stated that they have kept in touch with DWQ and provided them with additional information they had asked for. Town Manager Layton stated that the permit was submitted on July 5, 2006. He stated that on September 22, 2006 a letter from DWQ was received asking for clarification of calculations. He stated that VHB provided them the information, which they received on October 10, 2006. He stated that he received another letter on January 10, 2007 asking for more information, which was provided to them the following week.
Chris Dewitt stated that they have been calling them and trying to get action. He thought part of the issue was that they don’t know what to do with gravelpave. Town Manager Layton agreed.
Town Manager Layton pointed out that CAMA is ready to sign off on the permit but the wait is due to DWQ.
Chris Dewitt assured the Committee that the issue will be resolved.
DISCUSSION OF DRAFT PARK USE POLICIES
Town Manager Layton stated that due to the fact that by summer 2007 there will be limited use of the park property, he felt it was appropriate to draft some use policies. He stated he wanted the Committee to review the draft use policies and come back at the next meeting to discuss them more in depth. He pointed out that the park would be used as a passive park designed for everyone to enjoy and that that it should be treated like the beach is treated. He stated that the park could not be rented for any occasion. He stated that the picnic shelter and gazebo would be self regulated. He stated that he put in as many issues that he could come up with and asked the Committee to come back to the next meeting to discuss it in more detail.
Charlie Pratt stated he had never seen a restriction against using metal detectors. He asked if it was so people would not dig holes. Town Manager Layton stated it was.
Chairman Keller suggested the Committee look at the uses and come back to the next meeting to discuss it more in detail.
Donna Black suggested having something in there regarding swimming. Chairman Keller felt it was a good suggestion. Town Manager Layton agreed.
DISCUSSION OF ISSUES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF THE FORMER HERRON RESTAURANT PROPERTY FOR TOWN HALL/COMMUNITY BUILDING ON THE MUNICIPAL PROPERTY MASTER PLAN
Town Manager Layton stated that when the Herron property was purchased, the whole issue of how to incorporate that into the existing Municipal Property Plan, since it wasn’t built into the original plan, was referred to the Committee for discussion and recommendation. He stated that in that request from Council for the Committee to look at it, it was understood that a Town Hall would be on the property and that the Town Hall would serve to function as an auxiliary use to the park for restrooms and a general visiting area. He stated that the Committee was asked to look at recommending to Council any proposed changes with the Town Hall to the original plan or how the layout would fit to best suit the park. He stated that a general idea was needed regarding size and layout of the proposed Town Hall. He stated that at the Retreat, preliminary information was provided by Tymoff and Moss Architects. He stated that the Committee will now need to start the discussions on how it would fit in. He didn’t expect any decisions right away and thought it could be a discussion on how to go about doing it.
Chris Dewitt stated that the question before the Committee was if the Town Hall was on the former Herron’s property, what the implications would be for the rest of the site plan and how the building is incorporated into the Park as seamlessly as possible. He stated that Tymoff and Moss have taken the building space needs that they developed and sited the building on the Herron’s property. He stated that the site plan sketch shows a slight realignment of the access drive, shifting it slightly to the south to accommodate the space for the proposed building. He stated that the access drive will still provide access to the picnic shelter and amphitheater but will also provide access to parking to the Town Hall/Community Building.
Chairman Keller asked if anything relative to the Town Hall would affect Phase II construction. Chris Dewitt stated there wasn’t.
Donna Black asked what the Committee was charged with in regard to the Town Hall. Town Manager Layton stated that there was not chart for anything with regard to the Town Hall. He stated that the Committee could propose uses as to what they would like to see in it. He stated that the discussions would be to get a rough idea of sizing and how that would fit on the new property.
Chairman Keller thought that the Committee was not prepared to make any decisions at this meeting. He suggested the Committee develop a series of points related to how they want the interface to happen should it occur. He thought the Committee should think about keeping the building as low as possible, screening the parking areas with vegetation from all other areas of the park, using native vegetation, using earth tones and colors and minimizing external traffic not related to the park. He stated he would like the Committee to develop a list in advance of the next meeting.
Town Manager Layton suggested using the site plan as a starting point. He stated that he was concerned about the drive entrance as there are existing utilities as well as a berm that will add to the project cost. He stated it may make sense to shift the entrance over to eliminate a potential problem.
Donna Black asked if the drive aisle would be related to the site distance. Chris Dewitt stated it was. He pointed out that this would be one (1) potential location for the entrance but that it could shift to the north.
Charlie Pratt understood that the Committee’s responsibility was not to determine the size of a Town Hall but to decide how the building could be positioned on the property. He asked if Council came up with an approximate square footage for the Town Hall. Town Manager Layton stated that two sizes were discussed – 8,500 without the police department and 11,000 with the police department. Chris Dewitt stated that the elevation sketches depicted both types of buildings as well. Chairman Keller asked if the square footage was based upon two (2) stories. Town Manager Layton stated he was correct. He suggested keeping the range in mind in that if the police aren’t included in the building, there could be other uses such as more elaborate community/Town Council chambers. Chairman Keller asked the Committee members to look at other uses that relate to the park such as floral displays.
Chairman Keller asked members of the audience for their comments on the proposed Town Hall as well as the park property.
Lynne Alterman of 100 Ocean Crest Way was recognized to speak. Ms. Alterman asked if the Committee was only responsible for discussing the position of the building within the park and not the design and size of the building. She asked what committee would be responsible and who is proceeding beyond the discussion at the Council Retreat as far as what goes into the building. Town Manager Layton stated that the Town Council would be the ones responsible. Ms. Alterman asked if there was an advisory committee. Town Manager Layton stated there wasn’t. Ms. Alterman asked if there would be an opportunity for public input. Town Manager Layton stated there would be. Ms. Alterman asked if it would be at a Council meeting. Town Manager Layton it would be either at a Town Council meeting or a special meeting, but that has not been determined.
Don Zerbe of 4 Soundview Trail in Southern Shores was recognized to speak. Mr. Zerbe stated that a lot of thought had been given to the park. He stated that there was a pretty strong feeling with regard to the survey that it would be a park with no municipal building on it. He stated that it has now changed. Town Manager Layton stated it had not changed. He made it clear that the Herron property was never part of the original plan. He stated that Mr. Zerbe was extrapolating that the whole property was to be a park, which was never part of the original plan. He stated that the surveys and what has come about because of them have not changed the park plan. He stated that the park plan is being implemented as it was designed and will continue to be implemented that way. He stated that Council had the opportunity to purchase the Herron property, but the location was beyond their control. He stated that it was available; the Town knew they needed to purchase it, and Council was applauded for the purchase. He stated that he understood the concerns about the Town Hall but suggested that it not be mixed up with the original plan. He thought it was misleading. Mr. Zerbe suggested that the Town do another survey. Town Manager Layton stated that it could be brought up to Council but pointed out that the current Council has recognized the need for a building to conduct Town operations. He stated that he and Council had investigated other spots and the decision was made by Town Council to build a Town Hall on the Herron property. He stated Council made it clear when they bought the property that it would be used for a Town Hall and did not hide that decision from the public. He stated that the Municipal Property Committee can discuss style, whether they want it low, the colors, but cannot state whether they want a Town Hall on the property or not.
Chairman Keller asked how the footprint of the proposed building relates to the footprint of the Herron Restaurant. Chris Dewitt stated it would be a little larger but not substantially. He stated that the parking area in front is the existing parking area. He stated that the parking area in the rear is where there was storage and where the septic tank is currently located. He stated that the building would sit in the same footprint as the restaurant.
Don Zerbe stated that governments grow. He stated that he understood that the police department may be in the building but wondered if after twenty (20) years the future Council may want to move the fire department to the park. He wondered what kind of park it would be. Town Manager Layton stated that he could not speak to what future Councils will do. He thought that with proper planning, there will be room to grow without expanding into the park. He stated that the concept is not to build it into a campus environment. He stated that even though the Town will grow, it will be finite in how much growth will happen. He stated that unless the Corps of Engineers destroys the fire department lease, he would doubt that the lease would be removed as they benefit from having the fire department there. He stated that the issue of the police department at the Town Hall does become an opportunity for discussion. He stated that the issue of having the police department on site will continue to be discussed. He stated that whether or not they stay at the fire department will have cost implications over time. He reiterated that the original building was designed to have room for office growth. He stated that the idea for the building is to have enough room to meet the Town’s needs for a considerable amount of time without having to look for other buildings. He noted that the building will also be there to serve the park. He stated that he didn’t think Council envisioned or intended to take over anything beyond what will be on the former Herron property.
Ed Brooks of 124 Ships Watch Drive was recognized to speak. Mr. Brooks felt that everyone was having second thoughts about the Town incorporating. He stated that the government has already grown beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. He stated that no one ever thought the Town would have the police force that is present today. He stated that he could not believe there was a discussion about growth needs beyond twenty (20) years when the Town has only been incorporated almost five (5) years. He didn’t think the Town needed some of the services that are available presently. He thought that if a poll was taken of the people that had supported incorporation, they would probably all have second thoughts about it. He stated that the issue of Town Hall will be argued against but thought it would work. He didn’t think that the police and fire department belongs on the Town Hall property or as part of the park. Town Manager Layton stated that it was a valid discussion and that Council has always been very receptive to input. Mr. Brooks hoped that it was the case and not that people should not disagree because Council has already made up their minds. Town Manager Layton stated that that was not the case. Mr. Brooks pointed out that other governments have taken that route.
Chairman Keller stated that he sees more people who voted against incorporation coming up to him and thanking him for the Town incorporating. He stated that eight (8) years ago they tried to get Dare County to put more police in Town but couldn’t do it. He stated that they even asked to be taxed a little more so they could have more police presence. He stated that the Duck Trail was built with the Townspeople’s money and no one else’s. He stated the Townspeople even taxed themselves for the power lines that run through Town. He thought there shouldn’t be any “red herrings” thinking that a mistake was made with regard to incorporating. Mr. Brooks stated that Chairman Keller made a valid point. He urged that the Town be kept as special as it already is. Chairman Keller agreed.
Donna Black stated that the Committee is charged with incorporating the Town Hall to fit in with the feel of the Town. She stated that the Committee would do their best to address the issues so that it does look coastal. She pointed out that the present space that Town staff is in is too small. She stated that the Town has to address the staff needs. She stated that the Committee will make sure that however the building is incorporated, it will fit.
Charlie Pratt thought the Committee was fortunate to have Chairman Keller and Donna Black. He stated that he understood the audience’s concerns but thought they were issues that would be appropriate to bring up to Council and not the Committee. He reiterated that the Committee’s responsibility is the input of the placement of the Town Hall. He thought that the concerns the audience members had should be presented at Council meetings.
DISCUSSION OF THE PURCHASE OF PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT
Town Manager Layton stated that Avery Harrison, Donna Black and he have been discussing at length the playground equipment and what they would recommend to the Committee as far as the type, style and color scheme. Chris Dewitt pointed out that the revised site plan originally had a visitor center but since there will not be one; the playground will sit in a cleared area that is adjacent to a berm. He stated that the size has also been reduced slightly.
Chairman Keller asked if the playground would be adjacent to the path. Town Manager Layton stated it would. He reviewed with the Committee one of the preferred options for the playground equipment. He suggested that the Committee go with mulch for ground cover as opposed to bonded rubber for cost reasons. He stated that the current price for the equipment is over what was budgeted but still within reason. He stated that he preferred to get the cost down into the $40,000 range.
Chairman Keller asked what the life expectancy of the playground equipment will be. Town Manager Layton stated it has a great warranty but thought it would last approximately fifteen (15) years, if not a little longer. He stated that there will have to be upkeep on the equipment and the mulch. Chairman Keller thought that no matter what type of equipment goes in, there will be comments and suggestions for additional items.
Town Manager Layton stated that there is money in the budget for the equipment. He didn’t see any reason not to go forward on the issue as it will take six to ten (6 – 10) weeks for it to come in once it’s ordered. Chairman Keller thought that it would be great if the equipment arrived in April or May.
Donna Black stated she was happy with the option that was presented and felt the Committee should go forward. Chairman Keller suggested putting a top price on the equipment. Town Manager Layton suggested that it cost no more than $45,000.
Charlie Pratt stated that at the last meeting Chris Dewitt stated he would come back with some cost estimates on ground cover. He stated that while the ground cover looks good, he wanted Mr. Dewitt’s input on what he came up with. Chris Dewitt stated he did not find out very much. Mr. Pratt felt it would be good to move forward on the issue.
Town Manager Layton asked the Committee which color scheme they wanted for the playground equipment. It was consensus of the Committee to use the Tree color scheme for the equipment.
Donna Black moved to accept the drawing as presented with the budget limitation of $45,000. Charlie Pratt seconded.
Motion carried 3-0.
DISCUSSION OF PARK AMENITIES
Town Manager Layton, Chris Dewitt and the Committee reviewed some options for the gazebo and picnic shelter. Town Manager Layton stated that a decision would not need to be made on the items just yet. He stated that at the next meeting, it should be decided on the style of the amenities. It was consensus of the Committee to come back at the next meeting with ideas on what styles they would like to see with regard to the gazebo and picnic shelter.
Trash Cans/Benches/Bike Racks
Town Manager Layton, Chris Dewitt and the Committee reviewed some options for the trash cans, benches and bike racks. Town Manager Layton stated that a decision would not need to be made on the items just yet. He stated that at the next meeting, it should be decided on the style of the amenities. It was consensus of the Committee to come back at the next meeting with ideas on what styles they would like to see with regard to the trash cans, benches and bike racks.
DISCUSSION OF PARK SIGNAGE
Operational Signage and Interpretative/Wayfinding Signage
Chris Dewitt stated that as the park becomes operational, decisions regarding placement of safety signage will need to be made. He stated that interpretative signage will need to be decided on as well. He and Town Manager Layton reviewed with the Committee some areas within the park where signage would be practicable as well as what kinds would be needed.
Chairman Keller asked if the invasive species in the park would be removed during the Phase II construction. Town Manager Layton stated that it has not been addressed and will be a separate issue.
Donna Black asked if there will be restrictions on the park during the construction process. Town Manager Layton stated he would try to keep it open as much as possible but that there may be times where part of it will be closed.
Chris Dewitt stated that he will be bringing back some recommendations to the Committee regarding signage at a future meeting. He pointed out that the Duck Trail is signed wrong – it is a multi-use trail but signed as a bike trail. He stated that this will need to be corrected.
Charlie Pratt asked when temporary restrooms would be discussed for the park. Town Manager Layton stated that there is a temporary one on site for construction use. He stated that the Committee needs to give some thought as to where they should be located as they will need to be on the park by June 30, 2007. Chairman Keller asked if they would be natural in color. Town Manager Layton stated that they would be screened. He suggested having three (3) temporary restrooms with two (2) being handicap accessible.
Charlie Pratt asked if the Outer Banks Transportation Task Force has gone forward with the trolley and if the park property would be one of the stops. Town Manager Layton stated that the Transportation Task Force is having some struggles as to what is feasible. He stated that they will be having a symposium in February and will know more after that. Chairman Keller stated that the Task Force will be making presentations to all of the towns and Dare County on February 15, 2007 at Kelly’s Restaurant. He stated there has been a fair amount of opposition to the trolley from the Towns of Kitty Hawk and Southern Shores.
There being no further discussion, Donna Black moved to adjourn the meeting. Charlie Pratt seconded the motion.
Motion carried 3-0.
The time was 11:39 a.m.