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State Fisheries Director
Says Holden Net Rules Are Illegal
BY DOUG RUTTER
North Carolina's fisheries chief says a
Holderi Beach ordinance regulating the use
of gill nets on the strand is illegal and should
he repealed after the town and state work
out a compromise.
William Hogarth, director of the N.C.
Division ot Marine Fisheries, told town offi
cials this week that a long-standing local or
dinance revised recently in lieu of a contro
versial state policy on gill nets is against the
"What you all have done in reaction to it
is illegal," Hogarth said at Monday night's
town meeting. "The only agency that has the
right to manage fishing is the Marine
Hogarth said he had received a ruling on
the issue from the N.C. Attorney (ieneral's
office. "That does not mean we want to fight
you. What we'd like to do is try to work
Mayor Wally Ausley promised to work
this week on a compromise with Rich
Carpenter, who manages the Marine
Fisheries southern district office in
In the meantime, Holden Beach's ordi
nance that was amended last month will re
main in effect.
State rules that took effect Aug. 2 in
Brunswick County only prohibit fishermen
from setting nets from the beach or leaving
nets unattended within 300 yards of the
beach from Memorial Day through Labor
Day of each year.
After Labor Day. nets may be set from the
strand but must be attended at all times. All
fishing gear such as ropes, anchors and
buoys must be removed from the beach
when nets are not in use.
"Our intention was to keep the surf from
becoming a dumping zone for gear and to
cut down on conflicts between commercial
and recreational fishermen," Hogarth said.
The rules were included in a proclamation
that was issued following a public meeting
at Long Beach.
Hogarth said people at the meeting were
concerned about fishermen leaving anchors
in the water and ropes on the beach. "What
we did at Long Beach and Caswell Beach
was asked for and seems to be working," he
However, Holden Beach officials say they
were told earlier that the state rules would
not be enforced at Holden unless the board
of commissioners endorsed the regulations.
After hearing from several local net fish
ermen who objected to (he slate's new rules,
the town board decided against the endorse
ment and decided to revise the 11-year-old
town net fishing ordinance.
Ausley told Hogarth Monday that it's not
practical to require the small group of fisher
men who use gill nets on Holden Beach to
remove their gear every day. "It takes sever
al hours for them to do that."
The mayor said the town board wants to
let the fishermen keep their gear out for the
entire fishing season. "They have done a
good job of tying their lines down. They
have cooperated with us on that."
"We want our fishermen to continue do
ing the things they've been doing for gener
ations as long as it doesn't hurt anyone,"
"We want to work with you," Hogarth
said. "We don't want to come in here and do
something totally opposite of what your
Hogarth said if the town board isn't happy
with the final compromise, it can appeal to
the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission.
Holden Proposing Plan
For Federal Dune Money
BY DOUG R UTTER
Holden Beach officials plan to
submit a proposal within the next
week outlining how they would like
to use the federal government's
money to rebuild sand dunes dam
aged in a storm last winter.
Interim Town Manager Gus Ul
rich said the town will propose using
the funds to strengthen the dune
along Hillside Drive and fill in holes
next to vacant lots that have eroded
to the point where they can't be de
The Federal Emergency Manage
ment Agency gave Holden Beach
$57,000 earlier this year to rebuild
dunes that were leveled during a
hurricane-like storm on March 13
that caused extensive damage along
However, town officials have said
for months that they don't agree FE
MA's proposal for using the money.
Ulrich said Tuesday the town will
submit its own plan and see if FE
If the federal government agrees
with the town's proposal, Ulrich said
the board of commissioners hopes to
start working on rebuilding the
oceanfront dunes shortly after Nov.
Trucks hauling sand aren't al
lowed on the beach until December
because of the sea turtle nesting sea
son. "We hope to be in a position to
begin some work shortly after the
turtle season is over." Ulrich said.
Commissioners crowded into a
truck and cruised the strand last
week to look over the dunes and see
which areas on Holden Beach are in
most need of additional sand.
Ulrich said a large part of the fed
eral money could be spent protect
ing Hillside Drive, an oceanfront
street on the east end of the island
that is in serious danger of falling
into the sea.
In addition to the federal money,
the town has $44,000 of its own in a
dune repair fund that could be
tapped for the project.
Ulrich said the town plans to act
as a "brokerage" for oceanfront
homeowners interested in having
their sand dunes nourished. But the
owners will have to pay.
The manager said the town will
verify sources of sand and possibly
line up one contractor to do all of
the work. "The town could be in the
role of organization and getting a
contractor set up."
Ulrich said the beach looks much
better now than it did following the
"A lot of people have brought in
material and accomplished a lot of
protection on their own," he said.
"We're looking mainly at areas
where this hasn't been done."
FEMA officials had originally
suggested the town use the $57,000
to build dunes adjacent to 30 ocean
However. Commissioner Sid
Swarts said only two of those 30 lots
met the federal agency's own guide
"Their listing is just completely
invalid," Swarts said at a recent
meeting. "What they seem to want
to do is protect some houses so they
won't have to pay flood insurance."
Swarts said the town's goal
should be to protect the island in
stead of individual homes.
Commissioner Jim Fournier said
FEMA recommended the town
spend money in some areas where
ocean water is washing under homes
and other areas that already have ad
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Holden Beach Adopts Cable TV Standards
BY DOUG RUTTER
Is Holden Beach getting in the cable televi
Not exactly, but the town board did adopt
minimum standards Monday night that must be
followed by its provider. Vision Cable of
Approval of the standards is a required step
in the town becoming a cable franchise authori
ty ? a move that will give town commissioners
the right to question how much Vision Cable
charges for basic services.
Interim Town Manager Gus Ulrich said the
cable company will provide the town with a
schedule of its basic rates within the next few
If commissioners don't feel the rates are rea
sonable, they can object and possibly bring
The customer service standards approved
Monday were drafted by the Federal Communi
cations Commission and will take precedent
over standards included in the existing franchise
contract between the town and company.
"It's preiiy strict and better than what we're
getting now," Commissioner David Sandifer
said. "We won't know if we're getting the ser
vice unless we get feedback from the people."
Among the new standards. Vision Cable will
be required to maintain a local toll-free tele
phone line that is available to subscribers 24
hours a day.
The standards also will place time limits on
performing installations and correcting service
interruptions and require that the company pro
vide itemized bills and give prompt refunds and
credits when due.
Vision also will be required to communicate
with subscribers annually about the services they
offer, channel positions, prices and options, and
installation and service policies.
More Sidewalks Planned
Holden Beach officials plan to extend the
sidewalk along Ocean Boulevard from
Rothschild Street to Blockade Runner before
moving the project to the west end of the island.
Commissioners voted unanimously Monday
night to have a sidewalk built from the west-end
gate house to Swordfish Drive after the work is
completed at the east end of the beach.
In doing so. commissioners postponed work
along the section of Ocean Boulevard West be
tween Swordfish and Sand Dollar Drive, which
has fewer housing units that than area west of
Commissioners budgeted enough money to
do finish the entire project this year, but they
must coordinate the work with Brunswick
Electric Membership Corp. (BEMC), which is
burying power lines on the island.
"The reality is the money is there for all of
this. It's just a matter of which we do first,"
BEMC is expected to have all construction
work along the boulevard west of Swordfish fin
ished early next year so a 1.5-mile stretch of
sidewalk can be completed before the 1994
Attendance An Issue
Commissioners rejected a proposal to add a
third, alternate member to the Holden Beach
Board of Adjustment Monday, deciding instead
to push for better attendance by the current
Several meetings have been postponed re
cently due to absences of some of the five regu
lar members and two alternates, said
Commissioner Gay Atkins.
"The problem is the people they've got, not
adding more," Sandifer said.
Added board member Sid Swarts. "The solu
tion to mismanagement is not more resources."
Town Attorney Ken Campbell was instruct
ed to see what commissioners can do about re
placing members who do not attend meetings
In other business Monday, commissioners:
?Took no action after meeting in executive ses
sion for one hour. 20 minutes. Town board mem
bers discussed a legal matter, personnel matter
and real estate matter.
?Heard from island resident Mack Foster that a
candidates' forum is being planned for Monday,
Oct. 25. at 7 p.m. in town hall. Voters will be
able to meet candidates running for office this
?Scheduled a public hearing for Monday, Nov.
1. at 7 p.m. on a proposed ordinance that would
allow heating and air-conditioning stands to pro
ject into the front- or rear-yard setback area.
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