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Figure Eight’s Terminal Groin Vote Falls Short

FIGURE EIGHT ISLAND – The homeowners’ association here has come up short on the number of votes needed to approve a plan to build a terminal groin at the north end of this exclusive island community.

The Figure Eight Island special assessment vote ended at 5 p.m. Tuesday with only about 266 votes in favor of the estimated $7.4 million project intended to protect against erosion. Each lot owner would have had to pay up to $8,800 to pay for the initial construction costs of the proposed 1,500-foot-long terminal groin at Rich Inlet and associated beach nourishment.

The association informed property owners Thursday the number of “yes” votes received was shy of the 281.5-vote majority needed for the plan to proceed. That’s based on the total of 563 lots per the association’s governing documents.

“For this reason, the special assessment did not pass,” association officers noted in their message.

There were about 184 votes received in opposition to the assessment.

Eight ballots received were deemed invalid for failure to designate “yes” or “no” or for lack of a valid signature.

The accounting firm of Windham and Henderson tabulated the ballots received. The ballots received represented 458 lots. There were 105 lot owners who abstained from voting.

“Your Board will be considering all factors and determine the next course of action, if any, in future meetings. Thank you for responding to the very important vote of our membership,” association officers said in the message, which was signed by Frank Gorham; Thomas Capps; Patricia Roseman; Stephen Coggins; Robert Barnhill; Frank Daniels Jr.; and Dean E. Painter Jr.

Owners originally had until Oct. 31 to cast their votes, but the association extended the deadline on Oct. 20 when it became apparent “many” property owners had yet to cast a vote, the association said. Unreturned ballots were counted as “no” votes.

The association has a permit request for the terminal groin pending with the Army Corps of Engineers. Mickey Sugg with the Corps’ Wilmington district office said it’s unclear what the vote means for the environmental review still in process.

“I don’t know what direction the island’s going to take,” Sugg said Friday, adding that the association could be considering other avenues or possibly having another vote. “At some point, we’ll talk to homeowners’ association to find out what their next steps are. Based on those next steps, that will determine what the Corps is going to do. If they withdraw their permit request, we won’t continue the review process.”

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.