This semester I had the privilege of interning with the town of Nags Head. My mentor Holly White is the principal planner –and an angel–of the town. There’s not much that in the scope of planning that Holly’s job does not encompass. Her job description involves public policy, community planning, grant writing, stakeholder engagement and environmental issues such as flooding, water quality, and adaptation strategies. Similar to Holly’s job description, my internship included a little of everything dealing with coastal planning.
My primary project was to evaluate improvements of pedestrian and bicycle paths that had been laid out by the Nags Head Pedestrian Plan of 2014. This meant Emma (the other Town of Nags Head Intern) drove from Eighth St. (the town line) to Gulfstream. We took note of new crosswalks, sidewalks, signal lights, and landings and where in Nags Head they had been placed. Early on, this served as a great way for me and her to better orient ourselves to Nags Head and the Outer Banks.
Another major project that Emma and I worked on was the mapping of commercial trash routes. This meant that we were up at 4:00 am, out the door by 4:30 am, and at Public Works by 5:00 am. I was assigned the mapping of all front-load dumpster pickup for the town, whereas, Emma took on side-load route mapping. There were many goals and parts to the completion of this project. The first component was obviously the ride along, where we noted the address, name, pad size, dumpster size and number of every location we stopped. The next step was inputting the data into an excel sheet that match pickup locations to town property codes. From there we mapped the routes by hand; however, soon those maps will become digitized. One of the goals was to have visual maps of the commercial trash routes for the town to use in future planning. Another was to have these route maps help advocate for a larger portion of the budget to be allotted to Public Works.
As mentioned earlier, every day in Town Hall was a different one. I worked on numerous smaller projects such as CRS permits. When not working on projects, I did research on case studies on affordable housing, decentralized wastewater plans, or bike paths. There were other times when I just attended Board of Commissioner meetings or followed Holly to cool conferences about sea-level rise in Southern Shores or Raleigh.
I learned a great deal about town planning and local government this semester and I owe a great deal of that to Holly White and Andy Garman and all other Nags Head Town Hall employees.
Best from your not so local, local