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The second to last week in Pine Knoll Shores is almost over and I am working away on finishing up my projects. Still to do are the AFG grant, the PARC survey analysis – and a new addition – the mowing list.

The mowing list began as an exercise in figuring out how to get data from the internet – the Carteret County GIS website to be exact. We started with trying to get the data from the tax office, through the PKS tax collector’s (Connie Shelton) system – but even with Connie making a direct request to her colleagues at the county, getting a spreadsheet with the info was unsuccessful. Since GIS uses the tax data, the solution was to create a search by street name in the GIS site, which displays rows and columns of the data below the map and has an excel download feature with all the details we needed: the owner name, the street address, and the mailing address.

The mowing list is actually a Do Not Mow list, and we only need that data for the residents who do not want their right of way (ROW) mowed. We have around 400 people in PKS who do not want the ROW in front of their houses mowed. Unfortunately, that information is not in GIS but it is in Sonny’s memory!

Sonny Cunningham, PKS public works director, knows which houses should be skipped. This summer, though, without Sonny doing the mowing himself, people who do not want their ROW mowed have had cause for complaint (luckily the grass does grow back). The data collection process is to get the hand-written lists Sonny creates in the field, delete the addresses from the GIS data that do want their ROW mowed, and compile the streets into one list, numbered in the order of Sonny’s handwritten lists.

Do Not Mow List 1 of 4

Betty Carr, retired PKS Town Administrator who now covers the front desk from 10 to 2, was not too keen on having to type up these lists one by one, and is glad we can take advantage of the GIS data. Neither of us are exactly sure how the data will be used, although we understand a letter may be sent to each of the owners confirming they do not want their ROW mowed. Also, there is talk of a map being made to give the mowers a better chance of getting it right.

One of my favorite things about working in PKS is that Jim Taylor, PKS Inspector, and Connie grew up on Bogue Banks, and Sonny did as well. He drove the school bus they rode over to Morehead City, where they went to high school. Sonny is only a couple of years older than Connie and Jim, but if you had a driver’s license you were eligible for the job. And Sarah Williams, Town Clerk, is a Swansboro native – next county over, but just the other side of Bogue Sound. They have been as hospitable to me as they are to all the other newcomers around here – and they understand why someone might want to mow their own ROW!


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