Saturday, April 14, 2007

Legislative Briefings - April 11, 2007

Currituck Planning Board News
The Board reviewed an amendment to the UDO to revise the standards to measure and evaluate adequate public facilities and regulate subdivision and land development relative to the adequacy of public facilities. The amendment addresses only school capacity and not public safety or other public facility issues. Included in the amendment is an updated formula for calculating school capacity based on dwelling types and would take into consideration the phasing of projects. According to Planning Director Sarah Kiefer, Commissioners have been very concerned about phasing; the amendment addresses capacity based on the 10 year school facilities plan and the approved capital improvement plan. Capacity allotments would be released at the rate of 1/10th per year, twice a year. Under a lottery system, applications for development would be reviewed and weighted based on the type of project and where it would be located. If capacity is allocated to a project but less than is needed, a builder/developer could move forward with the project by utilizing “voluntary mitigation strategies. Land could be allocated for a school or the payment of $12,171 for single family dwellings or $12,119 for townhouses, duplexes, etc. could be paid to address the school capacity issue.
The Board agreed to table the issue and work on it further at a worksession scheduled for May 8th at 6:30 pm. There is a Senate bill pending – S 1180 – that may affect whether or not Currituck County can adopt this amendment at all. The bill states that “a local government may not exercise any authority or make any commitment not authorized by general or local act and may not impose or exact a fee, or monetary contribution not authorized by otherwise applicable law.”

The Currituck Planning Board approved the following at their meeting this week:
Phase 2 and 3 of Launch Landing off of Tulls Creek Rd.; final plat for 54 lots Phase 2 of Kilmarlic Club; final plat for 32 lots. UDO Amendment – Outer Banks Overlay District Sign Regulations Special use permit for OBX Rodeo to hold an annual special event on the north side of Riverlane Rd and Caratoke Hwy. The event will be held on June 15th and 16th. The Board tabled action on a request to allow Tattoo and Body Piercing Businesses in all zoning districts. Currently they are included in the Adult and Sexually Oriented Businesses definition and only allowed in heavy manufacturing zones. Several board members felt that tattoo businesses should be separate from adult-oriented business and allowed in other zoning areas. They directed staff to bring back language for the Board to review that would allow tattoo “salon” in the general business and commercial districts.

Apr. 11 - The Duck Planning Board discussed several issues relating to the “built environment” as they reviewed notes from a March 28th field trip. The Board members visited several home sites throughout the town to record their thoughts on building height, open space, parking, lot coverage, house size, setbacks, accessory structures, fences/bulkhead, etc. After much discussion on each area of concern, planning staff was directed to bring back to the board new language for: measuring height; tiered setbacks; requiring permeable surfaces for parking where available and allowing stacking; and addressing the proportionality of houses to lots and accessory structures to the house.

The Duck Town Council will conduct a second reading of the proposed vegetation ordinance at their next regular meeting on May 2nd at 7 pm. The proposed ordinance would amend the zoning ordinance to add a new section Tree and Vegetation Preservation and Planting to preserve, protect, plant, replace and properly maintain trees and vegetation within the Town. The ordinance will require tree removal permits under certain circumstances and vegetation management plans for new development and substantial redevelopment. After coverage is calculated for the footprint of a dwelling or commercial building, the ordinance will then require vegetation in the form of trees or bushes on the remaining property - 15% coverage on residential lots and 10% coverage on a lot within any commercial zoning district. The ordinance does not eliminate clear-cutting of lots but does require a tree removal permit of any tree over 24” in diameter at breast height. Go to for more info.
The Outer Banks Association of Realtors and the Outer Banks Home Builders Association would like to express best wishes to Duck Planning Board member John Jenkins. This week’s meeting was his last meeting with the Planning Board.

Kill Devil Hills
Apr. 9 – The Board of Commissioners were given a presentation from John. W. Harris, a consultant from Hampton, Virginia regarding beach erosion and property protection. Mr. Harris owns property in KDH and was requested by a Hampton City Council member to research what the city of Hampton could do to address erosion issue. Mr. Harris didn’t have to look far to find an answer. Right across the water in the Ocean View/Willoughby area of Norfolk, the Corp of Engineers had installed off-shore breakwaters. He explained how successful they have been in controlling erosion. He stated that Norfolk funds the structures about $2.1 million per year through tax collections. Mayor Ray Sturza discussed a few differences between the Virginia and North Carolina coastal areas. The Norfolk/Virginia Beach area is under the jurisdiction of the Norfolk District Corp of Engineers; the NC Outer Banks are under the jurisdiction of the Wilmington District of the Corp of Engineers. He went on to add that coastal management plans are very different between North Carolina and Virginia and most importantly, hardened structures such as breakwaters, jetties, etc. are illegal in the state of North Carolina. Mayor Sturza did say that the CRC Outer Banks Task Force reported years ago that experimental off-shore breakwaters should be examined, but that no action had been taken to do so. Three off-shore breakwaters will be constructed in the Fort Monroe area of Hampton and Mr. Harris stated he would return to share the progress of the project.

Nags Head
The Town of Nags Head will be holding a referendum on their beach nourishment project on Tuesday, April 17th. The polls will be open from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. The Town will be holding a special education session on the referendum on Saturday, April 14th at the Nags Head Fire Station #16, across from the Town Hall at 2 pm. You can also access or www.protectnagshead for more information.
If you are a resident of Nags Head, make sure you vote on Tuesday!

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