Saturday, June 9, 2007

Duck Tree Ordinance Update

The Duck Town Council voted unanimously to adopt a Tree and Vegetation Preservation and Planting ordinance this week. It was questioned by those during the public hearing whether or not the ordinance was necessary since one of the reasons for the ordinance is to preserve and protect the natural environment of Duck. A citizen commented that most of the “natural landscape in Duck has been man-made, undertaken by homeowners.” Other concerns regarding cost, enforcement, penalties and the impact small additions to the footprint would have on homeowners. It was also questioned at an earlier meeting whether or not Duck needed statue authority to adopt the ordinance. Town Attorney Ike McRee reiterated this week his position that 2005 legislation giving towns broad authority to adopt ordinances that protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens allows Duck to adopt the vegetation ordinance. This was stated after information was shared that Erika Churchill, Staff Attorney with the General Assembly Research Division rendered an opinion to House Republican Leader Paul Stam that towns did need such authority from the General Assembly.
The Town Council also unanimously approved an Ocean and Sound Overlay District. The district is similar to the Town of Nags Head’s overlay district whereas it regulates recreational uses in water, prohibits signage in water and prohibits filling of wetlands within the first 75 feet.
There are fee increases across the board. Building permits fees are going up $0.10 to $0.40 depending on type of permit. Sign permits are doubling to $100 plus sign permit fees. Occupancy permits are more than doubling; a request for a text amendment to the zoning ordinance will now cost you $350, up from $200.
The Town of Duck has sent out information on open house flags and banners as well as a-frame signs and other open house signs not meeting code requirements, often placed in the right of way. They have also noticed ground mounted rental signs. Please review Duck’s sign ordinance at

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