Friday, July 27, 2007

Nags Head

July 17 – The Planning Board reviewed two zoning text amendments relating to habitable floors and parking lot surfaces. With much debate and discussion, the Board members approved 4 – 2 (Bob Edwards and Dave Oaksmith) to allow for the first floor construction of coastal watch towers above the maximum 27ft. height for habitable floors. If approved by the Board of Commissioners, the amendment would not change the exterior look of a structure; watch towers are encouraged in the town’s architectural guidelines, but as Chairman Bo Tayor described “are like tubes that allow for light”. This amendment would allow for only one watch tower per structure with a floor and sq. footage limit, thus allowing the space to be utilized as a “room”. This would then impact the septic system and parking. The issue has been previously discussed twice this year and defeated. Commissioners and planning board members have expressed concerned about structures having a fourth floor and perhaps a flat roof.

The Board approved a zoning text amendment to parking lot requirements for single and two-family dwellings and also other uses other than hotel or multi-family. The proposed amendment would allow required parking spaces to be constructed of plastic and reinforced grid products such as grass pave, geo web, and geo block. Drive aisles would still be required to be asphalt or concrete. All parking, regardless of surface, would be counted towards lot coverage. Under the current ordinance, all parking spaces must be constructed of asphalt or concrete.

Currituck

July 16 - After four years of debate and discussion, it is now final. The UDO amendment – Outer Banks Overlay District Sign Regulations was approved by the Board of Commissioners on Monday. Although much lengthier than the previous ordinance, it clearly defines types of signs and makes allowances for some signs which were previously illegal. The ordinance is effective immediately and can be found at: http://www.co.currituck.nc.us/government/departments/planning/planninginspections-ordinancesunderconsideration.aspx For more information, call the Planning and Inspections Department at 232-3055.



The County has experienced higher than normal water consumption and some of the 5,000 users on the mainland system have complained of water discoloration. The County has requested that mainland system customers voluntarily conserve water while water system personnel monitor water demands. If demands continue to be high and the discoloration does not improve, then mandatory water conservation may be necessary.

Dare County

July 16 – The Dare Board of Commissioners voted to zone the Buxton Coast Guard Property to NH – Natural Historic. The property is owned by the Federal Government and is currently not zoned; however, as Board Chairman Warren Judge explained the General Services Administration intends to the make the property available at auction. Without zoning the property could be utilized for just about anything; the zoning was a measure to protect the County by ensuring that there would not be an increase in the use of land. County officials are already aware that there is no wastewater treatment for the housing on the property; a pump and haul system was used the last year the houses were occupied. Commissioner Judge went on to add, “We are extremely concerned about what will happen with the property in the private sector with the wastewater.” Dare County has been pursuing ownership of the property since November 2004 to be utilized for government offices and affordable housing. That plan was stalled last year when a $12 million price tag was put on the property.

At the prompting of Commissioner Richard Johnson at the last meeting, the Board discussed land use restrictions in zoned and unzoned areas, particularly gross floor area limitations and height restrictions. Commissioner Johnson would like to see a limit of 20,000 sq.ft. - gross floor area in East Lake and in one commercial area of Stumpy Point where there is no gross floor area designation. He was concerned that there are no limitations in East Lake to stop anything from being built and that the Commissioners need to control the size of buildings. Commissioner Mike Johnson and others expressed concerns about the limits with regards to the boat building industry. County Attorney Bobby Outten clarified that if an ordinance was adopted limiting the size of a structure, then the Board of Adjustment could not issue a variance to allow a larger structure. He stated that with a variance you have to show you cannot make other use of the building; however, the Board could adopt an amendment to the ordinance if a business came forward that needed the additional space. The Commissioners decided to advertise early for a public hearing on the matter that will be held on September 4th.

During Commissioners comments: Commissioner Mike Johnson gave an NC DOT project update for areas in Colington: a left turn lane at Baum Bay will be finished by next summer; the road where it floods at the Blue Crab will be elevated by the first of next summer; and the curve by the Methodist Church will be straightened out by the summer of 2009.

Commissioner Richard Johnson brought up many issues to discuss with the board that included the Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park, illegal immigrants and the Roanoke Island Water System Expansion Project. He would like to see the Commercial Industrial Park Committee reinstated and a review of the procedures/process of how Park tenants are selected. On the immigration issue, he felt more needed to be done on a local level to address illegal immigrants and he supports penalizing businesses that hire illegal immigrants. The rest of the Board however agreed that there are already federal and state laws on the books to address the problem and all voted to send a resolution to the state and federal government to enforce those laws. The Roanoke Island Water Expansion project discussion was very lengthy, with the Board going back and forth on whether or not to hold a non-binding referendum or to let the issue sit for a while. Commissioner Burrus and Mike Johnson felt the voice of the people was clear at the two public meetings held. Richard Johnson said he has been in contact with many people that support the project but were afraid to speak at the meetings. Jack Shea supported the referendum idea. Virginia Tillett felt that the Board needed to review the input given at the meetings, as promised to those in attendance. The Board instructed Bobby Outten to research holding a referendum and the Chairman was going to schedule a Board workshop to discuss the issue further.

Municipal Election Information

The filing period ended Friday and the following candidates will be on the November ballot:

Ø Duck – Incumbents Monica Thibodeau, Nancy Caviness, Neil Morrison and Bart Smith. Dave Wessel and Chuck Burdick also filed. All five Council seats are expiring. Incumbent Denver Lindley did not file to run again.

Ø Kill Devil Hills – Incumbents Bob Peele, Jeff Finch, Ray Sturza (Mayor); Sherry Rollason has filed to run for Mayor.

Ø Kitty Hawk – Incumbents Ervin Bateman and Emilie Klutz; John Mignogna has also filed to run. Voters will choose two to serve on the Town Council.

Ø Manteo – Incumbents Darrell Collins and H.A. Creef; Richie Burke has filed to run for the 2-yr. term and Hannan Fry has also filed; Jamie Daniels has filed to run for Mayor.

Ø Nags Head - Incumbents Bob Oakes and Wayne Gray.

Ø Southern Shores – Incumbents Dan Shields, Jodi Hess and David Sanders; James Pfizenmayer, Kevin Stroud and Ken Bukantas have also filed. Voters will choose three to serve on the Town Council.

To summarize, there will be a race for Mayor in Kill Devil Hills; with three challengers in Southern Shores, the three incumbents will be campaigning to keep their seats; and Duck could face losing one incumbent with two challengers vying for a seat; and one of two Kitty Hawk incumbents may possibly lose their seat with one challenger running against them. There will be no “race” in Manteo and Nags Head

Kill Devil Hills

July 9 - The Board of Commissioner reminded everyone to send in their Land Use Plan surveys. They currently have a 20% return rate.

Bob Peele was appointed and sworn in to serve as Commissioner, filling the seat vacated by Ray Sturza. Sturza was appointed Mayor when Chuck Ball resigned. Bob Peele is currently employed as the Director of the Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park and serves as the Director of NC’s local Oregon Inlet Project Office. Bob Peele has already filed to run to keep the seat in the upcoming November General Election.



Municipal Election Information

Filing began on Friday, June 6th and the following candidates will be on the November ballot thus far:

Ø Duck – Incumbents Monica Thibodeau, Nancy Caviness, Neil Morrison

Ø Kill Devil Hills – Incumbents Bob Peele, Jeff Finch, Ray Sturza (Mayor); Sherry Rollason has filed to run for Mayor

Ø Kitty Hawk – Incumbents Ervin Bateman and Emilie Klutz; John Mignogna has also filed to run.

Ø Manteo – Incumbents Darrell Collins and H.A. Creef; Richie Burke has filed to run for the 2-yr. term; Jamie Daniels has filed to run for Mayor.

Ø Nags Head - Incumbents Bob Oakes and Wayne Gray

Ø Southern Shores – Incumbents Dan Shields and David Sanders; James Pfizenmayer and Kevin Stroud have also filed.

Duck

July 11 – What a way to start off! Andy Garman, the newly hired Director of Community Development, was instructed by the Planning Board to develop/modify draft ordinances for review at the August Planning Board meeting regarding residential fences, building height and free-and-clear obstruction requirements and filling/grading. The Board moved to send to the Town Council a draft ordinance that removes peat pod repair areas from lot coverage.

When it came to revising driveway and parking regulations, the Board felt that stacking should be permitted outside the drive aisle and required parking spaces should not be constructed of concrete. The Board decided that the drive aisle could be concrete but they added language to the draft ordinance that states “required parking spaces shall be graded and improved, with gravel, porous pavers, loose stone, “gravel pave or similar substance.” Concrete or asphalt would be allowed only if there is a topographic condition that warrants such improvement. Gravel currently does not count towards lot coverage The Board wants to eliminate a “sea of concrete” in future construction/redevelopment that exists in the front of many homes that have recently been built.

Floodplain Administrator Cory Tate let the Board know that a definition of “free and clear of obstruction” was needed in the Town’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. Corey recommended a two-feet area under a new home to define free and clear of obstruction and stated this would benefit flood insurance rates/availability in ocean high hazard areas, or V zones. Builder Olin Finch suggested the two feet area would be the most restrictive on the Outer Banks with Currituck County defining even one inch clear under the lowest horizontal member as meeting the requirements of FEMA to one foot being required by Kill Devil Hills. The Planning Board will need to decide upon one to two feet of area clear and free of obstruction at their next meeting. They did agree that the amount should not count towards the height limit of 35 ft.

Nags Head

July 11 - The Board of Commissioners took no action on a proposal to eliminate residential design standards for houses on the west side of US 158 from Eighth St. to Old Nags Head Cove that were 3,500 sq. ft. or less with no more than 5 bedrooms. Homes up to 3,500 sq. ft with 4 bedrooms are less are currently exempt from the architectural guidelines. Commissioner Gray wanted to change the limit to 5 bedrooms but met resistance from Commissioners Oakes, Sadler and Cahoon. Their opinion was that the standards have enhanced the look of Nags Head and the extra bedroom allowance will benefit those wanting to develop rental homes. Mayor Cahoon stated she could not support it; the area was a rental area and she specifically did not like language in the proposal that exempted homes along US 158. Commissioner Remaley supported the change stating, “I feel we went a little overboard with the architectural guidelines.”

When discussion turned to the possibility of tax incentives for those that haul in sand rather than do beach pushes, Town Attorney Ike McRee informed the board that tax incentives would have to be approved by the General Assembly and would apply statewide. He did let the Board know that they could develop a grant incentive program but warned that a specific oceanfront-only program paid for by the taxpayers would probably be met with opposition.

Commissioners were surprised to hear that the Dare County Health Department will be possibly issuing 10 permits for “pump and haul” wastewater systems for Nags Head oceanfront properties. An 8-person occupancy system would require a 3,300 gallon tank to be installed on the property above the ground and a certified operator would be required to maintain the system. The system requires no drain field and is an option for those property owners without the area needed for a traditional septic system. The concern of the Board was that the systems are being requested in areas where there is repetitive loss and the exposed tanks could potentially do a lot of damage in the event of a major storm. They also expressed concern that the systems are not consistent with the Town’s Land Use Plan. The Board will be holding a public hearing on adopting a moratorium on “pump and haul systems” at their mid-month meeting in August.

See the Traffic in Real Time

Thinking of getting out and about but worried about the heavy traffic? Well you can now log onto the Internet and view the action of 17 Dare County cameras and 4 Currituck cameras that have been installed by NC DOT along US 158/168. Just log on to http://apps.dot.state.nc.us/tims/ the next time you have a traffic concern.

Washington County Approves Land Transfer Tax Referendum

The Washington County Board of Commissioners passed a motion to put a 1% land transfer tax on the ballot this November. The Board said the tax is needed and would help provide services such as sewer systems, parks and road improvements which would attract growth. Six counties, including Dare and Currituck, that have land transfer tax utilize the tax for capital projects. Opponents of the tax who spoke at the meeting stated that it takes away from the equity that would be enjoyed by the land seller and those costs are ultimately passed on to the homebuyer, impacting young families and senior citizens the most.

Duck

The Planning Board will be once again looking at fence regulations, removing peat pod repair areas from lot coverage, driveway issues, filling and grading and building height at their meeting on Wednesday. With regard to driveways, the board will be considering a zoning text amendment to permit stacking outside the drive aisle, to limit curb cuts and percent of front yards used as driveway and parking areas and to require that parking spaces be composed of gravel unless there is a topographical issue. They are looking at grandfathering existing concrete driveways.

FYI: the Building Inspector/Floodplain Administrator will be out of the office on Monday, July 16, 2007 and Tuesday, July 17, 2007; Monday, July 23, 2007 through Thursday, July 26, 2007; and Monday, August 13, 2007 through Friday, August 17, 2007.

Currituck County

July 2 – What a difference two years and three new County Commissioners make! On Monday, the Board voted to approve a request from Shirley Webber to rezone 244 acres of agricultural property to 226 acres of residential and 18 acres of commercial property. The property is located at 7160 Caratoke Highway near the intersection of Forbes Rd. When a project was proposed on the same property two years ago, the Commissioners opposed it due to concerns of density and school capacity. The project’s denial caused many owners of agricultural property in the area to band together to express concerns that they were being treated unfairly and not able to take advantage of higher property values like their neighbors in northern Currituck when property is rezoned residential.

The Board also approved:

Ø a request from Fannie Newbern to rezone 64.4 acres from agricultural to residential on Jarvisburg Rd. near the intersection of Buster Newbern Rd. and another 21.1 acres of agricultural to residential on a tract to the north side of Newbern Rd. adjacent to the White Acres subdivision. A new school, Jarvisburg Elementary School, will be constructed within 1 ½ miles of the property.

Ø Rezoning of 60 acres from agricultural to residential, located along South Spot Rd., while retaining the RET overly with a density of 150 age-restricted units.



Nags Head

At this week’s Board meeting, Commissioners will be discussing a proposal to eliminate residential design standards for houses on the west side of US 158 under certain conditions. The houses would have to be five bedrooms or less and less than 3500 square feet. Commissioner Gray raised the concern that the design standards impact affordable housing for year-round Nags Head residents.

Beach pushes and sandbags have been a topic of discussion at several prior board meetings. This week the Board will once again talk sand and discuss the possibility of tax incentives for those who bring in sand rather that do beach pushes.

Municipal Election Information

Filing began on Friday at noon for candidates running in local municipal elections this November. The filing deadline is noon on July 20th.

The following seats will be on the ballot:

Ø Duck - 5 Council Members (Neil Morrison, Monica Thibodeau, Nancy Caviness, Denver Lindley, Bart Smith)

Ø Kill Devil Hills - 1 Mayor & 2 Commissioners (Ray Sturza, Jeffrey Finch)

Ø Kitty Hawk - 2 Council Members (Ervin Bateman, Emilie Klutz)

Ø Manteo - Mayor & 3 Commissioners

Ø Nags Head - 2 Commissioners (Bob Oakes, Wayne Gray)

Ø Southern Shores - 3 Council Members (Dan Shields, David Sanders, Jodi Hess)

As an early reminder, the voter registration deadline is October 12th. More election information will be added in future briefings. For more information, contact the Dare County Board of Elections Office is located at 200 Ananias Dare Street in Manteo or call 252-475-5630 / 252-475-5631.

Coastal Resources Commission

The Coastal Resources Commission will be meeting in Raleigh on July 26th and 27th. On their Agenda is a discussion of the sand bag policy which Nags Head Commissioners referenced when they took no action on adopting a local sand bag regulation. Currently, the CRC states that all oceanfront shoreline sandbags must be removed by May 2008. The CRC will also be discussing the static line and setbacks at their meeting.

Washington County to Consider Transfer Tax Referendum

Although having the authority to impose a land transfer tax for over 20 years, Washington County voters have said “no” twice to the idea. The Washington County Board of Commissioners will be holding a public hearing this Monday at 6 pm in Plymouth to consider placing the issue on the November ballot. Washington County is one of seven out of the one-hundred North Carolina counties that have the authority to impose a land transfer tax. The debate over land transfer tax is waging in the North Carolina General Assembly as proponents say it keeps property taxes low and could potentially relieve the burden of Medicaid to poorer Counties. Opponents of land transfer tax have waged an educational campaign to inform voters that the tax is unfair and hurts the young families and senior citizens the most. The North Carolina Association of Realtors and the North Carolina Home Builders are opposed to land transfer taxes.

Duck

Town Council members will be meeting next Thursday, due to the holiday, and will be considering establishing s Village Commercial District Zoning Ordinance Technical Review Committee. The Committee would be responsible for working on zoning issues and provide recommendations to the Town Council and Planning Board regarding these issues. The Council will also be considering an ordinance related to animals “running at large” to correct an oversight in the current ordinance that does not specify that the animal has to be under the control of his owner. The amendment would correct the oversight by adding language to require that an animal be within sight and sound of the owner and responds to commands of the owner.

Currituck

The Currituck Commissioners will be busy on Monday with eight public hearings on their Monday evening’s agenda. Four public hearings deal with the rezoning of over 370 acres of agricultural property to residential or commercial property. They are as follows:

Ø Mill Landing; Rezone 60.5 acres for a 150-unit retirement community located along South Spot Rd., approximately 925 feet from the intersection of Caratoke Hwy.

Ø Request from Shirley Webber to rezone 226 acres to Commercial at 7160 Caratoke Hwy., near the intersection of Forbes Rd.

Ø Request from Fannie Newbern to rezone 64.4 acres to Residential on Jarvisburg Rd. near the intersection of Buster Newbern Rd. and within 1 ½ miles of the location for the new Jarvisburg Elementary School. There will also be a public hearing on rezoning 21.1 acres of the Newbern-Martin Tract to residential on the north side of Newbern Rd. adjacent to the White Acres subdivision.

In addition, public hearings will be held to consider: the sketch plan for an 18 lot commercial subdivision in the Shingle Landing area of Caratoke Hwy.; a special use permit for a privately owned airstrip in Moyock on property located at the end of Summit Farms Trails; and a zoning amendment that would allow outdoor sales and rental of equipment in the Limited Business/Hotel district.



See the Traffic in Real Time

Thinking of getting out and about but worried about the heavy traffic? Well you can now log onto the Internet and view the action of 17 Dare County cameras and 4 Currituck cameras that have been installed by NC DOT along US 158/168. Just log on to http://apps.dot.state.nc.us/tims/ the next time you have a traffic concern. This tool will be very helpful in providing information to arriving guests about traffic conditions and even in checking the story of your employee/teenager/etc. when he/ she will be late because “traffic is bad”!

Currituck County

Currituck County Commissioners adopted a resolution that amends a previous resolution of support for House Bill 2 - Corolla Incorporation that was adopted in December 2006. The amended resolution states many of the issues that were brought up at the June 1 public meeting on incorporation with state officials. It states that less than 10% of the approximately 4,554 lots are owned by year-round residents; that over 90% of the property owners won’t be able to vote in the referendum; that the Commissioners support the rights of resident and absentee property owners; and a majority of the Board of Commissioners does not support the petition for incorporation but recognizes the legislative process allowing it. The resolution then states that “the Currituck County Board of Commissioners desires that its position of neutrality on House Bill 2 to be known by all.” It is unsure what impact this may have on the passage of House Bill 2; it has been noted that the bill will likely pass and the referendum probably held in November.

Corolla Incorporation

The Joint Legislative Commission on Municipal Incorporations, a Commission created by the North Carolina General Assembly, gave House Bill 2 - Corolla Incorporation an unfavorable recommendation this week. Commission members that attended the June 1 public hearing in Corolla discussed the large opposition in attendance at that hearing. In addition to this, they stated their decision was based on disunity among the Currituck Commissioners on the issue; discrepancies with data contained in the petition and the views of those in favor and opposed that spoke during this week’s meeting. The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee where it may not even be heard at all given the recommendation. The issue would then be over - for now.

Kill Devil Hills

June 27 – After interviewing Nick Artz and Bob Peele at Wednesday’s meeting, the Board of Commissioners made no decision on whom to appoint to the vacant position on the Board. They will be making a decision in the near future.

The Commissioners discussed non-conforming structures/sites and how to allow them to be improved rather than not allowing any improvements. The planning staff and planning board will continue to work on a matrix of possible solutions of bringing non-conforming structures eventually into compliance.

The possibility of a stakeholders group to focus on the outdoor display of merchandise and flags/banners was also discussed.

Public Transportation

June 21 - The Public Transportation Committee of the Outer Banks Transportation Task Force focused on local transportation needs and challenges at their meeting this week.

The Committee’s mission is to research the feasibility of public transportation on the Outer Banks. Members have reviewed public transportation studies compiled by the Institute for Transportation Research at NC State and also from the Ken Hosen Group as well as others. The Committee has also discussed data compiled from a recent Dare County Visitors Bureau survey that showed visitors’ overwhelming support for public transportation and also support for paying to use such a system.

The focus of this month’s meeting turned to local residents’ use of a public transportation system. It was noted that over 2,000 foreign students have been logged in with Pathways International, not including students working in Hatteras and Corolla. They arrive with no vehicles and are likely to be given a bicycle to use for travel, which on many roads on the Outer Banks present not only a safety concern to the bicyclist but also the traveling public. Committee members expressed concerns about those in the workforce that do not have reliable transportation or in many cases, even a driver’s license. They discussed the benefits of some type of public transportation to support the recruitment and retention of workers, especially with fuel prices at an all-time high. They also discussed the benefits of public transportation to all of Dare County’s citizens– when workers have access to reliable transportation, businesses can thrive and expand thus supporting a healthy economy and access to a variety of services.

The Public Transportation Committee will be working over the next month on the distribution of an Employer Needs Assessment to obtain hard data from businesses on transportation issues. For more information about the Task Force, go to www.obtransportation.org.

Roanoke Island Water System Expansion

June 19 - A few hundred people showed up for the second of two public hearings being held to review the proposed Roanoke Island Water Expansion project. Fire Department representative Ken Daniels kicked off the presentation by asking the overflowing crowd if they would still oppose the project if they did not have to pay for it. Only a small percentage of the crowd raised their hands. Ken continued that the project proposal was initiated by the Fire Department to address a high Class 9 insurance rating due to homes being further than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant. With the proposed system, a lower Class 5 rating would be approved and on a $200,000 valued piece of property, insurance savings would total about $638 per year. The town is due to be re-rated in 2008. A hydrant system would lessen the costs of the fire department and without the water expansion the volunteer fire department would have to move to a paid department. He assured the crowd that this proposed project was not about developers wanting water. Ken Flatt, Dare County Utilities Director, then went on to explain the technical aspects and costs of the expansion. A three million storage tank would be added and a 300,000 gallon elevated storage tank would be constructed on the North end of the island. Water lines and meters would be installed in the public right-of-ways and customers would be responsible for the installation of the water line from their house to the meter line. He noted that the water would come from a safe, regulated supply and assist with fire protection. The average cost to all homeowners would be about $3,000 each which includes the initial impact fee, connection fee and deposit fee. In order to pay for the system, it would be mandatory that all owners of improved property pay the fees although it would not be mandatory that they hook up to the water line. If they chose to continue using their well water, they would still be assessed a minimum water fee of about $10.00 per quarter. Therein lays the controversy. Over 80% of the speakers that addressed the Commissioners spoke in opposition of the project. Many spoke of the financial hardship the $3,000 fee would create especially since they are very happy with their well water. They complained that their well water tasted better that the Town of Manteo’s water and as one speaker put it, “I don’t want you to take my water and sell it back to me after you ruin it!” Many also spoke about future development and higher densities with a central water system.

Dare Board Chairman Warren Judge responded to the crowd’s concerns by saying that the Board of Commissioners would take their comments under advisement and look into the cost of just adding lines to support a hydrant system.

Nags Head

June 20 – A second reading was required after the 3-2 vote against approval of a zoning text amendment at the Board of Commissioners June 6th meeting. The second reading proved beneficial to owners of Mulligans, as the zoning ordinance text amendment to establish a new conditional use “Restaurant with detached single family dwelling” passed.

Currituck

June 18 - Currituck County Commissioners adopted a resolution that amends a previous resolution of support for House Bill 2 - Corolla Incorporation that was adopted in December 2006. The amended resolution states many of the issues that were brought up at the June 1 public meeting on incorporation with state officials. It states that less than 10% of the approximately 4,554 lots are owned by year-round residents; that over 90% of the property owners won’t be able to vote in the referendum; that the Commissioners support the rights of resident and absentee property owners; and a majority of the Board of Commissioners does not support the petition for incorporation but recognizes the legislative process allowing it. The resolution then states that “the Currituck County Board of Commissioners desires that its position of neutrality on House Bill 2 to be known by all.” It is unsure what impact this may have on the passage of House Bill 2; it has been noted that the bill will likely pass and the referendum probably held in November.

New rules were passed for ATV use on the mainland. They cannot be used within 300 ft. of an occupied residence and must have permission from the resident’s owners to do so.

Dare County

June 18 – County Attorney Bobby Outten presented the Board of Commissioners with information on several issues that they had inquired about over the past month. One of those issues related to illegal immigrants and what powers the county had to address the problem. Mr. Outten explained that there are no state statutes that give Counties or local governments the authority to adopt immigration regulations. There was also the question of whether or not the Federal immigration statutes preempt local governments from adopting such regulations. If Dare County were to adopt an immigration ordinance based on general policing powers of preserving the health, safety and welfare of its citizens, the ordinance would most likely be challenged in court.

The Board was told that the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibited mandatory random drug testing of all County employees. Random drug testing is permitted when an employee’s responsibilities are connected to the safety of others.

The Board had also inquired about building moratoriums and was informed by Mr. Outten that a public hearing must be held for moratoriums of 60 days or less. For longer moratoriums, a public hearing must also be held and normal notice general statue procedures apply. No notice is required if there is an “imminent and substantial threat to public health or safety. The Board does have to follow certain criteria to establish a moratorium including a plan of action to address the problem necessitating the moratorium, a schedule of those actions and an express termination date of the moratorium.

The Board scheduled a public hearing for zoning of the Buxton Coast Guard Base property for July 16th at 5:30 p.m. The site is currently unzoned since it is federal property. The Planning Board has recommended the property be zoned under the NH-1, natural historic classification.

There were still questions about density and multi-family housing during the public hearing on Skyco zoning amendments. Planning Director Ray Sturza clarified that all multifamily housing is considered a conditional use and not a permitted use. When all was said and done, the board unanimously approved that the Roanoke Island zoning map be amended to apply the SNC-1/NH zoning designations to those properties in Skyco.

The 07-08 County Budget was approved with no tax increase. The budget does include a $2,000 across the board pay increase for sheriff’s deputies. County Manager Terry Wheeler explained, “We are holding the line this year and the level of service will not be compromised.”

Commissioner Richard Johnson asked staff to draft an ordinance for Board review that would prohibit structures over 45 feet in height and over 20,000 sq. ft. There is currently a structure at the foot of the Manns Harbor Bridge that is 40,000 sq. ft. and 65 ft. in height. He said, “I don’t think people want that size building in their community. “