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.