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.