Friday, September 28, 2007

Currituck Discusses Moratoriums

Currituck Commissioners will be holding a public hearing at their meeting on Monday evening to consider an ordinance imposing a moratorium on the acceptance or processing of permit applications for Planned Residential Developments (PRD) under the Unified Development Ordinance. They will also be discussing a moratorium for rezoning pending approval of conditional use zoning. The public hearing and discussion was requested by Commissioner Owen Etheridge at the last mid-month Board meeting in response to a newspaper article highlighting the fact that over 1,000 acres have been rezoned from agricultural to residential or general business since the first of the year. He added that the Planning Department will be processing applications for the rezoning of over 500 more acres before the end of the year.

There are certain rules that apply when it comes to imposing a moratorium: 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 has to follow certain criteria 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.

There are six public hearings on the Agenda immediately following the moratorium discussion that have to do with rezoning; a seventh public hearing is for the consideration of a sketch plan/special use permit for a 37-lot open space residential subdivision on almost 59 acres on the northeast side of Tulls Creek Rd, near Caratoke Hwy and adjacent to Shingle Landing Creek.

This week, the Board approved 4 to 1 (Commissioner Etheridge opposed) new residency districts for county commissioners. The new residency lines allow for the first time a seat on the Commission that represents the contiguous Currituck Outer Banks – which includes Corolla and the northern 4x4 beach area. These areas had been split and were part of the Fruitville Township and the Poplar Branch Township with two Commissioners representing the areas. Southern Currituck County will also have its own Commissioner under the new residency map.

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