Dare County officials ambushed by state budget “deal”

Boy, this hot mess of a backroom “deal” on the state budget is continuing to deliver in the surprise department:

Following in the footsteps of Nags Head and Manteo, leaders of the other four Dare County municipalities released a flurry of letters and resolutions on Sept. 21 voicing their staunch opposition to a provision inserted into the state budget that would curtail the towns’ ability to regulate housing developments.

The budget item, which applies only to Dare County and to the $35 million the state awarded to the county to build affordable housing, was just discovered on Sept. 19 by surprised local officials—sparking considerable speculation about who is responsible for it.Dare County Manager Bobby Outten has told the Voice and town managers that the county had no role in creating the budget provision, nor any knowledge of it. […]

Who’s responsible?  I’m willing to bet that one of these folks knows. I’m also willing to bet that a close crony or campaign donor is also behind it too.

Sometimes it’s good for Raleigh to step in.  Locally, we’re held hostage by some anti-development nuts who slapped never-ending moratoriums on all commercially-zoned property in town.  People who had jumped through all of the regulatory hoops and played by the rules were being screwed. All they could do was pay their property taxes and fume.  Development deals were in danger of dissolving thanks to the crazy moratoriums. All it took in our case was a threat of action by Raleigh. What appears to be going on in Dare is much more serious and alarming.


[…] The mayors’ letters were addressed to NC House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and to Dare County’s legislative delegation—State Representative Keith Kidwell, State Representative Edward Goodwin and Senator Norman Sanderson—as well as Dare County Board of Commissioners Chair Bob Woodard.

As summed up in the those letters of protest, “This law would mean” that county’s six municipalities “could not enforce their zoning regulations on any affordable housing project funded by Dare County under the $35 million the state allocated to them…No height limits, no restrictions on lot coverage, no setbacks, no parking standards, no limit on density, etc.”[…]

Height limits can be related to fire safety concerns.  Local fire departments may own equipment that reaches only SO high.


[…] At their Sept. 20 meeting, the Manteo Commissioners approved a resolution opposing the budget provision (Section 24.8) and Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon wrote a letter declaring that the measure “will strip our towns of the ability to govern their own fates.”

A day later, those same sentiments emanated from leadership in Kitty Hawk, Duck, Kill Devil Hills and Southern Shores. They included the call for the state legislature to remove that housing section from the budget. And in the event that did not happen, letters called on Dare County “to disavow itself of the Legislature’s action, and to refuse to support or fund any project which does not go through a local municipality’s site review and approval process.”

Aside from its resolution and letter from Mayor Ben Sproul, the Town of Kitty Hawk, on its Facebook page, urged residents to reach out and contact the members of the Dare County legislative delegation to voice their opposition. Letters were also signed by Duck Mayor Don Kingston, Kitty Hawk Mayor Craig Garriss and Southern Shores Mayor Elizabeth Morey.

One mayor who voiced a pessimistic view on efforts to reverse Section 24.8 was Manteo’s Bobby Owens. While characterizing its insertion into the budget as “just dirty politics,” during the Manteo Commissioners’ Sept. 20 meeting, Owens also stated the legislature “can do it [and] they’re going to do it…It is what it is. We’re going to lose.”[…]

How is this ANY BETTER than the Jim Black-era crap we threw out in 2010?