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New Manteo Planning Board member wants zoning ordinance review

Lee Tugwell, the newest member of the Manteo Planning and Zoning Board has called for a review of the town’s zoning ordinances.

Tugwell a former Manteo mayor and local contractor, was appointed to the board in February by the Manteo Board of Commissioners.

Tugwell said he thought the current zoning ordinance was at times rushed into adoption. Some elements are outdated, he said, and some portions may no longer meet a legal challenge. He suggested a joint workshop with commissioners to discuss the ordinance or an independent review perhaps by the UNC School of Government.

“I don’t know if we want to wait for the board [Manteo Board of Commissioners] or if we take the incentive,” Tugwell said.

Hal Goodman, the planning board chairman, said there was no reason if the board saw something amiss they couldn’t make recommendations.

Manteo Town Manager Kermit Skinner said although he didn’t have any indication commissioners were seeking a complete zoning ordinance review, it would be in the purview of the planning board to conduct its own review. He added that any outside independent review that required an expenditure would need commissioners’ approval.

Although Tugwell specifically singled out an ordinance as perhaps outdated that requires property owners who rent accessory buildings to live in an onsite residence, he added there were many more ordinances that needed clarification.

He said he thinks the town’s decision makers need to know what ordinances are outdated, not being enforced, need updating or no longer meet state guidelines.

Melissa Dickerson, the town’s planner, says a complete review would be lengthy. There are 26 chapters and more than 150 pages in the Manteo zoning ordinance.