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Dare commissioners take action on two conflicts

On Monday night, Dare County commissioners wrestled with use conflicts in Hatteras Island’s northern villages.

The first use conflict was in Pamlico Sound waters offshore of the Wind over Waves subdivision.

The second conflict involved a concrete plant and its residential neighbors.

Public comment started at 5:15 p.m. and concluded 45 minutes later after 14 people spoke about an application for a proposed lease for shellfish bottom and water column.

Ryan Gentry, Rodanthe, applied for a 1.67-acre lease in Midgett Cove near Salvo. The lease area is north of the mouth of Brick Creek, off the Wind over Waves subdivision. The proposed lease has been staked since July 2018.

At the board’s May 7 meeting, the commissioners heard from John Robbins, who is associated with Wind over Waves. He described the oyster lease application as 80 feet from the Hatteras Island shoreline. He espoused that the lease would be detrimental to the kiteboarding industry. He asked the board to adopt a resolution opposing the lease.

The board passed such a resolution.

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries held a hearing on the lease May 8. Commissioner Steve House presented the board’s resolution at the hearing.

On May 20, board Chairman Robert L. Woodard said he called Marine Fisheries Director Steve Murphey. Woodard asked the director to delay his decision on the lease because new information was available.

The submitted lease application shows 80 or 85 feet from the shoreline, which is permitted with undeveloped property. However, opponents indicate that the property is subdivided with Division of Coastal Management permits for piers.

Gentry said in his response that he asked for the offending corner of the proposed lease area to be moved out into the sound about 25 feet to get out of the required 100-foot setback from developed land.

Opposition was heavy from Wind over Waves property owners and kiteboarding enthusiasts. Video capturing kiteboarding use was shown. Those in opposition made it clear that they were not opposed to aquaculture.

Gentry argued “these things can co-exist.”

This controversy was not on the agenda. Commissioner House said the application was “fuzzy” as to land ownership, where property lines are and development. House and commissioner Danny Couch and Woodard met with Gentry. Commissioner Ervin Bateman visited the site.

Woodard summarized the discussion: the lease proposal is too close to land and incompatible with existing public use.

Six board members voiced comfort with the resolution as presented to the Division of Marine Fisheries. Couch supported Gentry’s proposal. No action was necessary.

In the second conflict, concrete maker CRMP and Flatiron Constructors, contractor for the Rodanthe Bridge, asked for extended operating hours at the temporary Waves concrete plant.

The current conditional use permit carries 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. working hours, including materials delivery. The request is to extend those operating hours to 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. on any three days Monday through Friday.

At the Dare County Planning Board’s April 8 meeting, 13 people spoke in opposition to the request. The Planning Board voted to recommend denial of the extended hours of operation.

The proponents of the project started with a detailed presentation about concrete. Edward Holmes argued that the bridge would be better if the concrete plant could operate the extended hours. A sound engineer delivered a report.

Dare commissioners asked sharp questions. Ten people from the surrounding residential communities hammered away at the 3 a.m. start time.

During discussion, commissioner Rob Ross said “we should respect what residents have to say.” All commissioners did just that. The board voted unanimously to deny the amendment to the conditional use permit to allow hours of operation of 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. on any three days Monday to Friday as recommended by the Planning Board on April 8.



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