Dare County making some moves on housing

Published 6:05 am Sunday, November 3, 2019

Members of the Dare County Board of Commissioners have been to “school” to learn about fostering essential housing.

The first school was Oct. 7 and 8 when several board members and county manager Robert L. Outten attended the 2019 North Carolina Affordable Housing Conference in Raleigh. The Dare County delegation was among 1,000 attendees and many vendors. The conference was presented by The North Carolina Housing Coalition, Centrant Community Capital and the NC Housing Finance Agency.

This housing conference with more than 20 breakout sessions imparted how affordable housing works in the marketplace.

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This past week, Wally Overman, board vice chairman, and Rob Ross, commissioner, along with Outten, journeyed to the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“We’re moving,” said Outten in a telephone interview.

Developers put together packages using various financial options like tax credits. Banks can be involved. The goal in any proposal is to reach an agreed upon rental target. A Dare County rental example might be $800 monthly for a single person or $1,000 for a family of two with utilities added on.

Outten reported two developers are now looking at the Bowsertown site, which is owned by the county.

Dare County board encourages essential housing

More than a year ago, Dare County commissioners started an initiative to lower barriers to creating “essential housing,” for the county’s workforce and education sector.

On Oct. 15, 2018 and again on Sept. 16, 2019, the board adopted changes in the zoning code to facilitate year-round housing development in unincorporated Dare County.

Four changes were made in October 2018.

Duplex lot sizes: Lot sizes for duplex construction adjusted to be consistent with single family lot size: 15,000 square feet for lots served by central water and 20,000 square feet for those served by private well. Affected 25 zoning districts.

Multifamily Dwelling Densities: Increased density in nine districts. Changes are: RS-6 to 6 units per acre; RS-8, to 8 units per acre; R-2 to six units per acre; R-2H 10 units per acre; R-3, C-2, C-3, I-1 to 10 units per acre; C-2H to 6 units per acre.

Accessory Dwelling Units: permitted in 33 districts. Nine standards adopted.

– Only one accessory dwelling unit per lot in conjunction with a principal dwelling unit.

– May be attached to dwelling or a detached separate structure. Cannot exceed 50 percent of floor area of dwelling to a maximum of 1,200 square feet of heated and non-heated space. Maintains size requirements in Wanchese, Manns Harbor and East Lake as these communities set a standard when mapping zoning districts. Size limitation does not apply if existing floor area is remodeled or converted.

– Lot coverage not to exceed 38 percent with construction of a unit.

– Two 10’x20’ parking spaces with permeable surfaces required.

– Construction according to NC state building code and Dare County floodplain management regulations.

– Recreation vehicles, travel trailers and/or manufactured homes not allowed as an accessory dwelling unit.

– In construction in residential zone, principal dwelling unit setbacks apply. Existing accessory buildings can be converted if meeting standards and setbacks.

– Requires long-term occupancy defined as 31 days or more. Not used for commercial or business activity. Unit can be converted to permitted home occupation.

– Cannot be subdivided or segregated in ownership from the principal dwelling unit.

Purely residential districts such as R-1 are not included.

Cluster Housing

Cluster home developments with more than one residential dwelling on one parcel of land and used for year-round housing created.

Development permitted as conditional use permit in 24 zoning districts.

Maximum Size: 1,200 square feet.

Minimum lot size would be 20,000 square feet with applicable setbacks.

Dwellings would be separated by 15 feet.

Lot coverage: 30 percent. Building height same as district.

Parking: one parking space per bedroom, at dwelling site or in congregate area.

Roads: development must be able to be accessed by emergency vehicles from an abutting road or street, or a road with a 30-foot right-of-way with 20 feet of paved improvements.

Cluster homes may be transferred to individual ownership with remainder of lot dedicated to common area.

Dwellings cannot be occupied or rented on a transient, short-term basis (30 days or less).

On Sept. 16, 2019, Dare’s commissioners amended the cluster housing section. Eight additional zoning districts were included but specified a minimum lot size of 30,000 square feet versus the 20,000 square feet in other zones.

Also on Sept. 16, three new sections were approved.

Education Housing Alternatives are permitted in 25 zoning districts already allowing duplex and/or multifamily structures. Educational housing projects must be affiliated with Dare County, ECU/Coastal Studies Institute, College of The Albemarle or the Dare County Board of Education. Proposed projects are reviewed as conditional use permits

Conditional Use Subdivisions added to 28 zoning districts. Minimum parcel size is three acres. Amendment reduces minimum lot size to 12,500 square feet with a dwelling size limitation of 1,200 square feet of heated space.

Workforce Housing Unit ordinance establishes regulations allowing the construction of housing units in conjunction with a commercial use in 17 commercial zoning districts. No size limit for the units. Overall lot coverage limit of 60 percent associated with commercial districts determines development on parcels.

Cluster housing successful

Two property owners are building cluster housing on Hatteras Island.

The first approved cluster housing project is slated for land beside Avon’s Hatteras Island Plaza.

The new structures will provide employee housing for the tenants in Hatteras Island Plaza.

A conditional use permit was requested by Brantley Tillman and R.V. Owens for OT Enterprises. The 1.17-acre site has an almost half-acre pond and a third of an acre of wetlands.

The conditional use permit was approved Feb. 4.

On April 1, the second conditional use permit for cluster housing was approved for six single-family dwellings on oceanside land adjacent to North Beach Campground in Rodanthe.

Jeffrey Gutmann owns the property and is the developer. The structures are limited to 1,200 square feet conditioned space and cannot be occupied or rented on a short-term basis, which is less than 30 days. This project is well on its way.