Congressman Murphy makes appearance at Currituck BOC meet

Published 2:38 pm Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Speaking briefly at the Monday, November 4, Currituck County Board of Commissioners meeting, North Carolina Third Congressional District Congressman Gregory F. Murphy told the board and a crowded assembly that his first six weeks on the job have been a whirlwind.

“The impeachment process has pretty much sucked all the wind out of everything in Washington,” said Murphy. “But we are putting a lot of effort into constituent services.”

Murphy explained that that he and his staff are currently working on a sizable backlog of cases that resulted from that untimely death of his predecessor, Walter Jones.

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Murphy said also that in addition a Washington, DC office, he will have three initial North Carolina offices. One is Walter Jones’s old office in Greenville with two full time staff members and a second in Jacksonville will open Wednesday with two full time staff members. A third will be in Edenton with Craven and Carteret county sites being considered as well.

“I want to make sure everybody knows that I plan to be accessible,” Murphy continued. “I plan to be a Congressman that you guys you can come to and I want to be here for you. My purpose and job is to serve the people of the Third District.”

Aiming to provide a different type of service, James Southern was on hand representing John W. Austin Memorial Chapel, Inc., known as Corolla Chapel, with an expansion request.

The construction of a 32 foot X 52 foot fellowship hall and kitchen addition on the north side of the existing church building at 1136 Corolla Village Road required a lot coverage requirement change.

Southern said the structure built in 1885 is home to an interdenominational Christian Fellowship that has very much become an integral part of the community. He went on to say an extensive foreign student outreach that includes bicycle restorations and overlapping activities with Water’s Edge Village School has led to a need for the additional space.

With a few comments on the benefits to the community, the board gave unanimous approval to the expansion plans.

Also gaining unanimous approval was a request to amend previously approved residential development plans for the Fost Tract that will convert 72 two-sided townhomes into 35 rear-loaded townhomes, add three additional single-family dwelling units, remove some roadways and alley-ways, provide additional connectivity to the tract of land to the north, add additional open space and modify the overall phasing schedule.

As approved by the board, the changes also call for a reduction in lot sizes and increased front setbacks.

During his time at the podium, Guy Lunsford provided a compelling argument for the county to allow development on islands accessible only by boat.

Faced with a Planning Board recommendation for denial due to an inability to provide firefighting, police, emergency medical or any other services, Lunsford countered with a position that most people willing to live on an island are willing to forgo those services.

“You are right,” said Paul M. Beaumont. “Island living is not for all and it come with risks.”

Another board concern was that while Lunsford is interested only in recovering losses from a failed investment by developing Long Point, a Coinjock Bay island, approval could open the door for development of all 21 privately owned Currituck Sound islands. Lunsford said, in response, that there were likely only five islands that were buildable. He then went on to point out that many of the development restrictions in place for Currituck do not exist in neighboring Dare County, which has 13 houses on 10 islands.

After 90 minutes of discussion and interaction between Lunsford  and the board, an initial motion to deny the request failed on a 2-5 vote. A second motion to have the request tabled and brought back for additional work on several details at a December 2 workshop passed.

In other business for the evening, commissioners approved a Through the Fence Airport Easement for 118 Aviator Drive, Brady Landing Airpark, to include property owned by Mark and Robin Leuzinger not included in the earlier easement. It was noted that the Federal Aviation Administration does not oppose the action.

Also, in unrelated votes, the board approved a $487,669 budget amendment to replace several Windows 7 computers unable to be upgraded to the newer Windows 10 operating system, reappointment Vivian Simpson to the Currituck County Jury Commission for the 2020-2021 Biennium, approved the October 21 meeting minutes, sitting as the Tourism Development Authority authorized $10,500 to upgrade electrical services to the grounds of Historic Corolla Park, and as the Ocean Sands Water & Sewer District Board approved a $3,490 increase to appropriations to replace Windows 7 computers.

A Lower Currituck Volunteer Fire Department-Departmental update report was rescheduled for a later date and Chairman Bob White advised that there may not be a need for the November 18 mid-month meeting.