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Kill Devil Hills addresses tent usage in response to COVID-19

Kill Devil Hills commissioners called their second regular monthly meeting to order on June 29.

With no major agenda items to tackle and only two letters from public commenters, the meeting flowed quickly into the commissioner’s agenda. Commissioner BJ McAvoy steered the conversation to the outdoor dining, specifically with regard to tent usage.

“I think it would be a good idea to look at tenting and temporary nature of tenting, being that we are promoting outdoor seating,” he started. Food Service Temporary Waivers being issued by KDH do not directly address the use of tents or outdoor tables/umbrellas for restaurant use.

McAvoy voiced that with the onset of the summer heat matched with the encouragement to sit outside, a temporary suspension of requirements may be in order. Planning director Meredith Guns relayed to the board that planning staff has not denied the use of tents, unless the tent requested is not up to par with the fire code.

“There’s an issue with fire code; a tent has to be a certain distance from the property line,” she explained. Zoning typically does not allow for the use of tents outside of an operation, but with social distancing restrictions in place, the new waivers allow for some leniency.

In terms of the waiver, Guns said staff may have made some “interpretations in the order” in an effort to follow the direction the board was headed with outdoor dining, such as with lighting, seating and coverage from the sun.

However, upon applying for a waiver and setting up shop outside a dining facility, the fire marshal must make sure the tent or outdoor dining space meets the fire code. Also, once restaurants are allowed to open to 100% capacity, the waiver will expire.

Guns said anyone with questions or looking to apply can contact her at the town offices. To review the waiver guidelines, visit the town website’s COVID-19 update page at www.kdhnc.com/870/COVID-19-Updates.

“We definitely want our 50 plus restaurants to know that were here for them and want to be as accommodating as possible,” said Mayor Ben Sproul.

The board then approved the consent agenda, which included budget amendments for the following items:

– Appropriation of insurance proceeds to cover insurance claim reimbursable expenses during the year.

– Record PEG Channel support funds.

– Appropriation of Coronavirus Relief Funds under the federal CARES Act through Dare County to cover COVID-19 related expenditures.

– Appropriation of funds for beach sand fencing available from Dare County.

Also in the consent agenda were two policies that were unanimously adopted by the board:

– A resolution adopting a Title VI policy to prohibit discrimination in programs and services and in activities receiving federal financial assistance and Nondiscrimination Policy Statement.

– Amendment to Article IV: Recruitment and Employment to update nondiscrimination language.

“Let’s just say its always interesting when the Supreme Court . . . reaches right down into our policy and we’re able to do good things like that,” Sproul said regarding the policy updates and adoption.

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