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Nags Head Planning Board recommends hotel and fill regulation changes

Nags Head Planning Board members at their August 18 meeting voted to recommend approval of two unrelated action items.

The first issue focused on legacy structures, those establishments or locations with a nostalgic or historical part of Nags Head’s past.

When Nags Head updated its Unified Development Ordinance – the regulations covering land use and zoning – hotels were removed as a permitted use in the oceanfront district north of Whalebone. While the change was not intended to eliminate hotels and instead recognize a need to adapt to an increased intensity of storm events and flooding potential, it did make them non-conforming structure. A move that limited what modifications would be allowed.

Properties can be repaired as needed to keep a structure as is, but use changes or upgrades are not allowed.

“Hotels are a big investment and large part of the tax base,” said Kelly Wyatt, deputy planning director, in a telephone interview after the meeting. “It’s not that we are against hotels, but more that it was agreed that such valuable structures should be in a safer and more stable environment away from the ocean.”

Wyatt added that with current flood regulations and CAMA guidelines, none of the existing hotels could be built today.

To remedy the situation, the board, by majority vote, recommended that hotels be allowed to make alterations or revisions with a conditional use permit. Also part of the recommended change is that dwelling units existing as of July 1, 2020 be a permitted use in the R-2 and CR districts.

The second action item was a recommendation that fill be allowed up to the base flood elevation or to the amount required for wastewater permits required by the Dare County Health Department, whichever is greater, for properties west of NC 12 and SR 1243 (S Old Oregon Inlet Rd) and subject to a Base Flood Elevation requirement.

Both items will go to the Board of Commissioners for final review.

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