Cluster home development approved in Kill Devil Hills

Published 2:59 pm Saturday, January 16, 2021

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Kill Devil Hills commissioners approved one site plan, reviewed housing alternatives and discussed bicycle safety, beach nourishment and pickleball on Monday during their first regular meeting of the month.

With a unanimous vote of approval, commissioners gave SAGA Realty and Construction a green light to move forward with a cluster home development at 709 North Virginia Dare Trail.

Plans show there will be 14 detached single-family dwellings of no more than 2,500 square feet each with shared driveways. Each dwelling will have parking beneath the structure, a pool and either four or five bedrooms. A dune walkover and open and covered decks are also part of the plan.

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Comments during discussion included acknowledgment that the project will be something different for the town and that a fire suppression sprinkler system in each unit will be a great safety feature.

In an unrelated housing discussion, commissioners reviewed some alternatives intended to help provide some affordable workforce housing options.

According to planning director Meredith Guns, reducing required minimum lot sizes from 20,000 to 15,000 square feet for duplex dwellings in zoning districts that allow multi-family dwellings is one option. The change would be only for Commercial, Residential High, Light Industrial I and Light Industrial 2 zoning districts.

Another possible code change is to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

ADUs are secondary houses or apartments on the property of a larger, primary structure. Sometimes called mother-in-law units, one example is a detached garage with a rented apartment above. Built for many different reasons, most are for housing a family member or for rental income.

Guns said the major issue is to determine where they should be allowed. Her recommendation was for the Commercial, Light Industrial I and II zoning districts where multi-family dwellings, warehouses, single family, duplex dwelling and mobile homes are currently allowed

Other restrictions include ADUs be no more than 800 square feet, they cannot extend into the front yard and that they meet septic permit guidelines. Manufactured or mobile homes, travel trailers, motorhomes and campers would not be allowed to be ADUs.

“I think you have distilled a complex conversation,” said Mayor Ben Sproul. “This gives another option for people to offer housing.”

The recommendations will go to the Planning Board, possibly later this month, to develop wording for an ordinance change.

Commissioners also approved a motion directing town staff to obtain an accurate, up-to-date appraisal on town-owned property near the Nags Head town line at and adjacent to 2011 South Croatan Highway.

The action was prompted by an offer to purchase three vacant lots there by MPF Investment Company, LP. Sale of the property would involve an upset bid process that requires a 5 percent deposit, published advertisement for bids and possible upset bids from another buyer. If a qualifying bid is received, the process is repeated until no further bids are received, at which time the highest bidder is awarded the sale unless all bids are rejected.

Other business for the evening included safety advice and recommendations from Jack McCombs on the use of electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, on sidewalks and multi-use paths. According to McCombs, some e-bikes can travel at speeds up to 40 mph and, because many users are inexperienced bikers, it can cause a danger for bikers and pedestrians when approaching bike path walkers at high speeds.


Jack McCombs. KDH video screenshot

Also speaking to commissioners was county manager Bobby Outten with details on current and possible beach nourishment activities. Outten said he was looking for suggestions on how to help two areas that need immediate attention: Avon and Southern Shores. With no help coming from the state legislature, one option to make those projects possible is for towns to use a recent $1.4 million grant for beach nourishment.

During public comments, there was a lengthy discussion on pickleball.

Scott Garber opened the session with a request to develop pickleball courts at Aviation Park. According to Garber, the roller rink is currently underutilized, but for an estimated $25,550 to $31,126 it could be transformed into a multi-use sport court with five pickleball courts, two full basketball courts with shared floor space for skating and inline hockey. With removable posts and netting, the area could also be a large community gathering space for events such as arts and crafts and music events. His email submission included a drawing and estimate from Carolina Courtworks on how that could be done.

Garber went on to say that according to a national pickleball association, there are more than 3.3 million pickleball players in the USA, making it one of the country’s fastest-growing sports. The addition of pickleball courts would enable Kill Devil Hills to host championship tournaments, which could boost tourism.

Several other comments submitted by email in support of building a pickleball complex were entered into the record.

On the other side, Megan Spencer Shaw said she applauds the multi-use idea, but to resurface the rink would kick the derby rollers out. Shaw said she is a rookie on the Kill Devil Derby Brigade, but that she uses the hockey rink regularly with the other women at Aviation Park to practice her roller derby skills. She said that if the court is resurfaced, they would not be able to be there.

“But I would like to see a way everyone could work together,” she added.

In response to comments, commissioner Terry Gray said in his opinion the roller rink is not underutilized and is in fact highly utilized and that not only the roller derby team members but other groups use the rink as well, an observation supported by comments from Mayor Pro Tem Ivy Ingram.

Gray went on to offer a review of places where pickleball could be played that include six inside and four outside courts at the Youth Center in KDH, one court at Dowdy Park and a number of courts where pickleball is able to be played that include YMCA, Nags Head Elementary School and Kitty Hawk Elementary School.

Gray pointed out that Garber had been advised that the appropriate place to talk about pickleball is the Westside Recreation Group, an option which is still on the table, but he instead brought the issue to the Board of Commissioners for a decision.


Kill Devil Hills commissioner Terry Gray. KDH video screenshot

Gray also recommended that the town manager contact Carolina Courtworks to advise them that Garber is not authorized to seek or execute contracts on behalf of the town, nor is he an agent for the town in any way. He did add that the tennis courts at Meekins Field might be adapted to accommodate pickleball and that might be something staff could look at.

Also approved as part of the evening’s consent agenda were minutes from the December 14 meeting, annual certification of firefighters, a monthly report from November 2020 and setting a January 27 public hearing for a Bermuda Bay PUD amendment site plan.

Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners meet again Wednesday, January 27 at the Town Hall Administration Building, 102 Town Hall Drive. The meeting is open to the public under current COVID safety guidelines and will also be available via Zoom video link.



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