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Currituck commissioners vote on Shingle Landing Villas, discuss amending noise ordinance

The Currituck Board of Commissioners had a busy evening last Monday at its monthly meeting, discussing Shingle Landing Villas, noise ordinances, the purchase of a 36-acre property for a potential new school site and more.

The meeting began with commissioner’s reports. J. Owen Etheridge reported on the ribbon-cutting ceremony for FFA’s new greenhouse, also attended by commissioner Selina Jarvis. Etheridge reported, “Out of 8612 FFA chapters, Currituck ranks in the top one percent. That’s something we can all be proud.” Jarvis continued, “It’s an extraordinary facility. It will help us preserve our past and map out of a great future with the ag industries that are so important to this area.”

Commissioner Kevin McCord updated the board on COVID vaccines. The YMCA will now only be offering second round shots. All others are encouraged to make an appointment for the vaccine with Albemarle Regional Health Department. North Carolina is entering into a new phase where individuals 16 and over will be eligible for the vaccine.

With traffic picking up, Chairman Mike Payment encouraged residents to use caution as they travel: “It’s going to be a dangerous time coming up, the fire department is ready. Support them – get involved.”

In his commissioner report, Bob White shared that Yahoo has listed the Outer Banks as the third most searched destination in the United States (beat out by Yellowstone and Disney).

The meeting moved into public hearings, first hearing from John Morrison representing Shingle Landing Villas, LLC. Shingle Landings is requesting to subdivide the property. The request then triggers a use permit.

According to the Technical Review Committee (TRC), once the property is submitted for subdivision, that’s when it needs to meet standards for a use permit, and adequate public services ordinance applies. The TRC’s principal concern is capacity in Moyock Elementary School, as well as other public services such as fire, EMS and law enforcement. Though the county is committed to expanding the schools, the TRC cited concerns such as COVID-related delays in construction that would prevent the school being ready by the promised August 2023 date.

SHINGLE LANDING

The Technical Review Committee discusses Shingle Landing Villas. Currituck meeting screenshot

Morrison brought in two expert witnesses to discuss the property. Kim Tate, representing Tate Appraisal and Consultation, gave his professional opinion that the use of the property is in harmony with neighboring properties and would not have an adverse affect on property value of the area. In fact, Tate said the property may actually increase value of neighboring properties, and “serves as a buffer between general Shingle Landing and what will eventually be commercial development; this will serve to buffer the development that’s to the east, as well as provide a buffer from traffic.”

In response to the question about why Shingle Landing Villas is building townhomes instead of condominiums, mortgage expert Brandon W. Dixon of Virginia Beach said, “Condos are definitely more difficult to finance. Townhomes are treated like a single-family home.” Dixon’s opinion was that townhomes are “more accessible for residents of Currituck seeking affordable housing.”

The motion carried 6-1.

Next, the board approved a text amendment to the PUD on open space to allow county-owned land designated as open space to be used as a law-enforcement, fire or EMS facility, including training facilities.

In new business, the board approved a motion to consider sale of a 36-acre property on Tulls Creek Road in Moyock Township at a price of $860,000. The property will possibly be the location for the new school. The board will enter into a 90-day due diligence.

Next, the board approved a motion to add the county attorney’s report to the Board of Commissioners agenda, for the benefit of the board and the citizens of Currituck County to increase awareness.

The board then entered into a discussion about modifying the noise ordinance. Currituck has a provision in the noise ordinance that would limit the number of permits issued in commercial areas to no more than two per month within one thousand feet of each other, and no more than two for an entire year from one location. This is a consideration for wedding venues primarily throughout the county. Beaumont expressed apprehension about passing the motion. “You’re increasing the level of sound from 72-80. It’s an exponential increase,” he said. The board agreed to reach out to the public for input via social media, as well as do additional research about prior noise permits for statistical purposes. The motion was tabled until the April 19 Board of Commissioners meeting.

The fourth item of new business on the agenda concerned a resolution amending the 2015 policy regarding alcohol use, which required that a law enforcement officer must be present at events held in certain county parks where alcohol was present. The amendment would strike the requirement from Historic Corolla Park only, which is used for wedding receptions. The board decided that the nature of the events did not necessitate the presence of an officer. The motion carried.

The board also unanimously approved a motion to authorize use of eminent domain to acquire easements necessary for construction of stormwater drainage and management system to address a chronic flooding problem in Ocean Sands subdivision. According to the board, the owner has refused to convey an easement to the county. “The county has debated and discussed moving forward on this for too long,” Beaumont said. According to the town attorney, this is only the third time in over three decades that the board has used eminent domain. “We do not take this lightly. It’s common courtesy and compassion for those who live or rent houses in this area.”

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