Solving housing crisis at the forefront for Manteo, Dare County

Published 8:12 am Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Town of Manteo is moving ahead with a housing project.

Under development by town staffers is a request for proposals for a .9-acre town-owned property at the intersection of Sir Walter Raleigh and Bideford Streets.

The tract can accommodate four single-family residences or seven, two-bedroom town homes according to conceptual drawings.

On Sept. 1, 2021, town manager James Ayers presented information about housing programs and possibilities.

At the end of the presentation, Manteo commissioners by consensus authorized staff to draft a request for proposals for a pilot project for the nine-acre tract.

The town is talking about affordable, workforce or essential housing.

Basically, the town has two choices to create housing: create a public-private partnership or act as the developer.

The town has a record of securing a mix of housing. Nearly 40 years ago, a land swap created Harbourtowne and Bay Tree apartments. Both date from 1984.

Manteo also has an inclusionary density bonus ordinance dating from 2004 and updated twice. This bonus has been used three times.

Manteo will also have the opportunity, perhaps, to collaborate with Dare County in two possible developments. Dare County will consult with Manteo about the availability of utilities, including wastewater treatment.

Meanwhile, Dare commissioners are awaiting a report from the Development Finance Initiative of the UNC School of Government. On June 1, 2021, in a special meeting, the commissioners charged the initiative staff to evaluate two sites: the Bowsertown site owned by Dare County and the existing, privately owned Elizabethan Inn in Manteo.

At the Oct. 4, 2021, Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting, county manager Robert L. Outten said he had received multiple phone calls about building J-1 housing, which he said “looks promising.” He said most proposals require some Dare County participation.

The Manteo commissioners met briefly Oct. 6. Both action items on the agenda were postponed. The commissioners did proclaim Dec. 6 Lynda Midgett Day.

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