Craig Garriss takes Kitty Hawk Town Council helm

Published 1:13 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

The December 6 Kitty Hawk Town Council regular session meeting opened with a brief changing-of-the-guard.

After serving 16 years on the town’s governing body, Mayor Gary Perry stepped aside and Mayor-Elect Craig Garriss took over.

Offering a few parting words, Perry said while it has been an honor and humbling experience to serve the Town of Kitty Hawk, after 16 years it is time for a fresh set of eyes and ears to govern the community. At the risk of leaving a few key players out, Perry offered a word of thanks to a few, select, lesser known but important persons. He then added that the citizens of Kitty Hawk are truly blessed with an excellent staff of town employees and that they have also selected a dedicated council to champion the welfare of the town.

Garriss was then sworn into office and, taking over as mayor, said while Perry left some big shoes to fill, he too was honored to be the eighth person to “sit in this chair as your Kitty Hawk mayor.”

Garriss went on to say he would like council to remember when making decisions to:
● Do the right thing.
● Do it the right way.
● Do it at the right time.
● And do it for the right reason.

After overseeing the oath of office for Jeff Pruitt and Charlotte Walker, the selection of Pruitt to be mayor pro tem, Garriss offered words of thanks to Perry with a special plaque presentation.

A Kitty Hawk native, Perry was first elected to Town Council in 2005 after retiring from the US Coast Guard. He was selected by council to serve as Mayor Pro Tem in 2007 and was elected to his first term as Mayor in 2013 and then re-elected in 2017. He did not run for a third term.

After a brief recess to rearrange council chairs, the consent agenda was approved November 1 meeting minutes and budget amendments recognizing a $500 donation from Hank and Marie Sprenger to the police department for future purchases of automated external defibrillator supplies, $1,665 collected during a November 17 police auction, $3,328.14 for court cash disposed cases with $4,993.14 going to the Dare County school board.

During public hearing actions, four town-owned lots on Putter Lane were rezoned from residential to emergency services to accommodate a planned police/fire/EMS station and a proposed lot coverage amendment was approved that will allow a physical area maximum lot coverage of 72 percent when permeable pavement is used on sites in the MS-1 district.

After some testimony and discussion, council rescheduled a request to amend existing travel trailer park regulations for the January 10 meeting in order to allow additional work on terminology and language.

Also set for the January 10 meeting was a public hearing to add multifamily dwelling developments as a special use in the Planned Commercial District with a maximum of 14 dwellings per acre.

Other business for the night included allocating $1 million from the town’s unassigned fund balance toward the new police station and a one-time, lump sum, inflationary pay adjustment for employees. According to town manager Andy Stewart, the recent town audit revealed that Kitty Hawk is in a strong and stable financial position. He also said the inflationary pay adjustment would be a $400 payment to full time employees and $200 to part time for a $25,000 cost to the Town.

Council also heard a report from Kitty Hawk resident Hunter Crum that his Eagle Scout project to install markers at every quarter mile of the new Kitty Hawk Woods Connector Trail and a public comment request to look at changes to accessory dwelling requirements.

With business completed, council adjourned until the 6 p.m. January 10 meeting.

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