Dare commissioners approve zoning map change

Published 9:33 am Sunday, January 30, 2022

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Dare County commissioners approved a zoning map change in Buxton to allow multi-family housing.

Julia Taft, a Hatteras Island business owner, requested the zoning classification for 48651 NC 12 be changed from R-2A to R-3.

The existing 4,652 sq. ft. building was previously used for Munchkin Academy, a childcare facility. The current zoning classification R-2A does not allow multi-family housing.

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On Jan. 18, 2022, a required public hearing was held at which no one came forward to speak. Donna Creef, planning director for the county, told the commissioners that 15 emails in support of the map change had been received. One letter, based on problems with neighboring multi-family housing, opposed the change.

Creef led the commissioners through the required findings: statements of consistency and of reasonableness.

The record will show that the change is consistent with the county’s land use plan and the goals of the Board of Commissioners. “Any increase in housing units, even a modest increase, will have positive impacts on the community and the sustainability of our workforce and local economy,” states the staff report.

“The request is reasonable and in the public interest,” said Creef.

Taft plans to convert the existing structure into six housing apartments for employees.

In the Jan. 3, 2022 board meeting, Vice Chairman Wally Overman asked for a review of the zoning code to allow accessory dwelling units in zones permitting single family housing.

In 2018, the board passed zoning ordinance amendments allowing accessory dwelling units in zoning districts that permitted duplexes and multi-family housing.

Creef, in her memorandum to the board, reviewed 11 zoning districts and recommended two districts for consideration of permitting an accessory dwelling unit (ADU):

“ELNH (East Lake Natural Historic) – Applies in East Lake, includes some privately owned land but mostly federal property.

“Recommendation: Consider extension of ADU regulations for those properties not in a subdivision or able to demonstrate no covenant issue.

“R-1 (Residential) applies in Roanoke Island, Colington, Avon and Buxton.

“Recommendation: Consider extension of ADU regulations for those properties not in a subdivision, properties in smaller subdivisions with no covenants or where property owners are able to demonstrate no covenant conflict.”

The matter was referred to the Planning Board for consideration and possible recommendation. That board will take up the ADU issue at its Feb. 14, 2022 meeting at 6 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room in the Dare County Administration Building, located at 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr. in Manteo.