Kitty Hawk approves commercial crabbing request

Published 7:20 pm Friday, April 15, 2022

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After almost an hour of discussion and debate, Kitty Hawk Town Council at its April 4 regular session meeting approved a request to allow commercial crabbing and fishing operations at 3839 Moor Shore Road.

According to planning director Rob Testerman, commercial crabbing and fishing operations are a permitted activity with certain restrictions in the VR-1 district. He then explained that the application proposes 36 shedding boxes – each 4×8 feet in size – to be screened from view by adjacent properties. In March, the town Planning Board voted to recommend approval with no reported objections by nearby residents.

There were, however, objections at the Monday evening meeting.

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During the scheduled public hearing more than one area resident voiced concerns that Moor Shore Road was too narrow to accommodate the additional traffic such a business would bring, that there was the potential for excess lighting and that an adjacent canal is simply not navigable. There was also at least one comment that there was an overall lack of information about the project.

After reminding speakers they should direct their comments to council and not the crowd behind them, Mayor Craig Garriss also admonished spectators more than once for outbursts in response to a speaker’s comments.

The applicant, Beaman L. Hines, speaking in favor of the request, explained that he was not trying to make a major change to the neighborhood and that it would be a simple operation with his brother and his father.

“Just two guys with two vehicles for six to eight weeks,” said Hines. “We’re not trying to change anything other than to set up some shedders. There might be four or five trips to get the crabs out. No boats, just a simple operation that has been in this community for a long time.”

It was also pointed out that during the 1940s and ’50s more than 100 people in the village were making a living on the water. Today there are only four.

Commenting that he is one of those four, councilman Jeff Pruitt said he did not see an adverse impact on traffic from the request. He then added that he thought most of the traffic on that road is coming from other businesses using it as a cut-through. Pruitt then moved to approve the request, which passed with unanimous approval.

Taking up an unfinished business item initiated at an earlier meeting, Council held a discussion on accessory dwelling unit requirements.

Faced with several different options, council voted 3-2 to remove a requirement that any ADU be only in a rear or side yard, removed a restrictive covenant on the sale of property and changed measuring the 28 foot maximum height from original grade to now be measured from finished grade.

The change allows accessory dwelling units to be anywhere on a property provided it meets existing setback requirements. Other possible regulations and restrictions in Section 42-528 were not addressed at this time.

In other business for the evening, council gave a green light to a request from Steve House to allow a 7:30 a.m. October 8 beach ride of 100 Jeeps near the Kitty Hawk Beach House.

House explained that it would be part of the October 7-9 OBX Jeep Invasion and similar to Jeep rides held in other coastal areas. He said also that the parade would be traveling single file along the waterline with registration money raised going to Ocean Rescue. According to House, the rally last year brought more than 450 Jeeps to the Outer Banks and, along with the associated economic benefits to the community, raised more than $38,000 toward toys for Dare County Toy Run. This year money will be going to Warriors in Action and Special Olympics.

In giving approval for the event, Pruitt pointed out that such an event is allowed by town code and Mayor Garriss added that he thought it was a great idea.

Also approved at the April 4 meeting within the consent agenda were January 31 and March 7 council meeting minutes, a $29,000 funds transfer to repair the town’s existing fuel pumps, a personnel policy health savings account amendment, a resolution in support of the mid-Currituck bridge, a proclamation honoring Michael Pearson for earning the ranks of Eagle Scout and a proclamation designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.