Duck redevelopment request draws large crowd
Published 5:36 am Sunday, May 8, 2022
Faced with almost as much turbulent weather inside a crowded Paul F. Keller Meeting Hall as out, Duck Town Council at its May 4 meeting weathered more than three hours of testimony, evidence and public comment before ruling on a request to redevelop a 30,145 square foot property at 1248 Duck Road.
According to town documents, Phantom Enterprise would like to redevelop the site by tearing down the existing 6,000 sq. ft. vacant Resort Realty office building that was constructed in 1985 and replace it with a mixed use development of three new structures with about 8,600 square feet. The three-story structures would accommodate a restaurant, retail space and several residential units. Plans also call for a soundside boardwalk.
In order to develop the property to its fullest, and to fit within existing septic lines, parking areas and property lines, two Village Commercial zoning district guideline waivers would be needed: a reduction of the rear property setback and reduction of four of the 34 required parking spaces needed for the proposed 49-seat restaurant retail space.
As council sat quietly through the marathon session, more than one public speaker bantered with staff on the difference between redevelopment and new construction as well as offering varied opinions for parking, density and traffic safety requirements.
Although safety and traffic congestion were also mentioned, most speakers hammered away at the lack of ample parking at the site and surrounding areas.
Parking was a concern for some Duck Planning Board members as well. At its April 13 meeting, that board voted 3-2 to not recommend approval of the special use permit.
During council’s discussion on the request, several members said they favored the project, but none were willing to grant a parking exemption for the site and the call for a vote to deny any exemptions was unanimous.
Following Wednesday’s vote, project representative Tom Stewart said even with the vote to deny any waivers, he thought there were several favorable council comments.
“Council gave us several reasoned and thought out responses during their discussion,” explained Stewart. “And they gave us some actionable information to work on. So I think that’s what the team is going to do, to take those comments to heart and look at it a lot more closely. Mayor Don (Kingston) suggested we work with planning and staff to see where we could go with this and I thought that was very reasonable advice. I think everybody feels working in the spirit of cooperation is the thing to do.”
Also scheduled for Wednesday’s meeting was a look at the town manager’s proposed $12,997,125 fiscal year July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 budget, approval of council’s two April 6 meeting minutes, a contract extension with CrowderGulf for disaster debris management and removal services, a resolution designating a town official to make recommendations to the North Carolina Alcohol Beverage Control Commission on ABC permit applications, a Resilient Coastal Communities Program Grant by video link with Candice Andre of VHB and a special moment of recognition for former council member Nancy Caviness, who recently received the 2022 NC Governor’s Volunteer Service Award.