Several speak about concerns over north Roanoke Island subdivision

Published 6:59 am Thursday, June 23, 2022

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At the Dare County Planning Board meeting on June 13, some 25 people showed up to protest an approved subdivision called Old North End on Roanoke Island.

And at least 30 people attended the Dare Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, June 20.

The subdivision shows 56 single family lots mapped in the R-1 Low Density Residential Zoning District on 24.96 heavily wooded acres off Airport Road.

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The property borders homes along Brakewood Road, Gareth Circle and Airport Road.

A dozen speakers rose to deliver public comment at the Planning Board meeting. Those speakers owned property along Brakewood and Gareth.

The leadoff speaker was Maynard Miller from Brakewood Road with the question where is all the traffic going?

Barbara Zibunka wanted to know where all the impact studies are. “My retirement house will be devalued. I’ll be looking in somebody’s kitchen.” She added “we’re going to have stormwater all over the place.”

Kathy Mitchell is “seriously worried about impacts.” She maintained that less forested land degrades life.

Kathryn Fagan has made appearances at the Planning Board on this issue. “This is not a done deal. There are grounds to revoke approval.” She called for a special meeting with the Board of Commissioners and the Planning Board. “This is critical.”

Fagan, Joyce Hoppe and Jennifer Brickhouse all mentioned bald eagles on the property.

Brickhouse said the dry pond area, slated for fill, is “full of eagles.”

Brickhouse said “Airport Road sucks to drive down. It’s really treacherous . . . Shame on you.”

Cathy Spencer remarked that the subdivision’s road is too narrow for a fire truck.

At the conclusion of public comment, Planning Board Chairman John Finelli read a letter from Dare’s county manager and attorney addressed to Kris Fair, who lives on Airport Road.

The letter states: “The developer in this case has met all of the conditions of the subdivision ordinance. As such the [Planning] Board cannot deny subdivision approval. Subdivisions do not fall under our conditional use ordinances so the Board cannot impose additional conditions. As you can see, under North Carolina law, the county had no options but to approve the subdivision.”

Said Finelli, “the Board and staff have followed the law. That’s what we did in this case.”

Old North End LLC applied for the subdivision on Nov. 18, 2021. The matter was on the December 13, 2021 Planning Board agenda.

As part of the 1946 Evansville tract, the subject property has “paper roads.” The one to be used for entrance to the subdivision is 0.55 miles from U.S. 64-264 down Airport Road to Culpepper Street. The first paper road from U.S. 64-264 is to be used for a second entrance to the subdivision for emergency vehicles. Two of the roads will be used for stormwater infrastructure and the remainder will be left without development.

Of the 56 lots, 32 are 15,000 square feet. Others vary from 16,012 to 30,491 square feet.

Under R-1 zoning, the lots are permitted 30% lot coverage. However, the state’s Department of Environmental Quality permits only 24% built-upon area or 2,950 square feet in low-density development.

An operations and maintenance agreement for stormwater conveyance systems must be recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds.

A 10-foot vegetative easement is mapped along the western side of the parcel.

The subdivision roadway will have a 50-foot right-of-way with a 20-foot wide paved roadway, six-foot unpaved shoulders, a four-foot grading zone and five feet left undisturbed.

At the Board of Commissioners meeting, 11 people came to the podium to address the commissioners on this topic. Three of the 11 spoke at the Planning Board.

Said Richard Hodgens from Daphne Lane, “I just don’t know how you can go through with this without studying the consequences.”

And the consequences spelled out by others included increased traffic on Airport Road that is, as one person called it, “horrendous” and another “dangerous.” Flooding from stormwater and loss of woodlands were other issues raised.

Michelle Lewis raised the issue of possible Freedmen’s Colony cemeteries on the land.

Robert L. Woodard, chairman of the Dare Board of Commissioners, asked county attorney Robert L. Outten to respond to the speakers about the issues with Old North End subdivision.

Outten said the board “can’t change rules mid-stream.” In the case of this subdivision, “the developer met all the rules as they exist now.”