Letter to the Editor: Oversaturated and over-sugared?

Published 8:21 am Thursday, October 20, 2022

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To the Editor:

Congrats to Patty Callum, whose heartfelt letter in this newspaper about the ecologic and latent destruction of the “island,” main focus on Manteo, which should have hit a nerve even in the smallest neurons of those who would make their living building and developing. Ms. Callum’s point about the numbers of people who want “… their own Pirate’s Cove” ties the boat to many docks in the area. All you have to do is look at the hundreds of homes standing tall above the marshes surrounding Manteo.

It’s really a shame to Ms. Callum’s point that the path to the haphazard development plans rolled in and preservation of wetlands, maritime forests, and the unique habitat that makes the Outer Banks a unique place has become a secondary concern. This seems to be a problem not just for the town I live in, Southern Shores, or for Manteo but for every town that tries to manage development upon this barrier island.

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If you haven’t read the informative article concerning beach access in the town of Duck, it’s a good example of a struggle to allow the blowing in of sand to a town which does not apparently have or can find an entity to allow access to a beach that cannot be accessed unless you’re an owner or development that has such rights as an amenity. (Or the government, which must not be interested). I must say the lords (and ladies) of the manors in Duck are very fortunate to have such privilege. Perhaps the “blowing in of sand” will not proceed in a timely manner, which from a treehugger perspective might be just fine.

Perhaps the most complex development challenge comes from Nags Head with links to Manteo. Called the C2 project, but seems more like a stealth project, since the developer appears to have eyes on several spots, each when made clearer has caused quite an outcry. It’s an interesting challenge since it pits a major development firm that wants to create what the OBX says it needs, “affordable housing.” C2 has exploded like C4 on the doorsteps of those who live close by both in the Nags Head location and in Manteo.

Nadeen Johnson said (as quoted in the CT): “While we understand and appreciate the need for affordable housing … we do not believe the Hollowell site is the appropriate choice for the project … We are highly concerned that development and oversaturating the population in this area could potentially stress the integrity of the dunes further.” (One section of C2 is proposed to be built next to Jockey’s Ridge). Kimberly Worley stresses “the use just doesn’t seem to fit within with the feeling or charm of the neighborhood … and the value of homes (will be) decreasing.”

C2 is not the only controversial project in the town. As mentioned in the CT, Nags Head has been in discussion with Nags Head Pizza and the owners of the neighboring residential properties to discuss parking, zoning, and noise. It has been mentioned that even our former (sorry) soon to be former Senator Richard Burr spoke out about what sounds like the intrusion of cars on his sand, and the loud noises being made by the happy vacationers who love to eat pizza and can get loud.

Luckily the town’s progressive leadership is taking notice of the concerned owners and have posted a moratorium on the C2 project and will be “taking a look,” as Nags Head Commissioner Renee Cahoon points out, “at our land use plan.” Good idea Nags Head, I think all towns are looking at “land use” and the answers are hard to cull. To cite a word used by Nadeen Johnson, the OBX and not just Nags Head should be looking at the “development and oversaturating” of this barrier Island. It’s a good word since Webster’s (yes that still exists) says to oversaturate is “to saturate to an excessive degree.” Anyone out there besides those folks quoted at many of the Town Halls feeling “oversaturated”?

Perhaps the town of Kill Devil Hills ironically is not feeling such saturation except when it comes to the artists who want to periodically sell their art in concentrated areas. It’s good that the town is taking another look at that set of ordinances and is agreeing to changes. Here’s another change Kitty Hawk needs to review. Remember the use of the term “oversaturated” as it pertains to the island? I would add the word “oversugared” to fit what will be taking place soon in Kitty Hawk. If ever a moratorium was needed it would be to reconsider the latest addition on the bypass right across ironically from what is a large concentration of medical facilities in Kitty Hawk. Seriously, Sugar Kingdom? It should fit in well with the dunes and mixture of homes in that area, as well as the urgent care facilities that it will face.

One can also imagine the added interest that those parties who are attempting to work with Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, Dare County and the State of NC to build a recently touted “World Class Aviation Museum” in the area occupied currently by the rest area off 158. Soon, it sounds like, the developers and all those traveling in to visit this World Class Aviation Museum will be able to drive about 300 yards South, turn left across 158 and buy all the Skittles and eyeball gumdrops they can carry. Perhaps another stoplight will be needed?

Nothing like being oversaturated on sugar.

Russ Watkins

Southern Shores



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