Currituck approves UDO text amendments

Published 2:19 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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Currituck commissioners considered four text amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) at their February 6 meeting, and ended up passing three of them.

First, commissioners modified the UDO to reduce restrictions for food trucks. Food trucks will now be allowed to operate on a property that is not the same as the principal restaurant.

Though some commissioners were concerned that food trucks would be in competition with brick-and-mortar restaurants, the text amendment passed. Commissioner Kevin McCord voted no.

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Chairman Bob White said, “We need them for events. They play another role in our economy … At the end of the day, do we want them here or not?”

Next, commissioners disagreed on whether to exempt the county and county school project from the requirements of the UDO. This would apply to all county-owned facilities including schools, county offices, parks and rec facilities, libraries, utility installations and airports.

“We don’t want to prohibit ourselves from being able to provide necessary service to the community. It is not intended to circumvent the stormwater issues … and it’s not intended to disregard the impact of development on adjacent properties. What it is, is the county providing a public service — being good stewards of the taxpayers’ money and providing that flexibility in county and school projects,” said development services director Kevin Kemp.

Kemp said the amendment is intended to apply to minor issues like height and setback requirements, and can help speed public projects along.

But commissioners were split. While all saw the potential value of the amendment, some felt it was inconsistent.

“I’ve always been someone that believed the county should adhere to the same rules and regulations we make everybody else,” said Commissioner Owen Etheridge. “To do this, to me, is a slap in the face to everybody that tries to do something good. We’ve got time in most of these projects to make a text amendment if necessary to address something that might be in the case. To come here and exempt the county from the rules or regulations we make everybody else follow I think is wrong.”

The motion failed, 3-3, with commissioners Etheridge, McCord and Mike Payment opposed.

Next, commissioners moved quickly to approve text amendments relating to requirements for mining, and for modifying the allowable uses and building size in the Mixed Residential (MXR) zoning district.