Southern Shores buys flat top cottage: ‘We’re looking decades into the future with this’

Published 11:26 am Thursday, April 20, 2023

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Southern Shores Mayor Elizabeth Morey announced the town’s plan to purchase the flat top cottage at 13 Skyline Road from the Outer Banks Community Foundation (OBCF) at the April 4 regular council meeting.

OBCF, which has occupied the building for 15 years, has outgrown the space and is relocating their offices to the former Southern Bank building on Roanoke Island.

The 1953 historic flat top was owned by Frank Stick and is known as “the first cottage on the dune.”

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In 2016, Southern Shores established the Historic Landmark Commission, which is dedicated to the preservation of these architecturally unique homes in town. “We’re excited to be a part of maintaining this historic flat top and honoring the legacy of our town founder, Frank Stick,” Morey said.

A joint statement between Southern Shores and OBCF released April 6 said the purchase “expands the Town’s footprint in the government and institution zoning district and positions us well for future growth.”

Located just two lots north of town’s municipal offices, the cottage provides a variety of options for use.

Though Morey said she is interested in citizen input and ideas, the town is considering offering it as temporary housing for a new police officer.

Chris Sawin, OBCF president and CEO, spoke at the council meeting and said he was grateful to be working with the Town of Southern Shores for “the next chapter of this historic building” but he assured the town that the Community Foundation will continue to be involved through the endowment that exists in perpetuity for the maintenance and preservation of the building.

Ogburn said the fund is valued at about $60,000 and the town is allowed to take out around 4% per year to use for the building.

The purchase price for the cottage was $400,000.

“I was a little skeptical about purchasing the property on Skyline [Road] until I toured the property and saw what a magnificent opportunity it was,” said council member Paula Sherlock.

“First of all, to preserve a flat top and also one that adjoins our campus here – which I have to say until I got over there I didn’t realize what an expansion of town property this would be in the opportunities that it opens up for all kinds of things,” Sherlock added.

Morey said, “I don’t take lightly spending $400,000 of the town’s money at all and so I had to really be convinced that this was the right thing to do and some days I would wake up and I was not convinced. But in the end after a lot of talk and reflection, I think it’s the right thing to do for the future of the town. We’re looking decades into the future with this and that’s very important – that’s what town leaders need to do even though sometimes that’s the most difficult thing that we do.”

After the unanimous vote, Morey said “we are now the proud owners of one of the oldest if not the oldest flat tops in the Town of Southern Shores and we’re very excited about that.”