Letter to the Editor: Open letter to Dare commissioners addresses cluster home developments in Manns Harbor

Published 10:44 am Thursday, April 27, 2023

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April 10, 2023

Dare County Commissioners

P. O. Box 1000

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Manteo, NC  27953

Dear Dare County Commissioners:

The former members of the 2007 Manns Harbor Zoning Committee wish to officially and publicly request that you rescind Section 22-31.1 Cluster Home Developments (adopted in October 2018), thereby removing any future application submissions for cluster homes in the Manns Harbor Zoning District, MH-A and MH-B, for consideration. We agree with many of the comments made by concerned citizens at the Monday, April 3, 2023 public hearing. We feel Cluster Home Developments subverts the will of the taxpaying and voting citizens of Manns Harbor. Please return our 2007 zoning designation to the original zoning ordinance as written, vetted and agreed upon by an overwhelming majority of Manns Harbor residents. We remain vulnerable under the current policy as it exists.

We spent over a year of our lives in 2006-2007 at the request of, and working along with, Dare County Planning staff to conduct public meetings, poll our community residents, and engage in daily conversations with people in our community. The proposed zoning document was actually mass mailed to all of our property owners prior to its approval. Our volunteer zoning efforts were captured in the Dare County Land Use Plan which implied that Manns Harbor zoning districts are intended to encourage the development of moderate density residential neighborhoods, to serve as a transition zone between low-density areas and more intensely developed areas, and to provide a setting for a limited number of business uses associated with a coastal village location.

The zoning committee members feel strongly that our zoning efforts in 2007 captured both the majority of the views of our residents and reflected the priorities of our local community. We wish to maintain the small town atmosphere and seek protection from future over-development in order to protect the natural resources of our low-lying community.  High density housing is not compatible with the small town atmosphere we strived to protect nor is it compatible with low-lying, saturated soils due to rising sea levels that we are already seeing in our community.

Once before, our community has come together and defeated a condominium development project in order to achieve a more compatible land use plan; a multi-use public marina for commercial and recreational fisherman with boat ramps for ALL people to enjoy and use.

We are encouraged by the work of the Planning Board who recently, in their April 4th meeting, voted to send their recommendation to you (the Commissioners) that the Cluster Home Provision be removed from the Wanchese zoning ordinance and other districts and we want to ensure that Manns Harbor Zoning Districts, MH-A and MH-B are included within those districts.

We look forward to attending the May 1st, 2023 public meeting and we encourage you to please listen to the will of the people.

Kindest Regards,

Members of the 2007 Manns Harbor Zoning Committee

Robin A. Mann

Rebecca M. Basnight

Cynthia M. Holda

Timmy Midgett

John G. Wescott

Ralph Craddock