Dare commissioners take up controversial cluster house project May 1; proposal to eliminate ordinance in 22 zones suggested

Published 9:47 pm Saturday, April 29, 2023

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On May 1, 2023, the Dare County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to take up the special use permit application for a cluster housing development in Wanchese and consider a zoning text amendment as proposed by the county’s planning board and demanded by many community members in Wanchese and Manns Harbor.

As background on the Wanchese proposal, Brad Alexander of Aria Construction and Development, Inc. submitted an application to construct a cluster home group development with 60 single family dwellings on Old Wharf Road in Wanchese.

On April 3, 2023, the Dare County Board of Commissioners received a detailed staff report and a site plan, house plans and renderings.

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On the same date, a quasi-judicial hearing was held. Sworn testimony was taken and exhibits were submitted by the applicant.

The docket sheet for the Wanchese project asks the board to “deliberate and take appropriate action.”

The second item about cluster housing springs from the controversy surrounding the Wanchese project.

In March, Dare’s commissioners asked the planning board to revisit the cluster housing ordinance. The planning board at its April 4 meeting discussed options to refine the ordinance.

The proposal before the commissioners eliminates the cluster housing ordinance from all zones that currently permit multi-family housing, which addresses the density issue raised by the Wanchese proposal.

A public hearing is proposed for June 5, 2023 at 9 a.m. on the proposed changes.

Some 22 zones are listed for removal of the cluster housing ordinance. A dozen zones remain.