Kill Devil Hills commissioners discuss more regulations for cottage courts, cluster homes

Published 4:48 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2023

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Kill Devil Hills commissioners discussed options to bring cottage courts and cluster homes more in line with the intended purpose of smaller dwelling units and as an alternative to large single family home development.

Planning director Meredith Guns said the complaints the town is hearing about cottage courts and cluster homes is that they’re too close to the road, too close together, and too tall.

Since the adoption of ordinances allowing cottage courts and cluster homes, 2018 and 2019 respectively, the town has approved this type of development at 709 N. Virginia Dare Trail, 100 E. Fifth Street, and 207 W. Martin Street.

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“What we’ve got over there now,” commissioner Terry Gray said, probably referencing the development on the beach road, “is not what cottage courts are supposed to look like.”

Assistant planning director Cameron Ray said that options for revisions to the ordinance include reducing the requirements for building height or square footage, increasing the front yard setback, or making density requirements more restrictive.

“We took a stab at trying to do what the public wanted … but seeing them in real life you can see that they are not all pluses. There are some pluses but there are some minuses, too,” said Mayor Ben Sproul.

Commissioners said they supported staff in their efforts to make revisions to cottage court and cluster home town code.

Commissioners also approved two commercial site plan reviews. A Sherwin Williams paint store requested approval for a 4000 square foot retail store at 1828 N. Croatan Hwy, and a boat sales, rental and repair business requested approval for a 2400 square foot shop at 1906 S. Croatan Highway.

Also approved at the meeting was a revision to the town code allowing outdoor gas fire pits with approval from the fire marshal, and the approval of a zoning amendment to protect sand dunes in town beyond CAMA regulations.

The mayor reminded the public to mark their calendars for the annual ice cream social on September 26 from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

“It’s one of our favorite days of the year here in Kill Devil Hills when we eat ice cream together in September and celebrate that we’ve made it through another crazy summer,” Sproul said. The town provides hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and ice cream.