Manteo commissioners say no to wastewater treatment access for proposed essential housing development

Published 4:21 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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The Manteo Board of Commissioners unanimously turned down Dare County’s plan to build 46 essential housing units and hook up with the town’s wastewater treatment plant.

Meeting on Sept. 6, 2023, the commissioners heard from five constituents who voiced opposition to the project, called the Bowsertown or Sanderling project.

Dare County manager Robert L. Outten said “we’ve done everything you’ve asked us to do.”

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Outten listed the changes made to the project: reduced the size to 46 units; agreed to work with the town to construct the development in the “Manteo Way;” pay impact fees as calculated by the town; pay for costs associated with hooking up to the town’s wastewater system, including a lift station; figured out how to include 10 of the 46 units for teachers.

Outten finished: “we need your help. We want to get this project moving.”

Commissioner Sherry Wickstrom said, after talking about the large need for housing, “I don’t think the solution is this 46 units.”

She finished with “it doesn’t make sense.”

Commissioner Tod Clissold commented that “constituents are not in favor of connecting to the sewer system.” He announced he would vote no.

Commissioner Ruth Stetson said “I can’t find any support for this development. I’m a no.”

Commissioner Eddie Mann voiced his no vote.

Wickstrom made the motion to decline the connection requested by Dare County to Manteo’s wastewater treatment plant.

After a long absence due to illness, commissioner Darrell Collins took his seat for this meeting and voted with the other five commissioners against the connection.

In additional public comments, Martha Wickre thanked town manager Melissa Dickerson and town staff for the work with a smile at the town’s events and concert. “I’m thankful that I live in Manteo.”

She also requested that the gazebo on the town’s dock be named after Carl Jordan, who served as dockmaster for 18 years.

Matt Comstock backed Wickre. “I’ll pay for the plaque,” said Comstock.

Talmadge Davis joined Wickre and Comstock and testified that Jordan was a “good friend” from childhood.

Donna Creef, government affairs director for the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, asked the board to join Dare and Currituck county commissioners and adopt a resolution urging passage of the National Flood Insurance Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2023 as introduced by Sen. Robert Mendez (D-NJ). The existing authorization expires Sept. 30, 2023.

Nicole Northrup, chairperson of the town’s Planning and Zoning Committee, asked that the commissioners host a public meeting about roads and traffic with a NCDOT representative.