Letter to the Editor: ‘Affloodable’ housing and a whodunit

Published 11:42 am Monday, October 16, 2023

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To the Editor:

Funny, I was fishing on one of our unique piers a few days back and a shiny black grackle was talking to this starling. Those of you who fish the local piers know the birds I’m talking about. The grackle had stolen a piece of my bait earlier and boastfully asked (they mimic all sorts of sounds) the starling, “Hey, you heard about the affloodable housing the state’s gonna build down here?” The starling twisted his head sideways and asked “don’t you mean affordable housing?” The grackle shook his head, made a grackle noise and replied “nope! I hear the state took over the affloodable housing decision process out here, and they gonna build a lot of homes out over the marsh.”

Then he flew off as did the starling, who eyed my bait before it left. Cute, right? Stupid maybe? But nowhere near as chicken-hearted as the decision by the state legislators that basically “curtailed the Dare County towns’ ability to regulate affordable housing projects” (the OBX Voice, 09/27/23). And, takes away control of the $35 million awarded by the state previously to Dare County and places key decision making back in the hands of the state.

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And this sneaky move after Kitty Hawk residents recently won a key victory by supporting approval of an “amendment (that) would not allow any wetlands to count towards minimum lot sizes” (The Coastland Times, 9/18/23). Grackles, starlings and OBXers are wondering what this “transfer” back to the state for decision making will allow? One fear that rumbles around the town halls is that affordable housing (weren’t we trying to call these “essential” homes, not affordable?) would be placed on fringes of towns. Where will the state designate an OK site for an “affloodable” project? Look out for one in your historic neighborhood soon.

Another lost location opportunity for consideration lies across the street from Kitty Hawk after coming over the bridge on 168. The upper reaches of Ginguite Creek provide a beautiful site, but the saga for what will be built there and how far said location should infringe on surrounding properties continues. Seems also like a terrific deal was provided for the sale of this perfect location when sold a short time ago? And wouldn’t you like to own a “luxury condo” with another fancy OBX candy and upscale craft store below? Think of the view that will be afforded those who can “afford” to purchase. And, the lucky elementary school teachers can probably work and walk (from Kitty Hawk Elementary) to their second job in one of the shops on the first floor of the luxury complex.

The well written letter-to-the editor by Mayor Ben Sproul of KDH summarized “Section 28.4” succinctly in his CT letter declaring that the measure “will strip our towns of the ability to govern their own fates.” And the question posed by Amy Stone in a recent CT cover of the Dare BOC meeting, “who put Kidwell up to it?” gets personal and given the upcoming elections should cause all voters in Dare to re-evaluate if they wish to continue to fuel the political gene pool that gave rise to a state legislature that has devolved into trickery, unabated development (except of course for “essential” housing), and the mistaken assumption that democratic principles and fair play can be denied particularly if it means placing individual preferences above the will of the citizens of Dare County.

Start with this election cycle, vote out those who think essential housing should not be a top priority and don’t have a plan to make it so. And let’s hope that the long needed “task force” which will supposedly involve all towns will take emergency actions to place “essential” housing above luxury condos, and won’t provide housing built over the much needed wetlands.

The starling may have stolen my bait, but the current state legislature clawed back Dare County’s needed funds and could basically place “essential” housing anywhere. Fear those incumbents who unlike mayor Sproul wish to support their cronies and obviously do not care about Dare County’s ability to determine this strip of sand’s autonomy.

Russ Watkins
Southern Shores