Nags Head approves site plan with conditions for 90-room hotel

Published 11:50 am Monday, October 16, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Last September, House Engineering submitted a site plan for a four-story, 90-unit hotel called Inn at Whalebone, located at 6632 W. Pheasant Avenue. The site plan was approved, but it is set to expire this month. The applicant resubmitted the plan, and the planning board approved with stormwater improvements.

Residents have been concerned about the increased traffic in the area generated by a 90-room hotel. However, NCDOT reviewed the traffic impact analysis that was provided and shared no comment of concern.

Commissioner Renee Cahoon originally made a motion to table the application until an updated plan for expanding Lakeside Drive to account for the added traffic. A representative from House Engineering came up to the podium and asked the board to reconsider approving the site plan because of the time involved and because the applicant had already complied to make multiple changes according to the town’s requests.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Commissioner Cahoon changed her motion to approval as presented with the condition that Lakeside Drive be improved by the applicant to include a left turn/right turn out at the intersection of Hwy 158 as well as explore any possible widening of Lakeside Drive from the westernmost exit to Hwy 158.

Though the vote was approved unanimously, Mayor Ben Cahoon said that he is concerned about imposing “at the late hour” a condition for three lanes and a 40-foot right-of-way that he believes is going to be “extremely difficult.”

Commissioners also held a public hearing to consider a text amendment to town code to clarify regulations on pawn shops. The board approved changes that state that pawn shops and pawn brokers are not permitted in town, but jewelry shops may engage in the appraisal and purchase of jewelry and similar items. Jewelry shops may also bring in precious metal dealers for a specified amount of time.

Representatives from Moffatt & Nichol gave a presentation about a beach nourishment master plan and discussed long-range sand placement locations and pricing options.

Moffatt & Nichol discussed two options. The first would be to nourish the entirety of Nags Head beaches every six years. Each nourishment would cost $33.43 million, for a total of $273.94 million over 50 years (actually, 48).

The second option is an alternating cycle that focuses more on the areas of town that need sand placement more frequently – areas south of Jennette’s Pier would be nourished every five years, and the entire town would be nourished every 10 years.

For the alternating cycle option, a single nourishment would cost $21.2 million dollars on the five-year cycles, and $36.46 million on the 10-year cycles, for a grand total of $294.5 million over 50 years.

These options assume that the next beach nourishment would start around 2026. If there is a major storm or hurricane, some money may come from FEMA, potentially reducing the town’s financial burden.

The data used for beach nourishment is based on studies performed in the summer months. For a fuller understanding of sand erosion and placement needs, commissioners approved a wintertime study not to exceed $75,000.

In other business, commissioners finally approved a resolution to close a portion of Old Nags Head Woods Road. The section in consideration was designated as an easement to provide property owners access to their properties with the creation of the Ralph Buxton subdivision. Town manager Andy Garman said that neighboring property owners have developed their properties with access to the road, therefore the purpose for which the easement was provided to the town has been fulfilled and is no longer necessary.

The board also approved a bid for the Old Nags Head Place drainage project to Enviro-Tech Unlimited Construction for $524,000.

The town encouraged residents to come out for Community Clean-Up Day on Saturday, October 28 from 9 a.m. to noon starting at Dowdy Park. In 2019 there were 70 participants, and the town is hoping for 100 this year. A pizza lunch will be provided to volunteers at Dowdy Park.