Kill Devil Hills discusses restricting overnight beach access parking

Published 11:15 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

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Kill Devil Hills commissioners were divided about whether to close the beach access parking lots in town from midnight to 3 a.m. to discourage overnight parking.

The current ordinance has no restrictions on overnight parking. As a result, some people in neighboring vacation rental properties use the accesses as overflow parking. While this isn’t technically an issue in the middle of the night, it does pose a problem the next morning when beachgoers are unable to find a parking spot because of long-term parked cars.

“I’ve been to beach accesses at 10 or 11 in the morning and it’s full,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ivy Ingram. “There are many, many accesses where at least a third of the cars at that access are parked from the house next door – it’s obvious.”

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She believes restricting parking in the middle of the night will still allow late night beach strollers as well as early bird fishermen to use the access, but it will prohibit those seeking overflow parking.

Commissioner BJ McAvoy, however, vehemently disagreed with the proposed amendment to the town code, saying that it punishes everybody.

“Plenty of people are out after midnight,” McAvoy said. I don’t like it. Nags Head has [that ordinance] and I don’t agree with it.”

Ingram responded: “If you could find 10 people who want to be there after midnight you could find a hundred who tried to get there at 10 o’clock and couldn’t find a spot. I know a lot of people who don’t even go to the beach in Kill Devil Hills because [the beach accesses are] full.”

She said the point of the ordinance would be to send a message to the people who are using the lot as overflow, to say that they cannot do this.

“Laws aren’t meant to send a message,” McAvoy responded. “They’re meant to be enforced.”

The issue of enforcement prompted a question from Mayor John Windley: How would the police enforce this?

Commissioners had no easy answer to this question. They decided to table the issue to give the public the opportunity to offer input.

Though McAvoy said he wanted to return to the issue “never,” the board approved a motion to delay the issue until a public hearing on June 26.