New business prompts discussion on jet-ski traffic

By on November 6, 2011

The business would be behind Blackbeard's

Plans for a new watercraft rental business in Nags Head led to a wider discussion among town commissioners last week on just how much jet ski traffic the Roanoke Sound can handle.

On Trading Corp., owned by Nick Nuzzi, wants to build a facility that will offer rentals of personal watercraft, kayaks and canoes behind Blackbeard’s miniature golf and the Dairy Queen at milepost 16.

The business will also feature a 21-seat tour boat. Plans call for a concrete walkway running along the north side of the miniature golf course to a ticket booth, with a boardwalk leading to a gazebo and the rental craft on the soundfront.

Up to four boat slips would be built.

Commissioners approved the site plan Wednesday but not before discussing if this should be the last jet ski rental operation in Nag Head. The project still needs a major Coastal Area Management Act permit.

The town ordinance allows no more than seven rental companies with eight jet skis each. The On Trading operation will be the town’s sixth.

“I think we have enough,” said Commissioner Anna Sadler.

Sadler said she was mainly concerned with safety because of the growth of windsurfing and kite boarding in the same area.

One suggestion was to enact an ordinance that would deliniate territory with buoys, but Planning Director Elizabeth Teague said the town had no jurisdiction over sound waters.

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Existing businesses already have informal agreements on areas where their jet skis can operate and Commissioner Doug Remaley said that age requirements and instructions used by existing companies should address safety concerns.

Teague suggested that instructions and other safety measures be made part of operational plans that businesses must submit to the town. That seemed to satisfy commissioners, at least for the time being.

Another concern was a plan to use the restrooms at the miniature golf course, which is on a piece of land that the Dare County Tourism Board had been negotiating to buy and add to its waterfront property at the old Windmill Point site.

Sadler, who is also a member of the Tourism Board, said the possible purchase is off the table for now. But the board’s Steering Committee, she said, plans to ask for a feasibility study to look at possible uses of the property. Already envisioned is a multi-use facility. Adding the On Trading property could allow an adjacent hotel and restaurant to be built.

If the land was eventually sold to the Tourism Board or anyone else, customers at the rental facility could use restrooms at the Dairy Queen, which is also owned by On Trading.

But an easement would be required between the Dairy Queen and the waterfront business to provide access.


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