Amusement rides set to start Memorial weekend

By on April 9, 2013

Rides include a Ferris wheel. (Boardwalk Attractions)

Rides include a Ferris wheel. (Boardwalk Attractions)

The owner of Full Throttle Speedway in Nags Head has received the green light to run an outdoor amusement park this summer, with a Ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl and other rides for school-age children.

Darnell Tillett said the park would open Memorial Day weekend and run through Labor Day.

Town commissioners last week approved the site plan for the makeshift amusement park under a sunset clause that ends in November. The Board of Commissioners will have to take up the issue again after the one-season test run.

“We want to get a feel for it this year and see what happens,” Tillett said this week. “Our goal is to target the younger kids who don’t have a lot to do down here. In the next year or two, we’d like to expand and make it larger. We plan to add some rides for the older kids.”

Rides began arriving this week.

Rides began arriving this week.

In addition to the Ferris wheel and tilt-a-whirl, there will be four kiddie rides for children ages 5 to 10 and three or four amusement games, Tillett said. Junior racers — child-sized go-karts — will also be added to the site on U.S. 158 at milepost 15.5.

According to the site plan, the Ferris wheel would not exceed 60 feet and all other rides would be required to be under 35 feet. Town commissioners approved a zoning exception earlier this year allowing for the Ferris wheel to exceed the 35-foot height restriction in the town.

The Ferris wheel will be about 80 feet away from any property boundary, and a 10-foot buffering is required along residential property lines. The site will include 80 parking spaces.

These were parked at the old Dowdy's amusements site.

These were parked at the old Dowdy’s amusements site.

Historically, town leaders have strictly followed the town’s lighting ordinance, but under the plan, amusement ride lighting has been exempt from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. from May 15 to Sept. 15.

Late last year, commissioners approved a zoning amendment to allow outdoor amusements throughout the commercial-outdoor recreational uses overlay district, which stretches along the bypass from Forbes Street near the old Windmill Point site south across the causeway. The district includes a little more than 40 properties.

Tillett also owns Mutiny Bay Adventure Golf, located in the same overlay district.


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