By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on March 22, 2020
Dare County can approve an exception to its current restrictions on non-resident property owners entering the county. But it is one that would only apply to “something dire,” according to Dare County Manager Bobby Outten.
This issue emerged into public view on March 21 when the Nags Head Board of Commissioners called an emergency meeting to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a post that appeared on his Facebook page, Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon explained that one of the actions taken at the meeting was “to ask the Mayor to ask the County if there is a mechanism to allow non-resident property owners, who may have been in the middle of a project when they were barred from entry Friday night, and whose property may be in a compromised state, to finish what they were doing. And to do so without adding excessively to the Deputies’ burdens at the checkpoints.”
In his post, Cahoon added that in regard to that question, “I have learned, and reported to the Board, that the County was already responsibly addressing this issue on a case-by-case basis countywide.”
In an interview with the Voice, Outten stressed that any such exception to allow a non-resident property owner into Dare County would require “extreme circumstances…For the most part, the Control Group has said that that non-resident property owner is out.”
Outten added that, “We have a team that is evaluating [requests for exceptions] on a case by case basis.”
At the same time, in an apparent acknowledgment of the passions and tensions that have erupted over the county’s move to restrict non-resident property owners, Dare County Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard posted a message on the morning of March 22 on the OBX Locals site.
“As you know, the Control Group voted to restrict visitors and non-resident property owners form entering the OBX,” he wrote. “These are hard decisions but the right decision…Please know we have to make tough decisions during tough times. This is hard on our businesses, but they are behind this decision too. There are now 6 States locked down and I’m sure there will be more coming.”