Dare to survey local merchants on worker housing

By on September 17, 2020

(Dare County)

In June 2018, the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce asked the Dare County Commissioners to consider zoning changes, including allowing accessory dwelling units and more multi-family structures and increasing dwelling densities per acre. Those measures, chamber officials said, were designed to address a critical shortage of affordable housing that poses a serious obstacle to attracting skilled workers to Dare County, thus harming the local economy.

Since that time, the issue of creating more “essential” housing in the county has flickered on and off the front burner with the commissioners approving some zoning changes to try and encourage its creation. But making significant progress on easing the county’s essential housing crunch has proved to be a daunting task. Now, the county is turning to its business community for some answers — literally.

On Sept. 14, Dare County and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced they had developed a survey that seeks input from local business owners and employers regarding their employees’ housing needs. The idea is to identify the most significant challenges associated with the shortage of housing options within the county.

The survey asks employers to provide information on a wide array of employee housing issues that range from the length of an employee’s one-way commute from their residence to what business owners believe to be the biggest obstacles to potential employees securing housing within Dare County. Participants’ responses to the 14-question survey are completely confidential and will be used to inform Dare County officials of the type and scale of housing that is needed in order to better support the local Outer Banks economy.

The survey is the result of a partnership formed between Dare County and the Development Finance Initiative (DFI), a program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Government. Dare County’s partnership with the DFI aims to assess the demand for additional housing options in the county and to identify opportunities for new real estate developments that will better serve the community.

To access the Dare County Housing Needs survey and submit your responses, visit darenc.com/EmployerHousingSurvey.



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