By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on January 12, 2021
During its meeting on Jan. 11, the Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a project by SAGA Construction that will include 14 four- and five-bedroom homes on the east side of N.C. 12 at Milepost 7.5. The project is the first one to take advantage of a 2019 amendment to the town’s zoning ordinance aimed at encouraging cluster homes as alternatives to what are often referred to as “mega-mansions.”
According to the site plan, the detached single-family homes will not exceed 2,500 square feet of gross floor area and would have a shared driveway and dune walkover with an open and covered deck. They would also have sprinkler systems in each unit due to limited fire department accessibility on the private access road.
Each home would feature an individual pool and under-the-house parking.
Speaking of the cluster home concept, Kill Devil Hills Mayor Ben Sproul noted before the vote that the town has worked toward for many years “to try to get to a point where we have other opportunities for developers, other than building gigantic ‘McMansions’…because there’s not a lot of taste for that among the local population despite their popularity among investors and possibly the public.”
Sproul offered kudos to SAGA for its engineering drawings, sprinkler systems and what he described as a complex and well-designed storm water system. “They really maximized it in all the ways that you would expect a smart plan to do so,” he added.
To encourage the development of cluster homes, the Kill Devil Hill Board of Commissioners in 2019 amended the Town Code to allow such developments to be a permitted use within the municipality’s commercial and ocean impact residential zoning districts. In June of 2018, the board had passed a similar amendment allowing cottage courts as a permitted use along the oceanfront.
Finally, in the spring of 2020, the Town Code was amended again to reduce lot width requirements for cluster home developments along N.C. 12 from 100 feet to 75 feet.
During a November Kill Devil Hill Planning Board meeting, SAGA Construction Chief Executive Officer Sumit Gupta said the proposal was an effort to avoid building two 20-plus bedroom homes on the property. After being tabled at that meeting so the company could submit required floor plans and elevations, the planning board in December unanimously recommended SAGA’s site plan for approval by commissioners.
At the time, Gupta said that he was “going against the grain” by constructing the cottages rather than large event homes. But, he added, “I feel like I am trying to do the right thing.”