By Kip Tabb | Outer Banks Voice on May 1, 2021
Update: At their May 3 meeting, the Currituck County Commissioners postponed any vote on the controversial noise ordinance until their next meeting on May 17. In making the announcement, Commissioner Bob White referred to what he characterized as significant public confusion about what the revised ordinance would and would not do. The revised ordinance was first proposed at the board’s April 5 meeting when White moved to continue the discussion at the April 19. The commissioners, however, then voted to move the item to the May 3 meeting.
Amid concerns about the impact on the quality of life in residential neighborhoods, the Currituck County Board of Commissioners will vote on revisions to the county’s noise ordinance at its meeting Monday, May 3.
If passed without changes, the revised noise ordinance would remove restrictions on the number of excessive noise permits that can be issued. Currently, the county is only allowed to issue two permits per year per location. The draft proposal includes residential neighborhoods in the permit process.
The revised ordinance was first proposed at the board’s April 5 meeting when Commissioner Bob White moved to continue the discussion at the April 19. But the commissioners voted to move the item to the May 3 meeting for a vote.
Speaking at the April 5 meeting, Currituck County Attorney Ike McRee said the current ordinance is so restrictive in terms of how many permits can be issued that it could impact operations at county facilities, especially the Whalehead Club and Historic Corolla Park.
“You can imagine from our Travel and Tourism Department — that would end their ability to have weddings, or perhaps a number of other events, at Historic Corolla Park. And of course, it would have a heavy impact and cause the same problems for a number of wedding venues…throughout the county,” McRee said.
Also speaking at the meeting, Commissioner Bob White, who lives in Corolla, agreed, noting that “it turns out to be a problem that you can only have two events a year in an area like ours where you have multiple weddings going on. And we hold multiple events for the county at our parks, so it even affected us at a county level.”
Commissioner Paul Beaumont, however, expressed concern about the impact on residential areas.
“Not everybody on the Outer Banks is a vacationer, and there are quite a few people who live there,” he asserted. Beaumont also noted that the increase on weekends to 80 decibels within 25 feet of a home in a residential area could be disruptive.
“Decibels are not lineal,” he said. “It is an exponential increase.”
Those worries were echoed by Corolla resident Clark Hoyt.
“It means that if your neighbor happens to rent their home during the summer season, all of a sudden the noise that can emanate from there goes up by thirty percent. It just changes the character of residential neighborhoods,” he said.