Despite concerns, Nags Head Planning Board approves site plan for 90-unit hotel

By on August 16, 2022

Rendering of the proposed hotel. (Town of Nags Head)

By a 4-2 vote on Aug. 16, the Nags Head Planning Board recommended that the town commissioners approve the site plan for Inn at Whalebone, a four-story 90-unit hotel being proposed for 6632 W. Pheasant Avenue.

Board members Molly Harrison and David Elder cast the dissenting votes, citing concerns about traffic flow and safety as well as stormwater management at the site. Other members voiced similar concerns about the project, but in voting to recommend approval, they acknowledged that the site plan complied with town standards.

The property, situated near the Duck Thru gas station, is just south of Nags Head Golf Links and the Village at Nags Head and just north of the Soundside Event site where the event center is being proposed. The hotel would be accessed off of Lakeside Street, which is used as an access to the residential subdivision of Roanoke Shores, which lies west of the proposed hotel.

House Engineering, P.C. of Kitty Hawk is the applicant for the project, which would be located in the Village at Nags Head Hotel District. There are 93 parking spaces proposed for the hotel, which includes architectural features such as dormers and a covered porch area.

During the planning board discussion portion of the meeting, Elder addressed the potential traffic conflicts at the site. “There are just a lot of minor conflicts and what I’m hearing and seeing is that none of it is really conflicting with the zoning as it is.  But in a community where, with service and infrastructure we are already at peak…how are we going to deal with this,” he said.

Harrison and others echoed Elder’s comments. “I understand that they are compliant with everything, but I have serious concerns about the traffic,” Harrison said.

For his part, Planning Board Member Meade Gwinn voiced concern over hotel guests trying to cross U.S.158 on foot. “You have a lot of people who might want to walk over to the beach,” she said. “I’m concerned about not only vehicles coming out onto U.S. 158 from Lakeside, but I’m also concerned about foot traffic – [people] with little kids and umbrellas and stuff trying to walk across the street to get down to the ocean.”

Board Member Kristi Wright added that, “I can tell you that I turn down Lakeside on a regular basis and it’s a problem now before you even put that hotel there,” she said. “It’s hard to maneuver…It’s hard to get in there.”

Gary Ferguson expressed concern about the project as well but added that it meets the zoning ordinance and thus, leaves the planning board with no other choice.

“Given that I think it’s totally out of character with the area…that’s not the issue. I mean, the issue is really that they meet the zoning [requirements], and therefore, I think our hands are somewhat tied. It’s a permitted use. It’s like building a single-family house in a residential zoning district,” he said.

In the end, Gwinn made the motion to recommend approval.

“This does meet all of the requirements, is consistent with the vision and the focus of Nags Head and will be a wonderful complement to the event site that will be built over on the soundside,” Gwinn said, adding that traffic issues remain.

“I do believe that [between] the time of approval to the time that construction begins on this project, that there would be considerable thought and some action taken that would focus on the safety of pedestrian traffic, as well as vehicular traffic coming off of Lakeside,” Gwinn added.

The Board of Commissioners are expected to take up the site plan at its September meeting.


  • Sandra Doucette

    Shame on you Stan and Susan White! I’m sure you would not stand for this hotel if it was going up in your backyard!

    Thursday, Aug 18 @ 7:20 am
  • kdh back seat reviewer

    When it fails and has to close within 10 years or is bounced around being sold from one ownership group to another ownership group, it will be just another joke of a business.

    And yes, once the first fatality occurs from crossing the bypass to get to the beach from a guest staying at the Inn, then reality might set in. Maybe the hotel will have the foresight to have a shuttle bus or something formidable to transport guests to and from the beach.

    Thursday, Aug 18 @ 7:29 am
  • In response to WindyBill

    Funny you should bring the parking up. We all know that each “room” will probably have 2 or 3 cars, as they will probably convert over to a rental home shortly after.
    That IS definitely a shocking scenario for parking.
    As a former employee of the Marriott, yes the proposed hotel will probably leave one person to deal with guests. Cannot attest to current conditions, however I was left almost nightly as one person for a 142 room property, not to mention that property stretches from the beach road almost to the bypass .the theory supposedly was new construction, no issues, yeah right!
    Not to mention, of course nobody in the hotel wanted a pillow, shampoo, etc. So potentially you could be walking from hwy 12 to almost 158 to drop off any item requested. Not to mention manning the phones and the safety of guests.
    What a horrifying joke.
    I will say many workers tried to accommodate guests as much as possible.

    EVERY business here is affected by no housing =no staff..tourists are complaining, workers are exhausted, how does the county/towns propose to help stop the bleeding? Oh wait let’s build more stuff and neglect the people or glue that keeps the outer banks functioning. Sounds wonderful, hope all the incoming retirees/remote workers don’t like or need groceries, dining out etc.
    This has been addressed on this media outlet sooo many times. Can they not hear our cries for help??? Seems more so like, doesn’t affect me, therefore we don’t care..sad.

    Thursday, Aug 18 @ 8:52 am
  • resident

    Where are the commissioners that ran on sustainable tourism? In the past commissioners voted down proposals to build a hotel in this same location. What happened to all the studies that were done on this topic? What are the results of these studies? The tourist bureau are the ones that pushed for this event center and hotel. This is who we need to watch out for .The tourist bureau has one objective and that is to increase tourism to the extent that the environment cannot sustain. It is not enough that businesses have had record profits in the last 3 years. The tourist bureau caters to the realty companies, restaurants , wedding industry and does not care about year round residents or the environmental impact on these barrier islands.

    Thursday, Aug 18 @ 11:04 am
  • Greg

    People will try to cross “danger alley” on foot. A traffic signal accompanied by a good pedestrian signal will be needed and a median to control left turning traffic. That is standard procedure in most places with a similar situation. That is just being safe.

    Thursday, Aug 18 @ 4:51 pm
  • Patricia Novak

    I strongly believe that the
    answer to people wanting to
    cross to the beach over the
    roadway would definitely be
    to do what other communities
    with similar safety issues would
    be to build an elevated walkway,
    enclosed, over the highway as
    is done in other areas where
    there is high pedestrian
    traffic over dangerous to cross
    roadways for both the pedestrians and the highway
    It has been effective in many
    Everyone I have brought this idea
    up to strongly agrees and we
    feel this should be seriously
    addressed by the Commission!!!
    Please address this seriously
    and respond to the public.

    Friday, Aug 19 @ 12:41 am
  • charlie

    was it just sheer coincidence that the tourism bureau backed off on their idea for a hotel and—shazaam– This hotel project materialized..

    Friday, Aug 19 @ 4:53 am
  • Phoebe

    I went to the Town of Nags Head government website to see what idiots made this decision.
    And to see if their party affiliations were listed. This is what I found under the Board of Commissioners “Vision” for the town. I highly encourage everyone to do the same. See exactly who is making these decisions.

    Under SHARED VALUES- “… the town must be a good place to live before it can be a good place to visit. We strive to preserve & protect the NH character, and sense of place in order to ensure a high quality of life for residents and a memorable family vacation experience for present and future generations.”

    Under LEGACY- “We uphold our legacy by protecting and promoting our small town character that includes a sustainable local economy based on family vacation tourism, a high quality beach experience, and small locally owned businesses.” and “…. ensuring access to a well- protected natural coastal environment.”

    What a joke!!! But it’s NOT funny. It’s what I’ve called the “raping” of the land here on the OBX for some time now. How much richer do SAGA & others have to get? This didn’t just start this year or last year. It’s been going on for some time now. I just wish everyone would stop voting along party lines Dems or Repubs and figure out who has OUR best interest. They don’t, and have proved it time & time again. We need to start voting for people that listen to us, the locals who live here, work here, and struggle to make a decent & honest living. It seems the same Board members (and other politicians) keep getting elected over and over again. It’s time for some NEW blood to throw their hats in the ring. Folks who care to make a change and STOP what is being allowed to happen!!! It may already be too late….

    Friday, Aug 19 @ 5:33 pm
  • Enough

    At this point I feel like the only way to stop this is to exercise the God given American right to protest

    Saturday, Aug 20 @ 12:59 am
  • West 3nd girl

    This is what they come up for housing shortage oh wait no it’s not for long-term rentals. It’s for people to vacation at this is f****** crazy something needs to be done somebody needs to step up to the plate. I guess we have to stay tuned.

    Saturday, Aug 20 @ 10:02 am
  • joseph davis

    take a gem and destory it outer banks

    Saturday, Aug 20 @ 5:08 pm
  • Jackie Harris

    where are the employees going to park, If it is 90 units and 93 parking spots that means the staff will have yo park at the event site or go kart tracks.

    Monday, Aug 22 @ 7:45 am
  • Charles

    These are the comments I expected here and is simply mind boggling. Outside of the obvious greed element involved here there is no need for more, more, more.

    The infrastructure everywhere is already crushed under the weight of over tourism. It has reached the point on Hatteras Island that you root for rain just get rid of the trash truck smell on all the side streets. Yes, it is that bad.

    And the houses going up down here are not small ones. Easy 20 to 30 extra people a week that cannot understand why they cannot go out to eat anymore. “What, that one is closed now too?” Get used to it.

    Tuesday, Aug 23 @ 3:52 pm
  • RD

    It looks like the OBX is destined to be another Virginia Beach or Atlantic City. It’s just a matter of time until we’re gonna need an interstate highway parallel to the shoreline, back on the sound side, kind of like the way I-64 bypasses Oceanview, heading to the Hampton Roads tunnel. Thank God, at least I live on Colington island. that will hopefully only be developed so much, at least for a few more generations, unless The Dems successfully carry out their plans, and take away our private property, along with all of our other God-given rights. I still can’t believe that so many people in this country fell for the left’s propaganda and voted in a marxist government. Hopefully that will all change in November. Is that what’s going on in Manteo? It all starts somewhere.

    Wednesday, Aug 24 @ 7:08 pm
  • Sandflea

    Did that post make send to you when you typed it? The place is Republican driven. Look up who’s in Congress here and see if they have a R or D next to their name. I seriously question that you even know what’s Marxist or Socialist even is. The only “God given rights “ that you have are that you were born and will die.

    Thursday, Aug 25 @ 10:44 am