A pizzeria stirs up neighbors in Nags Head

By on September 21, 2022

Town says Nags Head Pizza is in compliance with rules

U.S. Senator Richard Burr expressed his concerns about the pizzeria at the Sept. 7 meeting.

In the latest chapter of the neighborhood dispute over the Nags Head Pizza Company, Nags Head Town Manager Andy Garman sent a Sept. 16 letter to the Nags Head historic district homeowners who had expressed concerns about the business at the Sept. 7 town commissioners meeting.

In the letter, which addressed five specific concerns, Garman stated that Nags Head Pizza is in compliance with town regulations in terms of parking lot congestion, setback requirements, the need for a vegetative buffer and onsite parking. He noted that there are some minor modifications that may be in the works, but he affirmed that Nags Head Pizza is playing by the rules.

Garman also sent an earlier Aug. 30 letter to neighborhood residents conveying a similar message and stating that some of the concerns about the pizzeria are “based on inaccurate information.”

In business since 2017 at their original location at the Gone Coastal Complex on the Manteo-Nags Head Causeway, Nags Head Pizza Company held the grand opening of their new location at 4036 S. Virginia Trail on July 4th weekend.

The board of commissioners meeting and the Garman letters come after a simmering dispute that included letters sent by residents to town officials as well as calls to the police about sound and light ordinances, which turned up nothing significant.

Nags Head Pizza co-owner Hilarey Ball told the Voice she had no idea the business would generate this kind of pushback, since the property has been in a commercial zone for over 60 years. She noted that the dispute has been “frustrating and time consuming for everyone,” but added that, “We are grateful to the town for supporting us and for doing their best to defuse the situation.”

That situation appeared to come to a head at the Sept. 7 Nags Head Commissioners when residents, speaking during the public comment period, complained about issues ranging from privacy to safety concerns.

Ed Tankard, an Eastville, Virginia resident who owns a neighboring home, said he had to put up fencing around his house, declaring that “People are eating along the road outside of our house. It’s not private. We’ve endured this nightmare all summer long.”

Elaine Wood, a Raleigh resident who has owned the home across the street from Nags Head Pizza Company since 2018, said, “I don’t want to have to screen in my porch. I know people don’t like to be looking at us on our porch and we don’t want to be looking at people chewing their food on a regular basis.”

Charles Grice McMullan, a Richmond resident whose family has owned surrounding lots on Virginia Dare Trail for three generations, expressed concern about the pizzeria’s customers intruding on his property two lots over. “It’s just a matter of time, human nature being what it is, that someone will try to swim in our pool – and we consider that a threat, and really dangerous,” he said.

The most notable speaker at the meeting was U.S. Senator Richard Burr, who owns a vacation home on one of the neighboring lots.

“Here’s our ask,” he told the board. “Let’s roll the permit back to take-out only until there is a compliance with public safety, vegetation, set-back requirements, and the parking that’s required for a facility like this. It’s a public safety issue.”

In his initial Aug. 30 letter, Garman politely refuted the idea that the owners were in violation of Nags Head zoning rules.

“Please understand that there were no variances issued for this approval. Any type of restaurant is permitted in the C-2 district,” wrote Garman. “A variance is only required if the development cannot meet the standards in the ordinance…In this case, the development met the standards so no variance was needed, sought, or granted by anyone.”

The letter added that “since the use is considered a permitted use, we only have the ability to determine if it meets our standards or not. Because the standards are met for this use, staff was required to approve it. Such an approval is not a discretionary matter for the Board of Commissioners nor for staff.”

In the later Sept. 16 letter, Garman reported that the town has discussed with the owners the idea of adding a vegetative screen along the north lot line and along the wall where the picnic tables are located, stating that they have “expressed a willingness to do this.” The letter also reported that “the owners are also looking into signage that would designate several of the parking spaces as take-out only.”

For her part, Ball said the town has been very supportive and agreeable in working with them and letting the neighbors know what they are doing is legal. But she acknowledged that for her and her business partners, husband Lewis Ball, and Kevin Bancroft, this has been a difficult experience.

“We’re just two families trying to feed our kids,” she said. “We’re not trying to get rich. We’re just trying to make a living. We’ve lived here our whole lives. We love this community. We’ve always had a focus on inclusivity and spreading a welcoming feeling…so then to have this negative force acting against us has been really challenging.”






  • Andrew

    This bunch of arrogant and entitled non-residents (I’m a NRPO, by the way) believe their property rights are superior to the property rights of a legitimate business owner who is in full compliance with all zoning and permitting requirements. Not a single legitimate safety concern, incident of trespass, or customer problem was cited. But I am so sorry these neighbors had to deal with the summer-long “nightmare” of customers eating pizza along Beach Road. It is laughable to think a business should be shut down or somehow modified because a neighbor can see people chewing food, and even more absurd to think a business should be restricted because someone might swim in a neighbor’s pool. What? How does one say that with a straight face? Then we have Senator Burr, who expressed his “concerns” about public safety. Is NH Pizza the only restaurant on Beach Road, or is it just more dangerous near the Senator’s house? So much for Republican respect for private property and support for small business. At least do your research before whining about trumped up complaints, pre-textual safety concerns and “potential” problems. This business operates by right, not by variance or conditional use permit. Although the property has been in commercial use for 60 years, these neighbors got used to the property being idle or vacant over the last few years. All of them bought their properties with full knowledge of being next to or near a commercial use. I hear it’s still a good seller’s market if you don’t like the neighborhood. I’ll be frequenting NH Pizza. The food is great. I usually get take-out but I’m going to start eating there. I will chew quietly and stay out of nearby pools.

    Sunday, Sep 25 @ 10:21 pm
  • Dickie Coleman

    Went there for dinner this past Sunday. The building and grounds look great, better than it ever has, even when it was Nags Head post office. I really don’t understand what all the complaints are about. Seemed to me to be a very quiet setting. Heck, they don’t even serve alcohol! Their neighbors need to get a life.Enjoy your ocean views.Who wants to sit on a deck and stare at the beach road when your cottage has an ocean view anyway?

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 9:09 am
  • Glenn

    I will be supporting this Pizza place on my next trip to Nags Head for food. Nice to know some swimming pools are nearby!

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 12:08 pm
  • Dickie Ashe

    Who would have thought that pizza 🍕 eating Commies would be the down fall of the Outer Banks.
    I should have seen it coming God help us all 🙏

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 12:49 pm
  • John Doe

    Richard Burr probably bought shorts for dough, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese and now his stock options failing.

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 4:10 pm
  • Mike J

    I Can’t wait to chew my pizza out in the parking lot for all to see next month.

    Did they think it would be a Montessori school forever?

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 8:37 am
  • Quibbler

    It’s amusing how many comments this article has received, how political leanings have managed their way into some of them, and how emotional some are.

    Mark, where does this one stand in the rankings of number of comments received?

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 12:28 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Quibbler, this is one of the biggest topics ever, if not the biggest, for comments. The only time that there may have been more were in the early days of the COVID pandemic, when resident property owners and visitors were not allowed into Dare County.

    On our Facebook page, this story generated about 500 comments, which I do believe is an all-time record.

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 12:39 pm
  • WindyBill

    Myself and a few friends will have pizza there today. We will sit outside wearing swim rings.

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 12:49 pm
  • Karene Butler

    Notice all the people complaining own vacation homes there, not permanent residents like the business owners. Sounds like a bunch off rich entitled assholes to me. Leave the people alone and let them run their business. And I doubt very seriously that someone going out to eat pizza is going to swim in anyones pool. Be real you whining dumb asses.

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 6:25 pm
  • Irene

    “Since corrupt people unite among themselves to constitute a force, then honest people must do the same”

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 8:31 pm
  • NotSure

    “A Pizzeria Stirs Up Out Of Town McMansion Owners In Nags Head” There, I fixed it for you.

    Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 7:14 am
  • nonya

    So called Sen Burr can flick off as well as all the karens! that place was a restaurant long before most if not all of them were born! It was a steakhouse, I forget the name but it was really good. that was in the early 70s

    Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 8:30 am
  • Robert Jones

    It’s not often that such effete snobbery is put on public display. God forbid someone have to observe the act of pizza munching from their front porch. I’m surprised that they’re not suing the Sun from shining in their eyes in the afternoon. What we should do is try to invoke imminent domaine to buy these snobs out as the business will provide tax income for the town and county as well as a place to feed and entertain the general public. The area is much more in need of beach parking than it is snob impoundments.

    Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 10:43 am
  • 102

    Got to agree. How long has that senator owned that property, or how long has the rest of the Northern Va. folks owned the property. It’ the same old bull shit. I got money and they want to run a business across the street from me. I’m part of the selected few that need to be kicked out of the swamp in D.C. I can dictate to whom ever I want because I’m an important asset to the government and I need my privacy. These people have complied to all the codes and have been given a permission from the town to run a business in a building that has been empty for over 2 years. Don’t vote for Burr or his corneys. And if any town official that is elected agrees with bird and his friends don’t vote for them either.

    Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 5:53 pm
  • Fat Guy

    I had to try the pizza after hearing about this. It was really good and we’ll definitely be going back.

    Thursday, Sep 29 @ 1:24 pm
  • Happily Retired

    These non resident property owners complain about this nicely renovated property yet 300 feet away Surfside Plaza in all of it’s dated glory doesn’t catch their wrath. Interesting.

    Thursday, Sep 29 @ 4:09 pm
  • Grateful

    Thank goodness a US Senator is working on the important issues of our nation.

    Thursday, Sep 29 @ 6:24 pm
  • KDH Resident

    I for one am appalled by the comments in this thread, and demand action! Completely ignored are the hideous houses that are blocking the view of the ocean and the threat to public safety they, and the pool two blocks away, pose.

    Friday, Sep 30 @ 10:39 am
  • Estes

    I want some pizza now! Do I have to wear a shirt?

    Saturday, Oct 1 @ 3:00 pm
  • charlie

    If Burr wants a job in retirement-I heard a few pool maintenance companies are looking for technicians… Pool Boy Dickie has a nice ring to it…

    Saturday, Oct 1 @ 3:22 pm
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