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.”






  • amy

    Petty people. Richard Burr could use some of his dirty insider trading money to put up a barrier if he wishes. That building has been a post office (oh, no! people are pulling in and out at all hours!), a daycare center, and a horse used to pasture there (no complaints about the manure). Such a crock with theses entitled people.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 2:22 pm
  • S. T-Carver

    I have seen it all. These people crazy!! You have homes here, but don’t live here and yet, you’re worried about what again? People eating pizza, possibly swimming in your pool and what else? Grow up.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 2:25 pm
  • RicknKDH

    Never been there but now, Nags Head Pizzeria is my go to spot!

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 2:53 pm
  • Corey

    To my friends at Nags Head Pizza Company, you’ve done a great job and thank you for all the good pizza. You’ve worked hard, followed the rules, and and built a great local business. I’m sorry to learn you’ve had to endure this. Brush it off and be proud of all you’ve accomplished. You’ve got the support of your community! Looking forward to my next pie:-)

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 2:56 pm
  • Ken

    If you purchase residential property next a commercial lot you can’t complain because a business operates legally on the commercial lot. Or actually I guess you can, but you look foolish doing so. At some point repeated unwarranted complaints and/or police calls become harassment. I hope the town draws the line and has quietly told all involved that “enough is enough.”

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 3:07 pm
  • Dave Jones

    Capitalism is great, just not in their neighborhood. Selfish, entitled rich people complaining about working people trying to make a living.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 5:05 pm
  • Jeremy

    Dishonorable Richard Burr should not be speaking on matters regarding business owners trying to earn an honest living. Looking forward to my next slice.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 5:07 pm
  • Gary Dunstan, Nags Head

    Thank you to the town of Nags Head for standing up for private property rights. If those neighbors, who all seem to live elsewhere, wanted to control the use of this pizza restaurant property, then they should have bought or leased the property. We need more restaurants here on the OBX, and need these families who make their living here. It really gets under my skin when those who have never lived here on the OBX try to change the rules for those of us who do.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 5:27 pm
  • Amanda

    Notice that none of the “concerned” neighbors are local. I have never gone for pizza and thought the neighbor’s pool looked enticing. They should be grateful as their renters have pizza in walking distance. I’m sure most of the renters actually enjoyed their vacation and didn’t spy on people so they could see who was chewing with their mouth open!

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 5:54 pm
  • Nick

    Nobody cares about the residents from eastville, Raleigh and Richmond. What matters is that a locally owned small business is under fire from OUT OF TOWNERS WHO DO NOT LIVE THERE FULL TIME. As a resident of Virginia Beach and a homeowner, they should have known they were buying close to a commercial area. Out of town residents should not be trying to dim the light of a local business owner helping out the LOCAL economy.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 6:01 pm
  • Tim

    Think I’ll get some pizza this weekend and set up some beach chairs to stare at the neighboring houses from

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 6:07 pm
  • Kdh backseat reviewer

    Embarrassing that the business owners have to endure this nonsense. Eat more pizza

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 6:18 pm
  • CK

    Sounds like a great opportunity to float in the neighborhood pool with the best Za, and meet the curmudgeons on their porch.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 6:41 pm
  • Emily Desjardins

    I am completely unable to understand: one of the best pizza companies on earth moves to its new location and you can literally WALK THERE from your house, you never have to cook dinner again, and all you can think to do is complain and bully? Call the police on them for NO REASON AT ALL? WTF is the matter with these people???

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 7:01 pm
  • Stranger

    These “neighbors” sound completely unhinged if I’m being honest… especially this fella “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,” I honestly laughed out loud. If that’s your biggest problem right now, consider yourself fortunate.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 7:08 pm
  • Larri

    Wow!! Some people just like to complain about everything!! That’s Ridiculous there’s a lot of restaurants on the beach road, nobody wants to swim in their pool, I reckon that lady needs to put a shade on her front porch if she feels uncomfortable about a Great Pizza Spot being nearby.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 7:27 pm
  • OBXer

    As a resident here since 1985, I find the complaints of these property owners disgusting. These young business people have created a business that is a local favorite. After raising my children here I search out young business owners for the services they provide. Many of them are giving back to our community as NHP has done by helping local nonprofits. I can’t wait for my next pizza.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 7:43 pm
  • Irene

    From what I understand the mayor is also the pizzerias architect, seems like a conflict of interest to me and perhaps the reason he’s a supporter. These “entitled” property owners are also tax payers and deserve to have their grievances addressed by an unbiased city government. The mayor should recuse himself immediately as should any and all government employees that have a personal relationship with the pizzeria owners. These property owners have a right to the quiet enjoyment of their properties!

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 9:01 pm
  • Mjt

    Its these same non resident property owners preventing affordable housing and a host of other items which would benefit locals. Lived here for 20 years. NHP is best pizza made. They cant afford to move again. I hope this stupidity don’t break them because dick Burr and company dont care if they eat…just about their one week a month. God this pisses me off….

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 10:10 pm
  • Jenn

    Richard Burr is involved? Enough said. I’m #TeamPizza all the way.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 10:53 pm
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