Nags Head moves for development halt in C-2 Zone

By on October 5, 2022

Move comes amid concerns over essential housing project

Nags Head Commissioners say they want to reduce neighborhood conflicts in the commercial zone.

In response to opposition by nearby residents to a possible affordable housing project at U.S. 158 and Hollowell Street, as well as some homeowner concerns about a local pizza shop, the Nags Head Commissioners on Oct. 5 unanimously moved to enact a 150-day moratorium on development in the municipality’s Commercial-2 Zone from Danube Street to Hollowell Street.

A public hearing will be held on Oct. 19 before the commissioners officially adopt the moratorium, which would prohibit all development other than single-family and duplex structures for the designated period. The commissioners expressed the view that such a moratorium would allow staff to take a look at the zoning map to see if there were areas where potential conflicts between homeowners and commercial and other permitted uses in the zone could be reduced.

Examples of permitted uses in the C-2 zone include retail, office, restaurant, banking, service establishments and multi-family to name a few.

“In light of the past few months and the things we’ve heard…I think it would be appropriate,” said Commissioner Renee Cahoon before the vote. “We’ve had a lot of concerns in more than one area…and I think that this will give us some breathing room for staff to take a look at our zoning map and our land use plan.”

The move during the Oct. 5 meeting came after commissioners listened to the views of about a dozen homeowners who had submitted comments voicing opposition over the news that Woda Cooper, the affordable housing developer contracted by Dare County, had identified the vacant property on the southeastern corner of U.S. 158 and E. Hollowell Street as a potential site for such a project.

That comes in the wake of a recent campaign by some historic district homeowners who voiced concern to town officials about the Nags Pizza Company, which relocated to 4036 S. Virginia Dare Trail in July. In response to those complaints, town officials have stated that the business is in compliance with town ordinances.

While residential development is permitted in Nags Head’s C-2 zone, it can mean that homes and commercial dwellings can abut one another. That mix, Mayor Ben Cahoon told the Voice later, “has brought single family homes up against sites that are potential commercial development sites and that’s problematic.”

As part of its efforts to build what it characterizes as more workforce or essential housing, Woda Cooper was hired by the county earlier this year to construct between 40 and 60 housing units at its Bowsertown Road site on Roanoke Island as well as an additional 60 or so at an undisclosed location in Nags Head. Local officials have confirmed that the property Woda Cooper was eyeing in Nags Head is in the area that would be covered by the moratorium.

In August, the Kill Devil Hills Commissioners rejected an effort to rezone the 44-acre Baum tract to potentially pave the way for a high-density multifamily housing site to be developed by Coastal Affordable Housing, LLC., another group working with the county to build essential housing in Dare County.

A number of letters regarding the potential Woda Cooper project in Nags Head were read into the record at the Oct. 5 commissioners meeting.

“We do not believe the Hollowell site is the appropriate choice for this project,” wrote Nadeen Johnson, who owns a home on S. Virginia Dare Trail. “The decision to compromise the area’s historical value and unique geology associated with Jockey’s Ridge shouldn’t be made lightly.”

Johnson voiced concern over the impacts such as traffic, parking, drainage, septic waste disposal, with other homeowners who submitted comments echoing those concerns.

Kimberley Worley, who said she purchased her home on nearby Memorial Drive in 2018 as a rental property until she can retire, was among several homeowners concerned about home values decreasing.

“While I understand the need for affordable housing, this use just doesn’t seem to fit in with the feeling or charm of the neighborhood, which was my reasoning for purchasing in Old Nags Head,” she said. “My concern [includes] the extra traffic it will cause, the overcrowding of the beach access paths, and the value of the homes decreasing. There must be a more suitable location for this project.”

After hearing the concerns of Nags Head citizens, Mayor Cahoon told the Voice that the proposed moratorium was in an effort to provide a breathing period to direct staff to take a look at the zoning ordinance and decide what is appropriate in that district.





  • John

    Maybe an opportunity to rethink the hotel site being promoted near the Sound Event Site. Create a housing opportunity for those who serve our community and visitors throughout the year.

    Thursday, Oct 6 @ 6:45 pm
  • Chris

    How come no one has talked about the new Blue Moon restaurant being an eyesore in your backyards and front yards. Oh that’s right because it’s Blue Moon and influence$$$$$$$$. Us hard working blue collar people will never be accepted.

    Thursday, Oct 6 @ 7:01 pm
  • Jon

    Seems like an invitation for all NH undeveloped commercial property owners to submit maximal site plans consistent with current zoning in advance of the proposed moratorium. I hope Nags Head property owners are ready for the tax increase to cover the town’s legal fees …

    Thursday, Oct 6 @ 8:24 pm
  • Beach Baller

    Surf123 coming out with their true colors as usual. The beach and view are too valuable to dare stain the Earth there with vile, foul low income people. Put that housing out in the country in someone else’s neighborhood right Surf? Because my low class, small house and meager farmland view property is where “the projects” belong and not in hoity-toity Nags Head where pizza customers break into rich folks backyards and swim in their pools…

    Friday, Oct 7 @ 9:31 am
  • OBX Retail Mom

    I have lived here and worked in retail management for 29 years. This past summer was THE hardest and most stressful to run a business. I needed 75% more employees. Gone are the days of moving to the beach for the summer to work and enjoy yourself. If the powers that be remain complacent about developing affordable housing, visitors will have less and less restaurants and retail establishments to enjoy.
    I own my home and have an apartment that I rent. I have also rented rooms to J1 students. Yes, it may be financially beneficial to me but I would like to think I am somewhat helping with the housing problems, but I am only one person.
    My children were born and raised here and I love this tight knit community and my dear friends, but I don’t know how much longer I can deal with the deplorable divisions in Dare County.

    Friday, Oct 7 @ 9:57 am
  • Typical

    Pretty typical of folks shouting for reform, but NIMBY.

    Friday, Oct 7 @ 11:13 am
  • ann

    I have a question. When I originally read the first reporting of this it mentioned the undisclosed property. This story says “at an undisclosed location in Nags Head. Local officials have confirmed that the property Woda Cooper was eyeing in Nags Head is in the area that would be covered by the moratorium.” (love the term “eyeing”)

    How is that the city could go forward to any point with Mr. Cooper with “undisclosed property”? If the city/county owned the land, the tax payers owned it and had the right to know what was going on. If it was private land the city or county was going to buy, that would be with tax payer money and the tax payers have the right to know from day one.
    So how often does the city/county operate in land dealings using the term “undisclosed”?

    Friday, Oct 7 @ 12:33 pm
  • resident

    Nags Head commissioners be careful to not sell out the locals. A person that moved here in 2018 is going to make you back- track? You can’t figure out that we need affordable housing and where to put it? What have you been doing? How long will it take you to figure it out? I am horrified that The Nags Head Pizza was even mentioned . it is a moot point. If you can’t support existing businesses and longtime locals then you are failing at your jobs and are traitors. I am sick of hearing about new residents and what they want . They are exausting..You litterally said that the hotel at the soundside location was dangerous but lets do it anyways? Yet
    housing doesn’t look good so let’s not . This is insanity .

    Friday, Oct 7 @ 1:18 pm
  • Al

    So Karen, it is ok for you to build your house in Nags Head but don’t let no one else. Don’t you think your vehicular traffic, drainage, waste disposal and carbon footprint causes issues??? You must be from the North. Maybe your neighbors didn’t want your house next to them!!!! Remember…..Your house is blocking somebody’s view. Let them build it

    Friday, Oct 7 @ 7:20 pm
  • Mac

    Looks like the perfect spot for the Rogallo museum

    Friday, Oct 7 @ 8:45 pm
  • Listen Up People

    Please note that many of the “single family homes” built between the highways are on property that was previously occupied by a commercial structure. Yes, in Dare County we are famous for tearing stores, grocery stores, restaurants, shopping centers, hotels, cottage courts and etc. and putting up single-family homes in their place. Another note, a vast majority of the oceanfront in NH and KDH is zoned for hotel/motel and instead we have single family homes. This is why you now have a single family home next to something commercial or a hotel/motel.

    Friday, Oct 7 @ 11:00 pm
  • Andrew

    It’s sad when you don’t even have to obfuscate that you’re beholden to the rich against the community interests. When’s the next election?

    Saturday, Oct 8 @ 10:21 am
  • To Tell the Truth

    It seems to me that someone at the Voice should do some actual reporting and explain to the public exactly what it is that is being proposed. If the the facts were known, I suspect that most of the people on this board calling out the “selfish” neighboring homeowners would change their tune. The fact is that this is HUD housing, and the income caps set by the federal government would be so restrictive that the true working men and women would be shut out.

    Sure, the project would start out with much fanfare and goodwill until the people that move in show too much initiative and have to move out. The shine would come off the apple when the residents figure out that in order to keep living there the best thing they can do is not work. This is NOT a Left versus Right or Us versus Them issue. It’s about the future of our community, and we should all be working together to find a solution.

    The Town of Nags Head and Dare County jointly own land surrounding the health center that I think might be leased to the Nature Conservancy as part of the Nags Head Woods Preserve. (It may or may not be. I am only guessing about that.) Regardless, why not take 5 acres of that parcel and tastefully develop it in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy so as to preserve as much of the natural beauty as possible. The county and the town could rent out the units on a priority basis to employees of the County, any of the municipalities, the hospital, or one of the State or National Parks for a subsidized rate as long as they remained employed by one of those entities. Any remaining units could be rented at a reasonable rate to the public at large without any income restrictions as long as they provided proof of employment on an annual basis. (No retirees.) Under no circumstance would anyone be allowed to sublet a unit long or short term, and anyone convicted of a felony while living there would be evicted.

    This is merely a suggestion. It may not be possible to use this particular piece of property for any such purpose, but it’s a framework that could be implemented anywhere in the county that would be suitable. In any event, it’s better than name calling, finger pointing, and a general lack of civility.

    Saturday, Oct 8 @ 3:57 pm
  • Lisa

    When you drive by many of these areas on the beach road, you see retailers from other beach bars, ice cream-all inthe same area. They all back up to a resident-similiar outside setup with picnic tables and parking. It has been okay as long as I have known. Now because three or four NRPO don’t want to look at a restaurant-when they are here, it absurd. The ones on the ocean-go look at the ocean on your decks. The beach road has been a place for walking, shopping, etc for years-AND shouldn’t change now. When the bypass was originally proposed, it was to be a fast route south and business would be on the beach road. Now obviously that has changed. No one is going to hop in anyone’s pool. It is a business tryingto serve the community. For Nag’s Head to change anything from this would show their lack of support for local businesses. When these people bought their homes, it was a commercial situation then, nothing has changed.

    Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6:36 pm
  • Lemonshirt

    If I was the owner of a vacant lot in the C2 zone, then found myself unable to “develop” it due to a hastily enacted moratorium, I’d be quite irate. Didnt these home owners know they were buying/building in or adjacent to a commercially zoned area?

    Monday, Oct 10 @ 7:31 pm