By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on November 7, 2022
The Dare County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 7 unanimously approved a request for a zoning text amendment that would allow for pet crematoriums as an accessory use to pet grooming and kennel facilities in certain areas of Colington.
The request was made by Pam Anderson, who owns Ocean Sands K9 Resort located on Williams Drive, which includes primarily residential homes along with Liberty Christian Fellowship Church and Camp Emmanuel, as well as about five acres of undeveloped land.
Anderson told the Voice the facility will be called Rainbow Bridge Pet Cremation Services and will open in six months. When complete, Rainbow Bridge will be the first pet crematorium on the Outer Banks. Currently, those seeking cremation services for their deceased pet must travel to Elizabeth City or Virginia Beach, she added.
According to Dare County Planning Director Noah Gilliam, Anderson still needs to apply for a Special Use Permit to move forward with the project.
The text amendment applies to all areas in the R-2B Zoning Districts (Alternative Medium Density Residential) on Colington Island. According to the zoning ordinance, the intent of the R-2B Zoning district is to serve as a transition zone between low-density areas and more intensely developed areas, as well as to provide a setting for a limited number of business uses associated with a coastal village location.
Pet cremation services must be 200 feet from a residential dwelling and the incinerator must be contained inside a building, according to conditions of the new text amendment. It also requires that a licensed/certified operator be on staff. Cremation services must also be limited to domesticated animals, not livestock.
Anderson said that the Rainbow Bridge would be in a separate building on site. “It’s a really needed service,” she said, adding that it will offer a much lower cost for cremation services and a more personalized option since it will be available locally. The Outer Banks SPCA, she said, could also utilize the service, offering that agency a financial benefit as well.
There were no members of the public who spoke during the Nov. 7 public hearing, however one homeowner on Williams Drive submitted a letter to the Dare County Commissioners opposing the project.
“I am very upset and shocked that this type of business would even be considered for Williams Dr. and Ocean Sands K-9 Resort,” wrote Barbara Noel in an October 13 email, noting that the property backs up to the heavily populated Colington Modular community and next door to the church. “The smell, the fire hazard and improper disposal of animals will impact my residential neighborhood negatively immensely — also our property values.”
Board Chairman Bob Woodard, however, threw his support behind the crematorium. “Let me just say that I’ve visited the site and the applicant has complied with everything that’s been asked of her,” he said. “The neighbors across the street are fully in agreement with this…she’s also going to help out the SPCA with their animals in need.”
Earlier this year, commissioners lent its support to another project on Williams Drive when it unanimously approved an amendment to the church’s Special Use Permit to allow for a 15,000-square-foot family life center across the street from the church.