Dare Board paves way for OBX’s first pet crematorium

By on November 7, 2022

Colington facility still needs Special Use Permit

Dare County Board of Commissioners.

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.





  • snoppymonday

    This service is sorely need in the OBX. Pam & Paul are responsible individuals who will do everything in their power to make Rainbow Bridge a stellar operation that pet owners will be grateful to have available.

    Monday, Nov 7 @ 6:22 pm
  • Charles

    Wonder how many dead pets are buried in their peoples’ yards. Wonder if the costs of cremation will be such that yard burials will be reduced. What is the impact of pets being buried in yards?

    Monday, Nov 7 @ 7:01 pm
  • Martha Fletcher

    I had no idea that people had to travel to Elizabeth City or Virginia Beach for this needed service. I hope the neighbors with concerns will see that this can be a business that is a good fit, especially if it’s part of a business that caters to pets already.

    Monday, Nov 7 @ 7:26 pm
  • Anna

    Just bury your pet in your backyard like normal people do.

    Tuesday, Nov 8 @ 7:50 am
  • A to the B

    I used to work in a rather large cemetery with a crematorium. Granted, for human rather than animal remains. However, carbon based lifeforms combust in the same manner – and the smell can be intense depending on the prevailing winds.

    Tuesday, Nov 8 @ 1:39 pm
  • obxvoice

    People don’t travel to the cremation center with their dead animals. They are bagged up at the vet, put in the freezer then they are picked up from vet by an employee of the business and hauled to the facility and burnt…. Lots of time you may be getting other animals mixed in but it’s a very lucrative business and makes people feel better some how. Americans pay so much money for pet stuff it is crazy! As a life long local I am surprised this was okayed. It doesn’t bother me and I’m not against it, it is a business like any other. I still don’t understand the SPCA being part of it. Best of luck to this small local business.

    Tuesday, Nov 8 @ 4:14 pm
  • surf123

    There is only one need in the county and it is low income housing in a suitable area. Everything else is a want or completely unnecessary. It is disingenuous for the potential owner to use cost and personalization as justifications as they cannot be measured or guaranteed and are just a tug on the heart strings. There is absolutely no justification for issuing a special use permit for something that is completely unnecessary when as @Anna says “Just bury your pet in your backyard like normal people do”. It is also patently unfair to those living anywhere near the facility. I must ask if there is anyone who would want this in their backyard?

    Tuesday, Nov 8 @ 5:30 pm
  • 102

    Time to remove head from posterior. Crematoriums for humans or animals run at 2200 degrees. The so called smoke you see is steam, the vapor released when a subject is cremated. If you remember when a few years ago the town of kdh newbees used the National Enquirer as there sole source for evidence to stop the crematorium from being built where Capt. Georges restuarant is. Folks, anyone with half a brain looks at the Nation Enquirer as no more than a comic book, published by people with very limited intellect who sit around and figure out how they can sell there rag. It’s in the checkout line at the grocery store. The local wonders didn’t want a crematorium in there town, most of the people who fought to keep it out of the fine town of kdh hadn’t even lived here for more than a few years. Town had to buy back property at well over face value. Ask the people that live around Capt. Georges how much they like it.

    Wednesday, Nov 9 @ 6:34 pm