Manteo Planning and Zoning Board approves permit for new health center

By on February 2, 2023

CEO Joe Rockenstein unveiling the health center plan at a September meeting in Manteo.

The planned federally qualified health center in Manteo moved closer to reality when the Manteo Special Planning and Zoning Board approved a change of use permit on Jan. 31 to allow the facility to operate at 402 Budleigh Street. The impetus for the project stems from what has been described as a healthcare crisis brought on by a shortage of health care providers on the Outer Banks.

Federally qualified health centers (FQHC) are facilities that apply for and receive federal grants and whose charge is to serve the underserved population. Due to its funding structure and mission, the clinic will charge fees based on a patient’s income for both insured and uninsured patients.

During a December meeting of the Manteo Healthcare Task Force, Joe Rockenstein, CEO of the Ocracoke and Englehard Health Centers, indicated that the Manteo facility “can be operational and seeing patients…by the springtime” of 2023.

Here is the release from the Town of Manteo.

Another exciting step forward was made at the Jan, 31 Town of Manteo Special Planning and Zoning Board meeting where board members approved a zoning permit for a change of use of the property located at 402 Budleigh Street in Manteo from a telecommunications office to a medical office.

This will now allow for the establishment of a medical facility at that property, which will serve all members of the community. Healthcare Task Force members, Ocracoke and Englehard Medical Centers staff, Town Planning and Zoning Board Members, and Town staff have worked cooperatively to expedite this process due to the incredible need for health care in our community.

On July 20, 2022, the Town of Manteo Board of Commissioners appointed members to a Healthcare Task Force and directed them to address the growing healthcare concerns in Dare County.

The Task Force is comprised of 11 members consisting of Town of Manteo Board of Commissioners, Dare County Commissioner, Outer Banks Hospital Board Member and staff, a local pharmacist, Dare County Schools Staff Member, a health care attorney and policy advocate, Dare County Health and Human Services staff member, and community members. Town of Manteo Manager Melissa Dickerson and staff members assist the Task Force.

At the onset, the Task Force identified priorities and created sub-committees addressing facility needs, patient care, project funding, and recruitment and retention of medical professionals. The community is encouraged to follow the progress that is being made by the Healthcare Task Force, partners and staff by attending the meetings and providing public input.

The meetings are livestreamed with links available on the Town’s website, and recordings of the meetings are available on the Town’s YouTube Channel.  Meeting Agendas and Minutes can be found on the Town of Manteo’s website at

SEE ALSO: New Manteo health center aims for spring open


  • BB Wylie Walden

    This is such great news!! Many thanks to everyone involved and especially Mr. Joe Rockenstein and the Healthcare Task Force members for working together to make this entity a much needed reality. So many people will benefit from the new health center in Manteo!

    Thursday, Feb 2 @ 4:04 pm
  • M

    This center needs to include an Optometrist, too. Our tax dollars pay for prisoners to receive care on a contract basis, the same should be done for an “under served” community. Even if you could find an OD to come in a couple of days a weeks this would be beneficial for the whole community since we are in desperate need of a couple of Optometrists; it has been almost a year since Dr. Lynch left and we still don’t have a replacement.

    Sunday, Feb 5 @ 9:04 am