Four more Dare towns join protest of state budget housing measure

By on September 21, 2023

Following in the footsteps of Nags Head and Manteo, leaders of the other four Dare County municipalities released a flurry of letters and resolutions on Sept. 21 voicing their staunch opposition to a provision inserted into the state budget that would curtail the towns’ ability to regulate housing developments.

The budget item, which applies only to Dare County and to the $35 million the state awarded to the county to build affordable housing, was just discovered on Sept. 19 by surprised local officials—sparking considerable speculation about who is responsible for it. Dare County Manager Bobby Outten has told the Voice and town managers that the county had no role in creating the budget provision, nor any knowledge of it. The budget is expected to be voted on this week.

The mayors’ letters were addressed to NC House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and to Dare County’s legislative delegation—State Representative Keith Kidwell, State Representative Edward Goodwin and Senator Norman Sanderson—as well as Dare County Board of Commissioners Chair Bob Woodard.

As summed up in the those letters of protest, “This law would mean” that county’s six municipalities “could not enforce their zoning regulations on any affordable housing project funded by Dare County under the $35 million the state allocated to them…No height limits, no restrictions on lot coverage, no setbacks, no parking standards, no limit on density, etc.”

At their Sept. 20 meeting, the Manteo Commissioners approved a resolution opposing the budget provision (Section 24.8) and Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon wrote a letter declaring that the measure “will strip our towns of the ability to govern their own fates.”

A day later, those same sentiments emanated from leadership in Kitty Hawk, Duck, Kill Devil Hills and Southern Shores. They included the call for the state legislature to remove that housing section from the budget. And in the event that did not happen, letters called on Dare County “to disavow itself of the Legislature’s action, and to refuse to support or fund any project which does not go through a local municipality’s site review and approval process.”

Aside from its resolution and letter from Mayor Ben Sproul, the Town of Kitty Hawk, on its Facebook page, urged residents to reach out and contact the members of the Dare County legislative delegation to voice their opposition. Letters were also signed by Duck Mayor Don Kingston, Kitty Hawk Mayor Craig Garriss and Southern Shores Mayor Elizabeth Morey.

One mayor who voiced a pessimistic view on efforts to reverse Section 24.8 was Manteo’s Bobby Owens. While characterizing its insertion into the budget as “just dirty politics,” during the Manteo Commissioners’ Sept. 20 meeting, Owens also stated the legislature “can do it [and] they’re going to do it…It is what it is. We’re going to lose.”

SEE ALSO: State budget housing provision angers Dare municipal officials


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  • Liz

    This measure is designed to defeat the NIMBYs.
    Somebody grew tired of Dare County messing around with the affordable housing issue – kicking the can down the road again and again.
    For better or worse, it’s true.

    Saturday, Sep 23 @ 10:28 am
  • Not surprised

    Good question, Jordan H! I think your “name” says it all.

    Saturday, Sep 23 @ 11:10 am
  • Wayne

    This is exactly what Dare County wants. This should show all the residents of all the townships just what kind of Commissioners we have they are not thinking about property values or anything else for the homeowner. As one gentleman said we will probably not win because the state legislature does not care about what we want and that’s because they do not live there as we do I will definitely do my part

    Saturday, Sep 23 @ 3:57 pm
  • Just ask Jordan

    Glad people are starting to catch on …. Only one person that has gotten over 35 million dollars from dare county I’m the last three years for dredging and affordable housing with zero experience ….. follow the money … or just ask Jordan …

    Sunday, Sep 24 @ 8:17 am
  • Susan Merrill

    What about Hanig? Half of Dare County is in his district.

    Sunday, Sep 24 @ 2:10 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Hi Susan, Dare County is not in Hanig’s State Senate District.

    Sunday, Sep 24 @ 3:01 pm
  • 102

    Have anyone commenting paid attention to KDH. What zoning laws. Huge single family dwellings that have at a minimum of 19 bedrooms. Two rows of houses on a piece of land and there is barely 16′ between each side. They are sprinkled but. The towns just don’t want anyone or government to impinge on there power to dictate and control the money.

    Sunday, Sep 24 @ 4:45 pm
  • Jordan Jordan Jordan

    Glad to see many on here following the money that Dare has been allocating and connecting the dots! Soo, who is going to show up at the next Dare County Commissioner meeting and ask about the same person, with zero construction or dredging experience, yet keeps getting the Commissioners to award him the projects? Same person who is benefitting the most from the legislation. Time to call them out. Public comment is there for a reason. This doesn’t pass the sniff test by a long shot.

    Sunday, Sep 24 @ 6:08 pm
  • Steve Johnson

    OBX does not need affordable housing. The entire idea is like putting a gun to our head. Property values here, traffic and crime do not warrant public housing or affordable housing or whatever you want to call it. Currituck is full of cheap land, how about the 20 some acres that they were trying to sell off next to the water park? There are plenty places for affordable housing to go, which the property values would carry. There’s no need for public money of any sort going in for this type of use. Hilton Head would never have this insane debate.

    Sunday, Sep 24 @ 8:08 pm
  • concerned taxpayer

    This little scam was inserted in the state senate. I find it interesting that one of the top staffers of State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (the new Basnight) is a guy named Brent Woodcox, and Woodcox heads an organization called YIMBY (Yes, In My Back Yard) whose goal is to plant low cost housing in middle class neighborhoods. Berger seems to give Woodcox more power than a staffer should have, and he seems to have more influence on what happens in the Senate than most senators. Woodcox even managed to keep his job and influence when he was caught on the eve of the 2020 election making anti-Trump social media posts. He is that tight with Berger.

    There are others in the Senate in both parties, including a top GOP leader, Paul Newton, who pushed a bill this session to kneecap local governments all over the state on local zoning powers over “affordable housing”. These people have their sights set on more than just Dare County to take away local authority. NC Realtors are also tied up in that movement.

    And watch out if you don’t want eyesore wind turbines off Dare County beaches. Some of these same people want to end local control over wind and solar facilities, too.

    Sunday, Sep 24 @ 9:25 pm
  • Barry Sims

    Will a project materially endanger the public health, safety, or overburden the towns fire fighting capability, or water supply? YES!
    Will the project injure the value of adjoining properties? YES!
    Will the project be in harmony with the area? NO!

    The answers above should be enough to put a stop to this kind of development. We have already gotten a taste of urban sprawl and it is not in any way harmonious with the Dare County lifestyle and vacation experience visitors come to expect of the Outer Banks. They come here because their coast has already been consumed by development and they are looking for a place to get away from all that. If here becomes like there they will no longer have a reason to come here. If that happens, we will have all kinds of affordable housing because the tourists will be gone along with all their money.

    What’s to say what they build will be affordable anyway? Who is going to move into these new developments and what is to stop them from becoming another vacation home?

    Monday, Sep 25 @ 9:42 am
  • “We are problem solvers”

    Coastal Affordable Housing LLC, (CAH), incorporated in Nov. 2021. DCBOC voted unanimously on Feb 22, 2022 to award the project to “oversee the county’s affordable housing efforts using $35M, the state allocated to the county last year(2021)to do so”. This LLC was only formed 3 months before! It was reported that both “candidates”, (CAH and Woda-Cooper) had “experience building multi-story affordable housing types like garden apartments, walk-ups, & corridor projects” in NC. How could CAH, have such experience, when only incorporated 3 months prior??? CAH indicated to the DCBOC, at that meeting, their intentions, were to construct up to 400 units within Dare County by the end of 2023. Also they were interested in constructing 1,000 “dormitory style beds for summer J-1 workforce”, because “They are problem solvers”. Representing CAH were Fred Mills Jr. with United Property Management and Doug Brindley of Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales, “who is also in joint venture with United Property Management and would serve as leasing and property management agent”, which would be a new continuous stream of income for Mr Brindley. Also mentioned was former Dare Commissioner, Mike Johnson but no capacity was noted. And last of the noteable was J Jordan Hennessy, with Pamlico Management Group/EJE Dredging Services(Miss Katie”) who was identified as “one of the handful of principals in the consortium” and identified as the “group’s main contact”. There are other names, architect, engineer but those names, were not familiar. We are nearing the end of 2023 and Coastal Affordable Housing has been a big joke on the Dare County Board of Commissioners. Yep, definitely follow the money. I have never been a in favor of any affordable housing/cluster housing in Dare, so the non-progress is a wonderful thing.

    Monday, Sep 25 @ 12:27 pm
  • Suspicious Cover-up

    Ask Woodard why the first 30 minutes of the Sept 6 county commissioners meeting video has recently been muted. The video worked when it was originally posted on the county website.

    They muted out Woodard’s comments about low income housing where he talked about driving all the way to Raleigh to meet with you know who from Coastal Affordable Housing. After the angry reaction to the recent power grab and the obvious connection to the county commissioners they are trying to hide Woodard’s comments from the public.

    Monday, Sep 25 @ 3:56 pm
  • Dollar dollar bill yall

    The vacationers will stop coming here because year after year the service gets worse and worse.

    No housing means no help. No help means bad service and less repeat customers. Less repeat customers means less money being made. There are a lot of wealthy people all over the state that have investments in property, entertainment, and restaurants here.

    Those wealthy people probably slipped it in so that the county could get housing and solve their financial concerns. It’s not just a BoC issue, it’s anyone with a vested interest in the area.

    Monday, Sep 25 @ 4:31 pm
  • charlie

    So the republican controled state chambers rammed this through in the budget.. The republican controlled county legislature all said–Not us- we had nothing to do with it. and the, mostly republican controlled, local towns have their normal powers usurped by the state contrary to local wishes….. Do I have this correct and factual?…

    Tuesday, Sep 26 @ 9:53 am
  • concerned taxpayer

    There is a group in the state Senate that is big on usurping local powers, and it included some from both parties.

    This travesty was injected into the Senate version of the budget, not the House version, so the responsible party can almost certainly be found in the Senate. Rules back it impossible to amend spectific items in the budget so legislators have to vote the whole thing up or down. After the House passed its version of the budget that did NOT contain this stink bomb, it was inserted into the Senate version of the budget, which became the basis of what was eventually passed. Senate leader Phil Berger kept very tight personal control of the budget because he was trying to jam a casino project for a buddy of his into it against fierce opposition from legislators in the House, led by Keith Kidwell and others. Berger was threatening legislators to remove money for their districts from the budget if they did not back his casinos. To get anything put in the Senate version of the budget, it had to get Berger’s approval.

    Norm Sanderson was against the casino plan, and Kidwell was one of the House members leading the opposition to it there, putting both in the doghouse with Berger as far as getting any favors out of him in the budget. Ed Goodwin was evasive on his casino position, and thus the only local legislator who might have had the “in” with Berger to get this in the Senate budget. It is much more likely, however, to have come from “woke” Senator Paul Newton, who favors stripping local zoning control statewide for “affordable housing” or key Berger staffer Brent Woodcox, who heads a group pushing to jam low cost housing into middle class neighborhoods called YIMBY.

    Given the firestorm going on politically the last few weeks in Sanderson’s home county of Pamlico over low cost housing, it is unlikely he would have touched this issue in Dare with a 10 foot poll.

    Not only did Newton introduce statewide legislation to kneecap local government zoning powers on low cost housing, but Berger jammed through a bill to strip the town of Summerfield of its zoning authority over the site for his buddy’s planned casino. What is happening in Dare is a danger to the entire state when we have legislators like Berger and Newton who have no respect for local control of local issues. There were Democrats in the mix in Newton’s bi-partisan anti-zoning bill.

    Tuesday, Sep 26 @ 2:16 pm
  • Randy Williams

    NO NO NO NO NO!! Enough! We’re crowded enough already! Too crowded. Let’s all get together and put a stop to all this nonsense!!! And we’d better act quickly or the powers that be will shove it down our throats!!

    Wednesday, Sep 27 @ 4:11 pm