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



Comments

  • Paul

    Repealing the language would be a disservice to Dare County residents. Currently anytime solutions for come up for work force housing the board and towns thwart efforts. The local politicians are more concerned about destroying the island culture and creating monstrosity along Beach road and turning the OBX into a myrtle beach north.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 7:20 pm
  • TC

    So, nobody knows how it got put into legislation? Come on now, let’s see who benefits from this. Corruption is blatant and in your face. You little uninformed peons don’t know what is good for you and it’s a good thing government, with your money, can come in and do what it wants.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 7:43 pm
  • Kathy

    I hope the Dare County Commissioners succeed in protecting the environment as building projects take place in our island communities.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 7:43 pm
  • We the People

    “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.”

    There are about 18,000 citizens in Dare County who vote in our local elections for the Dare County Commissioner races. None of these 18,000 citizen voters believe that this is a true statement.

    Our county commissioners are all under the thumb of the chamber of commerce. We need county commissioners who represent the Citizens of Dare County.

    We need to vote them all out. Regardless of political party. They all need to go.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 8:11 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    We, there are close to 18,000 people eligible to vote in Dare County, but the last time we had odd year local elections (2021) only about 3,500 people voted.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 8:48 pm
  • charlie

    what do our state representatives say?…so far crickets
    who nserted the language?

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 9:38 pm
  • Steven

    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.”
    Funny they don’t seem to worry about height limits or lot coverage on SAGA built homes or any of the other “investment” properties being built. Remember this when you vote they don’t want us “workers” living here anymore, we don’t line their pockets enough.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 10:29 pm
  • Steven Rader

    Where did this lousy idea originate? It is nationally part of the Democrat playbook to shove low cost housing into middle class neighborhoods by taking away local control. In North Carolina, it reared its ugly head this legislative session in Senate Bill 317, a “bi-partisan” bill sponsored by both Democrats and Chamber of Commerce type Republicans, one of whom, Paul Newton, is a key leadership lieutenant of Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. https://dailyhaymaker.com/jones-st-varmints-launching-bipartisan-assault-on-free-market/

    SB 317 would have imposed this lousy concept statewide, but that went nowhere so they seem to be trying to sneak a test county into the budget instead. None of the SB317 sponsors volunteered any of their own counties for that role, and instead it is being dumped on Dare County.

    This nonsense was NOT in the budget when it went through the House, and the big proponents of the concept are all in the Senate, so it is almost certain that this time bomb was planted in the budget in the Senate, with the hope it would not be noticed until after the budget passed. It was a really nasty trick to blindside the local legislators whose district is involved.

    The reason Dare County was picked on is probably related to sour grapes of the cabal trying to impose casinos on North Carolina. All of the behind the scenes legislative budget players are part of the casino cabal, and Dare County just happens to be represented by legislators who opposed the casinos. In the Senate, Norm Sanderson was one of the few who dared vocally oppose the casinos, as he had also opposed the Berger cabal on Obamacare Medicaid expansion. In the House, Rep. Keith Kidwell has been one of the leaders in the group of 30 representatives who held firm and blocked the casinos. This reeks of a very nasty payback against Sanderson and Kidwell over their stance on the casinos. Casinos were Senate President Pro Tem Berger’s wet dream, and it blew up thanks to conservative opposition.

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 7:44 am
  • Sean

    We don’t need state money…. for anything. Unless you reside here keep your mouth shut we don’t need the rich men living in Raleigh make decisions where they don’t live!!!

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 7:45 am
  • Rocky the Rockfish

    This is the most corrupt state I’ve ever seen
    I’d bet there are local developers behind this, shaking hands, smiling, going to church as they plot how to make more money

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 8:48 am
  • Ralph

    This is what happens when you elect a Republican super-majority in the legislator. Since I came to NC in 1972 it’s slide back to the 50’s — the 1850s

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 9:47 am
  • Ann

    You want the $35 million then approve areas for housing. This is for your teachers, police, firemen, business owners. Wake up – no housing no $

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 9:48 am
  • NotInnocent

    Let’s see: the Dare BOC is controlled by Republicans. Raleigh is controlled by Republicans. Who in the GOP has connections with both the BOC and Raleigh? Who is a big investor in projects? Who is making the money?
    Sorry Steven Rader, perhaps Kidwell/Goodwin owes favors. Pay to play? It’s really a small tight little circle. No one randomly chooses a county, never.

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 10:32 am
  • Not surprised

    This stinks to high heaven. Others are right; there’s no way the Dare Board of Commissioners did not know about this. Outer Banks Voice, thanks for publishing this and related articles. Please continue to follow up!

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 11:08 am
  • Steven Rader

    Legislative rules do not generally allow amendments to the budget from the floor, so this would probably have to be done by the committee, and that will be difficult. If this nonsense stays in the budget, since it is a two year budget, I would just let the money sit and try to get a local bill through in next year’s short session to delete these asinine conditions.

    The powerful legislative promoter of removing local zoning control on “affordable housing” is Senator Paul Newton (RINO-Cabarrus), one of the top lieutenants of Senate leader Phil Berger. Newton put in a bill to try to do this statewide, and he is the likely driving force behind this language on Dare County. If Newton wants a test county, I suggest it be Cabarrus, NOT Dare, but he is afraid to do this to his own home folks. Getting around Newton’s influence is going to be the challenge in removing these stupid restrictions on municipal government. Newton’s background is as a retired executive of “woke” utility monopoly Duke Energy. Newton was also one of the key players in giving us the NC Green New Deal, HB951, which will make money for Duke but cost consumers dearly.

    This language was definitely put on in the Senate. It was not in the budget passed by the House.

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 12:04 pm
  • Jordan H

    Who has an ownership stake in the development company, connected in the legislature due to past work as Senate Legislative Assistant and benefits greatly from jamming this project through?

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 12:59 pm
  • WindyBill

    Towns: Did you get the message this time?

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 2:52 pm
  • Freenusa

    This is neither democrat or republican issue. It is corruption. Someone is getting paid well. I recall a comment with Coastal Affordable Housing, with very questionable ties. I tied to find comment today but was unsuccessful. Definitely follow the 🤑

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 7:57 pm
  • surf123

    Looks like extortion to me. Were I any of these towns I would tell the state they can keep their money and then start litigating it. There is no way the state can override local zoning regulations and if they can then we might find the state could make all zoning regulations null and void.

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 8:31 pm
  • pat nash

    vote them all out…DONE!

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 10:02 pm
  • Freenusa

    Surf, It is Dare County funds, not the Dare County town’s funds. If a town has taken funds for the affordable “housing project” my bad.

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 10:52 pm