ELECTION 2023
Candidates make their case at Kitty Hawk forum 

By on October 12, 2023

From left to right: Council candidates David Hines, Dylan Tillett and Ron Tumolo. (Credit: Kip Tabb)

Discuss issues from housing to the town’s natural beauty

With two open seats and three candidates for the town council, incumbent David Hines and challengers Ron Tumolo and Dylan Tillett answered constituent questions at the Kitty Hawk Dare County League of Women Voters forum on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at Kitty Hawk Town Hall.

Pointing to his extensive government service that included a stint in the Marines and more than 20 years working for the federal government, Tumolo said he had been coming to the Outer Banks for over 30 years and moved to Kitty Hawk in 2018.

“I’ve witnessed the tremendous growth and change that has taken place and continues,” he said, adding that “I’ve always been looking for opportunities to get involved in the community.”

Tillett opened his remarks by telling the people gathered for the forum that “I was born and raised in this beautiful town. I went to…the Dare County School system…I’ve been blessed enough to be able to establish a career here and raise a family. My wife and I have three young children who I believe love this town just as much as I do.”

For incumbent Hines, the issue was continuing a process that began when he was first elected in 2019. “We have a lot of unfinished things to complete…There’s always issues but we have some right now that we need to stay on top of,” he said.

Questions posed to the candidates covered a wide range of issues.

The issue of workforce or affordable housing was one of them, with the candidates asked if “municipal governments can impact the affordable housing shortage along the Outer Banks.”

Hines, noting that he is a sitting councilman, at first declined to answer, saying, “I don’t know that I can answer that question [pending the] litigation that’s going on right now,” he said.

Pressed by moderator Amanda Hooper to explain what that litigation referred to, Hines explained that the six incorporated municipalities of Dare County—Kitty Hawk, Duck, Southern Shores, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills and Manteo—had brought suit over a provision in the 2023 state budget that would restrict those municipalities’ ability to regulate some affordable housing projects in their communities.

“The towns can’t regulate building heights, setbacks, we have to expedite a permits…Taking control away from us. And by doing that, they take the control away from the residents,” Hines said.

Tillett, in answering the question, pointed out that although Kitty Hawk is impacted, the issue is larger than any individual town. “I don’t think it’s a Kitty Hawk issue,” he said. “I think it’s more of a Dare County issue, and possibly larger than that. I think everybody’s going to have to work together, the towns and the county and possibly the state.”

Tumolo largely agreed with Hines and Tillett, saying, “I think it’s a shame that we’ve been forced to file a lawsuit. It has cast a dark shadow over one of the most critical issues…facing us…This is not just a one jurisdiction problem. The biggest thing that the municipalities can do is demonstrate some leadership… because as I understand Dare County’s put a task force together to address housing.”

There were number of other priorities and issues that the candidates discussed. All of them expressed concern about preserving the natural beauty of Kitty Hawk. Hines, who is the secretary of the Steering Committee for the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, told the audience that the steering committee had just recommended a $400,000 grant to connect the Kitty Hawk Woods Birch Lane Trail with Sandy Run Park.

Asked after the forum if that meant the grant was approved, Hines indicated that it was a recommendation at this point, but added that the full tourism board almost always approves Steering Committee suggestions.

A question about whether municipal elections should be partisan brought some of the most impassioned responses with the three candidates saying partisan politics had no place in local politics.

“I don’t think that partisan politics should matter…It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat. …You have to work with everyone,” Hines said.

“Part of the reason I run is because, this to me is the purest form of government–local government,” Tumolo said.

Tillett agreed, saying, “I don’t think party has any business on a municipal level…We’re here to work together.”


Visit League of Women Voters of Dare County website to watch Dare County Candidate Forums.

SEE ALSO: Housing issues are front and center at Manteo candidates’ forum

Southern Shore Council hopefuls vie for votes at LWV candidate forum

Affordable housing takes center stage at KDH candidate forum


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Comments

  • $12 Million for towns litigation costs

    All of the Kitty Hawk candidates should demand that the Dare County Commissioners immediately cancel the contract with Woda Cooper and budget that $12 Million of county money to pay for the litigation costs of the six towns that have been forced to spend money out of their more limited budgets to sue the state to protect their towns. The County Commissioners were the driving force behind this debacle. They need to make amends.

    Thursday, Oct 12 @ 10:37 pm
  • Freenusa

    100%. Outten should put his lawyer suit on and take off the county manager hat.

    Friday, Oct 13 @ 9:58 pm
  • Tyrrell Johnson

    One thing is for certain, the person who hates minorities the most and will do everything they can to block affordable housing will win.

    Sunday, Oct 15 @ 7:22 pm