Dare towns select members for housing task force

By on October 16, 2023

First meeting of the group has not yet been scheduled

Dare Board Chair Bob Woodard asked mayors to send representatives with an open mind on the housing issue.

While there has been no date set for the first meeting of the newly announced affordable housing task force in Dare County, the county’s six municipalities say they have selected their representatives to sit on the body.

The task force was approved by the Dare Board of Commissioners after it was introduced by County Manager Bobby Outten at the board’s Oct 2 meeting. The task force is viewed as an attempt to take a new approach to the thus far unsuccessful effort spearheaded by the county to build workforce/affordable housing in some Dare communities.

The Oct. 2 commissioners’ meeting itself was punctuated by a passionate and contentious public comment period that focused on the measure slipped into the state budget that curtails the municipalities’ right to regulate affordable housing projects funded with the $35 million the state gave the county. The county’s municipal leaders immediately denounced that provision and on Oct. 6, the towns filed suit against the state to challenge it.

An Oct. 4 email from Dare County Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard to the mayors asked them to choose “someone for your town…to serve on this housing task force. Please make sure you choose someone who has NO Bias (pro or con) concerning workforce/essential housing. I want open minds to serve on this Task Force.”

In an Oct. 16 email in response to Voice questions, Woodard said that he wanted a mayor and one other individual from each of the towns to sit on the task force. As indicated in his Oct. 4 message, Woodard confirmed he was asking other groups—including the Outer Banks Home Builders Assoc., the Outer Banks Restaurant Assoc., and the Outer Banks Hotel/Motel Association, among others—to send a representative as well.

The Voice canvassed the leadership of the six Dare County towns to ask who they had selected to sit on the task force.
  • The Duck representatives will be Mayor Don Kingston and Town Manager Drew Havens
  • From Southern Shores, Mayor Elizabeth Morey and Mayor Pro Tem Matt Neal will be the representatives.
  • The Town of Kitty Hawk has selected Mayor Craig Garriss and Town Manager Melody Clopton to sit on the task force.
  • From Kill Devil Hills, Senior Planner Ryan Lang and Mayor Ben Sproul will sit on the task force.
  • Nags Head says it will send Mayor Ben Cahoon, Commissioner Mike Siers and Town Manager Andy Garman as its representatives.
  • And the plan in Manteo is to send Mayor Bobby Owens and Mayor Pro Tem Betty Selby to the task force. Town Manager Melissa Dickerson is available to fill in, if necessary.

Asked about the timing of the first meeting of the task force, Woodard indicated that no date has yet been set as the county is waiting for the November municipal elections are over to do any convening. Depending on how those election goes, the mayors in Nags Head and Manteo could conceivably be on the verge of being ex-mayors.


  • Rocky the Rockfish

    The fix is in!!!

    Monday, Oct 16 @ 7:15 pm
  • Ed

    Let’s stop pouring money and time into trying to build something. No other community has solved anything by making scam artist contractors rich. If we can’t find a way to incentivize current vacant property owners to help, just move on and focus on anything else. We are sick of the drama.

    Monday, Oct 16 @ 7:53 pm
  • What a Farce

    Woodard tells the towns to “make sure you choose someone who has NO Bias (pro or con) concerning workforce/essential housing. I want open minds to serve on this Task Force.”

    Everyone knows that the mayors of both Manteo and KDH are outspoken supporters of the taxpayer subsidized low income housing. They are not unbiased. That is the main reason they are both being challenged in the upcoming elections.

    What about everyone else that Woodard is picking for the task force. The representatives from the County Commissioners, “the Outer Banks Home Builders Assoc., the Outer Banks Restaurant Assoc., and the Outer Banks Hotel/Motel Association, among others.” Sounds like the whole Chamber of Commerce, Tourist Bureau lineup. Are any of them going to be unbiased? Are any of them going to have open minds? What a Joke.

    The towns are all currently spending time and money litigating in NC Superior Court to overturn this underhanded power grab that was supported by the other members of this task force. Why are any of the towns even agreeing to participate in this farce?

    Monday, Oct 16 @ 8:25 pm
  • Manteoer

    “NO bias”…that is like saying we had “no knowledge” of the language being inserted in the budget.

    I was hoping the Town of Manteo would have selected Commissioner Stetson. She seemed like she would have balanced out the other folks on the task force with “NO bias”.

    My grandfather use to tell me if everyone around you agrees with you always, then they are not your friends.

    Monday, Oct 16 @ 8:49 pm
  • Jeff

    So there’s millions of extra dollars for people to live where they can’t afford to live? Can I get some of that so I can move to Kauai, where I can’t afford it? I also can’t afford a Ferrari, but I really want one of those too. Isn’t this just the way the world works, you try hard in school and work hard and smart for long enough… Or you don’t, but that’s how you increase your odds of ending up with the nicer things in life? I’ll be honest, I didn’t put out a Kauai Ferrari effort, made my own bed on that front, so I don’t get those things.

    Monday, Oct 16 @ 9:21 pm
  • Task Farce

    The official name has been changed to —

    Baghdad Bob Woodard’s Really and Truly Totally Unbiased
    Taxpayer Subsidized Low Income Housing Task Farce

    Monday, Oct 16 @ 10:08 pm
  • Ann Broadhead

    There are multiple units of housing being built and one behind Elan Realty on the left and another further up on the left. Could Dare County lease these new units. Also has anyone considered purchasing land for Dare County build housing units on our own with local money? Or backing loans to insure approval of a housing unit on parcel of land Dare County would own across the Kitty Hawk bridge. There are all sorts of open land for sale on the way to Grandy, and that is a reasonable commute to even Manteo. Make an arrangement with our already transit little bus to take folks to work if they pay their fee.
    Folks from out of this area are used to commutes much long than lower Currituck.
    PS: several small vacant houses on the R going north could be habitable with little fix up.(one across from the water park. Seems if one can be a little flexible and think out of the box, the solution maybe out there without upsetting our island residents.
    Just a few thoughts.

    Monday, Oct 16 @ 10:21 pm
  • Jay

    Who will represent the unincorporated areas of Dare County? Considering the unincorporated area acreage, it might require more than one body. I don’t trust Woodward or any of his cronies.

    Has any independent auditing of the millions made available for “work force housing” been done in order to “follow the money”?

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 7:21 am
  • Dan-O

    Sad that Woodard might be so feckless that he believes anyone qualified to be on the “task force” (which is always politispeak for “do nothing”) could be so uninformed as to be “unbiased.” However, SAD for the voters that–actually–he is conniving.

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 7:39 am
  • JP

    That list is a joke, and they’re laughing in the community’s face. Ben Sproul, who has already made his avaricious intentions very clear, and every other mayor o that list, should be no where near this “task force.” Please vote in your local elections. More specifically, please vote these good ol’ boys OUT! There is no thought beyond their own greed and power. They will do whatever is in their best interest every single time. Meanwhile, the regular folks continue to carry this community through EVERYTHING. It’s enough to make anyone feel jaded and helpless, but we forget where the power actually lies, in us. Get out there and vote! Get out there and speak up! Get out there and stand up for this community that we all love so much, before these clowns do any more damage.

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 8:16 am
  • C Taylor

    I agree with Jay. There is no mention of who is going to represent unincorporated Dare county. Will it be the county planning director? If so we need at least someone else on the task force who is there to represent the residents. In addition we need an unbiased elected official or one who is willing to revise their frame of reference based on revised data. I can’t remember anyone electing unicorns in the recent past so maybe this unbiased/objective member might still be in the wild…or hiding out in Buffalo City

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 8:35 am
  • Linda

    How about representation by a few people who actually need this housing?

    How about telling the state never mind, keep your money?

    How about telling employers to pay their people more? (That includes Dare County government and Board of Ed! )

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 8:47 am
  • Be Carolista

    The Dare County Manager said the county was “not going to bulldoze the towns.” Of course he was not talking about actual real bulldozers, it was just a metaphor. He may not have realized it at the time but it was the perfect metaphor given the history of Dare County, where 50 years ago a young mother stood in front of a real bulldozer to save Jockey’s Ridge from the developers.

    It was stated at the last County Commissioners meeting that the Chamber of Commerce and the Home Builders Association lobbied for the underhanded power grab. Now the County Commissioners are pushing our towns into participating in their sham housing task force to negotiate with these organizations that were behind the power grab.

    We don’t need to be as brave as Carolista Baum. We don’t need to stand in front of and block real bulldozers. We just need to stand up to the Chamber of Commerce and the Dare County Commissioners and block their bulldozing our town council members and town commissioner into participating in this sham task force.

    Contact your town commissioners or council members and ask them why your town is participating in this sham task force. Ask them why your town is spending resources litigating to overturn the underhanded power grab and at the same time negotiating with the very organizations that lobbied for the underhanded power grab.

    Make them go on the record. Voting for our towns elections starts on Thursday.

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 9:07 am
  • Just Another Mike

    Does anyone really believe that government will solve this problem. Show me one resort community that solved it. People need to solve there own problem and stop waiting for the taxpayers to fund their desire to live someplace they can’t afford. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true and if the elected officials had any integrity they would say it. If they actually think they can solve it, they’re delusional. Move on and focus on issues where they can make a difference.

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 9:31 am
  • surf123

    More government people on a government board with no citizens representing other citizens. Depending on what is done I expect legal action to stop it. Spending tax money on government housing is a bad plan. In the end the beneficiaries will be the glad-handing self-congratulating politicians and the construction company that wins the contract to build. The taxpayer will lose again.

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 9:59 am
  • Kit

    Seems to me the only way to provide ‘affordable housing’ is for the town/county governments to provide it, by owning and managing it. Contractors would still get their money for building the units, but the units wouldn’t then be bought by entrepreneurs who would then rent them for the going tourist rate, which creates the lack of affordable housing in the first place. Affordable housing has to be kept outside of “the going rental market rate” or it will cease to be affordable to the workforce on the Outer Banks.

    The Commissioner’s panel will insure that doesn’t happen, however.

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 10:22 am
  • Doug S

    Regulate AirBnB type short term rentals in our residential neighborhoods and the housing problem will go away, Every available rental property that used to be rented to workers is now an AirBnb. Perhaps west of the bybass can be the residential district and East of the bybass can be the rental district. In my line of work I get to talk to a lot of elected town officials and the majority of them own airBnBs. My small neighbor hood in Kitty Hawk used to be a family neighbor hood where we knew everybody. Now we have scream laughter all night!

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 10:55 am
  • Mike M.

    Who’s representing Hatteras Island? There are 7 villages here that need a voice-


    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 10:57 am
  • CorruptionParade

    Wow and Wow. Linda, not one of the planned houses is guaranteed for any person. That would be discrimination. You must take the person that qualifies. It can be someone from NJ or NY. Doesn’t matter.
    I do not believe we need ANOTHER “Board”. It’s a waste of time, but “buys” time for the BOC to get these projects off the ground. Smoke and Mirrors. You know, “we the BOC got input from the county.”
    Just go ahead and build already

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 11:36 am
  • lippy

    I like Linda’s idea…pay the folks more money Dare County. Tell me where in the entire United States of America, low income housing is not a blight on a community. It draws all sorts of crime, i.e. drug dealing.

    We Do Not want low-income housing on the Outer Banks!

    Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 11:38 am