Dare County affordable housing partners still looking for potential sites  

By on November 4, 2023

Woda Cooper eyeing former Kelly’s restaurant location in Nags Head

Woda Cooper is looking at the site of the former Kelly’s restaurant. (Google maps)

As Dare County turns to the affordable housing task force in the hopes of creating consensus and advancing efforts to build more affordable housing, its two development partners are continuing to search for viable sites, according to Dare County Manager Bobby Outten.

The creation of the task force was approved at an Oct. 2 Dare County Commissioners meeting, and it came in the wake of failed efforts to build housing developments in Manteo, Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills. It will be comprised of officials from each of the county’s six towns as well as representatives of such organizations as the Outer Banks Restaurant Association, the Outer Banks Hotel/Motel Association and the Outer Banks Home Builders Association.

Dare County Commissioner Chairman Bob Woodard has said the task force will not convene its first meeting until after the Nov. 7 municipal elections, and Outten characterized its mission as broader than just building a few housing projects.

“This task force means collaboratively; we’ve got to find a way to solve this problem in the long term. And it’s not just a Dare County problem…we have to get everybody on board and then come up with common ground and common ways to figure out how to solve what everybody I think has agreed is a problem,” he said.

The effort to build such housing was recently complicated by a special provision dropped into the state budget that restricts municipalities’ ability to regulate affordable housing projects in their communities that would be funded with $35 million the state has awarded the county. Municipal leaders were both surprised and angered by that provision and all six towns have signed onto an Oct. 6 lawsuit challenging that provision. Both Woodard and Outten have declined to comment on that litigation.

In the meantime, Outten said that the county’s development partners, Woda Cooper and Coastal Affordable Housing, “have been looking at sites continuously and as one site gets ruled out by a town, then they look at other sites. Both groups are doing that as we speak with various sites…and then they have to have dialogue with whatever community they’re going to do it in to make sure they can do it.”

Woda Cooper has a pot of $12 million in county funding to work with. The $35 million in state funding at the heart of the controversial budget provision has been earmarked for the Coastal Affordable Housing group.

Asked about how far these efforts to find new potential housing locations have advanced, Outten noted that “I think there have been some conversations” between the developers and some municipal leaders. But he called it “a feeling out process,” that has not reached a “formal” stage.

Outten declined to mention specific sites under consideration, but in an email to the Voice, Woda Cooper Senior Vice President for Development Denis Blackburne said the vacant Nags Head site that once housed Mike Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern “is a potential site we are considering.” Kelly sold the property to German grocer Lidl in 2017, which never built a store there, and it was subsequently sold again in 2022.

Both Blackburne and Nags Head Town Manager Andy Garman indicated that the two parties have not discussed any location for a new housing proposal.

Asked how long the county will continue to work with Woda Cooper and Coastal Affordable Housing, Outten said the clock is not ticking in a “legal” sense. “As long as we’re making progress and as long as we’re seeing eye to eye on the deal, then we’ll keep working.”

As for how long it might take to finally launch a housing project, the county manager offered that “I’d like to think that within the next year, we have a site selected. Whether you can get it designed, engineered and start breaking ground within a year, I don’t know.”



Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room (https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

Time: Dec 6, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

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