Dare County reimburses housing partner nearly $400K

By on March 22, 2024

Coastal Affordable Housing could receive up to $5M for pre-development expenses

Amid word that Coastal Affordable Housing LLC is potentially looking at building housing in Kitty Hawk, the company has been billing the county substantial fees for expenses incurred in its thus far unsuccessful efforts to generate such a project.

At least one Coastal Affordable Housing invoice paid by the county was for expenses totaling $389,633.73 that were accrued during pre-development work during the period from Sept. 7, 2022, to April 30, 2023. The invoice, dated, May 8, 2023, includes payable expenses ranging from A@E Fees/Consultants (almost $118,000) to Miscellaneous (more than $15,000.)

In an interview Dare County Manager Bobby Outten told the Voice he believes another invoice for expenses was recently submitted by the Coastal Affordable Housing LLC, but he added that he has not yet seen it.

Efforts to reach Jordan Hennessy, a principal in the Coastal Affordable Housing LLC, for comment were not successful. Hennessy, who had been a top aide to former State Senator Bill Cook, is also a top official at EJE Dredging, which owns and operates the Miss Katie Dredge.

According to the Pre-Development Agreement signed between Coastal Affordable Housing LLC and Dare County, the county is obligated to pay properly documented invoices “for pre-development expenses associated with the project…not to exceed in the aggregate, the sum of five million dollars.”

Coastal Affordable Housing was one of two partners selected by Dare County to help ease the housing crunch for its workforce. The other company, Woda Cooper, ended its efforts late last year after its proposed housing projects in Manteo and Nags Head were derailed by local opposition. The Coastal Affordable Housing LLC effort to build a major housing project in Kill Devil Hills was blocked by that town’s board of commissioners in August 2022.

In explaining the provision requiring the county to reimburse Coastal Affordable for expenses, Outten said that the LLC “can’t go out and buy a million-dollar piece of property” without doing a great deal of “preliminary work” regarding the site that involves expenditures. He said that there was no such reimbursement provision in the agreement with Woda Cooper because “they came to us with a property ready to go” in Nags Head and with another project on county-owned property in Manteo.

Outten also told the Voice that Coastal Affordable housing is currently “working with Kitty Hawk” on a housing development.  “I think they’re trying to figure out what will fit there.”

When contacted by the Voice, Kitty Hawk Town Manager Melody Clopton said she had “not received any proposals” from Coastal Affordable regarding a housing project, later adding that “to my knowledge, there have been no conversations with this group.”

Last year, the Coastal Affordable Housing LLC was involved in controversy when Dare County municipal officials learned of a provision inserted into the state budget that curtailed the municipalities’ authority to regulate affordable housing projects funded by $35 million earmarked by the state for that purpose. That $35 million has been designated for Coastal Affordable Housing efforts. Multiple media outlets have identified State Representative Keith Kidwell, who represents part of Dare County, as being involved in inserting that housing provision in the budget.

Surprised and angered by what they viewed as the state’s attempt to undermine their authority to regulate development within their jurisdictions, all six Dare County towns sued to invalidate the budget provision last October.

In January 2024, the Dare County Commissioners passed a resolution declaring they would not use that provision to circumvent town zoning regulations regarding those housing developments.

 



Comments

  • Rhett

    It makes me wonder, what a 5 million apartment complex would look like, instead of paying this company 5 million for what? Affordable housing will never happen, even though we need it desperately! The tourist are already questioning whether they should come or not, based on long lines, high rental rates and unfriendly interactions from over worked, stressed out workers.

    Thursday, Mar 28 @ 3:14 pm
  • Outer

    Soooo just confirming what I think I just read:
    -A company (Affordable Housing) is POTENTIALLY looking at building affordable housing in Kitty Hawk.
    -The Company does not have the money to do there own provisional work, so the county is funding them.
    -The County signed a pre-development agreement funding this company to explore and see if they can find a space to develop affordable housing with an open check for up to 5M.
    -The County says the company is “working with Kitty Hawk” and the Town of Kitty Hawk has no knowledge and hasn’t spoken to thee Company, nor has the company reached out to them….LOL (that was fun to write out)
    -Efforts by this Company have failed in Manteo, Nags Head, and Kill Devil Hills due to the community putting their foot down. Essentially saying the package they are proposing is not good enough.
    -The Company has previously been involved in controversy.
    From the information provided within the story it kinda sounds like this company played on the emotions of a community convinced people to provide an open check for exploration and at the end, has the opportunity to walk away having potentially spent up to 5m dollars of tax payer money.
    So in the end, I’m sure there is much more to the story however from first glance…..yikes!

    Friday, Mar 29 @ 1:07 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Outer, I know it’s confusing, but you’ve got some inaccuracies in your comment. Among them, the company that could not build in Manteo and Kitty Hawk was Woda Cooper, not Coastal Affordable Housing.

    Friday, Mar 29 @ 3:37 pm
  • Frank

    Can I submit invoices? I’ve been doing some pre-development work that no one knows about, but trust me, my intentions are good (for me and my corporate welfare/government cronies, friends, and families). Just pay me, okay? Maybe I will come up with something, just don’t ask too many questions. I’ll tell you this much about what I’ve been thinking about in my pre-development work: 1) It’s going to be big. 2) It’s going to be nice. 3) Not everyone will like it. 4) I’m going to get paid even if nothing happens.
    BTW, you should see my new house! 🙂
    Dare County and its various government agents appear to be some of the most corrupt individuals around.

    Friday, Mar 29 @ 11:06 pm
  • Hawk

    Ooops! According to the VA Pilot article today, the amount is now approaching $1,000,000
    and the dredge weasle will not respond to the Pilot’s calls either. This one stinks, Rush Lay nailed it. Follow the money folks and keep asking questions.

    Saturday, Mar 30 @ 12:58 pm
  • Housing Task Force ?

    Anything new from the Housing Task Force?

    Saturday, Mar 30 @ 1:15 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    They meet again in a few weeks.

    Saturday, Mar 30 @ 6:17 pm
  • Curious in KDH

    Has anyone requested to see an itemized invoice (s). I agree with follow the money trail…,

    Thursday, Apr 4 @ 7:44 pm