Kitty Hawk Planning Board recommends proposal to let businesses create more worker housing

By on May 20, 2024

Kitty Hawk Director of Planning and Inspections Rob Testerman (File photo/Town of Kitty Hawk)

At its May 16 meeting, the Kitty Hawk Planning Board took a step toward potentially making it easier to create more worker housing in the town.

According to Kitty Hawk Director of Planning and Inspections Rob Testerman, the proposed text amendment recommended by the Planning Board at the meeting would “allow owners of non-residential properties the ability to construct residential units on their non-residential property, aimed at providing housing for workers in the area.” The measure will need the approval of the Kitty Hawk Town Council.

The staff memo on the amendment similarly notes that, “The proposed language would provide commercial property owners in Kitty Hawk with greater flexibility, providing the opportunity to develop small scale residential uses on site to provide for housing for the workforce in the area.”

The request for the text amendment came to the Planning Board from Ralph Calfee of Calfee Engineering. The amendment does regulate the size of the housing units that can be built, imposes occupancy limits and prohibits short-term rentals, Testerman added.

The proposal also makes significant changes to the current rules as Testerman points out, noting that currently, the town allows “apartments over commercial uses as a special use permit [SUP] meaning it would have to go to the Planning Board and Council for approval. There is no size limit, or short-term rental restrictions on these special use permits.”

“Additionally, what is currently allowed as a SUP is only to build apartments above the commercial use, whereas the proposed language would allow construction of a separate structure on site to use as housing,” he said

At its June meeting, The Kitty Hawk Town Council is expected to schedule a public hearing on the proposal for its July meeting.




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  • Dylan

    I am wondering what commercial properties in Kitty Hawk have the space to build worker housing that will be economically feasible given size restrictions? Space for septic? Parking?

    Monday, May 20 @ 4:22 pm
  • disgruntled

    Finally, a correct proposal to worker housing shortage, provide a path for the employers to provide the housing! Perhaps tax incentives if they buy a property for the purpose of employee housing.
    Why should I pay for it?

    Monday, May 20 @ 5:37 pm
  • surf123

    A big fat no all the way around. We need permanent housing and temporary housing will just go to international workers or summer hires. At some point these could end up as short-term rentals or just straight up tourist rentals. There really is no way to enforce it.

    Monday, May 20 @ 5:44 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Surf, always a beacon of positive thinking.

    Monday, May 20 @ 6:05 pm
  • Ed

    Surf123, every single point you make is incorrect. We do need summer housing. They would not be for tourists. Enforcement is not difficult. Why couldn’t they be used year round?

    Monday, May 20 @ 6:13 pm
  • another mom

    some of the ski areas out west have tiny homes only for their employees. it seems to work well.

    Monday, May 20 @ 6:20 pm
  • Robert Woody

    Finally, somebody gets it !

    Tuesday, May 21 @ 12:48 am
  • RicknKDH

    Finally, a town thinking outside the box. The need for workforce, not permanent, housing is the cry from the business community. This proposal provides a means for businesses to solve “their” problem. A no-brainer.

    Tuesday, May 21 @ 8:16 am
  • liz

    In the first comment, Dylan talks about space for septic and parking. Has he seen some of the gigantic houses around Dare County? I mean the McMansions on steroids. The cash cows with 10, 12, and 24 bedrooms, and an equal number of bathrooms, and then some. What about the septic and parking for those? Can the housing being proposed be that much different?

    Tuesday, May 21 @ 9:06 am
  • Dylan


    You will not find “McMansions on steroids” in Kitty Hawk. Each municipality has its own requirements. I am also disgusted by those monstrosities and suspicious of the accompanying
    septic systems that are older than a few years. There are newer high-tech systems for the beach properties.

    Tuesday, May 21 @ 9:59 am
  • Greg

    The rules set forth for lot development will prevail. The Towns have lot coverage regulations and Dare County Environmental
    Health determines the number of occupants on a given piece of property. The number of bedrooms is the determining factor. Wetlands will come into play as well. The extra large homes along with restaurants and hotels in KDH are served by a municipal sewer system. This is a sensible idea. A property owner is generally going to build something that enhances the value of their property.

    Tuesday, May 21 @ 10:05 am
  • Happy to see ANY idea coming but is this the answer?

    I love seeing a forward movement regarding housing, however, in the town of Kitty Hawk I can only think of a few businesses that this proposal would apply to. Quite a few of the businesses are on leases. Surely the lease owner isn’t going to love this option. For example, let’s use Walgreens of Kitty hawk as an example, that company leases that
    land for their business. Are they
    going to let homes show up on the
    Or consider Black Pelican, they don’t lease but every occupied space in that lot is a potential paying customer. Are they going to give up those spaces for housing. And best of all the newly constructed Sugar Kingdom, they sincerely only have 10ish spaces, would they spare any for housing, I doubt it.
    Also, all properties will have to get approval, I bet not many will qualify. Nice attempt, but just not a feasible answer.

    Tuesday, May 21 @ 3:36 pm
  • WindyBill

    If this proposal only solves part of the problem, well, that is less problem to be concerned about.

    Tuesday, May 21 @ 5:24 pm
  • Buck C

    If anyone knows how Kitty Hawk operates, this is the most important line in the article:

    “The measure will need the approval of the Kitty Hawk Town Council.”

    The council will make sure this doesn’t happen. Kitty Hawk is lucky to have Rob Testerman, he is an intelligent forward forward-thinking individual. Unfortunately, there are other levels of approval this will have to go through.

    Wednesday, May 22 @ 1:00 pm
  • HearMeOut

    Use deep water marina to park multi unit house boats during summer.

    Partner with resort town in Florida to park it for their use in winter.

    No worries about housing intended for workers becoming short term rentals

    Friday, May 24 @ 11:28 pm