Dare towns drop lawsuit over state housing funds

By on June 8, 2024

October suit had contested law restricting local control over housing regulation

With Dare County mandated to return $35 million in housing funds to the state, a suit filed last year by its six towns contesting the conditions attached to that money has been withdrawn.

Last October, the six municipalities filed the litigation after a special housing provision inserted into the state budget would have restricted their ability to regulate affordable housing projects funded by the $35 million in state money. Town officials vocally criticized the measure for eroding and encroaching on local authority over development and zoning.

Ben Gallop, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs, the Town of Manteo, told the Voice that on June 7, the municipalities filed a voluntarily dismissal of that suit, ‚Äúin recognition that the General Assembly‚Äôs recent repeal of the legislation provided the towns with the result sought by the lawsuit.‚ÄĚ

The filing of the suit harkens back to one of the most divisive controversies that emerged during efforts to build more workforce housing in the county. It came only weeks after local officials expressed anger and surprise upon learning that the provision restricting town control over the housing regulation had been inserted into the state budget. The $35 million was intended to be used by Coastal Affordable Housing LLC‚ÄĒat the time, one of the county‚Äôs two private housing development partners.

From the outset, Dare County officials insisted they had no knowledge of and no role in inserting that provision and State Representative Keith Kidwell (whose district covers part of Dare County) was subsequently identified as involved in inserting that provision. The Dare County Commissioners also passed a resolution indicating they would not abide by the provision removing local control over affordable housing regulation.

Since then, much has happened, including the decision taken on April 9 by the Dare Commissioners to end the county’s partnership with Coastal Affordable Housing and to seek to return the $35 million in housing funds to state coffers.

The county‚Äôs Affordable Housing Task Force was hopeful the commissioners could delay returning that money. But a little over a month ago,¬†the state legislature passed a measure that removed the provision and also required the return of the $35 million to the state‚ÄĒin effect bringing this fractious chapter of the county‚Äôs housing initiative to an end.

SEE ALSO: Dare County towns file lawsuit against NC over affordable housing budget provision


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See what people are saying:

  • Not surprised

    Good job to all the Towns and to all the citizens who spoke and/or wrote to the Dare Board of Commissioners, in opposition to this!

    Sunday, Jun 9 @ 8:47 am
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