Kitty Hawk Council approves measure to build workforce housing on commercial property

By on July 2, 2024

Ralph Calfee, who proposed the text amendment, addresses the Kitty Hawk Council on July 1.

At its July 1 meeting, the Kitty Hawk Town Council unanimously approved a text amendment that allows owners of non-residential properties to build residential units for workers on that property.

Under the proposed text amendment, the gross area of the housing units could not exceed more than 10% of the gross area of the commercial use and one housing unit could not exceed more than 750 square feet. No onsite parking space is required for each unit.

As Rob Testerman, Kitty Hawk Director of Planning and Inspections told the Voice previously, current town regulations allow “apartments over commercial uses as a special use permit [SUP] meaning it would have to go to the Planning Board and Council for approval.”

“Additionally,” he added, “what is currently allowed as an 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.”

The July 1 voice vote by the council members followed a brief public hearing. The one speaker at that hearing was Donna Creef, Government Affairs Director for OBAR and the chair of the Dare County Housing Task Force, who voiced her support for the text amendment.

The request for that amendment came from Kitty Hawk property owner Ralph Calfee, who also spoke at the July 1 meeting.

He described his proposal as “simply an effort to create an opportunity for commercial properties to include the development of limited workforce housing rather than trying to do a…project of sixty units jammed into a big old building somewhere that doesn’t seem to be receiving too good of a response locally.”

Dare County efforts to generate more workforce housing have been met by repeated setbacks, with several major proposed projects derailed by local opposition in Manteo, Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills. One of the county’s development partners, the Woda Cooper Company, withdrew from Dare County late last year. In April, the county announced it was ending its partnership with Coastal Affordable Housing, LLC and it was subsequently mandated to return $35 million in affordable housing funds to the state.

The Dare Housing Task Force, which first convened in January, is continuing to work on the issue of affordable housing in the county.


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

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  • Ray

    Being a landlord is hard. Renters don’t often respect the property.

    This will be a good opportunity for local employers who whine about not being able to find cheap labor to find out firsthand why locals don’t want to house their cheap labor.

    Wednesday, Jul 3 @ 7:38 am
  • Currituck Retiree

    Ah….memories…1978: Phillips Crab House in Ocean City had employee housing onsite. Six girls in a two-bedroom apartment. We had the time of our lives (thank goodness there wasn’t Facebook) but one thing was certain: We worked our shifts.

    So my point, @Ray, is that when your job and your housing are tied together, employers have incentive to provide; and employees have incentive to perform (and respect the property).

    Wednesday, Jul 3 @ 9:12 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Love the comment about Facebook.

    Wednesday, Jul 3 @ 9:18 am
  • Dave

    If I remember, Capt’n Franks Hotdogs had a room upstairs for workers, but I could be wrong…

    Wednesday, Jul 3 @ 11:40 am
  • Czarina

    Good news!

    Wednesday, Jul 3 @ 3:11 pm
  • Louise

    Dave, you are correct.

    Wednesday, Jul 3 @ 3:25 pm
  • james

    St. Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go I owe my soul to the company store.

    Wednesday, Jul 3 @ 5:28 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Not 100% sure I understand the relevance of the comment, but I like the song.

    Wednesday, Jul 3 @ 8:45 pm
  • WindyBill

    Possible Big Hooray!!, but double check needed: Does this action by Kitty Hawkmake it the First Town to actually do something about the workforce housing problem?

    Wednesday, Jul 3 @ 6:41 pm
  • DS

    Kitty Hawk has made a mistake here on several fronts. 1) Not requiring additonal parking is ludicrous, especially when you consider parking is normally at a premium at a business. 2) Limiting the size to 750 is just too small as that barely accommodates a 2 br / 1 or 1 1/2 bath home. They need to up this to 1200 sq ft so you can get a 3 bedroom / 2 bath in it as most business have more than 2 employees or 4 if you stack two to a bedroom. So if the lot coverage allows why not allow a bigger ADU?

    Thursday, Jul 4 @ 10:27 am
  • Gary Ferguson

    Thank you Ralph!

    Thursday, Jul 4 @ 11:47 am
  • Justin

    Does this help any local workers or just the big local donors, I mean business owners. I’ll wait…..

    Sunday, Jul 7 @ 5:56 am
  • Currituck

    Brilliant! Finally, a solution to create housing that will not require a direct payment from taxpayers. Sounds as though these living units have to be just for the businesses own employees…that will not maximize the potential units built. Will the other municipalities or the county join in?

    Sunday, Jul 7 @ 6:09 am
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