Kill Devil Hills Board could approve balloon release ban at Monday meeting 

By on July 7, 2024

Debbie Swick at the May Dare Commissioners meeting.

At its Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, July 8, Kill Devil Hills could become the fifth Dare County municipality to enact some type of balloon release ban since Duck became the first town to do so on April 3.

The proposed measure before the Kill Devil Hills Commissioners is an amendment to the Town Code of Ordinances that would ‚Äúprohibit the intentional release of lighter-than-air balloons on Town-owned property, including recreational areas and ocean and soundside accesses.‚ÄĚ

Any violators would be subject to a civil penalty of $25‚ÄĒa fine that is considerably less than the $250 fines enacted by other Dare County towns.

Back in April, the Kill Devil Hills Commissioners adopted a resolution opposing the release of helium balloons. In Mid-May, they heard a presentation from Debbie Swick, the key force behind the efforts to ban balloon releases, who asked them to enact an ordinance.

Swick also told the Voice that said she would make a presentation advocating for a balloon release ban to the Manteo Board of Commissioners at its July meeting. And last month, the Dare County Commissioners scheduled a July 16 public hearing on a balloon release ban that would apply to unincorporated parts of the county.

In a recent interview with the Voice, Swick¬†said the effort to stop the release of balloons–which advocates say does significant harm to wildlife and the environment‚ÄĒreflects a sentiment that ‚Äúthis has to stop. These are our beaches. This is our wildlife‚ĶThis is kinship with our ocean.‚ÄĚ



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  • Glenn

    Excellent! Congratulations! No need to have balloons in coastal areas. Numerous coastal communities on both coasts are moving towards banning the sale of balloons within their jurisdictions. No doubt many purchasers are very careful with the balloons but those of us who often walk the beaches already know deflated balloons or balloon strings are often found throughout our beaches.

    Sunday, Jul 7 @ 4:50 pm
  • Blindeye

    Like fireworks who will enforce this. Karen? Good luck with that. 911 there is ballon loose.

    Monday, Jul 8 @ 7:23 am
  • KDH Citizen

    Oh Glenn, you are precious. No need for cigarettes and beer cans to be on the beach. I see them everywhere everyday. Will you ask to ban these? I sure hope so.
    @Karen, who will police this unenforceable law? The same folks enforcing the fireworks? The neighborhood put on a better fireworks display than the town. Funny (or not so funny), not one police officer or firefighter showed up to enforce the no firework laws. This is a massive waste of time, but does give one the warm and fuzzies!
    Let’s all hold hands and sing kumbaya while we think of other things to ban!

    Monday, Jul 8 @ 9:43 am
  • Thinking Cap

    What percentage of balloons found on the beaches can be traced back to being released in the OBX? Southwest winds in summer (mostly), and northwest/northeast in fall and winter. Have any studies been done to actually prove the ban will do anything? I do agree with not releasing balloons outside tho. Balloonfest ’86 in Cleveland, Ohio was a terrible mistake

    Monday, Jul 8 @ 3:20 pm
  • KDH person

    For lack of a better word silly comes to mind. The solution would be to ban the sale of helium balloons not this “silly” ordinance banning the release of balloons on town property. Look out dollar store and other places who sell helium balloons sales are going to plummet (not).

    The town of KDH doesn’t enforce the no dogs on the beach during certain times on the beach ordinance so you think a “silly” ban the balloon unenforceable ordinance is viable?.

    Perhaps the KDH commissioners should be spending their time on productive measures for improving ocean beach accesses which by the way is the number one draw to KDH rather than the “silly” and unenforceable balloon release stuff.

    Yup it sounds good on paper and makes the KDH commissioners feel good, but in reality this issue is just plan “silly”

    Tuesday, Jul 9 @ 5:28 am
  • Roy

    When balloons are released, they do not stay in the air forever. I am a retired merchant seaman. When I was working it was not am unusual occurrence to be over one hundred miles offshore and find a partially deflated balloon on the deck of the ship.

    Tuesday, Jul 9 @ 7:05 am
  • Josh

    Littering. A law as old as time. Save time and effort and just write littering tickets to anyone releasing balloons.
    Common sense.

    Tuesday, Jul 9 @ 8:45 am
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