In an attempt to stem some of the development in the historic areas of Corolla, Currituck County is seeking input on how best to preserve what is left of the "village" going forward. Below is an article from the Virginia Pilot with some meeting times for upcoming meetings. For a tour of the Corolla Village, click here
County may write guide for historic Corolla development
By Jeff Hampton
© December 26, 2010
A plan to guide development in historic Corolla could guard against "eyesores" and "monstrosities" but raises concerns of giving Currituck County too much control.
The county wants to write a small area plan for 322 acres surrounding the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the historic Whalehead Club.
The original historic village, west of N.C. 12, still has about a dozen structures built decades ago, including a school house and homes converted into shops.
On the east side is a modern subdivision known as Corolla Village developed since the 1980s.
Similar to the countywide land-use plan, a small area plan concentrates on a single community with guidance from an advisory committee of local residents and county staff members.
"A house on pilings with a swimming pool, a big-box store, a go-cart track would completely alter the village quality," said Sharon Twiddy, a member of the advisory committee. "Architectural guidelines that suggest ways of building that are consistent with existing homes and businesses would be welcome."
The Twiddys, owners of Twiddy & Co. Realtors in Corolla, have restored old buildings in the historic village.
A survey of about 50 Corolla residents who attended an October meeting showed that the top priority is keeping the historic village unchanged, with plenty of trees and open space.
One respondent wrote, "Keep it tranquil and wonderful as is, no city style."
Another wanted tight restrictions to "get rid of eyesores and the Wings monstrosities" and lamented "vagrants" and "day trippers who come to drive onto the beach and get drunk, pollute the beach and contribute nothing to the local economy."
The latest meeting was held Dec. 7. No date is set for another meeting planned for early January.
Expected to be finished next year, the small area plan would be a nonbinding guide for the Currituck County Board of Commissioners and the planning staff on issues of rezoning and permit applications, said Holly White, senior planner for Currituck County.
"This would not be regulatory," White said. "It is a community-driven plan."
But such plans can evolve into more controlling documents as boards and staff change, said Corolla native Norris Austin.
"Most people in the old village who I know are against it," Austin said. "It's not really historic anymore. It's nothing like it was when I was growing up."
Austin's family has lived in Corolla since the late 1800s. Austin grew up there in the 1940s and remembers the community having only a handful of people who farmed, hunted, fished and worked in local government jobs when available.
Mail and supplies for a post office/country store run by Austin's father came largely by boat. Austin took over for his father as the Corolla postmaster and worked there for decades.
As late as the 1970s, there were fewer than two dozen people living in Corolla, with no paved roads and few amenities. Austin has told his stories of old Corolla in books and as a volunteer at the Whalehead Club, a restored hunt club built in the 1920s.
A developer in the 1970s built a paved road that was gated, allowing only property owners to pass.
In 1984, the state took control, opened the paved road, and heavy development followed for the next 20 years. Corolla morphed into a busy and almost completely developed resort, with one posh subdivision after another.
"If you don't have some type of plan in place, then anything can happen," said Gary McGee of Corolla Light neighborhood, near Corolla Village. "We do see that anything can happen in other parts of Corolla."
The county still seeks public input and will advertise upcoming meetings. White is asking people to bring old photos of the village to the next meeting.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Posted by Jason Summerton at 12:05 PM