Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Commissioners to Commercial Development: Nope.

Amidst a packed courthouse of committed locals and friends of the 4x4 beaches Monday, the Currituck County Commissioners could sense the conviction of the public and unanimously denied the Commercial rezoning request yet again in Swan Beach. A video post of the Commissioners meeting should be available by Wednesday or Thursday on the Currituck county website or this blog. Congratulations to all of those who's support and organization brought forth the preservation of one of the most unique areas on the East Coast.

Below is an article just posted by the Virginia Pilot's Jeff Hampton

Currituck officials reject hotel and shops in wild-horse area

By Jeff Hampton
The Virginian-Pilot
© May 17, 2011

Currituck County commissioners turned down a rezoning request Monday that would have allowed a hotel and shops in the four-wheel drive area. Developer Gerald Friedman requested the county rezone 37.4 acres in Swan Beach to general business from residential.

More than 100 people showed up to Monday’s meeting opposing the project, which has been turned down at least two other times by county officials going back to 2004. Earlier applications listed the project at 25.8 acres.

If one property was granted commercial status others would follow, said Vance Aydlett, chairman of the Currituck County Board of Commissioners. The vote was unanimous.

“Once you open that Pandora’s box it’s over with,” Aydlett said Tuesday morning.

County planning staff and the planning board recommended denial. The county’s land use plan calls for limited development in the four-wheel drive area, where a herd of about 100 wild horses roams. No roads are paved and access is difficult. Currituck’s northern Outer Banks falls under the federal Coastal Barrier Resources Act which discourages development. The northern Outer Banks was zoned residential in the mid 1970s.

Friedman has contended that the northern Outer Banks communities first platted more than 40 years ago included sections for business. Friedman’s tract in Swan Beach was set aside for commercial on an original plat dated Sept. 2, 1969, and signed by the county chairman of the Board of Commissioners. Friedman also said his project is no more intrusive than the 23-bedroom house used for weddings and many home businesses operating in Swan Beach and Carova.

Home businesses are allowed under certain restrictions, Aydlett said.

But in response to Friedman ’s charges, county inspectors found nine home businesses not in compliance. Most are cleaning up their sites to meet county ordinance, but at least two have not responded, said Ben Woody, director of the Currituck County Planning Department.