Thursday, August 28, 2008

Outcome of the Public Hearing regarding the Development Proposals in Carova

The Currituck Couty Commissioners voted in favor (4-1) to approve the measure. The minutes from the meeting and the Video of the session can be found here

Previous Post:

It is apparent from the response and phone calls that the last post entry was not comprehensive enough for many of you. Let me clarify what the public hearing is about and give a little history.

There are three large areas in the Carova Beach subdivision that were originally platted for business use though never actually zoned as commercial property; one area by the fire station, one area at MP 23, and one area at the Virginia line.

Now the owner/developer of the Carova parcels, Ocean-Carova, would like to reconfigure the large parcels into residential building sites to be sold off in the future. These lots will be much larger than the current Carova single family residential lots because they have to conform to current Currituck County lot size requirements, thus the density will be much less than what currently exists. Additionally, the developers are proposing that a number of acres be deeded to Currituck County for its land bank. Those who champion less development and no commercial activity should be thrilled at the proposal as this is probably the best case scenario for lower density while still maintaining some economic viability for the developers.

Here's where the public hearing comes into play: Since all three parcels have portions in the Area of Environmental Concern (AEC), it falls into the Coastal Resources Commission's CAMA jurisdiction. CAMA (Coastal Area Management Act)is enforced by the CRC who reviewed the proposal and noticed that there were certain breaks in the dune line that were being used as driving easements that were not platted to be there. Additionally, there are easements that have been platted to exist that are not being utilized. So, the CRC indicated that it was their preference that instead of blocking off the illegal dune cross-overs and bulldozing the dunes where the easements should be, why not just establish easements where people are driving and remove the platted easements that have not been physically cut in? Ultimately the theory is that there will be less frontal dune disturbance that way. To make such a shift of easements requires a public hearing, so there you have it. Note: The easements only impact land between Sandfiddler Road and the Ocean.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Re-establishing Northern most Carova Roads

Currituck Planning Dept received a proposal for the 3 northern, formerly commercial sections, in Carova to accommodate residential lots. Below is the article from the Daily Advance by staff writer, Jennifer Preyss. (Note it is Carova, not Corova)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Currituck's planning director says revised plans for several sand streets in Corova Beach do not call for the streets to be closed.

Ocean Corova developers Larry Riggs and Glenn Gray have submitted a proposal that would decrease the size of the existing business plats to make way for oceanfront homes. Several decades ago, though, the land was zoned for residential use but was platted for a business district. So, the existing plats must be scaled down to an appropriate size for home building, said Ben Woody, the planning director.

The lots vary in size, but each block is several acres and far too large to build an average-sized home on.

In the process of decreasing the size of the blocks to accommodate a new residential neighborhood, several of the existing nearby sand roads will need to be re-established and moved.

Residents have expressed concern that Ocean Corova developers' request to change the business blocks may result in the closing of Shark Lane, Rock Lane and Shad Lane, where four-wheel-driving is currently permitted.

"(The developers) are not closing the roads, they're moving streets to combine streets," Woody said.

Planning maps indicate the lanes run in straight lines toward the ocean, passing over dune areas. But the existing roads are incompatible for new development. The recommended right-of-way size is too small and the roads cannot accommodate two-lane driving.

In addition, Woody says that many drivers simply ignore the sand street parameters because they are an off-road area.

"(Drivers) will actually drive off Shark Lane, sometimes ending up in Riggs' backyard, and they don't even know it," Woody said.

Residents have been hesitant in the past to improve the sand roads because they say doing so would make the area less rural, create additional traffic and congestion, and possibly harm the wild horses and other wildlife.

If Riggs' planning request is granted, the roads would be placed near their original location, but in an area that would make sense for development.

"The only disadvantage to improving the existing (roads) is it would disturb some of the dunes," Woody said. "But (re-establishing) the roads isn't to the detriment of residents."

A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 2 for members of the community to voice concerns and ask developers questions.