Thursday, September 25, 2008

Carova Beach Park Open For Business

As many of you have seen the Carova Beach Park is now open to all. Tab Winborne, owner of the Tab Winborne Corporation and general contractor for the construction of the project finished the park (ahead of schedule) in early September. I asked him to give me the park's latest update and his email reply was as follows:


Thank you for your recent inquiry about the Carova Beach Park.

The park was completed in August and opened to the public in Early September. The park has become a destination for people in the area. By truck, by foot and by boat everyone stops in. Any time during the day you can find people walking their dogs, fishing and crabbing on the bulkhead and walks or picnicking under one of the 4 shelters. The park is equipped with a professional size volley ball court, horseshoe pits, grills and did I mention it has the only public restrooms in the 4 x 4 area.

Since your last update the County realized there was a need for a larger gathering area. So an additional picnic shelter was added to the three original shelters. The new and largest shelter is over 1800 square foot with a concrete slab, 8 x 8 support post and fancy rafter tails. The big shelter, with views along the water front, has 6 large picnic tables and grills. This shelter is perfect for a reunion, gathering, community meeting or church group.

The footprint of the park allows plenty of room for expansion. The county has welcomed input from the community. I have had several people inquire about a playground & swings for children (yes, my children have their fingers crossed). I would encourage your readers to contact the Managers office if they have ideas.

There was a request to hold off on the boat ramp and investigate the possibility of dredging the entire canal area along the park. We are in the process of the permit stage to acquire another major CAMA permit required for the additional dredging. The standard review for this type of permit is expected to take nine months. We hope the boat ramp will be installed by next summer.

The pier, bulkhead and walks currently allow for 8 mooring slips and the possibility to up-graded to 10 if more room is needed.

We are very proud of the park and honored the County choose our firm to complete the project. This park will be a great addition to the community.

Tab Winborne
Tab Winborne Corporation
757 237 2802

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Commercial Development in Swan Beach

Unlike previously reported, we seem to now have confirmation that the proposal is moving forward for the commercial component in Swan beach. Here's the report from the Virginia Pilot's Jeff Hampton.

By Jeff Hampton
The Virginian-Pilot
© September 25, 2008

Plans have resurfaced for a commercial development, including a 50-room inn, on the northern Currituck Outer Banks where wild horses roam.

Residents in Currituck's four-wheel drive area have begun mustering opposition, as they did four years ago, when the project was withdrawn.

Developer Gerald Friedman of Norfolk wants the Currituck County Board of Commissioners to amend the development ordinance to allow "off road historic village commercial overlay" districts. If that passes, commissioners would be asked to designate Friedman's 25.77-acre site on Ocean Pearl Road and Albatross Lane in Swan Beach as such a district.

Allowed uses, all of which are listed in Friedman's plan, include a 50-room inn, a convenience store, county services such as a fire department, a church, professional offices and apartments.

Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the request at the Nov. 17 board meeting, said Ben Woody, director of the county planning department.

Residents have created a blogspot that includes a link to a petition against the project.

"This is the last sanctuary for the wild horses," Lynne Wilson, a resident and member of the Northern Currituck Beaches Task Force, said in an e-mail. "Commercialization would certainly bring an end to their safety and ultimately their freedom. Where will they go?"

Wilson said residents are concerned that if overlay districts are approved, they could be applied anywhere in the northern Currituck Outer Banks.

The project envisioned by Friedman was first proposed in 2004 but withdrawn from the agenda of a Board of Commissioners meeting in 2005. At the time, the planning staff and the planning board did not recommend the project, basing their decisions largely on the county's land-use plan, which calls for the four-wheel-drive area to remain sparsely developed. Three weeks ago, Friedman's attorney asked county officials to reactivate the approval process.

The north beach communities were platted in the 1960s and 1970s with plans for a future paved road. On old plats, the tract proposed for the commercial overlay district was labeled as a business district. Currituck officials maintain the old maps do not override the residential zoning there.

Friedman has owned and paid taxes on the property since 1966, he said Wednesday. The business district was part of a contract signed by county officials at the time and filed with the plats, he said.

"I hope the county has enough class to honor their contract," Friedman said.

The herd of wild horses roams in about 17,000 acres between a fence that runs from ocean to sound north of Corolla to another fence at the Virginia line about 12 miles north. Horses often graze around homes there. But much of the area remains undeveloped, owned by the state and federal governments.

Jeff Hampton, (252) 338-0159,

Previous Post from 9-24-08

I received a comment on the last post that I felt should be brought out in the form of another post.

I understand there are a few proposals for commercial development in the four wheel drive area. I am very curious about all of them. I do some retail business and wonder if there is the possibility of retail opening up up there.

I have heard, though I am making an effort to confirm directly, that there may be a proposal presented to the county commissioners again at their November 17th meeting to make a UDO amendment to create an Off Road Historic Village Commercial Overlay District on the North end of Swan Beach. The developer, Swan Beach Corolla, LLC, initially attempted something similar to this in 2005 but removed it from the agenda before the Board was to take action. It appears this is a very similar plan or a reinstatement of that plan. One group opposed to such a plan has posted a copy of the request on their blog. I'll update more as I receive verifiable information.