After we read The Editor’s Blog in The Island Free Press last Friday,
we felt it was necessary to express our views on the concrete plant
being proposed in Waves. This column represents the sentiment of the
surrounding property owners living on Laughing Gull Lane, Lance’s
Landing, and Sea Isle Hills, as well as many property owners along
Highway 12 and further north and south of the village of Waves.
start off, we’d like to express that we all want the bridges that will
be built over the “hotspots” on Pea Island so we can have reliable
access on and off of Hatteras Island. The company chosen to build at
least one – and maybe both of those bridges -- needs to build a
concrete plan near the locations.
However, as a
whole, we feel this is the wrong location for this plant for several
important reasons and that there are several others locations
available, all of which are far better suited for the project, both
with regards to the negative effects on our community and also to the
increased work efficiency of concrete production/delivery to the
The situation is that in their
April meeting, the Dare County Planning Board voted 4-2 against this
project being located in the middle of Waves. Then board members pushed
it forward to the county commissioners for their input and final
decision. The reasons the Planning Board voted against approving the
plant in Waves include the late-night concrete pours, high-intensity
lighting, dust and pollutants, noise, traffic, and the size of the lot.
It is too small to buffer the adverse effects on the surrounding
Before the vote, Planning
Board Chairman Elmer Midgett advised his fellow board members, “You’re
going to have to hurt someone’s feelings. That’s what you’re here
Planning Board member Beth Midgett
commented that she is against the plant in the proposed location
because the night-time pours are a “deal-breaker.”
addition to the 4-2 vote against the plant being located at the former
Dare Building Supply site, in Waves, some questionable activities and
inconsistencies with Dare County’s S-1 zoning came out during the
If you attended the Planning Board Meeting, you learned:
- Concrete/stormwater runoff will go directly into a man-made pond, which will then filter into our drinking water.
Quible Engineering representative said the subcontractor could use lime
to suppress the concrete dust. This would also filter in the drinking
- The same man-made pond is regularly
flooding into adjacent neighbors’ properties. This translates into
concrete, stormwater, and lime flooding into adjacent neighbors
- Industrial use of S-1 zoning states
that no portion of a building or open storage or processing area shall
be closer than 75 feet to a residential structure. The proposed plan
showed all of these industrial components only 28 feet from the
property line, and given current setback requirements, far closer than
75 feet to the closest residential structure.
usage of S-1 zoning clearly states the highest floor level shall be no
greater than 35 feet above the lowest ground grade. 52 feet max height
was used throughout the meeting for the cement silo. 52 feet is the
maximum height for commercial or residential structures (not
industrial) measured to the top of the building, not the top floor.
Fifty-two feet is not mention in the text of industrial S-1 zoning, so
we’re not sure where this number came from.
temperatures higher than 80 degrees would trigger the necessity for
night-time pours in order to be able to deliver concrete to the site at
75-degree required temp. This equates to night-time pours June through
September, our busiest months of the year, both for surrounding
full-time, working residents and families, as well as for rental homes
located in the area.
- There were no traffic
studies performed to weigh the impacts placed on the surrounding
community with 1,344 trucks per month servicing the site, with 2,688
entrances and exits of these trucks on/off Highway 12 every month.
These trucks are full-sized commercial cement trucks and 18-wheel raw
materials haulers. There have been multiple vehicle accidents with many
moderate to severe injuries, including two deaths, at this exact
location because of to the bending/blind curve at the site.
was no hurricane evacuation plan to secure site and concrete materials
and to protect surrounding communities in the event of high winds and
- Fencing surround the proposed
site was specified as chain link at 10 feet high. This material doesn’t
stop sound, dust or light. For comparison, Lowe’s in Kill Devil Hills
was required to install a 15’ high solid fence with sound reduction
- The site usage by the
proposed concrete plant was characterized as “industrial usage”
throughout the meeting. Parties characterizing the proposed concrete
plant site usage as “industrial usage” included the Dare County
Planning Board and Starkey Sharp, the attorney for Commercial Ready Mix
Concrete, as well as the surrounding community members who spoke during
Is there a way for the Dare County Commissioners to say “no” to this project?
this Planning Board meeting, in speaking with multiple members of the
Planning Board and County Commissioners, as well as many respected
members of our community, we were told that the final decision must be
based on the Dare County S-1 Zoning Ordinance.
were also several references to the Tri-Villages choosing to not have
more restrictive zoning and since we chose this road, this is what we
can expect. With every person involved hanging their hat on S-1 zoning,
our next step was to research the S-1 Zoning Ordinance with our
attorneys and find out where there were inconsistencies within the
document and the proposed plant.
have already mentioned the S-1 industrial use height restrictions and
also the 75-foot setbacks from the closest residential structure.
The following was also clearly stated in Dare County S-1 zoning and noted in public comment in the Planning Board meeting:
“Section F (#4): No industrial use shall be permitted which has noxious, harmful, or deleterious effects on other development.”
S-1 zoning does allow a “broad flexibility of services and uses while
establishing certain density limitations, setbacks, parking
requirements and other general requirements,” it also has specific
“industrial usage” restrictions, as well as a clear and available “no”
to industrial usage that has “noxious, harmful and deleterious” effects
on the surrounding developments and communities.
okay to not know the definitions of most of these words -- noxious,
harmful and deleterious. Most of us didn’t either! Here they are
directly from the Merriam Webster online dictionary:
- NOXIOUS: 1. physically harmful or destructive to living beings.
- HARMFUL: 1. of a kind likely to be damaging.
- DELETERIOUS: harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way
F (#4): No industrial use shall be permitted which has noxious,
harmful, or deleterious effects on other development.
basically translates to you can do anything on your own property in S-1
zoning, as long as it doesn’t negatively affect your neighbors. In this
specific case, it does significantly, negatively affect all of the
neighbors, as well as anyone traveling on Highway 12 through the
Tri-Villages because of the incredible amount of heavy truck traffic
trying to enter and exit the highway.
that the Dare County Zoning Ordinance was written and put into law with
a specific out for cases just like this one. Yes, S-1 zoning allows
almost everything, but the people involved in writing this ordinance
also had the forethought to add Section F (#4) to make sure that any
industrial use in S-1 would not negatively affect the surrounding
It is our opinion that based on S-1
zoning, the Dare County Commissioners have the legal ability to say
“no” to this project being located at the former Dare Building Supply
location in Waves.
If not in Waves, where else could it go?
this a question of “Not in my backyard?” No. It’s a question of what’s
best for our community as a whole and which location will have the
least adverse effects on both permanent residents and visiting
tourists. There are several other better-suited sites for this plant,
the best being in Rodanthe, directly behind the Liberty Gas Station,
aka Island Convenience or “Mac’s”. To date, this site has not been
written or spoken about, since it is illegal for public officials to
influence private business decisions and contracts.
Why is the site behind Liberty better suited for this project?
is three or more miles closer to all of the bridge construction
projects. This equates to no truck traffic within the Tri-Villages,
faster transport times for the curing cement, lower labor costs for the
drivers, lower wear on the trucks and the highway, and reduced fuel
costs for the transportation of raw materials and curing cement.
will be able to turn right off the highway (rather than left) and not
disrupt traffic behind them. They will also be able to purchase fuel,
food, use restrooms and access their cement plant, all in that same
right hand turn. Remember this is 1,344 trucks per month, entering and
exiting the highway 2,688 times per month.
The lot behind
Liberty is significantly larger with larger buffer zones to closest
residential properties, and significantly fewer homes (both permanent
resident and rental homes) that will be negatively affected. This is a
factor of the area having far fewer homes plus the lot being
significantly larger to create larger buffers.
What can you do to help?
can make plans to attend the Dare County Commissioners’ Meeting on
Monday, May 19, at 5 p.m. You’ve heard it before when it comes to
public elections -- Every Vote Counts! When it comes to these meetings,
every person who comes to the meeting and either speaks during public
comment or expresses concern just by being there, shows the
commissioners that this is a very important issue to you.
the Planning Board and the commissioners are made up of neighbors from
our community, who make great decisions and give incredible guidance,
as long as they know what their fellow neighbors are thinking. It is
very easy for people to think their presence (or absence) at these
meetings won’t make a difference. But when you multiply this by the
100-200 people that may think the same way, you have an empty meeting –
indicating that nobody cares – rather than a full meeting indicating
that this is a hot topic.
Bottom line? You
have to be there to make a difference. Please make this meeting a
priority for just that evening if you care about what happens.
closing, we’d like to thank the Island Free Press for providing such an
incredible communication channel for our community -- for good news,
bad news and in this case controversial news.
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Forman has been a full time resident of Hatteras Island since 1991 and
is the Co-Founder of REAL Watersports, Watermen’s Retreat and
Watermen’s Bar & Grill. Trip has helped our community in the past
by being an active member of the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Board
of Directors, as well as holding a seat on the ORV Negotiated Rule
Making Committee defending ORV access rights in the National Park.