Project seen as part of effort to create more long-term housing
Following up on their February approval of a planned cluster home development in Avon, the Dare County Commissioners continued their efforts to use recent zoning changes to encourage new year-round housing with an April 1 approval of a site plan and conditional use permit (CUP) application for construction of a cluster home development in Rodanthe.
In this case, Jeffrey Gutmann had submitted a site plan and applied for a CUP to construct a cluster home group development on his property in Rodanthe. Cluster developments are permitted as conditional uses in the S-1 zoning district in which the property is located. Gutman proposes to recombine his three parcels into two, remove a single family dwelling on one parcel, then build six single family dwellings on the new recombined parcel.
The Dare Planning Board recommended granting the CUP at its March 11 meeting, and, following Dare County Planner Noah Gillam’s presentation at their April 1 meeting, the commissioners approved the CUP unanimously with no discussion.
In his proposal, Gutmann has addressed the Dare Fire Marshal’s concerns about emergency/fire access to the properties, agreeing to make road improvements, place “no-parking-fire lane” signs along the road and install turnarounds within 12 months from the date of approval and before any Dare County building permits will be issued. He also committed to securing buIlding permits for the structures within 36 months from the date of approval.
And, in keeping with the zoning changes’ stated purpose of making more year-round housing available, the single family dwellings are not to be occupied or rented on a short-term basis, which is defined as less than 30 days.
Last October the Dare Board approved zoning changes calling for reducing minimum lot sizes for duplex construction, increasing multifamily dwelling densities, expanding the number of districts that permit accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and allowing cluster family home developments.
The changes were to apply only to “long-term housing” on properties in unincorporated Dare County and were estimated to have the potential to create nearly 1,300 new housing units. The changes approved by the board came just four months after Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Bob Peele made a presentation proposing zoning changes to encourage more reasonably priced housing to attract and retain workers in Dare County.
The ability of developers to obtain septic permits for the newly allowed projects has been tied to efforts to pass legislation in the General Assembly that would allow local development of criteria and standards in septic permitting. Outer Banks Home Builders Association Legislative Chair Duke Geraghty told the Sentinel this week that the long awaited bill — House Bill 268 — was filed last month and has been referred to the Regulatory Reform Committee.
Gillam told the Sentinel that Gutman “didn’t have any problems getting the property approved for septic” and found he could use six peat filtration systems and “had the room for that and the repair area.”
The Rodanthe development is the second approved new project with no difficulties related to septic permits. The site of the proposed Avon cluster home development approved in February is connected to the Kinnakeet Shores central wastewater system, so that it is not affected by current septic requirements.
Gillam told the Sentinel that currently there are no other projects pending that would make use of the zoning changes. “We’ve had some interest from other people in the community,” he said, “but these are the only two we’ve seen so far that have actually come and applied.”