Letter to Dare Board of Commissioners 6-4-18



Monday, June 4, 2018


Chairman Bob Woodard

Vice Chairman Wally Overman

Commissioner Danny Couch

Commissioner Steve House

Commissioners Rob Ross

Commissioner Jack Shea

Commissioner Jim Tobin

Dare County Board of Commissioners

954 Marshall C. Collins Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


Dear Dare County Board of Commissioners,

The housing crisis on the Outer Banks is real; help wanted signs are seen everywhere and we hear from businesses daily about their inability to find workers.  This is not just a seasonal challenge, it has become a year-round one. Professional jobs go unfilled at our hospital and in our healthcare system; people are hired but can’t find reasonably priced housing options so they leave.  The community college is trying to offer technical classes but can’t find instructors for the same reasons.

The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce formed a committee in the spring of 2017 to look into the challenge of housing for our community; this includes not only seasonal workforce housing but year-round rentals and reasonably priced single-family homes. The committee includes stakeholders from around the OBX region.

We learned early on that zoning is one of the core issues when it comes to addressing the housing crisis. A number of current zoning ordinances in the county and towns make addressing this critical issue difficult. With this in mind the Chamber and its committee have been reviewing current ordinances to determine where changes can allow for less restrictive lot sizes and higher densities for development in appropriate areas thus creating opportunities for private developers to address the housing crisis. Together, we can ensure that our community has the services it needs, backed by skilled, competent, and caring people.

Following are several items that have been identified; we would like to ask the Board of Commissioners to direct the Planning Director and/or Planning Board to review these requests and report back to you with any suggested revisions.

Accessory Dwelling Units

  • Amend to add ADU standards to RS-6, RS-8, R-2, R-2A, R-2B, R2-H, R2-AH, R-3, S-1, C-2, C-2-H, C-3, I1.
  • Amend Wanchese and East Lake districts to remove size limit to be subordinate in size only. Language needs to be consistent across all zoning districts that requires ADUs only be subordinate in size to primary structures and not exceed the total conditioned space of the primary use structure - with no specific size limitations.  Obviously, in districts that have communities with covenants, the covenants would take precedence.
  • Amend current ordinances within the County to allow ADUs in any and all districts possible.
  • Remove the requirement that property owners, on parcels with ADUs, shall occupy the principal dwelling on the lot as their permanent residence.
  • All other current conditions for ADUs (limit of one per lot, ADUs will not be in front yards, ADUs shall not be sold as a separate unit unless the property can be subdivided, ADUs shall be constructed according to all applicable state and federal rules, etc.) should stay in place.


  • Amend districts to make minimum duplex lot sizes consistent with single-family in those districts that currently allow duplexes.

Multi-Family Structures

  • Amend the parking requirements for multifamily structures to be 1 parking space per bedroom, not the current 2.5 per unit. This change could encourage the development of smaller, more affordable dwelling units.
  • Increase the dwelling densities per acre to use the increased dwelling densities of the Family Housing Incentives Standards without the HUD median income limitations.

Thank you taking the time to consider this request; this could be a first step in helping to ease the housing crisis and workforce shortage in Dare County.



Bob Peele, Chairman of the Board

On behalf of the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Membership



The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce

101 Town Hall Drive, PO Box 1757, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

252.441.8144, outerbankschamber.com


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