Dare County Land Use Planning
It's underway now and it will affect our future on Hatteras
County's Land Use Plan includes management of ocean shoreline
development, including ocean setback standards for building, minimum
elevations for first floor construction, and regulations to prevent
loss of ocean front dunes. This aerial photo was taken in
Hatteras village looking East toward Frisco and one of the most
vulnerable areas on Hatteras Island.
County has begun the mandated update of its Land Use Plan.
may be a topic that makes your eyes glaze over, but you need to get
them wide open.
is an issue that will affect all of us who live here and own property
here. After it is completed, the updated plan will guide the use of
land in unincorporated Dare County, which includes all of Hatteras
Island, for about five years.
use plan will guide
county officials on issues of growth and development, use of the
natural resources, and regulatory issues.
is just a sampling of the policies in the current Land Use Plan (LUP):
resources, such as policies on wetlands, management of ocean and
estuary shorelines, public trust areas, public water supply, shoreline
access, beach nourishment, fisheries and maritime resources, channel
maintenance, archaeological and historic resources, and wildlife
issues, such as stormwater management,
marinas, floating structures, tree removal and land disturbance,
manmade hazards, off-road vehicles and beach driving.
development issues, such as wastewater, transportation, solid waste,
community growth, residential development, commercial development,
re-development, industrial development, energy,
tourism, and bikeways.
hazard mitigation, reconstruction, and recovery, such as evacuation
plans and post-disaster reconstruction and recovery.
words, the plan will touch just about every issue that affects our
lives and the way we live here.
land use plans are mandated for coastal counties under the provisions
of the North Carolina Coastal Area Management Act. All coastal counties
must prepare and update guidelines and policies for land use within
their jurisdictions. These documents provide local
with a set of guidelines for development patterns and other land use
issues that are important to the community.
LUPs must be updated every five years under the CAMA
latest version of the Dare County Land Use Plan Use was certified by
the state Coastal Resources Commission in July, 2003.
applies to the unincorporated portions of Dare County.
Each of the municipalities in Dare County adopts its own LUP for its
The update is expected to take about 12 to 18 months to complete,
according to Donna Creef, senior planner for the Dare County Planning
Department, which oversees development of the plan.
There will be several opportunities for input from citizens as the plan
first opportunity will be information workshops this week. People can
attend these workshops to provide input to the Planning Board on
important land use issues. During the workshops, citizens will have an
opportunity, in an informal setting, to discuss land use policies and
how the update procedure works.
will be from 7 to 9 p.m. The schedule is:
Tuesday, Sept. 25. Dare County Administrative Annex, 204 Ananias Dare
Wednesday, Sept. 26. Fessenden Center on Highway 12 in Buxton.
Thursday, Sept. 27. Kill Devil
Hills Town Hall, 102 Town Hall Drive in Kill Devil Hills.
Also part of the Land Use Update will be a countywide survey of
attitudes about planning policies. This survey can be
by those who live in the county – both property owners and
renters – by non-resident property owners and by other
Donna Creef said the Citizen Involvement Poll will be mailed to all
residents and non-resident property owners. It is also
online, and she said the county hopes most folks will opt to fill it
out there to save money and time for the county.
The survey asks about 40 questions that cover the waterfront, so to
They probe your attitudes on regulation of bulkheads, setbacks on
ditches and canals that connect to estuaries, oceanfront setbacks, land
clearing and tree removal, placement of fill on lots, densities for
single- and multi-family dwellings, lot coverage, offshore drilling for
oil and gas, preserving working waterfronts, driving on the beach, and
You will be asked to agree or disagree in varying degrees to such
--Single family homes that are rented on a short-term basis
should be considered as commercial activity with different standards
for parking, trash pick-up, and water rates.
--The proliferation of tourist-oriented retail stores should be studied
for regulatory standards.
County should zone its surrounding water bodies to protect traditional
waterfront activities and uses.
--An annual limit on the number of residential and commercial building
permits should be considered in unincorporated Dare County.
--Dare County should seek consensus from the state that the strict
regulations of the SED-1 zoning district for the Buxton Woods maritime
forest should be re-evaluated.
last issue, the regulation of development in the maritime forest has
been an issue before the Board of Commissioners in the past several
years and is likely to be an issue in the update of the Land Use Plan.
All of Hatteras Island is zoned. The villages of Avon, Buxton, and
Hatteras have detailed zoning maps that have been adopted over the
years. The villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, and Frisco are zoned
S-1, which is a minimal zoning district that allows all uses but does
establish some building setbacks and height limitations and lot
In addition, the county adopted a Special Environmental District
(SED-1) for the Buxton Woods maritime forest, which includes property
in Frisco and Buxton. This zoning district establishes special
standards for land clearing and vegetation removal that are intended to
protect the vegetative canopy of the Buxton Woods forest. It
has the effect of limiting the kinds of development allowed in property
in the SED.
who own property in the SED have asked the commissioners to
loosen the restrictions on development in the maritime
The last time this issue came before the board in early 2006, the
commissioners voted to allow mobile homes in the SED but decided to
address the other issues of development in the area in the updated Land
I just went online and completed the survey. It took about 15
minutes. In my opinion that was time well spent.
If you want to have a voice what Hatteras Island will like in the next
decade, go to the Dare County Web site, www.darenc.com. Click
the 2008 Land Use Plan Update on the front page. You will be
taken to the survey, which is very easy to fill out online.
Also, you can check out the 2003 Land Use Plan by clicking on
“departments” on the county Web site. Go
Department and click on “Procedures/Land
down to 2003 Land Use Plan.
The document is very long but very interesting with detailed maps and
demographic and community information, as well as the results of the
last survey that was used to develop the plan. Spend some
checking out the document that guides our elected officials on land use