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Moyock development vote fails to get approval from Currituck Board of Commissioners

Agenda items for the September 21 Currituck County Board of Commissioners meeting included a rezoning request for a proposed subdivision in Moyock, discussions on licensing fees for outdoor tour operators and a water quality management planning grant application, a six-item consent agenda and a closed session with the county attorney.

After an initial review back in June, a rezoning request for 224.44 acres south of Eagle Creek subdivision in Moyock was back on the table.

County documents show that the development planned for Flora Farm would include 285 single-family dwelling lots, up to 100,000 square feet of general retail space and 22 acres for a school site with an expected full build-out in 2026. The area is currently bordered by undeveloped land and existing single-family residential developments.

In a motion to approve a zoning change from Agricultural to Planned Development-Residential, Kevin E. McCord added a provision that in the event a school is not built as part of the proposed project that the 22 acres would instead be set aside for some other governmental use.

However, after considerable discussion on the amount of increased traffic expected for Survey Road and some unanswered questions on the impact to local schools, the motion to approve failed on a 3-4 vote.

After waiving the annual licensing fee payments for outdoor tour operators earlier this year due to the unknown impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, commissioners took another look at requiring full or modified payments.

Chairman Bob White, recused from the discussion, did answer some questions about his wild horse tour business before leaving the room.

White advised that he could not speak for other owners, but that his business is still open and operating until November. When asked about how business this year compared to any other season, White said he was operating at about 25 percent capacity.

“When the dust settles,” he added, “we hope to recoup some of the lost money.”

During discussions after White left the room, county manager Ben Stikeleather advised that the fee, deferred due to COVID, is one the county imposed on tour operators’ license and with the deferment expired, the money is now due. He went on to say the annual license fees are about $950 per vehicle, bringing in about $30,000. The money collected is dedicated to road work in Corolla.

There was also mention from commissioners that that occupancy tax money could cover the difference if fees were reduced.

At the end of discussions, a motion to suspend the entire fee due to hardship failed 3-3 and a second motion – to continue the discussion in November based on actual tourism numbers –also failed on a split vote.

A third motion, made by Mary “Kitty” Etheridge, to charge 25 percent of the normal license fee with the county making up the balance of Corolla road work money was given a unanimous vote of approval. Stikeleather will prepare an ordinance and budget amendment for approval at the November meeting.

In other business for the evening, commissioners heard a brief review for a proposed regional watershed study to develop a regional watershed protection plan for the northern part of the county.

As proposed, the study for the watershed area east of 168 between the state line and Tulls Bay area will:
– Identify and establish key partnerships for protecting regional water quality;
– Identify key locations to monitor and establish a baseline for water quality;
– Identify and prioritize key areas for building resiliency to future storm events;
– Identify key locations for best management practices to effectively manage stormwater;
– Survey coastlines and identify areas for invasive species control and living shoreline projects.

A $2,500 DEQ Water Quality Management Planning Grant is available and commissioners favored matching those funds.

Commissioners also approved a consent agenda authorizing a $19,059 hardware purchase from InstruLogic, LLC for the operation of Sailfish Street Stormwater Site, the purchase of $17,376.60 hardware and software from Eastern Data, Inc. for Mainland Water Treatment Plant system upgrades, a Shingle Landing Park/Dominion NC Power right of way agreement to install electrical service to restrooms at Shingle Landing Park, revisions and modifications (Change Order #3) for work at Maritime Museum and minutes from the Sept. 8 and Sept. 14 meetings.

The evening ended with a closed session with the county attorney.

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