The Northern Outer Banks are pristine and unspoiled. From the end of the paved road to the Virginia line, residents, property owners, and visitors enjoy unspoiled nature, wildlife, amazing beaches, and peaceful serenity.


We appreciate your support and will continue to keep you posted in the event of other issues that might come up in the off road area. We are sure that the developers will try again. Your help was tremendous!

Over 1000 people signed the petition -- including 433 tourists, 560 Currituck County property owners and residents (of which 318 residents signed and 140 residents in the off road area)

Saturday, September 27, 2008


A request to bring commercial development to the Currituck Off-Road Beaches will be heard by the Currituck County Board of Commissioners at their November 17, 2008 meeting.

Presented by Bissell Professional Group for developer Gerald Friedman of Ocean Associates, the proposal, a reintroduction of a 2005 request, includes an amendment to the County Unified Development Ordinance to allow commercial zoning in the RO2 (Off-Road) zoning district through a floating “Off-Road Historic Village Commercial Overlay District”. It also requests an immediate rezoning of 25.77 acres in Swan Beach from residential to commercial. If passed, the proposed “Historic Village Commercial Overlay District” would also apply to any large parcel of land in the Currituck Off-Road beaches, not restricting it to Swan Beach.

The Proposal would permit construction of a Post Office, county satellite offices, churches, synagogues, and temples, convenience store(s), a hotel, real estate offices, professional offices, and apartments. Conditional uses would include retail shops, seafood market(s), theaters, outdoor recreation areas, and restaurants.

This proposal first appeared before the Currituck County Board of Commissioners (BOC) in 2005, but was removed from the agenda, following advisement by the Currituck Planning Board to deny the request. At that time denial was primarily based on concern over the inadequacy of infrastructure services to support commercial development (e.g. limited water availability for fire suppression, insufficient vehicle passageways to handle the increase in traffic), the potential to stimulate growth in the area, and its inconsistency with the Currituck County‘s 1990 Land Use Plan. The Land Use plan serves as a policy document for the County’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
In November 2006, the Land Use Plan was revised following a broad consultation and review process, in accordance with the NC Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) and the NC Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) Land Use Planning Requirements. The Land Use Plan benefited from analysis of key variables (e.g. economic growth trends, environment, land suitability, water resources) to determine the best use of Currituck County’s valuable land resources. The current Land Use Plan strongly states that “concerning the Off-Road area of the Outer Banks, Currituck County shall not permit or encourage the provision of growth-inducing facilities and services to these areas, including for example, commercial services, centralized sewage treatment and hard surface roads.” (LUP OB7) In keeping with its overall goals “to protect and conserve the area’s natural beauty and coastal resources as the County’s greatest asset for economic development and a high quality of life”, and “to avoid taking or approving actions related to infrastructure and the provision of services that could induce intensive development in environmentally fragile areas; examples include the northern beaches of the outer banks…” the Plan further states that “the best means of minimizing adverse impacts is by holding firm on policies against providing infrastructure and commercial services to the (four wheel drive) area.”

In the current UDO, the county development code, commercialization of the Off-Road area is clearly prohibited, consistent with the county’s development standards of promoting “health, safety, and the general welfare of the public.” The UDO also established an Outer Banks Overlay District for the entire outer Banks. “The purpose of the Outer Banks Overlay District is to preserve and protect unique aspects of the Outer Banks area that do not exist anywhere else in Currituck County….”

Historically, commercial development in the 4wd has been met with opposition by property owners and residents of the area. A significant majority of Off-Road residents and property owners have not and are not requesting the services that the developer is proposing, nor are they wanted. Opposition is based on what commercialization will take away, not what it will offer. Opponents contend that commercialization will have a negative impact on public safety and the environment. They also contend that Off-Road residents, property owners, other residents of Currituck County, and visitors to the area come specifically for the relatively undisturbed environment, remoteness, pristine beaches, solitude, waterfowl and wildlife, and the freedom of the wild horses. Commercialization will bring increased density, increased demand on water resources and land utilization, and accelerated growth. It will threaten the freedom of the wild horses, and jeopardize the habitat of local waterfowl and wildlife. It will detract from the area’s appeal for many of the county’s residents and tourists by changing the character of the Off-Road beaches. These beaches, this environment, draw thousands of tourists to the area and millions of dollars to Currituck County. Opponents contend that the economic value of the four wheel drive area and its position in the tourist industry (and ultimately its contribution to the county’s tax base) can be maximized by preserving its unique environment.

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