When it comes to regulating large vacation homes on Currituck’s beaches, apparently size doesn’t matter.
During a retreat held this past weekend, the consensus among Currituck County’s Board of Commissioners was that an outright cap on house size wasn’t something they wanted to pursue.
“We’re a tourism-driven economy,” commissioner Mike Hall said Saturday. “By cutting down on the size of these houses, are we cutting our own throat?”
Instead, the commissioners asked the planning staff and the county manager to look into options regarding use and its impact on adjoining property owners.
The commissioners would like to see dimensional standards addressed, perhaps requiring a proposed structure size to correlate to its lot size. An other option would be limiting new structures based on the size and use of adjoining properties.
Fire safety dominated much of the discussion Saturday, although commissioners were reminded that the state didn’t require sprinkler systems in residential areas, which many of them would like to see in large beach rentals with multiple bedrooms.
Commissioner Paul Beaumont reminded the commissioners of the 2012 fire in the Pine Island section of Corolla, in which two houses were total losses and three others suffered some degree of damage.
“It could have been a fuse, all the way down the beach, house after house,” Beaumont said. Sprinkler systems would have helped contain it, he added.
The board asked staff to look into local legislation that would address life-safety issues, such as mandatory sprinkler systems, wider staircases, third floor exits, and safety modifications regarding the possible collapse of large decks in residential structures.
Increasing setbacks for large structures, including accessory buildings such as pool houses and cabanas, from 10 feet to 40 feet was another suggestion staff suggested the board consider.
Commissioners said they would like to see better enforcement of parking regulations and noise permits.
County manager Dan Scanlon suggested the commissioners not discount redevelopment, where smaller houses are bulldozed down to make way for large vacation homes. “The complaints are the ones that don’t fit,” he added.
Scanlon also pointed out that since most Dare County towns were limiting overall size of homes, the danger is in pushing all big homes up to Currituck’s northern beaches, where the infrastructure isn’t there to support them.
source: Dee Langston, Outer Banks Voice