Duck Planning Board Seeking Public Input on Prohibited Uses

Planning Board Consideration
At its meeting on December 2, 2015, the Duck Town Council authorized the Community Development Department staff to work with the Planning Board and Town Attorney on the development of a text amendments to address issues with permitted and prohibited uses raised by a recent N.C. Supreme Court decision.  The intent of this effort is not to make significant changes to the Town’s current standards, but to find a way of regulating land uses that upholds the Town’s vision, plans, and policies while complying with the Supreme Court’s decision.

Background Information
On November 6, 2015, the N.C. Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Byrd v. Franklin County.  To briefly summarize the case, two landowners established a shooting range on their property without obtaining permits from Franklin County.  Although shooting ranges were not specifically regulated in Franklin County’s ordinance, the County argued that its zoning ordinance prohibited shooting ranges by stating that “uses not specifically listed in the Table are prohibited”.  The Supreme Court decided that this type of blanket statement is not sufficient as it fails to clearly notify the public about how certain uses are classified.

Like nearly every county and municipality in North Carolina, the Town of Duck’s zoning ordinance establishes a series of zoning districts.  Within each zoning district, certain activities are listed as being permitted (use of right) or conditionally permitted (requiring review by the Planning Board and Town Council).  The Town has consistently interpreted that any use not listed as permitted is not permitted.  Most communities in the State of North Carolina have a similar clause in their ordinance or use a similar interpretation.  However, that approach is no longer permissible under the N.C. Supreme Court’s recent decision.

The UNC School of Government has provided guidance to local governments about how they can best address the issues created by the Byrd v. Franklin County decision.  One of the School of Government’s key recommendations is that the ordinance identify all uses to be prohibited, using as much specificity as possible to include all unwanted uses.

How Can You Help?
With input from Town staff and the Town Attorney, the Duck Planning Board has developed an initial list of uses that could be prohibited within the Town of Duck. Click here to view the draft list of proposed prohibited uses. At this time, the Board members are seeking comments and suggestions from members of our Duck community regarding additional land uses that could potentially be prohibited. The Planning Board requests that comments be submitted by the afternoon of February 10th in order for comments to be considered at the Board’s meeting that evening.

You are invited to submit comments in any of the following ways:

  • Attend the next Duck Planning Board meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10th in the Paul F. Keller Meeting Hall at 1200 Duck Road.
  • Send comments via email to Director of Community Development Joe Heard at
  • Mail written comments to the attention of Director of Community Development Joe Heard at Town of Duck, P.O. Box 8369, Duck, NC 27949.
  • Fax written comments to the attention of Director of Community Development Joe Heard at 252.255.1236.
  • Call Director of Community Development Joe Heard at 252.255.1234.

The Duck Planning Board will consider all proposals as it develops a recommendation for final consideration and adoption by the Duck Town Council.