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TOWN OF DUCK

PLANNING BOARD

REGULAR MEETING

April 11, 2007

 

 

The Planning Board for the Town of Duck convened at the Duck Municipal Offices at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, 2007.

 

Present were Chairman Ron Forlano, Vice Chair Jon Britt, John Jenkins, Joe Blakaitis, and John Fricker.

 

Absent:  None.

 

Also present were Council Liaison Denver Lindley, Jr., Director of Community Development Suzanne Cotellessa and Zoning Technician Sandy Cady. 

 

Others Present: Bill Lane of East Coast Construction Group, Inc., and Willo Kelly of the Outer Banks Homebuilders Association.

 

Chairman Forlano called to order the Regular Meeting of the Planning Board for April 11, 2007 at 6:30 p.m. 

 

PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

None.

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

A.  Worksession/Discussion on Lot Coverage, Parking and Driveways, House Size, Setbacks. (ref. by TC 1/24/07) Recap of March 28, 2007 Field Trip and B. Worksession/Discussion of Potential Zoning Text Amendment related to Building Height (TC ref. 1/24/07)

 

Director Suzanne Cotellessa was recognized to speak.  Director Cotellessa stated that the Planning Board had a blank summary page for them to write down their comments regarding the March 28, 2007 field trip. She stated that she wanted to start with each of the features and discuss what was noted about each of the properties and how they play against each other.  She stated that this would be a discussion session to gather the Boardís comments and she would synthesize them to bring back at the next meeting. 

 

Vice Chair Britt stated he had ridden around earlier in the day and would need to rewrite his notes. 

 

Member Fricker asked if the Board should talk about a house together and start with the subject of height.  Director Cotellessa stated that the Board could start with height.  She stated that it is always a big issue and will play into the building height discussion.  She asked the Board for their impressions from the field trip.

 

Member Jenkins asked if the Board should discuss each house.  Chairman Forlano stated that the Board should give general ideas.  Director Cotellessa felt the houses could be used as examples.

 

Member Fricker stated that he wasnít sure how his views would compare with the other Board membersí.  He stated that his reaction after going out was that height wasnít an issue.  He thought height was a relative term and the issue was more about what is perceived as being too high.  He stated that if there is a thirty-five (35) foot house on top of a dune and close to the road, it will look higher than if it was on a larger lot, set back and vegetated.  He felt that height was a secondary issue to setbacks, mass and fill.

 

Vice Chair Britt agreed with Member Frickerís comments.  He didnít feel that height was such a big issue.  Director Cotellessa stated that some of the Board members mentioned the effect of plantings and vegetation in terms of reducing height.  She stated that it was helpful. 

 

Chairman Forlano stated that he was trying to make that point to Council when vegetation was discussed.  He stated he was trying to make a point that by putting vegetation in front of a home, it would diminish the overall look of the house as being large.  Director Cotellessa noted that it softens the look.

 

Member Fricker asked if under todayís ordinances and building regulations, an empty lot can be filled up to three (3) feet without any special submissions.  Director Cotellessa stated that the homeowner would need to obtain a land disturbance permit to do any work.  Member Fricker asked if it was a matter of course.  Director Cotellessa stated it was.  She stated that there cannot be any fill less than five (5) feet from a lot line.  Member Fricker clarified that it would allow fill that may or may not be to a level higher than a neighborís.  Director Cotellessa stated he was correct.

 

Bill Lane of East Coast Construction Group, Inc. was recognized to speak.  Mr. Lane asked if only three (3) foot of fill could be brought in on a lot.  Director Cotellessa stated that the three foot could be brought in anywhere on a lot.  Mr. Lane clarified that if the lot is already sloped, fill could only be brought in at the slope, in essence the lowest point of the lot.  Director Cotellessa drew a diagram on the easel and explained that Mr. Lane was discussing the area underneath the house.  Mr. Lane corrected her and stated he was talking about the lot in general including the pool area.  Director Cotellessa explained that Mr. Lane was stating that no place on the lot could have more than three feet of fill on it.  Member Fricker asked if it included the entire slope going down to the low point.  Director Cotellessa stated he was correct.  She stated that a homeowner could not bring a low point on the lot up to the highest level on the site.

 

Chairman Forlano asked where the Town would get into trouble with regard to fill if the Town were to say that a homeowner could do the three feet as long as it doesnít go above the level of the road in front of the property.  Director Cotellessa stated there would be no trouble with it.  She stated that it could be done.  She stated that the Town allows a property owner to fill up to the directly adjacent lots if they were higher, but there is nothing about level to the road. 

 

Chairman Forlano suggested working within the topography of a lot and building into the topography, which would soften the impact of height. 

 

Member Blakaitis didnít think the street level could be ignored as the street level provides a perception of how a house will look when itís finished.  He didnít think the Town could ďmessĒ with a lot that naturally rises from the street except to make it conform to the topography.

 

Member Fricker stated that the reason he raised his point was that it seemed more important for the Board to deal with topography via fill requirements than dealing with the height of a house.  Member Blakaitis noted that the Town has a thirty-five (35) foot height limit and didnít feel it should be changed.  Director Cotellessa stated that Council had directed the Board to look at all of the issues having to do with house size and appearance size of houses.  Member Blakaitis stated that the Board is now trying to figure out how to measure height.

 

Bill Lane clarified that fill is counted against the height of the house.  Director Cotellessa stated that it was and was also the reason for discussing the issues together.  Mr. Lane stated that not being able to fill some lots would change the roof pitch, the style of the house and would eliminate a ground floor room.  He stated it would not solve the problem with regard to where the water would sit under the house.  Director Cotellessa stated that the building industry on the Outer Banks looks to place a thirty-five (35) foot, three (3) story house on a lot. 

 

Chairman Forlano pointed out that Director Cotellessa had stated in the past that it is possible to have an unbuildable lot.  Director Cotellessa stated that a lot is assessed as such because the topography is so severe.  She stated that such lot could potentially be built on if it was engineered and built into a hill. 

 

Director Cotellessa asked the Board if they wanted to allow for some fill on lots that have dips in them, particularly when itís below the level of the road.  Member Jenkins stated there was a lot like that in the Bayberry Bluff subdivision.  Vice Chair Britt stated that the wind blows the sand all around.  Member Jenkins agreed and stated that there were a few others like that as well.  Director Cotellessa stated that the lot could be filled with a two (2) story house built on it, if it is in a non-flood zone.  Director Cotellessa continued to illustrate various discussion points on the easel.

 

Member Fricker clarified that Mr. Lane could have performed a stormwater plan and came back to get five to seven (5-7) feet of fill.  Director Cotellessa stated that he could have asked for it but because the lot was not in a flood zone, height is measured from the original grade.  She stated that because of that, every foot of fill would come out of the height of the house.  She stated that Mr. Laneís variance request was not for how much fill went in or where, but about the height of the house.

 

Member Fricker asked what the public policy reason behind saying fill cannot be done if a lot is not in a flood zone.  Director Cotellessa stated that the reason it is allowed in a flood zone was because it was good public policy and helped the Townís flood insurance ratings to get all properties raised above base flood elevation.  She stated that in order to facilitate that, special regulations were put in place for flood zones to allow getting the homes out of harmís way.

 

Member Jenkins asked what the rationale was for denying a variance in any other case.  Director Cotellessa stated that the Town considered if there should be special rules that allow building beyond the 35 foot height limit if there is a public policy and environmental reason to do so.  It was decided that it was a good thing.  She asked what the public purpose would be for raising a house in a non-flood zone.  Member Fricker felt it would be to allow development, especially in a stagnant period of construction, thereby generating more revenues for a municipality.  Director Cotellessa agreed.

 

Council Liaison Lindley asked if that would be public policy.  Member Fricker didnít know if it was the single consideration.  He stated he didnít understand why a lot with a bowl could not be filled, if there werenít any environmental concerns, to the level of the street or the adjoining properties and then build a 35 foot house.  Director Cotellessa stated that this was part of the Boardís discussion.  Member Fricker reiterated his thought and asked the Board why the suggestion would be a bad thing.  Chairman Forlano stated he didnít see any flaws in Member Frickerís suggestion.  Council Liaison Lindley cautioned the Planning Board to be very careful with height as it is the last vestige of control.  Member Fricker asked if height meant in regard to the actual height of the structure or the topography that affects the overall height above sea level.  Council Liaison Lindley stated he was talking about both issues.

 

Chairman Forlano felt the Board was discussing height in where it should be measured from Ė the finished level of the slab or the original topography level of the lot.  Vice Chair Britt stated that the concessions the Town could give individual lot owners may not be that far from what the Board is doing.

 

Member Jenkins stated he did not see the rationale between differentiating what could be done in a flood and non-flood zone.  He stated that he did not understand the rationale and asked if it was needed.  Director Cotellessa stated that she would give some examples and asked the Board for direction to craft language to be brought back to accomplish what the Board wanted done.  She went on to review examples with the Board and the audience.

 

Member Blakaitis wondered how to come up with an acceptable formula.  He felt that any lot that is near street level needed something to help the builder out so they could smooth the lot out and build from that elevation without worrying about the lowest or highest point on a lot.  He stated he had no tolerance for plus or minus three (3) feet and didnít think three feet would matter one way or another. Director Cotellessa stated that a level at which a builder could go in to level off an uneven lot could be established.  Member Blakaitis felt it would be a start.  Director Cotellessa stated that one of the concerns expressed by the building community has been the Townís definition of height and fill regulations. She stated that there are sand dune regulations in place but wondered if a sand dune should be pulled down to be able to raise a lot.

 

Vice Chair Britt asked if the regulation was based on protecting sand dunes.  Director Cotellessa stated he was correct. 

 

Director Cotellessa stated she was hearing from the Board that they wanted a tolerance for a certain level of fill to level a lot and build a house and not to have it count whether it is in a flood zone or non flood zone against the height.  The Board agreed.  Member Fricker felt the key was the tolerance.  He stated that the moment fill gets used to raise an entire lot or impacting a neighboring property, the tolerance would stop.  He stated that the environment needs to be protected.

 

Member Jenkins asked for an explanation on the connection of berms controlling water runoff to adjoining lots.  Director Cotellessa stated that one of the arguments the engineers have is if a lot has three (3) feet of fill put on it, it provides an extra area for storage of water, making fill not that bad.  She stated that short term runoff can be affected by fill slopes.  She stated that engineers had stated that development as a whole and lot coverage is causing more and more issues as there are less places for the water to go.  She stated that if a lot has berms put on it to try to control stormwater, it will hold it for a little bit but the water can still go through it.  Member Jenkins felt the problem was the amount of lot coverage, which causes runoff.  Director Cotellessa stated it causes some runoff but takes away storage capacity.

 

Bill Lane asked why a home that is built on a bowl shaped lot could not be raised on pilings so fill would not have to be brought in.  He stated the ground level would stay the same but the house would be up and would keep the water on that lot.  Director Cotellessa clarified that the lot had a bowl, built with a crawl space under the house and some type of structural slab.  Mr. Lane stated a wooden pool could be built.  Director Cotellessa stated it could be done so water would go under it, but clarified that Mr. Lane was not counting it against the height of the house.  Mr. Lane stated it was the same thing as parking under the house.  Member Blakaitis asked what the advantage would be to do something like that versus putting three (3) feet of fill in.  Mr. Lane stated the neighboring lots would not be flooded out if fill was not put in. 

 

Willo Kelly of the Outer Banks Homebuilders Association was recognized to speak.  Ms. Kelly asked if homes in a flood zone would be allowed to be built with higher pilings.  Member Blakaitis stated it would not solve the problem for pools, tennis courts, etc.  Director Cotellessa stated that the Town does allow either fill or raising the home and does not count against height in a flood zone.  She cautioned that one has to be careful with the limit to the height of the pilings.

 

Bill Lane thought a 2-3 foot limit was good.  He thought the idea of lots lower than the road and bringing it up to a certain height was good as long as the water ran around the house.  He agreed that higher lots could cause problems in some neighborhoods.  He stated that having one rule for every lot makes it difficult to build on.  Director Cotellessa stated that most lots have twenty-five (25) feet in the front and ten (10) feet on each side setback requirements, however some are different.  She stated that a 3:1 slope needs to be maintained on any fill brought in as well as starting five (5) feet from the lot line.  She stated that the most fill that can be on a lot is twenty (20) inches with a 3:1 slope and five (5) feet from the lot line.

 

Chairman Forlano asked the Board to summarize their thoughts on height.

 

Member Blakaitis thought the consensus of the Board was that they wouldnít mind seeing a lot that wasnít too topographically changed from street level and that the homeowner would be allowed to smooth it off and build from street level.  He felt that some sort of smoothing off should be allowed to meet the contractorís needs.  But when the topography drastically changes up or down from the street level, then considerations would have to come into play.  He asked if that was the consensus.  Chairman Forlano clarified that Member Blakaitis was stating that the contractor would work within the topography of the lot.  Member Blakaitis agreed, unless there were a few feet changes up or down from the existing lot.  Director Cotellessa stated that she was going to look toward allowing some freedom with respect to fill, provided the lot is not filled higher than the street or adjacent properties; allowing some reasonable leveling; allowing fill and leveling to take place prior to building height Ė with height being measured from finished grade to help the builders.

 

Chairman Forlano pointed out that Olin Finch had stated in a previous meeting that builders arenít sure where finished grade would be.  Vice Chair Britt stated that it was due to the difference in the topography because of the wind.  Member Blakaitis pointed out that Mr. Finch had stated that he could get two (2) surveys and they would be different because of the wind.  Director Cotellessa stated that surveys do change and sometimes surveyors make mistakes.  She stated the regulations could state that a lot can be leveled and filled to a certain height and then height would be measured from there, which makes it easier for builders and surveyors to deal with.

 

Member Blakaitis stated that he agreed with Council Liaison Lindleyís earlier comments about messing with the perception of height.  He felt it should only occur on lots with strange topography.  Council Liaison Lindley stated that the Town was about protecting and preserving the environment.

 

Vice Chair Britt wondered how the pitch of a roof could be changed with the house not looking as big.  He thought it should be made easier to establish finished grade.

 

Member Fricker pointed out that with one of the examples that Director Cotellessa had shown, he calculated four (4) feet above street level.  Director Cotellessa agreed.  Member Fricker felt it wasnít acceptable.  Director Cotellessa stated it was a good point and asked the Board how it could be limited.  Member Fricker stated that the builder would be allowed to build at the level of the lot but not above street level.  Vice Chair Britt pointed out that it would lower the threat to the adjacent properties.  He suggested building into the dunes.

 

Chairman Forlano asked if the height of the house could be taken from the height of the level of the street Ė thirty-five (35) feet from the level of the street.  Vice Chair Britt stated that adjacent properties would have to be looked at.

 

Member Fricker asked if there were other coastal towns that are in the process of discussing the same issues that the Board could look to.  Director Cotellessa stated that they all were.  She stated she would bring back some information to the Board.  Member Fricker stated there were a few variables and scenarios that need to be identified.  Director Cotellessa stated that the most of the scenarios the Board has seen.  She stated that there are a lot of things that rise up naturally and then there is building the land where there is no leveling.  Member Fricker stated the dune could be cut off a little bit but not built up on top.  Chairman Forlano added that after cutting off a bit of the dune, builders should not be able to build thirty-five (35) feet up.  Director Cotellessa stated that that was what was done in the past.  She stated she would bring items back to the Board.

 

Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their opinion on open space.  Vice Chair Britt stated that open space is drastically being reduced by the parking across the front of a yard.  He felt it needed to be addressed.  He stated that lots with the entire frontage paved for gravel looked bad as well.  He stated he would like to see less concrete as it will create the perception of open space.  Member Jenkins agreed.  He stated that the gravelpave in the Park property was very attractive and would be a realistic way to go, but thought it was almost the same as concrete.  Director Cotellessa stated he was correct.  She suggested a transfer of lot coverage by encouraging gravel.  Member Blakaitis liked the idea.

 

Vice Chair Britt stated that concrete is a big step and felt reducing the size of the accessory structures in proportion of the homes would generate more open space.

 

Chairman Forlano stated that one of the comments that came up with regard to oceanfront homes on the tour was the side setback at one home that was so generous that it didnít look like it was very close to the neighboring house.  He stated that he was looking at the restrictive covenants of the Carolina Dunes subdivision from 1982.  He stated the covenants had a five (5) foot side setback.  He stated that the Town has a ten (10) foot side setback.  He stated that it may not be popular with the builders, but asked what would be wrong with having a fifteen (15) foot setback.  He stated by adding fifteen (15) feet on each house, particularly on oceanfront homes, the view of the ocean would not be as affected as those that live semi-oceanfront.  He stated it was just a thought to increase the side yards from 10 to 15 feet.

 

Member Blakaitis pointed out that there is a 10,000 square foot lot with a 4,200 square foot home on it with no decks.  He stated that it looks like a box.  He stated that the house also doesnít have anything on one side of it, such as a beach walkover, so there is a little more view, but is right up against the setbacks.  He stated that the Board saw a similar house that was a 3,800 square foot house on a 13,000 square foot lot that fit better than the other one.  He stated that comparing the two homes, there was a big difference in open space.  He didnít think the Board would get far in discussions unless they started talking about square footage.  He stated that concrete should still be considered as part of lot coverage as there are places where concrete has to be put in.  Vice Chair Britt agreed.  Member Blakaitis stated that there should be something in place to encourage people to use gravel without that coverage going into the house.  Director Cotellessa stated that several permits have come in where the entire pool deck was wood decking and the rest of the lot coverage had gone into the house or the concrete driveway.  She stated that maybe decks on houses could be encouraged as an architectural feature.  Member Blakaitis pointed out that some people do not like decks and their views have to be respected.  Director Cotellessa stated that she was not saying that homes have to have decks, but to encourage them.

 

Member Fricker asked if there were any jurisdictions that count driveways in lot coverage.  Director Cotellessa stated that almost all of them do.  Member Fricker asked why the Town doesnít.  Vice Chair Britt stated it was in an effort to promote gravel and permeable surfaces.  Chairman Forlano stated that counting driveways in the past had backfired on the Town. 

 

Chairman Forlano suggested some sort of percentage formula toward the footprint of the primary structure and the remainder going toward accessory structures and driveways.  He asked if that would work.  Director Cotellessa stated there should be a limit as to what percentage could be toward the primary structure.  Vice Chair Britt agreed.  Chairman Forlano stated that if 12% is put into a house and 18% is put into the accessory structures and driveways, it could end up with an 1,800 square foot footprint.  He stated that if that is multiplied by 3 stories, it comes out to a 5,400 square foot house.  Member Jenkins pointed out that it would still be a large home.  Chairman Forlano stated he was just using the figures as an example of 12% as it still allows a pretty large structure on a lot.  Vice Chair Britt cautioned Chairman Forlano with his formula as it will still allow the building of three (3) story boxes.  He asked how restrictive the formula would be on a person that wants to build a one (1) or two (2) story house.  He stated there would be a problem in that Chairman Forlano was assuming everyone would want to build a 3 story house.

 

Chairman Forlano stated the other suggestion he was looking at was putting a limit on the overall square footage of a house.  Member Jenkins asked if the limit was for living area or footprint.  Chairman Forlano stated it would be for the entire heated area and limited to 4,000 square foot total.  He stated that the average house seems to be 4,000 square feet and that was the reason for his suggestion.  Director Cotellessa stated that as the Board drove around, each time a house had the image of large, the threshold was pushing 5,000 square feet.  Chairman Forlano agreed and stated that there were only 21 houses that big out of 2,400.  He thought that those 21 houses were the ones that seem to be a problem to people.  Member Jenkins stated he understood but was concerned about the future.  He stated that one of the reasons homes have gotten so big was because the value of the land has increased dramatically.  He stated that homeowners have to make an investment to have the homes built bigger to handle the rental capacity. 

 

Director Cotellessa stated that house size comes down to proportionality.  Vice Chair Britt stated that absolute numbers are harder to work with as there are different size lots. 

 

Willo Kelly pointed out that the Town of Kitty Hawk has tiered setbacks that have been relaxed a little.  Member Blakaitis asked how.  Ms. Kelly stated that they increased the start from 2,500 to 3,000.  Director Cotellessa pointed out that it is still tiered and it limits the size of the big houses to the lots that can accommodate them.

 

Director Cotellessa suggested the number of occupants should match the number of bedrooms.  She stated that if the Town meant to limit occupancy with regard to the bedrooms of a house, then this should be done as well.  Member Blakaitis agreed.

 

Chairman Forlano asked for a summation on open space.  Member Blakaitis stated that open space is a good thing.  Vice Chair Britt agreed and stated that more is wanted.  Chairman Forlano asked how it could be achieved.  Member Blakaitis felt it could be done by changing the setbacks by using a tiered approach. 

 

Willo Kelly pointed out that oceanfront lots in the Town of Kitty Hawk cannot be built upon anymore.  She stated that the town was having an issue because the year-round residents wanted to build larger homes.  She stated that once parking was looked at, it became unrealistic so they decided to use a tiered approach.

 

Director Cotellessa clarified that the summary she was getting was the issue of proportionality in terms of lot coverage, size of the house and massing, parking and setbacks.  She stated she could bring back examples of how to deal with it and the visual effects.  She thought that this would get at what is included in lot coverage.  She stated that the Board needed to define and decide what is included in lot coverage in order to deal with the parking issue.  She stated that they also have to decide what percentage of the lot coverage is attributable to the house and everything else.  Vice Chair Britt suggested Director Cotellessa bring back rules regarding 1 to 2 story homes as well. 

 

Chairman Forlano didnít think the Board wanted to take away the number of parking spaces for a house but thought the Board needed to do something to encourage something other than concrete.  Vice Chair Britt thought it should state that it doesnít have to be concrete unless it has to do with topography.  He felt that concrete should be used only if necessary and that gravel be the product of choice.

 

Member Fricker thought that only driveways should be concrete and all other parking should be on gravel and not credited. Chairman Forlano asked if he meant the driveway up to a house or just the apron.  Member Fricker stated that a concrete driveway to a carport or garage would be concrete but all other parking areas should be gravel.  Vice Chair Britt stated that the Fire Department trucks have trouble on gravel driveways.

 

Chairman Forlano stated that gravel could not be done if itís put on sand as cars will get stuck.  Director Cotellessa agreed and stated that allowing flexibility for at least a 12 foot wide concrete strip from the street to the house could be reasonable.

 

Director Cotellessa clarified that the consensus of the Board was to allow some stacking for parking.  Vice Chair Britt added that the cut into the driveway should be narrowed.  Director Cotellessa agreed.  Chairman Forlano asked if Director Cotellessa could put something together for the Board to review.  Director Cotellessa stated she would.

 

Member Blakaitis asked how big a legal parking space should be.  Director Cotellessa stated the Town standard is 10 feet by 20 feet.  Member Blakaitis asked why it should be 10 feet.  Director Cotellessa stated that it was a standard number used in parking lots.  Member Blakaitis stated that he is seeing houses built with the pilings spaced as such to make a legal parking space under the house.  He stated that if the size of the parking space could be relaxed, more spaces could be obtained under the house, saving concrete and driveway coverage.  Director Cotellessa stated that 10 by 20 spaces are in place now, but if the pilings are only 8.5 feet apart, she did not have a problem with it.  She stated that if a space is counted that is not under the house, it is a problem.

 

Chairman Forlano suggested diminishing the 10 foot parking down to 8 feet on the outside as well.  Director Cotellessa stated that 8 by 18 foot spaces could be done.  She stated that there are two main planning standards with regard to parking spaces Ė 9 by 18 and 10 by 20. 

 

Chairman Forlano clarified that with regard to parking, the Board would look at ways to cut down the amount of required parking.  Member Jenkins added that the Board should look at ways to reduce concrete.  Chairman Forlano agreed. Vice Chair Britt suggested a standard that parking on long, skinny lots could be stacked from a certain number away from the house.

 

Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their opinion on vegetation.  It was consensus of the Board to see how the ordinance works.

 

Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their opinion on setbacks.  It was consensus of the Board to use a tiered approach.

 

Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their opinion on style.  Member Fricker asked what the present characteristic was of Duck.  Director Cotellessa explained that an architectural study was done a few years ago and what ďDucknessĒ was.  She stated that it talked about decks, roof lines and pitch as well as features.  There was no recommendation on style from the Board.

 

Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their opinion on materials.  Member Blakaitis felt those that looked the nicest had natural cedar.  Member Jenkins stated he did not want any stacked or prefabricated homes.  Director Cotellessa stated that manufactured housing cannot be treated differently than stick built ones because they follow the same rules and regulations.  Member Jenkins asked how manufactured homes are with regard to safety and hurricanes.  Director Cotellessa stated that they have to have a sticker on them that states they are built to the building code standards of the state of North Carolina.  Member Jenkins asked if they are bolted together.  Director Cotellessa stated they are.

 

Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their opinion on accessory structures.  It was consensus of the Board to look at proportionality.

 

Chairman Forlano asked if there a limit of 10,000 square feet on a freestanding commercial property, why there canít be a limit on residential homes as well.  Director Cotellessa stated that there could be.  Vice Chair Britt stated he did not want to put a cap on residential homes. 

 

Member Blakaitis stated that some of the accessory structures have gotten larger recently.  Director Cotellessa asked the Board if they wanted to require a minimum pool surround and if decks around a pool should be counted as coverage.  Member Blakaitis stated he didnít have a problem with it.  Vice Chair Britt agreed.  Director Cotellessa stated she would bring back drawings and some examples of recent items that have come in.

 

Member Fricker asked if the Board was concerned about the footprint of the accessory structures as well as the two story cabanas.  Director Cotellessa stated it was a good question and asked the Board if they wanted to allow two story accessory structures.  She pointed out that living space is not allowed in an accessory structure.  She stated it becomes an enforcement issue when a second story is put on an accessory structure, even if they want to use it for storage.  Member Fricker asked if there have been any cases of that.  Director Cotellessa stated that there werenít a lot but more are coming in.  She stated that there was a recent building permit application where someone had applied with the intention of putting a bedroom above an accessory structure.  Vice Chair Britt clarified that the Town encourages building apartments above commercial buildings.  Director Cotellessa stated he was correct.  Member Jenkins pointed out that habitation is needed for workers.  Director Cotellessa stated that the Town dealt with that via employee housing.

 

Vice Chair Britt stated that the Town is allowing 8 bedroom homes to be built and calling them single family dwellings, but in reality they arenít.  He stated it doesnít work that way.  Council Liaison Lindley stated that views are also blocked.  Director Cotellessa added that the main house and the accessory structure takes up air space.  Vice Chair Britt stated that the Town is encouraging one thing and discouraging another.  He stated that there may be homeowners that want to live in Town year-round and use the space above a garage as an in-law apartment.  Director Cotellessa pointed out that there arenít a lot of detached garages in Town, but there are a lot of pool structures and sheds.  Vice Chair Britt stated that he would hate to see the rules directed at pools, decks and detached cabanas keep someone from building a garage.  He didnít think it should be prohibited.  Zoning Technician Cady stated that her understanding from CAMA was that two-story accessory structures are not permitted on oceanfront lots.  Vice Chair Britt stated that he has seen some in Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk.

 

Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their opinion on lighting.  Member Fricker asked what the issue was.  Director Cotellessa stated that the Town has a lighting ordinance that states that lighting cannot cause glare and all lighting needs to be down lit.  She stated that as of spring 2006, all existing lighting was to be changed to down lighting.  Vice Chair Britt pointed out that commercial lighting was not included.  Director Cotellessa disagreed. Vice Chair Britt stated that commercial lighting was added to the ordinance as an amendment.  Director Cotellessa stated that the commercial properties were contacted and some of the lighting has been changed.  She stated that in residential neighborhoods, lighting was complaint driven and staff took a positive approach to it by having a parshield program.

 

Chairman Forlano clarified that the Board did not have any comments on lighting.  Vice Chair Britt felt that the Board and staff have gone as far they could with lighting.

 

Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their opinion on fences and bulkheads.  He stated that the Board had discussed looking into the issue of fences all the way up to the lot line.  Director Cotellessa stated that the issue is the sense of mass.  She stated she would bring back some recommendations to the Board at their next meeting.

 

Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their opinion on septic systems.  He felt the Board had no comments with regard to septic.  Director Cotellessa stated that the Board had been looking at peat pods and how they take up coverage.  Chairman Forlano stated he did not agree with counting back up peat systems in lot coverage when a lot has a low pressure area.  He didnít think the back up system would be used.  Director Cotellessa stated that it is a required area by the Dare County Health Department.  Chairman Forlano stated he understood but the majority of the time, the existing system is used.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Chairman Forlano stated there wasnít any new business to discuss.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

A. Planning Board Meeting March 21, 2007

 

Member Fricker had one change to Page 6 of the minutes.

 

Vice Chair Britt moved to approve the minutes of the Planning Board Meeting of March 21, 2007 as amended.  Member Blakaitis seconded.

 

Minutes for the Planning Board Meeting on March 21, 2007 were approved 5-0. 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

None.

 

STAFF COMMENTS

 

Director Cotellessa reminded the Board that this would be Member Jenkinsí last meeting as a Planning Board member.  Member Jenkins wished the Board luck on the future tasks they would undertake.

 

BOARD COMMENTS

 

None.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Chairman Forlano adjourned the meeting.

 

The time was 8:52 p.m.

 

 

Approved: ______________________________________________

                        /s/ Ron Forlano, Chairman


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