8/2/18: NONCONFORMING LOTS ZTA SCALED WAAAAY BACK: See What You Think; The Beacon Withholds Comment for Now/Also, the New SSVFD Contract and a Piece of Southern Shores History


“Small World” at 116 Ocean Blvd.

The revision of the proposed zoning text amendment on nonconforming lots was made public earlier this week when staff posted on the Town of Southern Shores website the meeting packet for the Town Council’s meeting next Tuesday. Current ZTA 18-07 has been reduced to one paragraph in the new version, styled as ZTA 18-07A. You may find it in its entirety, with its application form, preamble, etc., on pages 15-18 of the packet:


The Beacon chooses to refrain from comment now about the substantially truncated ZTA, preferring to hear first from Town Attorney Ben Gallop, Town Planning Director Wes Haskett, and the Town Planning Board. The Planning Board will be taking up ZTA 18-07A, as well as ZTA 18-03, about lot coverage, at its Aug. 20 meeting.

The proposed ZTA would amend current Town Code sec. 36-132(a), which deals with nonconforming lots, by replacing it. The replacement language consists of two paragraphs, numbered (1) and (2), as follows:

Section (1) states, in pertinent part, that a single-family dwelling and customary accessory building may be erected on any single lot that “met all legal requirements at the time of its creation and recording in the Dare County public registry.” This means that any lot with a width of less than the current required minimum width of 100 feet, or the current required minimum area of 20,000 square feet, is permitted—provided it met all legal requirements in effect when it was first created.

Section (1) also states that if such a lot has a width of 50 feet or less, it may be developed with a side-yard setback of 12 feet, which is three feet less than the Town Code-mandated minimum requirement of 15 feet.

Section (1) is straightforward enough. Section (2) is the rub. It states as follows:

“Prior to the demolition of an existing principal building, redevelopment exceeding 50% of an existing principal building’s value, or construction of a new principal building when such existing or proposed principal building is located or proposed to be located on two or more lots any of which are non-conforming, all lots underlying the existing or proposed principal building shall be recombined into a single lot.”

Got it? It’s proposing three scenarios when recombination would be triggered if two or more lots “any of which are non-conforming” are involved.

It further states:

“A plat prepared by a North Carolina licensed surveyor showing the recombination shall be shall be [sic/redundancy] recorded in the Dare County public registry, and a copy of the recorded plat shall be provided to the Town prior to the issuance of a zoning or building permit for the demolition, redevelopment or development upon the newly created lot. The lot created by a recombination required by this section shall be deemed to equal or exceed the standards of the Town under Chapter 30, and are [sic/verb should be “is”] exempt from the subdivision process under Chapter 30. The unlawful demolition of a principal building in violation of this section shall preclude the application of section (1) for the underlying lots unless and until a recombination occurs under this section as if the principal building had not been demolished.”

That’s it.

Fire Services Contract; Historic Landmark Designation

About 50 percent of the meeting packet prepared for the Town Council’s meeting consists of a draft fire services contract and related materials. The Town’s contract with the SSVFD expires at the end of this fiscal year. Negotiation of the next contract will likely be an ongoing dialogue. The Aug. 7 meeting marks the first public presentation and discussion of the draft contract.

Materials related to the historic landmark designation of the oceanfront house at 116 Ocean Blvd., which was built in 1954 by chemist Dr. Lyndon F. Small and his wife Marianne C. Small, constitute most of the remainder of the meeting packet.

Now called “Small World,” the cottage at 116 Ocean Blvd., described by the current Small family owners as “a frame structure and gable roof built upon a poured concrete slab,” could have used some TLC over the years. I don’t think architect Harry Lawrence or builder Curtis Gray—part of Southern Shores founder Frank Stick’s team—would have minded. According to the family, Lyndon and Marianne Small knew Mr. Stick and were lured to Southern Shores by him.

The house at 116 Ocean Blvd. is well-worn, to say the least. But I am so glad that the Small family is seeking to preserve it, rather than to demolish it. It is a testament to a special time in Southern Shores, when the land was wide-open and the spirits of those who built houses and vacationed here were adventurous and free. The developers made money, but they also sought to protect the natural environment. The house coexisted with the beach; it didn’t overwhelm it, or obscure other people’s views, and Southern Shores was a secluded getaway for vacationers who opened their windows to feel sea breezes and hear the ocean’s roar.

At one time, it was a Small world, after all.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, Aug. 2, 2018

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