The N.C. Division of Coastal Management (DCM) has issued CAMA minor permits to SAGA Construction for both of its proposed demolition-and-“mega-house” construction projects on the Southern Shores oceanfront, The Beacon learned today.
According to Town Permit Officer Dabni Shelton, the permits for SAGA’s development of 98 Ocean Blvd. and 134 Ocean Blvd., issued Oct. 19 and Oct. 22, respectively.
The Kill Devil Hills-based developer proposes building 12-bedroom, 12-bathroom, nearly 6,000 square-foot houses with swimming pools, 17 parking spaces, and septic capacity for 24 people at both sites. At 98 Ocean Blvd., it will demolish an original Frank Stick-design flattop (see photos); and at 134 Ocean Blvd., it will destroy a modified vintage flattop.
The Southern Shores Civic Assn., which owns a beach access to the south of each property, opposed SAGA’s development plans on both.
Rod McCaughey, an SSCA Board member and chairperson of the Bylaws/Long-Range Planning/Architectural Review Board Committee, wrote the SSCA’s letters of objection to SAGA’s demolition-and-building plans, arguing that its proposed houses do not meet the Town Code’s definition of “single family dwelling.” Both of the oceanfront properties are in the Town’s RS-1 single-family residential district.
According to Town Planning Dept. records, Herman and Bell Sadler, who own the house at 136 Ocean Blvd. and live in Emporia, Va., objected to SAGA’s proposal for 134 Ocean Blvd., without elaborating upon their position.
“They checked the [objection] box” on the notice form they received, Ms. Shelton said.
In the opinion of both State and local permit officers, neither the SSCA nor the Sadlers cited a State “rule regulation” whose violation could underlie a decision to deny the CAMA minor permit, Ms. Shelton explained. Objections were principally to “aesthetics,” she said. “There were no public safety and environmental concerns [raised].”
The SSCA and the Sadlers have 20 days after the date of permit issuance in which to file a “third-party appeal” to the Director of the DCM. Within 15 days after the DCM receives the appeal, according to information on the N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality’s website, confirmed by Ms. Shelton, the Chairman of the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) decides whether the appeal merits a hearing. (See https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/coastal-management/coastal-management-permits/variances-appeals.)
Reached this afternoon, Mr. McCaughey said the SSCA “is not considering an appeal,” to his knowledge. He framed the issue as whether the civic association has a “legitimate legal reason” on which to appeal.
Ms. Shelton said she hand-delivered to staff at the SSCA office copies of the two CAMA permits on the dates they issued. She also provided the SSCA with State regulations pertaining to the “Ocean Hazard Area of Environmental Concern” and information about the permit appeal process. She mailed the same materials today to the Sadlers, by regular mail, so they presumably will not receive notice until Thursday.
Through research on the NCDEQ website, The Beacon has learned that other “directly affected” people, such as property owners in the “vicinity of the proposed development who can show that it is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the value and enjoyment of their property, or persons who can demonstrate a history of substantial use of public resources in the area directly affected by the development,” also may file a third-party appeal within the 20-day period, requesting a hearing. Such petitioners must be able to cite a State statute or regulation that is “allegedly violated by the permit decision.”
During the 20-day CAMA permit appeal period, there is no stay of the local permitting process, Ms. Shelton said. Indeed, if SAGA were to file a Lot Disturbance-Demolition permit application tomorrow with the Town—this permit is the first that it must request locally, after which it would file a permit application for Lot Disturbance-Stormwater Management—it may receive such a permit on Thursday. (As of 2:30 p.m. today, when I spoke with Ms. Shelton, SAGA had not filed a permit application.)
“We try to accommodate [applicants] fairly quickly,” Ms. Shelton said, explaining that if the Town has all it needs to conduct a review, it acts.
Deputy Town Manager/Planning Director Wes Haskett has previously explained to The Beacon, and Ms. Shelton confirmed today, that Mr. Haskett initiates contact with an applicant on the same day that he receives a lot-disturbance permit application and meets on-site with the applicant the next day. He routinely gives the SSCA notice of these on-site meetings, so that a member of the ARB committee may attend.
Mr. McCaughey left little doubt in his comments today that the SSCA is opposed to the multiple-bedroom, hotel-like rental machines that SAGA builds. The question is how does the Town prevent such development? he asked. The mega-houses at 98 and 134 Ocean Blvd. may be inevitable: “Can you stop this process for the future?” he asked.
“We’re trying to be creative,” Mr. McCaughey said. “The question is does the Town want to be creative?”
We will find out at the special meeting on Nov. 7, 10 a.m., in the Pitts Center.
Are the Mayor and Town Council, presumably advised by the Town Attorney, going to present feasible ideas for how SAGA-type development can be stopped in the future, and initiate quick action on these ideas? Or are they going to punt, stall, or otherwise “kick the can down the road,” as I characterized their approach on the nonconforming lots ZTA this past summer? (The Planning Board stepped up in that instance.)
My sources indicate, in off-the-record conversations, that members of the Planning Board and the Town Council are doing what Planning Board Chairperson Glenn Wyder called at the last Board meeting their “due diligence.”
This much we know: SAGA Construction now has a successful blueprint.
ELECTION ADDENDUM: WHO’S WHO OF CONCERNED LAWYERS OPPOSE 2 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS RELEVANT TO JUDICIAL BRANCH
After I posted my blog yesterday about the six constitutional amendments on the November election ballot, I received a statement from “Concerned Lawyers” of North Carolina, urging opposition to the two amendments that pertain to the judicial system: the one amendment that would strip the Governor of the authority to appoint judges when vacancies arise between elections, which the Concerned Lawyers label the Judicial Selections Amendment, and the other amendment that would remove the politically unaffiliated member from the nine-member Bipartisan Board of Elections and Ethics, which Concerned Lawyers call the Separation of Powers amendment.
I received this statement and an analysis attached as an addendum because I’m a member in good standing of the N.C. bar, albeit an inactive one. According to “Concerned Lawyers”: “All living former Governors, N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justices, N.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judges, and many former Associate Justices and Associate Judges of those two courts, both Democrats and Republicans,” oppose passage of these two amendments.
The names listed at the end of their statement are those of well-known and highly respected North Carolina jurists. They make up a veritable Who’s Who of North Carolina attorneys.
You may access the statement of Concerned Lawyers here:
And the group’s analysis of the two amendments here:
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, Oct. 23, 2018