I bring back Steve Gudas to help me deliver today’s blog message.

Since writing and posting my 3/20/19 blog, I have been feeling some of the “heartburn” that Town Planning Board Chairperson Elizabeth Morey said Monday night she had about zoning text amendment (ZTA) 19-01, which the Board unanimously voted to recommend to the Town Council.

Rather than swallow a Rolaids tablet, I am going to take a crack at telling you in plain English what the Planning Board intends with this zoning change: The Board seeks to prevent the construction of large vacation rental houses that would accommodate numerous people by limiting the number of overnight occupants in such structures to 14.

As a further preventive, the Board recommends restricting the septic-service capacity in all dwellings in Southern Shores’ residential district to 14 persons. That includes single-family homes that are not vacation rentals.

ZTA 19-01, as drafted, is imperfect. I sought yesterday to acquaint you with what ZTA 19-01 actually says and to point out some of its imperfections. Today, I wish only to tell you what the Board is aspiring to do with ZTA 19-01.

Please, please, please read the proposed ordinance for yourselves. It is not Town law yet, not until the Town Council approves it.

You do not need to be a lawyer to read and understand it. No one on the Planning Board or the Town Council is a lawyer. The ZTA is not beyond your (or their) comprehension, if you invest the time you need to understand it. And it is imperative that, as informed citizens and property owners, you know how your town’s zoning code may change. Here is the proposed ordinance:


It’s only two pages long. You can skip over the cover page and the preamble and begin reading on page three, which is page three of five of the ZTA itself.

Nothing pains me more than to sit through a discussion of a proposed zoning text amendment by the Town Planning Board or the Town Council and to know that members of these boards either have not read the ZTA or have read the ZTA and do not understand it. In other words, they’re not prepared to do good government.

Unfortunately, I have sat through many such discussions. Eyes always convey a lack of preparation and confusion, as do the questions asked. I’ve seen too many deer in the headlights. Too much “winging it.”

Please take the time to read the proposed ordinance and to understand what it means. Only you, the public, can hold your government accountable.

Thank you.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 3/21/19

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