Dear Readers: I was in Chesapeake yesterday and could not attend the Dare County Planning Board meeting last night. I have learned from people who did attend that, in light of considerable public opposition—both in comments expressed at the meeting and in emails sent to the County Planning Dept.—SAGA Construction has withdrawn its application to amend the Dare County Zoning Ordinance to enable it to build the hotel development that it has proposed. (See The Beacon, 6/10/19)
The resort-style hotel that SAGA envisions would replace the Sea Gull Motel, which the Kill Devil Hills-based developer purchased in 2016 from the Oden family, who had owned it since 1955. The legendary motel was severely damaged during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Two of the three buildings that then encompassed the motel were destroyed, and the third had to be rebuilt.
As the Island Free Press reports today, it’s “back to the drawing board” for SAGA’s Hatteras project:
The primary objections reportedly expressed by opponents to the SAGA hotel project are those that The Beacon highlighted in its post yesterday: the height of the hotel and the lot coverage of the five-acre development, which SAGA sought to increase from the current Dare County Code standard of 60 percent to 70 percent.
Sumit Gupta, who is co-founder, principal partner, and chief executive officer of SAGA Construction, Inc., represented the applicant at the Planning Board meeting.
According to a Beacon reader who received a copy, Dare County Planning Director Donna Creef sent the following email this morning to people who had previously contacted her about SAGA’s project and application. Ms. Creef wrote:
“I wanted to follow-up with those folks that had emailed Dare County concerning the proposed C2-H text amendment. Copies of the 60+ emails were provided to the Planning Board, the majority were opposed to zoning changes. There were 19 speakers at the public comment period of the meeting last night with the majority opposed to zoning changes.
“Comments from the Planning Board indicated a reluctance to recommend a 90-ft building height and a desire to not increase lot coverage.
“The application SAGA Construction voluntarily withdrew the zoning amendment application to revise their request based on feedback from the Planning Board. Sumit Gupta, the SAGA representative, indicated it would take some time to revise the amendment but he would re-submit. The Planning Board acknowledged his voluntary request to revise the application. Mr. Gupta was advised that any resubmission of the proposal will follow the Planning Board submission procedures—3 weeks before the meeting date. The Planning Board monthly meetings are held the second Monday of each month.
“At this point I am unsure when the item will be re-submitted. It will not be scheduled for the July 8 Planning Board meeting. I will email those on this email list when SAGA re-submits.”
The Beacon applauds Ms. Creef for being in touch promptly and personally with members of the Hatteras community who took the time to write to the Planning Dept. This type of public service should occur throughout the Outer Banks.
The Beacon will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as they occur.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 6/11/19