Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone.
I have been laboring elsewhere of late and, hence, have let The Beacon blog and Facebook page go silent for a while. I will resume my Southern Shores life after Monday.
Before I left, I met briefly with one of the Kill Devil Hills homeowners who is organizing a campaign against SAGA Realty and Construction’s proposed oceanfront “mini-hotels” at 1207-1209 and 1213 S. Virginia Dare Trail. She contacted me because I manage the website, nominihotels.com, and distribute “NO! MINI-HOTELS” yard signs.
You may have seen some of these signs pop up in KDH recently. The homeowners also have started a Facebook page, which you may access by searching for “KDH Against Mini-Hotels” on your Facebook account. For background on the SAGA’s proposed developments, see:
SAGA’s KDH plans reportedly call for the demolition of a modest flat-roof cottage built in 1952 at 1213 S. Virginia Dare Trail (see photo above) to make way for a 28-bedroom event building that will have 28 parking spaces, a two-story tiki bar, and a gazebo-chapel that will seat 100 people. This mega-mansion/church/commercial wedding venue–whatever it is–will be wedged between two beach-box cottages built stacked on one oceanfront lot to the north and a cottage court to the south.
Acting as a limited liability corporation known as SVDT LLC, SAGA purchased this property, which consists of one lot and a portion of another, from a family trust on Aug. 8, 2019, according to the deed that was filed with the Register of Deeds office on Aug. 15, and that I accessed through the Dare County GIS (geographic information system) website.
You can imagine how homeowners located adjacent to this proposed residential-commercial monstrosity feel. Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine the construction of such an offensive hybrid-use building to occur in their back yards.
Speaking only for myself, I think it is a disgrace that the KDH Board of Commissioners has allowed the threat of this potential destruction to occur.
Is KDH really that hard up for revenue that the Commissioners cannot reach consensus on changing the zoning code to save what’s left of the town’s family beach from SAGA’s scorched-earth annihilation? The KDH government has had years to take protective action and has miserably failed.
I say “potential” destruction because it is not too late for the KDH Commissioners to take emergency action to prevent SAGA from plundering the oceanfront in this area. As far as I understand, SAGA does not yet have “vested rights” in developing the property at 1213 S. Virginia Dare Trail. The Town can still intervene.
SAGA also reportedly plans to demolish a historic bungalow built in 1955 at 1207 S. Virginia Dare Trail and to replace it with a 24-bedroom structure. According to The Outer Banks Voice, the Kill Devil Hills-based developer intends to build a second 24-bedroom structure on vacant land adjacent to the bungalow at 1209 S. Virginia Dare Trail.
My Dare County GIS search reveals that each of these properties is owned by the same family group. Either SAGA has not purchased them yet, or, if it has, the deeds have yet to be registered. In either case, there is still time before SAGA’s rights of property use vest for KDH to take expedient action and prevent these developments.
[I have been advised by a reader, whose habitual snideness guarantees that his comments will never be published, that the family that owns these properties is developing them. I have not been able to visit the KDH planning department to check for permit applications, and I may not have the opportunity to do so. My reporting is based on The Outer Banks Voice, conversations I have had with the KDH homeowner, and the Dare County GIS. I welcome any factual corrections supported by evidence and submitted without insult. One reason I write is to further the exchange of information.]
I have not been able to visit the sites of these reported proposed projects, but I can tell you that the Outer Banks Beach Club is located to the north at 1101 S. Virginia Dare Trail, and that an old strip shopping center containing The Lamp Shop is on the west side of the road, just to the south. I locate addresses along the beach road by landmarks, and The Lamp Shop, which I have frequented for as long as it has existed, is one I know well. This is around milepost 9.
The first permit an oceanfront developer must secure is a Coastal Area Management Administration (CAMA) permit, issued by the State with a local permit officer’s approval. The CAMA statute applies because the oceanfront is an “area of environmental concern.” Thereafter, SAGA would proceed with applying for town permits that would allow it to demolish the two existing structures and to build.
A property owner with legal standing may appeal a zoning permit issued by the town if there is cause to do so. I have taken only a cursory look at the KDH zoning code, but nowhere among the permitted and conditional uses of property in the Ocean-Impact Residential Zone did I see a use that encapsulates the wedding venue that SAGA proposes. I have advised the homeowners to consult a local land-use attorney.
I have been told there is an online petition that you can sign to support “KDH Against Mini-Hotels,” but I have not located it yet. I will provide the website address for the petition as soon as I have it.
STATUS OF NO! MINI-HOTELS LITIGATION IN SOUTHERN SHORES
As I acknowledged above, I manage the website, nominihotels.com, which pertains to litigation in Southern Shores regarding SAGA’s 12-bedroom, 12-bathroom, hotel-amenity-filled structures at 98 and 134 Ocean Blvd. The mini-hotel at 98 Ocean Blvd. has been rented through Carolina Designs (see “Aquadisiac”) since early August. The mini-hotel at 134 Ocean Blvd., which is also offered for rent through Carolina Designs, is still in construction.
As some of you may have read in The Outer Banks Voice recently, an administrative law judge issued a ruling Aug. 12 that was adverse to the homeowners who appealed the CAMA permits granted to SAGA for these two developments. I have not reported on this decision, which was a grant of a summary-judgment motion made by the N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality—and, therefore, a dismissal of the homeowners’ legal claim based on the Southern Shroes land-use plan— because the petitioners have until Sept. 11 to appeal it. I will update the nominihotels.com home page after that date has passed.
In the meantime, I can assure anyone who donates money to the No! Mini-Hotels GoFundMe litigation fund that his or her money will be well-spent. The homeowner who owns property across the street from 134 Ocean Blvd. has an appeal of a Southern Shores Board of Adjustment zoning decision, which went 3-2 against her, pending in Dare County Superior Court. I also can say that any lawyer who reads the administrative law judge’s Aug. 12 ruling is like to find cause to question the judge’s legal reasoning.
To reach the GoFundMe page, please go to nominihotels.com. Thank you for any support and/or donation you may give.
Happy holiday weekend.