The Town will hold a public workshop Wed., April 26, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., to receive comments about the draft of the new Land Use Plan (LUP), which the Town posted on its website this morning, two days later than consultant Stewart said it would be available for review.
You may access the draft 2023 LUP here: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/planning/page/2509/4-21-23_draft_land_use_plan.pdf.
The Land Use Plan that is currently in effect may be accessed here: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/planning/page/2431/8-30-12certifiedadoptedlanduseplan.pdf.
For comparison, we direct you to Duck’s Comprehensive and CAMA Land Use Plan, which was also prepared by Stewart and was certified in 2021: https://www.townofduck.com/wp-content/uploads/Duck-LUP-FINAL-CRC-APPROVED-2021-11-17-low-res.pdf.
The workshop will be held in the Pitts Center.
We will try to publish an analysis of the draft LUP by Wednesday morning.
We draw your attention now to a significant change in the Community Vision Statement that is in the update.
Found on p. 79 toward the back of the 105-page draft LUP, the new Community Vision Statement reads:
“The Town of Southern Shores is a coastal town whose identity is intimately tied to its natural resources, history, community, and small-town charm. We strive to preserve and protect Southern Shores’ unique character, environment, and tourism-based economy while supporting the local livelihoods and ensuring a high quality of life. The community’s close-knit bonds create a transparent, responsive, and participatory local government.”
Contrast this with the Community Vision Statement that is up front on p. 8 of the current 91-page Land Use Plan, which contrary to references to it in the draft LUP, is dated 2008 (not 2012), per a note by the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) on p. 2 of the Plan:
“The Town of Southern Shores (TOSS) is a quiet seaside residential community comprised primarily of small low density neighborhoods consisting of single family homes primarily on large lots (i.e., at least 20,000 sq. ft.) interspersed with recreational facilities (e.g., marinas, tennis facilities, athletic fields, and parks), beach accesses, walkways and open spaces. These neighborhoods are served by picturesque local roads (rather than wide through streets) along the beach, in the dunes or in the sound-side maritime forest. The scale and architecture of new development and re-development is compatible with existing homes. The community is served by a small commercial district, located on the southern edge of town, which focuses on convenience shopping and services. The desired plan for the future is to maintain the existing community appearance and form.”
The Community Vision Statement in Duck’s 2021 LUP is also at the front of the document on p. 8. (See above.)
The Coastal Area Management Act (“CAMA,” a statute, not an agency) requires North Carolina’s coastal counties to have land use plans, which are made up of policies and maps that provide a blueprint for the community’s growth and development. Although CAMA does not require coastal towns and cities to have land use plans, all towns in Dare County have them.
The CRC certifies all land use plans prepared by coastal counties and towns and has promulgated guidelines to assist them in their preparation.
The CRC’s guideline about community vision states that “The vision shall describe the general physical appearance and form that represents the local government’s plan for the future. It shall include objectives to be achieved by the plan and identify changes that may be needed to achieve the planning vision as determined by the local government.” (Quoting 15 N.C. Administrative Code 07B .0702.)
We do not believe the new Community Vision Statement is responsive to this guideline. For starters, it says nothing about the town’s “general physical appearance and form.” It seems to be more of a general political statement than a precise statement about the town’s environment, which is CAMA’s concern.
The Community Vision Statement serves as a guiding policy for all zoning decisions in Southern Shores and is vitally important. In recommending zoning changes, a majority on the Town Planning Board must agree that they comply with the Land Use Plan. In enacting zoning changes, a majority of the Town Council must make the same assessment. The words “low density” have long been defining words for Southern Shores and its future growth and development.
Please plan to attend the workshop next Wednesday and urge your neighbors to attend, as well.
ANN G. SJOERDSMA, 4/21/23
2 thoughts on “4/21/23: DRAFT OF NEW LAND USE PLAN IS NOW ON TOWN WEBSITE; PUBLIC WORKSHOP FOR COMMENTS ON UPDATE TO BE HELD WED., 5 P.M. TO 7 P.M.”
Thank you for checking. We’ll see what Homestead will do. Maybe other churches had the same problem.
I live in Southern Shores and enjoy the large lots, low density of our neighborhood. As you drive onto Hwy 12 into Souther Shores, one cannot help but look at the open beauty! Then driving into Chicahauk the beauty of the wooded areas. No company should be able to prostitute our neighborhood. No mini hotels. No chopping up lots. No overgrowth.