Sunday, September 05, 2004

Rough Seas & Question #4

The beach is beautiful today. Blue skies and puffy white clouds, with just a light breeze. But the ocean is formidable. Large waves, foamig white, and spreading high up onto the beach, with a strong current. Threat of rip currents is high so it was a morning to walk, look for shells, and just wade.

On another subject, our fourth reader question is:

"I first went to Ocracoke as a child of 9 in 1975.Recently in 2000 and 2001 I came back for vacations and was somewhat taken aback by the development that has occured there.Still a beautiful place,but the density of new housing concerns me,which brings me to my question.Are there any housing density restrictions in place? If not are there any on the horizon? signed,Kevin from Atlanta"

Ocracoke has a development ordinance. I don't have the details in front of me, but there are height & setback restrictions, as well as minimum lot size requirements and other regulations. Also builders must conform to local and state building codes as well as adhere to CAMA (Coastal Area Management Act) and other environmental regulations.

Of course, Ocracoke has always been a very independent place, so it has been difficult to draft a development ordinance with "teeth." There are so many competing influences here, and a strong local distrust of rules and regulations that often benefit the rich and powerful rather than the native islanders. As you all know, Ocracoke village is small and well defined. As a result, development pressure can be strong, especially with escalating property values. The issue is very complex and we wish there were an easy answer.

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