Town plans to burn down disputed lumber building

By on January 2, 2013

Once slated for a farm and flea market, the old Foreman’s Lumber building is scheduled to come down in January during a practice burn by area fire fighters.

Kitty Hawk Fire Chief Lowell Spivey said the controlled burn will take place sometime after the first of the year.

Property owner Jim Perry had approached the fire department about the idea of a burn earlier this year.

“The department graciously accepted my invitation,” Perry said. “It’s not too often a department gets a large building like this for training.”

The Foreman’s building was built in 1960 and has been unoccupied and in a state of disrepair for some time.

“Any live burn we can do is good practice,” Spivey said, adding that surrounding fire departments will also participate in the burn. “It allows the departments to come in and work together. It builds our relationship and helps us work more effectively when we have an actual fire.”

Kitty Hawk Planning and Inspection Director Joe Heard said weather conditions have to be right in order to hold the burn. Town officials plan to have it take place early one Sunday morning in mid-January. A date has not yet been set.

After a lengthy approval process, Town Council eventually gave the green light to plans for a farm and flea market late last year but the applicants never followed through with plans. Heard said the permit for the use has now expired.

The council initially rejected the idea, with some members saying the land could be put to better use than as a flea market.

“It is not an active approval at this point,” Heard said. He added that there has not been a lot of interest in the property and that it may be easier to market without the dilapidated building on it.

Perry said the property is not currently for sale.

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little duckling

February 2, 2013 8:54 am

nows your chance Olive Garden!

Common Sense

January 7, 2013 11:36 am

Its a shame that everyone can’t be satisfied with this decision. I absolutely believe that the FD needs to “practice”, but I also believe that the wood that makes up this building could be put to good use. As for the farm market, KH messed up the opportunity to help some locals out, but that is nothing new. They spend our tax dollars real well but they’re not really good at saving them or helping to create opportunity.


January 7, 2013 11:24 am

I love how all of you people tout the “reclaimed wood”. This isn’t an old tobacco or textile mill with hardwood oak floors, it was a warehouse. I don’t think anyone buys rotten or creosote treated wood or weather plywood, which is what this building is. There’s no value in the wood guys….


January 6, 2013 10:02 pm

Most of you folks are hitting the stereotypical nail on the head. You complain about the vintage “eyesore” that is one of the last pieces of true outer banks history, then when a plan is drafted to rid the town of the “eyesore” and give the local fire departments well deserved and much needed training opportunity you seem to find the bad in that as well. Just think though, burning that building and training our firefighters will make you safer. Fire doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at anytime for any reason. Training is good and can help you insurance rates go down. Now, let me ask you this; has anyone ever told you that you “can’t participate” in a free event because the training budget has already been spent? Things do cost money, but Leta not put a price on the safety of our community. This includes every aspect of public service. So next time an actual free training event is possible, lets think before we voice complaints about tax dollars. Besides I would rather pay for first responders training than put the same money towards an ill conceived plan, like an over priced welcome sign or high costs for vehicle maintenance because a town council member has personal issues with the owner/operator of the lesser expensive and more quality shop that puts out better work. But hey what do I know, I just pay attention to where my money actually goes.


January 6, 2013 9:25 pm

The training our firefighters gain during the burn is well worth the costs. Such training serves to save lives and property. The best way to train putting out fires is putting out fires.

When it’s all said and done the owner will have a relatively small pile of ashes to clean up.


January 4, 2013 9:17 pm

that looks like poison ivy covering the north side of that building. if that is so i pity anyone who gets downwind of that fire.


January 4, 2013 6:01 pm

Joe Heard,

I’d like you to consider, instead of burning it, auction it off for reclaimed lumber. The County of Loudoun, VA did this with 20 houses in the early ’90′s and they made enough money off the deal to pay for administrative fees for the auction AND were saved the expense of having to deal with the cost of removing the structures. It’s the “green” thing to do as well. Better yet, make the owners of the property manage that process and the town doesn’t have to deal w/it at all. They’ll probably make enough money to pay for grading the lot and removing the slab after the structure is gone. Giggidy, Giggidy


January 4, 2013 11:37 am

It is cheaper for the property owner to have the fire department torch the building than it is to have a demolition company come in and remove the existing building. I wonder how many tax dollars will be spent to help Foremans remove the structure.


January 3, 2013 12:24 pm

I have lived in Kitty Hawk for 9 years now. From what I have seen of the town administration, they only selectively enforce town codes. If you are a meager home owner then you better not do anything wrong. If it is a business, then it can look like crap, be over on the maximumum lighting, etc. The old Foremans structure would have made a great location for a farmers market. It seemed to me that when the town finally approved the market, they stipulated so many things for the owners, that it made it cost prohibited to go ahead with the business.


January 3, 2013 8:32 am

and now hooters is no more

Barking dog

January 2, 2013 11:17 pm

I heard it was going to be a “sunsations”!

Someone should check the town of kitty hawk for building permits or planning board submissions! See if they can tell the truth this time! Remember when they told us “hooters” was not going to be “hooters”


January 2, 2013 6:55 pm

I wish they would burn down the many eyesore falling down homes around Manteo.


January 2, 2013 5:33 pm

Native, you’re right, I’ve only lived here 5 years. I grew up in Va. Beach and really hated to see so many old cottages/buildings replaced by “sleek new structures”. The huge difference is, they were much better maintained, were buildings of which we locals were proud, and, they weren’t eyesores like Foreman’s. The owners just sold their land for tons of cash, and then, “progress” happened.


January 2, 2013 4:26 pm

The Nov. 2010 story lists Al and Carol Giese as owners, when did Perry buy the property?


January 2, 2013 4:24 pm

Why didn’t the flea market move forward if they did get the conditional use permit? Steve is right, reclaimed wood is really worth a lot, why not do that? Why does Perry want to burn it after all this time? When did Perry acquire it? Was Perry going to rent the space to fleamarket folks? I’m sure there is an “anynomous buyer” waiting as soon as the ashes are cool….


January 2, 2013 1:50 pm

I suppose I am the only one who found this building in all its dilapidation to be somewhat charming and reminiscent of times past. I guess if it’s not a sleek new structure or a chain restaurant then implants to the area will not be amused.

Steve swinson

January 2, 2013 1:20 pm

Why burn it? Doesn’t anyone know the value of salvaged wood? Repurpose the lumber and hardware. At this point the building is a preserved memory? Why torch it?


January 2, 2013 12:27 pm

Sorry, I meant “Perry”.


January 2, 2013 12:26 pm

BTW, will Terry or the Town be responsible for removing the rubble afer the fire. Hopefully, we aren’t trading having to look at one ugly mess for another.

beached bum

January 2, 2013 12:25 pm

Yeah maybe they will build another SuperWings or some other cheesy tourist trap.

Real Busy OBXer

January 2, 2013 10:49 am

That was a wonderful store that many of us used to get supplies to make a living for decades. To start pointing fingers and calling names is not a neighborly thing to do. There are a lot of properties nearing the end of their useful life. Let’s celebrate the history and coming changes rather than assign blame, which helps no one. Happy New Year, my OBX!

Lori Keck

January 2, 2013 10:41 am

It could have been a very successful Tourist destination allowing Locals to have a small business to supplement their menial incomes because big corporate jobs won’t give them more than 20 hours a week to keep from paying benefits for the most part….that is why most locals HAVE to work more than one job…Hate to see the building and the opportunity to do something good for the community dismissed so randomly…approve a Hooters sure…but hey something actually beneficial…not interested


January 2, 2013 10:08 am

“State of disrepair” is quite an understatement. It’s been an eyesore that has been allowed to blight that location for too many years. Thankfully, something will finally be done about it.


January 2, 2013 10:01 am

The thing that taints this entire “very good idea” is that it’s a prime example of someone not keeping property up and letting it become an enormous eyesore and then asking for a government bailout at taxpayer expense, no matter the fact that some good comes from it. I not only blame the owners, but also the Town of Kitty Hawk for allowing that blight along the highway for so long. I suppose had it turned into a drug selling spot or hobo hangout, someone might have complained and got town action, but there you go again.

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