Revised Currituck beach parking rule will need another vote

By on February 19, 2018

Currituck’s beaches are the only ones in N.C. that can be driven on without a pass. (Dee Langston)

A Currituck Board of Commissioners proposal to require vehicles to carry a pass to park on the county’s beaches starting this spring will have to wait until next month before being implemented, after the measure failed to gain unanimous approval Monday night.

Several changes were made before the board took a vote on the ordinance, including requiring passes only during high visitor season and giving residents of the 4×4 area two additional free passes for guests.

Under the original proposal, the permits would be required year-round to drive on the 14-mile stretch of beach from Corolla village to the state line.

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At the suggestion of Commissioner Marion Gilbert of Moyock, the parking permits would only be required from the Friday before Memorial Day to Labor Day Monday, allowing anyone to park on the beach the rest of the year at no charge.

“I think that would resolve some of the concerns we’ve heard from constituents and visitors,” Gilbert said.

All Currituck County residents and non-resident property owners could obtain an unlimited number of passes, free of charge, that must be assigned to a specific vehicle and are not transferable.

Commissioner Bob White of Corolla asked that residents of the four-wheel-drive area be granted additional passes at no cost that would not be assigned to a specific vehicle.

“A lot of residents are going to have out-of-town visitors and family come, and I don’t see the reason why we couldn’t come up with a (pass for them),” said Commissioner Mike Payment of Grandy.

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Owners of homes in a rental program that are beyond the North Beach Access Ramp would be able to obtain up to two permits per house at no charge that could be used by renters.

Commissioner Paul Beaumont of Shawboro said it should mimic the rental house plan, and allow full-time residents of the four-wheel-drive area to be granted two guest passes as well.

Exemptions would be granted to commercial fishermen, hunters, outdoor tour operators that have valid county-issued licenses for their businesses and are conducting an active tour at the time, along with contractors that are working for the county or on projects such as beach restoration or walkways and decks to the beach.

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The passes would not be required of those who just want to sightsee in the four-wheel drive areas along and north of Corolla village.

The text of the ordinance discussed by commissioners Monday still does not specify how much the permits will cost and where they can be obtained, only that the permit would be available “from the county manager or county manager’s designated representative.”

Commissioner Mike Hall of Moyock asked the board to consider delaying implementation until 2019, but several members spoke against waiting another year.

In a interview two weeks ago with The Outer Banks Voice, board chairman Bobby Hanig of Powells Point said visitors may be charged $50 for a 10-day parking pass or $150 for a permit that would be valid for a calendar year. Single-day passes would not be available.

Previous discussion on distribution of the passes mentioned the county’s visitor centers in Moyock and Corolla and require viewing of a video before purchase, similar to what is required to buy an off-road vehicle permit in Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The board voted 6-1 to pass the ordinance, with Hall casting the lone no vote.

Because the ordinance did not pass by unanimous vote at its first reading, it will have to be voted on again at the next meeting on March 5 where it will only require a simple majority.

Comments

  • Edward Ponton

    There is some incorrect information here. First the 4×4 area covers 11 miles of beach and the original proposal would have required a year round permit to park. This has nothing to do with driving

    Tuesday, Feb 20 @ 6:55 am
  • Mike

    What does the public think?

    Tuesday, Feb 20 @ 7:19 am
  • wazzup

    The area is pricing itself out of tourists. They already pay ridiculous amounts in taxes for rentals and now you want to charge them for driving on the beach to get to the house they are renting? Some of those homes can handle over a dozen people who will be using more than 2 cars to get there, but only 2 passes for a 12+ bedroom home? No thanks. Our family visits every two years and we have anywhere from 6 to 8 vehicles travelling to the rental property. Considering how much we pay for the home rental, taxes, money spent at the local restaurants, bars, gas stations, etc… all vehicles for any rental properties in the 4X4 area should get free vehicle passes for the time they spend there.

    Tuesday, Feb 20 @ 9:11 am
  • Jon Hipps

    The pass is strictly for parking on the beach. Not for driving to the houses. Or driving up in 4×4 at all. Simply for parking on the beach. No problem with this new law. My biggest concern is with enforcement. Are these going to be color coded paper passes like the construction passes in Currituck club and colington? Or window sticker, or bumper sticker?

    Tuesday, Feb 20 @ 12:54 pm
  • Taxpayer

    I hope my property taxes don’t go up as a result of the lawsuit(s) this is bound to create. This situation is not the same as Hatteras because of the homes in Carova. Apples and oranges. I also hope Currituck has good legal counsel on this.

    Tuesday, Feb 20 @ 2:38 pm
  • Dan Johnson

    We are a group of 8 annual visitors for a week who only go to the 4WD area. Different people ride in one of two 4WD vehicles at different times during the day. If the passes are assigned per vehicle and non-transferable, it seems we’d need to purchase up to 12 passes or be forced to deal with passenger logistics. That doesn’t seem fair.

    Tuesday, Feb 20 @ 3:46 pm
  • David

    I just don’t understand what problem they are trying to solve and what analysis was done to determine this solution solves that problem? Is it just to get more revenue? Is the revenue going to be used to improve the beach area or go into some general fund. I have a home in Carova and don’t see this as an issue if they are doing it to raise revenue to maintain the roads back here or other types of improvements specifically for this area.

    Tuesday, Feb 20 @ 5:28 pm
  • Joe

    My guess is people will drive up the beach since no permit is required to drive up the beach, drive over a ramp and park somewhere and walk back over the dune to the beach. Even if they park in a no parking zone what is the ticket price compared to the cost of the parking permit.

    Tuesday, Feb 20 @ 5:50 pm
  • hightider

    I preferred the original year long plan with exceptions for 4×4 residents and all property owners from Currituck. The 4×4 beach is being ruined by day trippers who tear up property, have no bathroom facilities, and have no idea how to safely drive on the beach.

    Tuesday, Feb 20 @ 8:34 pm
  • Concerned

    Having been at the meeting the board was completely unprepared. Changes were being made on the fly and with the claim that no ordinance is perfect. While this is true the board has a very myopic point of view. There was no numbers put out, no know effect and a lot of “I think” and “I guess” thrown around. This is also being done under the guise of safety, which is in the boards legal realm but, is behind the scenes being done to accommodate complaining residents in the 4×4 area which the NC code does not apply. If it is in fact a safety issue I would love to see how many VEHICLE related accidents occurred in the last 2, 5, 10 or any years on that stretch of beach. Has there been any? If so I bet they are dwarfed by any day, week or weekend on 168 coming or going from OBX. So where is the real safety issue?

    Tuesday, Feb 20 @ 8:44 pm
  • Just Curious

    If someone had a business that involved driving people onto the beach would there be conflict of interest if they were to vote on this issue? Just a thought. Why are residents and rentals in 4×4 the only ones to get extra free permits? Are the residents and rentals on the paved Corolla somehow different? Not worthy? Let’s see how all these restrictions pan out. $$$$$$$ heading south.

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 12:24 am
  • Fuss

    Just about anywhere on Atlantic coast there are municipal “designated” parking areas for beach goers. There are parking fees and when the parking area is full it is closed to new vehicles. Those who get to park often need to walk to their selected beach spot, sometimes quite a distance. And people do it, enjoy the beach outing and do it again season after season.
    So I don’t understand the fuss, set up parking areas, charge a parking fee. And I’d think if there is to be a county imposed parking fee/permit up the beach, then the fee would also apply to Corolla Village, Whalehead parking lots, etc.

    However, I do agree that on this issue and others impacting Corolla or requiring a broad knowledge base, the BOC comes across as unprepared. They could get a confidence bump, if they got facts, reviewed data, listened to stakeholders and held meetings from a stronger position. And, of course, be consistent. It was multiple BOC decisions that led to the overcrowding, and a few recent ones suggest the board does not see its own actions impacting quality of life concerns of residents and tourists.

    Seems there are 2 themes, overall beach crowding and traffic, and safe parking. And then there is the overarching theme for Currituck beach communities- ENFORCEMENT

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 9:04 am
  • Rick

    This is just a measure to generate revenue. This Board has given it no thought or concern about the residents.

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 9:56 am
  • Dylan

    Tourists will blow off stopping to watch the video, not pickup their parking passes and take their chances on being fined. They don’t have the patience to sit in traffic now but to require them to wait in line to watch a video just seems to be a bit of an over-reach. Put the whole process on-line.

    I still don’t get the 10 day pass time-frame when the rentals are 7 day periods.

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 10:16 am
  • Mike

    My wife and I live in Newport News Virginia. I am not a resident nor a renter of a home. We usually stay in a Motel from Nags Head north or we go all the way down to Cape Hatteras and stay in a Motel there, we already pay for a yearly pass for the National Seashore Area. The off road club I belong to will come down for the day a few times a year, talking about the North Beach of Duck and such, to enjoy the scenery and to buy food, t-shirts, gas and other things. In short we spend money. So does this mean we are no longer welcome on the beach around the North End or only welcome if we pay more money then we already spend.
    Also I am disabled , but can walk short distances on a solid footing, not sand. So is it also the intent to keep disabled people off the beach they can’t walk to ? Why not make it a gated community and charge to walk on it’s sidewalks or drive on it’s highways or the proverbial Breathing Tax ? It’s all about money is the way I see it, always money. Keeping others out is the start. No matter how you paint it , it’s still just another tax.

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 12:03 pm
  • Spoony Rae

    To understand this proposal you should live up here. My neighbors want a private beach to themselves, this is the result of years of lobbying different boards to limit access. Meanwhile we have an entire road system behind the dunes that could be used to move north and south, they have fought improving it tooth and nail for years. The beach is where tourist belong and traffic belongs on the roads. Simple.

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 2:27 pm
  • Ricky

    How does hightider know the beach is being ruined by day trippers? Did he / she stop and ask them if they were daytrippers or just assume they were because of in state license plate? I’m a daytripper and I completely disagree, driving on the beach is no big deal to me but vacationers it is so they cut up and act a fool. As far as tearing tear up property, again did you ask them if they were daytrippers? These problems can all be handled with the Sheriff’s dept. writing a few tickets first of the season and word will get around pretty quickly but they will write tickets to vacationers and Currituck Co. certainly does not want that! This is all about money so they can improve Sandpiper road and develop it commercial.

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 6:30 pm
  • V V

    I don’t mind paying another $150 to keep the “day tripper” off the beach. They have no respect 4 horses – people and the natural “beach”

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 11:54 pm
  • OBX2ndHome

    At first I didn’t like the idea but when I thought about it I realized it would be better for the environment and would possibly cut down in traffic while I have small kids playing on the beach. My only concern is why not have day passes? Even if they were like $10/day it would make it with my time and money rather than having to spend $50 for something I’ll get 5 or so hours use out of.

    Thursday, Feb 22 @ 5:06 am
  • Dylan

    Somebody better check those fish for their parking passes……

    Thursday, Feb 22 @ 1:09 pm
  • Billy

    Money – makes the world go round some think . Why do you want to kill the goose that lays golden eggs ? I for one will not even drive through Currituck county anymore if this passes – I’ll take 64 in and drive a tad extra , be worth it to tell the commissioners where to put their parking fees .

    Thursday, Feb 22 @ 7:05 pm
  • sortudo

    EZ pass for all at RAMP!

    Exemptions for all Currituck County Residents.

    Simple.
    They have already been zombified!

    Friday, Feb 23 @ 10:16 am
  • Mr Lee

    To all the Billy’s out there. This is really not about money. I am a Currituck county resident and a property owner in carova. I don’t like this either not at all. Let me help you understand what has brought this on. My wife and I saw a facebook post last summer from a 4×4 club in Virginia. It said we are heading to corova this weekend and we are trying to get a 100 strong. Well we saw them coming down 168 in a line with their flags a flying. I am not sure if they had a hundred trucks but it was close. This creates problems when just one group brings this many vehicles to the beach.
    Last summer on fourth of july weekend there were people at the ramp counting vehicles as they were leaving the beach. On one day from eight in the morning until eight in the evening they counted over 1100 vehicles leaving the beach. Folks our beaches can not sub stain that. It would like having 200 extra cars come down your street where you live in a day.
    It really cracks me in when I hear people from Virginia complain about a tolls. Think about how many people in nc pay tolls in Virginia. I don’t feel that Currituck county owes the day trippers a thing, and if you Billy’s decide to bypass Currituck county it will help the other tourist get to their destination a little earlier.

    Friday, Feb 23 @ 12:21 pm
  • Mark of the times

    Seems comments are mark of the times where people, who in my day tried to see other viewpoints, nowadays are only focused on their own needs and expectations.
    The beach traffic is real, the impact on residents, visitors, property owners and the role of a beach as a first line of defense are all real.
    This is an issue that requires cooperation not division and requires everyone to consider the immediate and long term stakes. The best solution most likely will require sacrifice from all parties.

    Sunday, Feb 25 @ 9:01 pm
  • Doug

    If this is push thru I suggest that due to the increase fairs that Currituck is choosing to charge that Dare county toll the rd into corolla and charge 2xs as much for Non Dare residents. This toll should be put in place to help with the Negative effects that are created from Corolla residents and tourism. Charge like they do at the va express way for Dare Co .

    Monday, Feb 26 @ 10:34 pm
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