New zoning in Kitty Hawk could allow affordable apartments

By on March 7, 2018

These three lots were the impetus for the change, but deed covenenants preclude apartments for now. (Dare County GIS)

Nothing’s in the pipeline yet, but Kitty Hawk took a step toward addressing Dare County’s affordable housing crunch by agreeing Monday to allow more apartment units in certain areas of town.

A zoning amendment for up to 10 units of multi-family housing per acre as a conditional use will apply to districts designated Beach Commercial-1, which are scattered mainly along the U.S. 158 bypass.

Only two or three vacant properties in town would benefit from the designation now, but the change could be applied in the future when old buildings are torn down.


The biggest is the old Foreman’s lumber lot, which is over 2 acres, although it could be more valuable for commercial development.

Look for BC-1 areas here »

More and more, towns, especially Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, are talking about preparing for redevelopment as structures age beyond 20 and 30 years.


John DeLucia, an engineer with Albemarle & Associates, came forward with the idea. But it might not benefit his clients because adjoining lots they own on Eckner Street near the Seascape golf course are under a restrictive covenant that could only be lifted if surrounding property owners agree.

The owners could put three 10-bedroom houses there, DeLucia said, “but they really didn’t want to build big houses.”


Still, DeLucia and Planning Director Rob Testerman made the case that the zoning amendment could be a piece of the perennial affordable housing puzzle. In the latest attempt to address the problem, a Chamber of Commerce committee has been tasked with exploring possible solutions.

Before Monday’s change, apartments were permitted in Kitty Hawk’s Beach Commercial-1 district only above ground-store businesses.

The new wording could allow up to 10 two-bedroom units, the size that single people and young families would be looking for, DeLucia said.

It would be the highest density allowed in Kitty Hawk. Any developments with more were built before town zoning was in place. Neighboring Kill Devil Hills can accommodate up to 18 units per acre in its commercial district.

Affordable rental housing generally means less than $750 a month, according to a study by RTI International that was commissioned by Dare County in 2016.

In the county and its six towns, RTI estimated that 154 affordable rentals were available for 635 people, nowhere near enough to house people employed in the service industry and local government agencies such as police and fire departments.


  • chaser

    Who wants to live on the bypass?

    Wednesday, Mar 7 @ 4:05 pm
  • Johnny Ownbey

    How about senior citizens on disability. No where to go

    Wednesday, Mar 7 @ 5:28 pm
  • ken fucci

    why not build next to the water park?

    Wednesday, Mar 7 @ 7:58 pm
  • surf123

    Multi-family housing is never the solution at the beach. This type of development is suitable over the bridge. No matter where the pricing starts it will escalate to market prices and if they are sold at discounted prices they will eventually be sold to be used as rentals when the people who move out because they still cannot afford to live there. For reference take a look at the affordable housing built a few years ago in Waves. As families moved out of a local business capitalized and bought them to house their workers. This was never the intention and is exactly what happens when the government tries to achieve a result.

    Wednesday, Mar 7 @ 11:43 pm
  • The Captain

    Affordable housing is a real laugher “on the beach”. Some of the recently built sites in Currituck and Kill Devil Hills are way above $750. Too much opportunity for developers/owners to bring in a lot more money. Dare Mainland and Currituck County are the only places where it will work (Maybe).

    Thursday, Mar 8 @ 7:51 am
  • Kit Hawker

    If the view is toward future redevelopment as structures age (and 20/30 years is not a long time for most structures) why limit the areas to BC-1? Why not include BR-areas, as well? If the problem is serious, it should get a serious effort for solution.

    Thursday, Mar 8 @ 11:24 am
  • Susan

    What is affordable mean?

    Friday, Mar 9 @ 2:43 pm
  • Kit Hawker

    For that matter, why not include all of the village as well? Apartments are residences, not just commercial entities… Is it the NIMBY syndrome?

    Friday, Mar 9 @ 10:35 pm
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