By Peter Vankevich and Connie Leinbach
Hyde County Commissioners voted unanimously last night (Monday, March 2) to eliminate the 10-day waiting period on Ocracoke before builders can obtain building permits, but this action may be rescinded.
Hyde County Manager Bill Rich said today (Tuesday) that that this action might have to be rescinded and re-voted on because a public hearing was not held prior to a commissioners’ vote.
This is because this building permit regulation is included in a section of the Ocracoke Development Ordinance, and, according to the ordinance, any time the ordinance is changed, a public hearing has to be held for public input. No public hearing was held last night.
Rich said he will talk to County Attorney Fred Holscher about it and that a hearing and other action would probably be on the commissioners’ April 6 meeting agenda.
On behalf of the Ocracoke Planning Advisory Board, Benji Hart, a board member, made the request noting that a few other things in the Ocracoke Development Ordinance (ODO) are unclear.
The section on home occupancy of businesses (section 36-183) also is not clear, he said, and asked that the county attorney review that and another section dealing with parking at residences that include businesses.
Hart also said that Ocracoke could use a part-time enforcement officer.
The OPAB is in the process of reviewing and revising the ODO, which can viewed by clicking here .
More information about the Ocracoke Planning Advisory Board can be found here.
In other action, the Commissioners heard a report from Kris Noble, county planning and economic development officer, that another public meeting about a proposed Tourism Development Authority will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 12 in the Ocracoke Community Center.
Although the approval of this new authority was poised to be approved by the commissioners last night, that action has been postponed because of the recent flurry of public comments the county has received, many of which are against the addition of another tax. Those comments can be found here.
Noble, at a meeting Feb. 12 of the Ocracoke Occupancy Tax Board, unveiled this concept and first made the presentation at the commissioners meeting Feb. 2. For a report on the Ocracoke meeting, click here.
“Tourism is the second largest job sector in Hyde County,” she had said, “and tourism on Ocracoke is economic development.”
Yet there’s a lack of cohesive, full-time marketing of the island and the county.
This authority would fund the hiring of a full-time Hyde County employee devoted to tourism marketing among the various groups on the island and be a liaison to the mainland.
State legislation passed in 2006 but never enacted allows for the creation of this authority that would be empowered to collect another 2 percent on the 3 percent that’s currently collected on all short-term lodging and cottage rentals. This tax would be in addition to the 6.75 percent North Carolina sales tax.
The commissioners also are looking for a suitable building or land on which to locate Emergency Services on the island since the Ocracoke Community Center gave notice Feb. 2 that their lease of the building behind will not be renewed as of December.
The Hyde County Board of Commissioners meet every first Monday of the month in the county services building in Swan Quarter on the mainland. Meetings are conducting with teleconferencing so that islanders can attend.