CURRITUCK — Currituck County officials are thinking about tapping the brakes on future residential development in the northern end of the county.
Development of hundreds of homes and future plans for even more residential construction in the Moyock area is starting to put a strain on school capacity and other infrastructure needs, county officials advised Currituck commissioners Monday.
In response, Currituck commissioners directed county staff to look into possibly increasing minimum lot sizes or changing density rules in some areas north of the Coinjock Bridge.
County Manager Ben Stikeleather told commissioners that staff preferred to slow growth in the Moyock area through density regulations but the board ultimately asked for several options to consider. If any regulations for the Moyock area are adopted it could spur development south of the Coinjock Bridge.
“Over the last six months, there have been conversations about doing something with either minimum lot size or density to slow the rate of growth,” Stikeleather said. “In some of the subdivision options right now, you can get pretty dense. Moyock is where some of that concern is.”
The N.C. Budget and Management Office estimates that 28,000 people currently live in the county, which is an 18.7 percent increase from 2010. The state estimates the county will grow another 15 percent over the coming decade to over 32,000 residents. It is estimated that 13,000 people now live in the Moyock area.
That kind of population density is beginning to put a strain on county services. Moyock Elementary School, for example, is 22 students shy of its capacity of 638 students. Currituck High School is around 200 students away from full capacity, while the rest of the schools in the county are fewer than 100 students from capacity.
The school district plans to build a new elementary school in the Moyock area but land must be purchased by June to open a new school by August 2023. The Currituck Board of Education will make the final decision on a location for the new school.
“Basically, it is a moratorium until the school is built,” explained Commissioner Paul Beaumont, referring to the development-slowing initiatives the county will consider.
Stikeleather noted there are several projects in “the hopper” that will need to be addressed if the board adopts any new regulations.
“People have already invested in certain projects and it makes sense to let those projects bear fruit at whatever rules are currently there,” he said.
The county also plans to explore requiring an “as-built survey” on all new construction before a certificate of occupancy is issued. Last year, the county issued several certificates of occupancy to residential properties where the driveway exceeded the 24-foot maximum and where some driveways were located too close to side lot lines. In response, building inspectors were directed to check for compliance with zoning rules before issuing a certificate of occupancy.
Stikeleather told the board that lot lines typically are not flagged. That’s why a final survey should be required before a certificate of occupancy is granted.
“As good as our guys are, they are not surveyors and they don’t know exactly where the line is,” said county Planning Director Laurie LoCicero.
Depending on lot size, a survey could add between $400 to $1,200 to the cost of a home, county officials said.
“It’s built into the cost of the home; it is not a deal breaker for anybody,” Stikeleather said.