On Wednesday, April 16, a Special Meeting of the Oak Island Town Council was held to discuss the following:
• Public Hearing to receive citizens’ comments on proposed ordinance amendments to establish three classes of Vacation Rental as a use and all the associated restrictions and regulations,
• Public Hearing to receive citizens’ comments on proposed ordinance amendments to cap residences at 5,000 square feet and seven bedrooms with one parking space required for each bedroom
• Public Hearing to receive citizens’ comments on extending the moratorium on building of homes with more than six bedrooms.
The public hearings generated significant public comment, but BASE was the lone speaker in opposition to these items. All three items, as proposed, would have a significant impact on future investment in the Town. The Vacation Rental Ordinance, which staff admits “plows new ground in North Carolina,” would likely be a model for similar regulations in other beach towns. North Topsail, Holden Beach and Wrightsville Beach were specifically mentioned.
After three hours of discussion, Town Council voted to:
-TAKE NO ACTION on the Vacation Rental ordinance as proposed
-DEFER ACTION on the residential cap
-EXTEND THE MORATORIUM until June 21
When the Town initially proposed the moratorium, BASE spoke at that time to remind the town of SL2011-286, which “prohibits Cities from enacting moratoria except for the purpose of developing and adopting new or amended plans or ordinances as to residential uses”
You’ll note that the moratorium language as proposed by the Town is in direct conflict with that law:
WHEREAS, the Oak Island Town Council seeks to extend a moratorium on development of homes with more than six bedrooms so as to provide sufficient time for the development of regulations which protect the health, safety and welfare of the community;
In extending the moratorium on April 16, the Town changed course slightly, saying the moratorium is to update the ordinances to deal with “impact of large homes on the sewer system.” BASE would argue that this is clearly still in violation of SL2011-286. Oak Island’s contention is that the moratorium deals with the “intensity of residential use and not the nature of residential use” and it is not in violation of SL2011-286.
Nonetheless, you’d think that a Town and citizens on the hook for a $140 million sewer system would want to encourage new customers to add on to the system to offset increases on existing residents. The next step is a sewer update meeting on May 13.
In the meantime, BASE remains interested in challenging the illegal moratorium. If you know anyone that plans to pull a building permit for a 7 bedroom house in Oak Island, please let us know ASAP.