PLEASE DONATE TO THE LEGAL FUND . . . DISPLAY A YARD SIGN! Visit our GoFundMe campaign page here. Request a sign through the Contact form on this website. Thank you!
WELCOME to nominihotels.com, Southern Shores property owners, residents, vacationers, and all others who love the beach town that artist, investor, and developer Frank Stick founded in the 1940s. . . . If you seek to preserve the low-density, single-family-dwelling residential district that makes Southern Shores uniquely appealing among Outer Banks towns, you have come to the right place.
This website is the creation of Southern Shores homeowners who are involved in litigation to prevent SAGA Construction & Development from developing its two “mini-hotels” at 98 and 134 Ocean Blvd.—each of which will have, if built, 12 “master”-bedroom/bathroom suites, 17 parking spaces, a tiki bar, a large swimming pool with cabana and swim-up bar, a hot tub, a 14-person home theater, a large recreation room with a pool table and shuffleboard(!), an elevator, and a host of other amenities typical of “event” houses.
In fact, until lawyers intervened after word leaked out, SAGA was arrogant enough to advertise its (“single-family”) mini-hotels for rent through Carolina Designs as special event houses, with a maximum of 100 guests each!
Gushed Carolina Designs’ online rental advertisement for “Transcendence,” the proposed mini-hotel at 134 Ocean Blvd., on March 6, 2019: “You won’t find an oceanfront event space like this anywhere else!”
According to the March 6, 2019 Carolina Designs ad for “Aquadisiac,” which is the mini-hotel proposed for 98 Ocean Blvd., this special-event house already had seven weeklong bookings for 2019!
MAKE NO MISTAKE: Just because SAGA has ignored the homeowners’ litigation and has been building at 98 and 134 Ocean Blvd. does not mean that it cannot still be stopped.
If the homeowners prevail in their litigation, SAGA could be ordered by a judge to tear their construction down.
SAGA, which owns these two oceanfront properties through limited liability corporations (LLCs), has chosen to build at both locations at its own risk. Southern Shores Permit Officer Dabni Shelton has warned the agents of the LLCs in writing of this risk.
The homeowner-petitioners, who own property in the vicinity of 98 and 134 Ocean Blvd., are challenging the validity of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management’s (DCM) issuance to SAGA of CAMA permits, which were necessary for it to build on the oceanfront. The Town of Southern Shores had to approve the CAMA permits, as well.
The petitioners argue that the issuance of SAGA’s CAMA permits was inconsistent with the current Southern Shores Land-Use Plan, and, thus, in violation of the North Carolina Coastal Area Management Act, also known as “CAMA.” The Land-Use Plan, adopted in 2012, clearly expresses a commitment to ensuring low-density development, open spaces, and neighborhoods of single-family homes in Southern Shores.
Since the homeowners filed their petitions requesting appeal hearings on the CAMA permits, one of them also has filed an appeal of the zoning permit that the Town of Southern Shores issued to SAGA for 134 Ocean Blvd. She is arguing that the Town’s Zoning Administrator violated the Southern Shores Town Code when he gave SAGA a permit to build its mini-hotel in the single-family-dwelling residential district.
Until a 2014 change in the Town Code, the Planning Board and the Board of Adjustment were separate entities that had no overlap of membership. Since 2014, the Planning Board has sat as the Board of Adjustment, essentially wearing two hats.
A hearing before the Town Board of Adjustment on the zoning-permit appeal has been scheduled for April 26 at 1 p.m. in the Pitts Center. You are welcome to attend the hearing, and we encourage you to do so.
James L. Conner II, an expert environmental lawyer and a partner in the Durham law firm of Calhoun, Bhella & Sechrest, represents both homeowners in the CAMA permit appeals and the homeowner who challenged the zoning permit at 134 Ocean Blvd. in her appeal. According to Mr. Conner, the hearing on the CAMA permit appeal will be held in Elizabeth City, most likely in May.
Mr. Conner has advised that if the homeowner-appellant prevails in the zoning-permit appeal, SAGA’s construction at 134 Ocean Blvd. would have to cease.
SOUTHERN SHORES ZONING, CHALLENGES TO SAGA’S CAMA PERMITS
SAGA Construction and Development is based in Kill Devil Hills and until 2018, when it bought the Ocean Boulevard properties, had no presence in Southern Shores.
A previous effort by the developer to build a 16-bedroom wedding-destination structure at what was then-64 Ocean Blvd. in Southern Shores was defeated when the Town Council enacted a maximum single-family house size limit of 6,000 square feet—before SAGA secured any permits for construction of its mini-hotel.
Less than three years later, SAGA returned with its latest plans. Its nearly 6,000-square-foot mini-hotels, if allowed to be built and occupied, would be the first such residential structures in Southern Shores.
SAGA’s principals know their mini-hotels are not welcome in our town, but they don’t care. They rejected all gestures by Mayor Tom Bennett to reach a conciliation.
Until June 2015, when the N.C. General Assembly changed state law to reduce a town’s power to regulate building design and aesthetics, Southern Shores was able to restrict the number of bedrooms in a house to seven. The Town Council enacted the maximum-house-size ordinance in January 2016 to address the problem of oversized houses, but this limitation does not necessarily prevent high occupancy. Currently, both the Town Planning Board and the Town Council are working to prevent future high-occupancy, over-sized structures, like SAGA’s, from being built in Southern Shores.
(4/3/19 Update: The Town Council voted 3-2 at its April 2 meeting to approve passing a zoning change to the Town Code that would limit septic-system capacity and overnight occupancy in “vacation cottages,” which are defined by their use or rental for “transient occupancy,” to 14 persons. The measure, known as Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-01PB, needed a super-majority to pass on first reading. It will be given a second reading at the Council’s May 7 meeting and would pass then with a simply majority. Please see the April 3-5 blogs of The Southern Shores Beacon at http://www.southernshoresbeacom.com.)
The Southern Shores Land-Use Plan describes the town, in part, as “a quiet seaside residential community comprised primarily of small low-density neighborhoods consisting of single family homes.”
The Town Code of Ordinances reinforces this vision throughout the zoning chapter. Code sec. 36-202(a) expresses the following intent by the Town in setting up the RS-1 single-family residential district in which the vast majority of us live:
“The RS-1 district is established to provide for the low-density development of single-family detached dwellings in an environment which preserves sand dunes, coastal forests, wetlands, and other unique natural features of the coastal area. The district is intended to promote stable, permanent neighborhoods characterized by low vehicular traffic flows, abundant open space, and low impact of development on the natural environment and adjacent land uses.”
The SAGA properties are squarely in the RS-1 single-family residential district.
If you would like more background about the litigation, and about the Town’s efforts to prevent future mini-hotels from being built in Southern Shores, please read blogs posted by The Southern Shores Beacon from October 2018 through April 2019 at www.southernshoresbeacon.com.
In January, Southern Shores Beach editor Ann Sjoerdsma set up a GoFundMe campaign for the homeowner-petitioners with a target of $50,000, which was the amount that they felt comfortable requesting then from the greater-Southern Shores community. Visit our GoFundMe campaign page here.
With the additional appeal of the zoning permit at 134 Ocean Blvd., the estimated cost of Mr. Conner’s services has increased, but we have not changed the GoFundMe target.
Please consider giving a contribution of any amount, even just $5 or $10, to support the petitioners’ efforts. If you would like to remain anonymous, GoFundMe enables you to withhold your name. If you would like to make a sizeable donation, please write to Ms. Sjoerdsma at email@example.com, and she will make arrangements.
We thank you very much for any and all contributions.
‘NO! MINI-HOTELS’ YARD SIGNS FOR DISPLAY
A group of Southern Shores resident homeowners has donated money to purchase yard signs that read NO! MINI-HOTELS and refer to this website.
If you would like to display a sign in your front yard, please request one through the Contact page of this website, and one of the group members will post it (or them, if you’d like more than one) in your yard within a day’s time. Please remember to include your street address.
The more visible your yard is to people who drive through Southern Shores, the better.
But, regardless of where you live and how much traffic passes on your street, your display of the NO! MINI-HOTELS sign shows your opposition to SAGA’s mini-hotels and your support of the two homeowners who are fighting them.
If you would like to see what the sign looks like, please click on the “Signs, Etc.” link above.
THANK YOU!!! Working together, we can preserve the legacy of our town’s founder and prevent over-development on the oceanfront and elsewhere. Southern Shores is a community of single-family homes, not high-occupancy mini-hotels.
Posted January 2019; revised March-April 2019