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Rekindling the Affordable Housing Conversation

Friday 08 June 2018 at 7:42 pm

At the Dare County Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting on June 4, Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Bob Peele read a letter addressed to the BOC regarding the need for affordable housing.

“The housing crisis on the Outer Banks is real,” he said. “Help wanted signs are seen everywhere, and we hear from businesses daily about their inability to find workers.  This is not just a seasonal challenge - it has become a year-round one.”

“Professional jobs go unfilled at our hospital and in our healthcare system; people are hired but can’t find reasonably priced housing options so they leave.”

This is by no means a new rallying cry.

When the BOC commissioned a year-long Economic Development study that was conducted by outside consultants in 2016, finding ways to establish more affordable housing was certainly on the to-do list for long-term goals.

And as any island local or seasonal worker will tell you, finding an affordable place to live is the hardest aspect of living here.

But the presentation of the letter, and the ensuing ideas that the Chamber of Commerce came up with via a committee’s research, rekindled the conversation of affordable housing by starting with more small-scale solutions.

“Basically, the Chamber had a three-pronged approach,” said Donna Creef, Planning Director for Dare County in a later interview. “The chamber asked for zoning changes when it came to ADUs [accessory dwelling units], duplexes, and multi-family structures.”

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