News from the Duck Homefront

Elections for a new Town Council were held in early November. Every two years, the entire council is voted into office. Once elected, the council selects a mayor from among themselves. In an effort to attract more interest and to help defer costs associated with their time, this new council will be the first to receive compensation. Now the Town Council, Planning Board and Board of Adjustments all receive compensation for their efforts.

This season, Duck will benefit from the Dare County Shoreline Commission’s plan to provide a total of 4400 linear feet of sand fencing and/or beach planting in the town. Based on an analysis performed by Duck’s Zoning Technician, Sandy Cady, the Town Council approved a plan to plant approximately 2800 feet and fence 1550 feet. Areas to be affected are spread out throughout the town and were selected based on need with regard to dune height, escarpment (or carving out) of the dunes, recent erosion patterns, and vegetative conditions.

One of the most exciting aspects of local government is their ability to react to the needs of the community. For example, although a lot of time and effort goes into developing ordinances, Duck has revisited some of these rules after implementation when needed to adjust or improve. Recently, in an effort to target street-front aesthetics and storm water retention, the town adjusted parking allocation on a lot to allow stacking while requiring that parking areas be constructed of permeable surfaces. A drive aisle can be no more than 12 feet wide at the street and the parking area can take up no more than 75% of the lot width.

Duck has recently adjusted the rules for the use of fill on a lot. Now, leveling of a lot within certain parameters is permissible and select pocket low areas of a lot are able to be filled without counting it towards fill calculations. The height of a structure has been changed to be measured from the tallest roofline of the building to top of the slab or finished grade rather than to the natural grade. These changes have made the placement and construction of a house somewhat easier and height more straightforward to calculate.

Duck is attempting to be proactive on managing construction in flood zones. New building regulations in the flood hazard V-zones require new construction to be raised two feet above the ground. Height allowance in these areas has also been increased by two feet to correspond to the new requirement.

Duck is developing a strong sense of community. With the help of dedicated staff and town volunteers, the Town Park and associated events have been an exceptional success; we anxiously await the completion of the soundside boardwalk and other elements of the park plan. There is a desire to engage the entire community, including residents, businesses, and out of town property owners, into the decision making process.  Everyone will get a chance to weigh in on plans for a town hall. The proposed building, still in the very early stages of design, will house the town offices and provide an interior gathering area for many uses.

Community events are also a way to bring everyone together. Just in October, we had the fantastic jazz festival and a Fire Department picnic to celebrate Fire Prevention week. It has been suggested that a community wide forum be scheduled so that out of town property owners can meet town officials and staff for an open discussion and meeting. Of course, quarterly newsletters and the official web site, www.townofduck.com, provide updates on a regular basis.

We’ll see a new look for one of the founding businesses in Duck. Twiddy & Company Realtors, in business since 1978, will be replacing their office with a brand new building. Placed on the same footprint of the existing structure, the new building will have two levels and will provide much needed space for their operations.  The coastal design, with front porch and shuttered windows, is expected to be a lovely addition to the town.

There’s a lot to be proud of in this small town of Duck.