Utility Access Questioned in Island Construction Proposal

Wed August 31, 2005 - Southeast Edition

CURRITUCK, NC (AP) A Virginia developer wants to live on a secluded 57-acre island in the Currituck Sound. He just has to work around a county regulation preventing it.

Wayne Meyers wants to build three houses on Long Point Island, once a lightkeepers station for the Intracoastal Waterway located near the Coinjock Bridge. He says the island — currently worth $225,000 — is an ideal location for the homes, including one for himself.

But the county requires all Currituck homes be built along continuous, accessible roads, and the only way to reach the island is by boat. Meyers has asked county officials to amend the regulation to allow homes if they are accessible by public waters.

Gary Ferguson, county planning director, said he hopes commissioners reject the request. He said it could open up the 20 other privately owned islands in Currituck to development — and a host of headaches for the county about access to public services.

Ferguson said local government’s role is to ensure the “health, safety and welfare” of its citizens. He believes if Currituck allows development to occur in places where it can’t assure fire, police and emergency services, it’s not meeting its obligations.

Not to mention the question of providing electricity, water and sewage services.

“Our question as a [planning] staff to the elected board is do we want to start opening the door to these islands in the sound?” Ferguson said. “Is that where we want to go?”

Meyers said his plan is to build three homes on the island that will be powered by wind and solar generators. He said water would be drawn from wells and a diesel generator could be used as a backup power source.

He said he’s even prepared to sign an agreement that removes county liability if a fire breaks out on Long Point Island, and would require those living there to own a boat.

He said he wants the island to maintain the secluded atmosphere, which is why he plans to build only three homes.

“My philosophy is you get too many (buildings), you take away the idea of having an island,” Meyers said.

If Meyers gets county approval, he said he could begin construction this fall.