Pine Knoll Shores planners recommend easements to preserve 15 acres of maritime forest

A walking path winds through the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area near the N.C. Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores. (Mike Shutak photo)

PINE KNOLL SHORES — Town planners recommend Pine Knoll Shores commissioners pursue a 25-year conservation easement to protect maritime forest.

The planning board met Tuesday in the town hall boardroom on Municipal Circle and online via Zoom. During the meeting, the board unanimously recommended commissioners pursue a 25-year conservation easement for 15 acres of maritime forest located on 10 acres to the immediate north of Roosevelt Boulevard and 5 acres to the immediate south of the boulevard. The recommendation came about as a result of discussions from the planning board’s conservation subcommittee.

Subcommittee member Bud Daniels said the group has been meeting since 2019 with the primary goal of preserving and protecting maritime forest in Pine Knoll Shores.

“A lot of (maritime forest) is in the Roosevelt Natural Area,” Mr. Daniels said, referring to a large tract of land donated by the family of President Theodore Roosevelt to the state for a nature preserve.

In order to preserve more of the maritime forest, the subcommittee supports pursuing a conservation easement for the 15 combined acres in that area. The easements would ensure the property would be preserved in its natural state, without development.

The board of commissioners will receive the recommendation at its meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 12.

In other news at the planning board meeting, town planner Kevin Reed updated the board on state House Bill 401 and House Bill 496, two proposed bills before the General Assembly that Pine Knoll Shores officials oppose.

H.B. 401 would require municipalities to allow certain types of multi-family housing in single-family residential zones, as well as require them to allow at least one accessory dwelling unit in these zones. H.B. 496, meanwhile, would require municipalities to get General Assembly approval for any ordinances or regulations on tree removal.

Pine Knoll Shores commissioners voiced their opposition to the bills at the April 14 board meeting. Mr. Reed said while the town has General Assembly approval for its tree ordinances via a special bill from 1985, officials are still following both bills closely.

“There are quite a few communities concerned about this,” he said. “Many communities are adopting resolutions opposing this, it erases communities’ local zoning authority.”

Mr. Reed went on to say while he doesn’t “have a crystal ball to see where this legislation is going,” he anticipates it will fail due to opposition from various towns and cities throughout the state.

 

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email mike@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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