UPDATED: Commissioners approve zoning change that would allow campground at H2OBX Waterpark

UPDATED: Commissioners approve zoning change that would allow campground at H2OBX Waterpark

July 18th, 2022

UPDATED, Monday 8:30 p.m.: The Currituck County Board of Commissioners gave unanimous approval to rezoning of part of the H2OBX Waterpark property for construction of a recreational vehicle park.

The request for conditional rezoning of 96.7 acres from General Business and Conditional General Business to Conditional General Business was approved with several conditions, including requiring the applicant to submit a traffic impact analysis.

That designation will allow a campground with a maximum 335 campsites and associated amenities to the northwest of the waterpark located at 8526 Caratoke Highway, Powells Point.

The rezoning proposal submitted by OBX RV Park is for 244 RV campsites, 25 tent sites, and 66 cabin sites, developed in two-phases due to limits of the wastewater treatment plant located nearby.

Proposed amenities include a swimming pool, playground, pickleball, cornhole and shuffleboard courts, a sand volleyball court, lodge, pavilion, golf cart rentals and a dog park.

A walking path will connect the RV park’s main building and pool area to the entrance of the waterpark.

Vehicular access to the campground from U.S. 158 would be provided through the back of the waterpark’s parking lot. A maintenance access road from Ballast Rock Road, which runs through an industrial park, would be built to allow access to an adjacent wastewater treatment plant.

Full diagram of the H2OBX Camground proposal submitted to Currituck County in May 2022.

No one spoke during the public hearing in opposition to the proposal. Several adjacent property owners and members of the board repeated their concerns about overall traffic issues along U.S. 158 in Lower Currituck County, and what impact the campground could have on that.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has previously said several intersections and businesses entrances along Caratoke Highway from Powells Point to Point Harbor do not have enough vehicles that would require a traffic signal.

The NCDOT is the only agency responsible for maintaining all public roadways in Currituck County.

Depending on the features required at a specific location, a traffic signal could cost anywhere from $50,000 to over $100,000, according to NCDOT. In addition, the NCDOT is responsible for paying monthly electrical bills.

Commissioner Selena Jarvis, who represents Lower Currituck, reiterated the NCDOT has a webpage where citizens can express their concerns about traffic issues.

Jarvis made the motion to approve the rezoning request with several conditions, including the traffic study, signs to designate access to the campground from Ballast Rock Road is “private” and no entrance/exit features will be located there, limiting the development of the campground to a two-phase concept based in the wastewater treatment plant’s capacity, and required the main entrance to be wholly on property owned by H2OBX.

Ken Ellis with H2OBX verbally agreed to the traffic study requirement, and said they are in the final stages of acquiring a small parcel from an adjacent property owner to meet the entrance request.

The Currituck Planning Board gave unanimous approval to the campground proposal in June, finding “the requested amended conditional zoning is consistent with the 2006 Land Use Plan”.

Other points made in the Planning Board’s approval included:

  • The campground allows for a new and expanding tourist-oriented businesses in targeted tourist growth areas and allows for continued economic growth of our tourist industry.
  • There is adequate infrastructure available, both county and private services, and the plan mitigates impacts to the wetlands on the property by providing a minimum 30-foot setback from the wetlands to any development as required by the UDO.
  • The development will have no impact on schools, the water supply is sufficient, it will be served by private sewer, and law enforcement and fire and rescue reviewed the project without any noted concerns.

The Planning Board also found the “request is reasonable and in the public interest because…it addresses a need to operate a desired businesses for tourists and perhaps an economic stimulus to local businesses that may share the customer base and residents who may work at the facility.”

The Board of Commissioners’ approval included the same language, and was passed on a 6-0 vote with only Commissioner Owen Etheridge absent due to a health issue.

Originally, the property where the campground would be located was to be future phases of expansion for the waterpark that opened in 2017, including a dormitory for worker housing.

A proposal to Currituck commissioners by H2OBX to construct seasonal housing for waterpark employees on the site of what is now proposed for the campground was denied in February.

Now that H2OBX has received the required rezoning of the parcel, final plans for the campground must still get separate approval by the county. The timeline for that process, and then a possible construction date, is not yet known.

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