News

NC Supreme Court Rejects $39 Million Civil Claim against Currituck County

The Supreme Court of North Carolina ruled in Currituck County’s favor as it agreed with a lower court’s decision to reject a default judgment against the county in the case of Swan Beach LLC v. Currituck County.  With this ruling, Currituck County will not pay $39 million in civil damages that a Superior Court judge had awarded to Swan Beach LLC in 2016.

In today’s decision, filed on May 11, 2018, the Supreme Court of North Carolina agreed with a ruling made by the North Carolina Court of Appeals on Oct. 3, 2017 to set aside entry of default and vacate a default judgment in the amount of $39,000,804 against Currituck County.  The entry of default and default judgment had been delivered in Currituck County Superior Court by Judge Milton Fitch on April 25, 2016.

“The county is pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision, which we believed would be the result,” said Dan Scanlon, Currituck County Manager.  “The county looks forward to proceeding with the trial court’s determination of the plaintiff’s claims, which are without merit.”

The $39 million judgment could have had a potentially devastating impact upon the county’s property tax rate.  To pay off that high a sum, the county would have been forced to significantly raise the current tax rate of $0.48 to nearly double, according to county staff.  The amount of county services offered to citizens by the county could also have been negatively affected.

In a complaint filed in July 2012, Swan Beach LLC claims that that it has a vested right to commercially develop its property in the four-wheel drive area of Currituck County; that Currituck County has violated its rights by allowing others in the four-wheel drive area of the county to commercially use their property; and wrongly denied it permits for commercial development in the four-wheel drive area of the county because Swan Beach LLC representatives are of Jewish faith and did not reside in North Carolina.  Swan Beach LLC applied for the rezoning of its property in 2008 and 2011.

Currituck County has maintained that it does not discriminate against anyone for any reason, and that the property rights of Swan Beach LLC have not been violated because commercial development in the four-wheel drive area of the county has never been allowed by county ordinance.

The case will now return to Currituck County Superior Court for determination of the merits of the plaintiff’s complaint regarding development in the off-road area.  As the case returns to court, updates will be provided as information becomes available.

NCDOT to host public hearing on 158 widening

The N.C. Department of Transportation will host an informal public hearing for the proposed widening of U.S. 158 from N.C. 34 at Belcross in Camden County to N.C. 168 in Currituck County.

This public hearing will be on June 5 from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Currituck Cooperative Extension Center, 120 Community Way, Barco, NC 27917. Citizens may stop in to submit comments and questions during this timeframe.

Maps of this proposal are available for viewing at the Currituck Co. Planning Department office and online here.

Primary Election results

The Primary Election was held on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.

RESULTS of the Primary Election are provided by the N.C. State Board of Elections.

Important Dates:

  • May 8:  Primary Election Day; Final day to return an absentee ballot by mail
  • May 11:  County Canvass

Several local offices are for election in 2018, including

  • Board of Commissioners, At-Large seat
  • Board of Commissioners, District 3
  • Board of Commissioners, District 5
  • Clerk of Superior Court
  • Sheriff
  • Board of Education, At-Large seat
  • Board of Education, Crawford Township
  • Board of Education, Poplar Branch Township
  • Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor

Also, the North Carolina State Board of Elections issued the UOCAVA Election Notice  for the Primary Election.

 

Corolla Fire Protection Service District Public Hearing

On Monday, May 21, 2018 at  6:00 p.m. during the Currituck County Board of Commissioners meeting a public hearing in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Historic Currituck Courthouse, 153 Courthouse Road, Currituck, North Carolina will be held to receive public comments on the proposed creation of the Corolla Fire Protection Service District.

A  Report on the Creation of the Corolla Fire Protection Service District per N.C. Gen. Stat. §153A-301(a) was completed on April 23, 2018 identifying:

  • the need for the service district;
  • resident population and population density;
  • appraisal value of property subject to taxation;
  • plans for providing services;
  • and a map outlining the proposed service district.

Following an extensive internal study completed by the Corolla Fire and Rescue (CFR) in August 2016, it was determined that CFR could no longer provide adequate fire services to the Corolla community with only a volunteer force.  CFR requested the county consider establishing a paid fire service district and CFR surveyed Corolla property owners on their willingness to pay a tax to fund the fire service district. Approximately 1,500 responded by postcard or online, with 94% approving the district’s creation.

It was determined by the county that up to 19 new personnel would need to be hired to provide a full-time staff of at least 4 personnel per station.  The proposed tax estimate is .05/$100.

The creation of the fire service district does not eliminate the need for volunteers.  This combined fire fighting force will have paid firefighters making initial responses with volunteering responding in support to provide additional manpower and assets. All paid firefighters will also be qualified in emergency medical services. Likewise, all EMS personnel assigned to Corolla will be firefighter qualified.

Since May 12, 2018, Currituck County has maintained a staff of 6 paid firefighters on duty in Corolla. The maximum number of paid firefighters on duty will be 8.  This will ensure a timely response to all fire emergencies and greatly increase public safety.

For further information, expression of opinions and concerns, please contact Leeann Walton in the Manager’s Office by:

  • Phone
    252-232-2075
  • In Person
    153 Courthouse Road, Suite 204
    Currituck, North Carolina 27929
  • Email
    Leeann Walton

Public Notice…

Tournament bookings refute CCA criticism of occupancy tax spending

The Corolla Civic Association (CCA) recently began criticizing Currituck County Government for spending occupancy tax funds on projects located outside of the Corolla community.  The CCA claims these projects have little or no tourism value.

One of the most heavily-criticized subjects is the construction of recreation facilities located on Currituck’s mainland section, specifically the baseball/softball fields at Community Park in Barco.  The CCA’s claim that this athletic facility has little or no tourism value for Currituck County is simply not true.

Already for 2018, which is only the second operating year of the facility, Currituck Parks and Recreation has booked baseball or softball travel team tournaments for 27 weekends.  Each tournament will bring an average of 14 teams to Currituck County.  This includes players, parents, coaches, family members, and fans of each team.  In fact, so many teams (21) are coming into Currituck County on April 28-29 that some games must be held at local school fields in addition to Community Park in order to accommodate everyone.

Travel baseball and softball teams will come to Currituck County this year from many different locations, including Hampton Roads, Williamsburg, and Richmond, Va., and Roanoke Rapids, N.C.  And in addition to the 27 travel team tournaments, Currituck will also host the 2018 Tarheel Baseball District Tournament, which includes youth teams from all over the eastern N.C. region.

With a total of 28 tournaments, there will be a significant number of visitors coming into Currituck County who will spend money to eat, buy gas, and visit local attractions.  Without the baseball/softball complex, many of these people might never come to Currituck County.  And once they are here and see what Currituck County has to offer, many may choose to return for future vacations.

The CCA’s claim that this facility does not benefit Currituck’s tourism industry is not only false, but also short-sighted.  These tournaments not only provide an economic boost each weekend, but also play a key role in the county’s long-term approach towards expanding the tourism industry onto Currituck’s mainland and enhancing commercial development throughout the county.

A recent hotel feasibility study, available from the Currituck Economic Development Department, revealed that the expected increase in visitors to Currituck – brought in large part by these ballfields – places Currituck above a market threshold necessary to attract a new hotel to the mainland.  As a result, the county expects restaurants and other businesses to also look more closely at the Currituck mainland for possible new locations.

Currituck’s spending of occupancy tax funds is meant to benefit the entire county, not only the neighborhoods in Corolla.  Many projects funded by occupancy tax have been constructed in Corolla, including the Corolla Greenway, a public restroom facility on Corolla Village Rd., restrooms in Historic Corolla Park, and a wheelchair-accessible ramp leading directly onto the beach.  But other projects located outside of Corolla, such as the baseball and softball fields, are also very important to the local tourism industry and to the future of the whole Currituck County.

Standard & Poor’s upgrades Currituck’s bond rating

Standard & Poor’s Financial Services recently raised Currituck County’s rating on general obligation bonds from AA to AA+ and confirmed the county’s financial outlook to be stable.

S&P’s Global Ratings division attributed the upgrade to Currituck’s continued trend of strong budgetary performance over the past several years and an improvement in financial reserves. A report issued by S&P stated, “recent strong budgetary performance has been the result of conservative budgeting of economically sensitive revenues and operating expenditures. We believe that given the current economic and budgetary environment, performance and reserves will likely remain stable and maintained at strong levels.”  The report lists several factors contributing to Currituck’s upgrade to a rating of AA+, including the county’s strong economy, effective county management, financial policies and practices, strong budgetary performance and flexibility, and very strong debt and liability position.

The upgraded credit rating will help Currituck County receive better rates in the future when borrowing money to finance county projects. This will help save the county money through lower interest on debt payments.  Also, S&P expects Currituck’s economy to remain strong in the future.  Among developments contributing to this positive outlook is the county’s planned Currituck Station project in Moyock, which will be a mixed use development of residential and commercial properties.

For more detailed information on Standard & Poor’s ratings, please visit their website.

Library display features local African American Civil War soldiers

A special display at the Currituck Public Library in Barco features African American men from Currituck County who served during the Civil War. The display includes names and supporting information of local men who served in the Union Army Colored Troops and Navy.

This information was discovered by Janeth Murphy, professional genealogist and administrative assistant at the Barco library branch. She uncovered these records while researching local history for the county’s upcoming 350th anniversary. For more information, contact the Currituck Public Library at Barco by calling 252-453-8345.

Upcoming 2020 Census important to Currituck County

The next U.S. Census date is April 1, 2020. Participation by county residents will be important to Currituck County for several reasons, as the data collected influences the amount of federal aid received by the county.

Federal and state agencies allocate hundreds of billions of dollars to local communities each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This funding helps support initiatives such as education, health care, and road infrastructure. Much of this allocation is based upon the Census data.

Statistics and projections help local planners when considering the services necessary to serve a community. As Currituck grows, county staff can utilize Census data as another tool when analyzing the county’s future needs.

During 2018, the Census Bureau will establish field offices and infrastructure it will need to conduct the Census. During this time, field workers will verify addresses of local residents.

If your household is selected to participate in the Census, please respond with accurate information. Submissions will be available in either a paper or online format. Participants will be able to use smartphones to complete questionnaires. All personal information is confidential and by law cannot be shared with law enforcement, courts, immigration services, or anyone else for 72 years.

For more information, visit www.census.gov.

Proposal for higher insurance rates heads to summer hearing

Update:  On Jan. 5, NC Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey set July 23, 2018 as the hearing date to resolve the issue of proposed homeowners insurance rate increases.

The NC Rate Bureau’s proposed a substantial homeowners insurance rate increase. In December, citizens had an opportunity to comment on this proposal and more than 9,000 comments were received by the NC Department of Insurance.

Causey did not accept the new insurance rates, saying that ““We are not in agreement with the Rate Bureau’s proposed increases.”

View the full statement from the Dept. of Insurance here.


A proposal submitted to the NC Department of Insurance (NCDOI) would increase homeowners’ insurance rates by as much as 25% in parts of eastern NC. The proposal also includes requests to increase tenants (renters) and condo insurance policies as much as 40%.

The proposed homeowners insurance rate increase also impacts policyholders with wind only policies such as those written through the NC Insurance Underwriters Association (NCIUA), commonly referred to as the Beach Plan. This filing does not affect policyholders with Dwelling Policies – those that typically cover second homes, vacation rental homes or year-round rental homes.

View the proposed Homeowners Insurance rate changes:  2017 HO Insurance Filing NC 20 CALL FOR ACTION (2)